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August 23, 2017


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Legal battle isn’t over for priest who refuses to break confessional seal

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By Lisa Bourne

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Louisiana state judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit involving the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, one of its priests, and the confessional seal.

District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Monday that an East Baton Rouge Parish jury should determine whether what Rebecca Mayeux allegedly told Father Jeff Bayhi in the confessional as a teenager about being sexually abused was by definition a confession and therefore confidential, or if she was simply looking for help.

Under penalty of excommunication, a Catholic priest may not reveal what he learns during the Sacrament of Confession under any circumstances, even when a penitent confesses criminal activity. According to the Church’s catechism, the sacramental seal is called such because what the penitent has revealed is sealed by the sacrament.

Mayeux, a minor when her parents sued Father Bayhi and the diocese in 2009 on her behalf, is now in her early 20s. The suit argues that Father Bayhi should have reported the abuse Mayeux reportedly disclosed to him in the confessional in 2008.

Father Bayhi has testified that he can’t reveal what he was told or even confirm that he heard Mayeux’s confession, citing the confessional seal. The diocese has maintained the absolute secrecy of the confessional and stood by Father Bayhi.

Caldwell and a state appeals court ruled last year that Mayeux may tell a jury what she allegedly revealed to Father Bayhi in the confessional, The Advocate reported, but the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the seal of confession in a ruling last fall.

The state Supreme Court ruling last October said "any communication made to a priest privately in the sacrament of confession for the purpose of confession, repentance, and absolution is a confidential communication … and the priest is exempt from mandatory reporter status."

More than a dozen Catholic, Christian, and pro-life organizations had filed an amicus brief in support of the diocese and Father Bayhi after the high court initially ordered Father Bayhi to testify as to whether or not confessions occurred, and if so, what the contents of the confessions were.

In that 2014 ruling, the Supreme Court said, “There exists material issues of fact concerning whether the communications between the child and the priest were confessions per se and whether the priest obtained knowledge outside the confessional that would trigger his duty to report.”

An attorney for the Baton Rouge diocese and Father Bayhi argued to Caldwell on Monday that Mayeux alleged in her suit in 2009 the statements she made to the priest were during the sacrament of confession but then described her statements differently in a later deposition, as a non-confidential cry for help.

Mayeux’s attorney said her position has not changed and maintained the communications were not confidential.

Caldwell said in his Monday decision, "The Supreme Court said it's a factual issue that goes to the jury."

Mayeux contends she told Father Bayhi of the alleged abuse by a fellow parishioner during a series of confessions in 2008 when Father Bayhi was her pastor at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church in Clinton.

The alleged abuser, George Charlet Jr., died of a heart attack in 2009 while under criminal investigation. His estate also is a defendant in the case.

The Advocate report said the case is set for trial on Oct. 23.

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Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

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Christian ministry sues for defamation over ‘hate group’ designation

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By Peter LaBarbera

August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Christian pro-family organization D. James Kennedy Ministries is filing a defamation lawsuit against the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it a “hate group.”

D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJMK), formerly known as Coral Ridge Ministries, is among dozens of organizations opposing the LGBTQ agenda, radical Islam, and uncontrolled immigration that have been tarred as “hate” organizations by the SPLC, which is now receiving millions of dollars in new funding in the wake of the recent racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organizations are listed alongside racist and anti-Semitic extremist groups like Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan.

The lawsuit, filed August 10 in federal District Court in Alabama, charges the SPLC with “trafficking in false or misleading descriptions of the services offered under the Ministry's trademarked name, and for defamation pursuant to Alabama common law arising from the publication and distribution of information that libels the Ministry's reputation and subjects the Ministry to disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public."

The lawsuit also names Amazon.com, AmazonSmile Foundation and GuideStar USA — organizations that have relied on the SPLC's "hate" designation to effectively punish DJKM and other pro-family and conservative groups by labeling them as “hate groups” and thus ineligible for charitable donation programs. After receiving much criticism, the charity-listing group Guidestar backpedaled and said it would stop designating conservative organizations as “hate groups” based on the SPLC’s jaundiced characterization, as LifeSiteNews reported in June.  

The D. James Kennedy Ministries civil suit appeals to the federal Lanham (Trademark) Act and asks for a permanent injunction enjoining the SPLC and its allies from disseminating the “hate group” declaration against the Christian ministry. It also asks for monetary “punitive damages” from the SPLC, Guidestar and the Amazon affiliates for republishing the "hate group" designation "with knowledge that the matter published was false, or with reckless disregard of whether the matter was false."

"The mission of the [D. James Kennedy] Ministry is to proclaim the Gospel upon which this nation was founded, to teach and nurture the followers of Jesus, to equip and encourage believers, and to defend religious liberty," the lawsuit states.

"Nowhere in the purpose or action of the Ministry is there HATE or any room for HATE," it states.

