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September 24, 2018


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UK Girl Guides shuts down two groups after leaders questioned pro-transgender policy

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By Calvin Freiburger

LONDON, September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Parents in the United Kingdom don’t have a right to know if their daughters will be sharing facilities with male children, according to Girlguiding UK (GGUK), nor can guide leaders question the policy.

GGUK is a Scouting-like organization that teaches girls ages 5-18 a variety of life skills through various group activities. Its current guidelines call for “includ[ing] all young members - including trans people - in activities and residentials” and striving to make gender-confused children feel “comfortable and supported.”

In particular, the website states that “trans” people do “not have to disclose to you if they are trans,” that it’s illegal to tell others that a legal adult is “trans” without their permission, that it’s “still good practice not to tell other people” about a minor’s “perceived” gender “unless they have given you permission to do so,” and that “It is not a requirement - or best practice - to tell parents that a trans person will be attending a residential event.”

Former GGUK Chief Executive Julie Bentley said last year that members would be "allowed to use the facilities of the gender they self-identify as," such as showers, tents, and restrooms. 

The policy alarmed more than 900 current and former guide leaders, children’s advocates, feminists, and other concerned individuals who signed an open letter in April arguing that “trans inclusion, whilst laudable, must not sacrifice the privacy, safety or inclusion of female members.”

“Male children who identify as girls can share sleeping, changing and washing facilities with females,” the letter reads. “It is estimated that 65,000 cases of child sexual abuse are committed by other children each year. Most perpetrators are male, most victims are female. Segregating by sex, regardless of gender identity, is safeguarding common sense.”

The statement also asserted that “biological sex matters,” but if Girlguiding was based instead on an “inner sense of being a girl,” the result would be reducing “girlhood itself” to “feeling, looking or behaving ‘like a girl’, which reinforces the very stereotypes that GGUK’s own research shows are harmful.”

GGUK has now expelled two of the signatories and closed down their units, as well as initiated disciplinary action against five others, The Sun reports.

“I was expelled on Friday for questioning how the trans policy conflicts with established safeguarding protocols, principles of informed consent and respecting girls’ boundaries, and for objecting to leaders being encouraged to manage gender non conforming girls out of their units (whether the girl wants to leave or not),” Helen Watts, who led an Ealing unit for fifteen years, announced on social media.

“Following an independent investigation, two individuals were found to have breached our Volunteer Code of Conduct by indicating they are not willing to follow Girlguiding’s Equality and Diversity Policy; as well as breach our Social Media Policy,” the group said in a statement. It insisted the decision was based “not on their personal views,” and said the punished individuals have fourteen days to file an appeal.

“I am very upset and I am also really angry. We had some serious concerns about a policy that ignored basic safeguarding principles,” Watts told the Sunday Times. “The policy puts all leaders in a really difficult position. It contradicts other inclusion policies - for certain faith communities for instance - and it completely contradicts existing policies around informed parental consent.”

The other expelled leader, who has not been publicly identified, said the transgender policy “conflicted with the safety of girls in my care.” Both have threatened legal action against Girlguiding if they are not reinstated.

Bentley, the former head of the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Family Planning Association of the UK, led GGUK from November 2012 to the end of June 2018. In 2013, the group removed references to God and country from its oath, instead having girls pledge to “be true to myself and develop my beliefs,” and serve the “community.”

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Bono and disgraced Archbishop Theodore McCarrick Alex Wong / Getty Images
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Before abuse scandal, Bono dedicated song to his ‘old friend Cardinal McCarrick’

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By Lisa Bourne

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On the heels of rock star Bono’s out-of-the-blue meeting with Pope Francis last week, a clip from a 2017 concert surfaced on social media with the U2 front man dedicating a song onstage to now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

“This goes out to an old friend – Cardinal McCarrick,” Bono says during an instrumental interlude of the band’s song “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”  

The concert took place June 20, 2017, at FedEx Field in the Washington, D.C. area, one year to the day prior to the disgraced ex-cardinal’s removal from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations he abused a minor more than four decades ago.

It appears it was not the first time Bono invoked McCarrick at one of his shows.

McCarrick was in attendance at a U2 performance also held in D.C. back in October 2009, according to a Georgetown Berkeley Center review of “Bono’s Prophetic Rock Concert.”

“We have a Cardinal at a rock show,” the review says Bono announced. The review described this as a “shout-out” from the star to “his friend and co-activist Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.”

The two have crossed paths in the past and both have been darlings of the social justice left.

Aside from fronting the popular longtime Irish rock band, Bono (Paul David Hewson) is internationally known as a vocal anti-poverty advocate who also openly proclaims a Christian faith.

McCarrick, 87, enjoyed longtime prominence in the Church as a goodwill ambassador and big fundraiser prior to the abuse charges against him becoming public in June.

Veteran Vatican watcher and Whispers in the Loggia blogger Rocco Palma noted the 2017 Bono McCarrick song dedication in a June 20, 2018, post on McCarrick’s fall from grace, noting how McCarrick’s “fan-base transcended borders.” Palmo had also tweeted about it at the time of the 2017 concert.

Bono’s acknowledging McCarrick at last year’s concert also was covered at the time in The Washington Post.

The allegations of serial abuse of seminarians, young priests, and other young men over decades against McCarrick that came to wider light this past June were reportedly an open secret in the Church and among many media.

Catholics continue to call for accountability from those among the Church hierarchy who knew about McCarrick’s predation and looked the other way.

The meeting between Bono and Francis earlier this week, announced to the media just prior to it taking place, caused consternation with Catholics, in one way because attempts by Argentinian victims of clergy sexual abuse to meet with Pope Francis have been unsuccessful.

The meeting also dismayed Catholics because while he made time to meet with the rock star, the pope has refused to address allegations by former U.S. Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that he knew about and covered for McCarrick’s abuse since becoming pope. Similar sentiments about priorities and the pope declining for the last two years to address the dubia presented by cardinals were articulated on social media as well.

Further and arguably the most manifest conflict for Catholics is the fact that U2 took the pro-abortion side in repealing Ireland’s pro-life Eighth Amendment and supported legalizing abortion on demand there earlier this year.

Bono, a multimillionaire, said after the meeting that he and Francis had discussed the “wild beast that is capitalism,” and the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and that he thought the pope was sincere in feeling the pain of the abuse situation.

Zenit reported of the meeting that Francis signed an agreement with Bono between his ONE campaign and the Pontifical charity for young people Scholas Occurrentes.

“We have not discovered what we're going to do together,” Bono said, “but we're kind of in love with each other.”

Father John Hollowell, a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, was among those commenting on the Bono meeting on social media with regard to U2’s abortion support, also noting another problematic aspect.

“Bono’s ‘One Campaign’ is funded almost entirely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” Father Hollowell tweeted, “and believes contraception is part of the solution to poverty.”

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Father Joseph Fessio
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Ignatius Press founder to Pope Francis: ‘Be a man. Stand up and answer’ Viganò’s allegations

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SAN FRANCISCO, September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The founder of U.S. Catholic publishing house Ignatius Press has called for Pope Francis to answer Archbishop Viganò’s allegations that he knowingly promoted an American cardinal accused of abusing seminarians and priests. 

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, told CNN that he finds the pontiff’s refusal to give an answer “deplorable”. In recent weeks, commentators have interpreted Pope Francis’ homilies about “the Great Accuser” and Christ’s “silence” as coded commentary on the Vatican whistleblower’s testimony and the pontiff’s own reluctance to answer it. 

“He’s attacking Viganò and everyone who is asking for answers,” Fessio told CNN. “I just find that deplorable.”

“Be a man. Stand up and answer the questions,” he added.

The publisher-priest told LifeSiteNews that he meant no disrespect for the Pope by saying this. Fessio observed that words said in conversation look “worse” in print but defended his opinions.

“I think the idea that I’m expressing there is a valid idea, and even if I tempered it somewhat, I think it should be said. And maybe ... it will help the Pope to have some straight-talking. He seems to want to have openness, doesn’t he? He talks about frankness and openness and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind.”

“So I said what was on my mind--and not just my mind; it’s on a lot of people’s minds.”

Nevertheless, the Jesuit priest was careful to underscore the importance of respect for the papal office.

“As Catholics we have to respect the office of the papacy and, to the extent that we can, respect the person who is holding that office,” Fessio said. “And as a priest, [I should] even moreso. And as a Jesuit, even more so than that!” 

Fessio has met Pope Francis and spoken to him directly. 

“I actually did talk to the Holy Father once,” he told LifeSiteNews. “For forty-five minutes. I told him about circumstances that I was aware of, and I said ‘Holy Father, I know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but I’m going to ask you for one thing: please do something about this’.”

The priest said that if he could speak directly to the Holy Father about Archbishop Viganò’s testimony today, he would preface his remarks by saying that everyone admires the pontiff’s desire to serve the poor, to send the Church to the peripheries, and to accompany people and help them discern. 

“At the same time, in order for that moral authority to be received by people, there has to be transparency,” Fessio said he would tell Pope Francis. “You’re giving the appearance of criticizing anyone who asks you a … difficult question. And that appearance is not good.”

“You have to do your best to answer questions, whether you think they are honest questions or not. If the questions themselves are substantive, then an answer is required,” the priest would conclude. 

Fessio does not think the answer is “clericalism” when it comes the roots of the clerical sex abuse crisis and its cover-up. This is the answer to the crisis that has been provided by Pope Francis and others such as Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago

“There’s ... the misleading interpretation by high church officials [that this is] a question of clericalism, it’s not homosexuality,” he said. “Well, no, wait a second. Anyone with eyes to see will recognize that 80% of the cases are priest on male.” 

Fessio has met Archbishop Viganò also in person on “at least one occasion”, a long breakfast.  

“He’s a great fan of Ignatius Press. He reads a lot of our books,” Fessio said. “He brought up Father Elijah, a novel by Michael O’Brien. He’s a cultured man.”

Fessio has also had phone conversations with the former papal nuncio, most memorably during Pope Francis’ visit to the Washington, D.C. 

“Archbishop Viganò called me up, and he wanted to buy copies of Cardinal Sarah’s God or Nothing to give to the seminarians who were there while the Pope was in DC,” Fessio told LifeSiteNews. “... I made a deal with him and gave him a good price!” 

Fr Fessio has read Viganò’s testimony two or three times now, “very carefully”. 

“Some of it is speculation,” he said, “and some of it is his opinion. But most of it has to do with factual statements based on documents that admit of a Yes-or-No answer--or a producing of documents.” 

‘Let’s make public some of these things which are crying out for reform’

While understanding a need for confidentiality in Church life, Fessio believes that secrecy at any price is wrong.  

“I do think that there is a role in life--and in the Church--for confidentiality, and for respect for privacy, and for secrecy,” he said. “At the same time I think it can be abused. And I think it has been abused in many cases when there are embarrassing facts that are hidden merely to prevent people from being embarrassed.”

Fessio said that he thought the oath of papal secrecy that Vatican staff and diplomats like Viganò have to take “may possibly be immoral”. 

Those who take the oath swear that they will not break confidentiality “even for the most urgent and the most serious of causes, or [even] for the greater good.” 

“I have had Vatican officials lie to me,” Fessio revealed and, as an example, cited a papal book deal gone awry. 

“This Vatican official told Cardinal Schönborn, ‘Oh, I had to lie to Father Fessio to protect the Pope’s reputation,”’ the publisher-priest recalled. “‘I had to lie to Father Fessio’--that’s the mentality there.”

