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Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Church ‘blinded by the mystery of iniquity,’ Cardinal Sarah says in new book

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In his latest book, Le soir approche et déjà le soir baisse (“It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over,” a quotation from the episode of the Emmaus pilgrims in Gospel of St. Luke), Cardinal Robert Sarah decided to “speak out” for the “disorientated Catholics” hurting from the deep crisis the Church is going through.

“I can no longer remain silent. I may no longer remain silent,” Cardinal Sarah wrote in his opening paragraph. He has taken full measure of the “dark night” of the Church and “She is wrapped and blinded by the mystery of iniquity.”

Days before the book’s release in France on March 20, its introduction was published online, giving a foretaste of a truly gripping text that tackles today’s problems head on: sexual abuse, but also doctrinal relativism, social activism and lack of prayer, false accusations of generalized homosexuality and hypocrisy, and the doubts of the faithful who see the Church’s enemies in its very midst.

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, offers no strategy, he says. Instead, he announces the timeless answers without which all efforts are useless – a deeply-rooted life of prayer, fidelity to the true teaching handed down by the Church rather than selling the Catholic doctrine short as “so many pastors” are doing, fraternal charity, and the love of Peter.

But his words are in no way a minimization of the ordeal the Church is going through.

Cardinal Sarah does not hesitate to speak – in the words of Pope Paul VI – of the “smoke of Satan” that has invaded the Church, openly designating the “traitors” who, like Judas Iscariot, have become “agents of the Evil one.” “They have sought to defile the pure souls of the littlest ones. They have humiliated the image of Christ present in each child,” at the same time humiliating and betraying so many faithful priests, he wrote.

“The Church is going through the mystery of the flagellation” at the hands of those “who should love and protect her,” warned Cardinal Sarah.

But the cause of the sexual abuse scandal, he added, can only be found in earlier betrayals: “The crisis which the clergy, the church and the world are going through is radically a spiritual crisis, a crisis of faith.”

The African cardinal recalls that the “mystery of Judas” – words borrowed from Pope Francis – resides in moving away from the teachings of Jesus, and can therefore be compared with the mystery of evil in our time.

“Jesus called him like all the apostles. Jesus loved him! He had sent him out to announce the Good News. But little by little, Judas’ heart was taken over by doubts. Imperceptibly, he started judging Jesus’ teaching. He said to himself: this Jesus is too demanding, and not efficient enough. Judas wanted to make the kingdom of God come on earth straightaway, through human means and according to his personal plans.” He stopped praying with Jesus and “sought refuge in the affairs of the world,” probably murmuring in his heart “I shall not serve” when Jesus washed his feet at the Last Supper, wrote Cardinal Sarah. “He received communion when his plans were already complete. It was the first sacrilegious communion of history. And he betrayed.”

According to Cardinal Sarah, the same faults, the same betrayals, are committed today: “We have abandoned prayer. The evil of efficient activism has infiltrated itself everywhere. We seek to imitate the organization of large companies. We forget that only prayer is the blood that can irrigate the heart of the church … He who does not pray has already betrayed. He is already prepared for every compromise with the world. He walks in the steps of Judas.”

The cardinal has harsh words for the abandonment of Catholic doctrine. This is where he sees the cause of the current sex-abuse scandals:

“We tolerate any calling into question. The Catholic doctrine is challenged, and in the name of self-styled intellectual postures, theologians take pleasure in deconstructing dogma and in emptying morals of their profound meaning. Relativism is the mask of Judas disguised as an intellectual. How can we be surprised that so many priests break their commitments? We downgrade the meaning of celibacy, we demand the right to a private life, which is the opposite of the priest’s mission. Some go so far as to claim the right to homosexual activity. One scandal follows another, involving priests and bishops.”

Cardinal Sarah goes on to warn his fellow priests that they will all be tainted by accusations that are true only for a minority. But “may your hearts not be troubled,” he added, recalling that Christ himself was taunted with the words “Crucify him!” and begging them not to be troubled by “biased research” that presents the pastors at the head of the Church as “irresponsible churchmen with an anemic interior life.”

“Priests, bishops and cardinals without morals will not in any way tarnish the luminous witness of more than 400,000 priests in the world who each day loyally, joyously and in a saintly manner serve the Lord. Despite the violence of the attacks that she weathers, the Church shall not die. That is the promise of the Lord, and her word is infallible.”

Specifically addressing those Catholics who are led to doubt, he spoke of Judas’ “subtle poison” of betrayal. The devil “wants us to see (the Church) as a human organization in crisis” when she is “Christ continuing Himself.” Satan pushes the faithful toward division and schism in “making us believe that the Church has betrayed.” “But the church does not betray. The church, full of sinners, is herself without sin. There will be always enough light in her for those who seek God.”

Cardinal Sarah warned faithful Catholics against the temptation of “wanting to take things into our own hands” – a temptation that would lead to division through criticism and ripping apart. “Let us not hesitate (…) to denounce sin by starting with our own.”

“I tremble at the idea that the seamless garment of Christ may once more be torn apart. Jesus suffered agony when seeing in advance the divisions of Christians. Let us not crucify Him anew,” the cardinal implored.

Cardinal Sarah is not seeking popularity or success, he insisted. “This book is the cry of my soul! It is a cry of love for God and for my brothers. I owe you, you Christians, the only truth that saves. The Church is dying because pastors are afraid to speak in all truth and clarity. We are afraid of the media, of public opinion, of our own brothers. The good pastor lays down his life for his sheep.”

As for confused Catholics whom he is addressing, Cardinal Sarah exhorted them, and especially priests, to prayer. “He who prays not damns himself,” he wrote, quoting St. Alphonsus. “It is not a question of accumulating devotions. It’s a question of being silent and adoring, of being on our knees, of entering with fear and respect into the liturgy. It is the work of God. It is not a theater.”

He goes on with his meditation: “Dear friends, do you want to put the Church back on its feet? Get on your knees! It’s the only way! If you do any differently, what you will do, will not be of God. (…) If we do not place our heads, in the way of St. John, on the heart of Christ, he will not have the strength to follow Him to the Cross. If we do not take the time to listen to the heartbeat of our God, we will abandon Him, we will betray Him as the apostles did themselves.”

Besides prayer, faithfulness to doctrine is necessary in the current crisis. Cardinal Sarah is clearly conscious of the reasons of today’s confusion. “How can we accept that bishops conferences contradict each other? Where confusion reigns, God cannot reside!” he wrote.

“The unity of faith supposes the unity of magisterium in space and in time. When a new teaching is given us, it should always be interpreted in coherence with the teaching that precedes it. If we introduce ruptures and revolutions, we break the unity that governs the holy Church through the centuries,” he insisted: “Those who loudly announce change and rupture are false prophets. They seek not the good of the herd.”

Fidelity to the truth means accepting the Cross, wrote Cardinal Sarah, adding that Christ requires that fidelity anew.

“He looks us straight into the eyes and asks each of us: will you abandon me?  Will you renounce teaching the faith in all its plenitude? Will you have the courage to preach my real presence in the Eucharist? Will you have the courage to call these young people to consecrated life? When you have the strength to say that without regular confession, sacramental communion risks losing its meaning? Will you have the audacity to recall the truth about the indissolubility of marriage? Will you have the charity to do the same for those who threaten to fault to you for doing so? Will you have the courage gently to invite the divorced and remarried to change their lives? Do you prefer success or will you follow me? Please God that with St. Peter we may answer, full of love and humility, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68).”

All this requires “the love of Peter,” wrote Cardinal Sarah: “The mystery of Peter is a mystery of faith. Jesus has chosen to confide his Church to a man. Lest we forget, he let this man betray him thrice in the face of all, before handing him the keys of his Church. We know that the bark of the Church has not been confided to a man because of his extraordinary abilities. But we know that this man would always be assisted by the divine Pastor in order to hold from the rule of the faith.”

This is the reason not to be afraid, he added, speaking of the “golden thread of the infallible decisions of pontiffs, successors of Peter” as opposed to the “black thread of the human and imperfect acts of Popes, successors of Simon,” in which we yet “feel the small needle guided by the invisible hand of God.”

In the same section of his introduction, Cardinal Sarah made clear that Catholics are not expected to be blind:

“Dear friends, your pastors are covered with faults and imperfections. But it is not in despising that you will build the unity of the Church. Do not be afraid to demand of them the Catholic faith, the sacraments of divine life. Remember the words of St. Augustine: ‘When Peter baptizes, it is Jesus who baptizes. But when Judas baptizes, it is still Jesus who baptizes!”

And he added: “If you think that your priests and bishops are not saints, be saints for them. Do penance, fast to repair the faults and cowardice. That is the only way to bear the burden of the other.”

The cardinal’s fourth exhortation is about “fraternal charity,” reflecting on the Church as a mother who opens her arms to us: “In her womb, nothing can threaten us. Christ has opened His arms once and for all on the Cross so that the Church can open hers to reconcile us with her, with God and among ourselves:” a call against the division that “persecutes Jesus.”

In short, Cardinal Sarah is calling on the faithful to recognize “the greatness and transcendence of God,” whom we should love unto death – the one condition that can allow us to hear the words spoken to St. Francis of Assisi: “Go and repair my Church.” Cardinal Sarah added: “Go, repair through your faith, your hope and your charity. Go and repair through your prayer and your fidelity. Thanks to you, my Church will once again become my home.”

These words were signed on February 22, during the sex abuse summit in the Vatican, at the moment when horrible accusations started piling up against the Church, especially against those of its members were most faithful to its timeless teaching.

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Cardinal Pell prohibited from celebrating Mass while he remains locked up in solitary confinement

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By Martin Barillas

MELBOURNE, Australia. March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal George Pell remains in solitary confinement in an Australian cell and has been denied the right to celebrate Mass.

The former archbishop of Melbourne was convicted in December 2018 after two jury trials and sentenced this month for the alleged sexual penetration of an altar boy. Sentenced to six years of confinement, Pell may face another round in court when his sentence is appealed in June. For the time being, the 77-year-old Pell is in a prison in Victoria state in southern Australia, where he is denied wine, which is necessary for Mass.

LifeSiteNews contacted the office of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, who represents the leftist Labour party in the state parliament. The attorney who defended Pell during the last stages of the trial was also contacted, as well as the archdiocese of Melbourne. No answer was received from any of the three by press time.

In the case of Premier Andrews, LifeSiteNews asked via email whether by denying Pell the right to administer Mass may be a violation of the UN Charter on Human Rights, of which Australia is a signatory. The Charter guarantees, as does the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, the free exercise of religion and to change one’s religion or belief.

According to renowned Catholic author George Weigel, Pell is not allowed to celebrate Mass and is prohibited having wine. For his part, John Macauley — who once was an altar server to Cardinal Pell — said Pell is also forbidden to have a breviary, a book of prayers used by Catholic priests. A review of prison regulations for Victoria revealed that prisoners are allowed to have a Bible and other books, including the Koran.

According to Catholic News Agency, no prisoner, including a priest, is permitted wine and no prisoner may lead religious services in Victoria’s prisons.

Regarding prisoners in the United States, an official of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons stated to LifeSiteNews that prisoners who were priests before incarceration “relinquish that religious role and title in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Therefore, if a Catholic priest enters BOP custody, he is not authorized to administer Catholic Mass or other Catholic services in prison. However, they may participate in and celebrate Catholic Mass.”

Critics of Pell’s conviction and sentence have pointed out that his first trial found him not guilty of the charges that he exposed himself and sexually abused two altar boys decades ago. Pell pleaded not guilty in two trials and continued to repudiate the charges against him. In a statement, Pell’s lawyer, Paul Galbally, said, “Cardinal George Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so.” One of the supposed victims recanted before he died, and prosecutors relied on evidence from just one alleged victim to convict Pell.

Numerous Catholic and non-Catholic commentators have cited fears that Australian police and the judiciary may have been tainted by sensationalist claims and anti-Catholic sentiment roused by the continuing scandal of sexual abusers among the priesthood. Australian columnists Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine both denounced the verdict for Pell. Bolt wrote, “I am not a Catholic or even a Christian,” who added that the “overwhelming evidence” proves Pell’s innocence. “He is a scapegoat, not a child abuser. In my opinion,” he said.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, responded to LifeSiteNews and verified that no more than one drop of wine and one drop of water are necessary to confect the Blood of Christ in the Mass. He recalled that the Venerable Francis Xavier Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan ( who died in 2002) celebrated daily Mass with three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of his hand during 13 years in Communist prisons in Vietnam.