SPLC list endangers Christians

DJMK, a Christian TV ministry, also broadcast a special on SPLC called “Profit$ of Hate,” in which it details how the SPLC’s designation of mainstream pro-family organizations like Family Research Council (FRC) as “hate groups” puts the lives of Christians in danger. On August 15, 2012, a gun-wielding LGBT activist named Floyd Lee Corkins targeted employees at FRC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., for mass-murder but was thwarted by the heroic actions of building manager Leo Johnson.

Corkins, now serving a 25-year jail sentence for domestic terrorism, told the FBI that he found FRC through the “Southern Poverty Law [Center] lists [of] … anti-gay groups” (see 4:15 mark in video).

In a similar case of pro-LGBTQ terrorism in December, Jaden Duong, an anti-religion activist, drove his van carrying explosives to the Australian Christian Lobby bombs because he opposed the group’s stance against homosexual “marriage.” The blast “blew out windows, gutted the ground floor and caused $100,000 damage,” according to the Daily Telegraph. No one was killed.

‘Political attack machine’

In a statement, D. James Kennedy Ministries said the SPLC has "descended into a political attack machine, plastering the 'hate' label not only on legitimate hate groups, but also on anyone who disagrees with their far-Left political persuasions. It is intellection and morally dishonest to group mainstream Christian ministries with neo-Nazis and violent militias — yet this is exactly what the SPLC does, and news media reporting uncritically parrots them."

"Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people never get past the news headline or the sound bite. But no one should be confused by the SPLC's rank, rhetorical deception. Theirs is nothing more than a poorly disguised effort to stifle religious speech, while padding their sizable coffers," said DJKM's CEO Frank Wright in a separate statement.

By the "SPLC's flawed and libelous criteria, both Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. were haters too — simply because their devout Christian convictions guided their views on human life, human sexuality, and marriage,” Wright said. “The SPLC should be ashamed of themselves. Sadly, they are not."

The SPLC also has targeted opponents of Muslim extremism like British activist Maajid Nawazits with its “hate” label, leading even secular liberals like Bill Maher to condemn the “civil rights” outfit. Nevertheless, media like CNN continue to publish its “hate map” listings as if it is an accurate and impartial listing of extremist groups.

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MTV promotes voter registration for same-sex ‘marriage’ initiative in Australia

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By Doug Mainwaring

CANBERRA, August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In the final days leading up to Australia’s national vote-by-mail on legalizing same-sex “marriage,” a massive push is underway to register young people before Thursday’s midnight deadline.

Proponents of same-sex “marriage” have focused their efforts on university students because a recent survey reveals that about 80 percent of young Australians, ages 18-24, support marriage equality. Proponents are concerned that half a million eligible voters between the ages of 18-39 are currently missing from voter rolls.

Sophie Johnston, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), told the Huffington Post, “Over the past two weeks, especially the NUS along with other organisations, have been working specifically with young people to make sure they are enrolled and they get out and vote yes for marriage equality.”

NUS says nearly one million students have received emails from "almost every single university" urging those who are eligible to vote to double check their registration.

In addition to the emails campaign, volunteers have been active on campuses signing up voters.

MTV and other media go to extreme measures to promote same-sex ‘marriage’

PEDESTRIAN.TV, Broadsheet, VICE, Junkee and FBi Radio, all of whom cater to young Australian audiences, shut down their normal programming on Wednesday, August 23, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to encourage their audiences to register to vote.

In a joint statement, the five media sites said, “[M]arriage equality is perhaps the most important social fight we’ve faced in the last decade, so we’re doing just that.” The statement says that they want to make it very clear that, “the time is now for you, the youth of Australia, to take action and enroll or update your details for the upcoming postal vote on marriage equality.”

MTV Australia has decided to follow suit, pledging to cease broadcasting between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 24, the final day to enroll or update voter registrations.  

Simon Bates, the head of MTV Asia Pacific, said, “As a leading youth entertainment brand that supports inclusiveness and equal rights for all Australians, MTV wants to encourage young Australians to get out and do their part in ensuring their voices are heard in the Australian Marriage Law postal vote.”

The national vote to be held via mail-in ballots will be non-binding, and is technically a “survey.”

The survey will ask Australians whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. If a majority vote “yes,” parliament will then vote on relevant legislation. No further national plebiscite will be held.

Two previous attempts by the Liberal-National Coalition government to have a binding national referendum on the issue have been rejected by the Australian Senate, most recently on August 9.  

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said during a press conference, “If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote ‘no.’ It you don’t like political correctness, vote ‘no,’ because voting ‘no’ will stop political correctness in its tracks.”

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Amoris Laetitia is a ticking ‘atomic bomb’ set to obliterate all Catholic morality: philosopher

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By Pete Baklinski

August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s top Catholic philosophers has called Pope’ Francis’ Exhortation Amoris Laetitia a ticking “theological atomic bomb” that has the capacity to entirely destroy all Catholic moral teaching. 

