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July 7, 2020


News

Trudeau appoints pro-abortion former Ontario premier as Canada’s new UN ambassador

Bob Rae's political record includes support for transgenderism, homosexuality and gay 'marriage.'
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 7:13 pm EST
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Bob Rae marches in a Pride parade in Toronto. Shutterstock
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A former Canadian premier and federal politician known for his pro-abortion and anti-family voting record has been assigned as Canada’s new ambassador to the United Nations. 

Yesterday, pro-abortion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Bob Rae will serve as Canada’s new UN ambassador. 

In a statement announcing Rae’s new role, Trudeau praised the former Ontario premier. 

“Bob Rae has dedicated his life to serving Canadians and our country, and his experience and thoughtful approach will serve us well in this new role as our Ambassador to the United Nations,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“Together, we will strengthen our international relationships and continue to fully engage on the world stage to help build a better future that benefits everyone.”

Rae served as the former NDP Premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995, and later as interim leader of the federal Liberal party from 2011 to 2013. 

Trudeau took over from Rae in 2013 as leader of the Liberal party. 

Rae’s appointment comes just weeks after Trudeau suffered an “embarrassing” blow to secure Canada a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. 

Rae replaces Marc-André Blanchard, who has been Canada’s UN ambassador since 2016. Rae follows in the footsteps of his father Saul Rae, who served as Canada’s UN ambassador from 1972 to 1976.  

In speaking at a press conference on Monday, Rae said that serving as Canada’s new UN ambassador is an “enormous honor” and something he “might have hoped” would happen. 

“We really have no choice but to reinforce the engagements that we have already made,” Rae said in his press conference. “That is going to be my job number one, is to convince Canadians that the importance of what we’re trying to do, but also to persuade as many other countries as we can that we need to work together to reinforce, to renew, to rebuild a successful world order. Nothing short of that will do.” 

Rae also quoted George Orwell, the author of the dystopian novel “1984.” 

Asked about China’s recently issued travel advisory to Canada enacted after Canada ended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, Rae commented that he was a “great reader of George Orwell,” and to “really fully appreciate the world today you have to read 1984.”

“Some strange things are going on, for some countries to suggest this is a bad time to come to Canada is frankly bizarre,” Rae said.

“They (China) have their own reasons for saying it. I don’t think we should take it entirely seriously. Sometimes humor is a great relief when you’re facing these moments.” 

Campaign Life Coalition blasts Rae’s appointment as ‘100 percent bad’ for Canada

Asked about Rae’s new appointment, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) political operations director Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews, “One thing is for certain, Rae’s influence in the UN, which is already an evil organization, will be 100 percent bad. God have mercy on us.”

“This is another terrible appointment by Trudeau. Bob Rae is a pro-death radical who never met an abortion he didn’t like. Rae is also a naked Marxist who once was leader of Ontario’s socialist NDP,” Fonseca said. 

“Rae’s voting record while serving as an elected official is also deplorable on the pro-family side of the ledger. He voted to abolish the true definition of marriage and family. He voted in favor of radical transgender ideology legislation that would enshrine compelled speech in law to force Canadians to utter made-up transgender pronouns and would usher in the invasion of private female spaces by confused or predatory biological males.”

Rae, who has a history of promoting the abortion and LGBTQ agenda, started his political career with the federal NDP as an MP before taking the reins of the Ontario provincial NDP party as its leader and later premier. Rae then became affiliated with the federal liberals in 1998. 

After becoming Ontario’s premier in 1990, he was quoted as saying to homosexual activists: “I want to assure you of our continuing support for equal treatment of same-sex couples." 

In 2010 as a liberal MP, Rae introduced a “reproductive health” motion, which insisted that the UN maternal health plan of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government include a “full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception.” His motion was defeated. 

In 2016, Rae threw his support behind retired openly homosexual Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto after Hawkes was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency. 

"He's an enormously hard-working, decent and inspirational man," Rae said of Hawkes to the CBC in 2016 after hearing of the charges. Hawkes was later found not guilty.

Hawkes also “officiated” Canada’s first legally recognized “gay marriage” in 2001.

In 2012 at a liberal party planning session, Rae stated clearly his position for a women’s right to “choose” in response to Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion M312, which was to examine the humanity of the unborn.

“We are clear on this question: The rights of women to choose, to have control over their own bodies, is not a right which is going to be taken away by the Parliament of Canada, and it is not a right which should be subject to some private member’s bill which is going to affect the rights of women to have choice, to have genuine equality, and to have full and complete access to the medicare and the health care that they need,” Rae said of Woodsworth’s motion, which was later defeated.


  1984, abortion, ambassador, bob rae, brent hawkes, china, gay 'marriage', george orwell, justin trudeau, lgbtq, marc-andre blanchard, ndp party, united nations

News

English Catholic bishop seeks govt financial aid after COVID lockdown losses

According to their own statement, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales played a crucial role in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 6:58 pm EST
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Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, United Kingdom. Shalom World / YouTube
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By Paul Smeaton

SHREWSBURY, United Kingdom, July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic bishop in the north of England has called on the government to give churches financial assistance due to a “dramatic fall” in income during the coronavirus lockdown.

“The weeks of the national lockdown saw a dramatic fall of about a third in parish income. This is having a serious impact on the operation of parishes,” Bishop Mark Davies of the Diocese of Shrewsbury told the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

In March, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales prohibited the celebration of public Masses before the lockdown came into force and, according to their own statement, played a crucial role themselves in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.

Now that churches are allowed to open again, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) has released guidance for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass, which includes members of the congregation wearing face coverings, allowing Holy Communion only in the hand while standing, not allowing congregational singing, and encouraging those who receive Communion to leave the church immediately after Mass.

“We have been working to mitigate the impact at parish level and are grateful for parishioners who were able to continue giving support via online giving through the crisis otherwise the situation would be even more serious,” Davies said.

“The Shrewsbury Diocese will be looking at what savings are possible by reducing costs or deferring expenditure. This sadly means that the largest outgoings in parishes on planned repairs and maintenance will be an area where savings will be sought.”

Davies told CNA that he supports the suggestion recently proposed by local politician Mike Kane, Labour M.P. for Wythenshawe and Sale East, for the government to consider an enhanced Gift Aid scheme to help faith communities mitigate the financial damage of the lockdown. Kane told the House of Commons last that the Shrewsbury diocese income was down by a third since the start of lockdown, almost £700,000 (roughly $875,000).

The U.K.’s Gift Aid scheme increases the value of donations made to charities by 25% by allowing them to reclaim the basic rate tax already paid by the donor.

“In 2008 there was a transitional relief scheme for Gift Aid to support charities when the income tax rate reduced from 22% to 20%, worth an estimated £100 million to charities at that time. A similar kind of enhanced arrangement is now needed to support charities, including dioceses across the country,” Davies said.

“As this has already been an operational scheme, the mechanism for the delivery following lockdown should be feasible and easy for the government to put in place quickly.”

Dr. Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society Society of England & Wales, told LifeSiteNews that it was time for the bishops to reassess their priorities and make some “painful decisions.”

“The epidemic has accelerated processes which were happening anyway: a steady fall in Mass attendance and income,” Shaw said.

“This is unlikely to recover fully. If Brexit limits the supply of Catholic immigrants from Central Europe, which had been slowing this process down, this will create a serious financial problem for the Church, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well,” he continued.

“Dioceses are not going to go broke: they have enormous property portfolios in prime city locations. But the prospect of lay diocesan bureaucrats paying themselves out of our patrimony of church buildings while the Church effectively ceases to exist as a presence on the ground is not a happy one.”

Shaw said modern liturgical practices play a key role in destroying both vocations and Mass attendance.

“It is past time for bishops to make some painful decisions: not about closing parishes, which they are well used to doing, but about attracting vocations and bringing people back to the practice of the Faith,” he said.

“They know that female altar servers, modern hymns, and excluding Latin from seminary liturgy is destroying vocations and Mass attendance, but up to now they have regarded these things as too important to sacrifice. Perhaps now would be a good moment to reassess their priorities.”


  catholic, coronavirus, lockdowns, mark davies, united kingdom

News

House Dems push to permanently restore overseas abortion funding

A proposal by Rep. Nita Lowey would permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 4:40 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – House Democrats are making another attempt to undo the Trump administration’s ban on foreign aid to pro-abortion organizations, this time with language that would make international abortion funding permanent.

