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November 16, 2018


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The U.S. Bishops gather for Mass at their Spring meeting in June 2018. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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Here comes RICO: Abuse victims launch class action suit against Vatican, US bishops

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A class action suit has been launched against the Vatican and the American Catholic bishops, citing a federal anti-racketeering law known as RICO.

Six American survivors of child sexual assault filed a civil suit on November 13 against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Holy See. The plaintiffs are Timothy B. Lennon; Mark S. Belenchia; Alfred L. Antonsen, Jr.; Joseph Piscitelli; Shaun A. Docherty; and Mark Crawford. Suing for themselves and fellow victims, they have asked for a trial by jury.

The complainants are suing the Vatican both as a foreign state, as an “unincorporated organization,” and as the “head of an international religious organization.”

The preamble to the case includes an overview of the ongoing sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, noting all classes of people who have been mentioned in connection with the scandal.

“This case is about the endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive rape and sexual abuse of Plaintiffs and Class Members perpetrated by Roman Catholic Church cardinals, bishops, monsignors, priests, sisters, lay leaders, members of Catholic religious orders, educators, and other of Defendants’ personnel, members, agents, and representatives ... while serving in active ministry—with the knowledge of Defendants,” the complaint reads.

The plaintiffs’ first charge will be depressingly familiar to readers:

“Rather than safeguarding and protecting Plaintiffs and Class Members—who were minor children at the time—Defendants protected the abusive Clergy, took extraordinary measures to conceal their wrongful conduct, moved them from parish to parish, without warning church members or the general public, thereby further facilitating their predatory practices, failed and refused to report the abusive Clergy to law enforcement or other responsible authorities as required by law, and—incredibly—even promoted the abusive Clergy. Defendants’ wrongful acts are ongoing and continuous.”

The document then cites the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

“This also is a RICO case brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68,” the complaint reads.

“Plaintiffs’ Complaint is grounded on multiple violations of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes embodied in the RICO statute prohibiting ‘schemes to defraud’ where the fraud is ‘representational’ or where the fraud amounts to ‘cheating and defrauding’ without representations. This Complaint alleges violations of the federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes in both ways.”

In an attempt to make the Catholic Church fit the terms of the RICO Act, the complainants describe her as an “Enterprise.”

“The RICO enterprise alleged in this Complaint is the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, an unincorporated association-in-fact,” the documents says and goes on to enumerate every diocese, eparchy, and religious order in the United States, as well as a number of priests.”

The document continues, “Each diocese is headed by a bishop who, in turn, is a member of Defendant USCCB.”

“The RICO Defendants conducting and participating, directly and/or indirectly, in the affairs of the Church Enterprise to injure and harm Plaintiffs and Class Members via the mails and wires are Defendant USCCB and Defendant Holy See,” it claims.

The 84-page document claims that “wrongful conduct” by the Vatican and the USCCB “flagrantly violates...laws of the United States, the common law of the states, federal common law, Catholic Church canon law, and customary international law, including treaties and conventions adopted and signed by Defendant Holy See.”

The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. by attorneys Mitchell Toups, Richard Coffman, Joe Whatley Jr., and Henry Quillen. According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), these lawyers have been involved with similar lawsuits on behalf of sexual abuse victims.

As a result of their lawsuit, victims are hoping to win “compensatory damages, economic damages, punitive damages, RICO treble damages, medical monitoring, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and court costs.”

They are also hoping that their actions will force the Holy See and the USCCB to “comply with various state statutes requiring them to report the abusive Clergy to law enforcement or other responsible authorities, terminate the abusive Clergy, identify the abusive Clergy to the general public so that parents may protect their children going forward, release documents evidencing such Clergy abuse to achieve transparency, and such other relief the Court deems just and proper.”

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Celine Dion launches clothing line that ‘liberates children from traditional roles of boy/girl’

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By Calvin Freiburger

Washington, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Music icon Celine Dion is the latest major celebrity to attack male/female gender norms. She stars in a new ad that questions who children truly belong to.

“Our children. They are not really our children, as we are all just links in a never-ending chain that is life,” the Canadian singer narrates in an ad released this week. “For us, they are everything. But in reality, we are only a fraction of their universe.”

The spot follows her breaking into a hospital and making her way to the maternity ward, where male and female newborns are evenly divided into blue and pink sides of the room.

“We miss the past; they dream of tomorrow,” Dion continues. “We may thrust them forward into the future, but the course will always be theirs to choose.” She then blows black and silver sparkles around the room, erasing the colors on the walls and transforming the babies’ color-coded attire into new black-and-white garb.

The ad then takes a comedic turn, as she’s discovered by security guards and arrested for trespassing, her celebrity status failing to save her from a night in jail.

The spot is advertising a new clothing line by Dion and Nununu, a kids’ clothing designer dedicated to “introducing children to the wonderful mystery of minimalism” and “let[ting] kids shine at every stage with a kickass cocktail of attitude and a big sense of humor.”

“I’ve always loved nununu and what they represent. Partnering with them to encourage a dialogue of equality and possibility makes so much sense,” Dion said of the partnership.

A “Celinununu” website erected specifically for the new line shows offerings in combinations of black, white, gray, and yellow. Most of the designs simply display basic shapes, individual letters, or the alphabet, though skulls and the phrase “New Order” are also recurring motifs.

The website also makes clear the project’s ideological mission to offer a “platform for a new humanistic education.” The product line “liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect,” the website claims.

Dion has apparently received some pushback against the ad already, which she sought to calm in a CNN interview. "The message I'm trying to get across is you raise your children the way you want to raise your children,” she said. “You have to decide what's right for them. We're just proposing another way to take away the stereotype.”

While the clothes themselves appear largely innocuous, and children’s color preferences alone are hardly an indicator of gender confusion, Celinununu’s promotional rhetoric echoes that of various projects in recent years to deny natural differences between boys and girls at early ages.

This summer, the BBC promoted a segment with the hashtag #NoMoreBoysAndGirls in which adult caretakers were given a baby dressed and presented as the opposite sex to play with. The segment purported to demonstrate that children are harmed when adults assume children want to play with traditionally gender-specific toys. Contrary to the BBC’s narrative, studies suggest a biological basis for children’s playtime preferences.