Dr. Josef Seifert, founding rector of the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein, said the only way the theological bomb can be defused is by Pope Francis retracting at least one major error in his 2016 Exhortation. 

With philosophical precision, Seifert pinpoints the main problem in Amoris Laetitia (AL) to a passage that he said suggests that God actively wills people, in certain situations, to commit acts that have always been considered objectively evil by the Catholic Church. 

He quotes directly from passage 303 of Amoris where Pope Francis speaks about “irregular couples” living in habitual adultery who decide to forgo following the Six Commandment. 

“Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel,” wrote Pope Francis in his 2016 Exhortation. 

“It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal,” he added. 

Commented Seifert: “In other words, besides calling an objective state of grave sin, euphemistically, ‘not yet fully the objective ideal,’ AL says that we can know with ‘a certain moral security’ that God himself asks us to continue to commit intrinsically wrong acts, such as adultery or active homosexuality.”

But Seifert pointed out that if just one intrinsically immoral act, such as adultery, can be permitted and even willed by God, then there is nothing stopping such a principle being applied to “all acts considered ‘intrinsically wrong.’”

If it is true that God can want an adulterous couple to live in adultery against the Sixth Commandment, he said, then there is nothing to keep the other nine Commandments from falling. 

According to such logic, Seifert continued, evils such as murder, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, lying, thievery, perjury, and betrayal can be “justified in some cases and ‘be what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.’”

“Does not pure logic demand that we draw this consequence from this proposition of Pope Francis?” the philosopher said. 

Seifert said that if his above question is answered in the affirmative, then the “purely logical consequence of that one assertion of Amoris Laetitia seems to destroy the entire moral teaching of the Church.”

The professor’s concern is similar to one of the dubia (questions) raised by the four cardinals to Pope Francis last year asking him to clarify the meaning of his Exhortation. 

Question two of five asks the Pope if, with the publication of Amoris, does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor that there are “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?” 

In his paper, Seifert pleaded with Pope Francis to withdraw and condemn the notion that God sometimes wills people to commit intrinsically evil acts.

“If this is truly what AL affirms, all alarm over AL’s direct affirmations regarding matters of changes of sacramental discipline refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the Ten Commandments and of Catholic moral teaching,” he said. 

Leaving such a notion uncorrected will lead to “nothing less than to a total destruction of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” he concluded. 

Last week, Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the four cardinals who signed the dubia almost one year ago, outlined how the process for issuing a “formal correction” of the Pope would proceed if the Pope continued in his refusal to clarify his teaching. 

“It seems to me that the essence of the correction is quite simple,” Burke explained. 

“On the one hand, one sets forth the clear teaching of the Church; on the other hand, what is actually being taught by the Roman Pontiff is stated. If there is a contradiction, the Roman Pontiff is called to conform his own teaching in obedience to Christ and the Magisterium of the Church,” he said. 

“Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the five dubia, so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth. These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points,” he added. 

Dr. Josef Seifert paper: Does pure Logic threaten to destroy the entire moral Doctrine of the Catholic Church?

 
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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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‘Hate is hate’: UK government cracking down on ‘homophobic, transphobic’ social media posts

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By Claire Chretien

ENGLAND, August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A top prosecutor for the British government warned in a new article that it will crack down on "online hate crime" committed by "those in the UK who hold extreme views" on "sexuality" and "gender."

Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), wrote in The Guardian, "whether shouted or tweeted, prejudice devastates lives." 

Policing Internet speech could be one solution for the questions of "how societies might do more to prevent such opinions from gestating in the first place," Saunders wrote. 

"An increasing proportion of hate crime is now perpetrated" online, wrote Saunders. CPS "commits to treat online hate crimes as seriously as those committed face to face."

A follow-up article in The Guardian said CPS has a new policy that will "cover different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. They also say that victims of biphobic hate crime, aimed at bisexual people, have different needs and experiences compared to those suffering anti-gay and transphobic offences."

A 2016 survey of British Muslims found that more than half of them think homosexuality should be illegal, and 47 percent of them thought it was "not appropriate for gay people to teach in schools."

Saunders insisted "there are crucial provisions in law to ensure we do not stifle free speech, an important right in our society." She didn't specify anything more about these "provisions."

"With more than 15,000 hate crime prosecutions in 2015-16, prosecutors are now increasingly able to persuade courts that stiffer 'uplifted' sentences are warranted," Saunders continued, referring to government lobbying to increase sentences. "This year’s hate crime report, when published later this year, will show for the first time that the CPS achieved sentence uplifts in more than half of such cases."

"Hate crime of any form is not only damaging for individuals but also for society as a whole, where it sows seeds of division and intolerance," Saunders wrote. "Left unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days. That is why countering it is vital for society and a priority for the CPS."

A number of Christian street preachers have been arrested in the UK for expressing their views on homosexuality and "challenging Muslims." In Scotland earlier this year, a preacher was jailed overnight for answering a homosexual teen's question about the Bible. One Catholic hermit was arrested and charged with harassment for distributing pamphlets against abortion and homosexual activity.

