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SSPX offers ‘drive-in’ Mass, Diocese of Arlington criticizes them as ‘schismatic’

The SSPX meticulously followed public health mandates and 'social distancing' recommendations.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 10:28 pm EST
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A priest of the Society of St. Pius X offers Mass in 2015 YouTube / SSPX
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

ARLINGTON, Virginia, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has criticized the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) for offering Mass during the coronavirus pandemic, calling the group “schismatic” and implying it was not following public health guidance.

The Diocese of Arlington announced on March 16 that all public Masses are suspended until further notice because of the coronavirus. Governor Ralph Northam banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 24.

On Sunday, March 29, the SSPX offered an invite-only outdoor Mass in Front Royal, Virginia – one of the commonwealth’s Catholic hubs, home to Christendom College and a large homeschooling population – during which attendees remained in their cars. The Mass, offered by a priest who came from Maryland, meticulously followed public health guidelines and “social distancing” recommendations, and the SSPX spoke with local authorities beforehand in order to ensure it was complying with all relevant laws and guidelines.

The SSPX is a priestly society founded by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. They seek to share the truth of the Catholic faith in the modern world, a task their website says they view as “especially necessary considering the spread of atheism, agnosticism, and religious indifference.” 

The group’s canonical status is said to be “irregular,” although it has moved closer to full Communion with Rome recently. Since the beginning of the Year of Mercy (late 2015), Pope Francis has granted all SSPX priests jurisdiction to hear Confessions around the world. Catholics may also validly and licitly be married by SSPX priests, where local bishops have given their permission. The SSPX claim that the state of the crisis in the Church is so bad they have “supplied jurisdiction” that allows its priests the freedom to operate outside the authority of ordinary diocesan bishops.  

Many Protestant churches have been hosting similar “drive-in” services during which parishioners remain in their cars so as not to violate state orders against “gatherings” of 10 or more people. 

“Based on recommendations from the public health and scientific communities, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge maintains his directive that all public Masses in the Diocese of Arlington are suspended until further notice,” the Diocese of Arlington said in its initial statement on Sunday, March 29. “We have been notified that the Society of Saint Pius X, which is a schismatic sect and not in full communion with the Holy See, is holding Masses in Front Royal, VA. This group did not request permission for their gathering from the Diocese of Arlington.”

“Bishop Burbidge highly encourages the faithful to follow the guidance of public health and scientific leaders and stay home whenever possible. In order to stop the spread of coronavirus, all people, including those of religious faith, must be willing to make temporary, uncomfortable sacrifices for the long-term good and health of the community.”

LifeSiteNews asked the diocese why it would expect a “schismatic” group to ask its permission to gather, and if the diocese makes similar requests of the Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church considers the Orthodox as in schism. This journalist also noted that Pope Francis has granted SSPX priests faculties to hear Confessions. 

Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations for the Diocese of Arlington, told LifeSiteNews via email, “The aim of the diocesan statement regarding the celebration of Mass by priests of the Society of St. Pius X within the Diocese of Arlington was to clarify for members of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington that SSPX does not have canonical standing in the Catholic Church and is not in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

“Another aim of the statement regarding the celebration of Mass by priests of this society was to make clear to the faithful that this liturgy was not associated with the Diocese of Arlington, especially because the celebration contradicts the directives currently in place for the Diocese,” she wrote.

‘The supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls’

LifeSiteNews also asked the Diocese of Arlington if there are any plans to reinstate public Masses, conducted in a way that follows “the guidance of public health and scientific leaders.” It would seem the setup of the SSPX’s outdoor, semi-private “car Mass,” which was offered after consultation with state authorities, met that criteria. 

Northam’s new “stay-at-home” order, which contains language allowing people to travel to their “place of worship” and seems to permit an outdoor “parking lot” “car Mass” or similar church gathering of people inside their cars, is in effect until June 10 (the day after Virginia’s Democratic and Republican primaries for the U.S. House and Senate). That order was issued March 30.

One of the precepts of the Catholic Church is that the faithful receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season. Pentecost this year is on May 31. 

Roseboom told LifeSite:

The faithful should be assured that the Diocese of Arlington continually reassesses our response to this evolving situation of the spread of the coronavirus, including the directives and guidelines regarding the celebration of public Masses. This assessment is always carried out with prayer for God’s guidance and grounded in the pastoral good of the faithful, the allowances permitted by Canon Law, and the most up-to-date recommendations from infectious disease and pandemic response experts.

The faithful and clergy of in [sic] the Diocese of Arlington have sent many expressions of gratitude for the continued spiritual and pastoral care they are receiving. These include, especially, keeping our churches open for private prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. We are all also grateful to our devout priests who continue to make themselves available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the many parishes who are able to live-stream Sunday Masses and liturgies throughout Holy Week so that the faithful can unite in prayer and make an Act of Spiritual Communion so that, united in God, we may be one as the Body of Christ.

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the SSPX for comment and will update this article if they send one.

Catholics across the U.S. are without access to public Masses and in certain dioceses without access to Confession or even the Last Rites. Some dioceses in Canada and the U.S. have also ordered priests to lock their church doors so the faithful may not pray privately inside.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan and one of the most outspoken defenders of Catholic orthodoxy today, has stated that a priest, using discretion and following the necessary health precautions “has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful.”

Directives canceling all public Masses “are a pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls,” said Schneider.

“Priests in such a situation have to be extremely creative in order to provide for the faithful, even for a small group, the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Such was the pastoral behavior of all confessor and martyr priests in the time of persecution,” he added.


  catholic, coronavirus, diocese of arlington, pope francis, society of st. pius x, sspx, virginia

News

United Nations wants 10% of entire planet’s annual income in fund for coronavirus response

Use of funds would include contraception and 'reproductive health.'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 10:03 pm EST
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media at the opening day of the COP25 climate conference on December 2, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced the creation of a fund for addressing the global coronavirus pandemic – and he is simultaneously asking nations to contribute the equivalent of at least 10 percent of the annual income of the entire planet to a massive “human-centered, innovative and coordinated stimulus package” that would be administered at the international level.

Although Guterres doesn’t state it explicitly, he seems to be connecting the new fund, which he calls a “dedicated COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund,” with the massive stimulus package plan, announcing both measures in the same press release.

If countries were to accept the plan, the United Nations or some similar coordinating agency would be given the equivalent of approximately 8.7 trillion USD, an unprecedented amount that would be 2,900 times greater than the UN’s annual budget of 3 billion USD.

The proposed plan would effectively place a global agency, presumably the UN itself, in charge of propping up the economies of the world during the coronavirus crisis, placing it in charge of 10% of global income.

Guterres also wants 100 billion USD for the World Health Organization, whose president has been blamed for helping to cause the coronavirus pandemic by repeating in January the Chinese government’s false claim that COVID-19 is not transmissible to humans.

He also wants the same organization to build an “interconnected Global Health Emergency System for data, workforce, and supplies.”

Guterres says that the money would be channeled “not only to the business sector and lead firms, but to the workers and SMEs worldwide that underpin the global economy.”

“It is not enough to protect major businesses: we need to protect their suppliers, and the global consumer demand – the household income – that will usher the global economy back to life,”  writes Guterres in his report, called “Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.”

“To be effective, the stimulus package will need to focus on direct and targeted transfer of resources to the most vulnerable households and scaling up health emergency preparedness, social protection, tax abatement, low interest rates, access to credit, insurance and wage support schemes,” he writes.

Among the objectives of the plan, Guterres includes “attention to continued delivery of sexual reproductive health services, such as access to contraceptives without prescription during the crisis.”

“Sexual reproductive health services” are a euphemism often used by international organizations to refer to abortion and contraception.

United Nations and World Health Organization helped to create the pandemic, says expert

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, noted that the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) helped to create the pandemic by repeating communist Chinese government’s false propaganda denying the health risks of COVID-19, and said he was against giving them or the UN in general any additional money for the crisis.

“The UN bureaucracy primarily exists to perpetuate itself and various Left-wing causes that are inimical to liberty and sovereignty,” Mosher told LifeSite. “If the China coronavirus teaches us anything, it is that in moments of global crisis we can only trust our fellow citizens not a distant and detached group of bureaucrats who are better compensated than nearly all Americans.”

He also noted that “reproductive sexual health,” in reality “means forcing contraception, sterilization and abortion on peoples who have not asked for it,” and added that such priorities have left poorer countries unprepared to deal with COVID-19.

“If the clinics in Third World countries had been stocked with medicine instead of abortifacients and contraceptives, they would be better able to cope with the current pandemic,” said Mosher.  “In other words, population control programs cost lives.”

Mosher also rejected more funding for the WHO, noting its complicity in spreading false information about the pandemic.

“The WHO, by parroting Chinese propaganda, helped to spread the pandemic.  Even now, they are continuing to claim that China is a ‘model’ for how to contain the pandemic,” Mosher told LifeSite. “They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Mosher said that the U.S. should cut off funding to the WHO altogether unless its current head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, resigned. He noted that the WHO receives more than 22% of its funding from the United States, and that much of the money “goes towards the salary, benefits and perks of an inflated, dysfunctional bureaucracy. In other words, it is simply wasted.”


  abortion, antonio guterres, china, coronavirus, steven mosher, tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, united nations, world health organization

News

7 more pro-lifers arrested for praying against abortion in North Carolina

'The city of Greensboro chose to use COVID to achieve the goal of having no Christians present in front of the abortion clinic.'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 9:06 pm EST
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Pro-life activists with Love Life Charlotte
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

NORTH CAROLINA, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Police in North Carolina made another seven arrests of religious pro-life activists Monday for gathering outside of an abortion center, allegedly in violation of their jurisdiction’s coronavirus stay-at-home order.

Jason Oesterreich, Justin Reeder, Isaiah Burner, Andre Gonzalez, Richard Whittier, Leroy Stokes Jr., and John Mcatee, were arrested Monday outside of area abortion center A Woman’s Choice, according to a press release from the Greensboro Police Department. They were charged with violating the Guilford County Stay at Home Order, as well as with Resist Delay and Obstruct a Public Officer.

“Greensboro Police Officers made every attempt to gain voluntary compliance” before making the arrests, the press release claims. 

Pastor Keith Pavlansky of Personhood North Carolina tells LifeSiteNews that the group practiced social distancing at the gathering, and brought with them face masks as well as hand sanitizer. The men have since been released, and are awaiting a court date in June. Pavlansky said that before then, he’s personally hoping to see a judge “put an injunction on this thing so at least they’re not arresting people on that unlawful basis. They have violated our civil rights.”

The Charlotte-based pro-life group Love Life says that before any of this happened, their attorney reviewed the details of the stay-at-home order with the police lieutenant, who in turn consulted with the city attorney.

Oesterreich, Reeder, and Burner, who are with Love Life, were previously arrested Saturday at the same location. They caught the previous incident on video, which shows the group taking care to keep their distance from one another (per “social distancing” guidelines) and attempting to read the language from the order which they argue allows for their presence among “outdoor activities.”