Shortly after taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars the United States’ $8.8 billion in foreign aid from being distributed to entities that perform abortions, but took the additional step of expanding it to groups that promote or discuss abortion.

Democrats have bitterly opposed and sought to undo the move for years. Now, Rep. Nita Lowey’s (D-New York) Global HER Act contains language that would permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy (which abortion supporters derisively call the “Global Gag Rule”) under the House Appropriations Committee's annual State and Foreign Operations bill, The Hill reported.

Committee Democrats are also calling for $750 million in funding for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), $175 million more than the fund received last year.

Lowey’s proposal follows a failed attempt in November by Rep. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) to provide almost $60 million to several U.S.-based organizations that list abortion as part of their core mission. 

It has long been tradition for new Democrat presidents to lift the Mexico City Policy and new Republican presidents to reinstate it as one of any administration’s first official acts. Over the past few years, however, Democrats have grown increasingly fixated on the notion of codifying as many aspects of abortion-on-demand in federal law as insurance against pro-life presidents and judges.

Even if it passes the Democrat-controlled House, the pro-abortion language would presumably be a non-starter in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, if offers a preview of things to come next year should former Vice President Joe Biden defeat Trump in November’s presidential election. Biden has endorsed codifying a “right” to abortion in federal statutes, which would not only force states to allow abortion but invalidate most mild state-level abortion restrictions and regulations.

Any lasting pro-abortion change to the Mexico City Policy will most likely have to come through the combined efforts of a Democrat president and Congress, as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week that foreign organizations do not have a First Amendment right to refuse conditions placed on aid money, effectively deprives foreign abortion groups of argument they would have used to challenge the policy in court.


  abortion, democrats, foreign abortion funding, foreign aid, global her act, house of representatives, mexico city policy, nita lowey, taxpayer funding of abortion

News

Priest to Scottish gov’t: Pubs are allowed to open, so why can’t we have Mass?

‘It is extremely concerning that there may now be some further delay in allowing the return to public worship,’ wrote Father Michael J. Kane, pastor of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Coatbridge. ‘It is deeply distressing that Catholics cannot receive the Sacraments.’
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 3:52 pm EST
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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

COATBRIDGE, Scotland, July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Catholic priest has published an objection to the Scottish government’s continuing ban on public church services.

Father Michael J. Kane is the pastor of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Coatbridge, a town about 10 miles east of Glasgow. In a June 26 open letter to Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Fulton MacGregor, Kane criticized Scotland’s plans not to allow public worship until late July. 

“....It is extremely concerning that there may now be some further delay in allowing the return to public worship, with the earliest date now set at 23rd July,” Kane stated.

“This despite the fact that the Scottish Government deems it safe to open pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other social venues.” 

The Catholic Church in Scotland has been in communication with Scotland’s Holyrood government with its plan for the resumption of public worship. As part of “Phase 2” in Scotland’s emergence from the COVID-19 lockdown, Scotland’s places of worship were permitted to open for private prayer on June 22, provided that so-called social distancing and hygiene protocols were followed. 

Public worship began again in England on July 5, with Catholic priests reporting low attendance. The dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in England and Wales is still in effect. Private prayer in England’s places of worship was permitted beginning June 15.  

Public health is a “devolved” issue, which means that the Scottish Parliament is free to determine its own lockdown guidelines independently of the Westminster government in London.  

Kane informed MacGregor that the Church in Scotland has “demonstrated good practice” regarding social distancing and hygiene and objected to public entertainments taking precedence over public worship.

“It seems entirely unjustified that the leisure and hospitality sectors should re-open before places of public worship, especially given their vital importance to national life,” Kane wrote. 

“Might I remind the Government of the obligation of the State to ensure freedom of worship is a hallmark of any free, democratic society, and should not be unduly restricted without good cause,” he continued. 

“Politicians enter dangerous territory when they arbitrarily ban religious worship which is a fundamental human right.”     

Kane addressed some of the issues that are being offered as the rationale for keeping churches (but not pubs) shut: the “aging” demographic of worshippers and a perception that the “very nature of communal worship” spreads the coronavirus. The priest reminded the government that the Church had advised those most at risk of the infection to stay at home and outlined the various measures the Church in Scotland has taken to minimize the spread of germs, including a two-meter distance between households, marshalls, and a ban on singing.

“By any measure these procedures place us in a significantly lower risk than most … establishments in the leisure and hospitality sectors,” Kane wrote. 

Meanwhile, the priest believes that the Scottish government has failed to appreciate what religious observance actually means for Christians. Reflecting on the four months in which Catholics have been unable to attend Mass, Kane underscored that theirs is a sacramental religion relying on physical presence.

“It is deeply distressing that Catholics cannot receive the Sacraments,” he wrote.

“Yet our civil authorities seem entirely blind to this distress.” 

The parish priest urged the MSP to convey to the authorities the dissatisfaction of the Catholic community. 

“We feel that our religious liberties are not being given sufficient protection,” he wrote. 

“No State should continue the suspension of public worship without serious cause. It will most certainly be a stain on this Government's reputation if people can visit a pub before a place of worship.”  

Kane concluded by asking MacGregor to appeal to the Government that public religious worship be allowed to begin again “as early as safely possible.” 

“The Government cannot reasonably expect people to endure the strain of this pandemic without the reassurance and strength that the Sacraments give.” 

In response, MacGregor stated on Facebook that “places of worship will not likely reopen before 23rd July.” He noted also, however, that the Scottish Government will review the current protocols on July 9. 

MacGregor, who is the MSP for Coatbridge and neighboring Chryston, said he would ensure that his constituents’ concerns were brought before the Scottish government.  

Not all Catholics in Scotland are comfortable with the reopening of churches to public worship however. Unconvinced by the safety measures proposed by the Church, some are happy to remain at home watching live-streamed Masses rather than risk their health or the health of others. 

Although Catholics comprise only 15.9 percent of the Scottish population, the Catholic Church contains the largest group of Christians who regularly attend public worship in Scotland. Only seven percent of residents of Scotland now attend public worship, a stunning decline in a country once famous for Presbyterianism and strict observance of the “Scottish Sabbath.” 

The overwhelming loss of Scotland’s Christian identity, once fractiously divided between different Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church, has not ended centuries of prejudice against the Catholic minority. Despite their low numbers, Catholics represent half the victims of hate crimes in the country. These anti-Catholic attacks are not condoned by ecclesial communities belonging to the Reformed tradition; today ecumencial relationships between the formal denominations are positive.    

LifeSiteNews reached out to Fr. Kane for further comment but has not yet received a response. 


  coronavirus, lockdown, lockdown orders, lockdowns, scotland

News

African cardinal criticizes Black Lives Matter movement for ‘dismantling’ civilization

'The movement is being hijacked by the interests & parties committed to dismantling the very values, structure & institutions which have over the centuries undergird the best civilisations & cultures'
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 3:14 pm EST
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Cardinal Napier Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
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By Martin Bürger

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier strongly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for its “dismantling” of civilizations and cultures. 

Napier, himself a black man and archbishop of Durban on the South African coast, tweeted that a “ brief study of the founding statement of ‘Black Lives Matter’ indicates the movement is being hijacked by the interests & parties committed to dismantling the very values, structure & institutions which have over the centuries undergird the best civilisations & cultures!”

 

After his original tweet on July 4, Napier followed up on the Black Lives Matter movement two days later. He said, “Another crucial test of the authenticity of the Black Lives Matter movement will be its stance vis a vis Planned Parenthood and the Abortion Industry!”

Napier added, “The same test applies when assessing the sincerity of those who voice thunderous condemnation against Domestic Violence, (erroneously called “Gender based Violence) as opposed to the absolute silence concerning Violence inflicted upon Babies in their mother’s womb!”

As pointed out by Illinois Right to Life, abortion center Planned Parenthood is actually a danger to the black community. Not only was Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger a racist. The organization also targets minority communities. Among the black community, the abortion giant is the leading cause of death.

“According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, there have been over 15.5 million abortions performed on African Americans,” Illinois Right to Life said. “These 15.5 million Black lives lost to abortion outnumber the deaths of Black people due to AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined.”

US Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, also criticized the movement. Bishop Strickland talked about the platform of the Black Lives Matter movement, which contains several positions Catholics can in no way support. Linking to the movement’s website, he tweeted, “Please educate yourself on this!”