"I do think that culture of secrecy has got to be mitigated in some way," he concluded. “Information that is of importance to the faithful should be available.” 

Fessio thinks the 300-page document given to Pope Benedict — allegedly detailing a homosexual network within the Church hierarchy — should be reviewed by a group, and those parts which ought to be revealed to the public, should be revealed. 

After all, he pointed out, Pope Francis was picked to be a reformer of the Vatican’s governance.

“One of the reasons we were given for the election of Pope Francis was to reform the Roman Curia,” Fessio said. “An outsider. Someone who is plain-spoken. Someone who has the poor and the faithful at heart. All good things. Well, if we’re going to reform the Curia, let’s make public some of these things which are crying out for reform.”

“That’s what I believe Viganò was trying to do,” he said.

The priest-publisher does not believe the Vatican whistleblower had any self-serving motive. 

“I’ve talked to people in Rome, friends, who  know him, and they all say the same thing: that he’s a decent man, he’s conservative, he’s a traditional-minded person, but he’s fair-minded and he was highly regarded in the Vatican for years,” Fessio said.

But he does not think Viganò’s motive for writing his statement is the important question here. 

“The question is, is it true or is it not true,” Fessio stated. “And there are people who can answer that question. There are documents in the nunciature in DC and in the [Vatican] Secretariat of State. Let’s just produce the documents, you know?” 

Fessio earned a doctorate in theology from the University of Regensburg, and his thesis director was Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Fessio told CNN that he believes Benedict XVI is himself expressing subtle opinions about the crises of the contemporary Church. For example, the Pope Emeritus’ eulogic praise for one of the Dubia Cardinals was a “semi-coded” message. 

Benedict said that the late Cardinal Meisner had, at the end of his life, “learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.” 

“He's got a very wry sense of humor, and he understates things," Fessio told CNN. "He's not going to say, 'The church is a mess under Francis.' But his support for  Meisner was a semi-coded message that he is aware of what's going on in the church right now." 

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Sean Davison (left), president of the Euthanasia Society. SABC Digital News via YouTube
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President of international pro-euthanasia org charged with murder

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By LifeSiteNews staff

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sean Davison, a New Zealand citizen who was convicted of assisted suicide in Dunedin, appeared in a South African court on Wednesday on a murder charge

The charge is in relation to the death of Anrich Burger, 53, who became a quadriplegic after a motor vehicle accident in 2005. He was not terminally ill. 

In 2014 the accused told News24 how he helped Mr Burger, a close friend of his, end his life with lethal drugs in November the previous year. 

Mr Burger's fiancée was not present nor informed of the plan, since she did not support assisted suicide or euthanasia. 

After pleading not guilty, Mr Davison was released on R20,000 (about NZ $2,050) bail. He is scheduled to appear in Court again on 16 November. 

The State alleges that the murder was premeditated and that new information suggests that the accused may have committed other similar offences. 

In 2011 Mr Davison was sentenced to five months' house arrest in Dunedin after pleading guilty to counselling and procuring his mother's suicide. 

Mr Davison, 57, is the president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, the international organisation of which the New Zealand End of Life Choice Society (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), is a member. 

"Not all quadriplegics want to die, but those who do want to, should have the option," said Mr Davidson after his speech at the Federation's Conference in 2014. 

On its website the Federation supports euthanasia and assisted suicide for "all competent adults with incurable illnesses" – not only those with terminal illnesses and six months to live. 

"Mr Davison's words and actions demonstrate that 'assisted dying' advocates don't really want a narrow law limited to terminal illness, but one that would eventually allow virtually any competent adult with an incurable condition to be eligible, including people with disabilities," says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.

The End of Life Choice Bill, which is currently before the New Zealand Parliament's Justice Committee, proposes legal assisted suicide and euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses or other "grievous and irremediable medical conditions." 

"Disabled people would be included under both clauses of David Seymour's Bill," says Ms Joubert. "Terminal illness involves disability. So do many other longstanding physical and mental conditions."

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Trump mulls ordering investigation of Google, Facebook for anti-conservative bias

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump may direct federal agencies to investigate bias and other “anticompetitive acts” by leading social media platforms and online services, according to a leaked draft of an executive order.

“Whether reading news or looking for local businesses, citizens rely on search, social media, and other online platforms to provide objective and reliable information to shape a host of decisions ranging from consumer purchases to votes in elections,” the proposed order begins, according to Business Insider. “Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms.”

It calls on any departments and agencies with jurisdiction over online competition to “use those authorities to promote competition and ensure that no online platform exercises market power in a way that harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias,” and “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.”

The draft, which does not specify the companies to be investigated, also calls on agencies to identify additional actions that could be taken to “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias,” additional legal powers that would be necessary to that end, and recommendations for potential new regulations.

The draft fits with previous promises by Trump to “address” Google’s treatment of conservative users, subjects, and websites, as well as Sen. Orrin Hatch’s, R-UT, call for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Google’s dominance over several online markets. However, several White House officials told the Washington Post that the draft was far from representative of whatever final action the administration will take, if any.

“Although the White House is concerned about the conduct of online platforms and their impact on society, this document is not the result of an official White House policymaking process,” deputy White House press secretary Lindsey Waters said.

An unnamed senior White House official confirmed the document had been “floating around” the White House, but had not been submitted to the formal process for consideration or revision. The Post claims other aides didn’t recognize the document, which they considered “unworkable.”

Whatever its final form, many conservatives say that government action is overdue. Google has been accused of restricting search results from competitors, cutting businesses it disagrees with from its platforms, letting third-party app developers access users’ emails, politically biasing its search results, and discriminating against conservatives on its platforms and services.

Earlier this month, an email chain and filmed meeting from just after the 2016 election leaked, showing Google executives expressing anger at President Donald Trump’s victory and discussing ways to use the company’s resources to influence future elections.

Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, have come under fire for improperly restricting numerous conservative and pro-family figures, including various Republican leaders and candidates, the “Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk, and numerous pro-life videos and advertisements.

Critics also cite insiders at Facebook and Twitter who have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics, as well as analyses finding that Facebook’s algorithm changes disproportionately harmed conservatives. A confidential memo written last year by the far-left Media Matters details a comprehensive plan to pressure social media platforms into silencing conservatives, as well.

“We wouldn’t mind so much about these accusations of bias and so on if there were 100 search engines that people could choose between,” Fox News host Steve Hilton said earlier this month in an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson. “But it’s not like that. [...] Antitrust action to force competition into a market, that is the antidote to regulation. That is the exact way we avoid having to intervene in the exact behavior of individual companies.”

“We’ve got to stop it and that’s a conservative argument, a pro-market argument,” he said in response to conservatives uncomfortable with government action to rein in private entities.

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Abortions in Ireland will be ‘free,’ paid for by taxpayers: Health Minister

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By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 24, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Just 24 hours after Ireland's constitutional protection of the unborn ended with President Michael D Higgins' signing into law of the referendum result, Health Minister Simon Harris announced that abortion will be provided free on the health service, at the expense of the tax-payer.

Cost no barrier

"Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free," Mr Harris confirmed. "I've said from the start that I don't want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel.

"I want this [abortion services] to be provided as part of our healthcare system, our public healthcare system and part of our primary healthcare system."

According to the Times, funds for the new abortion service will be included in this year's budget. 

On a fee-based system in crisis

Unlike in the UK, under Ireland's two-tier healthcare system, nearly 70 per cent of the population have to pay fees for healthcare services. A trip to accident and emergency costs €100, a stay in hospital €80, and a GP visit €45-75. Abortion, which will be available on demand up to 12 weeks without reference needed to the woman's health, will be provided free of charge.

It is estimated that the NHS in England and Wales spends £146 million a year on abortion. 

The announcement is provoking anger given that health services in Ireland are already said to be stretched. For example, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation announced today that they are holding a protest tomorrow to highlight unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding; the organisation's general secretary spoke of a "near-permanent crisis in Irish hospitals."

Treating sick children or free abortions

Wendy Grace writes in the Irish Independent: "So for a life-ending, elective, non medically necessary procedure, cost 'won't be a barrier' but when it comes to 25 children who suffer with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and a life-saving drug they need, well, this time, cost is a barrier. I imagine most people would rather their taxes be spent on saving the lives of sick children or making sure cancer patients don't have to spend €75 every time they need chemotherapy, than on free abortions."

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

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Michigan AG Bill Schuette
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Michigan Attorney General launches sex abuse probe of states’ Catholic dioceses

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By Stephen Kokx

LANSING, Michigan, September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Michigan attorney general’s office announced Friday it is conducting an investigation into sex abuse and cover-up allegations against Catholic clergy dating as far back as 1950.

According to a statement released on its website last week, the attorney general’s office has, since August, been looking into Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses as well as all religious order priests who have worked in the state. The statement was issued in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by WOOD TV 8, NBC’s Western Michigan affiliate.

The announcement comes on the heels of six other state-run inquiries of sex abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church. Elected officials in New Jersey, Illinois, Nebraska, New York, New Mexico, and Missouri are also investigating claims of predation by Catholic clergy that fall within their jurisdiction.

A spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the probe was prompted by the Pennsylvania grand jury report released on August 14. The report estimates that more than 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children, most of whom were teenage boys, for decades. It also found that diocesan leaders systematically covered up their crimes.

The grand jury report did not depict Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl in a positive light: according to the report, as bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl participated in the cover-up of sexual abuse.

Wuerl denied the allegations of the Pennsylvania report but has nevertheless come under intense scrutiny. More than 100,000 people have signed a change.org petition demanding Pope Francis remove Wuerl immediately. Last week, amid mounting criticism from within and outside his archdiocese, Wuerl travelled to Rome to discuss with the Pope the possibility of stepping down.

Attorney General Bill Schuette has served as Michigan’s top law enforcement official for the last eight years and is currently running for governor. He is endorsed by Michigan Right to Life and is facing off against pro-abortion Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, a former state senator and state representative. Most polls show Whitmer leading with a comfortable 10-point margin. Republican Governor Rick Snyder has been in power since 2011.

For the last two months, the Catholic Church has been experiencing what may be one of its worst crises. Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, testified in August that more than 30 high-ranking churchmen, including Pope Francis, covered up for sex abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and that liberal priests and bishops were purposefully promoted because, among other things, they held pro-gay views.

Vigano’s explosive testimony set off a firestorm of reaction among Catholics, revealing a deep divide in the Church over the cause of and solution to clerical sex abuse.

The general consensus among Catholics faithful to Church teaching is that an investigation involving the laity into Archbishop Vigano’s allegations is essential and that homosexuality is at the root of the crisis.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, in four sermons over the last several weeks, appeared to characterize the exposing of abuse in the Church as an act of the devil, whom he referred to as “the great accuser.”

All seven of Michigan’s dioceses – Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Gaylord, and Marquette – have issued statements welcoming the attorney general’s investigation.

On September 11, Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea announced a plan for an outside group of lay professionals to review his diocese’s handling of past sexual abuse cases. Bishop David Walkowiak of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city, said Friday that Schuette’s inquiry will “help to restore the trust of Catholics throughout our 11 counties.” Walkowiak recently released a letter calling for an investigation of Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.

But earning the trust of Catholics in the Diocese of Saginaw may prove difficult.

The Diocese of Saginaw’s judicial vicar, who sat on the board of an anti-child abuse organization, was arrested in February for a gay sex assault on a teenage boy. That priest now faces a year in jail thanks to a plea deal he made.