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Pedophile Drag Queen Alberto Garza, aka Tatiana Mala Nina YouTube
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Drag Queen Storytime: Convicted pedophile, dressed as a woman, reads to kids at public library

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By Doug Mainwaring
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HOUSTON, Texas, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-family activist group has uncovered the truth about the pedophile past of a drag queen who reads to young children at a public library’s “Drag Queen Storytime.”

Thirty-two-year-old Albert Garza is a registered sex offender who was convicted of assaulting an eight-year-old boy in 2008, yet that has not hindered him from dressing in garish women’s clothing, calling himself “Tatiana Mala Nina,” and performing in front of kids.   

When the story broke, one news site suggested an alternative name for “Drag Queen Storytime,” with a headline that blared, “Pederast Story Hour in Houston.”

When the Freed-Montrose Public Library failed to respond to inquiries by Houston MassResistance, the activist group – which had been protesting the program – conducted its own investigation into the background of the drag queens as well as the way in which “Drag Queen Storytime” is conducted. They ended up compiling a detailed 163-page report, replete with disturbing photos, documenting “the lurid activities of some of these ‘Drag Queens’ who read to children, and how the library blatantly disregarded its own rules.”

“The library had failed to do a background check on any of the ‘Drag Queens,’ despite requirements and warnings by MassResistance,” said a statement from the group.  

“If they had done their job and due diligence, they might have said wait – maybe it’s not a good idea to have a sex offender who at 200 pounds and 5-foot-11 assaulted an 8-year-old boy,” said Tracy Shannon, co-leader of Houston MassResistance.

“Most parents would not allow that individual to sit in this library, sashay in, and be held up as a role model to our children,” said Shannon.

As a result, the Freed-Montrose Public Library where the child drag grooming occurred issued the following statement:

We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future HPL programs.

In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines. We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.

. . .

We are taking the appropriate action to ensure that the status of every participant in every program throughout our system is verified. We will continue to review our process to ensure that this cannot happen again.

Once again, we apologize for our failure to adhere to our own process in this matter and to the hundreds of parents and caregivers who have enjoyed this program with their children.

While Alberto Garza’s social media and Youtube accounts have been deleted, KHOU 11 reported last summer on a Drag Queen Storytime program conducted in a similar manner at another Houston public library:

“The lunatics who promote Drag Queen Storytime claim the idea is ‘to promote love and acceptance,’” said Breitbart’s John Nolte. “Rational and caring parents, who understand that protecting your child’s innocence, especially from things like adult sexuality, are suing the city to stop this madness. They claim that the government sponsoring ‘secular humanism’ violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause on religion.”

“We now live in a country where your local library cannot sponsor reading of the Bible, but a fat guy in a dress is perfectly legal,” added Nolte.

“Leave the sexual social engineering out of the lives of the youngest of our children,” said Hot Air’s Karen Townsend. “If this has happened in your nation’s fourth largest city, you can rest assured it is happening elsewhere.”  

“Remember, if it wasn’t for the nosy parents of Houston Mass Resistance, the progressives of the Houston Public Library, fully supported by Mayor Sylvester Turner, would have continued to allow this creep to read story books to children just like the little boy he molested,” said The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher.   

“The parents of MassResistance have realized that the LGBT juggernaut is rolling through our institutions virtually without opposition, and that only by genuinely resisting these ideologues can they be stopped,” noted Jonathan Van Maren in his LifesIteNews blog yesterday. “[They] are certainly showing parents what it looks like to fight.”

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Cardinal Godfried Danneels Patrick Craine/LifeSite
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Admirers mourn death of liberal Belgian cardinal who was a huge Pope Francis supporter

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MECHELEN, Belgium, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Cardinal Godfried Danneels was a controversial figure who presided over the dying Belgian church, but he had admirers to the end.

Danneels died last Thursday, March 14. He was 85.

Robert Mickens, editor-in-chief of LaCroix International, described the late cardinal as a hero to liberal Catholics.

“ … Danneels was a source of encouragement for reform-minded Catholics and those who would describe themselves as theologically or culturally ‘progressive,’” he wrote.

“He was ― for me, as well ― a voice of reason, hope and patient engagement with the social realities of a rapidly changing and secularized world.”

Mickens called Danneels, who caused universal dismay when he counseled the victim of a clerical sexual predator to remain silent, “a beloved and unifying figure in his native Belgium.”

Less controversially, Mickens observed that the Belgian cardinal was “at odds” with the papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI and that he made his “most significant contribution to the world” by “securing” the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as “Bishop of Rome.”

“He allegedly called the election of Pope Francis a moment of ‘personal resurrection,’” Mickens reported. “The current pope brought the cardinal with him on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square the night of his papal election.”

Regarding the coverup scandal involving Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, Mickens said the Cardinal’s side of the story came out “too late” and he has “forever been branded as guilty of protecting a bishop who abused a nephew.”

“Adversaries of Pope Francis have kept the incident in the public spotlight due to the pope’s close ties to Danneels,” he stated.

John Allen Jr. of Crux called the late cardinal “a gentleman.”

“Danneels was, in a word, a real gentleman, regardless of what one makes of his political or theological positions,” Allen wrote.  “Amid the epidemic of mean-spiritedness that characterizes the era of social media and 24/7 blather, that commitment to civility means he’ll be missed.”

The veteran Vaticanist said he always found Danneels to be “smart, well-informed, charming and endlessly curious” as well as “self-deprecating” and “unfailingly patient.”

Allen characterized Daneels as a man who had once been considered a potential pontiff, a “kingmaker” who had helped to set Pope Francis on the papal throne and, at his “nadir,” a symbol of episcopal coverup.

“At the peak of his power, he was considered a candidate to be pope himself and, as a member of the celebrated ‘Sankt Gallen group,’ helped play the role of kingmaker in identifying Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as a possible pontiff,” he wrote.

“Later, at his nadir, Danneels became a global symbol of the clerical sexual abuse scandals, caught on tape appearing to counsel a victim to remain silent about his abuse at the hands of a fellow Belgian prelate who was also the victim’s uncle, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe,” Allen continued.

Nevertheless, Francis kept Danneels close and appointed him to both the Extraordinary (2014) and Ordinary (2015) Synods on the Family. 

“Behind the scenes, Danneels was a backer of the proposal pioneered by his fellow Sankt Gallen prelate, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, which was more or less ratified by Francis in his 2016 document Amoris Laetitia,” Allen noted.

Allen tempered his praise of Danneels with the sober reflection that criticism of his record on clerical sexual abuse may be justified.  

“For sure, the role of Danneels and a host of other senior prelates in the Church’s abuse crisis is fair game for critical evaluation. Although he always denied any intent to cover up, if the conclusion is reached that’s what Danneels did, then his legacy will be justifiably tarnished,” he wrote.

Upon the news of the cardinal’s death, Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, the current Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, praising Danneels’ service.

“Having learned with emotion of the death of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussel, I send my deepest condolences to you and to his family, the Bishops of Belgium, the clergy, the consecrated persons and all the faithful affected by this mourning,” the pontiff wrote.

“This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication, not only in his diocese, but also at the national level as president of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman dicasteries,” he continued.

“Attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church, Cardinal Danneels also took an active role in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family.”

Pope Francis seemed to refer to the ongoing clerical abuse scandal in the telegram, for he observed that Danneels had died at a “time of purification.”

“He has been called to God at this time of purification and of walking toward the Resurrection of the Lord,” Francis wrote.  

“I ask Christ, victor over evil and death, to welcome him in His peace and joy. As a pledge of comfort, I offer a special apostolic blessing to you and to the relatives of the deceased Cardinal, the pastors, the faithful and all those who will take part in the funeral,” he concluded.

Not everyone expressed admiration for the late cardinal. Rod Dreher, a formidable and talented writer who lost his faith in the Catholic Church because of widespread episcopal coverup of clerical sexual abuse, was scathing about Danneels’ legacy.  

In an article for American Conservative, Dreher accused the late cardinal of having helped “euthanize Christianity in Belgium.”

Rounding up articles about the decline of the Church in the once devoutly Catholic country, Dreher underscored Danneels’ role in the Vangheluwe scandal and his indifference to an obscene and pedophiliac “catechesis” for children. Dreher also published an excerpt by theologian Tracey Rowland contrasting Belgium’s traditional ecclesiastical architecture with a bizarre modern liturgy she attended. Finally, Dreher noted that even in 1998, only 11 percent of Belgian Catholics went to weekly Sunday Mass and that today fewer than 50 percent of Belgian children are presented by their parents for baptism.   

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Catechumens and candidates at the Rite of Election Diocese of Westminster / Flickr
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Despite scandals, over 1,000 British to become Catholic at Easter

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WESTMINSTER, England, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite the clerical abuse and cover-up scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, over 1,000 people in England and Wales are expected to join the Church this Easter.

The UK’s Tablet reported last week that 419 catechumens (converts awaiting baptism) and candidates (baptized Christians seeking to be received into the Church) participated in the Rite of Election in Westminster Cathedral in London on March 9 and 10. Representing the largest group of converts, they came from 93 parishes. In Birmingham, 181 candidates and catechumens participated in their diocesan Rite of Election. In Nottingham, there were 151; in Portsmouth, 115; in the Diocese of East Anglia, 62; in Clifton, 47; in Lancaster, 32; and in Middlesbrough, 23.

In addition to these English figures, 37 prospective Catholics took part in the Rites of Election held in Cardiff, Wales.

At Westminster Cathedral in London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols addressed the 200 catechumens and 219 candidates, saying: “These ceremonies are among the largest gatherings of people from parishes across the diocese who join me in giving thanks for the great work that God is carrying out in your lives.”

“We give thanks to God for the ways in which our parishes and diocesan family will be enriched by you, and we promise to continue to support you and your families with our prayers and the example of Christian life that you experience in our parish communities,” he continued.

In St. John’s Cathedral in Norwich, 30 catechumens and 32 candidates from across the Diocese of East Anglia gathered for their Rites of Election on Sunday, March 10.  

In his homily, Bishop Alan Hopes told the prospective Catholics, “Today is a celebration of your hope and trust in Jesus Christ, to whom you turn for salvation. Today you are being elected, chosen, called to salvation. The Church rejoices with you as she numbers you amongst all those who have been called and chosen.”

“During Lent, together with the whole Church, you are being called to turn to the Lord. You are being called to deepen your commitment to Him and so grow in holiness. You are being called to become saints of God,” Hopes continued.

“This call is not just for special people, but for everyone. We are all called to become like Jesus Christ.”

The Catholic Church in Scotland, which is overseen by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, expects to welcome dozens more into the fold this Easter. According to Peter Kearney, the director of Scotland’s Catholic Media Office, this year there are 57 catechumens and candidates for the Diocese of Glasgow and 22 for the Diocese of Motherwell.

The other Scottish dioceses had not yet responded to a request for information by press time.

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Legislator calls Illinois House mandate for LGBT school lessons ‘Indoctrination, not history’

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By Doug Mainwaring

March 19, 2019, LifeSiteNews — The Illinois House has passed a controversial bill requiring public school history textbooks to include “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state.”  

Known as HB 246, the measure passed by a comfortable 60-42 margin, largely along party lines, with three Democrats joining Republicans in opposition to the proposed legislation. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

The bill aims to amend the state’s textbook block grant program, mandating the purchase of textbooks that highlight the contributions of all groups protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.     

“There is nothing that prevents the teaching of the lives of historical figures including if they were known to have been homosexuals,” said Rep. Darren Bailey. “But forcing that information on five-year-olds and elementary school children is more of an effort of indoctrination than of learning history about individuals who accomplished important discoveries in science or created great works of art.”

“I also opposed this legislation because it does not provide an ‘opt-out’ option for parents who do not wish their children exposed to this kind of information for religious reasons or because their child may not be of a mature enough age to fully understand the meaning and implications of what LGBT actually is,” added Bailey.

Another Republican, Rep. Tom Morrison, objected on mostly pragmatic grounds, focusing on how the newly mandated material would unfairly burden teachers who already face difficult workloads.

“We all know that we need to have a well-educated, well-informed citizenry. We have to have that if we’re going to maintain our form of government,” said Morrison. “But we’re already failing to teach history to today’s and future generations. We’re not even covering the basics of our shared history.”

The legislation now goes to the Illinois Senate, where it is expected to pass. If signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the measure would go into effect July 1, 2020.

Some are viewing this as a mostly symbolic act, with little or no impact in the immediate future.

The legislation “only applies to textbooks purchased through the state’s textbook block grant program, which has not received any funding for the last five years, and which the State Board of Education has not requested funding for in the upcoming budget,” according to a saukvalley.com report.

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Authorities threaten to take autistic son from parents after they object to ‘sex change’

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By Martin Barillas

LEEDS, United Kingdom, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – UK authorities threatened to take an autistic teenage boy from his parents when they objected to doctors prescribing him hormones to facilitate him transitioning into a “girl.”

