POPE BENEDICT IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AS A PRISONER OF FRANCIS WHILE URGING BISHOPS TO RESIST THE DICTATORSHIP OF RELATIVISM

Cardinal Ratzinger Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice

 

BREAKING: Benedict issues clarion call to all bishops

BLOG: akaCatholic
[ Emphasis and {Commentary} in red type by Abyssum  ]
The message sent by Benedict to be read aloud at the funeral of Cardinal Meisner is generating a great deal of buzz in Catholic circles, and for good reason.

Even so, some very important aspects of the text don’t seem to be getting nearly enough attention. Before we get to that, however, let’s take a moment to consider just how extraordinary this situation truly is.

We have good reason to believe that Benedict is a man “under wraps,” if you will. One might even suggest that he is being held captive to some extent.

Yes, I know… It sounds like a Dan Brown novel, but let’s not forget yet another bombshell that Benedict managed to lob into the public record; this one dated October 2014.

Recall that Benedict had responded by letter to an invitation that he received to participate in a Pontifical High Mass as part of a Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in Rome.

The Pope Contemplatus wrote:

“My state as a ‘cloistered monk’ does not allow me a presence that is also exterior. I leave my cloister only in particular cases, [when] personally invited by the Pope.”

Get that?

Benedict plainly, albeit cleverly, informed the world that he is not “allowed an exterior presence” unless personally invited by Francis. Not allowed!

This is a far cry from what Benedict said just 20 months earlier when he announced his resignation:

“With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” (Benedict XVI, February 11, 2013)

How did we get from choosing “a life dedicated to prayer” to becoming a “cloistered monk” who can only leave his cloister when personally invited by the Pope?

The solitary conclusion that can be drawn from this is that the veritable imprisonment of which Benedict spoke isn’t his own idea; it had to have come from his “superior,” that is, Francis himself.

Let’s be clear:

Benedict is not one to shoot from the hip. He chooses his words carefully. Of this we can be especially certain when it comes to a written text, and this applies to both the letter of 2014 and the one that we’re about to discuss.

With this in mind, let’s now take a closer look at the message that was read aloud at Cardinal Meisner’s funeral.

First, it seems obvious that the two men had a close relationship and spoke rather regularly. We are told, in fact, that they had spoken just the day before the cardinal died.

Benedict further relates:

“What particularly impressed me from my last conversations [NOTE: plural] with the now passed Cardinal was the relaxed cheerfulness, the inner joy and the confidence at which he had arrived.”

From the content of the message, one gets the impression that the two men had a “fraternal” relationship.

Benedict went on to relate concerning their final conversation that Cardinal Meisner was pleased to be on vacation. This is just the kind of thing one might expect to come up when good buddies shoot the breeze, right?

Sure, but don’t be fooled.

In spite of however many years their friendship went back, Cardinal Meisner was “old school” enough that there is little doubt that he saw his relationship with Benedict primarily as one of Holy Father and son.

In other words, Benedict was someone from whom the cardinal could seek guidance, and we can be certain that it was always carefully considered when given.

Note that Benedict wrote of the cheerfulness, joy and confidence at which Cardinal Meisner had arrived.

Evidently, he was Meisner’s confidant even prior to this point; presumably in the lead up to the dubia.

One wonders what kind of advice, if any, Benedict may have given to Cardinal Meisner in those days…

We can only speculate, of course, but two things seem very unlikely:

Firstly, that Meisner would have failed to seek Benedict’s counsel before participating in the dubia, and secondly, that he would have added his name to the text had Benedict counseled against it.

At this, we come to the money quote:

“What moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even if the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”

I get the sense that Benedict may have been speaking of himself to some extent – learning to let go in this last period of life; arriving at a place of relaxed cheerfulness, inner joy and confidence in spite of the unprecedented turmoil in the Church (to say nothing of one’s own contribution to it).

Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Benedict had a hand in leading his son, Cardinal Meisner, to this point of resignation (no pun intended).

Before we discuss the capsizing Church and the extent to which it represents a cleverly delivered critique of Captain Bergoglio, I’d like to focus on that portion of the text that was read just prior as it is critically important:

“The Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination.”