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Ohio Senate may ban discriminatory abortions against babies with Down syndrome

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By Claire Chretien

COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ohio Senate is considering a bill that would make aborting a baby because he has Down syndrome a fourth-degree felony.

Abortion lobby groups Planned Parenthood and NARAL strongly oppose it and are highlighting stories of pro-abortion parents who have children with Down syndrome. 

Pro-lifers testified in favor of the non-discrimination bill, SB 164, on Tuesday. Sen. Frank LaRose of Ohio's 27th district is sponsoring the bill. 

"Targeting and eliminating a population of people based on ignorance and fear is reprehensible," Susan Hill, whose son has Down syndrome, told the legislators.

Abortion supporters will likely tesitfy against the bill after the fall recess, when a vote may take place.

"We shouldn’t eliminate suffering by eliminating sufferers," Mark Harrington, national director of Ohio-based Created Equal, told LifeSiteNews. "Killing children suffering from Down syndrome is barbaric and reminds us of the words of Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, who said, 'More children from the fit, less from the unfit.'" 

The bill specifies that no one may commit an abortion on a woman "if the person has knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion" because of a prenatal test indicating Down syndrome or "any other reason" to believe the baby has Down syndrome.

If a physician ignores the law, he will lose his medical license.

"Not surprisingly, SB 164 exposes the utter brutality of the abortion lobby," said Harrington. "For once, it would be nice to have abortion advocates see past their dogmatic view of 'choice' and work to treat children with disease rather than target them for extermination."

Earlier this month, CBS published a report about how Iceland is "eliminating" Down syndrome by aborting nearly 100 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with it. 

"Here in the United States we, too, highly disproportionately target babies who receive a positive Down syndrome test for abortion," Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, told LifeSiteNews. "The foundation of the pro-life movement is respecting the inherent dignity of every human person, regardless of disability, race, religion ... and acknowledging that every life is a gift."

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Woman dies after late-term abortion at shady clinic with history of abuse

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By Claire Chretien

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A 23-year-old woman died during a late-term abortion process initiated at Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), the largest abortion facility in the U.S. that openly specializes in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Abortion-Free New Mexico obtained the autoposy report of Keisha Marie Atkins, who died on February 4, 2017. She was transferred from SWO to the University of New Mexico (UNM) hospital, which is where she died.

Abortion-Free New Mexico has been in contact with Atkins' family, and national pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue is helping them investigate.

Atkins, who Operation Rescue says is believed to have been six months or more pregnant, arrived at SWO on January 31, 2017 to begin her late-term abortion. Eighty-year-old abortionist Curtis Boyd was slated to commit the abortion.

When Atkins returned to SWO on February 3, she displayed labored breathing and signs of sepsis, a systemic, life-threatening infection.

According to the autopsy report, Atkins was "preparing for labor," the final stage of a late-term abortion when the pre-born baby is delivered stillborn, having had his heart injected with poison beforehand. 

A recent undercover call to SWO revealed the facility tells women it "euthanizes" babies in the womb.

Atkins was "short of breath, and her oxygen saturation dropped below her baseline," the autopsy states. There was evidence of blood clots in her lungs, so she was taken "emergently to the operating room to complete the abortion procedure."

"During the operation, she sustained a cardiac arrest," the autopsy report continues. "Extensive resuscitation efforts were ultimately unsuccessful." 

Operation Rescue notes that how Atkins was transported to the hospital is unclear, because SWO called an ambulance at 12:04 p.m. on February 3, but then cancelled it.

The autopsy was conducted at the UNM Health Sciences Center by the UNM Office of the Medical Investigator, which also serves as the Bernadillo County Coroner. The OMI determined that Atkins' official cause of death was "pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy," in other words, blood clots in the lungs.

Pro-life groups say listing this as the cause of death is a "whitewash meant to blame Atkins’ pregnancy for her death instead of what appears to be a mismanaged late-term abortion procedure." The autopsy report admits Atkins died during cardiac arrest during the late-term abortion that had to be "emergently" committed in the hospital.

"She likely did have an infection from the abortion process," says the autopsy.

"UNM is a biased promoter of abortion that is attempting to shift blame onto Atkins’ pregnancy, instead of the abortion, where the blame rightfully belongs," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. "Keisha Atkins and her family deserve the truth, not a cover-up. But with UNM and SWO, covering up their misdeeds has become standard operating procedure."

"We join the family of Keisha Atkins as they grieve her death from serious complications during a late term abortion at Southwestern Women’s Options," said Tara Shaver of Abortion-Free New Mexico. "She was a 23-year old vibrant woman with her whole life ahead of her that was tragically cut short. For years we have worked to expose the barbaric nature of late term abortion in New Mexico and sought to bring accountability to the unregulated and unaccountable Abortion Cartel. Now more than ever, we need leadership in our city and state to take a bold stand and the necessary steps to prevent the needless deaths of women and their children through late term abortion." 