Rather than making “every attempt to gain voluntary compliance,” the officers in the video made no attempt to address the pro-lifers’ understanding of the county’s order, which states that activities as trivial as golfing can qualify as an “essential” outdoor activity, and gives no clear indication why civil public activism would not be at least as permissible.  

All this comes as North Carolina allows business as usual to continue in abortion centers, where pro-lifers have noted that patients are typically much closer together than six feet in an enclosed space. While many states have ordered the suspension of non-urgent medical procedures to conserve supplies and contain the virus, and some of those states have expressly halted abortions for the same reason, North Carolina has so far yet to do either.

“It’s a sad, crazy time, because we’re in one parking lot where they can see us and leave us alone, but as soon as we crossed over to a parking lot next to the abortion center, that’s when the police began arresting,” Pavlansky said. “So it reveals the forethought and intentionality of targeting us for wanting to pray next to the abortion center [...] if we were at a liquor store there would be no problem whatsoever.”

“It’s a little coincidental that Greensboro, North Carolina of all places was the hotbed of the original sit-in of the civil rights movement,” he added. “And here we are, almost sixty years to the day. The same kinds of things are happening again. Civil rights are being violated.”

“Love Life offers essential services” such as “pre-abortion counseling, post-abortion counseling, certainly when we’re there we try to direct women to pregnancy care centers and ultrasounds that are available,” Pavlansky noted. All this “fits well within the description of essential services as listed by the State of North Carolina and Guilford County.”

Reeder, who is a pastor as well as the founder of Love Life, said Tuesday that while individuals remain forbidden from getting close to the building, some good has already come out of local pro-lifers’ civil disobedience, in the form of New Hope’s mobile unit being allowed to remain on the sidewalk as of Tuesday, ensuring that at least some volunteers will be free to minister and offer resources to women considering abortion.

“That abortion center remains open, but praise God, there is a voice that is allowed over there now because Christians were willing to lay their lives down,” Reeder said.

Still, the broader challenge remains.

“I hope all Christians will be praying about this and understand that it’s not a case of trying to unnecessarily rile the authorities,” Pavlansky stressed. “They came hunting for a fight, and the entire church needs to be aware of that and pray for a just outcome. The city of Greensboro chose to use COVID to achieve the goal of having no Christians present in front of the abortion clinic.”


  a woman's choice north carolina abortion facility, coronavirus, free speech, justin reeder, keith pavlansky, love life, north carolina, prayer vigils, pro-life activism, sidewalk counseling, social distancing, stay-at-home orders

News

Christian group to sue UK gov’t for allowing at-home abortions during pandemic

The U.K. government has changed the abortion law three times within the space of a week.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 8:14 pm EST
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shutterstock.com
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

LONDON, England, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.K. Christian pro-life group has announced that it plans to mount a legal challenge against the government’s emergency legislation allowing women to kill their preborn children at home by using both stages of a chemical abortion process during the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.K. government has changed the abortion law three times within the space of a week after announcing last week it would allow at-home abortions, then reversing the decision within 24 hours, before again announcing Sunday evening that the “DIY abortions” will be allowed “on a temporary basis.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), told The Telegraph that the new law is “an undemocratic and unconstitutional decision directly contrary to what the Health Secretary stated on the floor of the House of Commons one week ago.”

“Our legal team has started working on a judicial review claim today,” Williams announced. “This is the biggest change in abortion law in over 50 years without any democratic or parliamentary scrutiny. It is a scandalous act.”

Williams said the U.K. government has “allowed itself to be used by the pro-abortion lobby under the pretext of the coronavirus crisis to extend abortion on demand” and that accessing abortion has “nothing to do with coronavirus.”

“This decision will mean that vulnerable women will not get the care and attention they deserve; there will be no way of understanding whether a woman is being coerced into an abortion or of offering alternative options in her situation.”

Another U.K. pro-life group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), has said the new law breaches existing abortion legislation and that they too are seeking legal advice and may mount a judicial review opposing the new policy.

Bishop John Sherrington, the English and Welsh Catholic bishops’ spokesman on life issues, said the new laws will “further endanger women,” such as those pressured into having abortions by abusive partners.

“We understand why the government wishes to keep women away from hospital at this time but are shocked to hear that the Secretary of State for Health plans to introduce temporary measures to allow telemedicine and early DIY abortion at home without any medical supervision present,” Sherrington said.

“These measures fundamentally change access to abortion in England and Wales for the foreseeable future. Whilst these are emergency times, these measures further endanger women who, for example, are rushed into decisions by abusive partners and act without any proper consultation,” he continued.

“They diminish the seriousness with which these decisions should be taken and the physical and psychological dangers of the administration of these drugs at home.”

Abortion by pill (chemical abortion) works by starving the preborn baby of progesterone, an important hormone needed to keep him alive, and then causing the mother’s uterus to contract to expel the dead baby. Chemical abortions are committed during the first trimester of pregnancy.


  abortion, abortion pill, christian legal centre, coronavirus, england, spuc, united kingdom

News

World Health Organization: Abortion ‘essential’ during coronavirus pandemic

Women should be allowed to abort their children at home, and abortions should continue even if antibiotics aren't available, said a WHO medical officer.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 7:37 pm EST
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shutterstock.com
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A representative of the World Health Organization recently said that abortion should be considered an “essential service” during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Dr. Antonella Lavalanet, a medical officer in the WHO’s “Maternal and Perinatal Health & Preventing Unsafe Abortion Team,” spoke to almost 5,000 people last Friday in an online presentation hosted by the pro-abortion Sexual Reproductive Health Matters (SRHM) journal.  

Prompted by veteran WHO legal advisor Eszter Kismődi, currently the CEO of SRHM, Lavalanet stressed that abortions must go on, even in the midst of a global health emergency and even if the mothers are infectious. 

“WHO recently released a guidance document related to the clinical management of respiratory infection, and in that document we said that women’s choices and rights to sexual reproductive health care should be respected irrespective of [their] COVID-19 status,” Lavalanet said. 

“That includes access to contraception and safe abortion to the full extent of the law.” 

The WHO officer said that her organization was working with other UN agencies on guidance that defines what social services are, “including safe abortion [sic], especially as we know in some settings abortion is being deffered to later gestation which carries its own risks,” she said. 

Lavalanet noted that WHO is seeing several professional organizations stating that “abortion, like other [Sexual Reproductive Health] services are essential” in response to governments who “are trying to deprioritize these services.”

WHO is apparently putting abortion on the same level as medical services to women planning to give birth to their children or who have real gynaelogical complaints, suggesting that the resources “needed” for abortion are the same needed for these non-COVID-19 related kinds of care.    

“We’ve already said that the equipment, medication, and supplies needed to provide these kinds of [abortion] services are the same as those needed for other GYN services, and we already say that they should be available at primary care level with referral systems in place,” Lavalanet said. 

However, in situations where medical systems battling COVID-19 are not prioritizing abortion, WHO believes that women can and should abort their babies themselves. 

“...In light of depleting commodities and restrictions with entering health facilities, we say that women can manage their own safe abortions using mifepristone and misoprostol up until 12 weeks, where individuals have a source of accurate information and access to a provider should they need it or want it,” their medical officer said. 

WHO also is willing to dispense with a number of treatments, safeguards, and medication, even antibiotics, so that abortions can go on regardless. 

“Where supplies of antibiotics are not available, abortion should not be denied,” Lavalanet said. 

“Similarly, a range of pain medications can be considered,” she added. 

“As we’ve said, general anaesthesia or performance in operating theaters are not necessary.” 

Where “human resources are limited,” WHO is recommending that other medical professionals be deployed in the service of abortion. 

“A range of health workers can be considered for various tasks related both to comprehensive abortion care [sic]...as well as specific tasks related to the management of abortion services,” Lavalanet stated. 

Lavalanet seemed to admit that there are physical “risks” to women in late-term abortions; pro-life experts assert that women who commit medical abortions on themselves are also endangered. 

In the United Kingdom, where the Westminster government flip-flopped on the issue of home abortions before succumbing to pressure from the abortion lobby, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child spoke out sharply against the practice. 

“Let it be crystal clear: any medical professional must act in compliance of the law. SPUC is therefore contesting home abortion pill use which heightens physical and psychological dangers for women, and as trivialising the taking of human life by abortion,” stated SPUC Deputy Chief Executive John Deighan

“It is unbecoming of the pro-abortion groups to take advantage of our current crisis to pressure the government and threaten further strain on our NHS resources. The evidence that abortion pills raise the level of complications for women is clear. Our health service does not need the pressure of dealing with emergencies arising from women self-aborting at home.”


  abortion, coronavirus, world health organization

News

500,000+ Catholics join livestream as UK rededicated to Virgin Mary amid coronavirus lockdown

Catholics in England rededicated the country as ‘Our Lady’s Dowry.’
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 6:05 pm EST
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WikiCommons
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

WALSINGHAM, United Kingdom, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — This past Sunday, Catholics in England rededicated the country as “Our Lady’s Dowry” while observing the government-imposed nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

The rededication took place in Walsingham, the national shrine to Our Lady, which has been a site of pilgrimage and devotion since 1061

Since public attendance at church services is banned during the COVID-19 lockdown, Catholics around the country joined in making the rededication prayers from their homes.

More than half a million people are estimated to have viewed the rededication via live-streaming services, with the website of the Walsingham shrine crashing due to the high number of users. 

Monsignor John Armitage, rector of the Walsingham shrine, said during his homily that the rededication was being made in “the eye of the storm.” 

“In the face of the peril that we find ourselves in today, in addition to the physical resilience we need to protect ourselves, a stronger spiritual resilience will be needed to survive the ordeal ahead and to rebuild our society in the coming days,” Armitage said.

Armitage explained that the event showed “the people of England following in the footsteps of King Richard II, who in the face of great political turmoil in 1381 went to the shrine of Our Lady of Puy in Westminster Abbey to seek her guidance and protection.”

Armitage added that “the fruitfulness of England in the days to come will be dependent on the faithfulness of her people.”

In a message of support for the rededication, Catholic priest and co-founder of the International Association of Exorcists, Fr. Jeremy Davies, said the event was an opportunity for “real repentance.”

“We are in the midst of the war between Our Lady and the Dragon (Apocalypse 12),” Davies said. 

“Victory does not depend upon the faithful being physically present with their Bishop in his consecration, but upon each one of us, wherever we are, making our own consecration: sincerely repenting of all our habits of compromise, all our refusals to follow Our Lord fully as complete disciples of His words and of the Holy Spirit: a real repentance, a new beginning!"


  catholic, coronavirus, covid-19, england, lockdown, our lady of walsingham, our lady's dowry, uk, united kingdom

News

Watch Trump’s coronavirus daily briefing for April 1 here

As CNN threatens to cut away from Trump during his daily coronavirus briefings, LifeSite has begun streaming them live.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:36 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSite has begun streaming President Donald Trump’s daily briefings about the coronavirus crisis. Here we present his April 1 briefing. Follow LifeSiteNews for future briefings.