Dictatorship…

Again, let us be certain that Benedict has chosen his words very carefully.

With this in mind, it would seem rather obvious, to me at any rate, that Benedict is calling our attention back to the now-famous words that he had spoken in his homily for the Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff, offered just prior to the conclave of 2005 that elected him pope.

“Relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine,’ seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

In this, Benedict – a veritable “cloistered monk” beholden to the whims of his “superior” – is providing a masterclass in Romanitas. He is telling all with ears to hear what he really thinks of the Bergoglian enterprise!

It seems clear to me that this text was not, as one might expect, properly vetted by Bergoglio’s operatives prior to being read. Might someone’s head roll as a result; perhaps even that of Georg Ganswein? We shall see…

In any case, it is no coincidence that we were invited to reconsider, in light of current events, that portion of Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2005 homily wherein he spoke of being “tossed about,” and this just prior to his comment concerning the Church of today being like a boat on the verge of capsizing.

(See, continuity can be useful!)

It is helpful to know that this imagery is Scriptural in a twofold sense.

In 2005, then Cardinal Ratzinger was referring to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians:

That henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive. (Eph. 4:14)

At that time, the soon-to-be Pope Benedict XVI was speaking of “dictatorship” as that worldly point of view opposed by the Church. He immediately went on to describe this opposition thus:

“We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man … a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth.”

In 2017, by contrast, Benedict is calling our attention back to his words of 2005 while speaking of the present state of affairs inside the Church. He is telling us that the “dictatorship” has entered her very bosom.

Yes, I understand, it entered primarily via the Almighty Council; a point lost on men like Benedict, but be that as it most certainly is, his indictment of Dictator Bergoglio stands.

Wicked, crafty, cunning, lying in wait to deceive… A man who does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.  

Is this not a fitting description of he who masterminded the Synods in order to pave the way for Amoris Laetitia?

As I stated, the seafaring imagery under discussion is Scriptural in a twofold sense. The second concerns the Church as a boat that has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him? (Matthew 8:24-27)

From this, we can glean a couple of things.

One, in the eyes of the world, the Church is fast crumbling to the point of irrelevancy; so much so that her detractors are moved to taunt the faithful in the manner of the Pharisees:

Your Church is beaten and bloodied. Where is your Lord now; sleeping?

Through the eyes of faith, however, while we recognize the severity of the ecclesial crisis as much or more than anyone, we know that it only appears as if Our Lord has left us to perish. We know that He is ever the true Head of His Church, and He will not let her fail.

More specifically as it concerns Dictator Bergoglio, this scene from the Gospels is highly relevant.

In the interest of space, I invite you to read (or reread as the case may be) the following post from June 2015: The Church will doubt as Peter doubted…

There you will find a treatment of Our Lady’s warning as given at Fatima and the commentary of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) concerning it:

“This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul … A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God.”

In the above-mentioned scene described in Matthew’s Gospel, Bergoglio is represented (if you will allow) by Peter who is among those who ask of Jesus, What manner of man is this?

Long story short, he knows that Jesus is a man, but he doubts that He is God.

As I argue in the post linked above, the entire Bergoglian menace rests upon just such a Christological heresy; namely, doubt concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, it seems as if the most profound aspect of Benedict’s message as read at the funeral of Cardinal Meisner has been overlooked by many:

Having painted this dreadful and stunningly accurate portrait of the Dictator Bergoglio, Benedict issued a call directed at the entire episcopate:

“The Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship…”

Bishops of the world, are you listening?

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THE SILENCE OF SARAH IS NOT THE SILENCE OF FRANCIS. FRANCIS WILL NOT SPEAK WITH THE CARDINALS OF THE DUBIA EVEN THOUGH IT IS HIS ROLE TO SPEAK FOR GOD.

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister

25 lug 17

The Pope Keeps Quiet and Schönborn Speaks for Him. With Arguments Criticized Here One by One

Schönborn

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I have received this from an authoritative churchman and have agreed to publish it without revealing his name.