Despite “gender fluidity” proponents’ claims to be advancing children’s welfare, indicates that reinforcing a gender-confused child’s “identity” is at best unnecessary and at worst destructive, because it reinforces a phenomenon most kids would otherwise outgrow. This in turn can distract from diagnosing and treating the actual causes of transgender individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide.

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‘I won’t let drag queens come in here’: Pastor asks man dressed as ‘woman’ to leave church

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By Doug Mainwaring

CHICAGO, November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pastor asked a young male who showed up for a religious service in drag to go home and put on “man clothes.”  

“I hold a standard in here,” Chicago Pastor Antonio Rocquemore said to the man dressed in women’s clothing. “Whatever you do on the outside is your business, but I would not let drag queens come in here.”  

“When you come into this house, if you’re a man, dress as a man; if you’re a woman, dress as a woman,” added the pastor.  

As Rocquemore continued to explain his request to the man, using the incident as a teachable moment, shouts of “amen” and applause from the congregation grew to a crescendo.

“I’m not going to allow you to disrespect the House of God,” declared Pastor Rocquemore.

The brief drama which took place at Powerhouse International Ministries was captured in a cell phone video and posted along with a profanity-laden paragraph on Facebook by Christian James Lhuillier. Since it was first uploaded four days ago, the video has been viewed nearly a half million times.

The video quickly elicited an avalanche of comments.  

Pastor Rocquemore shared his side of the story in a separate hour-long video on his own Facebook page.

He recounted how the young man in drag had previously told members of the church that he joined because he wanted to learn how to become a man.  

Pastor Rocquemore said that by showing up for a service in drag, the young man had challenged him publicly, so “I challenged him back publicly.”

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Desmond Napoles on GMA Nov. 2, 2018. Good Morning America / Youtube screen grab
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‘Good Morning America’ promotes child drag queen

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By Calvin Freiburger

November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The sexualization and “gender fluidity” of children got one of its most mainstream boosts yet this month, as “Good Morning America” (GMA) devoted a segment to prepubescent “drag artist” Desmond Napoles.

Napoles, known onstage as “Desmond is Amazing,” is a self-described “androgynous drag kid” who identifies as gay (though it’s unclear if he understands the term’s implications). He reportedly started displaying an interest in women’s clothes at age six, after which his parents say a therapist advised them to allow him to “explore.” He rose to prominence in 2014 when RuPaul and Jinkx Monsoon featured him in a music video.

Earlier this month, “GMA Day” co-hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines invited Napoles on the show for a celebration of his “trail-blazing” and “bravery” in the world of drag.

After Napoles came onstage by strutting across a red carpet, a conversation ensued celebrating the “inspiring” impact of his cross-dressing as an example for individuality, and his parents' support for his self-expression. The young boy's flamboyant and decidedly-adult garb contrasted sharply with his talk of enjoying trains and root beer.

The segment also treated Napoles to a surprise visit by “iconic drag queens” Hedda Lettuce, Shannel, and Alyssa Edwards. The performers lavished similar praise on the boy’s activities as “courageous,” “inspirational,” and “the future of drag.” They also presented him with a number of gifts, including a gift basket of makeup, a unicorn bag with fake nails and other assorted items, and more.

“It’s a tough world out there, and not everyone’s accepting of things, and some people have criticized you,” Haines said at one point. “What do you say to them?” After a pause, Napoles said simply, “it’s fine.”

Pro-family advocates don’t attack Desmond himself; they argue his parents and media supporters aren’t acting in his or other children’s best interests.

Activists Mommy blogger Elizabeth Johnston called GMA's decision to bring a child dressed in drag on its show "creepy."

"Drag queens are, and always have been, typical features of adult entertainment venues, and the culture surrounding drag performing is shrouded with overt sexuality," she wrote. 

"All cross-dressing aside, drag culture is nothing children should be integrated into, but clearly, those in the entertainment industry think it’s 'cute' to see a little boy take on the gender-bending characteristics of men who typically appear on the stages of strip clubs and bars."

"This is absolutely not OK," she added.

Even homosexual writer Chad Felix Greene has chided homosexuals as being blind to the fact that they are sexualizing children by dressing them in drag, something which he called "abuse."

“The boy is emulating an adult woman being sexually provocative,” wrote Greene of such cases that include Desmond as well as 9-year-old Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden, a.k.a. Lactatia.

He calls what homosexual activists are doing to Desmond “exploitation” that “steal(s) the child’s innocence and impose(s) an adult identity onto him, all to validate their own insecurities.”

“The LGBT world will never be able to fully appreciate the damage being done to a generation of children pushed to grow up faster,” he warns. “Early sexual activity and expression can be devastating to young people, especially LGBT youth. High rates of drug abuse, sexual abuse, and risky sexual behavior are common. HIV rates are extremely high for gay and bisexual young men aged 13 to 24. Nearly 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, with higher risks of drug use and sex work.”

A variety of scientific literature indicates that promoting gender fluidity within children’s minds is unnecessary and destructive. Studies indicate that between 80-90% of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, and that even full gender "reassignment" surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide.

In September, Brown University behavioral scientist Lisa Littman published a study finding that 87% of the teens reviewed (via questionnaires to 256 parents) belonged to a friend group characterized by some degree of “social influence” on gender, such as other gender-confused teens; and that 63% of the teens had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability before deciding they were a different gender.

Nevertheless, “Good Morning America” dubbed Desmond’s immersion in the world of drag as an unqualified good. “Thank you for reminding us all to be who we are on the inside,” Haines said at the segment’s conclusion.

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Alberta gov’t again threatens to defund schools that don’t remove religious content from policies

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CALGARY November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms responded Wednesday to the Alberta Minister of Education’s Order to impose blanket left-wing government policies on religious schools.

The Order, issued Wednesday morning, imposes a policy of the Minister’s creation onto schools whose policies, in his opinion, are non-compliant with section 45.1 of the Alberta School Act.

The Order effectively replaces the schools’ own policies, which respect the unique religious character and identity of each school, with policies mandated by government.

The Minister’s Order also requires schools to commit to collaborate against the constitutionally-protected interests of parents by agreeing to restrict information from parents about their young children’s activities in GSAs.