In March, police raided Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone’s house and offices, saying the bishop and diocese were not fully cooperating with a sex abuse investigation.

ChurchMilitant.com, a Catholic news site based in Detroit, has reported extensively on the Saginaw sex abuse scandals. Church Militant’s studios are less than two hours away from the diocese.  

Church Militant executive news producer Christine Niles told LifeSiteNews that U.S. bishops are “utterly incapable” of policing themselves and that it’s “time for law enforcement to start investigating.”

“I welcome the Michigan attorney general's probe into clerical abuse and cover-up,” she said. “Crimes are taking place in the Church, destroying countless lives and souls, and so many of these Churchmen who engage in it think they're untouchable. It is long past time they start being held accountable — and it's clear now the only ones who will do it are non-Church officials. It's sad it must come to this, but the bishops have brought it upon themselves and only have themselves to blame.”

The Archdiocese of Detroit has spent nearly $4.5 million in settlements and counseling-related expenses for priestly sex abuse, with just over $1 million having been paid before 2004.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids gave more than $1 million to sex abuse survivors prior to the early 2000s.

Statistics for amounts paid for sexual abuse by other Michigan dioceses, if any, are not readily available.

The Michigan attorney general’s office encourages victims of abuse and those with knowledge of abuse to reach out to them by visiting www.Michigan.gov/CI or by calling (844) 324-3374 Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. All contact will be confidential.

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Dem Senator: Kanavaugh innocence claims ‘very questionable’ due to stance on abortion

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s denials of a sexual assault claim should be doubted because of his judicial philosophy, a Democrat senator told CNN’s Jake Tapper over the weekend.

Shortly before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Palo Alto University clinical psychologist Christine Blasey Ford went public to accuse him of attempting to rape her as a drunken teenager at a house party in Maryland.

Kavanaugh has flatly denied the claim, offering to produce calendars showing he was out of town for most of the summer when the party allegedly occurred. Skeptics have also questioned why Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, waited almost two months to share a letter detailing the allegations and didn’t question Kavanaugh about them during the confirmation hearings.

On Sunday, Tapper invited Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on his show “State of the Union” to discuss the allegations.

“He’s very outcome-driven, in terms of how he views cases before him, and so I had issues with his credibility and how he went about things way before this even happened,” she claimed, calling for an “independent investigation” into Ford’s claims and praising Ford for “coming forward very bravely.”

Tapper then raised a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that specifically chastised Hirono for declaring that “women like Dr. Ford [...] need to be believed.”

A “core tenet of due process is that an accusation isn’t any more or less credible because of the gender, race, religion or ethnicity of who makes it,” the editorial pointed out. “A woman can lie, as the Duke lacrosse players will tell you. Ms. Hirono’s standard of credibility by gender would have appalled the civil-rights campaigners of a half century ago who marched in part against Southern courts that treated the testimony of black Americans as inherently less credible than that of whites. Yet now the liberal heirs of those marchers want to impose a double standard of credibility by gender.”

“I think that this kind of attitude is what makes it really difficult for victims and survivors of these kinds of traumatic events to really come forward,” Hirono responded. “We don’t seem to have come very far from the Anita Hill days.” She went on to add the qualifier “if their stories are credible” to her demand to believe accusers, and claimed Ford’s story met that threshold.

Tapper then cited the fact that all four people Ford claims attended the party (including Kavanaugh himself, a friend of his, and a friend of Ford’s) have denied any knowledge of the events she describes.

“Doesn’t Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?” he asked.

“I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases,” Hirono answered, suggesting that his legal rulings somehow indicate either a willingness to lie or an increased likelihood of having attempted rape. “His credibility is already very questionable in my mind and in the minds of a lot of my fellow judiciary committee members, the Democrats.”

“So he comes and, you know, when I say he’s very outcome-driven, he has an ideological agenda as very outcome-driven,” she continued. “And I can sit here and talk to you about some of the cases that exemplifies [sic] his, in my view, inability to be fair in the cases that come before him. This is a person that is gonna be sitting on our Supreme Court, making decisions that will impact women’s reproductive choice.”

“He very much is against women’s reproductive choice,” Hirono declared, “and I can tell you two very important cases in which he applied the same standard but came to two totally different results to make it much harder for women to get this kind of coverage. So there are so many indications of his own lack of credibility.”

Tapper responded that she seemed to be saying, “because you don’t trust him on policy, because you don’t believe him when he says, for instance, that he does not have an opinion on Roe v. Wade, you don’t believe him about this allegation.” Hirono responded by doubling down on her call for an investigation.

Kavanaugh’s true position on abortion remains unknown, but pro-abortion politicians and activists are convinced he will provide the long-awaited fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and let the American people vote directly on whether to criminalize abortion.

Tapper also asked why Hirono and other Democrats haven’t demanded a similar investigation into Minnesota Congressman and Democrat National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, whom ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan claims physically abused her in 2016. She agreed that Monahan’s claims should be investigated, but quickly changed the subject back to Kavanaugh.

Liberals such as the New Yorker’s Osita Nwanevu have hailed Hirono as a “moral anchor” for her attacks on Kavanaugh, while conservatives have cited the interview as proof Democrats are smearing the judge for political reasons. Hirono has also lent her signature to a MoveOn.org fundraising email focused on Kavanaugh.

As for Ford, her attorneys have reportedly reached a deal to have her testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday. Skeptics previously questioned her numerous objections to testifying, including a lack of preparation time and aversion to flying.

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Court strikes down Hawaii law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

HONOLULU, Hawaii, September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life pregnancy centers in Hawaii cannot be forced to tell women how to get abortion referrals or financial assistance for abortions, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled Thursday.

Democrat Gov. David Ige signed SB 501, or Act 200, into law in July 2017. It required all pregnancy centers in the state to post signs or offer fliers that said the “state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive family-planning services,” as well as provide a web address and phone number for abortion and contraception referrals.

Centers that refused to do so were threatened with $500 fines for first offenses and $1,000 for every repeat offense. The mandate applied to both medical and non-medical locations.

The law exempted “comprehensive health care” facilities but did not define the term, which Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF’s) Sarah Kramer took to mean that the law was designed to “directly target” pro-life pregnancy centers. It “allows private citizens to file suit against pregnancy centers if they do not post this information, leaving it open to pro-abortion groups and individuals to file lawsuits when this law takes effect,” she said.

ADF and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) challenged the law on behalf of the Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor pregnancy center, A Place for Women in Waipio. The court ultimately sided with them, issuing a permanent injunction against the compelled speech portion of the law.

Judge Derrick K. Watson’s brief order specifically cited both the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer in NIFLA v. Becerra, which invalidated a similar law in California as a violation of free speech.

“Hawaii’s law was particularly egregious. Not only did it force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, it also compelled a church to promote abortion inside its building,” NIFLA President Thomas Glessner said. “The state of Hawaii has acknowledged that its attempt to force pro-life centers and churches to advertise its abortion agenda was unconstitutional. This case constitutes a major victory for free speech and freedom of religion.”

“Hawaii’s pro-life, nonprofit pregnancy centers offer free practical resources, information, and emotional support to women—no matter what choices those women make,” Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor pastor and Place for Women president Derald Skinner added. “We’re grateful that the state has backed off its unconstitutional attack on our ministry. Our doors remain open and we continue to offer love, care, and compassion for all women and their precious little babies in our community.”

ADF also argued that Act 200 was not only unconstitutional, but that it violated the federal Weldon and Church amendments, which forbid the distribution of federal money to any federal or state agency or program that discriminates against health entities that refuse to involve themselves in abortion.

Hawaii relies on federal aid for 22.8 percent of its general revenue, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation’s most recent analysis.

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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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Trump on Roe v. Wade: A ‘controversy that I’m going to leave to the courts’

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By Calvin Freiburger

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump struck a noncommittal tone on the future of Roe v. Wade in a new interview Monday, suggesting he will defer to the Supreme Court on whether the 1973 ruling continues to force abortion-on-demand on all fifty states.

The comments came in the debut episode of Geraldo Rivera’s new Cleveland radio show, the Washington Post reports.

“Do you believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned?” Rivera asked.

“Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it now, because that’s a controversy that I’m going to leave to the courts,” the president answered, in a seeming contrast from his promises before and after the election to appoint pro-life judges.

During his third debate against Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump said that after “put[ting] another two or perhaps three justices on,” Roe’s overturn would “happen automatically in my opinion because I'm putting pro-life justices on the court.”

In office, Trump has pursued a robust pro-life agenda, pleasantly surprising pro-lifers who were wary of his self-described “very pro-choice” past. But Trump’s comments on judicial nominees and Roe have become more coy since he began filling Supreme Court vacancies.

“I don’t think I’m going to be so specific in the questions...and I’m actually told that I shouldn’t be,” the president told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo in July, revealing that he had been advised not to ask potential nominees about Roe. But “I’m putting conservative people on,” he added.

“Well, maybe someday it [abortion policy] will be [returned] to the states, you never know how that’s gonna turn out, that’s a very complex question,” Trump continued at the time. “Roe v. Wade is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect. But we’ll see what happens, but it very well could end up with states at some point.”

Trump appears to be following a self-imposed rule among Republicans that it would be improper to have judicial nominees endorse or condemn past rulings likely to be revisited in the future. His first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, has largely satisfied conservatives so far, and most pro-life groups are optimistic about his second, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s true positions on abortion and Roe remain unknown, however, with both men having suggested during their confirmation hearings that Roe’s status as precedent adds significant weight to its legitimacy. Many law scholars who favor legal abortion, such as Harvard’s Laurence Tribe and former Harry Blackmun clerk Edward Lazarus, have admitted they think Roe was badly reasoned.

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò at the Rome Life Forum on May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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You can help unmask predators in the Church

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By John-Henry Westen

As we near the end of our Fall fundraising campaign, your support will allow us to continue getting the word out about breaking stories like the sex abuse crisis in the Church.

LifeSiteNews was one of only a few hand-selected news outlets to break Archbishop Viganò’s explosive 11-page testimony alleging widespread corruption in the Vatican. Our Rome correspondent Diane Montagna did the official translation into English of the Archbishop’s letter used by all the English-language media in the world.

Our exclusive reporting on Archbishop Viganò’s revelations about what Pope Francis knew has reached millions of lay Catholics and clergy across the world. LifeSite’s petition of support for Archbishop Viganò has already received over 14,000 signatures. (Sign the pledge here)

We are unmasking the wolves in shepherd’s clothing in the Church and standing with those who are revealing the truth, no matter the cost.

Can I count on you to help us reach our $250,000 goal with a gift of even just $35 today? You can help us counter those in the Church who want to silence the brave whistleblowers coming forward.


You can also make your donation on a recurring basis.
 

If you haven’t heard already, you have this great opportunity to join us in supporting good clergy by fighting against abusive priests and bishops. Take action by becoming a monthly supporter, or Sustainer, in our brand new Sustain Life initiative. A generous donor has offered to match the first donation of every new recurring pledge made by our readers - up to $20,000! Learn more about increasing the impact of your gift as a Sustainer by  clicking here.

Can we count on you for a gift of $500, $200, $50, or $35 today? You can ensure our reporting on the sex abuse crisis in the Church continues at its current high-level, even amidst censorship.

There has never been a more dire time in the life of the Church. The heroic Cardinal Raymond Burke has called the sex abuse scandal possibly the worst crisis the Church in America has ever faced.