*

EVERYONE IS RESPONDING TO THE “DUBIA” EXCEPT FOR THE POPE. THIS TIME IT WAS SCHÖNBORN’S TURN

by ***

On July 13, 2017 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, spoke for four hours in two conferences and a question-and-answer session at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland.

The Austrian cardinal spoke in the context of the event “Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family,” which is part of a series of assemblies organized in preparation for the world meeting of families (1), under the direction of the dicastery for the laity, family, and life, which will be held in Dublin from August 21 to 28, 2018.

After reading the reporting on the event offered by the main specialized media outlets (2), I cannot help but note that when it comes to the “dubia” submitted to the pope by four cardinals, everyone is answering them except for him; and that in this way to the chaotic chorus of the most disparate comments and interpretations of “Amoris Laetitia” – which do anything but clarify for the faithful and confessors the problems raised by the document – there has been added a new voice, or better, a new fog.

This because the arguments offered by the archbishop of Vienna – at least according to how they have been reported by the most reliable media – are anything but convincing. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

1. An inopportune reprimand

In the first place, Schönborn reprimands the cardinals of the “dubia.” Because they asked respectfully for an audience, he accuses them of having pressured the pope. They could have asked for an audience, but without saying so publicly. Here are the exact words of the Austrian archbishop:

“That cardinals, who should be the closest collaborators of the pope, try to force him, to put pressure on him to give a public response to their publicized, personal letter to the pope – this is absolutely inconvenient behavior, I’m sorry to say. If they want to have an audience with the pope, they ask for an audience; but they do not publish that they asked for an audience.”

I wonder if Cardinal Schönborn has read and/or believes in these words of the pope, in regard to the discussions that had already arisen over the course of the latest synods of bishops and then continued after the publication of “Amoris Laetitia.” I present just a few passages:

“One general and basic condition is this: speaking honestly. Let no one say: ‘I cannot say this, they will think this or this of me….’ It is necessary to say with parrhesia all that one feels. After the last Consistory (February 2014), in which the family was discussed, a Cardinal wrote to me, saying: what a shame that several Cardinals did not have the courage to say certain things out of respect for the Pope, perhaps believing that the Pope might think something else. This is not good, this is not synodality, because it is necessary to say all that, in the Lord, one feels the need to say: without polite deference, without hesitation. And, at the same time, one must listen with humility and welcome, with an open heart, what your brothers say. Synodality is exercised with these two approaches.” (3)

“Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace.” (4)

“The complexity of the issues that arose revealed the need for continued open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions.” (5)

“Have the courage to teach us that it is easier to build bridges than to raise walls!” (6)

Pope Francis does nothing other than speak of parrhesia, of synodality, of making not walls but bridges. He has said that he would have been concerned and saddened if there had not been animated discussions during the synod. He has written in the very document that is the object of these animated discussions, meaning in “Amoris Laetitia,” that there is a “need for continued open
discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions.”

And now this same pontiff, in spite of the aforementioned words, decides not to receive four cardinals who have humbly and legitimately asked for an audience. . . And these were supposed to have said nothing? Cardinal Schönborn really has a strange concept of parrhesia!

2. Doctrinal confusion

But after this baseless complaint on the part of the archbishop of Vienna, we come to the more doctrinal questions.

– “Moral theology stands on two feet: Principles and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality.”

– In ‘Amoris Laetitia’ Francis “often comes back to what he said in ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, that a little step towards the good done under difficult circumstances can be more valuable than a moral solid life under comfortable circumstances.”

– “The ‘bonum possibile’ in moral theology is an important concept that has been so often neglected. […] What is the possible good that a person or a couple can achieve in difficult circumstances?”

Let’s begin to analyze the first statement. What are the prudential steps for applying the principles of morality to reality?

Prudence, “recta ratio agibilium,” selects the means in view of the end; it does not select them arbitrarily, but is bound to the truth. As a result, prudence, in order to be such, cannot choose evil means, or intrinsically evil acts, that are necessarily always imprudent. In fact, a prudent act must be good in itself; if it is not good, it is not prudent. And to make an act good – and therefore potentially also prudent – intentions or circumstances are not always sufficient.