In September, the Minister gave notice to schools that they cannot include references to “truth,” “male and female,” the Bible, and other religious references, in their Safe and Caring policies. Further correspondence (123) shows the Education Minister justifying his ban on faith references in religious school policies solely based on his opinion, without explaining (for example) how or why “truth” is contrary to “diversity.”

“The Minister’s Order to impose his will without explanation, regardless of child safety and regardless of parental rights that are protected by the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suggest this Order is not properly grounded in law,” states Jay Cameron, counsel for the Appellant schools and parents in the Bill 24 challenge.

The legal challenge to the constitutionality of sections of the School Act, including section 45.1, is ongoing.

A court hearing is currently scheduled for December 3, 2018.

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Male gym teacher under fire for refusing to watch girl who says she’s a ‘boy’ undress in locker room

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By Calvin Freiburger

PORT RICHEY, Florida, November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Most parents would assume that refusing to look at a naked child of the opposite sex goes without saying for any teacher, but a school district in Florida has opted to punish a male physical education teacher for attempting to avoid that situation.

Liberty Counsel is representing gym teachers Robert Oppedisano and Stephanie Christensen at Chasco Middle School (CMS). According to the nonprofit law firm’s letter to the Pasco County school board, the dispute stems from administrators’ decision to allow a female CMS student who “identifies” as a boy to use male restrooms and locker rooms. The district also wants the girl’s “identity” affirmed with male pronouns.

Both teachers objected to the order, which afforded male students and their parents no advance warning that they would be sharing facilities with a girl. Administrators warned that it would be “discriminatory” for them to warn students of the situation, and ordered Oppedisano to continue supervising the boys’ locker room despite his reluctance to potentially view a girl undressing.

"I told them I have an issue with it," Christensen told the Tampa Bay Times last month. "Part of my concern is, if students are allowed to do this, the other kids and their parents have a right to know. It’s their privacy, too."

“Robert will not knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress,” Liberty Counsel writes. “Now, Robert has been told by administrators that he will be transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.’” The administration also claimed the girl has “every right to use” the boys’ locker room.

On September 27, the letter says, the female student was first admitted to the locker room, where her presence caused the boys “embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl.” The male students sought assistance from Christensen and Oppedisano, who “were powerless to respond, because administrators had placed a gag order on them.”

“No law requires this course of events,” Liberty Counsel told the district, warning that it “is violating male students’ and teachers’ rights at Chasco Middle School.” The letter goes on to explain that Florida has no state-level recognition of “gender identity” that would require such actions, and that the federal government has been enjoined from interpreting Title VII or Title IX in such a way.

"The Supreme Court has acknowledged the lawfulness of sex-based standards that flow from legitimate biological differences between the sexes,” the letter notes, explaining that such rules “ensure fairness, equity, and safety; satisfy reasonable expectations of a constitutional right to privacy; reflect common practice in society; and promote core values of dignity and respect between boys and girls."

“Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stated, ‘Separate places to disrobe, sleep, perform personal bodily functions are permitted, in some situations required, by regard for individual privacy,’” Liberty Counsel points out.

“Despite the initial September incident, then legal contact in October, the elected board for the district with 70,500 students has so far taken no action and administrators have refused to budge,” The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann reported this week.

District employee relations director Kathy Scalise denied to the Times that the district threatened either teachers’ job, and school board attorney Dennis Alfonso claims the district is merely trying to follow rulings other districts in the state have received. "This is an area of law that is somewhat fluid," he admitted.

According to Liberty Counsel, the district’s actions stem in part from a “Best Practices Guide” developed by school psychologist Jackie Jackson-Dean and adopted without the school board’s approval. The guide declares that “transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to use the locker room facility that matches their gender identity,” and tells teachers to “refrain from talking to anyone else about” a student “coming out” as homosexual or transgendered, “including their parent(s).”

Calling the case a contender for “most insane story of the year,” conservative commentator Andrew Klavan said it was an example of “how the Left is making people safe for their transgenderism, they’re trying to force an adult male to watch an underage girl undress. Everything they do turns out the opposite of what they say they intend. It makes you wonder about their intentions."

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U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, returned to Congress on Thursday.
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Pro-life survivor of leftist shooting Steve Scalise re-elected to GOP leadership role

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Rep. Steve Scalise, R-IA, a survivor of a 2017 murder attempt by a left-wing activist, has been re-elected to his role as GOP whip in the House of Representatives.

Scalise was approved Wednesday alongside Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California for House Minority Leader, the Associated Press reports. The party whip is responsible for marshaling support for a party’s legislative priorities.

Scalise, a pro-life lawmaker who pledged to “completely gut Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood” in the wake of President Donald Trump’s 2016 election, was critically injured in June 2017 when 66-year-old James Hodgkinson opened fire on a practice session for a congressional baseball game. Hodgkinson, a supporter of socialist Bernie Sanders with a history of anti-GOP social media postings, was killed in a shootout with police.

Four people were injured, but nobody other than Hodgkinson died. Scalise required intensive treatment for his injuries, and did not return to Congress until October 2017.

“My legs stop working. It’s not pain exactly, and I don’t know that the reason I’m falling is because my whole foundation has imploded. I feel instead like the wiring that connects my brain to my legs has been unplugged. I fall,” Scalise wrote Wednesday in a piece detailing his experience. “Now I’m on my hands in the dirt, facing the outfield. I don’t know why I’m facing the outfield, when I was just facing the other way. I don’t know that the force with which the bullet hit me has spun me almost all the way around.”

“With my face in the dirt, grass and dew filling my nostrils, I begin to pray,” he continued, describing thoughts of his daughter’s wedding day in the future. “I feel a twist in my gut, and now I know what I need to pray for. Please God, I pray, don’t let Madison walk down the aisle alone. Please, she’s daddy’s little girl. Let me be there. Please, just let me be there with her. Please God, let me see my family again; let me see Jen and the kids again.”

It remains to be seen how Scalise and McCarthy will fare advancing the pro-life agenda as a minority party next year. During Trump’s first two years, they and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan passed legislation to repeal Obamacare, ban late-term abortions, and defund Planned Parenthood, but also passed multiple budgets that continued to finance Planned Parenthood and did not confront Senate GOP leaders for allowing pro-life legislation to die.

Republicans “need to do a better job of letting people know what we stand for,” Scalise said this week. He also claimed McCarthy “knows what he needs to do” going into the next session.