He then pointed out that Black Lives Matter’s statement of belief mentions two points “that are contrary to FAITH...#1 opposing the nuclear family (where is dad?) and #2 opposing God’s plan for sex as a union of male & female.”

“This agenda is DANGEROUS!” Strickland emphatically concluded.

Black Lives Matter, according to its own website, wants to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

The term “villages” likely refers to Hillary Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village,” the title of which was based on the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Clinton argued for society’s shared responsibility for successfully raising a child. Catholic Senator Rick Santorum eventually wrote a rebuttal, titled, “It Takes a Family.”

In addition to wanting to “disrupt” the traditional family, Black Lives Matter fosters “a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

The website’s section on “What We Believe” mentions transgenderism in several other places. “We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead,” the movement stresses. “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”

The term “cisgender” simply means that a person does not buy into gender ideology, but science, instead. In other words, a “cisgender” woman is a biological woman, and a “cisgender” man is a biological man.

The Black Lives Matter movement claims that liberation movements for black people “in this country have created room, space, and leadership mostly for Black heterosexual, cisgender men — leaving women, queer and transgender people, and others either out of the movement or in the background to move the work forward with little or no recognition.”

Alicia Garza, one of the founders, openly admits to being a homosexual. She claims her “leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender Black men encounter police and state violence.” Accordingly, in order to “truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

Not all Church leaders are as critical of the Black Lives Matter movement as Cardinal Napier and Bishop Strickland. 

Bishop George Leo Thomas of the diocese of Las Vegas had released a pastoral letter on June 10, arguing that the Church “holds that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception until natural death. Under the banner of Catholic Social Teaching, we say with resounding voices, ‘Yes! Black Lives Matter!’”


  black lives matter, catholic, joseph strickland, wilfrid napier

News

UK High Court judge: Ban on religious services during lockdown may have been illegal

Mr. Justice Lewis allowed for a potential future challenge with regard to restrictions on churches.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 3:12 pm EST
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By Paul Smeaton

PETITION: Tell politicians not to discriminate against churches when reopening society! Sign the petition here.

UNITED KINGDOM, July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.K. High Court judge has said that the decision to restrict religious services during the coronavirus lockdown may have been illegal.

According to a report by The Guardian Mr. Justice Lewis dismissed virtually every claim in a legal action challenging various restrictions of individual and civil liberties during the lockdown.

But Lewis allowed for a potential future challenge with regard to restrictions on churches, saying that “there might be an arguable case at a future hearing related to restrictions on religious services.” 

Lewis referenced a recent High Court hearing, in which a chairman of a mosque in the north of England had argued that it was disproportionate to ban religious services during lockdown. The judge in that case said that he was “satisfied that there is a sufficiently arguable case to grant permission to apply for judicial review.” 

“The courts had already concluded that it was arguable that the restrictions on use of a mosque for communal prayers was an interference with the freedom of religion guaranteed by article 9 of the convention. That issue was, therefore, to be the subject of a full hearing to determine if any interference as justified,” Lewis said. 

“While it was similarly arguable that the restriction on communal worship in Roman Catholic churches may involve an unjustifiable interference with freedom of religion, that issue may have become academic in the light of amendments to the regulations which came into force with effect from 4 July. The parties were therefore invited to make further submissions on that issue,” he continued.

In March, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales prohibited the celebration of public Masses before the lockdown came into force and, according to their own statement, played a crucial role themselves in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.

Now that churches are allowed to open again the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) has released guidance for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass, which includes members of the congregation wearing face coverings, only allowing Holy Communion in the hand while standing, a ban on congregational singing, and encouraging those who receive Communion to leave church immediately after Mass.

Last week the U.K. government published guidance “for the safe use of places of worship from 4 July,” which strongly advises that food or drink essential to services only be distributed into the hand. The government’s guidance also strongly encourages faith communities to avoid singing at services and for face coverings to be worn.

The government’s guidance also outlines the possibility of how failure to adequately comply with regulations and the enforcement of these by local authorities could in some instances result in criminal prosecution and even prison sentences. 

But when the government’s guidance was announced, a group of 25 U.K. Christian leaders, including Church of England bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, said that they will continue their legal challenge against the government enforced closure of churches during the lockdown.

“Yesterday’s High Court ruling on places of worship is the second judgment in recent weeks to affirm that Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights is not only engaged, but that it was possibly violated by the government’s coronavirus restrictions,” Paul Huxley, Communications Manager for Christian Concern, told LifeSiteNews.

“The ruling suggests that the point may now be academic with the government’s latest, more permissive regulations. But this does not make the point – or our own legal challenge – moot. Even with the restrictions eased, it is important that the courts protect the rights of Christians and churches from government overreach at a time when Christian freedoms are under increasing pressure,” Huxley added.

In an open letter published in May, Catholic clergy led by former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats reminded politicians around the world that “the state has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the church.”

“This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments,” the signatories stated.


  catholic, coronavirus, lockdown orders, lockdowns, uk high court

News

Abortion clinics, advocacy orgs raked in millions from gov’t COVID-19 relief

Planned Parenthood was not the only abortion organization to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 1:23 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: Demand Planned Parenthood return $80M improperly taken from coronavirus emergency fund! Sign the petition here.

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration released a list of businesses Monday that received more than $150,000 in federal loans meant to compensate for the financial hardships of COVID-19 restrictions, revealing in the process that tax dollars went to multiple national pro-abortion organizations and independent abortion facilities.

The U.S. Treasury Department and federal Small Business Administration (SBA) made the disclosure in response to lawmaker inquiries about the Paycheck Protection Program, (PPP), created by the $2 trillion CARES Act legislation enacted this spring, CNBC reports. The program was meant to help businesses with fewer than 500 employees weather the costs of forced indefinite shutdowns imposed by most states in the name of public health.

The full list of loan recipients reveals that no less than 43 Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country received loans of at least $150,000, with many being much higher. Sixteen received loans in the $1-2 million range, sixteen in the $2-5 million range, three in the $5-10 million range, and eight in the $350-1 million range.

Taken together, the total Planned Parenthood affiliates received from PPP was somewhere between $65.8 million and $135 million.

Other pro-abortion organizations cashed in as well, including groups lacking even the pretense of Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services: the National Network of Abortion Funds ($350,000 - $1 million), National Abortion Federation ($350,000 - $1 million), and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation ($350 - $1 million). Independent abortion centers and chains in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Texas, and Virginia also received loans ranging from $150,000 to $1 million.

It was previously known that 37 Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) affiliates had obtained $80 million in PPP loans, with the SBA notifying them back in May they were ineligible and had to return the money, and would face more “severe penalties” than just repayment, such as criminal or civil punishment, if they were found to have knowingly made false statements on their loan applications.

“An investigation into how Planned Parenthood was awarded these funds over the intent of the members who voted for it appears warranted,” Conservative Partnership Institute senior policy director Rachel Bovard told NBC News, noting that Republican lawmakers who supported the CARES Act expected the SBA to deem Planned Parenthood affiliates ineligible.

Regardless, many pro-lifers feared this was inevitable as soon as Congress undertook the task of putting together a spending package for COVID-19 relief.

Planned Parenthood killed 345,672 preborn children last year while receiving more than $616 million from the federal government, $430 million in private revenue, and $591 million in charitable contributions. This year, the abortion giant prepared a $5 million campaign to bombard election battleground states with advertising against state efforts to suspend elective abortions as part of COVID-19 emergency measures.


  abortion, cares act, coronavirus, covid-19, naral, national abortion federation, national network of abortion funds, paycheck protection program, planned parenthood, small business administration, taxpayer funding of abortion, trump administration

News

North Carolina gov’t website crashes due to influx of parents filing to homeschool

Parents in North Carolina temporarily overwhelmed the online system for filing a Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 12:37 pm EST
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By Martin Bürger

RALEIGH, North Carolina, July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The increasing willingness of parents in North Carolina to homeschool their children has led to the online system for filing a Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School being temporarily overwhelmed. “The system is not currently available due to an overwhelming submission of Notices of Intent (NOI),” the website explained to visitors in the evening hours of July 1.

“It will be back online as soon as possible,” stated the North Carolina Department of Administration, to which the Division of Non-Public Education belongs. “We apologize for any inconvenience as we work to process NOIs as quickly as possible.”