This is what the Church infallibly proposes for belief. Saint John Paul II taught this in the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor”:

“Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts.” (7)

The end never justifies the means, therefore the end never makes an evil action prudent or proportionate to the ultimate end. Therefore, if it is true that “moral theology stands on two feet: Principles and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality,” the cohabitation “more uxorio” of two persons who are not man and wife will never be a prudent application of the principles to the objective reality. (8)

The second statement praises small steps toward the good, above all those that are taken in a state of difficulty. But those actions which are always evil, regardless of the circumstances, are never a small step toward the good, but a step – more or less grave – toward the bad. Many small steps toward the good can be taken by persons living in a state of sin (charity, prayer, participation in the life of the Church, etc.), but what brings them closer are certainly not the acts that constitute their state of sin: these are inevitably opposed to the journey toward the good, to the movement of the rational creature toward God, as Saint Thomas Aquinas would say (9).

The third statement affirms the category of the possible good. This is a wonderful category if it is interpreted correctly (we think of the saying “Be good if you can” of Saint Philip Neri). But it is misguided if one forgets the words of Saint Paul: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (10). It is misguided if one goes against what has been infallibly defined by the Council of Trent: “But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified.” (11) It is misguided if, against the Catholic doctrine of justification, the doors should be opened – albeit in other terms – for invincible concupiscence of a Jansenist flavor, or to making social factors more influential than grace, or even than free will itself.

3. “Amoris Laetitia” is Catholic: Schönborn guarantees it

The website “Crux” also reports one episode that the cardinal himself recounted:

“Schönborn revealed that when he met the Pope shortly after the presentation of Amoris, Francis thanked him, and asked him if the document was orthodox. ‘I said, Holy Father, it is fully orthodox,’ Schönborn told us he told the pope, adding that a few days later he received from Francis a little note that said: ‘Thank you for that word. That gave me comfort’.”

This account, if on the one hand it reveals the humility of Francis in asking for a judgment from his trusted theologians, does not change the fact that it should be the pope who gives responses to the theologians, to the bishops, to the cardinals who with the required parrhesia and the encouragement of the pontiff himself express to him their grave preoccupations over the state of the Church. This, in fact, is truly divided and wounded by the contrasting interpretations with which “Amoris Laetitia” has been proposed by various episcopates.

4. Conclusion

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, in a speech before the scholarly committee of the “Veritatis Splendor” Institute of Bologna (12), identified some of the current challenges to which Christians have to respond: relativism, amoralism, and individualism.

About amoralism, the then-archbishop of Bologna said:

“I have spoken of amorality in a precise sense. In the sense that the statement according to which ‘there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong’ (Ap. ex. ‘Reconciliatio et Penitentia’ 17; EV 9/1123], has no foundation, [according to the present-day mentality].”

Cardinal Caffarra then warned against some pseudo-solutions to the aforementioned problems:

“One first pseudo-solution is the evasion of the true and serious confrontation with these challenges. An evasion that generically assumes the face of fideism, of the rejection of the truthful dimension of the Christian faith. It is a real and proper lack of engagement, not necessarily intentional, in the serious and rigorous confrontation on the properly cultural level. It is evasion in a faith that is solely articulated and not examined, solely affirmed and not considered.”

Evasion “in a faith that is solely articulated and not examined!” How many times do we hear the articulation of the words mercy, conscience, maturity, responsibility, etc., but with the rejection of a true search for the “intellectus fidei,” of the profound understanding of the reasons for faith.

Schömborn’s argumentations have been situated “ante litteram” precisely by these considerations of Cardinal Caffarra concerning the substantial rejection (not necessarily intentional) of the “truthful dimension of the Christian faith”:

– “etsi veritas non daretur,” as if the immutable truth about man and the sacraments did not exist;

– “etsi bonum non daretur,” as if there there were not an objective good to be done and an equally objective evil to be avoided, both of which are not determined but are discovered and chosen freely by man in conscience;

– “etsi gratia non daretur,” as if man were forgotten by God in a situation-trap, where there is no other choice but to sin.