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is sponsoring a new Obamacare replacement bill. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews
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BREAKING: moderate Republican Lindsey Graham to take over Senate Judiciary Committee

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By Calvin Freiburger

Washington, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, the moderate Republican from South Carolina who has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s most unexpected boosters, is poised to take over the critical Senate Judiciary Committee when the new Senate convenes in January.

Politico reports that the current chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, announced Friday he intends to leave Judiciary to take over the Finance Committee in January, leaving Graham his likely successor. Graham said in August it would “be an honor” to take the position.

Among the Judiciary Committee’s responsibilities are overseeing the confirmation of a president’s nominees for both judicial vacancies and executive positions, a role in which Graham would likely deliver mixed results for pro-life and pro-family Americans.

Graham has increasingly warmed to Trump since the 2016 election and was one of the most passionate critics of Democrats’ efforts to block Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with unsubstantiated, last-minute claims of sexual assault. He asked Kavanaugh substantive questions about Roe v. Wade and originalism during his confirmation hearings, and would likely be a reliable supporter of future pro-life nominees.

On the other hand, Graham is a moderate Republican who doesn’t just support rape exceptions to pro-life laws; he has attacked pro-life Republicans for insisting on protecting babies conceived in rape. He also prides himself on an interpretation of “bipartisanship” that extends to confirming the pro-abortion nominees of Democrat presidents.

During his infamous September remarks excoriating Democrats for their treatment of Kavanaugh, Graham stressed that not only did he treat former President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees fairly, he ultimately supported them. “When you see [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor and [Justice Elena] Kagan, tell them Lindsey said ‘Hello,’ because I voted for them,” he said.

In 2015, during confirmation hearings for Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Graham specifically highlighted Lynch’s past support for partial-birth abortion to make the point that “if there’s a Republican president in the future, an attorney general nominee takes an opposite view on an issue like abortion, I hope our friends on the other side will acknowledge it’s okay to be an advocate for a cause, as their lawyer. That doesn’t disqualify you from serving.”

Last month, Graham also said that if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up during the last year of Trump’s first term, he would support waiting until after the election to confirm a nominee to fill it, potentially blocking what could be one of Trump’s last opportunities to appoint a pro-life originalist to the nation’s highest court.

Some conservatives have advocated that the more conservative Jeff Sessions, who the president fired as his Attorney General last week, run in 2020 to reclaim his old Alabama Senate seat, which would allow him to reclaim his seniority status in the chamber and potentially take over the committee. Sessions is reportedly considering whether to run again.

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Jason Kenney
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Alberta’s conservative party says leader has ‘evolved’ on abortion, gay ‘marriage’

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By James Risdon

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Another formerly-staunch pro-life and pro-family politician in Canada is now reportedly saying he has "evolved" on the issues of abortion and homosexual ‘marriage.’ 

With his previous long-standing track record of voting pro-life — even being co-chair of the parliamentary pro-life caucus — and supporting traditional male/female marriage, United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney drew the ire of a pro-LGBT lawyer on Twitter earlier this week.

Kyle Morrow tweeted Nov. 12: "Jason Kenney (@jkenney) wants to block gay adoption, defund abortion and invoke the notwithstanding clause [to stop homosexual ‘marriage’]." 

Attached to that tweet was an audio recording on an introduction Kenney had made of another politician whom he praised as someone "who fought with me to end taxpayer-funded abortions" and to "prevent gay adoption."

That tweet generated 581 likes and was retweeted 615 times by Friday morning. 

The Star, a large daily newspaper in Toronto, picked up on the tweet, and contacted the United Conservative Party. The newspaper was reportedly told in a statement Kenney's stand on those issues has changed in the almost two decades since that recording was made.

“At the time, Jason’s view was no different than that of the Alberta government of the day,” the statement reportedly said.

“Nearly two decades have passed since this audio was recorded and, in that time, the views of Canadians have evolved dramatically, as have Jason’s."

The UCP did not respond to a media request for comment on this story by LifeSiteNews.

Kenney's shifting attitudes and wooing of LGBT activists, though, are already well-known. Earlier this year, the UCP leader hosted his own gay Pride event, telling homosexual activists; “We’re free to love as we choose to love, we are free to live our own lives, and I think, at it’s best, that’s what Pride seeks to celebrate.”

People in the pro-life movement are dismayed to see a formerly strong politician on life and family issues betray his base. 

“It’s very disappointing,” said Jeff Gunnarson, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, in an interview. “Jason Kenney and the pro-life movement have a long history. He was part of the pro-life caucus at one time. He used to be known as a faithful Catholic, a church-going Catholic who strived for the things of God. Now he’s abandoned fundamental moral tenets of the Christian faith."

According to the pro-life leader, Kenney is also shooting himself in the foot by distancing himself from the UCP’s socially-conservative base of support.

"He's trying to play both sides of the political spectrum, the right and the left, but by saying his position has 'evolved,' he's hurting his party. Many social conservatives will be disgusted by Kenney’s abandonment of principles and will stay home on election day," said Gunnarson. 

"Unless there is a significant walk-back of his seeming embrace of the culture of death, he has just lost a significant portion of the pro-life vote," he said.  “He’s just given Notley some fresh hope.”

“Even fiscal conservatives cannot be filled with confidence, watching Kenney jettison his former guiding principles. If one can throw away moral principles today, how easily might other small-c conservative principles ‘evolve’ tomorrow, given enough time and leftist pressure?”

Gunnarson said Kenney would be wrong to avoid taking a strong pro-life position out of fear of a backlash at the polls.

"He's mistaken, he and many others like former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer," said Gunnarson. "They think that being pro-life somehow hampers their chances of gaining power.”

"They're misguided by leftist advisors who have a biased view of the world, and by the liberal media, into thinking the pro-life movement is like an anchor holding you down, whereas the reality is that appealing to socons brings new energy, volunteers and donors in. Just look at the electoral success Donald Trump and Doug Ford have had by appealing to pro-lifers with concrete policies," he said. 

"Pro-lifers need to hold their politicians accountable when they turn their backs and adopt a pro-abortion stance," said Gunnarson. 