Read LifeSite’s live updates on the coronavirus crisis and how it relates to issues our readers care about here.


  coronavirus, president trump

News

Two more states ban abortion to free up medical supplies during pandemic

Indiana and West Virginia governors called a halt to all 'elective or non-urgent' medical procedures.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:35 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – This week, the governors of Indiana and West Virginia joined the growing list of states ordering a temporary halt to elective medical procedures during the coronavirus crisis, including aboriton.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order suspending “elective or non-urgent” procedures at any “medical, dental or other, and healthcare facilities, whether hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental facilities, plastic surgery centers, dermatology offices and abortion clinics,” RTV6 reported.

"We are all watching the numbers, both positive cases of COVID-19 and deaths mount by the day," Holcomb said. "We're living in and through an 'all hands on deck' moment if I've ever seen one and it is unifying our state in ways that I could not imagine."

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, meanwhile, declared Tuesday that “all elective surgeries will be off the bubble, as of tonight,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. His order defines “elective” procedures as anything “not immediately medically necessary to preserve the patient’s life or long-term health,” with exceptions for procedures that “cannot be postponed without compromising the patient’s long-term health,” that “cannot be performed consistent with other law at a later date,” or “are religiously mandated.”

Justice’s order does not specifically mention abortion, but West Virginians for Life is interpreting it as banning abortions. In a statement, the group said it “applauds” Justice and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for the order, which “should mean that elective abortions will not be available in West Virginia during this pandemic.”

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have advised healthcare facilities to reschedule non-urgent appointments and elective procedures, both to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to free up time and resources to focus on patients afflicted by COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus).

Compliance with this guidance has been mixed, leading numerous states to mandate that facilities temporarily halt “non-essential” medical procedures. Several of them have clarified that elective abortions will be held to the same standards as all other procedures during this time, leading to several lawsuits demanding exemptions for Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers.

In response, the abortion lobby has sued in multiple states, leading federal judges to issue temporary injunctions allowing elective abortions to continue in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas, although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals quickly reversed the injunction for Texas.

Pro-life medical professionals have assailed the abortion industry’s demands for special treatment, arguing that exempting elective abortion puts business interests ahead of public health. 

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” it “does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world.


  abortion, coronavirus, eric holcomb, healthcare, indiana, jim justice, public health, west virginia

News

LifeSite live-streaming Trump coronavirus briefings as liberal media calls for censorship

Readers can visit LifeSite’s homepage at 5:00 p.m. EST each day for a link to the day’s live-stream.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:12 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews has begun live-streaming President Trump’s coronavirus briefings each evening as liberal media figures continue to call for them to be censored.

CNN is under fire for declining to air Trump’s remarks yesterday, only cutting to the briefing when medical advisor Dr. Deborah Birx was about to speak. The move follows a growing chorus of media outlets complaining that the press should, in the words of the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, “stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings.”

Conservatives call those demands a flip-flop from the mainstream media’s previous complaints that the administration wasn’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough, motivated by the rising approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the crisis.

Readers can visit LifeSite’s homepage at 5:00 p.m. EST each day for a link to the day’s live-stream. Press conferences are scheduled to begin then but they often begin later than that.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States has seen 205,438 cases of COVID-19, with 4,528 deaths and 8,762 recoveries. It remains unknown when the coronavirus first reached American shores and what percentage of the public has actually come into contact with it.

Trump struck a grim tone yesterday, telling Americans the next two weeks would be “painful” both due to a rise in deaths as well as the economic toll of quarantine.

The administration formally updated its “15 Days to Slow the Spread” to 30 days in a new document that urges Americans to “work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible,” “avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people,” and “avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits,” among hygiene tips.

“This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump said. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”

“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” he added. “It’s a matter of life and death.” Whether Americans are forced to do so, however, will be left up to local authorities across the country.

Debate rages as to whether comprehensive lockdowns are necessary or appropriate for every part of the country, given the toll the lockdowns have taken on personal libertiesjob losses, and even healthcare capacity.

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world. 


  coronavirus, trump administration

News

Trump preps America for ‘very tough 2 weeks’

'This is going to be a rough two week period,' said Trump, whose press briefings are increasingly coming under fire from left-wing media.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:04 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump struck a grim tone during Tuesday’s White House briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, telling Americans the next two weeks would be “painful” both due to a rise in deaths as well as the economic toll of quarantine.

The administration formally updated its “15 Days to Slow the Spread” to 30 days in a new document that urges Americans to “work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible,” “avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more people,” and “avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits,” among hygiene tips.

“This is going to be a rough two week period,” Trump said. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”

“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” he added. “It’s a matter of life and death.” Whether Americans are forced to do so, however, will be left up to local authorities across the country.

The president’s top medical advisers, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, said that based on the projections they’ve been operating from, the United States could ultimately see anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 Americans die from COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus) – a number they say could have been as high as 2.2 million in the absence of preventative measures.

The administration is working “very hard to bring that number down,” Fauci said.

Some have questioned those models, however, noting they are based on incomplete information and assumptions that may not reflect all the relevant variables among countries, such as overall health, medical system, age, and population density. In the meantime, debate rages as to whether comprehensive lockdowns are necessary or appropriate for every part of the country, given the toll the lockdowns have taken on personal liberties, job losses, and even healthcare capacity.

Meanwhile, CNN is under fire for declining to air the president’s remarks from the briefing, only cutting to it when Birx was about to speak. The move follows a growing chorus of media outlets complaining that the press should, in the words of the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, “stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings.”

Conservatives call those demands a flip-flop from the mainstream media’s previous complaints that the administration wasn’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough, motivated by the rising approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the crisis.

LifeSiteNews has begun live-streaming Trump’s briefings each evening.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States has seen 205,438 cases of COVID-19, with 4,528 deaths and 8,762 recoveries. It remains unknown when the coronavirus first reached American shores and what percentage of the public has actually come into contact with it.

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world. 


  cnn, coronavirus, donald trump, economy, liberal media bias, lockdowns, public health, social distancing, trump administration

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Looking to work from home? LifeSite needs part-time help

Apply today!
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 3:25 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

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 the fight to restore the Christian foundations of our society.

LifeSiteNews is an international news agency devoted to defending life and the family, and restoring Christian culture. Through daily breaking news, investigative exposés, and incisive analysis, as well as our growing video and podcast offerings, we aim to educate and activate our readers with the information they need to fight the most crucial battles of our day in their churches, workplaces, and families.

Right now, we are hiring a U.S.-based part-time Human Resources and Payroll Assistant to work closely with our Administrative Director to ensure that we are compliant with all necessary U.S. federal and state laws. Our office is in Virginia, but the position is open to tele-commuters.

As our mission and international readership has grown immensely in the last year, our staff needs have grown too. This position will be crucial in helping the organization run efficiently.

Click here to read more about the job and apply: https://lifesitenews.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=53


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US intelligence report claims China concealed number of COVID-19 cases

'China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete.'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 1:19 pm EST
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A cleaner wears a mask as she works at a hospital on March 12, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Getty Images
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

UNITED STATES, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Three unnamed U.S. officials say that an intelligence community classified report to the White House concludes that the Chinese government has under-reported the country’s total number of coronavirus cases and deaths, according to a report in Bloomberg.

“The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret and declined to detail its contents,” the report explains. “But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.”

The report notes that during Tuesday’s press conference Dr. Deborah Birx, the top response coordinator for the White House’s coronavirus task force, stated that Chinese data had caused some to underestimate the seriousness of the virus.

“The medical community made -- interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” she said. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”

Last week a resolution introduced in the U.S House of Representatives condemned the Chinese Communist government for its mishandling of and misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak which has led to a worldwide pandemic and threatens to topple the economies of many nations.

In a recent report for LifeSite, biologist and China expert Steve Mosher described official Chinese reports about coronavirus cases as “sheer fabrication.”

“Ask yourselves what is the likelihood that China has actually reduced the number of new cases to zero, as it claims?” Mosher wrote. 

“That in the entire 1.3 billion people of China there is not a single new case?  I would say that the likelihood of this happening is about the same as the CCP discovering a cure for cancer, establishing a base on Mars, and inventing faster-than-light interstellar travel—all on the same day,” he said. 

Current figures show the total number of coronavirus cases in China at just over 80,000, with 3,312 deaths. By comparison, Italy is now reporting more than 13,000 deaths from around 110,000 total cases. The USA is reporting 4,516 deaths from just over 205,000 cases.

While in February, China saw a rapid increase in the number of new cases of the coronavirus, those numbers have reduced dramatically with much of the country reportedly “returning to normal” again. The coronavirus worldometer website states that there have been just 7 new cases in China today and only 5 yesterday. 

Earlier this week there were reports of trucks shipping thousands of ash urns to crematoriums in Wuhan, leading to further questions about the reality of China’s coronavirus death toll.

Mosher told LifeSite today that he suspects the actual figures are 20 times the numbers reported by the government authorities. 

“According to official Chinese government data, 50,006 people were infected with the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan with 2,535 dying from the disease. I think the actual figures are probably 20 times that, judging from how busy the crematoria were, and how many thousands of funeral urns are being handed out now to grieving families by each one of Wuhan's eight crematoria every day,” he said.

Mosher said in previous comments that the explanation for the sudden drop in new cases in China is that the Chinese Communist leadership “simply directed doctors across China to stop diagnosing and reporting new cases of the disease.”

“Who needs medicine, when you can just “cure” disease by fiat?” he asked.

Mosher says that the Chinese government “has worked hard over the past few weeks to create the narrative that it was quickly getting the epidemic under control”  and points to evidence that “some local jurisdictions have been deliberately underreporting the number of patients who test positive for the virus.” 

“Whether this is being done in response to a national directive, or simply to conform to the official narrative is not clear, but the result has been falling numbers of infected,” he said.


  china, chinese communists, chinese government, coronavirus, statistics, white house

News

Before coronavirus closed churches, Christians in Europe suffered at the hands of their gov’ts

Christian persecution happens around the world everyday, even in 'Western' countries.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 1:18 pm EST
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LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – With the coronavirus crisis, governments and even church authorities are shutting down services and forbidding individuals from entering churches. As Masses and religious services are being canceled we need to remember the hundreds of thousands of Christians across the world who do not have access to religious services and/or who risk their lives to worship God.

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Ellen Fantini, the Executive Director of the Observatory on the Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, speaks about the religious persecution Christians face in Europe.  

Fantini and Van Maren discuss the complex negative cultural attitude toward Christians, persecution of Christians in Europe that is largely ignored, and the future of Christianity.

The Observatory on the Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe was founded 10 years ago, initially as a project to survey which European laws directly and indirectly impacted Christians in a negative way. After finding 46 different laws across Europe that had a negative impact on Christians, the founders saw there was a bigger need and launched the Observatory.  