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FOOTNOTES

(1) For more information see: http://www.worldmeeting2018.ie

(2) Because Cardinal Schönborn’s statements have not been published in their entirety, I refer to what was reported on the website “Crux”, which among the websites consulted was the one that seemed most complete to us. The editors themselves define Crux as “an independent Catholic news site, operated in partnership with the Knights of Columbus.” All of the texts English are taken from this site. Another fairly exhaustive report can be found on “Catholic Ireland.”

(3) First general congregation of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, words of the Holy Father Francis to the Synod Fathers, October 6, 2014

(4) Speech of the Holy Father Francis for the conclusion of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 18, 2014.

(5) Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” 2.

(6) In the course of the prayer vigil with young people at the Campus Misericordiae, during the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow.

(7) Encyclical letter “Veritatis Splendor” 115, August 6, 1993, emphasis added.

(8) It is enough to present, by way of example, what is stated in the Declaration from the congregation for the doctrine of the faith on certain questions concerning sexual ethics “Persona Humana” of December 29, 1975: “According to Christian tradition and the Church’s teaching, and as right reason also recognizes, the moral order of sexuality involves such high values of human life that every direct violation of this order is objectively serious.”

(9) “De motu rationalis creaturae in Deum”: Summa theologiae, Iª q. 2 pr.

(10) 1 Cor 10:13.

(11) Decree on justification of January 13, 1547, Sessio VI, cap. 11 (DS/36 1536).

(12) “Il cristiano e le sfide attuali“, Meeting of the Scholarly Committe of the “Veritatis Splendor” Institute, June 3 2005.

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

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A BABY GIRL SPEAKS FOR GOD.

On Longings and Lies

OnePeterFive

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At Mass this morning, a baby girl was sitting in the pew directly in front of me. She had wide, inquisitive eyes and dark, fuzzy hair that stood on end. Her carrier was turned in such a way that she was staring right at me throughout the first parts of the Mass, and every time I knelt, we were within inches of one another. I tried to ignore her, but she refused to allow it. Every time I looked away from her, she started to fuss. So we began to play games with our glances—I would roll my eyes about, and she would smile. And that would make me smile.

At the Offertory, her father took her out of the carrier. She stood facing me, gripping the back of the pew, and when the Sanctus came, and I once more knelt down, her tiny hands rested next to mine. Slowly, in that characteristic wobbly baby fashion, she reached out to grab my finger.

And that’s when a whimsical interaction turned into a heart-rending reality check. Because when those delicate fingers touched mine, what flashed through my mind was: This is what I threw away. This is what I destroyed. This is what will never be, not for me.

You see, I have two children. But they’re dead. And I never got a chance to hold their hands. They never even drew breath. Because I aborted them. And those are the two biggest mistakes of my entire life.

*             *             *

I was 16 when I got pregnant the first time. I was on the pill—actually, I was on the pill both times I got pregnant. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t get pregnant if you’re on the pill, because it’s a lie.

I knew I was pregnant at the moment of conception. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt the presence of another life like an epiphany—it was as clear to me as if someone had pranced into the room in a very grandiose fashion: Here I am! Look at me! And there she was. I know she was a girl the same way I knew I was pregnant. I can’t explain it. I just know.

And yet, I desperately wanted to be wrong. Even as I sat in my high school philosophy class feeling my body rearrange itself to make room for the budding life inside me, I clung to my shred of disbelief. I scribbled and passed a note to my best girlfriend: “Big problem, need help, meet me after school.”

She and I drove to the other side of town to buy a pregnancy test—we wanted to avoid being seen by anyone we knew. Then we went to the used book store where she worked and squeezed into the employee restroom to await the result. Neither of us said a word as we watched two undeniably pink lines appear in the rectangular window. We knew those lines were an equal sign with a whole mess of trouble on the tail end of the equation.