RELATED STORIES: 

Jason Kenney turns back on grassroots over parental rights

Jason Kenney slides left, hosts Pride event: ‘We’re free to love as we choose to love’

Alberta’s new conservative party to host pro-LGBT pancake breakfast, Jason Kenney to attend

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Shane Schaetzel

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What Catholics can do who’ve lost faith in their bishops and even the pope

Shane Schaetzel
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November 16, 2018 (Complete Christianity) –It’s finally happened. Now that the US Bishops Conference is over, and absolutely nothing was done to combat the crisis of homosexual abuse and cover up within the US Catholic Church, I can finally say I’ve lost faith. No, I haven’t lost faith in Jesus Christ. No, I haven’t lost faith in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No, I haven’t lost faith in the Creed, or the sacraments, or the teachings of the Church. No, I haven’t even lost faith in the Catholic Church herself. What I have lost faith in is the hierarchy of bishops, and their ability to solve problems collectively.

I have also lost faith in the pope. No, I’m not denying the papacy of Francis. I acknowledge him as the real pope, just as I acknowledge the hierarchy as real bishops. Rather, I’ve lost faith in him as a person, and in his ability to lead the Church. The Barque of Peter has become a rudderless vessel, not because there is no pope, but because the pope is too distracted to steer the ship. By saying I’ve lost faith in Francis, I’m saying I have no confidence in Francis as a leader. So he receives a “vote of no confidence” from me.

In short, my faith in Christ, and the Church he established, remains intact. My faith in that Church’s current leadership has been irreparably shattered, and it would take a lifetime to rebuild, if it can be rebuilt at all. Right now I actually have more faith in the US Federal Government than I do the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and that’s really saying something, because people who know me will tell you: “Shane has almost no faith in the federal government at all.” Right now, I think it’s far more likely that Martians will land in Times Square, and world peace will be subsequently declared, before our Catholic hierarchy will do the right thing on homosexual abuse and cover up within their own ranks.

I think this is a more well-reasoned approach to the problems in the Church. Too many former Catholics tell me they’ve lost faith entirely, and they often cite the leadership of the Church as their reason why. Their complaints are legitimate, but their solution is absurd. If you’re one of those people reading this right now, this is for you…

Don’t leave Christ because of Judas. Don’t let bad priests and bishops chase you away from your baptismal birthright. Why would you give these evil men the satisfaction of driving you away from your home! You are Catholic. You deserve better than the leadership we have, we all do, but this is (unfortunately) what we’ve been scourged with for now. So I would like to propose a challenge to you. Rather than walk away from Christ, and the Church he founded, do as I am doing instead. Become a good Catholic in spite of these Judases. For they say the greatest revenge is living well. Become Catholic again, but do it in a way that counters bad priests and bishops, and deprives them of their ability to control, manipulate and abuse. Pick up an old Baltimore Catechism (yes, it’s still legitimate) and read it. Read the Bible too. Start with the Gospels. Start praying again, the way you remember, and maybe say a rosary or two. Then, before you return to mass, try to find a good one, where the Judases in the Church have had little influence. Start by looking here.

The rest of this is addressed to all faithful lay Catholics. I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be no reform from the hierarchy. Based on what just happened at the US Bishops Conference in Baltimore, and the likely players responsible for it, I am now 100% convinced the Extraordinary Meeting of Bishops in Rome this February will be a joke. I am convinced it will simply be an elaborate attempt to confuse the faithful into believing that something concrete will be done, when in fact nothing will happen at all. An appearance of transparency will be presented, but there will be no real transparency. An impression of reform will be presented, but there will be no reform. All of this because the men at the top, including the pope, are more interested in protecting their golden calf of allowing homosexuality to flourish in the hierarchy.

So where does that leave us, lay faithful, in all of this? While we are powerless to reform our Church, we are not helpless. We actually do have some options…

  1. We must accept that no reform will come from inside the Church. It’s not going to happen, so we must get that out of our heads now! It’s time to stop asking the bishops conferences for change. It’s time to stop asking the Vatican for change. It’s time to put away all those tears and demonstrations for Pope Francis, and the bishops, because they are simply not going to change. If you’re an abuse victim, it’s time to go straight to the governmental authorities. Don’t bother with the bishops anymore. They can learn about your abuse claims from the district attorney. News flash for everyone: there is already a hotline to report clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It’s called 9-1-1. Not to worry, reform will eventually come to the hierarchy, but it won’t come from within. It will come from law enforcement and the hand of God himself. Christ himself will eventually rid us of this corrupt hierarchy, just as he extinguished the corrupt religious leaders of ancient Israel. Woe to them! It would be better if the law catches up with them first.
  2. We, as Catholic laypeople, are just going to have to be better stewards of our donations. That means being more alert and aware of what’s going on in our Church. YES, there are some good parishes and dioceses out there, and they deserve to be funded! But here’s the deal. If you’re giving money to a parish, diocese or organization that is corrupt, you’re a very big part of the problem. You’re financing corruption with your money and you’re doing it willingly. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you. Rather, you are underwriting the rape and corruption of teenage boys, along with a plethora of homosexual liaisons between priests and others, coupled with all the financial malfeasance that goes along with it. You’re funding it — voluntarily! This has got to stop. So what we need to do is start looking at our parishes and dioceses very closely. If something smells fishy, even just a little fishy, it probably is. Like the saying goes; where there’s smoke there’s fire! If something is smoldering in your parish, don’t fund it. Give your donations to another parish instead. If something is smoldering in your diocese, don’t fund it. Send your money to a different diocese instead. If it’s not clean, don’t fund it! Be responsible with your donations for heaven’s sake! Finally, don’t give a dime to the USCCB or the CCHD. These organizations have proved to be Leftist front groups that confuse the faithful and back things the Church opposes. If you want to fight poverty, give that money to a local Catholic soup kitchen instead. At least there you’ll be able to see the results.
  3. Lastly, this leads me to the final step. Once you know who to not fund, you’ll also know who to walk away from. It’s time to walk out of corrupt parishes and corrupt dioceses, and yes, there is a canonical way to do this. You can leave the corruption without leaving the Catholic Church, and this is where so many former Catholics have erred. You don’t need to leave your baptismal birthright as a Catholic to be relatively free of those Judas clergy corrupting the Church. There are canonical options available to you, and if you’re smart (you need to be smart in times like these) you can make use of them. I cannot give you a checklist for how to find a good parish and bishop. That’s not how it works. But as the Scriptures say, you shall know them by their fruits. There are certain outward signs that a parish and diocese will display that indicate a strong Catholic identity, and less of a likelihood for homosexualist corruption. It’s not a guarantee (nothing is), but it does radically improve the odds. I’ve outlined them extensively here.