Physicians at Leeds Tavistock Clinic, which is authorized by the National Health Service to deal with minors experiencing gender dysphoria, recommended that the boy be given puberty-blockers to delay his physical development because he believed that he is female. 

Fearing the effects of the medications, his parents stopped taking him to the clinic after concluding that his decision to begin transitioning to "female" was related to his autism. 

According to the Daily Mail, once the boy informed school authorities that his parents had barred him from going ahead with his plans, a teacher told his parents that they should honor his wishes or he would be placed in foster care. 

Additionally, school authorities charged that the parents were “emotionally abusive” for refusing the so-called sex change for their son, reporting them to social services. Six months later, social workers decided he could suffer “significant harm” by living with his parents, and put him under a child protection plan. Once a family friend was placed in the home, authorities ended the protection plan.

The mother told the Daily Mail that the ordeal nearly “broke” her family. She told the newspaper, “I’m absolutely devastated. When I saw the report that social services wrote about us and saw the words ‘emotional abuse,’ I just broke down.” The mother said she and her husband wanted their son to think about his actions, worrying that should he undergo a surgical "sex-change," he may eventually realize he had made a mistake. 

LifeSiteNews has reported in the past that minors have been placed in foster care in the UK when their parents refused to go along with their "sex-change" therapy.

Even while there has been an increase of minors demanding gender transitioning in both the U.S. and UK, resistance to transgenderism may be growing.

Britain’s Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt asked for an inquiry last year into why there has been a 4,400 percent increase in girls being referred for "transitioning" services in the past decade. According to a report in the Financial Times, British officials were to examine the role of social media and the teaching of transgenderism in schools. Some members of Parliament are concerned that hormones are offered too readily to children as young as 10 without understanding their reasons for questioning their biological sex.  

Parents are also stepping up to oppose the alarming trend.

4thWaveNow is a website dedicated to discussing transgenderism and offering a forum for those who have transitioned out of transgenderism. According to the website, it was started by the mother of a teenage girl who “suddenly announced she was a ‘trans man’” after watching weeks of YouTube videos and accessing blogs advocating transgenderism. The girl eventually “desisted from identifying as transgender,” according to the site. 

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Over 100 ‘religious leaders’ come out against Tennessee bills to defend marriage, religious adoption, separate bathrooms

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By Calvin Freiburger

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Left-wing activists in Tennessee are boasting that more than 100 liberal “religious leaders” have joined their campaign to defeat a series of bills meant to restore natural marriage and protect the religious and privacy rights of adoption agencies, businesses, and schools from pro-LGBT encroachment.

Six bills are currently before the state legislature covering a broad range of controversies related to homosexuality and transgenderism, the Nashville Tennessean reported.

Taken together, they would allow religious adoption and foster agencies to refuse to place children in same-sex households; forbid local governments from taking “discriminatory action against a business entity” to punish its health insurance, family leave, minimum wage, or anti-discrimination policies; increase punishment for indecent exposure in bathrooms and dressing rooms; direct the state attorney general to defend schools from lawsuits over their refusal to admit gender-confused boys into girls’ restrooms (and vice versa); and  declare any court decision mandating recognition of same-sex “marriage” to be “unauthoritative, void, and of no effect.”

The left-wing Tennessee Equality Project has dubbed the set of measures a “Slate of Hate,” listing more than 100 priests, pastors, rabbis, and theologians who have signed a statement declaring, “As leaders of faith communities we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly. They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state. We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness."

The signatories include several figures known for “social justice” advocacy, such as Vanderbilt liberation theologian Joerg Rieger, United Methodist pastor and “criminal justice” activist Janet Wolf, and "married" homosexual Covenant of the Cross Church pastor Greg Bullard.

"I think that equal protection under the law is kind of the beginning of justice, and we should always be thinking about that," Belmont United Methodist Church Rev. Paul Purdue told the Tennessean, invoking Jesus. "It's important to stand up and to call people to pay attention and to say that God loves everyone."

In fact, none of the disputed laws suggest “hatred” of homosexual or gender-confused Tenneseans. The bill barring discrimination against businesses’ beliefs, for instance, is meant to ensure political changes at the city and county level don’t lead to retribution against businesses at odds with either Republicans or Democrats, according to sponsor Rep. Jason Zachary.

Pro-family advocates warn that letting biological males into female bathrooms not only intrudes on the privacy of actual women and girls and needlessly inflicts emotional stress on them but also puts them at risk of assault, as happened in the 2017 case of a kindergarten student in Decatur, Georgia.

A variety of social science literature supports religious adoption agencies’ insistence that children are better served by homes with both a mother and a father, but pro-LGBT activists around the country advocate shutting down agencies that refuse to place children in homes with only two mothers or two fathers.

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‘Beto’ O’Rourke endorses third-trimester abortions as a ‘decision that the woman makes’

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By Calvin Freiburger

CLEVELAND, Ohio, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, one of the latest Democrats to enter the party’s 2020 presidential primary, confirmed he’s just as uncompromisingly pro-abortion as the rest of the field Monday when he expressed his support for legal elective abortions in the third trimester.

O’Rourke was speaking at a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, the Daily Caller reports. An attendee asked him how far he takes his “pro-choice” stance, anticipating how he might respond.

“Are you for third trimester abortions or are you going to protect the lives of third trimester babies?” she asked. “Because, you know, there’s really not a medical necessity for abortion. It’s not a medical emergency procedure, because typically third-trimester abortions take up to three days to have. So you would, in that sense, if there was an emergency, the doctors would just do a C-section. You don’t have to kill the baby.”

The questioner’s overview of the medical necessity is supported by the expert testimony of Dr. Anthony Levatino, an OB/GYN who committed more than 1,200 abortions before converting to the pro-life cause.

“So, the question is about abortion and reproductive rights,” O’Rourke responded, ignoring the subject of medical necessity and the lateness of the abortion. “And my answer is to you is that that should be a decision that the woman makes about her own body. I trust her.” His answer received roars of applause from the audience.

He doubled down on his pro-abortion stance today, saying of late-term abortion, “I think those decisions are best left to a woman and her doctor. I know better than to assume anything about a woman’s decision...when it comes her to reproductive rights.”

“O’Rourke is dramatically out of step with most Americans,” the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List responded via email. “According to recent SBA List polling, 62 percent of voters oppose legislation to allow late-term abortions, even up to the point when a woman is in labor (50 percent strongly oppose).”

As LifeSiteNews has previously covered, O’Rourke has a 100 percent pro-abortion rating from NARAL and a zero percent pro-life rating from the National Right to Life Committee. The Caller notes that in 2017 O’Rourke voted against banning abortion at 20 weeks, and advocated “ensuring that a woman’s right to choose is not compromised by limited access to safe and legal abortion services or family planning help” during his failed 2018 Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz.

O’Rourke also found himself embroiled in a scandal over the weekend when Reuters revealed he had been a member of the hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow, through which he wrote a fantasy essay about running over children with his car and a poem about receiving sexual favors from a cow.

“I'm mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words,” O’Rourke responded Friday. Reuters also came under fire for the revelation that its reporter had confirmed the story in 2017, but agreed not to reveal it until after the Senate election.

The rest of the 2020 Democrat field, which includes Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand, is similarly uncompromising in their pro-abortion platforms.

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Jim Gaffigan | Gaffigan kids at New York Pride Parade, June, 2017.
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Catholics criticize archdiocese for inviting pro-gay comedian to faith formation event

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By Lisa Bourne

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Archdiocese of Omaha has invited a Catholic comedian who supports homosexuality and the pro-abortion Women’s March to perform and its upcoming faith formation event. A number of Catholics in the diocese are not happy about the invite.

Jesuit-educated comedian Jim Gaffigan leverages being Catholic in his comedy routines, leading some to hold him up as a model of faithful Catholicism. His having performed for Pope Francis at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia is used to plug him as Catholic as well, along with the fact that he and wife Jeannie have five children. 

And while Gaffigan is largely regarded as a clean comic, Catholics are taking issue with the archdiocese booking for its June 8th ArchOmaha Unite event a celebrity who publicly identifies as Catholic while also diverging from Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Gaffigan’s appearance at the event creates scandal in their view, by ostensibly conveying the archdiocese’s support for the problematic things Gaffigan has supported publicly.

The Church could and should do better in presenting the faith to its Catholics, critics say, and the archdiocese and its agents promoting the event are brushing off their concerns. Some Catholics were concerned about repercussion when asked about sharing their thoughts on the record. 

“I feel like if our archdiocese wants to promote Catholic unity in Omaha, why not bring someone to speak truth and doctrine,” said local Catholic Micki Mahowald to LifeSiteNews. “Find someone who will promote Catholic teaching all the time, not someone who clearly doesn't even stand up for his values on his own show,” she added.

'One-day Catholic party'

The ArchOmaha Unite event was created to bring the people of the archdiocese together amid division in the world, the event website states. It is funded by private donors and business sponsors and is being promoted by local Catholic radio.

One bulletin announcement terms the event, “a vibrant, joy-filled, one-day Catholic party...”

“ArchOmaha Unite is about YOU,” according to the event “About” webpage, the section containing the words you/your 16 times, but the word “Christ” only once.

“A comedian at a Catholic event? Absolutely!” the archdiocese said on its Facebook page. “And who better than Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, best-selling author, and hot pocket-lover Jim Gaffigan!” 

“A Catholic father of five known for family-friendly jokes, Jim performed for Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015,” the post continued. “His hilarious takes on food, faith, and life with kids will bring notes of lighthearted joy to our celebration.” 

Gaffigan figures heavily in the event’s promotion. One tweet from the archdiocese states:

"Two A-Listers you’ll want to experience at ArchOmaha Unite: The Holy Spirit, who will infuse you with the fire of his love; but also someone else who may surprise you. Here’s a hint: you will laugh – very hard." 

In promoting its event, the archdiocese tweeted Gaffigan’s “Barely Catholic” bit. In it, the comedian has a conversation with an icon of Christ come-to-life in which Gaffigan jokes about the difficulty he has getting to Mass because he doesn’t like to get up in the morning and because he likes to make pancakes when he does get up.

“A conversation with Jesus imagined by @JimGaffigan, a self-described lazy Catholic,” the archdiocese’s tweet stated, then linking to a video of the bit. “Don’t miss Catholic Comedian, @JimGaffigan, performing at ArchOmaha Unite on June 8, 2019. #ArchOmahaUnite #FridayFun.”

Although the gathering includes Mass, adoration, Confession and other faith-themed programming, the event highlight page lists Gaffigan and other programming above the main event involving Omaha Archbishop George Lucas. And the Pentecost Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and Confession land further yet down the highlight page. 

“You might even get the archbishop to do his Jim Gaffigan impression!” the section on the main event with Lucas states.

'I'm so proud of my gay kids'

Gaffigan along with his wife Jeannie and their five children attended the 2017 homosexual pride parade in New York City. The comedian and his wife, who was wearing a rainbow t-shirt, both posted about it on social media, with photos of their kids waving rainbow flags. Homosexual pride events are notorious for graphic sexual displays and nudity.

“I'm so proud of my gay kids. Happy #pride2017 #pridenyc,” Gaffigan tweeted

Gaffigan's support for homosexuality goes further back than this. In a 2012 episode of the TV show Portlandia, Gaffigan’s character kisses his homosexual business partner on the lips. The episode also contains further references to active homosexuality. The 2012 episode had preceded Gaffigan’s World Meeting of Families appearance with Pope Francis by three years.

Additionally, Gaffigan’s television program, The Jim Gaffigan Show, which ran two seasons from 2015-2016 and was based loosely on his life with his wife and family, featured an openly homosexual character and regularly employed humor derived from the homosexual lifestyle. 

Gaffigan joked on Twitter about the openly homosexual character on his television program as recently as March 7, posting video of a scene in a hotel room where his character was mistaken for the homosexual character’s lover.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are gravely immoral and can never be condoned. Individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, which the Church teaches is "objectively disordered," are to be treated with "respect" as children of God. They are called to live chastely.

The Gaffigans have been touted among some Catholics for their faith and for "bringing Catholicism to the masses.”

They have been profiled by Catholic News Agency, the National Catholic Register and Aleteia, and they gave the 2016 commencement address for the Catholic University of America as well as the 2018 address for Marquette University.

At least one individual involved in promoting the Omaha event has offered local Catholics the explanation that the Gaffigans happened upon the gay pride parade by chance, inferring they didn’t mean to be there, but neglected to effectively address the fact the couple promoted their being there with their kids on social media, or that the pictures they shared of their family showed express support for the event via both images and words, the explanation saying simply that the Gaffigan’s had joked about it.