Robert Bortins, CEO of Classical Conversations, an organization active within the homeschooling movement, told North State Journal, “Families are uncertain if the public schools will be able to serve their families needs for school this fall. The pandemic schooling at home gave them the opportunity to see that they could homeschool, and now they are choosing to do it intentionally.”

According to North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE), there were over 90,000 homeschooling families in the state last school year (2018-2019), which amounts to more than 226,000 students.

By comparison, in early 1988, “there were about 1046 homeschools in North Carolina. When NCHE convinced the NC General Assembly to pass a favorable homeschool law that was ratified on June 20, 1988, the number of homeschools began to grow rapidly.”

In the first year, “the NC homeschool community had experienced a phenomenal 32% increase in numbers to 1,385 homeschools. Since then, the number of homeschools in North Carolina has grown at an annual compound growth rate of more that 16%.”

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), public schools across the United States are making it harder for parents to withdraw their children from those schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As HSLDA’s Thomas J. Schmidt, a lawyer, told Fox News in May, many parents are “shocked” to find they cannot simply take their children out of public schools.

“The most egregious situations I’ve had have been in Florida,” Schmidt said. “But I’ve had numerous parents in a couple of different counties told, ‘we’re not allowed to withdraw students right now’ … They’re trying to hold onto these students.”

“We see this across the country,” the lawyer added. “I’ve had school officials attempt to prevent or dissuade parents from pulling their kids out.”

Schmidt pointed out “two main reasons” for public schools making it harder for parents to withdraw their children from school.

On the one hand, “school officials are fearful of losing too many students to homeschooling,” which causes school districts to also lose money.

“Traditionally, public schools are funded based on their total student enrollment,” the Washington Post explained.

Factoring in various types of funding, Utah spends about $7,000 per student, whereas New York, as the most costly state, spends more than $22,000. For public schools, a lot of money is involved in losing students.

The second reason given by Schmidt for not processing the paperwork necessary to get out of public school “is perhaps a staffing issue, just a lacking staffing issue to process these withdrawals.”

He clarified that it is “not always an issue of trying to stop parents from homeschooling but there is a significant part of that involved.”

In North Carolina, parents have to notify the state of their intent to operate a home school, including the name of the school, and the name of the chief administrator, which generally is a parent.

Categorized by the HSLDA as a state with moderate regulation in terms of homeschooling, families need to maintain attendance records and immunization records for each student. They are also required to have “a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year,” NCHE summarized.

Students need to take “a nationally standardized test, or other equivalent measurement, that measures achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling, and math, to every student each year, and maintain the results on file for one year, subject to inspection by a duly authorized representative of the State.”

As reported by the Raleigh News & Observer, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, “delayed his decision Wednesday on whether schools should reopen this fall under minimal social distancing, moderate social distancing or with remote learning only.”

Meanwhile, schools in Wake County, where the capital of Raleigh is located, are determined to reopen “in August at one-third capacity, with students rotating in and out of campus on a weekly basis, unless the state allows looser social distancing requirements.”


  coronavirus, homeschooling, north carolina

News

Visa personally blacklists pro–free speech social media founder, wife

Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, an alternative to Twitter, told LifeSiteNews that this is not the first time he has faced 'targeted persecution' and 'industry blacklisting.'
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 10:32 am EST
Featured Image
wk1003mike / Shutterstock.com
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

CLARKS SUMMIT,  Pennsylvania, July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The founder of a social messaging website dedicated to freedom of speech says a credit card company has made it impossible for him or his wife to take credit card payments.

Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, an alternative to Twitter, told LifeSiteNews that this is not the first time he has faced “targeted persecution” and “industry blacklisting.”

“Our app is banned by both Apple and Google,” Torba said via email. 

“We are banned from PayPal, Stripe, Square, Coinbase, Bitpay, and many other popular payment processors. We are banned from many popular hosting providers such as Amazon AWS.”

Torba published an article in late June alleging that Visa had blacklisted not only his company, but him and his wife.

“We were told this week that not only is Gab blacklisted by Visa as a business, but my personal name, phone number, address, and more are all also blacklisted by Visa. If I wanted to leave Gab tomorrow (something that isn’t going to happen) and start a lemonade stand I wouldn’t be able to obtain merchant processing for it,” he wrote.

Torba added that if his wife wanted to start a business, she wouldn't be able to obtain merchant processing because she lives at Torba’s address and therefore “would be flagged by Visa.”

The entrepreneur told LifeSiteNews on Friday that he “can’t share much more detail” because he and his wife are seeking legal advice. He underscored that his company defends all political speech as protected by the First Amendment of the American Constitution.

 “We aim to conserve those rights online and to export the freedom of speech to billions of people around the world who do not have the legal blessing that is the first amendment,” he wrote. 

“We also have common-sense rules: no illegal activity, no threats of violence, no sharing someone else's personal information, and no pornography.”  

Torba describes himself on his Gab profile as “a Christian, a husband, a father, a proud American, and the CEO of @gab,” including the scriptural verse “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1.”

The sentiments on Gab, however, are often contrary to Christianity. Users take advantage of Torba’s free-speech philosophy to post racist, anti-Semitic, and pro-fascist messages. One recent post introduced with a racial slur a shocking video of a black woman shooting a black man in the head. (The man, Devyn Holmes of Houston, survived.) Another encourages white women to have sexual relations only with black men. Another recent post is by a woman hoping to join a White Nationalist chat group.

At the same time, Gab provides chat groups for people interested in Catholicism, rural issues, homeschooling, and breaking news among other themes. 

Gab also protects sensitive viewers to a certain extent: the shooting of Devyn Holmes by Cassandra Damper was hidden under the warning “The following media includes potentially sensitive content.”  Torba was also criticized by a Gab user for removing “NatSoc” (National Socialist — i.e., Nazi) groups from his website.

“Torba cries about cencorship [sic] yet does it himself,” said the user, a Hitler fan calling himself AddictedtoRedPills.

Gab’s founder told LifeSiteNews that the company doesn’t allow users free rein.

“We take action against groups and users who repeatedly violate our community guidelines,” Torba explained.

“We enforce these guidelines equally regardless of political affiliation,” he continued. “While we don’t comment on individual cases, threats of violence and other illegal activity are not protected by the First Amendment and therefore not protected on Gab.”

The entrepreneur flagged a different totalitarian regime when he described Visa’s interference with his ability to do business: the People’s Republic of China.

“In China there is something called the Social Credit System, which was developed by the Communist Chinese Party as a ‘national reputation system,’” Torba wrote.

“This system tracks the ‘trustworthiness’ of individuals, businesses, and organizations. ‘Trustworthiness’ here means total and complete submission to the Chinese Communist Party. If the Communist Party deems you to be untrustworthy, you are denied access to plane tickets, train tickets, opening and operating businesses, and more,” he continued.

“To most Americans, this sounds horrifying, and it is. I now know from first-hand experience because this social credit system exists in the United States.”

Torba added that although the U.S. government doesn’t endorse this system, it is used by American corporations “who today have in many ways more power, data, and control over our lives than our government does.”

“Many of these corporations also happen to be endorsing and raising money for communist organizations, revolutionaries, and the domestic terrorists burning down our cities,” he alleged.

Torba stressed that Gab does not violate the law. A statement for the company said it tries to appeal to people of all backgrounds and does not endorse hate speech.

“From its inception, Gab has been committed to appealing to people of all races, backgrounds and political persuasions who support the free flow of information,” the company wrote. “... Anyone is welcome to express themselves on Gab.” 

“Of course Gab does not advocate hate speech. In fact, Gab terms state that it ‘treats all people with respect and dignity, regardless of their background, origins and point of view,’” it continued.

“But while Gab prohibits rhetoric that advocates violence or illegal activity and allows users to block hateful speech, Gab does not forbid any speech based solely on viewpoint.”

Torba alleges that Visa is taking extraordinary measures to interfere with Gab’s ability to take payment for its clothing merchandise and subscriptions to extra features on the website.

“We were told that Visa has someone camping on our website watching our payment processing,” the founder wrote. 

“As soon as we get a new processor up they find out who it is on their end and contact them. They tell the processor that Gab is flagged for ‘illegal activity’ and if they do not stop processing payments for us they will be heavily fined,” he wrote.

“When the processor inquires about this alleged ‘illegal activity,” Visa tells them that Gab has been flagged for ‘hate speech.’”