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is currently investigating SWO and UNM for possible involvement in baby body parts trafficking.

The U.S. House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives issued criminal referrals for both SWO and UNM. The Congressional referral accused SWO and UNM of violating state law related to harvesting and using aborted baby remains in research and failing to provide legally-required informed consent to women. 

"We call on the New Mexico Attorney General to step up their criminal investigation, and we call on the State Medical Board to take a hard, honest look at Keisha Atkins’ death," said Newman. "Curtis Boyd should be stopped from practicing, and the dangerous Southwestern Women’s Options should be shut down for good."

LifeSiteNews called SWO for comment, but did not hear back from a spokesperson by press time.

The pro-life group Live Action investigated SWO as part of its Inhuman project, which shed light on America's late-term abortion industry. An abortion worker told a Live Action investigator the facility partners with a local hotel that gives its patients discounts.

Should a mother go into labor in her hotel room, "you'll want to unlock the door to the hotel room, get your cell phone, and just sit on the toilet," the investigator was told. "You don't have to look at anything ... you can stay on the phone with us until the doctor and nurse get there."

"Just sit on the toilet if the baby comes," she said.

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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

Opinion

‘Nonexistent’ commission to revise Humanae Vitae given exclusive access to Vatican secret archives

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In May and June, Italian media sources began to report of the existence of a secret commission created by Pope Francis to bring about a “reinterpretation” of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterates the Catholic Church’s perennial condemnation of artificial birth control.

After the story was first reported by Marco Tosatti on May 11 and soon given further confirmation by Maike Hickson at One Peter Five, the Vatican refused to verify or deny it for an entire month, prompting Tosatti to quip that the silence “could in itself be a sign.”

Finally, in mid-June, Italian journalist Roberto de Mattei further confirmed the story and even listed the members of the alleged commission, including its head, Fr. Gilfredo Marengo, a theologian at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

This led Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the grand chancellor of the institute, to finally break the Vatican’s silence with an ambiguous denial made in an interview with the Catholic News Agency (CNA), in which he claimed that “there is no pontifical commission called to re-read or to reinterpret Humanae vitae” but added that “we should look positively on all those initiatives, such as that of Professor Marengo of the John Paul II Institute, which aim at studying and deepening this document in view of the 50th anniversary of its publication.”

Marengo himself told CNA that stories about such a “commission” were nothing more than an “imaginative report” and assured the agency that “the issue of a conciliation between Amoris Laetitia and Humanae Vitae is not in the agenda.” He described his work as a “historical-critical investigation without any aim other than reconstructing as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical.”

Despite such attempts to dismiss reports about Marengo’s Humanae Vitae “commission,” concerns continued to be raised in Catholic media, and on July 25 Fr. Marengo gave an extensive interview to Vatican Radio in an apparent attempt to quell them. However, in the interview Marengo not only confirmed details given by de Mattei about his “commission” — which he calls a “study group” — but also drops a new bombshell, revealing that he has been given what appears to be exclusive access to the Vatican’s secret archives for the purpose of carrying out this Humanae Vitae “study.”

In the interview, published on the Vatican Radio website only in Italian, Marengo acknowledged that his “study group” consists of the same people named more than a month earlier by de Mattei: Pierangelo Sequeri, president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute; Philippe Chenaux, a professor of Church history at the Pontifical Lateran University; and Angelo Maffeis, president of the Paul VI Institute of Brescia.

“From the point of view of historical-theological research, it will be very useful to reconstruct the process of composing [the encyclical], which developed in distinct phases from June 1966 to its publication, by examining the documentation kept in some archives of the Holy See,” Marengo told Vatican Radio. “Given the approaching date of this 50th anniversary [of publication of Humanae Vitae], I have received permission to begin searching the archives, alongside some prominent scholars, Professors Sequeri, Maffeis and Chenaux.”

The next day, Marengo reaffirmed to the Catholic News Service that, in the words of CNS, “he felt it was important to ask the Vatican to set aside rules that prevent scholars from accessing Vatican archival material for 70 years.” CNS goes on to quote Marengo saying, “The competent Vatican authorities accepted my request, permitting access particularly to the collections of the Vatican Secret Archives and the archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

The privilege of accessing the archives of this period is no small matter. The Vatican excludes scholars from virtually all material in the archives dating from the pontificate of Pope Pius XII to the present, and has done so for many years, citing the need to catalog and prepare the material before scholars can be permitted to view it. The Holy See has maintained this position for decades despite much pressure to open the archives arising from controversy over Pope Pius XII’s conduct during World War II.

The Vatican has long claimed that it is simply unable to accommodate requests for such material and continues to tell scholars that all material following the pontificate of Pius XI is unavailable to the public, except for documents relating to Vatican II. Only when the cataloguing process is complete will scholars be permitted to see documents from later periods, officials have repeatedly said, citing the principle that material in the archive should be opened to scholarly access only after 70 years.