Gaffigan had also tweeted support for the radical pro-abortion women’s march in January 2017.

The Archdiocese of Omaha did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ inquiry on how it reconciles giving Gaffigan a venue at its faith formation event given his public support for issues that conflict with Church teaching.

In contacting the archdiocese and others promoting the event, some of the concerned local Catholics referenced previous LifeSiteNews reporting on Gaffigan and his family attending the NYC gay pride parade.

The archbishop and others planning the event were aware of the LifeSite article, the Catholics were told, as though there was no issue with the Gaffigan's attending the homosexual pride event and showing support for it on social media.

Gaffigan’s World Meeting of Families appearance before the pope was also given as a defense for the invite. Event planners had been in touch with event hosts from Gaffigan’s previous engagements, critics were told, and steps had been taken to ensure Gaffigan’s ArchOmaha Unite performance would be appropriate for the audience. It was further stated that Gaffigan was not invited to preach the Catholic faith, rather to perform as a Catholic entertainer. Gaffigan’s public support for homosexuality, potentially conveying to others that the archdiocese has no problem with that support, was not addressed.

'Why not bring someone to speak truth?'

Local Catholic Micki Mahowald received a standard email invitation to the ArchOmaha Unite event from Archbishop Lucas because she’s supported the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal in the past. She questions the decision to give Gaffigan a venue at a Catholic event.   

She replied to Lucas’ email saying she appreciates the desire to bring the archdiocese together, but bringing a comedian who is a promoter of active homosexual couples on his show and promoting it as a family show is not the way to do it. 

She has not yet received any response from the archdiocese.

“I just feel like if this comedian is so willing to promote alternative lifestyles on his TV show, I question what he will talk about when he is in front of a live audience with no filters in place,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I feel like if our archdiocese wants to promote Catholic unity in Omaha, why not bring someone to speak truth and doctrine? Find someone who will promote Catholic teaching ALL THE TIME, not someone who clearly doesn't even stand up for his values on his own show.”

Becky Rosales, another local Catholic concerned with the Gaffigan invite, also raised her concerns with the archdiocese but has received no response.

“I have received no response from the archdiocese’s communication office, the archbishop, the event team, KVSS (local Catholic radio) or the archdiocese ArchUnite hotline,” Rosales told LifeSiteNews. “I have touched almost every base and no one wants to answer.”

She said she wants three questions answered.  

“If a family enjoys the censored program of Jim Gaffigan, and goes home and gets on Youtube and finds his pro-sodomite video, does the archdiocese think it is okay to lead souls into sin?” she asked. “Does the archdiocese agree with Jim Gaffigan and his wife's agenda on homosexuals?” 

And finally, “So what happens when a family says "he was funny we should look him up on Netflix, isn't that leading to an occasion of sin?”

Tom Coffey, another local Catholic, called the diocese to discuss the event and Gaffigan’s appearance, and was repeatedly referred to the email contact for "the team" at Unite. 

“Can you please explain why, with everything that is going on in the hierarchy of the Church, you would invite Jim Gaffigan a comedian who promotes the gay lifestyle to entertain?” he asked. “Does the archbishop approve of this? What are you people thinking? Don't we have enough scandal already? Please tell me why you think this is a good thing to do.” 

His email netted a response saying Gaffigan had been invited by the archdiocese “with the goal of creating an event that a wide variety of Catholics in the pews would consider attending to grow in their faith and experience unity.” 

Archdiocesan officials had “conducted extensive research” into Gaffigan’s material and performances for the Pope and FOCUS International, it said, and negotiated a contract that gives the archdiocese “confidence that Gaffigan will deliver exactly what has been requested – a lighthearted, funny afternoon session that is appropriate for Catholics of all ages.”

Coffey was also told his email had been forwarded to the archdiocese, but he has not heard from the archdiocese.

“I can summarize my thoughts by stating that the Church hierarchy seems to have long abandoned any meaningful concern for the salvation of souls,” Coffey told LifeSiteNews. “Being 'of' the world seems to be their primary concern.” 

Area Catholic Dann Ciembor also wrote to the archdiocese with concerns over Gaffigan’s appearance and continues to await a response.

Ciembor told LifeSiteNews he’d addressed several points of contention in his letter.  

“First, I addressed Gaffigan and his family's obvious and unapologetic support of the 'gay rights' movement, both in his personal life and in his career,” he said.  

Ciembor said Gaffigan’s statement of being proud of his “gay kids” at the 2017 gay pride parade was appalling.  

“Photos from the parade they went to surfaced as well, and the visuals he exposed his family to were abominable,” Ciembor stated. “He also has normalized same-sex acts and lifestyles in his acting career on television.”

“The catechism doesn’t leave room for interpretation on these issues,” he said, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357-59 on chastity and homosexuality. 

Ciembor then emphasized how little he felt the organizers of this event thought out Gaffigan’s participation considering the current climate in the Church.  

“We are on the tail end of a meeting of bishops and cardinals in the Vatican where the issue of homosexuality in the priesthood was completely ignored and lay Catholics far and wide have expressed significant disappointment,” said Ciembor. “We are at a point in our Church culture that if we cannot rely on our leaders to follow doctrine and remedy the countless errors being preached every day, then the lay faithful must do what it seems we cannot trust them to do.” 

“Bringing into the spotlight a ‘Catholic’ celebrity who goes directly against the teaching of our Church is not a step in that direction,” he said. 

“This event will most certainly bring out many Catholics who are looking to enter into, or come back to, the faith,” Ciembor pointed out. “What kind of message is the archdiocese sending if they are willing to scandalize the faithful with Gaffigan’s message?” 

To respectfully express concern:

Archbishop George Lucas
Archdiocese of Omaha
100 N 62nd St.
Omaha, Nebraska 68132
Ph: 402.558.3100 ext. 3027
Email: [email protected]

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Harry Potter characters had ‘intense’ homosexual relationship, JK Rowling insists

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has once again opined on the subject of her characters’ sexual attraction, in the process pleasing neither pro-family audiences nor pro-LGBT activists.

During her 2007 tour for the final book of the original Harry Potter series, Rowling told a crowd that the elderly mentor “Dumbledore is gay, actually,” despite the character’s sexual attraction not being referenced in the books themselves. The bombshell earned her accolades from pro-LGBT activists but also criticism from parents concerned about exposing their kids to adult and morally objectionable themes.

Pro-LGBT fans were pleased to see homosexual “representation” in the popular children’s franchise but disappointed the detail was confined to the creator’s commentary rather than being clear in the actual text. They hoped the situation would be rectified with the Fantastic Beasts films, a prequel series exploring the backstory of characters like Albus Dumbledore.

In particular the second Fantastic Beasts movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald, was set during the period when Rowling says a young Dumbledore (played by Jude Law) fell in love with and was ultimately heartbroken by the titular Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp). IGN reports that Rowling addresses the topic in a behind-the-scenes feature included with the movie’s home video release.

“Their relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship,” she said. “But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows really what the other person is feeling. You can’t know – you can believe you know.”

“So I’m less interested in the sexual side – though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship – than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships,” Rowling added.

Rowling’s comments are the latest in a contentious back-and-forth between the author and her own fans over her assertions not matching what appears on the page or screen. Last fall, director David Yates teased that the November 2018 release would “doesn’t focus on his sexuality,” but makes “clear in what you see [...] that he is gay. A couple of scenes we shot are very sensual moments of him and the young Grindelwald.”

The film featured a moment of Dumbledore gazing at an image of Grindelwald through a magical mirror that “shows a person their heart’s truest desire,” but lacked express confirmation of a homosexual element. “Fantastic Beasts 2 re-closets Dumbledore in an act of queer-baiting that is a detriment to the story it’s trying to tell,” Delia Harrington complained in Den of Geek’s review of the movie.

Accordingly, many pro-LGBT fans have taken Rowling’s latest comments as too little, too late, based on reactions collected by CNN and Breitbart:

Yates, Law, and Rowling have previously suggested that a full exploration of Dumbledore’s homosexuality may be held for future Fantastic Beasts movies, but the LGBT lobby appears to be out of patience with waiting.

Rowling is an outspoken liberal who has called President Donald Trump a “fascist,” condemned the Mexico City Policy for barring U.S. foreign aid to abortion groups, and suggested that God is a black woman.

Critics of Harry Potter, such as the late Vatican exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, say the series' subversive themes can negatively predispose children to curiousity about the occult.

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Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyons
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Pope Francis refuses resignation of French cardinal questionably convicted of coverup

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LYON, France, March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has refused to accept the resignation of a French cardinal who was convicted of covering up sex abuse despite it happening two decades before he first learned of it. The Cardinal maintains his innocence.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, visited Francis in Rome yesterday to tender his resignation in person. On March 7, a French court found him guilty of failing to report the abuse, even though it had occurred many years before Barbarin first learned of it. 

In a short statement released today, Barbarin said:  “Monday morning, I put my mission into the Holy Father’s hands.  Invoking the assumption of innocence, he didn’t want to accept the resignation.”

“He left me the freedom to make the decision that seems best to me for the life of the Diocese of Lyon, today,” Barbarin continued. 

“At his suggestion and because the Church of Lyon has suffered for 3 years, I have decided to step back for awhile and leave the governance of the diocese to the Vicar General Moderator, Father Yves Baumgarten.”  

“This decision takes effect as of today.” 

READ: Is French cardinal convicted of sex-abuse cover up latest victim of anti-Catholic witch hunt?

According to the Catholic Herald, Vatican Press Office director Alessandro Gisotti also issued a statement. 

“I can confirm that the Holy Father has not accepted the resignation presented by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon,” he said.  

He concurred that the Holy Father had left the Cardinal free to make a decision regarding his diocese and that Barbarin had asked Fr. Baumgarten to take charge temporarily.  

This was Barbarin’s second attempt to resign his ministry as Archbishop of Lyon. He first tendered his resignation in 2016, months after the case of Fr. Bernard Preynat, a priest of the diocese of Lyons accused of having sexually abused nine boys, had become public. The abuse had taken place in 1991, 25 year years before, but Barbarin was charged with covering up Preynat’s crimes.  

Pope Francis had refused Barbarin’s resignation, saying in an interview with the unofficial daily of the French episcopate, La Croix, that to otherwise “would not make sense” and constitute an “imprudence.”   

“We shall see when the trial is over. But now, it would mean acknowledging guilt,” he explained.

Barbarin received a six-month suspended prison sentence for failing to report between 2014 and 2015 “ill-treatment, deprivation or sexual abuse” regarding a minor under 15. The criminal court of Lyons discharged five other defendants, all collaborators or former collaborators of the diocese, of any wrongdoing in the case. 

Barbarin’s legal team has already indicated that they will launch an appeal, and the Cardinal himself continues to maintain his innocence.

The correctional court of Lyons decided: “Even though his functions gave him access to every information and though he had the capacity to analyze them and to report them usefully, Philippe Barbarin decided in conscience, in order to preserve the institution to which he belongs, not to communicate them to the judiciary.”

Upon hearing the judgment, Barbarin released a statement saying that he would attempt to resign. 

“I take due note of the tribunal’s decision. Irrespective of my personal fate, I reiterate my compassion for the victims and their families. I have decided to go and see the Holy Father to tender my resignation. He will see me in a few days. Thank you,” he said.

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Kazakh bishops defend ‘moral conduct’ of Vatican diplomat accused of corruption, immorality

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By Maike Hickson

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Kazakh bishops are defending a bishop accused of mistreating employees at a former post at the U.N. and of having an inappropriate relationship with a woman. They stated that during the bishop's three years in Kazakhstan as Apostolic Nuncio there was never the “slightest suspicion” about his “moral conduct” or “any improper behavior towards women.”

The statement (read below) regarding Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt was signed today by Kazakh Bishops’ Conference president José Luis Mumbiela Sierra and by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The bishops defended Chullikatt’s character, noting his kindness, his pro-life and pro-family stance. They expressed hope that he would remain in his office.

“With a lot of sadness,” the bishops stated, “the Bishops and Ordinaries of Kazakhstan have read two recent articles published by Crux website and Catholics News Agency on Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, who is our Apostolic Nuncio in Kazakhstan.”

The Kazakh bishops stated that Chullikatt “has been working very earnestly for the good of the people and the Church in Kazakhstan.” He is described as working “with zeal and joy,” visiting each parish and trying to help “the good of all of us here.” The bishops also stressed that Chullikatt, during his mission at the United Nations, had shown himself “as a staunch defender of the unborn, of the traditional marriage and the institution of the family, often in close collaboration with many friendly Muslim-majority countries, including Kazakhstan.”