However, hate speech is not a crime in the USA, and all opinions are protected by the First Amendment, Torba asserted. He doesn’t recognize “hate speech” as a defined concept.

“Visa doesn’t agree with me,” he stated.

Torba expressed worry that Christians will suffer if something is not done to stop this form of corporate harassment.

“The Communist revolutionaries taking over the United States are coming for us all,” he wrote.

“It’s only a matter of time before the Bible is labeled as ‘hate speech’ and churches start to experience what I am going through right now.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to Visa for a statement but has not yet received a reply.

To make your views on the corporate attack on free speech respectfully known to the Department of Justice, please contact:

Attorney-General William Barr
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Switchboard: (202) 514-2000


  andrew torba, cancel culture, free speech, gab, visa

News

LifeSite is hiring a video editor! Come join our team.

LifeSite is seeking an Asst Video Editor to help us build our platform. Apply today!
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 10:27 am EST
Featured Image
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

Are you passionate about the battle for life and family?

We are facing a growing assault on all that is good and true in our world, and we need passionate, faith-filled men and women to come and join us in the fight to restore the Christian foundations of our society.

If you’re ready to give your life for the cause, then you’re in the right place.

Apply to join our team as an Assistant Video Editor here: https://lifesitenews.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=56

 

Here is the job ad:

Assistant Video Editor

LifeSiteNews is looking for a creative, self-motivated, mission-oriented video producer/editor. The responsibilities of this position will include a wide variety of audio and video production-based assignment including video and audio editing, motion graphics, filming and photography, some graphic design as well as managing content on our Youtube/Vimeo accounts. He/she will be directly involved in the audio and video production of our regular weekly podcasts, some on-the-ground video reporting, as well as a variety of other video related initiatives. 

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to join a vibrant, passionate team of professionals committed to promoting the Culture of Life, and to use their God-given talents to literally reach millions of viewers with the truth about life, family and faith. 

This position reports to the Podcast and Video Director.

Responsibilities: 

  • Produce high quality audio and video in a timely and professional manner  
  • Edit weekly podcast audio and video  
  • Help to review departmental video content before publishing 
  • Assist in the production of news-based video stories 
  • Produce fundraising and marketing videos  
  • Capture studio-quality photographs and video 
  • Set up studio lighting for video interviews  
  • Help to provide the LifeSite team with video and audio based technical support as needed 
  • Consult with stakeholders from production to post-production process  

Requirements 

  • Proven work experience as a video editor/videographer  
  • Experience with audio, video, and photo editing software packages  
    (Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Premiere and After Effects is an asset)  
  • Demonstrable videography and photography abilities with a strong portfolio  
  • Creative mind and storytelling skills  
  • Highly self-motivated with a growth mindset and willingness to learn evolving technology 
  • The ability to work independently  
  • Strong personal commitment to the pro-life and pro-family cause  

LOCATION: The successful will be able to work remotely from home. However, some travel will almost certainly be necessary to capture original video content/assist in setting up home studios for staff, etc. 

SALARY: Salary is negotiable based upon need and experience. Keep in mind that LifeSiteNews is a mission-based non-profit, although we always seek to meet our employees' legitimate financial needs. 

Your application should include a resume, cover letter, at least three references, and answers to the list of questions provided. Please send samples of your work to [email protected]

The cover letter should explain your interest in working for LifeSite and outline how your experience has proven both your commitment to LifeSite’s mission and your ability to succeed in the position. It should show knowledge of LifeSite’s reporting. 

The references are important. Please be aware that at a later stage of the application process, you will be required to arrange calls for us with your references. 

We will contact successful applicants for an interview. New employees are required to fly to Ontario, Canada for a week of training in the first month on the job, so a passport is essential for non-Canadians.*

*Current Coronavirus lockdown may require at home orientation until on location training is permissible. 


  hiring

Opinion

‘Baby-Sitters Club’ kid show reboot features transgender, occult propaganda

The new Netflix show, targeted to tween girls, is deliberately designed to undermine the nuclear family and Judeo-Christian values.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 8:46 pm EST
Featured Image
Netflix Futures / YouTube
Elise Ehrhard
By Elise Ehrhard

July 7, 2020 (NewsBusters) — In the 1980s and '90s, many young girls devoured the popular book series The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. The novels, about a group of girls in a fictional Connecticut town who run a club of babysitters, sold millions of copies.

On July 3, Netflix premiered a new series inspired by the novels. Since this is 2020, the series makes sure to check-off all the woke boxes required by leftist cultural arbiters.

One of the tween girls in the series, Mary Anne (Malia Baker), babysits for Bailey (Kai Shappley), a "trans girl" who is, in fact, a biological boy around preschool or kindergarten age.

When the boy gets sick while she is caring for him and is rushed to the hospital, Mary Anne gives the doctors at the hospital an anguished lecture about how they ought to refer to the biological boy as a girl. (How dare trained medical staff consider human biology!)

Nurse: If he's dehydrated, we'll need to place an IV. Have him change into this.

Bailey: I don't want the blue one.

Doctor: I hear someone's not feeling well. Let's take a look at the little man.

Mary Anne: Can I please talk to you two outside? I know that you guys are busy. But as you would see, if you looked at her and not her chart, Bailey is not a boy. And by treating her like one, you are completely ignoring who she is. You're making her feel insignificant and humiliated. And that's not gonna help her feel good or safe or calm. So, from here on out, please recognize her for who she is. And if it is at all possible, could you find me a non-blue hospital gown?

Doctor: Our apologies.

Anybody who has ever cared for young children knows that the line between imagination and reality is naturally blurred at that age. Responsible adults understand this and give the child time to grow. But in the world of radical LGBT ideology, refusal to "affirm" gender dysphoria in young children is "transphobic" and mean. 

Pushing this agenda on a show for tween girls makes it more difficult for them to fight back against unreality as the radical transgender ideology is increasingly "normalized" through popular culture.

Another "modernization" example is that one of the members of the Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) has a gay dad who FaceTimes with her from California with his gay male partner. The young girl is remarkably well-adjusted for an adolescent whose father divorced her mother to be with another man. She does not seem to struggle at all with what would normally be a painful shock for any child.

And no woke series would be complete without locking tween children who have only just begun puberty into a homosexual identity. So, of course, a seventh-grade boy that the girls meet at the beach casually mentions a romantic crush he had on another boy.

Middle-school boys and girls in our brave new LGBT world have no right to time or development before making a homosexual identity known. That is just "internalized homophobia" or something.

The series also includes a lesbian teacher and her partner. Thus, three letters in the LGBTQIA alphabet are properly covered for the tween audience. The show's producers would not want to make G.L.A.A.D. mad.

Since occultism is a growing part of progressive ideology, as Newsbusters has reported, the series includes a scene of avowed witches meeting together in their "spiritual circle." There is lots of talk of "spiritual energy" and other occult and New Age practices.

Unlike the darker Chilling Adventures of SabrinaThe Baby-Sitters Club makes occultism light and fun for its adolescent audience, something the "cool" moms are doing. 

Lastly, the girls in the series regularly make reference to their feminist bona fides, with one girl even referring to her outfit as "Ruth Bader Ginsburg chic." Television is just another way for the left to politicize girls early.

Popular culture is a cesspool. Shows targeted to tween girls are deliberately designed to undermine the nuclear family and Judeo-Christian values. (The show includes mention of Buddhism and New Age spirituality, but not a single family seems to go to church.)

Cultural Marxism dominates Hollywood and constantly pushes its radical cultural narrative on younger and younger populations. The series is rated TV-G on Netflix and is listed under the genres Kids' TV and Family Watch Together TV. Sadly, this leaves parents and their children with few good television options anymore.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.


  hollywood, homosexuality, lgbt tyranny, netflix, occult, propaganda, television, transgenderism

Opinion

New York Times rips ‘dark’ Trump speech, downplays leftist race riots

Is there anything sillier than The New York Times in these Trump years calling anyone else's tone 'dark and divisive'?
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 7:06 pm EST
Featured Image
dennizn / Shutterstock.com
Clay Waters
By Clay Waters

July 7, 2020 (NewsBusters) — Is there anything sillier than The New York Times in these Trump years calling anyone else's tone "dark and divisive"? 

They're too self-importantly partisan to have any shame. The paper's lead story on Independence Day by White House correspondent Annie Karni carried the online headline: "Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message." The paper's Twitter feed captured the tone: "President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech at Mount Rushmore, leaning into the culture wars and barely mentioning the pandemic."