At LifeSiteNews, we engage this battle head-on everyday with our tenacious journalism. We make sure you know which bishops want to investigate Archbishop Viganò’s sex abuse allegations and which ones attack him.

And we need your help to continue the fight.

Since we are 100% reader-funded, and without the support of thousands like you, LifeSite simply would not exist! Your gift of $200, $100, $50 or even $35 today will help maintain our news reporting for those who need to hear the truth.

Because of the diabolical nature of the forces we are up against, many of our readers have committed to sustaining our mission on a monthly basis through our new Sustain Life program. If you would like to join our community of monthly Sustainers, please go to our website and choose the giving level of your choice. Or you may call Danielle Zuccaro, our Sustaining Donor Coordinator at 540-305-9698, and she can process your donation over the phone.

A tax-deductible one-time or monthly gift today will combat the Satanic sex abuse crisis and ensure truth is not silenced.

We cannot continue our mission to restore a culture of life and Faith through the power of the media without your support. Will you join forces with us to turn the tide in this monumental battle to cleanse the Body of Christ? The future of our faith depends on our shared voice.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
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Opinion, ,

Trudeau’s response to groping allegations? Institute weird ‘Gender Equality Week’

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 24, 2018 (The Bridgehead) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – he's the fellow who is still stumping on his feminist credentials after brushing off a groping incident with a young female reporter as a great example of how two people can experience an interaction differently – has not lost his touch for cringe-worthy statements that illustrate his ability to remain tone-deaf to the concerns of Canadians. You may not know this, but apparently Trudeau's Liberals have taken the "historic" step of declaring a "Gender Equality Week," which means that they have selected a week at random, given it a name that appropriately conveys their own virtue, and then release cliché-ridden statements to remind the rest of us of that fact.

Not only do we have to listen to Trudeau lecture us on what we all must collectively learn from his experience groping a young woman, we must now also spend a whole week hearing him blather on about how historic his government is for repeating tropes that nobody bothers to argue about anymore, beginning with this statement from the Prime Minister's Office yesterday:

This week, we mark the first ever Gender Equality Week in Canada. This is a historic step, and a chance to celebrate gender equality as a key to Canada's success. We honour the people behind the progress we've made, and turn toward the work left to do make sure everyone has the opportunities they need to thrive.

In case you were wondering who, specifically, is being honored this week, the rest of the statement makes it quite clear that Justin would like to honor himself, as well as the Liberals. I'm sure we're even supposed to be grateful that Trudeau's handsy experiences with female reporters could teach us so much. More:

The theme of this year's celebration – Gender equality benefits everyone – highlights the ways gender equality makes life better for all of us. It's key to tackling the challenges we face as a world – whether building peace, fighting climate change, or growing economies that work for everyone. More people participating fully across our society means a bigger workforce, a stronger economy, and better communities. That's good for all of us – and it's on all of us to make it a reality.

Have you ever read such a banal and meaningless paragraph? Everyone getting involved in everything also solves everything, from climate change to "building peace," whatever that's supposed to mean. Also, more people working means a bigger workforce. The Liberals also teach us lessons about math. And, of course, their own apparently magnificent resume:

Standing up for gender equality is a top priority for the Government of Canada. We appointed the first ever gender-balanced federal Cabinet and, in 2018, we put gender equality at the centre of both the federal budget and Canada's G7 presidency. We have taken action to protect gender-diverse Canadians from discrimination, reduce the gender wage gap, support women entrepreneurs, and prevent and address gender-based violence.

Canada will continue to champion gender equality at home and abroad. This year, Gender Equality Week falls during the United Nations General Assembly – where advancing gender equality will be one of our top priorities. At the G7 summit this past summer, we saw the progress we can make when we come together. In Charlevoix, thanks to the leadership of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada's G7 Presidency, Canada and partners announced a historic investment of close to $3.8 billion in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations – the largest of its kind ever made. This investment will help make sure the most vulnerable women and girls get the chance to learn and succeed, and we will continue to build on that momentum this week by welcoming further support.

Oh, now I understand. We quickly invented "Gender Equality Week" so that we could talk about "Gender Equality Week" at the United Nations, in hopes that the UN finally gives us a seat on the Security Council. That way, we can continue to be known for sanctimoniously lecturing other countries on things, which they should tolerate because we're better than them. Our prime minister, for example, is such an exceptional feminist that his credentials and achievements have granted him the exclusive One Free Grope Rule, which means that if you are him, you can grope one reporter without suffering any consequences, and may even tell Canadians that we have much to learn from his groping, despite the fact that this Rule would not apply to any other Canadian should they attempt to do the same thing that Trudeau did and claim that the person being groped against their will simply experienced things differently (insofar as that they were being groped, rather than doing the groping.)

In the final two paragraphs, Trudeau and the Libs really close the deal on why this Week is so important:

Canada is also proud to stand with Chile as co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition, the first intergovernmental network formed to promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. As Canadians, we know our diversity is our strength – and we are all better off when everyone's rights are protected, and everyone's voice is heard.

Gender equality benefits all of us. This week, let's celebrate everyone who has worked to build a more just and equal Canada. Let's do our part, build on their progress, and shape a country where everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed.

There it is – "diversity is our strength." By which the Liberals mean that if you are gay, straight, bi, non-binary, transgender, lesbian, intersex, or otherkin and are huge fans of abortion and reliably vote Liberal, you are Diverse Canadian. The others are Neanderthals who eat hate for breakfast and want to Divide Canadians by mentioning divisive things (such as the One Free Grope Rule), thereby creating a Climate of Hate, which is sort of like climate change in that the Liberals are the only solution to the problem.

This government is utterly embarrassing.

Published with permission from The Bridgehead.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, ,

A Catholic’s role and duty in the US midterm and all elections

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

September 24, 2018 (Human Life International) – "The people are called on to take an always larger part in the public life of the nation. This participation brings with it grave responsibilities. Hence the necessity for the faithful to have clear, solid, precise knowledge of their duties in the moral and religious domain with respect to their exercise of their civil rights, and in particular of the right to vote." Pope Pius XII, April 20, 1946, Discourse to Italian Catholic Action

With less than 50 days until the U.S. midterm elections, it is time we remind ourselves just how high the stakes of this election are, and what our duties are as Christian citizens.

In a country as populous as ours, with a government as large and seemingly remote as ours, we can easily fall prey to the temptation to believe ourselves just one tiny, insignificant number in a giant machine. "My vote doesn't really count," we tell ourselves. And thus, we justify our own laziness, rationalizing our failure to research the issues at stake and where the candidates stand on those issues, and our failure to show up at the polls on election day.

The reality is, however, that the results of November's elections will impact every level of our society – from legislation, to judges, to the educational system, foreign policy, healthcare, and so much more. And though our vote is only one among millions, it nevertheless remains true that the accumulated weight of those millions of votes determines, in crucial ways, the future our country will take. This has never been truer than today, when there hangs in the balance grave moral and social issues: the status of marriage, the family, religious freedom, and respect for human life itself.

Pius XII: Voting is "An Act of Grave Moral Responsibility'

It might surprise some Catholics to learn just how deadly seriously the Catholic Church takes the duty to vote. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for instance, outlines three duties that Catholics have to their countries: "to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country..." (¶2240). These three, says the Catechism, are "morally obligatory."

The Venerable Pope Pius XII, whom I quoted at the beginning of this column, frequently used even more insistent language than this. In a speech to the parish priests of Rome in 1946, for instance, Pius XII spoke of the exercise of the right to vote as "an act of grave moral responsibility," at least in those cases where the vote pertains to electing politicians responsible for the country's constitution and laws. Such politicians, the pope observed, will directly affect issues such as "the sanctification of holy days of obligation, marriage, the family, schools and the just and equitable regulation of many social questions."

In another speech, in 1948, the pope went even further, arguing that "in the present circumstances" any Catholic who failed to vote due to weakness or laziness committed "a sin grave in itself, a mortal fault." These are stark words. And while the Church has not formally taught that the failure to vote is objectively a mortal sin, clearly Pius XII did not view failing to vote as a small, forgivable fault, at least in those elections pertaining to the country on a whole, or in which serious moral issues are at stake.

For, as the pope added, how can any Catholic "remain indifferent to the composition of a Parliament, to which the Constitution gives the power to legislate in matters that directly concern the highest religious interests and the conditions of life of the Church itself in Italy?" These words apply as much to the United States in 2018 as they did to Italy in 1948.

Principles of Catholic Voting

Pius XII was equally insistent, however, that if there is a duty to vote, this duty ought not to be exercised willy-nilly, but only in light of objective moral standards. While every Catholic must vote according to his conscience, said the pope, he is enjoined by strict duty to "give his vote to the candidates who offer truly sufficient guarantees for the protection of the rights of God and of souls, for the true good of individuals, families and of society, according to the love of God and Christian moral teaching."

In other words, a Catholic cannot vote merely for the sake of voting, or according to blind party loyalty. A Catholic is a Catholic all the time, and is primarily a Catholic, rather than a member of a certain party, or even a citizen. As such, all Catholics must conscientiously educate themselves not only on the issues at stake in an election, and the stances of individual politicians on those issues, but also the moral teachings of the Church and how to apply those teachings in the voting booth.

There are numerous resources where Catholics can go to begin to educate themselves on how to vote as a Catholic. EWTN, for instance, has a comprehensive Catholic voter's guide (available here), while the U.S. bishops have also issued a document – Faithful Citizenship – that provides guidance on voting as a Catholic. Both of these resources emphasize that, above all, that Catholics must be aware that there are some actions that involve matters so grave, and on which Catholic teaching is so clear, that no Catholic can ever knowingly vote for a politician because that politician supports these actions. These are so-called "intrinsically evil" actions. When deciding how to vote, our research must begin with these issues.

"A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia," notes Faithful Citizenship. Other examples include redefining marriage, destructive research on human embryos, human cloning, genocide, torture, the intentional targeting of civilians in war, "acts of racism, treating workers as mere means to an end, deliberately subjecting workers to subhuman living conditions, treating the poor as disposable..."

As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in a 2000 statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: "When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person."

While it is true that Catholics may at times – alas, in our day and age, all too often! – be forced to choose between politicians who support some of these intrinsically evil actions, and to vote for the "lesser evil," – i.e. the politician who is likely to do the least damage to the common good – these issues in themselves are non-negotiables. This is especially true in the cases of those evils – such as abortion – that constitute direct attacks on human life. For as St. Pope John Paul II repeatedly emphasized throughout his pontificate, a society that doesn't respect the fundamental right to life is incapable also of protecting other, lesser human rights. To deliberately vote for a pro-abortion candidate because of that candidate's support for abortion would constitute a grave sin, as would voting for a pro-abortion candidate when there is a viable pro-life alternative.

"Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights," St. Pope John Paul II said in Christifideles Laici, "for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture, is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination."

Catholics Must Transcend Party Politics

As Catholics, our duty is to lend our voice to the proclamation of the objective truth. As such, our loyalties must transcend party loyalties. This nation is divided on key moral issues – contraception, abortion, homosexual unions, divorce, co-habitation, and euthanasia – which this election will either help to heal or exacerbate. Our task is not to promote a political platform but preach the fullness of the Gospel of Life. For a Christian, politics is merely one area in which the truths of the Gospel may be made manifest in human life.

As the anonymous early Christian author of the beautiful "Letter to Diognetus" writes to his pagan interlocutor: "[Christians] live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. ... They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law."