Both Crux and Catholic News Agency have reported on Chullikatt's mission at the UN and his purported misbehavior there. Crux, on March 11, published a report claiming that, when Chullikatt was the papal ambassador to the U.N., there were to be found irregularities with regard to the visas and salaries of his staff. Crux claimed that Chullikatt allegedly became “vindictive” when “employees sought Vatican intervention, as well as raising concerns about working conditions under the archbishop.” He was said to have then “forced the departure of core collaborators for the Holy See’s U.N. outpost.” One source told Crux that this event was a “horror story.” Crux also described Chullikatt as a “power-hungry executive.” He was said to treat his employees in such a way that they were left “shaking or in tears.”

On March 16, Crux had to follow up on this initial report, saying that “the Vatican is pushing back against reports about work conditions at its U.N. mission in New York under its former ambassador, in the latest scandal implicating the Holy See’s diplomatic corps. The Vatican’s U.N. mission said the visa status of its diplomatic, technical and service staff were in full compliance with U.S. regulations from 2010-2014, and that its service staff were paid more than New York minimum wage.”

 

In addition to accusations of financial misconduct, violation of labor laws, and unjust treatment of employees, Chullikatt was also said to have had a “romantic” relationship with a woman. Catholic News Agency claimed on 15 March that “three priests who were members of the diplomatic staff at the Vatican mission in New York” said that Chullikatt “would frequently send the woman 'inappropriate' and 'romantic' text messages from his phone, and that the Holy See’s mission staff assisted her in obtaining a visa to come to New York.” This woman is said to be a consecrated virgin whom Chullikatt is said to have met during a previous diplomatic assignment. One priestly source told CNA: “She was around, we all knew of her. She was a very significant figure in Chullikatt’s life, I think we can put it that way.” This source added that the woman visited Chullikatt at the mission in New York “quite frequently,” and that he behaved with “impunity.”

Chullikatt worked at the U.N. from 2010 until 2014. Since 2016, he has been the Apostolic Nuncio to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The Kazakh bishops, in their defense of their current Apostolic Nuncio, stated that “there was not noticed the slightest suspicion about Archbishop Chullikatt's moral conduct or any improper behavior towards women.” They add that, from what they hear, “his dealings and treatment toward his collaborators and employers in the Nunciature is marked by kindness, courtesy, and tact.”

“We never heard any complaint, in this regard,” they stated.

On the other hand, Terrence McKeegan – a former legal advisor to the Holy See’s mission to the U.N.  –  told CNA that, after his signing “a one-year contract to work for the mission, Chullikatt arbitrarily cut his wages. 'On or about December 10 of 2013, I myself was informed by the nuncio that starting in 2014, he would only pay me half of the salary we had contractually agreed upon,'" McKeegan told CNA. Several accusations of this kind are now being reported by CNA and based on multiple sources. The sources say that wages were suddenly cut and that extra work was expected as a service to the Church.

Some of these unusual financial cuts were, according to one priestly source, related to Chullikatt's relationship with the woman. “I would say his need to be tight-fisted with the mission’s finances was, at least partly, because he had a secret need. I believe he was supporting this woman: room, board, everything,” as one priest who was directly involved in the mission’s finances, told CNA.

As one of the few sources to speak about these matters without the protection of anonymity, Terrence McKeegan himself described the  “surreal” working conditions under Chullikatt. In a statement, McKeegan said that, while being in New York, he heard “voluminous allegations of highly improper and scandalous behavior by Archbishop Chullikatt.” 

The Kazakh bishops' own experience of Chullikatt, however, is just the opposite. They stated that “in all these almost past three years of his presence in Kazakhstan we heard only good things about Archbishop Chullikatt from the priests, religious sisters and from our lay people, as well as from those who work at the Apostolic Nunciature in Astana.”

The bishops further point to the fact that the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations had issued, on 11 March, a statement saying “that the employment conditions and the visa status of all members of the diplomatic, technical and service staff of the Mission during the tenure of Archbishop Chullikatt were fully in line with the laws of New York and the applicable provisions of U.S. State Department regulations.” Thus, the Kazakh bishops see the allegations “with regard to this concrete issue” to be “unfounded.”

“For us,” they stated, “Archbishop Chullikatt is the kind of Nuncio we Bishops in Kazakhstan would like to have with us at least for a few more years.” Additionally, they express their gratitude to him and “wish him strength and abundant Divine blessings.”

 
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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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2 priests, 7 pro-lifers risk arrest by entering abortion facilities this morning

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

Update at 4:32 p.m. EST on March 19, 2019: Fr. Imbarrato, Lauren Handy, and Bud Shaver were arrested at around 1:30 p.m. for their Rescue at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Grace Woo and Linda Mueller were not arrested. Imbarrato, Handy, and Shaver are still in police custody. Shaver issued the following statement:

I stand in solidarity with the Red Rose Rescue participants and today join in their peaceful efforts in Washington, D.C., our nation's capital. My prayer is that through this unified, peaceful and sacrificial witness, the hearts of those who go to kill their children will be changed and they will joyfully receive the responsibility of parenthood by choosing life for their babies. 

I also appeal to President Donald Trump in hopes that he will continue to lead the charge in changing the heart of our nation so that our laws can be reformed to protect pre-born life in the womb. While we anticipate the overturning of Roe vs.Wade, we eagerly urge you to issue a presidential executive action through a Personhood Proclamation to give constitutional protection and personhood to the pre-born.

Update at 3:52 p.m. EST on March 19, 2019: There was “at least one turnaround” at each Rescue site today, according to a source outside Washington Surgi-Clinic. Four people were arrested at Capital Women’s Services.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic priests are leading pro-life activists this morning in entering two abortion centers in the nation’s capital, where they are risking arrest by peacefully offering red roses and counsel to abortion-minded women while refusing to leave when asked.

Called a “Red Rose Rescue” and inspired by Canadian activist Mary Wagner, this method of activism is something of a revival of the early “Rescue” movement. During the early days of the pro-life movement, it was normal for pro-life activists to enter abortion facilities to counsel women and even chain themselves to abortion equipment to prevent abortions from occurring. Many babies were saved this way.

Then, President Bill Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions, forcing the pro-life movement to switch tactics.

Father Stephen Imbarrato of LifeMinistriesUS and four others have entered Washington Surgi-Clinic, a late-term abortion facility in an upscale part of D.C. The abortionist at that practice, Dr. Cesare Santangelo, was caught on tape in 2013 agreeing to deny medical care to a viable child who survives an abortion. Fr. Imbarrato led a “rescue” at this abortion facility on December 20; a federal court then dropped trespassing charges against him and two others.

Accompanying Fr. Imbarrato are Lauren Handy, Grace Woo, Bud Shaver of Abortion-Free New Mexico, and Linda Mueller. Fr. Imbarrato posted a Facebook live video shortly after 9:00 a.m. saying Santangelo’s office hadn’t opened and no women had gone into the abortion center. Two women have “already left without keeping their appointments,” Imbarrato said.

Father Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, accompanied by four pro-lifers, is leading the other D.C. rescue this morning. Moscinski and his fellow activists have entered Capital Women’s Services, also the site of past rescues. Not all of the rescuers are risking arrest; one woman who wishes to be known as “Baby Jane Doe” entered the facility but has now left.

A source on the ground outside Capital Women’s Services told LifeSiteNews police have arrived on the scene.

Capital Women’s Services is operated by Steven Chase Brigham, an abortionist with a long history of license revocations, botched abortions, and medical malpractice. However, Myron Rose is the doctor who commits abortions at the site. Brigham is associated with the abortion conglomerate American Women's Services.

Brigham famously kept the bodies of 34 aborted babies in a freezer in Maryland. He was charged with first-degree murder, but the trial didn't go forward.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph and also Imbarrato’s 67th birthday.

“I felt strongly called to this mission of saving babies on this special day on which I give thanks for my own birth, knowing that God desires that these babies, conceived through His grace, are granted the additional grace of being born, loved, and cherished in this world,” said Imbarrato. “St. Joseph was the protector of the Child Jesus and His mother, Mary, and so we ask St. Joseph to intercede on behalf of these babies and their moms on this day we honor his sainthood.”

‘Fully prepared’ for possible jail time

When Fr. Imbarrato entered Washington Surgi-Clinic in December, there were already three women inside the facility, he told LifeSiteNews.

“Once we [walked] in,” they were taken to a back room and “we never saw the women again.” This time, by arriving earlier, the pro-lifers will try to counsel women before they go into the waiting room.

Imbarrato stressed the pro-lifers will not be blocking the entrance to the facility or the building’s elevator. He said if women do enter the abortion center, then a Red Rose Rescuer will go into the waiting room.

The priest said he hopes this way, the rescuers will “be able to see the office workers” and “maybe even Santangelo before the place opens.”

“If Santangelo walks off that elevator, I’m going to definitely engage him and talk about his Catholic faith or his Catholic upbringing and tell him that it’s Lent” and encourage him to go to Confession.

Imbarrato said that as with past Red Rose Rescues, he won’t agree to pay any fines or do any community service if ordered to do so by the court. In 2018, he spent seven days in a D.C. jail for trespassing at Capital Women’s Services as part of a Red Rose Rescue.

“I’m fully prepared to go back to jail for as long as Our Lord wants me in jail to be a greater voice for the babies,” he said.

This is a developing story. LifeSiteNews will provide updates as they become available.

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Abortion supporters attack pro-life monument to unborn babies at U of Michigan

Students for Life of America
By Students for Life of America

March 19, 2019 (Students for Life of America) — Today, Students for Life at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, set up a Cemetery of the Innocents display on campus, to commemorate lives lost to abortion. The pink crosses are part of the spring #PlannedParenthoodTruth Tour on campus, where Students for Life groups are exposing the truth about Planned Parenthood's poor track record on helping women. But, some angry pro-abortion activists were not happy that pro-lifers were practicing their free-speech rights.

Students for Life set up the 1,000 crosses around 9 AM, with permission from the school, on the Diag on campus and throughout the day pro-abortion activists, presumably students although that is unclear, kept pulling crosses out of the ground, placing them in trash bags, or putting them on top of trash cans. Around 12:50 PM, Kaylena Wiederhold, Students for Life's Michigan Regional Coordinator, confronted several of the students and questioned them on why they were stealing Students for Life property.

Campus police were nearby supervising a climate change protest, when one student went to get them. Upon being approached by police officers, the students dropped the crosses and left.

Wiederhold noted, "Free-speech on college campuses continues to be an issue. The abortion activists on campus should be ashamed of themselves for trying to disrupt a peaceful memorial to not only babies harmed by abortion, but also women, men, and families harmed by abortion. We hope the University of Michigan will come out strongly in defense of free-speech on campus."

You can see a map of vandalisms against pro-life groups on campus, primarily Students for Life groups, at https://studentsforlife.org/map/vandalism/.

Despite the vandalism, Kristan Hawkins has noted how pro-life students continue to fight for the preborn. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed about free-speech violations, Hawkins noted, "The silver lining in all this for pro-life advocates is the resolve of courageous students who refuse to be silenced and who are learning how to engage effectively and lovingly even in hostile environments. Far from being snowflakes, this generation is more pro-life than their parents, and they are willing to do the hard work of defending women and their preborn children no matter the obstacles."

Published with permission from Students for Life of America.

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Katie Franklin

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Her daughter took an abortion pill…but she knew a cure that could save her grandchild

Katie Franklin
By

March 19, 2019 (Pregnancy Help News) — When "Hannah" discovered she was pregnant at the end of 2018, fear overtook her. Uncertain about what the future could hold for her and her husband with a baby on the way, she decided to have an abortion.

But that decision wasn't so simple. The morning after taking the first pill in the two-pill chemical abortion regimen, she awoke with immense regret. Wanting to save her baby, she called her mother, Sharon, a family nurse practitioner for the last 21 years.

Pro-life herself and empathizing with her daughter's remorse, Sharon enlisted her other daughter to scour the internet for a way to stop the in-progress abortion before it was too late.

That's when they found Abortion Pill Reversal, a life-saving protocol which has led to the births of more than 500 children since its inception in 2007.

Relieved to discover an antidote, Sharon and Hannah immediately called the helpline (877-558-0333) and were connected to Abortion Pill Rescue, a network of more than 500 medical professionals providing the reversal protocol. After gathering all of the information they needed, they hung up and Sharon called the local pharmacy with a prescription to save her unborn grandchild's life.

Within 10 minutes, Hannah was able to pick up her prescription from the pharmacy and begin the treatment. Now, just over halfway through her pregnancy, Hannah and her husband are expecting their baby boy to be born this July. 