Standing in a packed amphitheater in front of Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration, President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech on Friday that cast his struggling effort to win a second term as a battle against a "new far-left fascism" seeking to wipe out the nation's values and history.

This is where we are. Speaking up for America and her greatest presidents is a "divisive culture war message." As if the Times isn't waging war on Trump? Karni defended the left from Trump's attacks.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism.

Was there no mayhem in the streets? Did all those Manhattan windows get smashed to bits by...straw men? 

The Times chided Trump supporters for attending the outdoor rally, yet never lectured protestors after George Floyd's death.

"Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children," Mr. Trump said, addressing a packed crowd of sign-waving supporters, few of whom wore masks...

...

Instead, appealing unabashedly to his base with ominous language and imagery, he railed against what he described as a dangerous "cancel culture" intent on toppling monuments and framed himself as a strong leader who would protect the Second Amendment, law enforcement and the country's heritage.

The scene at Mount Rushmore was the latest sign of how Mr. Trump appears, by design or default, increasingly disconnected from the intense concern among Americans about the health crisis gripping the country. More than just a partisan rally, it underscored the extent to which Mr. Trump is appealing to a subset of Americans to carry him to a second term by changing the subject and appealing to fear and division.

...

In the amphitheater below, few in the packed crowd practiced any social distancing as people waved signs that referred to CNN as the "Communist News Network." ...

One can imagine the Times getting sensitive about being accused of toadying for communists.

Many conservatives on social media found it ironic for the New York Times to call someone else divisive.

PS: On Friday's front page, Richard Fausset, Mitch Smith, Sabrina Tavernise collaborated on "Expect a Fourth With More Fizzle Than Bang."

Elsewhere, the pleas were similar: Skip the party. Stay home. Do not make a bad situation worse.

Then the reporters had the gall to turn around and talk about the mass street protests — not to chide the protestors for not staying home themselves, but as reason not to celebrate the 4th of July at all! Again, no mention of social distancing violations.

At the same time, the anti-racism street protests that swelled across the country after George Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day have prompted more people to question whether they should celebrate the holiday at all.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.


  2020 presidential election, donald trump, mainstream media, media bias, new york times, newsbusters

Opinion

Caribbean priest explains why art sometimes depicts the devil as black

"Black is a 'colour' that absorbs light and reflects nothing, that is, it takes everything and gives nothing in return."
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 2:10 pm EST
Featured Image
The Soul assaulted by demons
, by Jean de Castel, Le Specule des pecheurs
Northern France, c.1470-1480 fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
Fr. Linus Clovis
By Fr. Linus Clovis

PETITION: Urge U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to defend Catholic heritage and statues! Sign the petition here.

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The current controversy regarding the imaging of black people is as broad and as complex as any issue involving strong views, intense emotions or passionate ideological positions.  I wish specifically to address the views which evoke controversy on art depicting the devil as black.   

Image
Fr Linus F Clovis

It is important to understand that although the Church is flexible and accommodating in the manner in which she preaches the Gospel to the world, her faith and doctrine is always presented in precise theological language.  Based on each one’s individual ability (Mt.25:15), the faithful, however, will grasp and articulate that faith in various concrete ways.  The faithful include artists, such as painters, sculptors, iconographers, musicians, all using their particular genius, talents and skills to exteriorise Christian ideas, their understanding of the faith or, the insights they possess.  Correspondingly, throughout the centuries, Churchmen have employed, sanctioned and supported various artists and craftsmen whose masterpieces grace the walls, windows and ceilings of our places of worship.

Art is the fruit of an outstanding ability to produce a piece based on aesthetic principles.  It is the production of a work that is receivable by the senses.  Its primary task is to allow ideas to shine forth with a wholly new profundity and power and to manifest the ultimate secrets of reality.  The primary purpose of art is simply to present an idea: not to produce something.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, a given art piece may provoke reactions in viewers varying from wondering admiration to violent disgust.  One is reminded of casting pearls before swine (Mt.7:6). 

The artist can be compared to a seer who is able to penetrate the innermost depth of existence or, to a creator whose handiwork expresses his or her vision.  While artists can prostitute themselves, at the risk of self-degradation, the work produced can still be an expression of genius.  Equally, viewers can pervert themselves by denouncing a work of art as representing only what their own biases have projected on it rather than that which the artist actually intended. 

At this point, I wish, again, to make it clear that I am addressing only the particular issue of why the devil is depicted as black. 

In Christian iconography, which varies from region to region, from age to age or from century to century, a different colour is used to represent a given virtue, vice, passion or person.  Thus, for instance, while blue is associated with Our Lady in late Western art, red is used in Eastern or Orthodox art.  In Western art, the use of any colour would be dependent on the period, the nation or the region.  The colour green could be used to signal new life, Eden and Paradise.  Red evokes a lover’s lips, Christ’s wounds, the flames of hell and the power of the Holy Spirit.  White denoting truth, purity, and perfection is also associated with death.  Blue is linked to the divine. However, it can also stand for something that is unusual and potentially dangerous.  Colour is a marker of difference and distinction.  Its monetary and symbolic values can reflect social hierarchy and moral norms.  Garments of particular shades indicate status, occupation and religious or political affiliations.  The colour of a monk’s habit indicate his order, stately robes and academic gowns are of a certain colour and hue, lawyers usually wear black robes and people at a political rally proudly wear their party colour.  Colour not only influences how individuals are perceived by others but, also, expresses personal beliefs and aspirations. 

Colour, attributed to particular vices or virtues, translates into language.  We say ‘green with envy’, ‘black with rage’, ‘seeing red’, ‘yellow belly’ for cowards, ‘red-blooded’ for courage or ‘blue-blooded’ for royalty.  A white flag represents surrender, a ‘golden opportunity’ should never be missed, a grey area indicates uncertainty.  We wait for the green light, watch for a blue moon, hate red tape’, dress elegantly for the black tie, love to be tickled pink and create white lies to cover our butts.

It is shallow, therefore, to say the least, that the devil painted black is a psychological instrument of racism, let alone, a motive to denigrate black people.  Artists will create or produce works of art but have no control over the viewer’s interpretation.  However, although the viewer is free to express an opinion regarding any work of art, it is unfair to the artist when viewers express their own subjective perspective so that the artist’s intention is completely lost. 

The statue of St. Michael defeating Satan is well-known.  It originates, in fact, from a 16th century painting by the Italian artist, Marco d’Oggiono (1470 – 1549) and, there are similar paintings by Giudo Reni (1575 – 1642), Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Giuseppe Marullo (1610-85), Luka Giordano (1634-1705), and William Blake(1757-1827), to name a few.  In none of these is the devil painted black.  In many famous paintings, Satan is depicted in the following colours:  In Giotto’s (1300s) “Last Judgement” he is blue; in Pieter Bruegel (1500s)“Fall of the Rebel Angels” he is brown; Michael Pacher (1400s) he is green; in William Blake he is red and in Michaelangelo’s (1400s) “Temptation and Expulsion from the Garden”, painted for the Sistine Chapel, he is white.  Interestingly, enough, female devils are always painted white.  Yes, the devil has been depicted as black but, then, so has our Blessed Lady whom God himself said would crush the head of Satan (Gen.3:15).

The question arises, ‘Why are two opposing persons depicted by the same colour?’  To answer that question, we need to return to the mind of the artist and ask what theological idea or truth did he or she intend to portray.

Black is a “colour” that absorbs light and reflects nothing, that is, it takes everything and gives nothing in return.  This phenomenon characterizes the epitome of evil.  It indicates that God’s gifts are received and nothing is returned as in the parable of talents.  It is much like the Dead Sea which receives the life-giving waters of the River Jordan but, having no exit, it keeps the waters for itself.  Hence, its water is black and dead.  Lucifer, whose name means “light bearer”, was given a plenitude of natural gifts but falling in love with himself, he declared his “non serviam” and, while retaining his gifts, became darkness itself (Gen. 1:4).  In depicting him as black, his egotistical character and his self-absorption is being stressed, while his cunning, mendacious and malice are reflected when he is painted white.

