December 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – When Cardinal Bergoglio was elected Pope in March of 2013 he was relatively unknown. About 18 months later, in September 2014, I had a conversation with an Evangelical minister that I will not forget. A few years later I met with three Catholic clergy at different times whose astonishing comments I must also share with LifeSite readers.
In 2014 I was discussing medical issues with a Naturopathic doctor in the Dominican Republic. The doctor was also an Evangelical minister, an exceptionally dedicated pro-life, pro-family activist and an avid LifeSite reader. We clicked right away and discussed many subjects during several lengthy calls.
One thing that pre-occupied the doctor was Pope Francis and he asked me lots of questions about the pope. He had been following the situation in Rome closely, especially because of his pro-life work and defense of the family.
Looking back, I’ll never forget his conclusion at the end of our conversations regarding Francis. He said “everyone looks to the Catholics to be the guys that we can always rely on to stay strong on marriage and the family. If you guys let up we are all in big trouble.”
He clearly saw that we were all, Catholics and non-Catholic faithful Christians alike, heading into difficult times because of this new pope.
How prophetic he proved to be. The situation has become far worse since that conversation took place.
There have also been other Evangelicals and other non-Catholic Christians who have expressed similar concerns in comments on LifeSite, in emails and personal conversations.
Catholic cleric #1
Fast forward to a month ago when I met with a Catholic priest friend in Canada.
I decided to talk to him about how much I was personally shaken, for the first time in all the years of doing LifeSite work, over an issue. That issue was Pope Francis and all that he was doing that was gravely undermining what I and thousands of others had given our lives to over many years – the defense of life and family.
He admonished me for thinking it was a weakness to be so disturbed about these developments in the Church. He reminded me that in Scripture Jesus rightly expressed anger and sadness about the hypocrisy and betrayals by the Jewish priests of the time against the commandments of God the Father.
My priest-friend also reminded me that Mary was sad during Christ’s passion, at the foot of the cross, and during many of her approved visions shows sadness over the many sins of mankind.
But then he turned the conversation to the work of LifeSite and this is where I experienced the most surprise.
This always gentle, kind and exceptionally faithful priest said “recent popes have been doing the heavy lifting” in defending life and family and the truths of the Gospel. But now, he told me, is the time for “the laity to fight for the truth like they never have before.”
“It’s a shoot-out” in the Church, he proclaimed.
And LifeSite, he said, has been a leader in responding to this.
He proceeded to give me unexpectedly encouraging and strong affirmations for our work.
He revealed that LifeSite articles “are very helpful to priests” who are caught in the turmoil within the Church at this time and having to endure even more personal suffering over this than the laity. He was referring of course to faithful priests.
He assured me that LifeSite “gives a new analytical way of thinking” about many of today’s controversies, “whether cultural or moral.” We present issues “in their true light.” LifeSite articles, he strongly emphasized, “are helping us (he and his priest friends) to think these things through” in a much better way than they were otherwise capable of doing.
“They (LSN articles) train the brain” of clergy. “They give us intellectual tools and language to address current issues that contradict and attack natural law and the Gospel.” And then, he indicated, they can use these analysis “tools” and informational content on a day-to-day basis.
LifeSite, he stated, “shows priests what is and what isn’t.” “That method”, he added, “is right in the Gospel. It is binary thinking.”
The way LifeSite confronts “all the false ideas,” that it does, the priest stated, “is to show me clearly the opposite of truth regarding sexuality, human rights, etc. by closely analyzing the errors themselves.”
I’m proud that our writers’ work is so well researched. We constantly quote experts, faithful cardinals, bishops, past popes and Church documents and carefully relate all of these to the current developments. We provide plenty of evidence for everything that is reported in our Church-related articles.
Father strongly emphasized to me that almost all priests today need the help that LifeSite provides because they were never prepared to deal with the severe chaos and betrayals of the faith that are now occurring in the Church.
He stated that he and other clergy will often end up talking about our articles. He will “tell fellow priests about an article, how LifeSite presented it and then they will say, yes, that is right.”
“That is how it has been working for me,” he told me. “It has been a great assistance to me.”
I was advised to not be afraid of directly taking on those in the Church who are distorting the faith and causing harmful confusion.