The Observatory collects information on hate crimes such as threats, physical violence, vandalism, and marginalization, against Christian individuals and institutions. Prior to the Observatory’s founding, no one was reporting on hate crimes against Christians. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe collects “hate crime” information every year, but attacks on Christians aren’t included in that.

Watch the full interview here:

Although many people think that persecution against Christians increased during the wave of migration in 2015 and 2016, Fantini suggests that it had been building long before that.  

“The Christian church generally has been a lightning rod for any number of ideologies,” Fantini tells listeners. 

In Europe, people see Christianity as an organized religion that needs to be dismantled, or as a symbol of the patriarchy and of authority. Van Maren also notes that many Europeans are trapped in a binary view of Christianity as an oppressor and themselves as the oppressed. This view most likely comes from the time when Christianity was the major religion of Europe.  

The idea that Christians can’t be persecuted is perpetuated by this idea that it is impossible to victimize a majority religion, even though Christians no longer constitute a majority.  

There was an increase in Christian persecution as migrants began to convert to Christianity, but were living in neighborhoods or accommodation homes with the same people they were fleeing in order to practice their faith. 

In addition to this persecution, many migrants were thought to be converting so they could stay in Europe, not because they truly believed in the Christian faith. Fantini points out that these refugees aren’t guaranteed asylum in Europe and that conversion itself is very difficult and dangerous.  

In Vienna, where Fantini is based, Muslims converting to Catholicism are at great risk. They are received into the Church at a location disclosed only to the priest, convert, and sponsor the day before the event.  

Van Maren and Fantini discuss the two main ideologies responsible for Christian persecution in Europe: hyper-secularized radicals and Islamist activists, many of whom might not realize their behavior is unacceptable in Western culture.  

Fantini is careful to highlight the fact that most Muslims are not interested in persecuting Christians. 

Listen to the full interview here: 

Van Maren points out that Islamic culture and hyper-secularism don’t share many similar values. Muslim Imams stood up to the LGBT indoctrination happening in schools pushed by hyper-secularism.  

Christians have also stood up to the LGBT indoctrination occurring in schools, but have been vilified for their supposedly hateful stance. Muslims, Jews, and Christians share many family values and could unite to defend them. 

You won’t want to miss this great conversation about what is actually happening to Christians in Europe. 

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe to various channels, visit our Acast webpage here.

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  ellen fantini, observatory on the intolerance and discrimination against christians in europe, persecution of christians, the van maren show

News

Monks of Norcia counter pandemic with processions, traditional prayers against pestilence

'We must rely on an invisible medicine for our ultimate salvation in the face of this invisible threat,' the prior wrote.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 1:12 pm EST
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The Monks of Norcia processing en.nursia.org
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

NORCIA, Italy, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Hidden away in the hills of central Italy, the Benedictine monks of Norcia are countering the coronavirus pandemic with prayers against pestilence and daily processions.

“In the afternoon, we process through the property with relics of the True Cross, praying for liberation from ‘plagues, famines and wars,’ as did the ancients, who knew these tribulations often arise together,” wrote Father Benedict Nivakoff OSB, the prior of the community famous for its beer and its Gregorian chant.

“Every morning, during the solemn high Conventual Mass, we have added prayers against pestilence,” the monk explained.

The monastery is located just outside the town of Norcia. When praying the Divine Office and celebrating Mass, the monks follow the Church’s traditional liturgy.

The prayers against pestilence, as found in the Votive Mass for the Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence, point out that God does not will “the death of the sinner but that he should repent.” The Collect asks God to welcome with pardon “Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath.”

The Secret, which is the prayer before singing the Preface, implores God to accept the sacrifice of the Mass offered by the priest, in order for it to “release us from sin and deliver us from all ruin and destruction.”

“Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and assure them of that safety which is the gift of Thy mercy,” asks the final prayer, known as Postcommunion.

According to Fr. Benedict, “Our region of Umbria’s population is geographically dispersed, so the cases of coronavirus around us are fewer than in the far north.” However, the monks are aware that the situation might change quickly.

Given that people in Italy are now largely confined to their own homes, he continued, hiddenness from the world “takes on an almost sacramental symbolism during this extraordinary crisis.”

The monks are welcoming the hiddenness of the Mass as an invitation to rediscover the mystery “of the Mass’s unseen efficacy,” which has been forgotten in modern times. “We must rely on an invisible medicine for our ultimate salvation in the face of this invisible threat.”

“For centuries,” Fr. Benedict wrote, “it was not possible to see up-close the mysteries of the altar. In certain periods, curtains were drawn at the most important moments of the Mass. Still today, the solemn prayers of consecration are said in the lowest of tones – a whisper – as the drama of the liturgy unfolds.”

The monks of Norcia are no strangers to tragedy. Monastic life in Norcia, the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, began again only in 2000.

Until 2016, when a severe earthquake hit Norcia, the monks were living in the center of the town, celebrating Mass and praying the Divine Office in the basilica of San Benedetto. Due to the destruction, the monks relocated to a former Capuchin monastery, which had been damaged by a prior earthquake, just outside of the town.

In 2019, after breaking ground and beginning to raise the walls, the community added a motto to the monastery’s crest: Nova Facio Omnia. “Taken from the Book of the Apocalypse,” the monks explained on their website, “it describes the New Jerusalem in all its splendor and underlines what Christ does for all who cooperate with His plan: ‘Behold, I make all things new!’”

“We should be willing to learn the lessons God wants to teach us,” Fr. Benedict encouraged Catholics. “A great temptation is to demand that God return what we have lost. In the field of tragedy, God sows seeds of new life. We all must water them with our prayers (both seen and unseen), our sacrifices and, perhaps, even our lives. But death does not have the last word.”

Conservative writer Rod Dreher said the Norcia Benedictines “know how to remain steady in catastrophe. We have so much to learn from them.”

“As Dom Benedict said, we are all now having to hide from the world, in our domestic cloisters, for the sake of saving lives. We can’t become too comfortable with that – I mean, we can never allow ourselves to believe that online church is anything but the barest facsimile of real church,” commented the author of the 2017 bestseller The Benedict Option.

“I strongly endorse Dom Benedict’s exhortation for us to meditate on what God is trying to teach us with this period of hiddenness. What does it mean to discover – or to re-discover – mystery?”


  catholic, coronavirus, italy, monks of norcia

News

Cdl Schönborn uses coronavirus pandemic to push ‘ecological’ questions

'Do we really need to have 200,000 airplanes in the air every day?' he asked.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 12:59 pm EST
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Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in a March 22, 2020 interview with ORF Fan [HD]. ORF Fan [HD] / Youtube screen grab
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

VIENNA, Austria, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has evaded the question of the COVID-19 pandemic being a chastisement or punishment from God, trying to frame it as an “ecological” issue. 

“Of course the question arises, is our lifestyle adapted to the world? The ecological question. I would first leave out the question of God,” the Cardinal said in a televised interview on March 22.

Schönborn explained that for centuries, people have asked why God permits evil. “With the plague, of course, people liked to say that this is now the scourge of God, this is God’s punishment. This is a question that everyone can ask themselves in any crisis situation.”

The Archbishop of Vienna asked during the interview, “If I used to smoke 50 cigarettes a day and then get cancer, the question naturally arises: was this a punishment for living carelessly?”

In talking about the “ecological question,” the Austrian encouraged viewers to use the current pandemic as a time for reflection.

“Is it really necessary to fly to London for the weekend to go shopping? Is it really necessary to spend the Christmas holidays in the Maldives? Is it really necessary that we have huge cruise ships with 4,000 people on board that pollute the seas in a dramatic way? Do we really need to have 200,000 airplanes in the air every day?”

Those questions, Schönborn said, lead to a deeper question: “Is God trying to tell us something with this? Does he perhaps want to remind us that he has entrusted creation to us, and not given it to us to devastate it?”

Schönborn’s comments on this topic reflect those of Pope Francis who has linked the coronavirus pandemic to a response from the planet to environmental pollution. The Pope told a Spanish journalist last week that he believes that the virus outbreak is nature “having a fit” in response to environmental pollution. During his homily at the March 29 Urbi et Orbi ceremony, the Pope returned to this theme, saying that men had ignored the “cry of [...] our ailing planet.” 

“We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick,” he said. 

Recently, Bishop Athanasius Schneider was not afraid of calling the coronavirus pandemic “a divine intervention to chastise and purify the sinful world and also the Church.”

The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, quoted from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. “I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching … that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.”

“I am convinced,” Schneider commented, “that Christ would repeat the same words to Pope Francis and to the other bishops who allowed the idolatrous veneration of the Pachamama and who implicitly approved sexual relationships outside a valid marriage, by allowing the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ who are sexually active to receive Holy Communion.”

The bishop, who grew up in the Soviet Union before coming to Germany in 1973, said the current situation “is so unique and serious that one can discover behind all of this a deeper meaning.”

Receiving Holy Communion in the hand, a practice disobediently adopted in some parts of the world and then officially permitted by Pope Paul VI roughly 50 years ago, “has led to an unintentional and intentional desecration [of] the Eucharistic Body of Christ on an unprecedented scale. For over fifty years, the Body of Christ had been (mostly unintentionally) trampled by the feet of clergy and laity in Catholic churches around the world. The stealing of sacred Hosts has also been increasing at an alarming rate.”

According to Schneider, taking the Eucharist “directly with one’s own hands and fingers resembles ever more the gesture of taking common food.”

For many people, he said, this practice led to a weakened faith in the real presence. “The Eucharistic presence of Christ has, over time, unconsciously become for these faithful a kind of holy bread or symbol.”

The current situation, wherein many parts of the world no public Masses are said, and Holy Communion cannot be received by the faithful, “could be understood by the Pope and bishops as a divine rebuke for the past fifty years of Eucharistic desecrations and trivializations and, at the same time, as a merciful appeal for an authentic Eucharistic conversion of the entire Church.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a March 29 interview with Michael Matt of The Remnant, linked the coronavirus to chastisement from God for sin while calling on Pope Francis to “convert” for having brought into the Church the “terrible sacrilege” of the idolatry of Pachamama. 

“The Pope, the Hierarchy, and all Bishops, Priests and Religious must immediately and absolutely convert,” he said. 

“[These clerics] have even committed acts of unprecedented gravity, such as we saw with the adoration of the pachamama idol in the Vatican itself,” he said.

“Indeed, I think Our Lord has rightly become indignant at the great multitude of scandals committed by those who ought to be setting a good example, because they are Shepherds, to the flocks to whom they have been entrusted.”

Other Catholic leaders – for instance, John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the first and largest pro-life organization in the United Kingdom – have offered similar assessments.

Smeaton called the coronavirus pandemic a “chastisement” for abortion and other sins.

In the same interview, Cardinal Schönborn talked about the role of women in the Church, saying he was “surprised” and “disappointed” by the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia.