Fr. Marengo and his “study group,” however, have been given exclusive access to this restricted section of the archives, something that other historians have been unable to achieve after decades of insistent requests. It is, to put it mildly, an unimaginable privilege for a group of scholars who wish to do nothing more than an historical recounting of the composition of an encyclical, a purely academic walk down memory lane. Such access had to be granted at the highest levels of authority in the Vatican. If this is not a “pontifical commission,” as Archbishop Paglia put it, it has privileges that certainly would seem to rival one.

Fr. Marengo’s curious project

The repeated attempts by Vatican officials to evade questions about this Humanae Vitae non-commission and to deny its significance, despite the unique privileges granted to it, raises an urgent question: What, precisely, does this exclusive Vatican “study group” intend to do?

In his interview with Catholic News Service, Marengo described the group’s activity as a “a work of historical-critical investigation without any aim other than reconstructing as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical,” in view of its upcoming 50th anniversary in 2018.

“Historical-critical” methods of textual interpretation are those that seek to understand texts by means of the processes that produced them as well as the social and cultural contexts in which they were written. With regard to the Bible, they have been used in doctrinally orthodox ways but have also been used to justify revisionist forms of interpretation that deny traditional understandings of Scriptural texts. This leads to claims that miracle stories, even those in the New Testament, are nothing more than literary devices, and even bringing into question such articles of the faith as the Virgin Birth of Christ and his resurrection from the dead.

Why, on the anniversary of an encyclical that was published within the living memory of a large percentage of the population, would the Vatican have need of an “historical-critical” analysis of the encyclical?

Although Fr. Marengo and Archbishop Paglia have protested much that no revision of the document is intended, Marengo himself seems already to be in the process of reinterpreting Humanae Vitae in troubling ways, telling Catholic News Service, in their words, that “procreation ... was seen by many as the primary purpose of marriage, so Pope Paul’s insistence in ‘Humanae Vitae’ that sex within marriage is both procreative and unitive was something new, as was his declaration ‘without uncertainty that the exercise of responsible parenthood is an objective value for Christian families’ when done using natural methods.’” Marengo made similar statements during his Vatican Radio interview.

Both of these statements are, to put it bluntly, deeply erroneous interpretations of the encyclical. Pope Paul VI was no innovator in such matters; the canon law and moral theology of the Church has long understood the sexual act as the consummation of an absolutely indissoluble sacramental union between the spouses, whether or not it results in procreation. Both the catechisms of the Council of Trent and of Pope Pius X list the unity of the spouses and their mutual support as among the primary ends of marriage, and Pope Pius XI writes at length about the unitive purpose of the sexual act in his encyclical Casti Connubii. Moreover, the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary began to publicly permit periodic abstinence to avoid conception in the late 19th century. In Humanae Vitae, Paul VI never contradicts the Church’s teaching that the primary purpose of the sexual act is procreation.

It’s true that Humanae Vitae lists the unitive purpose before the procreative, but this was nothing new -- the Catechism of the Council of Trent, 400 years earlier, had done the same thing, listing the first purpose of marriage as the satisfaction of the urge toward the companionship of the opposite sex, and mutual support in old age, and the second being the desire for begetting and raising children for the purpose of educating them in the faith. This order did not necessarily refer to any ultimate teleological priority but to the temporal sequence of ends sought in marriage.

Marengo has laughed off the idea that he somehow wants to reconcile Humanae Vitae with Pope Francis’ confused apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but that is exactly what his recent scholarship has sought to do. Only a few months ago, Marengo wrote an article for Vatican Insider called “Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia,” in which he belittles the Church’s condemnation of birth control, asking if “the polemical game – the pill yes – the pill no, like today's — Communion to the divorced yes – Communion to the divorced no — is only an appearance of discomfort and strain, [which is] much more decisive in the fabric of ecclesial life.”

In the same article, Marengo parrots the reasoning of Amoris Laetitia that seeks to lower Catholic moral dogma to an often unattainable and purely abstract ideal. “Every time the Christian community falls into error and proposes models of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals, it conceives its pastoral action as the schematic application of a doctrinal paradigm,” said Marengo, and cited Amoris Laetitia in asserting, “We have presented a too abstract theological ideal on marriage, almost artificially constructed, far from the concrete situation and the effective possibilities of families as they really are. This excessive idealization, above all when we have reawakened trust in grace, has not made marriage more attractive and desirable, but quite the opposite.”

Archbishop Paglia, Fr. Marengo, and their media sympathizers have labored mightily to convince Catholic journalists to “move along,” because there’s nothing to see here. They accuse them of hatching “conspiracy theories,” and even go so far as to claim that Pope Francis has never hinted at changing Humanae Vitae. In fact, Pope Francis has made statements that contradict Humanae Vitae almost verbatim, claiming that contraception can be justified as a lesser evil (a claim expressly condemned in the same encyclical). His apparently offhanded statement, made to reporters during a flight, was reaffirmed by Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi soon after.