"She's excited now, she's doing everything perfect," said Sharon, referring to Hannah's follow-up reversal treatments. "But just think of all the girls out there who don't know that [Abortion Pill Reversal] is available to them."

To the Rescue

Otherwise known as the "abortion pill" or RU-486, chemical abortions involve two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone, the first pill which Hannah took, destabilizes a pregnancy by blocking progesterone receptors and reducing progesterone levels in the mother's blood. To finish the abortion, misoprostol induces labor, forcing her body to expel the baby.

Operated by Heartbeat International — a global network of 2,600 pregnancy help organizations — Abortion Pill Reversal works by giving women extra progesterone up to 72 hours after a woman takes the first chemical abortion pill. Women undergoing Abortion Pill Reversal receive progesterone treatments for the rest of their pregnancies. Last year, physician George Delgado, founder of Abortion Pill Reversal, released a study showing that up to 68 percent of women who used the treatment were able to give birth to a perfectly healthy baby. 

With more than 500 babies born and 150 more on the way, Abortion Pill Reversal continues to see success. Since Heartbeat International took the reins of the protocol's provider network and helpline nearly one year ago, the organization has seen Abortion Pill Reversal calls increase. In February, the organization responded to more than 200 Abortion Pill Reversal contacts — four times the number the helpline once received in a given month.

Christa Brown, Abortion Pill Rescue Network Coordinator and medical specialist for Heartbeat International, says the protocol is critical for women who change their mind in the midst of a chemical abortion.

"Often, when women are considering abortion, they waver in their decisions," said Brown, a registered nurse. "There is tremendous pressure and stress. One answer can seem right for a time, and a short while later that answer changes. The abortion industry often monopolizes on this indecision and plays on the fears of these women."

"We believe every woman should have all the information that she needs to protect her child during an unexpected pregnancy," Brown said. "The life of a mother and her baby are worth more than an abortion facility's bottom line."

Wanting to ensure that more women like her daughter have access to the Abortion Pill Reversal protocol, Hannah's mother, Sharon, is now a member of the Abortion Pill Rescue network of providers. 

"A lot of people don't realize that there's actually help," she said. "The fear is normal when you've never been a mom before, but definitely, it's something everybody should know — that there's other choices."

Sharon's Story

Raised in a pro-life household by a father who was a scientist and a mother who was a mental health care worker, Sharon always knew abortion was wrong — even when she faced her own unexpected pregnancy as a young woman in boot camp for the U.S. Air Force.

"People will say, 'Well, you've never been in that position or you wouldn't be so smug.' Well, I was in that position," she told Pregnancy Help News.

Unaware that she was pregnant at the time, Sharon went to the doctor feeling sick after drinking some chocolate milk.

"They called me in and they said, 'You have a positive hCG; once you get rid of your pregnancy, come back in,'" she remembered. "Well, I was not gonna do that."

As she sat in the waiting room, another girl who had already had three abortions sat next to her crying. For Sharon, her waiting room companion's trauma reaffirmed her decision not to have an abortion.

"I remember for a moment I thought, 'Oh my gosh, why would somebody want to kill a baby?'" she said. "I was excited even though I really wasn't prepared, I was scared and I really didn't have a lot of support, but I knew I would make it. So I've been there and so I know."

Honorably discharged from boot camp, Sharon now needed to reformulate her plan for her future. Her baby's father, whom she would marry several years later, wanted no part in raising a child at the time, and the same month Sharon discovered she was pregnant, her parents divorced, leaving her with no place to call home. 

Now on her own, Sharon found a job and an apartment and eventually gave birth to her first child, Heather, who she says is an A-student in nursing school today.

Later on, after choosing life, becoming a nurse practitioner, and witnessing a callous attitude towards human life in the medical field, Sharon became involved in Missouri Right to Life in the hopes of making a difference. 

"I think if people saw exactly what goes on, they would never get abortions," she said. "If they actually experienced it — experienced the whole thing — it's horrible. It's a horrible disregard for human life. It's a huge epidemic."

After rescuing her daughter and grandbaby from the same fate, she is all the more motivated to help more women.

"If one person makes a difference by helping other people and doing what they know is right, then it makes a big difference in the world," she said.

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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Cassy Fiano-Chesser

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Planned Parenthood, while aborting babies, tweets: ‘We all deserve to live free from violence’

Cassy Fiano-Chesser
By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

March 19, 2019 (Live Action News) — Last week, the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, horrified the entire world. A man, allegedly a white supremacist, live-streamed his attack as he gunned down innocent worshippers inside two mosques. The death toll was 50 people, with their ages ranging from a two-year-old to a 71-year-old. People almost immediately began sending their sympathies and expressing outrage; Planned Parenthood, the abortion corporation, likewise wasted no time doing the same. In a tweet that earned the abortion corporation many rebukes, Planned Parenthood rightly said that all people deserve to live free from fear and violence. What the company seemed to miss was the terrible irony in its statement.

It's rich for Planned Parenthood to say that everyone deserves to live free from fear or violence, no matter where he lives, considering that Planned Parenthood's entire business model is centered around targeting human beings for violence based solely upon where they live. After all, it's a scientific fact that preborn children are human beings, with beating hearts just 16–21 days after fertilization and detectable brain waves as early as six weeks. One of Planned Parenthood's own abortionists, Dr. Lisa Harris, has admitted that abortion is an act of violence against a human being in the womb — and yet, she continues to commit abortions.

The Endowment for Human Development, an unbiased non-profit organization, outlines numerous facts concerning fetal development, all of which proves the humanity of preborn children. Yet they are still considered fair game when it comes to violence, simply because they reside within their mother's womb.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHe8YGPGzj4

Planned Parenthood's criticism of white supremacy and hatred is also ironic given its history of eugenics and — according to some — racism, even extending to present day. Critics of Planned Parenthood point out that it has placed the majority of its facilities in minority neighborhoods, has pressured black women into sterilization, and has shown willingness to accept donations earmarked for black babies specifically to be aborted.

The tweet itself is right, in that no one should be targeted for violence because of race or religion, or because of where he lives, or because of a possible disability. Yet that's exactly what Planned Parenthood does, every single day. So for the company to claim that these are principles it holds is laughable; these are nothing more than empty words to an organization that takes more than 330,000 human lives every year.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Laura Nicole

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Two huge make-up companies launch campaign to send millions to Planned Parenthood

Laura Nicole
By Laura Nicole

March 19, 2019 (Live Action News) — Rival cosmetics companies, MAC and Benefit, will be teaming up this spring to donate to Planned Parenthood, America's number one provider of abortions. Although both companies have already given to the organization for many years (MAC Cosmetics has given $1.6 million since 2008, according to Forbes), each wants to give millions more.

Planned Parenthood aborts 330,000 babies annually — including children with Down syndrome, like Kate Grant, a model with Down syndrome who was recently hired by Benefit. People with Down Syndrome are frequently targeted for abortion. In Iceland, 99% of babies with Down Syndrome are killed in abortion.

MAC's Viva Glam campaign, which contributes to its HIV/AIDS fund established in 1994, will target $500,000 per year through the sale of a special lipstick shade for the next two years to contribute to Planned Parenthood's "chat/text program," especially its new online chatbot called Roo, which targets 13- to 17-year-olds with information about "safe" sex and abortion.

Benefits Cosmetics' initiative, called Bold is Beautiful, seeks to "empower women and girls" through "reproductive health care." Every May, Benefit gives 100% of its brow waxing fees to the fund, which this year will go to Planned Parenthood. Benefit has a stated goal of raising the $6 million for the abortion giant. It will also sell a special product, and the proceeds will be given to the abortion business.

The response on Twitter was glowing from pro-abortion advocates. Leana Wen hailed the move by posting a selfie with MAC brand ambassadors: "Their amazing support will help advance our mission to provide sexual & reproductive healthcare & sex education to people across the country — no matter what." "Your next MAC and Benefit Cosmetics splurge can benefit @PPFA!" said InStyle and other lifestyle publications. Pro-life advocates also voiced their thoughts. "Because when I buy lipstick, obviously I want to know that some of the proceeds are going to kill babies," tweeted one user. "I'm never buying any of your products then. PP doesn't truly care about women," said Micaiah Bilger, referencing how Planned Parenthood treats pregnant employees.

The cosmetics industry is experiencing a major boom at the moment. Beauty lovers who support life are encouraged to speak with their dollars at their next cosmetics purchase.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Tony Perkins Tony Perkins

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Movies with sex, violence get rated PG-13. Why does pro-life ‘Unplanned’ get an R?

Tony Perkins Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins

March 19, 2019 (Family Research Council) — The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) doesn't mind slapping a PG-13 label on movies with sex, language, and violence. But when it comes to a film about abortion? They'll give it an R-rating, whether it deserves one or not! Anything to keep more people from knowing the truth about a procedure taking millions of lives a year.

The makers of Unplanned, the true story about former Planned Parenthood worker Abby Johnson, learned that the hard way. A few weeks before their film is set to debut, producers got the shocking news that Hollywood decided the film needed to be restricted to people 18 and older. They insisted it was for "some disturbing, bloody images." But co-director Chuck Konzelman thinks the reason is simpler: politics.

"We made a pro-life movie in a pro-choice town," he told Breitbart. Just as the film industry did with Gosnell, Hollywood seems intent on doing everything it can to limit the impact of their message. It's so hypocritical, fumed Unplanned author Cary Solomon. "The standard used to rate our movie is being applied inconsistently as it relates to bloody images on-screen," he said. "In fact, Happy Death Day 2U (a "slasher" film with several violent murder scenes) has far more blood and gore than our film, and it received a PG-13 rating."

Like Konzelman, he's worried the rating will scare families away — and at exactly the wrong time. After what happened in New York and the new nationwide debate over abortion, Americans have never been more primed to hear and see the truth. Movies like this one are exactly what we need to keep the conversation going. In an open letter, a mix of 29 conservative leaders, actors, and Academy Award-winners ask parents not to be deterred by the MPAA's rating. "... [We] are urging our fellow citizens to, just as they did with The Passion of the Christ, ignore the MPAA's Restricted rating and watch the film anyway when it is released in theaters March 29th."

Who decides what's appropriate for your family to watch, we ask? "Is it a group of unelected parents from Beverly Hills who meet together, watch a film and vote, and ultimately decide for you what is appropriate for your family and what's not? Or is it you, your family, your pastor or priest, and other leaders you respect? Let's not project the values of the 90210 zip code upon the rest of America."

"Abortion is the great evil of our time, resulting in the loss of 50 million–plus of our fellow citizens — and we believe this film has the potential to be what Uncle Tom's Cabin was to slavery: the catalyst for ending it. While we have tremendous respect for the work of the MPAA, in this case we agree with the film's distributor — that R stands for Recommended. And while we don't think this film is for young children, we strongly recommend that this film be seen by as many Americans as possible — including older children."

For a sneak peak at the film, watch the trailer below. Then, for theaters and movie times, check out the Unplanned website.

Published with permission from the Family Research Council.

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, ,

Will you join the great campaign in support of life?

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

March 19, 2019 (Human Life International) — "What is urgently called for," wrote Pope St. John Paul II in the great pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae, "is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life." (EV, ¶95)

The vast and multifarious pro-life movement, with its ever-expanding networks of crisis pregnancy centers, mobile ultrasound units, political activists and lawyers, pro-life student clubs, news organizations, marches, peaceful protesters and medical centers, is the remarkable and, in many respects, unlikely embodiment of this great movement. Against all the odds, and often with little time, money, and experience, pro-life individuals and organizations have risen up and pushed back against the well-funded, celebrity-backed juggernaut of the Culture of Death, saving countless lives in the process.

Twice a year, however, an event happens across the globe that is perhaps the single-most astonishing and visible evidence that this great campaign for life is growing in energy, youthfulness, strategic savvy, spiritual depth, and resolve. I am speaking about the 40 Days for Life campaign.

The Power of Prayer and Fasting

Just a few days ago, 40 Days for Life launched its annual Lenten campaign. All around the world, in a remarkable 377 cities, armies of peaceful pro-life prayer warriors are gathering outside abortion clinics, where they strive to maintain a 24/7 peaceful prayer vigil.

The life-saving power of simply having a pro-life presence outside abortion clinics was proven in the first hour of the campaign in Birmingham, England. According to Isabel, one of the participants there, a baby was saved from abortion almost immediately after the campaign commenced. "A lady was given a leaflet on her way in," said Isabel. "She carried on inside but came out 15 minutes later and said she'd changed her mind and was keeping her baby. Praise God!"