“They can’t touch you, but priests are not free to say what needs to be said. When clergy read LifeSite articles, they get a lift. It energizes.”
Wow! That picked me up and I saw it as a God-sent affirmation of my LifeSite work at a time when I needed it.
The second conversation took place in the Vatican early this year. John-Henry, Claire Chretien and myself were greeted with almost embarrassing enthusiasm by a cleric (whose status and role in the Church I cannot reveal), who told us he reads all of LifeSite every day and greatly values our reports.
That was an astonishing admission by him given how extremely busy we knew he was every day with his numerous responsibilities. I also later learned that he is a regular financial contributor to LifeSite.
Then we entered into an almost 2-hour long, sometimes quite emotional and intense dialogue and exchange of crucial information. The cleric confirmed that what LifeSite has been reporting about Vatican affairs has been accurate and deeply appreciated by the many faithful, ordained and non-ordained, persons working within the Vatican.
He confirmed that my Dec. 2016 article about a “climate of fear” in the Vatican under the Francis papacy described a situation that was even worse than I had written. We were told that he and many others were under enormous stress because of the intimidation, spying and sudden late-night calls and firings that had begun after Francis and his very liberal associates had taken over the Vatican. The high level of stress even forced some to seek medical attention.
What this good cleric emphasized, above all, was that our reporting was invaluable to the Church. He urged us to continue our investigative reporting on Vatican and other Church affairs. He said the clergy at all levels were being prevented from speaking out and acting as they dearly wanted to concerning the dangerous chaos going on under the Francis papacy. They therefore depend on the public exposure that these negative developments are given by LifeSite’s unique reporting. He and others, much to our amazement, were cheering us on to keep doing what we have been doing.
There was little time wasted during that meeting. We discussed many problems and exchanged much crucial information. We shared with him details of situations and persons that he was not aware of and he provided us with invaluable new insights that we were not fully informed about.
It was a wonderful meeting of brothers and a sister totally committed to Jesus Christ, His teachings and the authentic Catholic Church.
And you, dear readers of LifeSite have benefitted from this and many other meetings we have had with bishops and priests that we been blessed to take part in, especially during the past four years. Because of these courageous and faithful clerics we have been able to provide you with the very best reporting on Catholic Church, life and family related developments available from few other sources.
We left that particular meeting highly motivated and our dedication strengthened to do whatever was humanly possible to support these suffering clerics struggling to protect and preach the truth so that no one would be led astray from the correct path to eternal life with Christ. Ultimately, we realized, that is what our pro-life, pro-family mission is all about.
Another exceptionally holy, humble, and fearless priest from a tiny country parish to which he was banished by his bishop because of his fidelity, has many times contacted us to say how much he depends upon LifeSite for his priesthood.
Without LifeSite, he said, he would feel so alone. He would not know how to respond to the moral chaos that he has encountered in the local schools, among his fellow priests, in the Church in general and in the confessional and in other encounters with his local people.
Our reports keep affirming his recognition of all the disturbing developments in the Church – that he is not going crazy and that there are others who also see what he sees. Our reports confirm what he knows should be preached – no matter how much it disturbs some parishioners.
The corrupt “Catholic” school sex-ed courses and the subtle and not-so-subtle affirmations of active homosexuality, contraception and other mortal sins by some members of the diocese cause him much grief. But LifeSite has given him courage, he told us.
Most importantly he said again and again that he prays for us frequently. Of less significance is the fact that he gives very generously of his limited income during every one of our quarterly campaigns.
There are many other priests in small, outlying parishes, in both Canada and the United States who have communicated similar sentiments to us.
So there you have a snapshot, although a long article (sorry) about the great importance of LifeSite to the lives of many clergy, Catholic and non-Catholic. There are also the ones who hate us – with a passion – but they are the clergy who have issues with fidelity, their personal sinful lifestyles, or they just cannot face hard realities that must be faced. For them, the messenger needs to be attacked for the purpose of self-preservation. We pray for them and love them just the same.
Keeping all the above in mind, if you have not done so, please give a generous donation towards the LifeSite Christmas campaign. Then this work so highly valued by faithful, pro-life and pro-family clergy such as those mentioned above can continue to support them and all LifeSite readers of good heart.