In the case of Blessed Virgin Mary, between four to five hundred, depending on classification, Black Madonnas can be found in Europe: Our Lady of Luxembourg, of Bistrica, Croatia, of Montserrat, Spain, of Czestochowa, Poland, of Mayfield, England, of Good Deliverance, Paris, France, of Altotting, Germany, of Vilnius, Lithuania, of Nazare, Portugal and of Loreto, Italy.  These black depictions of Our Lady articulate the cry from the biblical Canticle of Canticles (1:5-6) and “Nigra Sum”: that is “I am black but beautiful…”  Yet, in her many apparitions, Our Lady often adopts the similitude of the locality, such as an Aztec Indian in Mexico (1531), a Queen at La Salette (1846), a young girl at Lourdes (1858), a queen mother at Rue du Bac (1830), an Indian woman at Vailankanni (1500s), an Egyptian in Zeitoun in Egypt (1968), an African woman in Kibeho, Rwanda (1981), a Chinese woman in Donglu (1900), a Columbian in Las Lajas, Columbia (1754), a Filipina at Manaoag in the Philippines (1610).

As a race, especially in this hemisphere, we have suffered and are suffering, because our race is called black and there exist a colour also called black which is being narrow-mindedly viewed from a negative perspective.  These negative perspectives stem not only from the system but also from each other and from black leaders, both secular and religious, who take advantage of the masses encouraging them to wallow in pity pots of fabrication that someone out there is causing them oppression because they are black.  Again, let me stress that I am answering the question from only one perspective and in no way wish to minimise or deny that our people have and are suffering greatly from systems, biases, bigots and racists. After all, black, like any other colour, remains a colour.

And, whether the devil is painted black, blue, green or white, is absolutely immaterial.  What is required for the advancement of the human race are men and women of integrity who live heroic lives and, are worthy of emulation.  This means that we, as human beings, must all conform to the divine precept of loving our neighbour as ourselves.  In this way, we will image Him who is the image of the Unseen God (Col.1:15), who being pure spirit, is unbounded by colour.  

Note about photo at top: The striking images in this ‘Mirror of Sinners’, a poem on death and damnation, exploit the multiple meanings of colours. Crawling with maggots, a corpse lies on the ground, cocooned in a white shroud. Standing nearby is the author of the text, dressed in a black robe. Here, white signals death and decay, while black is a sign of learning and authority. Having left the body, the airborne Soul represented by a naked figure is assaulted by demons. The Soul’s pale flesh stands out against the blood-red cloud, a portent of the fiery depths of Hell.


  art, catholic, devil, satan

Blogs

Only the Catholic faith can ward off leftist assaults on US

What is nationalism without God? What is populism without Christianity? Didn’t Christ himself say, 'Without me, you can do nothing?'
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 6:44 pm EST
Featured Image
Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock.com
Stephen Kokx Stephen Kokx Follow Stephen
By Stephen Kokx

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cancel culture isn’t content with getting conservatives thrown off cable television these days, though it definitely wants that. By all indications, Tucker Carlson is its latest target.

No, liberals have their eyes set on something bigger.

What leftists are currently engaging in is an attempt to overthrow, with help from the professional liars who run America’s corporate news networks, the entirety of Western Civilization.

Their first coup attempt — to invalidate the 2016 election by removing Donald Trump from office because of “Russian interference” — failed spectacularly.

Their goal now is to throw out the principles that underlie the United States...as well as the Christian faith.

The root cause of their hatred

The front-line fighters in this war for the West are a sad lot of mostly twenty-something anarchists who are themselves victims of the Sexual Revolution.

Most are lost souls raised in broken homes with divorced parents. They grew up in corrupt school systems that denied them any knowledge of the Christian faith. If they did happen to learn anything about Christianity, they were likely taught that it is a repressive, sexist religion.

From kindergarten to college, these pro-LGBT, abortion-supporting Zoomers have been coddled in a liberal bubble — indoctrinated with the belief that their “feelings” are supreme and that no one has a right to offend them. Their outbursts are cries for help as far as I can tell.

Ultimately, their assaults on private property and tearing down of statues are symptoms of persons who do not have Jesus Christ as the guiding figure in their lives.

Pope Leo XIII once taught that “[i]f the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption.”

His words directly apply to the times we are living in today.

However, what we are seeing play out in the streets of America is not merely the product of one or two generations of failed social policies.

What is happening across the West is the culmination of centuries of men rejecting Jesus Christ and His church and placing themselves at the center of public life over and against God.

A short history lesson

When men rebelled against Christendom and the Catholic world order during the 1500s, society began to decay. Grace began flowing to fewer and fewer souls due to Protestantism ensnaring more and more men in its theological falsehoods.

Slowly distancing themselves from the true faith, men began constructing not only their households and cities on lies, but entire nations as well.

Some countries, like the United States, seemed to strike a balance between truth and error. For a long time, that seemed to somewhat work, presumably due to the goodwill of so many ordinary, God-fearing Americans. But today the U.S. looks to have tipped in favor of those who want to use their freedom to corrupt others.

Admirably, many well intentioned politicians have been fighting back against those seeking to destroy the West. President Trump’s speeches in Poland and at Mount Rushmore this weekend are two such instances of someone resisting their sinister plot.

But is what President Trump has said and done really enough? Is anything that members of the GOP have done in response to the madness going on in America going to actually save the United States? If we’re being honest, they don’t have a great track record of preventing its slide into hedonism.

Christ or chaos

Many so-called “nationalists” and populists are rising up across the U.S. and Europe to fight the globalist, one-world agenda.

That’s all well and good. But what is nationalism without God? What is populism without Christianity? Didn’t Christ himself say, “Without me, you can do nothing?”

The best message a politician can give right now is one that includes not only Jesus Christ, but, more specifically, the Catholic faith.

In 1873, American Catholic intellectual Orestes Brownson spoke of the desperate need for the United States to convert to Catholicism. His words are prophetic.

“Let the American people become truly Catholic ... and their Republic is safe,” he wrote in an article for his Brownson Quarterly Review of that year.

“Let them refuse and seek safety for the secular order in sectarianism or secularism, and nothing can save it from destruction.”

Pope Pius XII gave similar remarks during another revolutionary period of time: World War II.

“Most happy are those states that establish laws inspired by the doctrine of the Gospel, and do not refuse to render public homage to the majesty of Christ, the King,” he declared in 1939.

It is therefore inadequate to say — as many Republicans and conservatives today do — that America must return to “limited government” and “faith and reason.”

So long as the majority of persons in the United States are adhering to a false “faith” and remain outside the bosom of the Catholic Church and her grace-giving sacraments, then all politics really amounts to is arranging deck chairs on a sinking ship.

Restoring all things in Christ

Pre–Vatican II popes always taught that without the Catholic religion, man’s reason will inevitably falter, his understanding of the natural law will subside, and his will will weaken.

“The intellect is a guide … but if it lacks its companion light, the knowledge of divine things, it will be only an instance of the blind leading the blind,” Pope St. Pius X once wrote.

Fr. Francis J. Connell, one of the sharpest American minds in the 20th century, re-iterated that teaching when he published in 1951 the following remarks:

How, then, can civil rulers know their duties of natural law unless they have recourse to revelation, as interpreted by the one authentic teacher of revealed truth, the Catholic Church?

If a person tries to solve the moral problems connected with sterilization, euthanasia, contraception, etc., he will very easily go astray unless he relies on Christian revelation as proposed by the teaching authority of the Church.

There is no surer foundation on which to establish a country (or to fight a war against those who are doing the bidding of the devil) than the Catholic faith.

If the United States wants to truly protect itself from the coup being waged upon it by radical leftists and Marxists, it must drape itself in the Catholic faith.

For their part, Catholics living in the United States must heed St. Pius X’s command to take up the “arduous task of the restoration of the human race in Christ.” And that includes restoring America to Christ. She now more than ever needs the help of Catholics.


  2020 presidential election, black lives matter, catholic, donald trump, george floyd, pius x, racism, riots

Blogs

Navy bans sailors from attending Mass, defying President Trump’s orders

The anti-religious freedom measure undermines President Trump's own declaration that churches are 'essential'
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 11:15 am EST
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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Navy has issued an absolutely ridiculous order that bans enlisted servicemen from attending indoor religious services.

This wholly unjust directive was released late last month despite President Trump having already declared churches “essential” during the coronavirus lockdown.

LifeSite has launched a petition calling on President Trump to overrule the Navy’s outrageous measure. It already has over 17,000 signatures. Be sure to add your name to that petition. Click here to do so.

Today on The John-Henry Westen Show I speak to a member of the U.S. Navy, a Catholic, who has been impacted by this unjust order.