Imagine for a moment what would have happened if those pro-lifers hadn't been outside that abortion clinic to hand that woman that leaflet. Another dead baby. Another wounded mother, suffering a lifetime of regret. If that's not enough to convince you to look up your local 40 Days for Life campaign, and to go spend an hour in front of an abortion clinic praying, what is?

From its humble beginnings 15 years ago, as a peaceful protest movement outside a single Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, 40 Days for Life has grown to a global movement uniting hundreds of thousands of peaceful pro-life protesters. The mission is simple: to save lives and to end abortion. As Christ made clear, there are some demons that can only be cast out with prayer and fasting. Recognizing that abortion is one of those demons, the founders of 40 Days wisely put the emphasis squarely on these two most powerful spiritual weapons.

The incredible power of the 40 Days for Life concept was validated in a remarkable fashion not only by the fact that the Bryan, Texas clinic subsequently shut down in 2013, but also by the fact that one of its former directors quit her job and became pro-life. That director's name? Abby Johnson.

Abby has since gone on to become one of the country's most eloquent pro-life advocates, having founded a pro-life organization committed to helping other abortion workers like herself quit their jobs. In just two weeks, her incredible true story is coming to the big screen in the film Unplanned, created by the same people who brought us the God Is Not Dead movies. Fittingly, 40 Days for Life has also since acquired the building out of which the Bryan Planned Parenthood clinic operated and has made it their national headquarters!

According to 40 Days for Life, since their first national campaign in 2007, over 800,000 people have participated in their prayer vigils. In that time over 15,000 babies have been saved, 186 abortion workers have quit, and 99 of the clinics where 40 Days campaigns took place have shut down. In reality, of course, the number of lives saved is probably much higher than 40 Days' official number, which only includes the number of babies saved that 40 Days volunteers heard about. Who knows how many women chose life, or never showed up for their abortion appointments, simply because pro-life activists were faithfully putting their pro-life beliefs into action? Or who knows how many babies have been saved thanks to all those abortion clinics being shut down?

The Urgency of this Lenten Campaign

As 40 Days' campaign director Shawn Carney emphasized in announcing the launch of this year's campaign, this Lenten campaign is more urgent than ever. In the United States, in particular, we have recently witnessed astonishingly bold and inhuman attempts — sadly, partially successful — to push the envelope of legal abortion. New York recently passed a bill that allows abortion up to the moment of birth, and extremist Democrat politicians in other states are attempting to follow suit. We have even heard prominent politicians expressing a callous disdain for the fate of babies after birth.

However, exhorts Carney, "Do not throw your hands in the air or curse at your television" in response to this inhumanity. Instead, "Let this barbaric mentality motivate you to offer hope, healing, and medical alternatives to women where you live. That is what is ending abortion at the local level."

In Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II said that in order to create a Culture of Life, it is necessary that everyone have the "courage to adopt a new lifestyle." This new lifestyle would consist "in making practical choices — at the personal, family, social and international level — on the basis of a correct scale of values: the primacy of being over having, of the person over things."

"This renewed life-style," said the sainted pope, "involves a passing from indifference to concern for others, from rejection to acceptance of them. Other people are not rivals from whom we must defend ourselves, but brothers and sisters to be supported. They are to be loved for their own sakes, and they enrich us by their very presence." (EV, ¶98)

In other words, it is not enough simply to believe the right things about the value of life: those beliefs must be put into action, actions that demand sacrifice, and that permeate our whole lives — a lifestyle. These words of the Holy Father continue to motivate and inspire our work at HLI to mobilize consciences and unite efforts of people of all faiths to achieve cultural transformation. Recognizing the value of 40 Days for Life's model, HLI has enthusiastically supported their efforts to expand globally, and encouraged our own activists and supporters to get involved.

The purpose of the Gospel is "to transform humanity from within and to make it new. Like the yeast which leavens the whole measure of dough (cf. Mt 13:33), the Gospel is meant to permeate all cultures and give them life from within, so that they may express the full truth about the human person and about human life." (EV, ¶95)

If you are pro-life, but find that you are not doing anything, directly, to bring about the end of abortion in our culture, or if you find yourself feeling the call to do more than you are already doing, then I urge you to look into joining your local 40 Days for Life campaign. Spending an hour silently praying outside an abortion clinic may not sound like much — but by making visible your interior pro-life convictions, you are also making visible your own and God's love and concern for the confused, broken, and desperate women who are considering taking the horrific step of having their own children killed. Your presence and prayers may well be the sign of love and compassion necessary to convince a woman to choose life.

40 Days for Life, in its public witness, strives to "prick the conscience" of society and make it see the humanity of the children, whose right to life is being ignored and violated. Often enduring hardships, persecution, and vulgarities, 40 Days for Life's sentinels stand in silent witness, not for themselves but for someone else. Countless lives are changed and saved because of their unselfish act of love.

Pope St. John Paul II's "great campaign" venerates the dignity, beauty, and inestimable value of every human person from the first movement of life to natural death. Without exception, each and every member of society, especially disciples of the Lord Jesus, is called to participate. That includes you.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Biography via YouTube.
Jarrett Stepman

Opinion, ,

Radical leftist Southern Poverty Law Center fires its co-founder

Jarrett Stepman
By Jarrett Stepman

March 19, 2019 (Daily Signal) — The co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a deep-pocketed, left-wing civil rights organization, was fired on Wednesday.

Morris Dees, a prominent lawyer who founded SPLC in 1971, was reportedly forced out due to workplace misconduct, though the organization didn't specify what that misconduct was.

The Los Angeles Times reported: "A letter signed by about two dozen employees — and sent to management and the board of directors before news broke of Dees' firing — said they were concerned that internal 'allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.'"

Dees' firing is an important development. Dees has been the face of the SPLC while it has transitioned from investigating genuine hate groups to casting a wide net that lumps in mainstream organizations like the Family Research Council, a social conservative organization, with the Ku Klux Klan.

Yet, despite serious issues with how SPLC defines hate groups, the organization is constantly cited by the media as an authority, during which time, Dees has been continually praised for his work.

One prominent journalist in the 1990s called Dees the, quote, "Mother Teresa of Montgomery." 

YouTube has used SPLC as a part of its trusted flagger program.

Large media outlets like CNNABC, and NBC frequently publish the SPLC's hate map.

GuideStar, a nonprofit tracker, at one point used the SPLC hate group tracker, but dropped this later, citing its "commitment to objectivity."

There is certainly a good reason to suspect, beyond Dees' ousting, some of SPLC's work as having a deeply partisan agenda rather than being committed to casting light on genuine hate groups.

Though it received little media attention, SPLC recently settled with and had to apologize to Maajid Nawaz, an anti-Islamist activist who was maligned by the organization as an anti-Muslim extremist.

Nawaz was not an anti-Muslim extremist, but in fact a Muslim who turned away from the radical Islamist views of his youth and now uses his organization, Quilliam, to fight extremism.

The bottom line is: shedding light on genuinely violent and extremist groups is a noble endeavor, but it's inappropriate for the media to continually cite SPLC as an authoritative source on hate without acknowledging its progressive agenda and conflation of extremist groups with mainstream ones.

Published with permission from the Daily Signal.

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California middle school puts on LGBT fair with drag queen lessons, doesn’t tell parents

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By Tony Perkins

March 19, 2019 (Family Research Council) — "You did what?!" Parents across Santa Ana couldn't believe it. In one house after another, the answer to "How was school today?" was nothing like they expected. Moms and dads listened in disbelief as their middle schoolers talked about going to an "LGBT Fair" that no one bothered to ask their permission for. There were even people in drag, their 11-year-olds said, giving make-up lessons — right there in school.

Townhall's Kira Davis listened as one mom fumed about not knowing about the fair until after it happened. There wasn't even an opportunity to opt-out, she complained at last Tuesday's school board meeting. Unfortunately, that was just one of the infuriating examples the largely-Hispanic community used to explain how fed-up they were with the state's new sex ed law. But the problem is a lot bigger than the law, Davis explained. It's how liberals are exploiting the Spanish-speaking communities to implement it.

In one of the more fiery exchanges of the night, a mom seethed that so many liberals were trying to marginalize California's multi-ethnic communities. "How can a state that claims to be so much for the rights of immigrants and minorities then ignore our concerns on purpose? They are hypocrites!" Although California's law does order schools to offer the curriculum outline in both languages, Santa Ana hasn't made the Spanish materials available to parents. Hardly an accident, Kira argues, since most of the communities like this one are "whole-heartedly opposed to LGBT-based sex-ed."

One thing's for sure: The more radical the social policy, the greater the opportunity for conservatives. Santa Ana's meeting room was bursting with the latest evidence that Democrats have a huge problem on their hands, especially when it comes to abortion and sex ed. What's even more insulting, these parents pointed out, is how liberals are purposefully taking advantage of them — deceptively leaving families in the dark because they know "this particular community would absolutely not approve of the more graphic elements." Not to mention, Kira goes on, "the unmonitored discussions" on gender and sexuality.

Like a lot of other California districts, these parents have reached their boiling point. Tuesday's meeting was so jam-packed that even the overflow rooms could barely hold the families. Holding signs that read, "No SeXXEd!" moms and dads fended off the ACLU attorneys who'd been farmed out across the state to handle complaints. Later, parents were even more furious to find out that four of the five people who testified in favor of the curriculum didn't even live in the district!

In between emotional testimonies, Kira was appalled at how condescending board members were, firing back hostile — and at times, demeaning — answers. "As an outside observer, I was terribly vexed by how dismissive and deceptive school authorities were to this particular group of parents. It was clear they did not believe immigrant Hispanic parents were engaged or informed enough to be welcomed into the process."

"All these people were asking for was a say, a chance to be involved, to be heard and to be active participants in the education of their children. They were asking for respect and instead received nothing but contempt and disrespect from the very people they trust to care for the development of their students." But, she warns, "If you think this is just another case of 'whacky' California paying the price for their 'whacky' voting habits, think again. This is coming to a state and a school district near you."

Are you prepared for that day? Make sure you've read FRC's "A Parent's Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education" — and share it with your friends.

Published with permission from the Family Research Council.

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Mask comes off: The LGBT left is out to silence Christian voices

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By Dr. Michael Brown

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — There has always been one end-game for the radical left: the silencing of dissenting voices, in particular conservative Christian voices.

The radical left is not simply interested in winning in the marketplace of ideas. It is not simply interested in changing hearts and minds. It is ultimately interested in silencing the opposition, especially all opposition that is based on a biblical worldview.

For years I have said that those who came out of the closet (meaning, radical gay activists) wanted to put us in the closet (meaning those of who identify with conservative biblical values). And for years I (and many others) have documented this, time and time again.

You might wonder how the radical left wants to silence us. How, exactly, does it want to put us in the closet?

By intimidation. By ridicule. By legal action. By expulsion. By exclusion.

Anything to avoid civil, respectful debate. Anything to avoid a genuine discussion of differences. Anything to avoid true dialogue.

Instead, those who differ with the radical left are to be demonized, stigmatized, marginalized, and silenced.

Back in 2012, the gay activist organization GLAAD launched its Commentator Accountability Project. Its purpose was to discourage media outlets from having people like me on their broadcasts. (I was one of their initial list of 36 commentators. The list has greatly expanded now.)

Again, GLAAD’s goal was not to provide useful information for the liberal media to refute our arguments. Instead, their goal was to discredit us and convince the media not to give us any platform.

In short, GLAAD’s operating principles were simple. Exclude people; don’t examine their ideas. Demonize them; don’t dialogue with them.

That’s why I said that GLAAD was not the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (their original acronym; now they’re just GLAAD). Instead, I suggested, they should be known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement.

In that same spirit, it is the radical left which seeks to block conservative speakers from college campuses, even with violent protests.

It is the radical left which seeks to shame people on their jobs and humiliate them in their schools.

As for freedom of speech and expression, that must be a one-way street.

Only the ideas of the left are worthy of dissemination. Dissenters are no better than the Taliban, than ISIS, than the Nazis, than the KKK.

That’s the way the radical left seeks to win.

And that’s why a high school student was recently suspended for posting Bible verses in her school in response to LGBTQ pride displays. The displays were perfectly welcome. The Bible verses were not.

As I said, freedom of expression only goes one way.

The student, Gabby Heisinger, explains that she was called into the principal’s office and “was asked why she posted the Bible verses.

“And I said, ‘Because I wanted to spread the word of God,’” she said. “And [the principal] goes, ‘Well did you have permission?’ And I said, ‘No.’ I didn’t know you had to have permission because people do it a lot — putting Post-It notes on people’s lockers, so I just did it.”

Gabby then asked the principal why any material that mentions God or Jesus, it gets removed “straight away,” while “gay pride stuff” can be put up all over school and openly discussed with no repercussions at all.

Enough said.