My last post was an open letter to the US Catholic Bishops which I wrote to them the week before the Baltimore Conference. I didn’t expect any kind of response from that, but what we got was even far worse than what I imagined. We literally got nothing — a great big fat zero — along with plenty of hints from both the Conference and Rome that cover-up will continue to remain the status quo. I ended by saying this would be my last letter to them, and I have no desire to communicate any further. I meant it. As the title of this essay says, I’ve lost faith in them entirely. So that open letter was the last they’ll ever hear from me.

This post, directed toward my regular readers, is likewise intended to be my last essay on the subject of homosexual abuse and cover up. This is mainly because I really have nothing more to say. I’ve already said everything I can on the matter. I may update my social media feeds with some of the latest current events on this topic, but I really don’t have any more essays to write or recommendations to make. This whole mess will soon play out with law enforcement, and perhaps a little divine intervention along the way. So there is nothing more that I can add.

We have been burdened to live through the saddest era in the history of the Catholic Church. What has happened is worse than the Arian Heresy, and I believe future generations will acknowledge that. For the Homosexualist Heresy, and all the sexual sin that accompanies it, especially the sexual abuse of minors, is a challenge to the very nature of Christianity itself. If homosexuality (sodomy or “gay sex”) is not a sin, then there is no such thing as sexual sin at all, and the entire 2000 years of Christian teaching on the matter has been one big lie. If sexual sin does not exist, then the sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion is cheapened. The need for the gospel is lessened, and the disciplines of the Church are irrelevant. The entire Christian faith hinges on this matter. For if there is no sexual sin, then most people don’t sin at all. The average person doesn’t murder, or steal, or slander others. The average Catholic goes to mass on Sundays, honors his parents, and rarely ever uses the Lord’s name in vain. What is adultery when a man can “marry” another man? What is adultery when a married woman can have a fling with her girlfriend on the side? If all of this is to be made permissible, against the Scriptures and Catechism, as the homosexualists desire, then the Church itself becomes nothing more than a social accessory, totally optional to the Christian who can define his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” any way he likes. Jesus himself becomes just another Buddha or Krishna for the modern man to choose at his personal discretion. I have no desire to be part of a “church” that looks like this. Either there is such a thing as sexual sin or there isn’t. Either what the Scriptures tell us is true about homosexuality (sodomy or “gay sex”) or the Scriptures are false. Erase the condemnation of homosexuality from the Bible, and you erase the sacrifice that atoned for it on the cross.

I know the truth. I believe what the Scriptures tell us. I believe what the Catechism teaches us. I believe what the Catholic-Christian faith has always taught us. I will not support those who deny these things, either by word or deed, and they won’t get a dime of my money, nor will I regularly attend their parishes and cathedrals. I have lost faith in them. I’ve decided to move on now, strictly to orthodox parishes and bishops who are accountable and transparent. I’ve checked out of the corrupt-mainstream Catholic Church. There is nothing more I can do or say. If you’re reading this, and you’re ready to leave the corruption behind, this is how you do it legally and properly.

Editor's note: This article first appeared on Complete Christianity here. It is reprinted by permission of the author. Shane Schaetzel is a certified catechist in the Catholic Church.

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Should Catholics out-liberal the liberals on free speech?

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Executives at Google have been mulling over their role in the internet. Naturally enough, they have their own opinions on the issues of the day, and they are conscious of the potential influence they can wield over what internet users get to see. Why not tilt the balance a bit in favor of the reasonable and good, away from the oppressive and bad? Why not take on the role, in fact, of a “good censor”?

The qualification “good” is interesting. The first “censors” were Roman officials, and some Oxford colleges still use the ancient job title. The kinds of roles these censors had led naturally to the use of the term for officials charged with looking over books and periodicals for scandalous or subversive content. Some very unpleasant governments, from Napoleon to Stalin, found this system very useful, and this has made the term “censor” odious. When Google, Facebook, and Twitter act as censors, they feel they need a little apologetic qualification. It is ok for them to be censors, they tell us, because they are good.

They are not the only ones, however. American universities may not have officials called censors, but they are not immune to censorship. Here in the UK, a company which owns billboards removed a paid-for poster with a dictionary definition of the word “woman” (“adult human female”) after pressure on social media. But if the actions of commercial companies are worrying, the state is not far behind: state-enforced censorship in the UK now directly impinges on the proclamation of the Gospel. Pro-life speech is restricted not only near abortion clinics, but by local government, and street-preachers are regularly arrested for “homophobia.” Examples may be different in different countries, but the direction of travel is the same.

It is natural in this situation to appeal to the principle of free speech. However, since people on the “progressive” side of the debate generally need not fear exclusion from social media and public spaces, they usually do not need to make such appeals, so this appeal to free speech is becoming increasingly associated only with the defense of conservative voices. We now hear from liberals that the principle of free speech is being “weaponized,” a rhetorical preparation for saying that the principle should be rejected, as the latest Google memo comes close to doing.

This is quite a turn-around from the depiction of the Catholic Church as the opponent of liberty, and the historic attempts to undermine the Church’s institutions and influence by scurrilous pamphleteering: characteristic tactics of the Church’s opponents since the time of Luther. In response to this kind of activity, Popes down the ages remind us that freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Typical was Pope Pius IX, who had the Papal States to administer as well as the Universal Church, and who wrote in 1864 (Quanta cura) of “that erroneous opinion”

that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.

Nor has this historical background been entirely forgotten by libertarian supporters of free speech. The free speech campaigner Brandon O’Neil, for example, never misses an opportunity to attack the Church, even wheeling out the debunked Protestant theory that the printing press was key to the success of the Reformation.

When Catholic speech is unjustly restricted, it is reasonable and can be effective to show that the law protects the speech at issue, and in many cases that those trying to restrict it are being inconsistent. It is more problematic for Catholics to reinvent themselves as free speech absolutists, as though neither Church nor state has any right to restrict speech which endangers law and order or public morals, or which offends decency or religious sensibilities, since such a view has been consistently opposed by Church teaching.