The author of this letter expresses his pride that his fellow Christians are not like their pagan neighbors. Though they look like their neighbors on the outside, and though they follow the customs of whichever country in which they are residing, their lives are lived on a higher level, their loyalties are higher loyalties. Unlike their pagan neighbors they do not expose their newborn babies to death, they do not commit adultery, they return a blessing for evil words, and they love those who persecute them.

Would that the same could be said for all Christians today! We Catholics in the U.S.  are not first and foremost Republicans or Democrats. Nor are we first and foremost Americans, or citizens of whichever country in which we happen to be living. We are citizens of a higher country, and though we diligently obey all the just civil laws in the earthly cities where we live, we are always beholden to a higher law, and where the law of the earthly city conflicts with the law of the heavenly city, our loyalty is unswervingly due to the higher law.

This is the spirit with which a Catholic approaches the voting booth – not to bolster the career of his favorite politician or political party, or to advance some purely temporal political scheme, but to make Christ present in the temporal order. As Cardinal Ratzinger put it, "By fulfilling their civic duties, 'guided by a Christian conscience', in conformity with its values, the lay faithful exercise their proper task of infusing the temporal order with Christian values..."

In this age of great upheaval, when critical moral issues are at stake, it is more incumbent than ever that Christians heed the exhortations of the Church not to renege on their duties as citizens; let us approach the voting booths in November armed with a clear knowledge of the issues and the moral truth, and let us pray fervently that the outcomes of the election lead to the protection of the true common good, above all through the protection of life, marriage, family, and religious freedom.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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Katy Faust

Opinion

Yes, surrogacy is wrong even when straight couples do it

Katy Faust
By

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – I knew nothing about Robbie Williams and Ayda Field before reading the article “Robbie Williams and Ayda Field welcome surrogate baby.” But from the headline I already knew one thing about their new baby, Colette (Coco) Josephine Williams: she was grieving.

Their Instagram announcement doesn’t say why Coco was born of surrogacy. Perhaps Field had difficulties with her other pregnancies or perhaps she just needed to squeeze into that glittering gown. Whatever the perceived challenges or benefits that led the celebrity couple to outsource this pregnancy, it’s baby Coco who is paying the price.

While it may fulfill the desires of adults, surrogacy is always harmful to children. Even in the “best case” scenario like this one, where the genetic mother and father are also the “intended parents,” surrogacy forces the child to sacrifice a critical bond with her birth mother. Williams and Field may be her biological parents. But on her birthday the surrogate is the only parent Coco knows.  

It’s the unnamed surrogate’s body and voice that Coco longs for; it’s her smell that Coco recognizes. It’s her milk which provides the baby-specific nutrients that not only fill Coco’s tiny stomach but satisfy her little heart as well. We don’t immediately place newborns on the chests of random women so they can forge a bond. We place them on their mother’s chest because they have an existing bond. Someday it will matter to Coco that she is genetically related to Williams and Field. But today, they are just two strangers in a foreign world.

Last summer, the entire country was seething over the separation of children from their parents at the border – because tearing a child from her parents is cruel, and we all know it. A petition to end the border policy, signed by 12,600 mental health professionals, explained, “to pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma…” Yet, I assume that many who decried separations at the border would celebrate the arrival of Chicago Kardashian-West and Robert Ray Black-Daley via surrogacy despite the fact that parental separation was central to the birth plan all along.

And lest you believe that it’s traumatic for a two-year-old to lose her mother but an infant doesn’t know any different, you’ve got another think coming.

In my quest to establish the children’s rights organization Them Before Us, there has been one demographic which has been difficult to win over. It’s not the kids with same-sex parents who need a place to process their fatherlessness or motherlessness without being called a bigot. It’s not the children of divorce who, even in their 40’s, are still trying to keep both parents happy on Christmas day. It’s not the donor-conceived children whose stories reveal that being “loved and wanted” doesn’t compensate for their missing parent.

It’s the adoptees.

There are some adoptees who won’t endorse our mission because we support adoption as a means of repairing a broken situation. Many who were adopted at birth feel they suffered a “primal wound” when they were separated from their birth mother, even if they were subsequently placed in a loving home. They’re not wrong. Studies show that maternal separation is a major physiological stressor for the infant and even brief maternal deprivation can permanently alter the structure of the infant brain.

Even though adopted children tend to be raised in homes with above-average incomes and more highly-educated parents, they still have more academic and behavioral challenges than their peers raised by their married, biological parents. Many adoptees argue that the trauma they suffered at birth has manifested itself as depression, abandonment/loss issues, and emotional problems throughout their lives. Given their ongoing struggles, some adoptees can’t imagine a scenario where separation from one’s birth mother and subsequent adoption is ever justified.

The experience of adoptees gives us a glimpse into how surrogacy, a booming global industry, will impact countless children. And while it will be decades before most children of surrogacy will be able to share their perspective, one surrogate-born woman doesn’t mince words in her condemnation of the practice:

“Children of surrogacy, just like children of a traditional adoption, deal with all the traumas that go along with adoption. We want to know where we come from. We want to know who our biological mothers are. We want to know who gave birth to us and what they are like… When we have children in this world who already need homes, why are we intentionally creating children [via surrogacy] to go through adoption traumas?”

While both surrogacy and adoption involve significant loss for children, there is one critical area where the two family structures differ: adopted children are raised by adults who are seeking to mend the wound inflicted by tragedy or hardship. Surrogate-born and donor-conceived children are being raised by the very adults who inflicted the wound. One family structure supports children’s rights, the other violates them. One requires adults to support children in their loss, the other forces loss on the child to support the desire of adults. When it comes to the best interest of the child, there’s a big difference between seeking to mend parental loss and paying six figures to create it.

At this point, the only thing that would assuage Coco’s suffering would be to remain with her surrogate forever. Of course later in life she would wonder, as many donor-conceived children do, about the identity of her genetic mother. Like all children, Coco craves attachment with the woman who carried her, as well as the biological identity passed down from Field. But for Coco to be raised by one mother, she must lose the other.  It’s almost as if those two roles – genetic mother and “gestational carrier” – were meant to be the same woman.

Whether the “intended parents” choose surrogacy because neither possesses a womb, or because they don’t want another celebrity judge to replace them on the X Factor, surrogacy is, by its very nature, an injustice to the child. Birth is intended to be a continuation of the mother/child bond, not the moment at which the child suffers an intentional, primal wound. It’s the day when a baby should see the mother she already loves for the first time... not the last.

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St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland. http://seminary.maynoothcollege.ie
Anthony Murphy

Opinion, ,

Homosexual ‘cesspool’: Priest blows whistle on Ireland’s national seminary

Anthony Murphy
By

September 24, 2018 (Lumenfidei) – A priest and former seminary vocational growth counselor in Ireland has revealed for the first time the real reason he resigned from the country’s national seminary two years ago. 

Father David Marsden told Lumen Fidei in an exclusive interview about the existence of a powerful “gay” subculture in St Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland. 

The trained psychologist, who specializes in priestly formation, said that a homosexual network exists among seminary council and spiritual directors. In the face of such widespread dissent from Church teaching on sexuality, it was no longer possible to conduct proper formation in the seminary, he said, and he felt compelled to resign. 

Fr. Marsden relates in the interview how he became aware of the existence of the homosexual network and attempted, to no avail, to make it known to proper authorities. 

The priest’s testimony suggests that an active and secretive homosexual subculture is being allowed to thrive in the Maynooth seminary, with the approval of the ecclesial authorities.

Same-sex 'marriage' referendum, a forbidden topic in seminary

The year is 2015 and debate in Ireland is dominated by the State’s plan to change the constitution to allow same-sex couples to “marry.” With such a blatant assault on God’s plan for marriage one might expect the Church to be vocal in promoting the natural law, yet, despite the intensity of the pro-LGBT campaign, there was silence from much of the hierarchy. Priests and bishops did not speak. Were they afraid, unsure or compromised, we do not know. But the silence was deafening.

Even in the country's heart of Catholic learning — the Pontifical University in Maynooth — there was silence...apart from one lone clerical voice supported by the small group of orthodox seminarians.

During a meeting of the seminary council and heads of faculty, months before the referendum, Fr. Marsden suggested that the seminary hold a Novena, or Holy Hour, or consider some other prayerful devotion so the seminarians and college staff could unite in prayer for a good outcome. He recounted how instead of support, his idea was dismissed...by the President. It was clear that the other priests did not want to do anything spiritual or temporal to defend the teaching of the Church. In fact, Fr. Marsden was left with the impression that many of the staff preferred to remain silent and not even mention the referendum, never mind speak out against it. The staff dining room became a place where the referendum was never mentioned, he said.

In the run-up to the same-sex “marriage” referendum, Fr. David Marsden delivered two homilies in the seminary in which he spoke out strongly in defense of marriage between a man and woman. He denounced from the pulpit the notion that people of the same sex could marry.

It was after the second homily, he said, that he was called into the President’s office and informed that a complaint had been made against him. The identity of the individual was not revealed to him. Fr. Marsden told Lumin Fidei that he strongly suspects it was a friend of a homosexual seminarian who made the complaint as the Mass was on a Sunday morning and therefore open to all the students from Maynooth University.

Culture of fear

It was during this meeting that the President aired a concern that Fr. Marsden was becoming a ‘one issue person,’ the priest related. The implication was, he said, that the President was becoming anxious that the priest was speaking out too much about the referendum and homosexuality in general. Fr. Marsden said he responded by saying the only reason he could be called a ‘one issue person’ in the seminary was because he was the only person saying anything about the referendum or homosexuality. He told Lumin Fidei that this was likely because other staff members were either afraid to speak out or were homosexual themselves.

Despite the opposition from the staff, Fr. Marsden received much support and was admired by many of the seminarians, he recounted. But he was also aware of an active and vocal "gay" subculture operating freely in the seminary. When the referendum was passed in May 2015, the priest recounted how this group became emboldened to the point of having no fear in letting others know they were homosexual, sexually active, and in the seminary with the full knowledge and support of their bishops.

Against this backdrop, a group of faithful seminarians became concerned that the seminary not only seemed to take a liberal view of Catholic teaching, but also encouraged a “gay” subculture to develop within the seminary. Exasperated and at the point of desperation, one of the seminarians decided enough was enough and wrote an anonymous letter to the Bishops’ Conference pleading with the bishops to intervene. The letter named seven active homosexual seminarians.

It is understood that this letter was sent back from the bishops’ office to the President of the seminary Monsignor Hugh Connolly. But, rather than take action to investigate the claims in the letter, the seminary council began a witch hunt to discover the author. In the end, a completely innocent seminarian was accused, based on the fact that he had reported two seminarians – one of them his close friend – when he found them in bed together. No proof was given that he had written the letter. He was simply accused and thrown out of the seminary.

Notorious seminarian threatens Fr. Marsden

Fr. Marsden recounted how he challenged one of the most notorious homosexual seminarians about his disordered lifestyle. He was given the response: “My bishop knows, the seminary council knows, my spiritual director knows – none of them have a problem with it so neither should you.” The priest said he realized that he was being told to essentially shut up since this was none of his business. It was after this encounter that Fr. Marsden said he realized that it was now no longer possible to conduct proper formation in the seminary in the face of such widespread dissent from Church teaching that was blatant among the seminary council and the spiritual directors. It was at this point, he said, that he wrote a letter to Mons. Connolly tendering his resignation.