Moreover, Pope Francis’ recent conduct with regard to the Church’s perennial doctrines on life and family has given Catholics much cause for suspicion. His administration and its allies engaged in deceptive tactics to manipulate two synods of bishops in order to justify the subversive novelties against the integrity of marriage contained in Amoris Laetitia. Chillingly, Francis has made statements about Humanae Vitae hinting that he has a similar agenda for the document on its 50th anniversary of publication.

In a 2014 interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis was specifically asked about “tak[ing] up again the topic of birth control” half a century after the publication of Humanae Vitae. “Your confrere, Cardinal [Carlo Maria] Martini [the late Archbishop of Milan] believed it was now time,” added the interviewer.

“It all depends on how the text of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is interpreted,” responded Francis. “Paul VI himself, towards the end, recommended to confessors much mercy and attention to concrete situations.” Francis then complimented Paul VI, calling him a “prophetic” genius, but added, “The object is not to change the doctrine, but it is a matter of going into the issue in depth and to ensure that the pastoral ministry takes into account the situations of each person and what that person can do.”

The Catholic faithful have heard this language from Pope Francis before – it is the rationale underlying Amoris Laetitia’s apparent acceptance of permitting adulterers to receive Holy Communion, which has become the cause of immense scandal regarding the sacrament of marriage, and the greatest doctrinal controversy connected to a pope for more than six centuries. It’s hardly a cause for optimism regarding Fr. Marengo’s curious non-commission, and its “historical-critical” review of Humanae Vitae.

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Bradley (Chelsea) Manning reveals dangerous mental health issues with transgenderism

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By Steve Jalsevac

August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Private Bradley Manning was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison for the largest-ever leak of classified U.S. military documents which he passed on to WikiLeaks. An August 21 report on Breitbart News reveals that Manning, who now calls himself Chelsea and had undergone transition to a female identity while in prison, is exhibiting significant mental disturbance through his public “support for violence against 'fascists' and the abolition of borders, the police, and prisons.”

Breitbart unfortunately did not have the courage to refer to Manning as his biological “he,” but instead took the “Emperor has no clothes” approach of referring to him as “she” in its report.

In the report, they listed that “Chelsea” Manning,

  • claims “we live in a police/military/intel state” and that “we need to dismantle it before it destroys us all.”

  • is calling for action to “open all borders, to everyone, always,” with “no exceptions,” not even convicted felons.

  • proclaimed that “what they call ‘heritage’ and ‘tradition’ we call ‘oppression’ and ‘fascism’.”

  • expressed vocal support for “mobs who illegally tear down historical statues,” as well as “direct action” and “any means necessary” to combat what he calls the “fascism” of American traditions, government and law enforcement.

Manning was released from prison 28 years early after being pardoned by President Obama as one of Obama's last acts as president in January of this year.

Obama’s action was almost certain to result in tragedy for many persons struggling with gender confusion in that he gave the credibility of his high office to the mentally and socially dangerous gender transition process.

LifeSite published a report from the Witherspoon Institute stating that,

We cannot forget the real tragedy in all of this. People suffering from genuine mental anguish are being promised that with enough surgery, camouflage, social acceptance, legal protection, educational campaigns, and so on, they will finally feel whole as a person. Worse, they are told that the only reason they continue to suffer is due to the intolerance and hatred of those around them. The current method of addressing this concern is only making matters worse. Treatment needs to address the core problem.

There have been many studies and reports from unbiased, caring mental health experts urging the necessity of psychological treatment for those with strong transgender dispositions.

Even though he has received much public and now state support for his desired gender change, Manning is nevertheless descending further into paranoia and irrational, deep hatred to the point of advocating violence against his imagined enemies. These are clear indications of growing mental illness.

It does not take much imagination to predict how extensively such disturbed, anti-social behavior will increase in any nation that gives wide social approval of transgenderism and forces acceptance of transgendered desires and demands.

Bradley, a.k.a. Chelsea, Manning has become a true fascist who wants to destroy his imaginary “fascists” who ironically are the only ones who would help him.

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Google is squashing free speech, and it’s time we did something about it

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By Doug Mainwaring

August 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) —  A few large businesses control the vast majority of the flow of online commerce. Among those are Google, YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook, and PayPal, each dominating a different facet of the internet.  

Perhaps more significantly, together they hold a near-monopoly on the flow of information and news, and as such are able to manipulate public discourse and limit free, unimpeded inquiry.   

Because of this, questions are being raised by public figures who suspect that the time is ripe for these tech giants to be regulated as public utilities in order to provide greater safeguards against heavy-handed favoring of progressive values and messaging over balanced or conservative ones.

The Silicon Valley tech giants’ very liberal corporate cultures have recently shown themselves to be illiberal. Far from welcoming free discussion inhouse among their employees, those with differing or dissenting political and/or cultural views have been swiftly cast out.  