Without an absolute protection of free speech, the debate devolves to the question of what restrictions are reasonable. Catholics must make the case that it is unreasonable to prevent peaceful pro-life counsellors talking to women outside abortion clinics, or to ban medical models of unborn children from university campuses. They must explain that it is unreasonable to stop people quoting the Bible or the dictionary, or staging public debates about abortion or sexuality.

These arguments are not especially difficult to make. The way to defend the freedom to proclaim the Gospel is not to point to what it has in common with pornography and hate speech—viz., theoretical protection by an extreme interpretation of the principle of free speech—but how it differs from them.

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Abortion fanatics are sending female pro-life activists rape porn…to scare them into silence

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By Jonathon van Maren

November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Eight months ago, the pro-life organization Live Action uploaded a three-minute video clip of a young woman giving an extraordinarily powerful testimony about being raped and becoming pregnant. Jennifer Christie explained to the Iowa legislature that she’d been brutally raped while on a business trip, her bruised body flung into a stairwell after the attack. 

Despite the horrors she’d endured, she was not speaking for crime victims, she said. Rather, she was speaking for the 32,000 women who become pregnant after rape—and the 75% of those women “who give our children life.”

Christie was representing Save the One, an organization that represents people who were conceived in rape, as well as mothers—like herself—who have children conceived through sexual assault. Her son, Christie stated tearfully, is “a reminder that love is stronger than hate.” Further, she said, “Do not use me, and my rape, and my story…as a banner to hide behind and excuse the genocide of the innocent.” 

The moment was powerful, and the video went viral, racking up 1.4 million views to date. Jennifer expected to receive backlash for taking a stand. All pro-life activists do. What she did not expect was the sheer viciousness and hatred unleashed on her by some on the pro-abortion side. 

After the video went viral, someone sent her a video of a woman being raped. It was sent to her personal Facebook account, through a friend’s account that had been hacked. The police helpfully told her it was “probably rape porn,” but it sounded real—especially the woman’s screaming. Considering what passes for pornography these days, it very well could have been.

Jennifer flashbacked to her own trauma, threw up, and couldn’t catch her breath—just as the sender of the video intended. Someone furious that Jennifer was defending her son’s right to exist and condemning abortion as the killing of pre-born children wanted to make her suffer for her stand in the most repulsive way they could think of. In response to this, Facebook did nothing. 

That was only the start. Rape videos were sent to her two more times through her professional speaker’s page. She was also sent a video of a man cutting off a woman’s breast, followed by flashing strobe lights. Christie has epilepsy—something she has discussed in articles and public speeches. Whoever sent her the video had combined horrifying sexualized violence with an attempt to trigger an epileptic attack. It worked: She had a tonic-clonic seizure as a result. 

Christie now says that she was naïve not to expect these attacks—she simply did not expect this level of vitriol from the other side.

“I mean, I’m not condemning anyone,” she told me. “I’m not cruel. I’m loving my son. That’s it. I just don’t think that way. Or didn’t. I guess I do now—which is sad.”

Sadly, online sexual harassment directed at female pro-life activists is becoming a popular tactic by some abortion advocates. Laura Klassen of Choice42, who has had videos like “The Magical Birth Canal” go viral, has also been subjected to the same thing: Men have sent her photos of their genitals online, GIFs of rape porn, and pictures of violent sex acts. Some of the material she has been sent is too explicit to describe—all for taking a stand on abortion.

I could cite other examples, as well—female friends in the pro-life movement have told me that abortion supporters have even photoshopped them into explicit pictures and sent it back to them with ugly, demeaning messages. Often, they receive threats of violent assault—I was sent screenshots and had brutal messages described to me when I asked several female pro-life activists what sort of online harassment that they face.

It is an irony that some of the men claiming to be supportive of “women’s rights” respond to the suggestion by pro-life women that killing pre-born children is wrong by sending them degrading, violent sexual imagery in order to suggest that they should be attacked and demeaned for their stance. It is awful to think that young women defending the weak and the vulnerable and standing up for their own children would be subjected to sexualized attacks.

And it is incredibly sad to think that some people are so filled with hatred that they would attack a victim of rape simply because she loves her son.

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USCCB Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, MD, Nov. 12, 2018. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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How US bishops should have responded to Vatican hijacking their meeting on abuse crisis

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  It was with the proverbial whimper that the recent USCCB meeting in Baltimore went out. The hoped-for and indeed expected bang was thwarted by forces without and within.

The Vatican commanded a halt to the United States bishops taking steps about the clerical abuse crisis and its episcopal component. In a particularly obnoxious example of the Peronist “style” of this papacy, the intervention—apparently known only to Cardinal Cupich, papal confidante and de facto head of the USCCB—canceled out subsidiarity, interfered with the legitimate jurisdiction of bishops, and cynically stepped on the very synodality that bishops were forced to vote for in last month’s rigged Youth Synod. 

In this move, we saw an egregious return to the ultramontanist behavior of treating bishops as if they were vicars of the pope, rather than true shepherds who rule their own dioceses in Christ’s name and by His authority. The pope certainly has universal jurisdiction, but individual bishops do not rule on his behalf or by his leave. They rule by a right proper to themselves, which can be removed for bad behavior, but is otherwise inviolable, immediate, and non-transferable.

Put simply, bishops must rule their dioceses; they cannot pass the buck to someone else. They, and not the pope, are officially and normatively in charge of their particular portion of Christ’s Church. To act otherwise would be running away from the sheep and letting the wolves take over. Sadly, it would seem that the wolves have long since moved in and set up shop. It was disappointing, to say the least, that the U.S. bishops were not able to muster the courage to remind the Vatican of a few basic truths of ecclesiology enshrined in canon law, Church tradition, and (just saying) the documents of the Second Vatican Council. 

There were forces within, too, that sabotaged the effectiveness of this plenary meeting. The attempt to frame a respectfully earnest request for all the McCarrick documentation was torpedoed by bureaucratic filibuster and the soft mockery of semi-lavender prelates. Thanks to the leftward-leaning tilt of the pushiest high-ranking members of the American episcopacy, the apparent lack of desire in the conservative minority to stand up to them, and the perpetual self-doubting hesitations of the greater number, the U.S. bishops as a whole could not agree on so much as an initial approach to the disciplining of abusive, complicit, unresponsive, or incompetent bishops. It was a very expensive, time-consuming way to say: “We don’t know what we’re doing; we’re not sure where we’re going; and what’s more, we’re content to leave things as they are, as long as we get to act as errand-boys for the pope.”