When Fr. Marsden tried to raise the problems he was seeing in the seminary with the Church authorities, the response he received was to not only ignore his concerns, but, to ridicule him for raising them in the first place. He recounted how one high-ranking cleric stated that “you see gays under the bed.” 

In the end, Fr. Marsden said he could no longer work in the seminary and retain his integrity. He chose to resign from what he describes as an “institution riddled by systemic disobedience to Church teaching.”

It was reported in the secular press during the summer of 2016 that the reason for his resignation was a conflict of theological outlook. But, the priest said, this reason was incorrect. There certainly was a divergence of theological opinion. In fact, many of Fr. Marsden’s friends related to him their amazement at how long he managed to stay in the seminary. But, it was the issue of homosexuality within the seminary which brought matters to a head. 

The seminary has long been a “cesspool of liberal theology and heterodoxy,” Fr. Marsden said. Because of this, those few staff members who, down through the years, maintained a fidelity to the Magisterium were often isolated and subtly persecuted, he added.

Dictatorship of blandness

Fr. Marsden described the model of formation in the Maynooth seminary as a “dictatorship of blandness,” by which he means that any sort of vibrant or orthodox expressions of the Faith on the part of seminarians were harshly dealt with and suppressed. Seminary staff resented students who used the internet for alternative, i.e. orthodox, sources of information about the faith. In fact, the term for such alternative sources that was bandied about on a regular basis during staff meetings was “shadow formation.” 

“The tripe they were getting served up by the theology faculty was in most cases utter drivel,” Fr. Marsden explained.

“It is my honest assessment that the formation and academic staff in Maynooth are either liberal or homosexual and a significant number are both,” he added. 

The Irish McCarrick?

Fr. Marsden also revealed that there may have been an Irish version of seminarian and priest abuser now-ex Cardinal McCarrick. Fr. Ronan Drury, a priest of Meath diocese, lived in the seminary until his death last year. Reading his obituaries and the praise heaped on him by bishops and the current President of the Seminary, Father Michael Mullaney, one might picture Drury as a learned and jovial priest, popular with all in the seminary which was his home for 42 years. He was Professor of Homiletics there since 1977 until his death last year. He was also editor of the liberal Furrow magazine for 40 years.

However, Fr. Marsden said he discovered a dark and secretive side to Drury. Known by his nickname “Kitty,” he was a notorious figure among the “gay” subculture in St Patrick's College. His behavior was such an open secret among the students that even the normally cautious Mons. Connolly felt it necessary to inform Fr. Marsden that a credible allegation of molestation had been made against Drury by an individual. The complaint was regarding inappropriate touching by Drury of this person. Later, a priest also confided to Fr. Marsden that Drury had molested him as a first year seminarian. Monsignor Connolly never suspended Drury. 

Fr. Marsden’s testimony suggests that a place like Maynooth seminary is a playground for the likes of Drury. He had daily one-to-one access to young male students. Many questions remain. Who knew about his abuse? Was his bishop informed?  If Mons. Connolly was concerned about his behaviour, what did he do to protect seminarians? Why was Fr. Drury allowed to continue living in the seminary with open access to vulnerable young men? 

Fr. Marsden’s testimony also suggests that an active and secretive homosexual subculture is being allowed to thrive in the Maynooth seminary, with the approval of the ecclesial authorities – some of whom Fr. Marsden suspects are also same-sex attracted themselves.

Lumen Fidei reached out to various bishop trustees of the college for comment on Fr. Marsden’s testimony prior to publication, but no response was given. The current President of Maynooth seminary was also contacted, but he refused to answer any questions about Drury’s behaviour. 

It would appear that the circle of secrecy is protecting its own.

But the faithful will not accept cowardice or silence. An open and transparent investigation into the various scandals which have afflicted Maynooth seminary for at least 30 years must take place. Questions that need to be address include: Were payments made to silence victims, and who were the key figures behind the culture of cover up and secrecy? 

The only sure way to end the disease in Maynooth seminary is to send the remaining small number of faithful seminarians to the Irish College in Rome and to close the seminary for a year or more until such an investigation is carried out and the recommendations from it are fully implemented. If this cannot be accomplished, then the seminary should simply close. Fr. Marsden’s testimony suggests that Maynooth seminary is no longer fit for its purpose of forming Catholic men to be future priests. Parents should do all in their power to dissuade their sons from going there. 

The long suffering faithful and those seminarians who have been abused and persecuted deserve action and transparency. This is a defining moment for the Church in Ireland. Faithful Catholics should not rest until every bishop stands up and takes direct action to purge the filth from the Church.

Note: The Catholic Voice encourages any of Drury’s victims to come forward with the possibility of speaking in confidence about any abuse they experienced during their time in the seminary. Please email: [email protected]. You will be listened to in the strictest confidence.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at LumenFidei.ie. It has been edited and published here by permission of the author. 

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Pope Francis at 2016 Rome consistory when "progressive" archbishops Cupich, Joseph Tobin and Farrell were made cardinals Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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Source: Pope blocked investigation of abuse allegations against cardinal who helped elect him

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Cardinal Gerhard Müller in 2013 to stop investigating abuse allegations against British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, according to a highly-placed Vatican source who spoke to Marco Tossati. Murphy-O'Connor, as a member of the “Sankt [St.] Gallen mafia,” played a pivotal role in getting Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope in 2013.

A source from England with inside knowledge of the case told LifeSiteNews that a woman alleges the cardinal had himself been involved in abusing her when she was 13 or 14 years old and that she was the reason for the investigation by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Tosatti and LifeSiteNews have worked together on this joint story for some weeks now. We have shared our findings with each other.

Tosatti had previously revealed what he learned in September 2013 from a high-ranking Vatican source – “an extremely good source, who was then in the government of the Curia,” and he adds that his source has “learned [it] from those directly concerned.” – that Cardinal Müller, then Prefect of the CDF, was interrupted by the Pope while saying Mass at the Church of Santa Monica (next to the CDF building) for a small group of German students. But now Tosatti reveals that the reason for the interruption was to demand that an investigation into Cardinal O’Connor be halted.

As Tosatti puts it in an article for First Things last year: His secretary joined him at the altar: “The pope wants to speak to you.” “Did you tell him I am celebrating Mass?” asked Müller. “Yes,” said the secretary, “but he says he does not mind—he wants to talk to you all the same.” The cardinal went to the sacristy. The pope, in a very bad mood, gave him some orders and [sic -- "and" should be replaced with "about"] a dossier concerning one of his friends, a cardinal.

This event took place in June of 2013, not long after Pope Francis had been elected Pope.

According to Tosatti’s newly released report, that cardinal and friend of the pope was Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, former Archbishop of Westminster, England and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. As the Italian journalist explains: “He was accused of abuse by a woman,” and that woman had insisted for years on her claims and “had finally filed a complaint with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Tossati describes his source as a “high-ranking exponent of the Curia.” He reports that the source “was very amazed” at this event involving the Pope, both about the way in which the communication took place, and also about the message itself.

“He [the Pope] should have said: let me see the dossier, bring me the results. Do not order the investigator to act in a specific way a priori. These are things that leave us very perplexed,” said Tossati’s source.

Tosatti says he “asked for confirmation from the competent offices, without receiving an answer.” LifeSiteNews reached out to the office of Cardinal Müller, asking for a denial or a confirmation of the story, but the answer was only that there would be no comment made. That is to say, we received a non-denial. LifeSiteNews also reached out to the Vatican Press Office, asking for a confirmation or denial of the story. Should they respond, we will update the report.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor died on September 1, 2017, a year ago, without ever seeing a proper investigation of these charges.

After hearing this story as related by Marco Tosatti, LifeSiteNews reached out to a reliable source from England who is very well informed about exactly that same lady who had been accusing the English cardinal. According to this English source, the lady has never gone public with her charges. But she has been in contact with Church authorities for about 15 years now, without ever having received a thorough investigation of her claims. This lady is already an acknowledged abuse victim, having received a settlement from the Archdiocese. She had been abused, when she was 13 or 14 years of age, by Father Michael Hill.

The pedophile Father Hill was imprisoned for five years in 2002 for abusing three minor children between 10 and 14. He had previously been imprisoned, in 1997, also for abusing children. He is thought to have attacked about 30 boys between his ordination in 1960 and the late 1980s. As The Guardian put it at the time: “His case is particularly notorious because the church's leader, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, gave him a post despite warnings that he had abused young boys.” Hill had been moved to different parishes, in spite of the ongoing complaints of parents. Finally he underwent therapy in the 1980s.

Murphy-O'Connor, then bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, had appointed Hill in 1985 and made him chaplain at Gatwick Airport. Hill then was charged with abusing a teenager with learning difficulties who had missed a flight and was visiting the airport's chapel.

As later reports showed, Murphy-O'Connor had been warned by therapists that Hill would be abusive again. Murphy-O'Connor accepted that the diocese should pay compensation to those victims of Hill, but requested their silence on the matter of their abuse. Murphy-O'Connor had also been accused of trying to pay hush money to Father Hill – some £50,000 to buy his silence when he was released from prison. Murphy-O'Connor “utterly” denied that claim. It was said that a junior bishop made the offer on his behalf during a visit to Hill's Belmarsh prison in London.

Another sign of the cardinal's indulgent leniency toward child abusers is the case of Father Tim Garrett. Fr. Garrett, then a priest in the Portsmouth diocese, was convicted, according to media reports, of taking indecent photographs of boys in the 1980s. Following the advice of a risk assessment showing that Garrett would not be dangerous, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor allowed him to transfer to his own Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. He later regretted that permission, just as he apologized for his mishandling of the Hill case.

The lady who accused Murphy-O'Connor himself of abuse, claims that when Hill abused her in the late 1960s, there were several other priests present and involved. She claims that Murphy-O'Connor was among them. She, who then lived in what is now the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, had entered in the early 2000s into an agreement with the Diocese and received £40,000 payment for the abuse of Father Hill.

Murphy-O'Connor had been the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton from 1977 until 2000, when he was appointed Archbishop of Westminster. He was also a member of the Sankt Gallen Group that tried to get Jorge Bergoglio elected, first in the 2005 conclave, and then again in 2013.

The story of the female victim of abuse is a story of delayed justice and denial of due process. Since she now lives in the Diocese of Portsmouth, she started to express her accusations to Church officials there. But sometime between 2009 and 2010, she also contacted the Archdiocese of Westminster with her allegations. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who has been Archbishop of Westminster since 2009 – and thus the successor of Murphy-O'Connor –  refused to investigate the matter.

When Murphy-O'Connor was asked, in 2010, by Pope Benedict XVI to be the head of the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland in order to examine the abuse crisis there, people in the Diocese of Portsmouth were concerned that the abuse allegations against Murphy-O’Connor would then come to light and destroy the credibility of the Apostolic Visitation.  

In 2011, according to our English source, the Diocese of Portsmouth, together with the Diocese of Northampton, contacted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then under Cardinal William Levada, in order to request an investigation of the claims of that female victim by Rome and to protest Westminster’s refusal to follow the national safeguarding protocols. It was then Charles Scicluna, today the Archbishop of Malta, who requested that all the files from England be sent to him in person. A person from the Diocese of Portsmouth flew to Rome and delivered the files to Scicluna. It is understood that he began an investigation. However, in 2012, Scicluna became the Auxiliary Bishop of Malta and was thus removed from the Murphy-O'Connor case at the CDF. It was then Monsignor Robert W. Oliver who, after the departure of Monsignor Scicluna, met in 2013 with one of the English bishops in Rome in order to discuss the matter.