Need for regulation to protect freedom

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon, now returned to Breitbart News, says Facebook and Google “have become essential elements of 21st century life,” that “should be regulated as utilities,” according to The Intercept. The report continues, “Bannon’s basic argument, as he has outlined it to people who’ve spoken with him, is that Facebook and Google have become effectively a necessity in contemporary life. Indeed, there may be something about an online social network or a search engine that lends itself to becoming a natural monopoly, much like a cable company, a water and sewer system, or a railroad.”

David Chavern, the president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “[A] threat to America’s news industry looms mostly unnoticed: Google and Facebook’s duopolistic dominance of online advertising, which could do far more damage to the free press than anything the president posts on Twitter.”

Jonathan Taplin, author of Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, warns that the tech giants “now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.”

“If you think this is a problem only for musicians, or journalists, you are wrong,” Taplin said. “With the reallocation of money to monopoly platforms comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook and Amazon now enjoy political power on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which makes finding solutions to this problem even more difficult.”

Google ‘controls reality’

Fox News host and pundit Tucker Carlson recently made the case for regulating tech giants like Google. Carlson said, “Google is the most powerful company in the history of the world. It’s the portal through which the bulk of our information flows. That means that if Google isn’t on the level, neither is our understanding of the world. To an unprecedented extend, Google controls reality. Google has already shown a disturbing willingness to distort reality for ideological ends.”

Carlson continued, “Until they were sued for it in 2008, Google refused to allow anti-abortion advertisements on its platforms even though they freely allowed pro- abortion ones. On the flip side, Google often blacklist certain sites from hosting ads which denies them revenue. Recently, Google-owned YouTube has introduced procedures to cut off revenue to, quote, ‘offensive content.’ What’s offensive? Who decides?”

YouTube

Proving Carlson’s point, YouTube last week de-monetized more than 900 videos published on the site by prominent evangelical Dr. Michael Brown’s Ask Dr. Brown ministry. The videos offer a conservative perspective on issues ranging from dealing with Islam, the LGBT movement and even seemingly non-controversial issues. Dr. Brown said, “Debates I had with rabbis were flagged; powerful stories, like a Muslim woman being healed by Jesus, were flagged; videos where I answered questions like, "Should Christians Homeschool Their Children?" or "Did Jesus Claim to Be God?" were flagged, along with videos of spiritual encouragement (like the one encouraging believers to look to the Lord in the midst of chaos).”

Google can’t be trusted, shouldn’t have unfettered power

Carlson says it’s now obvious that Google can’t be trusted to monitor and make judgments about what is offensive and what is not offensive for its users. “Why should a company that shuts down free speech for political reasons have the power to dictate what the world knows and thinks? Well, of course it shouldn’t have that power.”

Facebook

Last week, Facebook blocked a traditional marriage campaign page. Sky News reported, “This is bullying. Respectful debate is being shut down; Facebook has taken sides (in the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate).”

In July, Facebook blocked or removed more than two dozen pages belonging to conservative Catholic organizations and individuals, affecting many millions of devoted followers of those pages. While the pages were eventually restored, Fox News’ Todd Starnes, author and host of Fox News & Commentary, said, “You might recall that Facebook has a dark history of blocking conservative and Christian pages.”

PayPal

According to Robert Gehl, PayPal has also clearly taken sides in the cultural and ideological debate.

Just this week, “The online financial transfer platform temporarily banned some conservative sites from receiving online donations via their platform because the site’s ‘activities’ have earned them the title of ‘hate site’ by left-wing groups,” said The Federalist Papers Project commentator.

Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller’s “American Freedom Defense Initiative” were two of the groups temporarily banned by PayPal.

In a move that essentially limits free speech, PayPal announced that it will cut off payments to those it considers to be right-wing extremists. CNN reported that, “The company declined to give further details about how its team determines who is ultimately blocked from the platform and why.”

A challenge for current antitrust legislation

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Free and open markets are the foundation of a vibrant economy. Aggressive competition among sellers in an open marketplace gives consumers — both individuals and businesses — the benefits of lower prices, higher quality products and services, more choices, and greater innovation.”

“The FTC's competition mission is to enforce the rules of the competitive marketplace — the antitrust laws.”

“Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a ‘comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade.’ In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.”

Yet those “core laws” don’t necessarily extend to today’s important challenges facing the American marketplace of ideas and the free, unfettered flow of information.

Google has already been assessed a $2.7 billion fine by the European Commission for violating their violating antitrust law, based on Google’s limiting of consumer choices for Europe’s citizens.

Carlson concluded that “Congress here and the Trump administration should go further than that. Since it has the power to censor the internet, Google should be regulated like the public utility it is to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information. To the rest of us, that needs to happen immediately. Too bad it’s come to this. A lot of us trusted Google not to be evil. Silly us.”

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