How different a world it would be if a number of U.S. bishops had stood up and said:

“We’re tired of this liberal, confusing, autocratic, Machiavellian, and destructive leadership in the Church, and all its pomps and works. 

“We’re tired of ‘official theology’ that contradicts magisterial doctrine. 

“We’ve had enough with the cover-up behind McCarrick, and, in general, with all the hypocrisy and corruption exposed by Viganò, whose testimonies have not only not been refuted, but have ended up being vindicated by all the attempts to respond to them (which is why the sound of crickets still predominates).

“We’re done with playing bellboys to a super-bishop rather than taking responsibility for our own flocks, individually and corporately. 

“And most of all, we’re thoroughly sick of an endless stream of unsolicited rambling Vatican documents thick with sociologese and thin on the radical demands of the Gospel. From this point on, we could care less about exhortations, letters, sermons, press conferences, or curial blather. We have more important and more urgent things to do, like teach catechism, feed the hungry, celebrate the sacraments worthily and beautifully, support marriages and families, bring non-Catholics into the one true Church, reach out to people who are lost and wandering in the wasteland of modernity—and above all, save souls. That is our job: to save our own souls and the souls of the faithful entrusted to us, feeding them with sound doctrine, pure morals, and a truly sacred liturgy. 

“So, unless you send us a pithy ex cathedra definition de fide et moribus with a tiara on top and a side of anathemas, we’re done wasting our time on the combination UN-EU that today’s Vatican has become. We’ve got several lifetimes of work to do just cleaning up our own act, the mess in our own backyard." 

Now that would have been a plenary meeting to remember!

Perhaps, if things keep getting worse, we may see something of this scenario play out, after all. As I like to say: stranger things than this have happened in the 2,000-year history of the Church.

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Republicans refused to elect pro-life reformer as House GOP leader: Pro-lifers should be mad

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As they prepare for their new role as a minority party, on Wednesday House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California to be the GOP’s Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. He’s been Majority Leader under retiring Speaker Paul Ryan for years, so on the surface this may seem like a mere formality.

But the circumstances this year were anything but ordinary. McCarthy is part of the leadership team that not only failed to defund Planned Parenthood but approved multiple budgets, under Presidents Obama and Trump alike, that contained the abortion giant’s blood money. Obviously, he’s also part of the leadership on whose watch the GOP just lost the House to the Democrats.

Most significantly, this year there was a choice.

As LifeSiteNews covered, pro-life Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio also ran for House GOP leader, and did so by explicitly making an issue of his party’s failure to keep its promises. He spoke out against the GOP’s pro-abortion budgets and failure to repeal Obamacare. He positioned himself as a productive ally of Donald Trump who was nonetheless willing to dissent when Trump strayed.

“This might be a tough pill to swallow, but I believe that if we’d handled the past two years differently, we would still be the majority party in the House of Representatives,” Jordan wrote after the midterms. “Part of the headwind our campaigns faced this year was an enthusiasm gap among our Republican base.”

“They are more passionate in their support for the President than for us. They perceive the President as fighting harder for their issues,” Jordan continued. But instead of learning from Trump’s 2016 victory, “we have largely been conducting ‘business as usual’ for the past two years, and we just paid the price.”

Several conservative advocacy groups backed Jordan, including Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and For America. So did Conservative Review. Alas, House Republicans are apparently slow learners, as they picked McCarthy with 159 votes to a paltry 43 for Jordan.

Granted, the Swamp is far from drained, and it may well be that no amount of outside pressure could have gotten a majority of GOP congressmen to defy the establishment. But in light of how many times we’ve seen this play out with the same results, we need to have a frank discussion about why plenty of high-profile conservatives – and the vast majority of national-level pro-life activists – were nowhere to be found on the subject.

It’s all well and good that Sean Hannity endorsed Jordan on his show, but what did he do to dissuade Trump (with whom he reportedly speaks regularly, depending on who you believe) from throwing his weight behind McCarthy? How many subscribers to pro-life mailing lists even knew the leadership position was being contested, or that pro-life effectiveness was among the issues in contention? What might have happened if there had been a serious effort to mobilize pro-lifers to let their representatives know they wanted change?

Part of the problem is how much of the Right’s conventional wisdom is dominated by Beltway groupthink. Case in point: this week, Jim Geraghty of National Review (which increasingly seems to have traded in standing athwart history yelling stop for ambling beside history mumbling whatever) mocked Jordan this week for his “simple narrative” that just doesn’t understand the complexities of leadership.

The real oversimplification is Geraghty touting the Ryan/McCarthy House for passing the “third highest number” of bills and joint resolutions “in the last 30 years” as if good conservative governance measure success by volume of legislation (limited government? What’s that?), and absolving it of any responsibility for the healthcare trainwreck.

He gets one thing right, though: even when the House did the right thing, it fell apart in the Senate. It’s absolutely true that Mitch McConnell’s atrocious leadership is a much bigger problem pro-lifers have yet to confront, but Geraghty invokes it only to say that the legislative filibuster “isn’t going to change anytime soon,” so Republicans should just think of something else.

No! This is another blindingly obvious aspect of leadership: when you’re doing important work only for it to be squandered by colleagues in another department, or in this case another legislative chamber, you confront them about it. You address the problem until it’s resolved one way or the other. You don’t just trot it out in interviews when you need a scapegoat and then change the subject, like Ryan did.

It’s a damning indictment of the conservative commentariat that such rudimentary concepts are apparently foreign to its upper echelons...and of the pro-life movement that so few of us are having these conversations at all.

For two years, we had everything we needed to save an unprecedented number of lives with truly transformative policies. But we took a largely hands-off approach to the elected stewards of our cause, and now pro-lifers are back to chipping away at the margins.

What will we do with our next two years? Will we continue hailing ineffectual Republicans as “champions” and “strong pro-life allies,” or will 2018 finally be the year we take our own reassessment of business as usual? A new year is just around the corner, but early indicators suggest we’re in for more of the same.

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