“The big question remains open. The question of the role of women in positions of leadership within the Church remains a wound, an open question,” he said. 


  catholic, chastisement, christoph schönborn, coronavirus, ecological sins

News

Rain damages medieval miraculous crucifix used by Pope Francis during coronavirus blessing

Video of the Pope's Urbi et Orbi ceremony shows water droplets on the cross and water streaming down the corpus. 
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 11:39 am EST
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The 'miraculous' crucifix at Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi blessing, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, March 29, 2020. Vatican News / Youtube screen grab
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The miraculous medieval crucifix displayed outdoors during Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi ceremony in response to the coronavirus last week was damaged by the pouring rain. 

The famous Crucifix of the Church of San Marcello al Corso of Rome, believed by generations of Romans to be miraculous, was displayed outside St Peter’s Basilica for almost two hours last Friday without any protection from the elements.

Video of the Urbi et Orbi [to the city and the world] ceremony shows water droplets on the cross and water streaming down the corpus. 

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Rain can be seen streaming down the 'miraculous' crucifix used at Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi blessing, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, March 29, 2020. SOURCE: Vatican News / Youtube screen grab

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the rain “swelled the dry wood.”

“The stucco was broken in several places, as were patches of the antique light paint in a few sections,” reported journalist Franca Giansoldati. 

“In a few sections the tempera paint used by the anonymous artist to depict the blood from [the corpus’] side has loosened, the wooden surface of the hair has rippled and a few details of the arms are ruined.”  

At one point during the service, Pope Francis went to the cross and kissed the feet of Jesus

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Pope Francis kisses the feet of the 'miraculous' crucifix used during his Urbi et Orbi blessing, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, March 29, 2020. SOURCE: Vatican News / Youtube screen grab

Giansoldati added that people are now wondering why nobody thought that the 14th century treasure would survive the downpour unscathed or to protect it in any way.  She pointed out that it could have been placed under the same canopy that protected Pope Francis. Meanwhile, a mere copy of a Byzantine icon of the Madonna was protected during the ceremony under thick glass.  

The journalist reported that some people are blaming Pope Francis’ Master of Ceremonies for the damage. 

“Malicious people are affirming that the decision to abandon the miraculous crucifix to the elements came from the head of liturgical ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, so as to leave intact the essential choreography: the Pope alone before the illuminated canopy, on [St. Peter’s Square], without any other element.”  

Whoever is to blame, she added, the questions now are what can be done to restore the artifact and how much this will cost. 

Embed from Getty Images

But Giansoldi’s account is being challenged by the rector of San Marcello al Corso. According to Crux newspaper, Fr. Enrico Casini says that the “harm is not serious.” He told Crux that it was “possible” that the crucifix received “a little bit” of damage but he believes that “it’s something light that can be fixed in a short time.” 

Casini confirmed that the artifact has been taken to the Vatican restorations labs but said that earlier reports about the damage were “not correct.”  

At least two miracles are attributed to the Crucifix of San Marcello al Corso, the first being its own survival of a fire that otherwise completely destroyed a previous incarnation of the church in 1519.

Deemed by the Roman populace to be miraculous, the crucifix was carried throughout the city by a Spanish cardinal named Raimondo Vich in August 1522 to ward off a burgeoning plague. According to the Finestre Sull’ Arte (“Windows on Art”) online magazine, the procession lasted 18 days and ended when the Crucifix was brought into St. Peter’s Basilica. In the meantime the epidemic slowed down “and this event contributed to the reputation of the crucifix.” After that it was often carried in procession for holy years or other events.  

Gregory Di Pippo, editor of the New Liturgical Movement online magazine, told LifeSiteNews that he thinks most people know “that it is not a good idea to leave an object made of dry wood and covered in plaster out in the rain.” 

International attention turned towards the miraculous Crucifix in the Church of San Marcello al Corso in mid-March when Pope Francis walked through the empty streets of virus-struck Rome to visit it. He prayed before the carving for an end to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  

During his homily at the Urbi et Orbi ceremony, the Pope returned to his theme of linking the coronavirus pandemic to a response from the planet to environmental pollution.

“In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick,” he said. 

Pope Francis told a Spanish journalist last week that he believes that the coronavirus pandemic is nature “having a fit” in response to environmental pollution.


  catholic, coronavirus, pope francis, urbi et orbi

News

French priests visit COVID-19 patients, offer private Masses as gov’t ratchets up crackdown efforts

Most religious celebrations have been closed to the public.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 11:28 am EST
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twitter.com/pfranckyd
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

ANALYSIS

FRANCE, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On Sunday, a widely shared message and a photo on the Twitter account of a Parisian priest became a symbol of hope. Father Franck Derville, hospital chaplain of one of the foremost hospitals in Paris, Hôpital Cochin, visited COVID-19 patients in the ICU ward. He posted a picture of himself wearing protective garb over his Roman collar as well as a mask and glasses.

At a time when most religious celebrations have been closed to the public, visits of religious ministers to the sick and to patients in end-of-life situations have been expressly authorized by confinement rules in France. But not all hospitals authorize them.

All visits have been suspended in hospital homes for the elderly, whose vulnerable inhabitants are paying a heavy tribute to the coronavirus which is particularly deadly for the elderly.

In an op-ed published on March 26 by FigaroVox, the web media of Le Figaro, Bishop Benoît de Sinety, vicar general of the Diocese of Paris, insisted that chaplains should be allowed to visit the sick at their bedside.

He wrote:

While television crews are sometimes allowed to enter hospital emergency departments to follow the remarkable work of medical teams, in a commendable concern for providing information, it seems to me at least as crucial that chaplains should be able to be present with the dying and the sick, for the sake of humaneness, to be with them at such essential times.

At a time of great urgency and when our society as a whole is holding its breath in the face of the spread of this epidemic, I earnestly request that this fundamental right to be a human being up to the end of one's life be respected.

May those who so desire, or whose families manifest this desire, be able to benefit from the presence of the minister of their religion at their side to pray with them and for them, to hold their hands, and not to let them die without the benefit of any spiritual guidance they may want.

Not going to the bedside of the dying is tantamount to leaving the way clear for a form of abandonment.

If it is necessary for those who voluntarily carry out this mission to agree to go there for the necessary time, I know that this will not discourage them. They will also be able to provide listening and a supportive presence that many doctors, interns, nurses and care staff are also asking for.

The demand for efficiency and the exceptional dedication of medical teams cannot justify denying what is the hallmark of a civilization. Not going to the bedside of the dying is tantamount to leaving the field open to a form of abandonment that is not only human but also spiritual, which, apart from the fact that it encourages patients to do everything they can to escape the hospital for fear of suffering this fate, would permanently damage the soul of our health care system and, more broadly, of our country.

Already, outside of hospitals, volunteer teams of followers of different religions are listening, consoling and accompanying families who are distressed at not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones, and providing support that contributes to the common good.

Let us not forget that, at all times, during much more dangerous epidemics (cholera, plague...) men and women have never been prevented from volunteering to support their contemporaries spiritually and humanely and from freely taking risks.

As long as they agree to follow the instructions given, why deprive the most fragile of the benefits of a fraternal presence where science can no longer do anything?

Benoist de Sinety’s op-ed was also published on the website of the Diocese of Paris.

His arguments were echoed by Bishop Bernard Ginoux of Montauban, who tweeted: “We, priests, cannot abandon the sick, especially those who have reached the end of their life. It is a right of the sick person to obtain the presence of Christ.” 

While asking his readers not to vainly accuse parishes and priests who are “doing what they can,” he also tweeted: “We are called to penance and conversion, to humility and to the adoration of our only Lord. Now is the real time of favor.”

Bishop Ginoux added a tweet today saying that Masses are still being celebrated in his diocese “according to the norms allowing churches to be open.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne has called on his flock to “pray and do penance,” and has consecrated his diocese to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Official guidelines still allow churches and other places of worship to remain open. Believers were in theory allowed to attend religious ceremonies in their place of worship with no more than 20 faithful present, as the government’s website still states, but a new decree published on March 23 formally prohibited all religious ceremonies except for funerals, these being limited to 20 persons present.

The decree runs until April 15, which means that for the first time since the 1st century, there will be no public Mass in France for Easter. 

At the beginning of confinement on March 16 a number of churches, such as chapels of the Society of Saint Pius X and other traditionally-minded parishes offered an increased number of Masses, allowing faithful to join upon inscription or by rotations managed by the local priest. Others scrapped Sunday Masses but retained weekday celebrations so that the faithful could at least have one Mass during the week; some distributed Holy Communion and others did not.

Increasingly stringent controls included 16 faithful being fined on March 22 and asked to leave a chapel of the FSSPX in Savoie (eastern France) because they were “too close together” and because a number had come from “too far.”

In another incident that day, a priest was officially “reminded of the law” while his less than twenty faithful were fined 135 euro each (about $150 USD) for having joined a Mass organized in a large hall at a private camp. Police explained that the hall was not a “place of worship.”

Since Saturday, automatic fines for second-time offenders were stepped up to 200 euro, while four infringements in 30 days will “cost” 3.750 euro and six months imprisonment.

Banks, supermarkets, garages, all food stores including take-away restaurants, bakers and butchers, as well as computer stores, phone shops, newspaper sellers, drugstores and drycleaners, to name but a few, are open.


  catholic, coronavirus, france, freedom of assembly, religious freedom

News

Canon lawyer compares prohibition of public Masses to interdicts in history

Interdicts are prohibitions 'whereby Church authority could shut down access to sacraments for the innocent as well as the guilty.'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 10:58 am EST
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Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

DETROIT, Michigan, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A canon lawyer has compared the current prohibition of public Masses to territorial interdicts in the past. Edward Peters, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, argued that today, “what amounts to territorial interdicts are being imposed (rightly or wrongly, in terms of medical advice) as a way to protect the innocent.”

An interdict is an ecclesiastical censure “whereby Church authority could shut down access to sacraments for the innocent as well as the guilty in whole countries,” Peters explained.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, an interdict “is a censure, or prohibition, excluding the faithful from participation in certain holy things.” These holy things include the liturgy, the sacraments, “excepting private administrations of those that are of necessity,” and “ecclesiastical burial, including all funeral services.”

“There were, of course, efforts over the centuries to mitigate the impact of territorial interdicts on the innocent,” Peters said, “but, in its heyday, though criticized on prudential grounds, interdicts were not attacked as illegal in themselves nor as somehow outside of the Church’s authority to implement.”

With that in mind, he cautioned Catholics against “concluding that a given...local Church policy is canonically illegal and can therefore simply be disregarded.” While such policies might be “wrong-headed (as some seem to me) that does not necessarily mean they are canonically illegal.”

The remarks made by Edward Peters are in contrast to the assessment by Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

The auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, had stated that a priest, using discretion and following the necessary health precautions “has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful.”

Directives canceling all public Masses “are a pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls,” the bishop said.

“Priests in such a situation have to be extremely creative in order to provide for the faithful, even for a small group, the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Such was the pastoral behavior of all confessor and martyr priests in the time of persecution,” he added.