Or consider the unrelenting attack on Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States. He is a vile person. An ugly person. A person to be shamed by visiting dignitaries and ridiculed by outspoken celebrities. And his wife, Karen, is to be vilified as well.

Why? Because he has the audacity to believe what virtually all branches of Christianity have believed for the better part of two millennia (namely, that marriage is for a man and a woman) and because his wife has the audacity to teach at a Christian school.

Such views can no longer be tolerated.

Forget about tolerance and acceptance and diversity.

Those were just code words used to win over those in the middle. They were nothing more than Trojan horses through which intolerance and exclusivity could be smuggled in.

Once in place, the real agenda now comes to light. And make no mistake about it. It is an ugly, vile agenda. (Yes, I call things like drag queens reading to toddlers ugly and vile, all the more so when one of the drag queens is a registered sex offender.)

How then should we respond to this attempt to silence us? How should we respond to attempts to intimidate us and marginalize us?

Simple. We speak out more loudly and clearly. We take our stands more firmly and boldly. And the more we are hated and slandered, the more we respond with love and truth.

The darkness will never succeed in snuffing out the light.

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Floral tribute to the 50 people shot and killed at two Mosques on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch New Zealand. Shutterstock
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New Zealand murders: repercussions and perspective

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By Steve Jalsevac

March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch commented in relation to the following article, “The savage and heinous terrorist attacks on the mosques in New Zealand are being and will be used to try to silence all criticism of jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women and others.”

We should all of course condemn and be horrified by what took place in New Zealand. At the same time we must heed the warning of Spencer and many others that this tragedy will be typically heavily exploited to advance the cause of radical Islam and to grant extra special protections to Islam versus all other religions. All this will go on while the daily persecutions and slaughters of large numbers of Christians continue to be downplayed as they continue in many nations with significant numbers of more fundamentalist Muslims.

We all need to keep in mind the perspectives revealed in this article.

Steve Jalsevac

“New Zealand Attacks: Repercussions and Perspective,”

by Srdja Trifkovic, Chronicles, March 15, 2019:

Terrorist attacks against Muslims in the Western world are extremely rare. This morning’s carnage in two mosques in New Zealand, with the death toll currently at 50, is the first major event of its kind since the Quebec City mosque shooting—over two years ago – which killed six persons.

(As for the alleged “Islamophobic incidents” in general, overwhelmingly they are either unverifiable or too trivial to be taken seriously.)

While 56 dead in two years is 56 too many, this regrettable incident will dominate the headlines infinitely more than any comparable carnage involving Christians, notably the 2017 Palm Sunday church bombings in Alexandria; it killed 45 people, and was all but ignored by the Western media and politicians. The developing frenzy of compassion with the victims of Christchurch will result in a number of mathematically predictable consequences:

  • The ruling elites and their media cohorts all over the Western world will have a field day equating “violent extremism” (which has nothing to do with “true Islam,” of course) with the neo-nazi, right-wing, white, Christian-inspired racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and all other traits of the deplorables; and yes, it will be Trump’s fault to boot.
  • Various Islamic activist in the West, such as the sharia-promoting CAIR in the U.S. and its fellow-conspirators elsewhere, will clamor for ever more stringent laws criminalizing “Islamophobia,” effectively defined as any form of meaningful debate of Islam, its scriptural message, historical practice, and current ambitions.
  • Such demands will be promptly translated into legislative proposals by the jihadophile liberal class which will proclaim zero tolerance of “Islamophobia” as defined by CAIR et al. And, of course, they will demand additional Soviet/Nazi style gun laws.

Six years ago in these pages I defined jihadophilia as a mental disorder affecting members of the Western (including Anglo-Antipodean) elite class, which is characterized by a breakdown of the ability to name Muslims as perpetrators of the acts of Islamic terrorism, by the tendency to systematically ignore Islam as a factor in terrorist attacks or to deny its relevance in such attacks, and by an acute deficit of the capacity or will to provide appropriate institutional or legal responses to such attacks. This psychosis, hard to cure ab initio, will be let loose now like never before.

For starters, there will be no attempt to place today’s killings “in perspective,” as is invariably the case after Muslim terrorists strike Western targets—in Nice, Paris, Berlin etc.—killing hundreds of people. That “perspective” should include the fact that some 30 million Muslims reside in the Western world today (many more on their own reckoning), which makes the probability of any one of them falling victim to a deplorable attack in any given year roughly one in ten million.

These odds may be higher than being eaten by a great white shark, but they compare rather favorably with the probability of a Frenchman being killed by a Muslim fanatic. Be patient, dear reader; let us recoup with precision, lest we be accused of inflammatory rhetoric:

  • 7-9 January 2015: Charlie Hebdo attacks kill 22 people.
  • 26 June 2015: In Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, a Muslim decapitated a Frenchman and rammed a van into cylinders at a gas factory trying to start an explosion.
  • 13-14 November 2015: The horrendous Paris attacks killed 137 people in the single deadliest terrorist outrage in French history
  • 13 June 2016: At Magnanville, a policeman and his wife were murdered by a jihadist.
  • 14 July 2016: A truck was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, killed 86 people.
  • 26 July 2016: In Normandy two jihadists attacked a church during mass, killing an 86-year-old priest.
  • 1 October 2017: A Muslim stabbed to death two young women at a Marseille train station. Before he was shot dead he shouted Allahu Akbar.
  • 23 March 2018: A Muslim stole a car in Carcassonne, killing the passenger, went to Trèbes, attacked a supermarket, killed three people and injured several others.
  • 12 May 2018: A Chechen-born “Frenchman” stabbed to death one pedestrian and injured several others near the Garnier Opera in Paris.
  • 11 December 2018: In Strasbourg a gunman opened fire just outside the Christmas Market, killing 5 and injuring 11.

That makes 261 dead and many more injured, in attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims, in less than four years, in only one country, France (pop. 66 million). With 66 dead a year on average, Frenchmen are exactly ten times more likely to be murdered by a Muslim than a Muslim being killed by a non-Muslim terrorist anywhere in the Western world.

The score is incomparably worse if we look at the situation of Christians in the Muslim world. It is the most egregious example of human right violations in today’s world: according to “Open Doors,” at least 4,305 Christians known by name were murdered by Muslims because of their faith in 2018. Aid to the Church in Need, in its latest “Religious Freedom Report,” warned that 300 million Christians, overwhelmingly in the majority-Muslim countries, were subjected to violence, making it “the most persecuted religion in the world.”

This makes the odds of a Christian in a majority-Muslim country being murdered by a Muslim—simply for being what he is—approximately one in 70,000. This means a Christian living in a majority Muslim country is 143 times more likely to be killed by a Muslim for being a Christian than a Muslim is likely to be killed by a non-Muslim in a Western country for being what he is.

These are some of the facts that need to be taken into account as we face today’s onslaught of massive Agitprop and self-hatred inducement from every screen and every printed page in every Western country. The victims and their families in New Zealand deserve sympathy. So do the victims of jihadism,which is the most murderous ideology in human history, incomparably more lethal than Bolshevism and National Socialism combined….

The article included above from Chronicles magazinehas been republished on LifeSite with the permission of Chronicles.

RELATED:
Christianity & Islam: Are We At War? By Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J.

New Zealand shooter has more in common with radical environmentalists than ‘right-wingers’– Steve Mosher

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Six years in, Francis has shown himself to be the most troubling pope in history

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
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March 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photomontage above tells quite a tale, on this, the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’s papal inauguration on March 19, 2013.

As we know from the seldom dull annals of Church history, many popes have deserved, and received, abundant praise or bitter criticism from their contemporaries or from later ages. On the one hand, the papacy shines, like a jewel-studded crown, with dozens of saints who shouldered their burden of governance with heroic generosity and dedication. The papacy’s record in this regard puts to shame the record of any other institution; indeed, no series of rulers of any earthly empire or kingdom can hold a candle up to it for longevity, stability, constancy, and virtue. On the other hand, as history shows, the papacy—though protected from definitively committing the Church to error—is not, after all, protected from moral failings or intellectual debility, from catastrophic political blunders in pursuit of policy or from excessive friendliness to the Church’s enemies.

In a forthcoming book, Martin Mosebach vividly describes how we find both sides of the papacy illustrated in the first pope:

Even those hostile to the papacy would have to admire the shape and construction of this office that, from the beginning, has preserved it—in the person of Peter—from crises. As the successor and representative of Christ, as the Rock on which the Church is to be built, even the most capable office-bearer is bound to fail. For this office of “confirming his brothers in faith” Christ chose the very disciple who, while he had always shown courage and vitality, failed when it came to acknowledging his Master. “Then he began to curse and swear”—the evangelist, describing Peter’s apostasy beside the fire in the High Priest’s courtyard, leaves us in no doubt as to the seriousness of this betrayal.

By choosing Peter, Christ shows that the office of representative requires no special intellectual gifts and talents, no firmness of character and no proven stability—which means that every man is equally fitted and unfitted for this office. Christ became man and therefore every man is equally equipped to represent him. No pope can betray Christ more than Peter did in that courtyard, no pope can follow Christ more than Peter, who got himself crucified on his account. The choice of Peter establishes the clear distinction, in the Church, between the office and the person. It is this principle that makes it possible to encounter the incarnate, grace-bestowing Christ even in unworthy human beings. The choice of Peter also makes concrete the Catholic anthropology that sees man as weak and sinful, and yet called to pursue the highest perfection.

Today, we are required more than ever to lean hard on “the distinction between the office and the person.” The papacy deserves our veneration and our adherence; the incumbent pope may or may not be worthy of his office and may, in fact, be a major scandal, a stumbling block to the faithful and to those outside the flock. Christ does not and will not abandon His Church, even when churchmen abandon Him. The Head of the Church is and always remains Jesus Christ. The phrase “Vicar of Christ” brings this out quite clearly: a vicar is one who stands in for someone, who represents Him, and has authority solely from and for Him. This concept not only does not lead to hyperpapalism, it undermines it in principle by showing the pope to be a stand-in for the actual eternal Head of the Church. The pope represents this Head on earth—and he can badly fail in his duty.

Mosebach rightly reminds us of a truth that, in healthier times, might seem a truism: man is weak and sinful yet called to pursue the highest perfection. The pope, more than any other, is reasonably expected to pursue this highest perfection, not only to set a good example for the other shepherds and sheep, but more particularly to secure his own salvation and the good of the flock entrusted to him. 

Alas, we see weakness and sinfulness abounding at the Vatican and throughout the Church. The evidence of corruption has become so multifaceted and voluminous that it is impossible not only to deny it, but even to avoid corrosive contact with it. The prophet Jeremiah has words for a situation like this: “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have caused them to go astray” (50:6).

The photomontage above puts before us an unprecedented number and variety of book-length critiques published over the past few years, documenting the doctrinal aberrations and failures of Pope Francis, which are cause for the greatest alarm and the most fervent prayer and penance. We pray that where sin abounds, grace will abound the more. 

Meanwhile, we know that the evils under which we suffer must be temporary; the only states that last forever are heaven and hell, which are not of this world. We may also take comfort and courage in the knowledge that God will not be mocked, but has already prepared in His eternal wisdom the doom that will come upon those who lift themselves above their humble status as successors, not replacements, of the apostles: “As for your terribleness, the pride of your heart has deceived you, O dweller in the clefts of the rock, holding the height of the hill. Though you should make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there, says the Lord” (Jer 49:16). 

To high-ranking prelates enjoying favor, influence, and power, the prophet cries out: “You also, O madmen, shall be brought to silence; the sword shall pursue you” (Jer 48:2)—be it the sword of civil authorities or the sword of inevitable death.

A sword against the oracle priests, that they may become fools! A sword against her mighty men, that they may be destroyed! … For it is a land of images, and they are mad over idols. Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her. (Jer 50:36–39 ESV)

The “land of images” might call to mind disturbing light shows on the façades of Roman churches; madness over idols calls to mind the frenetic chasing after the “values” of European liberalism, the abstract “ideals” of modernism, and the “cult” of liturgical change. The “wild beasts,” those who live by their carnal passions; the “hyenas,” those who make incessant noise about progress; the “ostriches,” those who bury their heads in the sand denying that there is a crisis—all these will find themselves cast off to Babylon. It is only a matter of time.

An infallible law of the moral order guarantees, and the world’s history copiously illustrates, that evil necessarily consumes itself, and its protagonists end up destroying each other: “The mighty man has stumbled against the mighty; they have fallen both of them together” (Jer 46:12). The mountain of literature critical of the Bergoglio pontificate and curia offers a somber witness, for our time and for future ages, to the inundation of wickedness in high places, and urges us to persevere in the Christian battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

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