During that time, the Archdiocese of Westminster was finally agreeing, for the first time, to meet with the female victim. One of the auxiliary bishops – now a diocesan bishop elsewhere in England – met with her together with the diocesan safeguarding head, but still did not agree to start an investigation, according to the source.

Those within the Catholic Church in England who support this victim's cause argue that, independently of whether this lady speaks the truth or not, the Church must follow her own rules as they are now set up. That means that the accused clergyman should first be withdrawn from the exercise of his office, and then an investigation should be started. Depending on the result of the investigation, when it is completed, the accused clergyman is to be either reinstated or punitively removed. The protocols make no distinction between the treatment for a priest or deacon and that for a bishop or a cardinal.

As our source in England relates, there have been repeated attempts, on the side of good bishops, to request a Church investigation into the case of this female victim. They insisted that the Church has to follow the standing rules. Yet, as our source says, Murphy-O'Connor has been treated “as if he were above the law.”

Our source points out that, in his own career, Murphy-O'Connor always “stood very lightly with regard to the Church's moral and doctrinal teaching.” In one interview, Murphy-O'Connor made it clear that he is not opposed to non-practicing homosexuals being in the priesthood. He then said: “I think the Church must judge the people who are ordained on what kind of person they are, not on their sexuality. And I think that there will be men, probably a very small minority, who might have a homosexual orientation. Obviously, if they are practicing, this would exclude them [from ordination]. But I would not say that a person who has a homosexual tendency is necessarily debarred.”

He also rejected the claim of a connection between homosexuality and child abuse: “All I would say is that it does seem to be established that the question of child abuse has nothing directly at all to do with homosexuality.”

The Englishman John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the world’s oldest pro-life group, and co-founder of Voice of the Family, told LifeSiteNews the following about Cardinal Murphy O'Connor: “However deeply disturbing it is, it is very much for the good of the Church that evils which have been deliberately hidden by Church leaders are coming to light.” He gave as an example that the “late Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is on record for seeking to cover up evil. In 2008 it was revealed that the Cardinal had approved an ethics code for St. John and St. Elizabeth’s hospital which effectively accommodated referrals for abortion and other unethical procedures.”

Professor Luke Gormally, a former member of the hospital’s ethics committee commented at the time: “How can the Church in this country effectively defend the sanctity of life when its Chief Shepherd is prepared to approve a code which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion?”

John Smeaton concluded: “Church officials at the very highest level, including the Holy Father, must learn the lesson of recent revelations which have so scandalized the faithful: The cover-up of evil has got to stop.”

Perhaps most importantly, Murphy-O'Connor is said to have helped Pope Francis to get elected. Austen Ivereigh, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor’s former assistant, said that days prior to the March 12 conclave in Rome, Murphy-O’Connor was tasked by the St. Gallen “mafia” to inform Jorge Bergoglio of a plan to get him elected. As Ivereigh described in his 2014 book on Pope Francis, Murphy-O’Connor was also tasked with lobbying for Bergoglio among his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link to those from Commonwealth countries. So, when Bergoglio met the English cardinal after his election, he said, “You're to blame!” As The Guardian puts it: “A few months after his election, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was apparently lightheartedly to credit Murphy-O’Connor, when the two met at a papal audience. The pope pointed to his old friend and said, 'You’re to blame!'”

Murphy-O’Connor, it became clear, was an old friend of Bergoglio. As The Guardian's obituary states, Murphy-O'Connor called Pope Francis “my man”: “And, of course, his [Murphy-O'Connor's] presence in Rome in 2013 [was in order] to witness the election of his friend as Pope Francis. He looked on in pleasure at the impact made by the Argentinian whom he liked, jokingly, to refer to as 'my man.'”

So, based on the revelation from Marco Tossati’s source in the Vatican, it would seem that Bergoglio, after his election, especially thanked Murphy-O'Connor by telling Cardinal Müller to halt the investigation against him. As of this date, the abused lady's complaints have never been thoroughly investigated, neither in England, nor in Rome. And with the help of Tosatti's own report, we now know some of the reasons why.

Similar to McCarrick, Murphy-O'Connor is known to have later speciously shown himself to the public as being a hardliner with regard to abuse cases. “Roman Catholic bishops found to be flouting the new guidelines on child protection will be held to account, or expected to resign,” is the headline of a 2003 article quoting Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. However, as with the McCarrick case in the U.S., the truth is now gaining upon the Church's hierarchy that has been evasively looking the other way.

In England, there is currently a government-commissioned independent investigation into all sex abuse cases in society, to include those in the Catholic Church. This investigation has the legal power to compel the production of evidence. For this investigation, a so-called “Truth Project” has been set up, whereby victims of sexual abuse of minors may now come and relate their story.

Our source tells us this female victim may have contacted that same Truth Project, since several weeks ago, the investigators requested the Archdiocese of Westminster the release of all the files pertaining to allegations against Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

It would be important now that four dioceses release their files to the Truth Project concerning this woman's case: Arundel and Brighton; Westminster; Portsmouth, and Northampton (which submitted the case to the CDF, together with Portsmouth). Bishop John Arnold (now of Salford), who was at the time involved in refusing to investigate the case in Westminster, should also release his files.

Thus, as it seems, the Catholic Church is now sitting upon a ticking time bomb. And on top of that time bomb sits Pope Francis.

This report was consciously published on September 24, the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham – Patroness of the Catholic Church in England – and on the day of the beginning of the English bishops' Ad Limina visit to Rome.

John-Henry Westen contributed to this report. The report has been checked by our English source for accuracy.

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Noelia Franco and Omar Caballero in a private audience with Pope Francis Sept. 19, 2018. Noelia Franco / Twitter video screen grab
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Couple in civil union claims Pope Francis married them in unexpected Vatican ceremony

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ANALYSIS

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has done it again. During a private audience at Santa Marta in Rome, which preceded the general audience in St. Peter's Square last Wednesday, the Pope blessed a civilly married couple in a whirlwind ceremony including a general absolution for all those present. We all remember the (not so) spontaneous in-flight wedding of two crewmembers in the airplane flying Pope Francis over Chile last January. This time, the Uruguayan couple involved appears really to have been taken by surprise, and there is a complete video of the one and a half-minute event to prove it.

Noelia Franco and Omar Caballero were united in a civil marriage 24 years ago. Five daughters, two sons-in-law and one granddaughter later, they were hoping not so much to regularize this irregular situation as to obtain Pope Francis’ blessing.

This story commences with what they feel was the miraculous healing of their youngest daughter, Sara, 4 years old, who was in intensive care with respiratory distress. One of Noelia’s friends in Montevideo, Uruguay had brought back holy water from Rome, blessed by Pope Francis. The distraught mother poured a few drops of it on her daughter's forehead: Sara, she says, immediately took a turn for the better and was soon out of intensive care.

The news spread (Noelia started her career at 17 as a journalist and for the last 12 years, she’s been running a public relations company with her husband Omar). In April 2017, she decided to bring her little daughter to Rome in order to thank Pope Francis during a public audience. She also took holy water blessed by the Pope back to Montevideo. She started handing it out to friends in need – and obtained, so she says, a number of miracles, thanks to the Francis-blessed water.

At this point, the Franco-Caballeros decided they needed to go to Rome to tell the Pope about what was happening, to thank him and to ask for his blessing. Last July, Noelia Franco sent an email to Monsignor Fabian Pedacchio, Pope Francis’ private secretary who was before that, according to Henry Sire’s Dictator Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio’s eyes and ears in Rome. She asked for an invitation to the Pope's public audience on September 19th, adding a letter to Pope Francis himself that has been published by the Uruguayan press.

Its most important excerpts read as follows:

“Blessings kept coming, up to the point where all the people to whom I had given holy water I had brought back from the Vatican received a miracle: a journalist friend got pregnant (it was one of the last possibilities she had), the daughter of another journalist who had a congenital illness was healed, another journalist friend won her battle against cancer and today she is pregnant.

“We would like to thank you for all these blessings received from the moment you made us return to our faith in the church, and we want you to bless our marriage.

“This year, we celebrated the 24th year of our marriage, my husband and I. When we got married we had no money for wedding rings and even less for a party or for the white dress. We always had the idea that we would have to get married in church, but being able to see you with our family would be the greatest blessing that we could receive.

“In all, there will be four adults, two teenagers and two children.

“We don't want to ask too much, we’re just asking you for 30 seconds to say thank you; we shall be on a trip to Rome from the 13th to the 20th of September, we would like yourself and your team to accept to have this meeting with our family on the day that will fit you best, or during the Wednesday audience on September 19.

“May God bless you, Francis.”

The response came quickly, and it was a surprise: the Pope himself had fixed a meeting at the Casa Santa Marta on September 19th, three-quarters of an hour before the general audience.

The meeting itself lasted a quarter of an hour. That is a great deal more than the “30 seconds” the family had asked for, Noelia and Omar hoping only for a quick blessing, but even so it is still difficult to speak of a fully fledged marriage ceremony. The father, the mother, three of their daughters, two sons-in-law and one granddaughter had a relaxed talk with the Pope. Family pictures were shown, photos were taken, they talked and joked. Pope Francis gave them his advice on having a lasting wedding. 

“With you, bread and onions”, he said. It's a Spanish expression that harks back to ancient Egypt when bread and onions were staple food for the poor who couldn’t afford much else. It means staying together even during the hard times.

The whole group sat around a low table in armchairs and they were still all sitting there when the Pope decided it was time for a collective absolution. He spoke about some of the sins they could have committed, and of the “hitches that there had certainly been in their marriage”. He added that this was also the time to thank God for His grace that had “kept this family so united” and also for “so many fruits” it had given: “It is truly a great grace.” The grace of the sacramental union? Hardly… Then he blessed them all, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, saying that he absolved them “of all their sins”.

Collective or general absolutions in the Catholic Church are normally strictly reserved for emergency situations, such as an impending disaster or the moments before a battle when a military chaplain has no time to hear individual confessions. Much abuse has been recorded during the decades following Vatican II, with priests organizing penitential celebrations with collective absolution and no individual confessing of sins. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the faith published pastoral norms as early as 1972 which make all this clear. Among others, when circumstances allow, penitents should at least say an act of contrition, and when grave sins are involved, survivors should confess them individually within a year.

The video of the Pope’s general absolution does not show any of this. Perhaps because that part was not filmed – but it does not seem likely. It all sounds more like a friendly conversation where a sacramental absolution suddenly appears out of the blue. This raises the question: is living together as man and wife in a civil, non-sacramental marriage on the part of Catholics still a mortal sin, or not? Pope Francis appears to point to an answer which is a departure from Catholic teaching and tradition when he opined in June 2016: “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity.”

Seconds later, Pope Francis asked the couple to hold hands, posing the question: “Do you want to stay together?”  The video then shows Noelia turning to Omar: “Are you sure?”, she said. “Of course”, he replied. The Pope then looked inquiringly at Noelia, who said: “Yeees…” He blessed them again without words, before asking God to “keep them always together” and to give them “the grace of having many grandchildren”. And that was it.

Noelia, visibly surprised and moved, observed: “There we are, we’re married.”

The same day, she would post the video on twitter with these words: “Then one day… the Pope who speaks your language marries you in private under the eyes of your children. I have no words, 15 minutes of private audience with @Pontifex_es at Saint-Marta where our dream of marrying in church and having our marriage blessed.” 