As many bishops have canceled not only public Masses, but also all baptisms, Peters criticized the delay of infant baptisms.

According to current canon law, published in 1983, infants are to be baptized “in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it.”

Peters said, “I agree with the Exegetical Commentary which states that Canon 867 ‘protected the fundamental right of the parents to baptize their children within the first few weeks. This right shall not be limited or restricted by a particular law, at least not by a norm of lower rank than the [1983 Code] itself.’”

“Commentaries on the old law warned against parents trying more than a month to secure the service of a priest before acting on their own,” he added.

Peters pointed out that parents who baptize their own child because they were unable to get a priest to do so, “should simply report such baptisms to the pastor of the parish.”

“I suggest an audio-visual recording of the event, should the pastor later have any questions about matter, form, and so on,” he emphasized.

Baptisms of adults usually take place during the celebration of the Easter Vigil, in combination with Confirmation and first Holy Communion. Peters called for providing these sacraments in a timely manner.

“Consider, some bishops are allowing up to ten ‘technical assistants’ to help priests broadcast their Masses on-line. Well, if ten tech aids can gather to hold lights and point cameras, surely a half dozen candidates and catechumens can kneel before their priest and be baptized, confirmed, and communicated.”

Regarding marriages, Peters pointed out that canonical form “need not be observed, even by two Roman Catholics, if it is foreseen that an official witness (typically, a priest) cannot be present for at least thirty days.” In other words, the priest would not be absolutely necessary, if no priest can be found. Two other witnesses, however, still need to be there.


  canon law, catholic, coronavirus, ed peters, interdict

News

Faulty Chinese medical supplies will ‘kill people’ during COVID-19 pandemic, expert tells Fox News

Medical supplies to deal with the coronavirus coming from China is 'literally junk: it will not heal people. It will kill people'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 10:41 am EST
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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Communist China is sending shipments of faulty medical supplies to Europe during the coronavirus pandemic that will not heal people, but will kill them, an expert on China has stated.  

Steven Mosher, author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is a Threat to World Order, told the Fox News host of “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday night that China has been sending defective equipment to European countries stricken by its latest coronavirus. 

“China’s coming in like a ‘white knight’ into Europe with lots of medical supplies, ventilators,” Ingraham told him. “And these Eurozone countries are welcoming them with open arms, not thinking that there’s going to be any strings attached because they’re in crisis.”

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Steven Mosher (R) on Fox News' 'The Ingraham Angle' with Laura Ingraham, March 30, 2020. SOURCE: Fox News / video screen grab

“Yeah, and then they’re finding out that the masks leak, that the protective gear doesn’t work,” Mosher replied. 

He reported that Spain, The Czech Republic, and Holland have already decided to send China back its defective test kits or other equipment. 

According to the BBC, authorities in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands have reported that thousands of Chinese “testing kits and medical masks are below standard or defective.”  Newsweek has similarly reported that officials in those countries and The Czech Republic have rejected Chinese supplies as “not fit for purpose.”

Europe is not alone. Australia has also reported substandard supplies from China. 

“A lot of the junk coming from China is literally junk,” Mosher stated.

“It will not heal people. It will kill people.” 

Mosher took issue with the World Health Organization (WHO) refusing to acknowledge Taiwan, whose sovereignty China denies. He says Taiwan has provided the world a model response to dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus. For example, Taiwan was the first country to close its borders to traffic from Wuhan, where the virus originated. Taiwan has a very low rate of infection and few deaths.

“They are a model for the rest of the world to follow, and yet you have the World Health Association, let’s call it the China Health Organization, refusing to hold up Taiwan as a model when it could save lives,” Mosher said.   

“What does a health association do when it doesn’t save lives?”   

Retired Brigadier General (USAF) Robert Spalding told Ingraham that the WHO and several other powerful international organizations are controlled by China. 

“In addition to the WHO, you have the UN Human Rights Council. You have the World Bank. I mean, name an international institution the Chinese Communist Party hasn’t taken over,” he scoffed.  

Laura Ingraham stated that the United States media is holding up China as a model for dealing with the crisis and that the U.S. is even considering surveilling Americans through their cellphones to make sure they are social-distancing and not travelling.  

Spalding warned that America has to be “very careful” because spreading that kind of state control is what China wants. He stated that China had gone to India to sell 5G communications technology and told the country how it could use temperature sensors to track its population. 

“This is creeping authoritarianism,” he said. 

Spalding recommended investing in American manufacturing so that Americans “can cut ourselves loose from the Chinese.” 


  china, chinese communists, coronavirus, fox news, laura ingraham, medical supplies, steven mosher, the ingraham angle

Opinion

Coronavirus crisis reveals why it’s time to curb China’s dangerous dominance of medical supplies

China is the primary world supplier of key ingredients for almost all common and critically needed medical equipment, medications and supplements, including vitamin C.
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:12 pm EST
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Ron F. Hale
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April 1, 2020 (American Thinker) ― Rosemary Gibson is senior advisor at the Hastings Center and a national authority on health care reform. In 2014, she won the highest honor from the American Medical Writers Association. She is an editor for JAMA Internal Medicine. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Speaking to journalist Sharyl Attkisson in an April 23, 2018, interview,  Gibson warned: "What happens if we have a Fukushima type event or the trade routes are blocked in the South China Sea? Or if there's a global pandemic? And the United States and virtually every other country in the world is dependent on a few companies in China for the ingredients to make critical antibiotics."

Gibson provided a detailed picture of China’s growing domination of the medical drug and equipment market in her 2018 book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine (co-authored by Janardan Prasad Singh).

China is now the global kingpin in the supply of key ingredients for many prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. The Chinese now control most of the active and inactive ingredients for the manufacture of medicine in the world.

Suppose your blood pressure medication is factory-made in Canada and you feel your supply line is safe. Your health is still in jeopardy because Communist China could choose to ban the export of your drug’s active ingredient to Canada. 

In China Rx, Gibson and Singh lay out the facts in how drug manufacturing has experienced a paradigm shift over several decades. Communist China has followed an aggressive plan in becoming the global supplier of necessary ingredients for medicines.

Penicillin, a longstanding drug in the fight against bacterial infection, is a prime example of America’s market loss and China’s economic seizure and takeover

Around 2004, the Chinese government had its national companies dump penicillin ingredients on the global market. Most Western countries, including the U.S., could not compete with their low prices and went bankrupt. Then China issued a major price increase on these important ingredients, thereby cornering the market and making billions.

Although the penicillin that you purchase at your local drugstore may not be manufactured in China in its final form, the keys to its production (active ingredients) are under communist control.  

Forget about a vital drug like heparin, the only anticoagulant used in the U.S. for heart surgery and kidney dialysis. What about something simple, like Vitamin C? 

China is now the primary supplier for the key ingredients for manufacturing this vitamin in the U.S. and around the world. Chinese companies created an artificial shortage of vitamin C around 2005 by slowing production and exports. American companies filed a class-action suit resulting in a legal battle lasting over eight years. The evidence was strong and convincing against China. The judge ordered China to pay over $160 million in damages to U.S. corporations.

The Seattle Times in June 2007 reported, “In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the U.S. market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business… Chinese pharmaceutical companies also have taken over much of the world market in the production of antibiotics, analgesics, enzymes and primary amino acids. According to an industry group, China makes 70 percent of the world’s penicillin, 50 percent of its aspirin and 35 percent of its acetaminophen (often sold under the brand name Tylenol), as well as the bulk of vitamins A, B12, C and E.”

In China Rx, Gibson also reveals that China is the main supplier of the active ingredients for acetaminophen and aspirin now used in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

How were these warning signs missed for these less-complex drugs, not to mention the more expensive heart and cancer medications?    

Who is listening to Rosemary Gibson on Capitol Hill?

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), while chairing a hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on March 12,  sounded the alarm concerning critical shortages in our drug supply chain, the offshoring of American drug manufacturing for two decades, and now the threat of a global pandemic.

He warned, “The inability to quickly increase the production of key supplies, such as surgical masks, medical gowns, and pharmaceutical drugs limits our ability to mitigate the worst effects of disease in this emerging crisis and in any future pandemic. It is unacceptable that China holds this much leverage over America’s public health and economy, which are both essential components of our national security.”

Thank you, Senator!

This article first appeared at the American Thinker. It is published here with the author's permission.


  antibiotics, aspirin, communist china, coronavirus, heparin, jama internal medicine, rosemary gibson, tylenol, vitamin c

Opinion

Bishops betray Catholics in allowing sacraments to be deemed ‘non-essential’ in COVID-19 battle

'The sacraments have been relegated to a priority below that of buying a hot dog bun.'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 3:48 pm EST
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Peter Bleyer
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April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Rome, we have a problem.  In the midst of a crisis with the world ripe for evangelization, as people seek the comfort only God can bring, our sacraments are locked away for fear of the coronavirus.  Good Friday has arrived in the most authentic Lenten period of our lives, and as the devil crowns God’s creation with thorns, Catholic shepherds, like Simon Peter, seem to be denying Jesus’ power through the Eucharist to save us.    

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am left with countless questions as I attempt to understand exactly why those doors of our churches are locked.  Yes, COVID-19 makes me concerned for my earthly life, and yes, I would greatly prefer to live through this pandemic and yes, I strongly believe in taking precautions to prevent the virus’ spread.  However, I personally would rather contract the coronavirus while receiving the sacraments than be spiritually starved, risking loss of eternal life by having them denied to me. 

Worst-case predictions make COVID-19 less deadly than being in the womb, a target for abortion. This raises the question about why the Church is only now concerned enough about the value of human life to act in such a drastic manner? In 2017, 862,000 Americans died by abortion. Abortion gives US children in the womb a 18% fatality rate. As of this writing, there have only been 4,600 coronavirus deaths in the U.S., with a fatality rate expected to be just over 1 percent

…for the bread of God is the bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.  'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.'  Jesus answered them: I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.  John 6:33-35

Why can the faithful not receive the two vital sacraments needed for daily life? If the Eucharist is not essential in the battle against COVID-19, why or when would we ever need it?  

Since my first communion many years ago, I have been given “that bread” always. Last Sunday, with the world in crisis, I suffered my first denial and the available “Virtual Communion” left me empty.  As many of us face indefinite denials we should make a thoughtful decision about which bread is more important to us.  

By the Church’s voluntary removal of the Bread of Life from our lives, without at the same time instructing the faithful to avoid purchasing worldly bread (or anything else) at grocery stores, our shepherds are concurring with a secular world that prioritizes nourishment for the body over nourishment for the soul.  

At the Last Supper, it was not so.  

Equally troubling is the question I can no longer answer, frequently asked by our Christian brethren.   Why do we need to confess our sins through an intermediary?  COVID-19 is a worldly affliction that is calling us to repentance and our priests are being made unavailable when God’s children are in greatest need.   

The sacraments have been relegated to a priority below that of buying a hot dog bun.  