He told me that it’s essential that he goes to Mass right now given that access to the sacraments is integral to living out his faith and staying strong in the face of war.

He also said he was raised to believe that God, country, and family is the proper order of things but that right now, thanks to the Navy’s directive, that is out of whack and country is being put first.

He called on members of the Navy to step up and get rid of this unjust directive. He also called on his fellow service men to pray, do penance, and beg God to give them strength at this time.

Amen to that! 

The First Liberty law firm has announced it is suing the Navy for its anti-religious freedom decree, which threatens to court-martial any service member that attends church.

“On June 24, the Navy issued an order that banned troops from attending indoor religious services, although other activities such as using mass transit, hosting social gatherings of any size, and participation in protests are all permitted,” the group has explained

“The order specifically states that ‘service members are prohibited from visiting, patronizing, or engaging in...indoor religious services.’” 

I hope you will sign the petition calling on President Trump to overrule this anti-religious freedom measure. Again, click here to add your name.

I also hope you will join me in prayer that the Navy scraps the order altogether. Already there is news that they have slightly modified it.

The new provision appears to allow service men and women to attend off-base religious services if certain “conditions are met locally.” In areas where “conditions” aren't met, however, off-base religious service attendance is still prohibited. 

Although this is progress, it isn't enough. We must continue to stand up for religious liberty. The men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve America and the freedoms it was built upon deserve more.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and ACast. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe to the audio version on various channels, visit the ACast webpage here.

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

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  constitution, navy, president trump, religious freedom, religious liberty, u.s. constitution, u.s. navy, united states

Blogs

What a visit to an observant Benedictine monastery can teach us

Visiting a good monastery is always a challenge and a consolation.
Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 10:17 am EST
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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

July 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — There are two important liturgical dates associated with the patron of Western monasticism and co-patron of Europe. The traditional Roman calendar observes his feast on his transitus or passing into eternal life on March 21. The modern Roman calendar observes his feast on July 11, the date of the translation of his relics. Benedictine monks and nuns customarily celebrated both feasts, which even had octaves — the more festivity, the better!

(Speaking of festivity, today, July 7, is the 13th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, the great Magna Carta of liturgical restoration — definitely worth a Birra Nursia or some other celebratory beverage.)

The first time I read the Rule of St. Benedict as a young adult, I found it stiff and dry. In reality, I was not yet ready for the purity and depth of its wisdom. Many years passed before I read it again — and this time, my reaction was quite different. The Prologue in and of itself struck me as one of the most profound summaries of the Christian spiritual life I had ever seen; the chapters on humility, the instruments of good works, the manner of praying the office made me realize that I was standing in the presence of a lawgiver like Moses, to whom indeed the traditional liturgy compares the Holy Patriarch. The notable fact that Christian Europe, the heart of Christendom, was constructed primarily by Benedictines ceased to surprise me.

Although I had known or seen Benedictines before, it wasn’t until my visits to the monastery of Norcia that I felt as if I had encountered monks who truly lived by the spirit and letter of the Rule. Their enthusiasm for divine worship (the opus Dei or “work of God”), their quiet joy, and their example of fraternity drew me back again and again. Visits to the monasteries of Le Barroux, Silverstream, and Clear Creek only increased my love for Benedictine monasticism. After praying about it, I decided to become a Benedictine oblate of Norcia, where I made my final oblation on May 22, 2014, the feast of St. Rita of nearby Cascia.

What are some of the lessons I have learned from monks over the years?

God has pride of place. The horarium — that is, the daily fixed round of prayer — takes priority over everything else. If a monk is doing some job and the bell rings, he has to wrap up what he’s doing, or leave it unfinished, and go back to the chapel. If you are expecting to meet a certain monk to talk about some personal or professional matter, you have to wait your turn; it could take days to see the person you want to see, because they are just so busy with the “work of God” — that is, the round of prayer. Your own needs are in third place; first comes worship, then the immediate needs of the community, and finally — as time permits — your own. It is exactly the opposite of the modern world’s motto, “me, myself, and I.”

God deserves our best. Out in the world, there can often be a hasty and slipshod approach to serving God. We do what’s convenient for us. We make things snappy because we have “stuff to do.” Human work tends to take precedence over divine work, the active life over the contemplative. While monks face the same temptations to activism, anthropocentrism, and cutting corners as all other fallen men, their life has been designed from the ground up to be theocentric, receptive, and maximalist. Authentic monks give their first and best hours of the day to God; they give Him the most splendid liturgy they can offer; they strive to store up riches in Heaven rather than on Earth.

God is the meaning of our life and everything in it. In the world, we tend to compartmentalize: I’ll give this hour to God, but the rest of the week is for me and my sphere of concerns. We buy and sell, give and take, wake and sleep, eat and drink and recreate, often without a thought for life eternal, without the infusion of prayer that should permeate our life like incense in a church. The monks, on the other hand, have set up their lives so that everything they do, wear, eat, or say is rooted in God and flows back to Him. This happens not only in the liturgy, where it is most obvious, but also in the routines of the refectory, in the sacral silence of the library, in the fraternal recreations and walks, in the friendly conversations in the guesthouse or the bookshop. A good monastery will remind visitors of the heavenly Jerusalem, where “God is all in all” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28). This is not to say any monastery or any monk is perfect, but rather that at its best, the monastic life really does supernaturalize all of human life, orienting it toward its transcendent destiny.

God is real, and we encounter Him. In the world, thanks in large part to our forgetfulness and hardness of heart, God seems distant, vague, unreal, more of a concept than a certainty. The solution to this disconnect between ourselves, who have such a tenuous purchase on reality, and the one who is in fact the most real and the source of all reality is not an evangelizing big-tent Christian rock concert or a gooey “sharing” of life stories. We meet this God in the calming repetition of the psalms; we meet Him in the silence that compels us to go beneath the surface and beyond the conventional; we meet Him in the serious joy or joyful seriousness that radiates from men who have given everything to Him. There is no joy like this to be found in the madding crowd. The world is a hard master that demands everything and gives, ultimately, nothing but emptiness and regrets. Pleasures run out quickly, demanding frantically to be renewed: a despair lurks at the center of them. The monastery demands everything and gives more than everything. It connects all that is noble and all that is humble in a man’s life to the One who gives reality its reality, who endows our thoughts, words, and actions with meaning.

Hospitality as a way of life. Fallen human beings — especially in the Modern Age, which privileges various kinds of individualism and collectivism — are burdened with a tendency to “curve inwards,” as the medieval theologians put it. We take stock to make sure we are and will be well fed; when we share, it is with difficulty or for self-interest. St. Benedict’s Rule embodies the opposite attitude: food is for sharing with guests, prayer is for the benefit of all, the liturgy is a gift free and fertile beyond measure, life is to be expended not on oneself, but in service to brethren and strangers. The kernel of civilization is the Rule in its famous principle of hospitality: every guest, be he mighty or marginal in the eyes of the world, is to be received as Christ. Moderns treat even their own children as strangers; monks treat the stranger as Christ. This is the difference between a culture of death and a culture of life. You can see this in action at a monastery.

Visiting a good monastery is always a challenge and a consolation. On the one hand, it shows us how little we are actually giving to God of what we could give to Him; it points up our lack of generosity, our inconsistency and inconstancy, our petty pleasures and disorganized priorities. On the other hand, it reminds us that God is greater than our problems, that His grace is sufficient for our weakness, and that He is calling us gently but insistently to embrace more self-discipline and self-denial for the sake of a fuller life in Him.

My life as an oblate is fortified by the strong presence of St. Benedict and his Rule, always pointing me in the right direction. 


  benedictines, catholic, religious life

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Episodes Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 12:29 pm EST

When we sin we rebel against God

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live aired on June 24, 2020 and re-aired on 7.7.2020. In today’s episode, Mother speaks about the harmfulness of sin and the need for Catholic families to be heroic.

 

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Episodes Tue Jul 7, 2020 - 11:42 am EST

Navy bans sailors from attending Mass, defying President Trump’s orders

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

The U.S. Navy has issued a directive than bans its members from attending 'indoor religious services.' However, the order still allows them to use mass transit, host social gatherings of any size, and participate in protests. President Trump, meanwhile, has already declared churches to be essential during the coronavirus outbreak. The First Liberty law firm is suing the Navy, citing infringement on religious freedom.