According to the Uruguayan daily El Pais, Noelia Franco told their reporter she was “in tears” during the ceremony. She recounted more details.

“Then Francis entered. He greets us, we start making jokes and telling anecdotes. He asked us whether we wanted to stay together and whether we wanted to get married and that after the Vatican would send the certificates. Our sons-in-law acted as witnesses and we got married,” she said. 

The Uruguayan news-site Telenoche says Noelia Franco is a Catholic. It is not clear whether Omar Caballero is also a Catholic (that is the whole point of having engaged couples produce their baptism certificates before obtaining a church wedding, and doing other sorts of paperwork to check identities, make sure there was no previous sacramental marriage and so forth), nor does anyone seem to know or even care whether their five daughters were baptized.

The question is not whether Caballero and Franco are sincere in their desire for marriage and their commitment to remain faithful to each other as long as they both live (although that question was not put to them). The critical issue is the banalization of the sacrament of penance and of that of marriage, which here appears to be devalued to the point of being an on the spot blessing that simply completes a lasting civil union.

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Doctors propose killing sick children under Canada’s new euthanasia law

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Only two years out from the legalization of assisted suicide in Canada, the Liberal government is already searching for ways to expand access to these so-called “services,” and to do so have asked the Council of Canadian Academies to create a report detailing a way forward. Three key issues are being considered, including euthanasia for those suffering with mental illness, those who wish to produce an “advanced directive” asking a medical professional to kill them after they have potentially lost the mental capacity to request it themselves, and euthanasia for children—currently being referred to as “mature minors.” 

Michael Cook laid out the state of the discussion over at BioEdge, noting that a number of Canadian pediatricians and bio-ethicists have laid out the case for supporting child euthanasia in the Journal of Medical Ethics, framing Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) as a fundamental part of palliative care and presenting the so-called right to be killed as a fundamental one:

it is wrong to force a person to live in circumstances of unendurable and irremediable suffering and ... the wishes of capable patients should be respected within legal limits, especially in such an intimate matter as how they choose to die. Persons, in other words, have a right to life, not a duty to live ...

Further, Cook notes, several horrifying conclusions are being reached—including assertions that euthanasia should not be treated differently than other medical procedures, but simply accepted as routine. This includes the specter of children being offered euthanasia without the knowledge of their parents—and potentially even euthanized without parental consent or even parental knowledge:

If MAID is essentially a normal medical procedure, it follows that there is no need for “special procedures for managing communication, confidentiality and capacity assessment”. One consequence of this is that doctors should be proactive in suggesting euthanasia to children for they have an obligation to inform patients of their healthcare options.

What about a young person’s capacity for consent? In Ontario, “young people can be and are found capable of making their own medical decisions, even when those decisions may result in their death”. This is not universally accepted in Canada, so it may be necessary to tweak the law.

How about the role of parents? What if a young person requests MAID but their parents object? The authors argue that if a young person is capable of making their own medical decisions, there is no reason why parents have to be informed. “If we regard MAID as practically and ethically equivalent to other medical decisions that result in the end of life, then confidentiality regarding MAID should be managed in this same way.”

Essentially, these doctors are claiming that young people, who do not have the right to vote or buy cigarettes, should be given the right to ask a doctor to kill them, because perhaps “we regard MAID as practically and ethically equivalent to other medical decisions.” Of course, virtually everyone would agree that assisted suicide—or, more bluntly, suicide—is not like any other “medical decision” for obvious reasons. And the idea that the parents could simply be cut out of the discussion is unbelievable, considering the fact that what we are discussing is doctors killing a child. 

Even worse, if assisted suicide is expanded in Canada to both people suffering from mental illness and to minors, we could face the horrifying specter of medical professionals who have, by law, an obligation to provide teenagers suffering from depression with a lethal injection—perhaps without the parents of the teenager even being informed. This will lead us to the fundamental question of the assisted suicide debate that my colleague Blaise Alleyne and I laid out in our recent book A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide: Who gets suicide assistance, and who gets suicide prevention? And how do we decide?

The advocates of euthanasia expansion even recognize that the idea of euthanizing children might be hard to swallow for a lot of people, and thus even propose a model for reducing “social stigma,” noting that HIV/AIDS treatment once faced stigma, as well:

If we take the HIV model as our strategy for publicly messaging MAID, we would proceed by providing MAID in a matter-of-fact way that may, over time, reduce the social burden both on patients seeking this procedure and clinicians providing it.

Again, they ignore the fact that treating HIV/AIDS was an attempt to heal or at least to alleviate suffering, not simply end the lives of the sufferers. Suicide cannot be considered healthcare without utterly redefining what healthcare and medicine are, and although the majority of Canadians support legal assisted suicide, I suspect that many of them would draw the line at euthanizing children, especially without the consent or consultation of parents.

The proponents of euthanasia expansion get one thing right, and it is the same point that those of us who opposed legalization have been saying from the beginning: Once you declare suicide to be a right, it will be very difficult to deny that so-called right to other people who are demanding it. Thus, expansion of “end-of-life care” is almost inevitable. The “safeguards” come down, and the very vulnerable people that governments promised to protect soon end up demanding and receiving the right to commit suicide in the supposed safety of a hospital room. 

And, once again, we end up killing sufferers rather than suffering. 

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How Vatican’s deal with Communist China fits into Pope Francis’ larger agenda

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

September 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the world’s greatest expert in Chinese population policy, Steven W. Mosher is intimately familiar with the political ins-and-outs of the Communist regime. In particular, with his knowledge of Chinese and his frequent travels to the country, he has devoted years of careful observation and study to the question of how the Communists treat religious groups, and, in particular, Catholics.

I heard Mr. Mosher speak in Virginia this summer on Chinese topics and was impressed by his detailed knowledge and the sobriety of his judgments. Like faithful underground Catholic laity, clergy, and bishops in China, Mosher is utterly opposed to the Vatican-Beijing deal, a "provisional agreement" of which was signed over the weekend. Doing us a great service, Mosher summarized the grave situation in an article at OnePeterFive.

The Vatican-Beijing concordat will secure for the Catholic Church an evanescent prestige at the supposed normalization of diplomatic relations and an apparent victory in the regularization of the Church’s hierarchy and sacramental provision on the mainland. It will secure for the Communist government a freedom in naming bishops that would have been the envy of centuries of lay rulers in the European Middle Ages who attempted to arrogate for themselves authority over investitures. Anyone who has studied how communist governments work (as Mosher has done) knows that they have no qualms about breaking their word before the ink is dry on the paper. Why should the conscience of a dialectical materialist atheist bother him? He does not believe in the divine law or in the natural moral law. 

Such an "agreement" means that for the first time in the Church’s existence, the Communist Party that rules a country will choose the bishops with Vatican approval. This means that the “Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association” will thereby be regularized, even though it supports Communist coercive population regulations and its first and primary loyalty is to the Chinese Communist Party.

Therefore, Beijing will continue to persecute true orthodox Catholics with impunity, but now, thanks to the Vatican’s kowtowing to secular power, these Catholics will be made to look disloyal and recalcitrant—come to think of it, just like conservative and traditional Catholics have been made to look in the “free” Western world, when they refuse to fall into lockstep conformity with the juggernaut of secularism cosponsored by the United Nations, the European Union, and the Vatican. In this perspective, the Beijing deal is just one side of a coin whose flip side is the pervasive modernization of morals, ranging from the repudiation of intrinsically evil sexual acts to the redefinition of capital punishment as an intrinsically evil act and the exaltation of environmentalism as the central arena of virtue.

Thus we have yet another key to interpreting this papacy’s larger agenda. The soft approval of Communism implied in this sell-out of the underground Catholic Church, which has been fighting at the cost of great suffering for decades to remain faithful to the fullness of Catholicism (including the retention of the traditional Latin Mass!), harmonizes with many other pro-Marxist and pro-socialist statements and actions of Francis’s pontificate; and this, in turn, complements the policy of Freemasonic laïcité or secularism (a secular state “is better than a confessional state, because confessional states always end badly,” as Francis said), Pistoian liturgical modernization (in his words: “we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible”), and the modernist rejection of dogmatic stability and moral absolutes (seen in a range of statements on “development of doctrine” and on sexual morality). 

This China deal fits in perfectly with the attempted deconstruction of Catholic identity, the postmodern exaltation of fluid norms, and the assault on Catholic fidelity that has marked this pontificate from day one. Indeed, it simply revives and grossly amplifies the tragic Ostpolitik of Pope Francis’s predecessor Pope Paul VI, who betrayed and humiliated József Cardinal Mindszenty in pursuit of further alliances with the Communists. It is hardly surprising that Pope Francis will attempt to canonize Paul VI next month, in an exercise of self-admiration like those with which he has been regaling us in his recent homilies in which he compares himself to the silent Christ and his accusers to Satan.

As Gerhard Cardinal Müller preached at a priestly ordination in Rome on Saturday, September 15, 2018: 

The Church, founded by God and made up of human beings, is, according to its human side, in a deep, man-made crisis of its credibility. ... Not clericalism, whatever that may be, but the turning away from the truth and moral lawlessness are the roots of the evil. ... The real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.

One last thought: Why will the Communist-sponsored “Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association” (CCPA) be able to be in “full communion” and its clergy “regularized,” while the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) isn’t? To me, the answer is plain as day: because the CCPA is enthusiastic about the secular state, Vatican II and the Novus Ordo (which it introduced into China!), and adapting morality to situations (“situational ethics”), while the SSPX stands for integralism, perennial doctrine, the traditional Roman Rite, and exceptionless moral norms. In other words, in a total inversion of Catholicism, we are seeing the complete opposite of what should be the case. May the Lord in His mercy rescue us from those who claim to be acting in His name.

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Quebec party promises: If we win upcoming elections, more euthanasia

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By Alex Schadenberg

September 24, 2018 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) says that if it is elected on October 1, it will increase provincial funding for Alzheimer's research by $5 million a year and host public consultations on advanced consent for medically assisted deaths for those with Alzheimer's and related diseases.

René Bruemmer reporting for the Montreal Gazette that CAQ candidates Marguerite Blais and François Bonnardel announced in St-Sauveur on Monday morning the party's intention to increase funding for Alzheimer's research and extending euthanasia to people with Alzheimer's. The article states:

Bonnardel's mother suffers from Alzheimer's, and he has said he would support a law that would allow a person to request a medically assisted death through prior consent in a living will.

"I see my mother, today, it's 15 years (that she has had Alzheimer's). Do I want to die like her? No... I want the choice to decide. I think a large majority of Quebecers want this choice." ...

[W]e want to open this debate for the 125,000 families who live with Alzheimer's daily," Bonnardel said. "We will do it because we have to do it. It's a question of dignity."

In July 2018, a Dutch doctor was reprimanded for euthanizing a woman with dementia who resisted. According to the case:

The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.

Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.

It (the paperwork) also revealed that the patient said several times 'I don't want to die' in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.

Canada's federal government announced in December 2016 that it had commissioned studies into the issues of euthanasia for children, euthanasia for people with psychiatric conditions alone, and euthanasia for people with Alzheimer's/dementia if they request euthanasia for this condition while competent.

If you permit euthanasia for people who had previously stated that they wanted to die by lethal injection, but who are now incompetent, you are denying these people the right to change their mind. 

Similar to the case in the Netherlands, you cannot assume that the previous wishes of a person remain the current wish of the person.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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