After this crisis ends our bishops should not wonder why Catholics have left their parishes for that super friendly, feeling good, woke Christian Church down the street with the good music.  If the sacraments are not all that important then the Catholic Church is nothing special.  

From the communications we have received from our dioceses, the impression comes that our priests are being ordered to hunker down and wait for the corona crisis to end.  First if this is not true, our priests need to communicate otherwise.  If it is true, it should not be.  

I am a physician; I treat the physical body.  How much more valuable to the community is the Catholic priest, whose job it is to treat the spiritual body? If I am successful, my patients may live a little longer and have a better quality of life. But all my patients die (eventually).  For the priest, his effort could mean the difference between eternal damnation and never-ending life with God for one of his sheep.  

During this COVID crisis, from the ER physician to the grocery bagger, many people are putting themselves at risk to serve the community.  Should not the priest be there as well, making the sacraments available, while taking all reasonable precautions?  

Every day, our bishops should be working closely with government officials and medical experts to develop protocols to bring the faithful the sacraments.  Here is one I propose as a starting point.

After proper preparation, healthy priests would consecrate the hosts during live streamed (if possible) private Masses.   At a designated time, the priest would be available in a large closed off outdoor area through which cars could process.  At the entrance point to the area a screener would ask appropriate health and religious questions and possibly measure temperature.   Those who were high risk would be turned away and forced to follow another protocol to receive the Eucharist.  Those who passed screening would proceed into the line of cars and proceed to the priest who would be wearing a protective mask.  After giving the Eucharist to each member in the car, the priest would purify his hands (by means of an ablution bowl and purifier), disinfect his hands, and take at one time the number of hosts needed for the communicants in the next car.  He would then beckon that car forward with the Eucharist distributed in a method of the priest’s choosing.   

Is the problem inherent with providing the sacraments one of logistics or is it concern for social distancing?  Many of us are available and willing to help with logistics.  And following government demands for social distancing still allows us to shop for essentials and purchase McDonald’s takeout.  If the plan for provision of Communion and Reconciliation is properly and passionately presented to government officials, making them explicitly aware of the necessity of the sacraments to bring healing to their community, denial seems unlikely.  The dilemma posed by possible government refusal would require close examination of Jesus’ words, “give to God what belongs to God; give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.”  The courageous response would be insisting that the sacraments belong to God, and move forward.   To not move forward would be a crisis of courage which, although troubling, would actually be more comforting than the crisis of faith appearing now, in which our shepherds fail to see the importance of the sacraments in defeating this evil scourge.

It has taken 50 years to arrive at our current crisis in faith.  What began with the contraceptive pill and the idea that sex is primarily about pleasure has led to the clergy’s weak response to widespread sexual abuse and homosexuality within its ranks, and eventually the refusal of our bishops to sincerely accept the value of unborn life.  

The years of inaction in the face of 61,000,000 American abortions has devalued human life in the womb, while making life outside the womb now seemingly more valuable than heavenly life. Read “Too many Catholic bishops don’t really seem to care about ending abortion” for more about this. Rather than address these foundational issues resolutely, the faithful have been distracted with talk of complex subjects like climate change and immigration, for which our clergy has little expertise and for which no coherent Catholic solution has been formulated.  Emphasizing these issues, however, has generally brought our shepherds secular praise, and relieved them from having to make the type of courageous decisions they should be making now, but appear unwilling or unable to.  In 2018 as Pope Francis questioned President Trump’s Christianity regarding immigration, he was making a deal with China to allow the communists to help select Catholic bishops.  Figuratively speaking the virus of Communism was allowed to enter into the Catholic Church in China with now ironic, but tragic results, first for Italy and now the United States.  

The COVID-19 crisis is about the Lord calling the world back to faith.  In our arrogance man thinks he can control the uncontrollable; he cannot.  Being a Catholic in these times is even more difficult as the Church is in crisis as well.  However, the solution to both crises is straightforward; my pastor relayed it to me a few weeks ago, “Repent and believe in the gospel.”  

We can do it now or do it later; it will require the Sacraments. 

Peter Michael Bleyer, MD, is a Board Certified Family Practice Physician working as a wound care physician in Conway, South Carolina. He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association. He is a father of five and a US Navy retiree. 


  bishops, catholic bishops, coronavirus, eucharist, mass, sacraments

Opinion

Problematic definition of ‘COVID-19 death’ may be inflating death rate, leading to draconian lockdowns

'Some of the most extreme decisions in the history of America may not be based upon scientific evidence but instead on projections, assumptions, probables, and possibly inflated mortality rate'
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 2:42 pm EST
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Robert L. Kinney III
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ANALYSIS

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Some have questioned whether the extreme measures taken to attempt to reduce the spread of “Covid-19” may be doing more harm than good. One question that arises is: upon what facts are government entities basing their decisions to lock up entire states and cancel the public celebration of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Decisions throughout America are likely based, at least partially, upon the tally of “Covid-19 deaths”. It is a somewhat ambiguous phrase, and when one performs the research, one likely finds that there does not appear to be a clear universal definition of a “Covid-19 death.”

In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the authoritative source for a definition. But a definition does not appear to be explicitly stated in expected locations; the CDC’s Covid-19 cases and deaths statistics’ page does not provide a definition of “Covid-19 death.” Does the phrase only refer to deaths from severe acute respiratory syndrome solely caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus? Or does “Covid-19 death” refer to all deceased people who have received a positive test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus? Does it refer to some who have been merely assumed to have died indirectly from Covid-19-like complications? Does the “Covid-19 death” tally include deceased who had co-infections with other viruses which can cause severe acute respiratory symptoms or pneumonia like H1N1, influenza A or B, or respiratory syncytial virus and thus could also be tallied as a “swine flu/H1N1 death” or “influenza death”? 

Are some “Covid-19 deaths” resulting from easily preventable conditions like dehydration rather than severe acute respiratory syndrome? 

Most commentators have focused on comparing Covid-19 to influenza, but respiratory syncytial virus can also cause pneumonia and results in an estimated 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Can a “Covid-19 death” also be the result of a co-infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and therefore be labeled as an “RSV death”?

Additionally, the CDC’s Covid-19 tally includes “presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC” (added emphasis). Does the tally of “Covid-19 deaths” also include “presumptive positive cases of Covid-19”?  Are states and the federal government basing decisions to prohibit public celebration of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, impose unemployment, potential poverty, and potentially life-threatening problems on millions of Americans off of faulty and misleading assumptions and presumptions?

Again, it is not outright evident what is included in the phrase “Covid-19 death.” One has to do some literature research on the source of mortality data for potential hints. According to the CDC, “[t]he basic source of information about mortality is the death certificate.”  One clue, then, is observable in how the CDC is advising physicians to fill out death certificates. Death certificates should describe immediate cause of death as well as factors contributing to death. In many states, death certificates are public records. From the CDC:

Death certificates are used for surveillance [of HIV/AIDS, influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.], outbreaks, and emergency activities…because death is a sentinel event. Rapid reporting of deaths is required by law. The information is used at local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for rapid response. (No. 6)

It is apparent, then, that national mortality data including the CDC’s “Covid-19 deaths” statistics arise from what is reported on death certificates. 

Physicians document the medical information on the death certificate. How, then, are physicians advised to record a death in which SARS-CoV-2 virus or “Covid-19” may be involved? 

The CDC recently published a “Covid-19 Alert” dated March 24, 2020 with guidance on the topic. The document summarizes potential questions from death certificate certifiers, which are most often physicians. One question which indicates how broadly “Covid-19 death” is being defined is, “[s]hould ‘COVID-19’ be reported on the death certificate only with a confirmed test?” The CDC gives the following guidance:

COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc. If the decedent had other chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma that may have also contributed, these conditions can be reported in Part II. [Original emphasis]

If Covid-19 is “assumed to have caused” or “assumed to…have contributed to death”, it is to be reported on the death certificate. “Covid-19 caused death” and “Covid-19 is assumed to have caused or contributed to death” are two very different descriptions; yet, they are apparently included under the same phrase of “Covid-19 death.” Furthermore, as it is written above, a deceased may be included as a “Covid-19 death” even if the deceased was not confirmed to have had Covid-19. 

It is known that many “Covid-19 deaths” occur in individuals with multiple underlying medical problems. And if a “Covid-19 death” includes “decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death”, as the alert above states, then it follows that the CDC’s official tally of “Covid-19 deaths” does not mean what millions of Americans think it means. 

“Covid-19 deaths” also apparently includes deceased who may have had co-infections with other viruses which also could be “assumed to have contributed to death”. Examples include HIV/AIDS which weakens the immune system along with non-Covid-19 viruses which may cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory symptoms. How many “Covid-19 deaths” are among persons with multiple viral infections?

One could assume that SARS-CoV-2 virus would contribute to death in a patient who already has pneumonia resulting from H1N1. Or, one could assume there are deceased who have tested positive for co-infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the swine flu, influenza, and/or respiratory syncyctial virus. According to the above federal government guidance to physicians, the death certificate of such deceased who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus along with other viral infections would be counted in the CDC’s tally of “Covid-19 deaths.” 

A related statistic that does not appear to be publicized is the number of “Covid-19 deaths” among immunodeficient persons. A reasonable person might ask if the deceased recorded as “Covid-19 deaths” contracted respiratory syncytial virus or influenza instead of SARS-CoV-2 virus, would they still likely die? And if those are included in the “Covid-19 deaths”, should mortality data of those deaths be the basis for shutting down almost the entire country? How many “Covid-19 deaths” are among working-aged or working-class persons without immunodeficiency? This is not to trivialize life and death but instead to question possibly problematic logic in decision making among powerful government authorities. 

The CDC’s alert above indicates that “Covid-19 deaths” includes some who may not have even tested positive for the virus. Other “Covid-19 deaths” may include mere assumptions that Covid-19 probably contributed to death in persons that may have succumbed to other viruses had they contracted them.

Notably, too, the above guidance on how Covid-19 deaths should be reported by physicians on death certificates is dated March 24, 2020. The alert provides a very broad guidance of what physicians should report on death certificates and is then apparently included in the CDC’s tally of “Covid-19 death” mortality data. If one views the data of daily reported deaths after March 24, 2020, one finds that there was an apparent sudden increase in daily “Covid-19 deaths.” This may not be due to spread of the virus, though, as one may be misled to think. It may be a result of the March 24, 2020 guideline from the CDC which says that “COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is “assumed to have caused or contributed to death”; as this is stated, it would include some that have not tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus. And, as written, it includes many others that may have co-infections with other viruses which may be “assumed to have contributed to death”. Or, it could include patients with COPD and a recent history of pneumonia resulting as a side effect of certain medications but with Covid-19 “assumed to have contributed to death”. Thus, mortality statistics of “Covid-19 deaths” could have immediately inflated after March 24, 2020 as a result.

And, the CDC itself notes that it is often the case that deceased individuals have “so many medical problems” which make it difficult to specify the underlying cause of death on a death certificate. Apparently in reference to such circumstances, the CDC guides in the following manner:

the rules for coding and selection of the underlying cause of death are expected to result in COVID19 being the underlying cause more often than not.

Since all patients testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus will already likely be reported to the state and local health departments as well as the CDC, and since the CDC is nudging physicians to include Covid-19 as the underlying cause of death, it seems likely that physicians will “more often than not” include this on the death certificate just to be safe in terms of preventing possible future legal action. 

Oftentimes Catholics get falsely accused of opposing science. Here we have a case of a powerful government entity using assumptions, “probables”, and pre-determined or skewed results which may inflate mortality data. That is in opposition to basic scientific principles. If drug study leaders (with trillions of dollars to potentially give to hospitals) comparing two different drugs informed all physician participants throughout the U.S. to expect to report Drug A to be effective or to report “more often than not” Drug B will be the underlying cause of death, the results of such a study would be considered at minimum not trustworthy. 

Indeed, the “Covid-19 deaths” tally does not appear to be defined in the way that most people think. And it appears as though some of the most extreme decisions in the history of America may not be based upon scientific evidence but instead on projections, assumptions, probables, and possibly inflated mortality rates.

Robert L. Kinney III, Pharm.D., M.A. holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Purdue University and an M.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in bioethics from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has been published in The Linacre Quarterly, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Crisismagazine.com, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.


  catholic, centers for disease control, coronavirus, lockdown

Blogs

German bishop: idea of coronavirus as God’s punishment is ‘terrible…un-Christian’

Bishop Heiner Wilmer said the 'corona crisis is not a punishment from God' 
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:57 pm EST
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Bishop Heiner Wilmer giving a homily January 6, 2020. Bistum Hildesheim / Youtube screen grab
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – German Bishop Heiner Wilmer has stated in a March 30 interview that he believes that the idea of a punishing God is “terrible and also completely un-Christian.” He goes on to say that “the corona crisis is not a punishment from God.” 

Speaking to the German regional newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the bishop of the Diocese of Hildesheim in the north of Germany discusses the effects of the coronavirus crisis on the Faith, and he admits that it is a test. 

While his Faith is not shaken, Wilmer states, “nevertheless this crisis shakes me and shows me: God is still completely different than the one you had imagined.” Here, the bishop insists that the idea of a God who punishes us for our misbehavior “is terrible and also completely un-Christian.” “The Corona crisis is not a punishment from God.”

With this comment, Wilmer stands in stark contrast to prelates such as Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes and Bishop Athanasius Schneider who see the corona crisis as a punishment from God, just as God has punished His people in the past when they erred into sin and faithlessness. Recently, Bishop Schneider had called the coronavirus crisis “a divine intervention to chastise and purify the sinful world and also the Church.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in a March 29 interview with Michael Matt of The Remnant, also linked the coronavirus to chastisement from God for sin while calling on Pope Francis to “convert” for having brought into the Church the “terrible sacrilege” of the idolatry of Pachamama. 

“The Pope, the Hierarchy, and all Bishops, Priests and Religious must immediately and absolutely convert,” he said. 

“[These clerics] have even committed acts of unprecedented gravity, such as we saw with the adoration of the pachamama idol in the Vatican itself,” he said.

“Indeed, I think Our Lord has rightly become indignant at the great multitude of scandals committed by those who ought to be setting a good example, because they are Shepherds, to the flocks to whom they have been entrusted.”

John-Henry Westen, the editor-in-chief of LifeSite, has discussed this matter in-depth in his new John-Henry Westen Show, quoting passages from Holy Scripture and referring back to Pope Francis’ recent permission of Pachamama worship in the Vatican, as well as his allowing “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion.

In light of the current lack of access to the Sacraments, the German prelate proposes that one rediscovers new ways of practicing the Faith: “Now the great question posed by Martin Luther comes back again: how do I get a merciful God? Not somehow mediated by the Church, but, rather, very directly, in an immediate contact.”

Bishop Wilmer is thinking here of the Bible and of small communities of faithful, as so-called “house churches.” This crisis, therefore, is seen by him as a chance to rediscover new forms of togetherness. “The celebration of the Mass, the Eucharist, is very important. But now, sit down! Read the Bible! Discuss it with two or three people, via tele conference, via Skype, whatever! But most of all: speak with God!”

The German prelate who is one of the younger German bishops and who was appointed by Pope Francis in 2018 thinks it is important to live up to the standard of “Jesus the Healer” by “being close to people.” “The greatest catastrophe would be if we were to seclude ourselves and if we did not see the other anymore.” For the German bishop, one lesson of the crisis is: “The Church is there not for herself, but for society.”

In light of the current “synodal path” debates in Germany, Bishop Wilmer is of the view that the coronavirus crisis makes it clear “that reforms are necessary, but not sufficient. We need more. We have a Church crisis, but also a crisis of faith, in the sense that it is not clear to us how the relationship between man and God – the great, unfathomable mystery – works.”

Bishop Wilmer caused a controversy in Germany when, in December of 2018, he claimed during the clerical sex abuse crisis that the Catholic Church is not “immaculate.” He then added that the “abuse of power is in the DNA of the Church.” 

“I believe the abuse of power is in the DNA of the Church. We cannot any more shrug this off as something minor, but we have to rethink [the hierarchy] in a radical way,” the prelate said, adding that “we do not yet have any idea of what the consequences should be for theology.” 

At the time, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, as well as German journalists Paul Badde and Armin Schwibach strongly reacted against such claims, reminding Wilmer of the distinction between the holiness of the Catholic Church as distinct from the sinfulness of individual members of the Church.

Schwibach, who is a Rome Correspondent and professor of philosophy, stated in comments to LifeSite at the time that “especially because she is holy – the holiness that comes to her from Christ – the Church can welcome sinners and suffer with them in their sufferings and cure them.” “It is just unbelievable,” he commented on Wilmer's words.


  catholicvote.org, chastisement, coronavirus, german bishop, god, heiner wilmer, punishment

Blogs

Is coronavirus healthcare rationing resulting in people with Down syndrome being left to die?

Parents of children with Down syndrome have begun to worry
Wed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:23 pm EST
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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – With a shortage of ventilators and other medical necessities, strained global supply chains, and a worldwide pandemic placing our healthcare systems under enormous strain, many healthcare workers are bracing themselves to face impossible decisions.

Triage, a word that sounds jarring outside a wartime context, is increasingly on our lips. Stories of elderly people refusing ventilators or giving them to younger people are surfacing, and tales of Italian doctors being forced to choose who they will allocate resources to are almost too heartbreaking to read. They are enduring trauma that they will live with until they die.

Disability advocates are also fearful that our culture’s increasingly eugenic mindset will lead to discrimination against those deemed by some to be less worthy of life. According to a March 28 report by the Daily Mirror, some of the state guidelines being published in preparation for the coronavirus pandemic indicate that people “with Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism could be left to die,” and disability advocates are “disturbed” by what they are seeing.

In Alabama, for example, medical guidance states that “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia, or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support…persons with severe or profound mental retardation, moderate to severe dementia, or catastrophic neurological complications such as persistent vegetative state are unlikely candidates for ventilator support.”

According to the Mirror, “[s]imilar guidance has been issued in Washington and Arizona, with medics in the latter state instructed to ‘allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources.’” This guidance is particularly alarming for disability advocates who represent the more than seven million Americans who live with disabilities. 

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In response, disability advocates have filed a complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services, demanding assurances that those with disabilities will not become the victims of discrimination if they seek emergency care during the pandemic. Some have pointed out that many people with disabilities live in group homes, which places them at a higher risk of contracting the virus. 

HHS Spokesman Roger Severino stated that US law “protect[s] the equal dignity of every human being from ruthless utilitarianism,” but disability advocates such as Ari Ne’erman of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University noted that “[w]hat we’re seeing here is a clash between disability rights law and ruthless utilitarian logic. What this is really all about at the end of the day is whether our civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic. I think that’s a pretty core question as to who we are as a country.”

Parents of children with Down syndrome have begun to worry, as well. Over at Yahoo Lifestyle, Madison Huntsman wrote that she is worried about rationing if her child gets COVID-19:

Social usefulness. That’s the term I keep coming upon in articles I read. Hospitals are preparing to be, or are already overwhelmed by patients who are severely ill due to the coronavirus. Hospitals need a plan for when the dreaded moment comes and they need to decide if patient A or patient B gets a bed, medication or a ventilator. In other words, who do we save?

This is terrible for any person, parent or not, to have to think about. As a mother to a son with Down syndrome, it’s absolutely horrifying. I’ve had to think about how I would plead my case if it came to that. What would I say? How would I argue that my son deserves to live as much as the other typical 3-year-old down the hall? It all comes back to the same argument for us as advocating parents. We want the same chances, the same opportunities for our kids. We don’t want them held back or pushed aside or put second simply because they aren’t seen as “socially useful.”

In times of great strain, we find out much about who we are. We have proven ourselves willing to sustain enormous economic damage to protect the elderly and the vulnerable, and that instinct, at least, is a good one. In today’s Culture of Death, it is reassuring to know that we still possess those instincts. But we have also discovered that our culture values the killing of pre-born children above everything, even public safety, and that abortion is considered by many to be an “essential service” along with genuine healthcare. Our attitude towards people with disabilities, who are so often the victims of abortion, has yet to be tested. I hope that Madison Huntsman and those who advocate for people like her son are wrong, and that we will prove to her and to everyone that these people are uniquely valuable to our society. 

That would be a small silver lining in all of this.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he speaks with William Gairdner, author of The Trouble with Canada and a Canadian political philosopher, businessman, and former Olympian. The discussion centers on how socialism has taken such a strong hold in Canada and the impacts it has had on the country, plus what Canadians can do in the here and now to restore their country and the warnings Canada offers other nations, like the United States, considering going down the same path. 

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  coronavirus, down syndrome, health care rationing

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EpisodesWed Apr 1, 2020 - 4:09 pm EST

Before coronavirus closed churches, Christians in Europe suffered at the hands of their gov’ts

By Jonathon Van Maren   Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

In today’s episode of The Van Maren Show, Ellen Fantini the Executive Director of the Observatory on the Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe speaks about the religious persecution Christians face in Europe.

Fantini and Van Maren discuss the complex negative attitude toward Christians, persecution of Christians in Europe that is largely ignored, and what that means for Christians moving forward.

Especially during these difficult times when churches are closed across the world, this is a great reminder of the hundreds of thousands of Christians that can't attend service regularly and/or risk their lives to worship God.


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EpisodesWed Apr 1, 2020 - 2:29 pm EST

We must not become despondent in the face of challenges

By Mother Miriam
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Watch Mother Miriam's Live show from 4.1.2020. Today, Mother speaks about staying resilient and faithful. We must not lose faith and allow ourselves to become depressed or despondent.

You can tune in daily at 10 am EST/7 am PST on our Facebook Page.

Subscribe to Mother Miriam Live here.