*             *             *

It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that I would have an abortion—everyone in whom I confided my situation presumed that’s what I would do. Not a single person asked me if I wanted my baby, or suggested adoption as an alternative. They spoke about “the abortion” as if it were a reality already in existence, a decision already made: When are you getting the abortion? I bet you can’t wait to have the abortion. Don’t worry, you’ll feel better after the abortion.

This included the nurse at the Planned Parenthood clinic where I went for a second test, still hoping against hope that all other indicators had been somehow broken or misguided. After she told me I was most definitely pregnant, she launched into a speech she had clearly given many times before.

Of course, she said, I couldn’t even consider having the baby—and yes, she did use the term “baby.” My reputation, my hopes, my dreams, my goals, my whole future—they would all be ruined if I carried to term. And imagine the suffering of the poor child—it simply wasn’t fair to bring a baby into the world without reliable and adequate means of support and at my age. Imagine the shame and discrimination such a child would face, having a mother so young.

And besides, I was still a child myself, she said, patting my hand and giving me her best impression of a Glenda the Good Witch smile. She was my friend. She felt my pain. She knew what was best for me.

According to her, the best thing I could do—the only thing I could do—was terminate my pregnancy. By any means necessary. She even told me how to get around Oklahoma’s parental notification laws, referring me to a clinic in Dallas where they “put women’s interests first,” and therefore didn’t ask pesky questions about whether an out-of-state minor had parental permission for a surgical procedure.

My boyfriend and the father of my baby also assumed there would be an abortion. Not only did he not want this particular baby, he never wanted any children whatsoever. He seemed resentful, as if he were annoyed with me for getting pregnant. He called the clinic recommended by Planned Parenthood to find out how much they charged, and scraped together a couple of hundred dollars—his half of the cost—in a matter of days.

As soon as he’d given me his share of the money, he began to nag me about getting the procedure. Did you call the clinic today? Do you have the money yet? How are you going to get the money? When is your appointment? What are you waiting for?

I felt like I was being swept away by a pro-abortion tide. Amid all of that pressure and in the center of all of those projected opinions, I never stopped to ask for one of the most important opinions of all—my own. In that echo chamber of voices telling me to kill my baby, my own voice was drowned out, and, at any rate, didn’t seem to carry much weight. After all, who was I? Like the Planned Parenthood nurse said, I was just a kid without any means of support. And how could literally every person I talked to be wrong?

I made the appointment. And I had the “procedure.” But it was not a cure for anything. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your dreams will be shattered unless you have an abortion, because it’s a lie. On the contrary, an abortion is the beginning of a life-long nightmare.

*             *             *

Two weeks after my seventeenth birthday, I married the father of my baby, the little girl I threw away. And about three years later, we got pregnant again. This time, things were both very different, and exactly the same.

This time, I had no clue I was pregnant. There was no epiphany. Whereas my daughter made her entrance onto the stage of my life with a burst of light and great fanfare, my son tiptoed onstage, unnoticed by every other actor. I didn’t even realize he was a boy until after I’d shoved him into the orchestra pit.

Whereas I had spent the nights leading up to my first abortion tossing and turning, deep in apologetic internal dialog with the child I was about to throw away, heavily conflicted about the so-called choice I was making, I initially felt no internal conflict whatsoever about my second abortion.

I still felt I had no choice—and my husband again contributed heavily to that feeling with his vocal determination to remain childless. But another influential factor was my own dissolute lifestyle in the months leading up to my discovery of the pregnancy. I had ingested countless teratogens in the form of various recreational drugs and alcohol, and was terrified that any baby that had been simmering in the cesspool of my womb for three months, as had been my son, would be born with horrible defects that would cause him a lifetime of suffering. The feelings of guilt engendered by that thought made me feel like a cornered alley cat—and having another abortion was my flailing effort to claw my way up the side of the building to escape the consequences of my own self-indulgent actions.

I made the appointment at the least expensive place I could find. I soon discovered the reason for the rock-bottom rate. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s possible to get a “quality abortion” at a bargain price, because it’s a lie. Firstly, there is no such thing as a “quality abortion,” and secondly, even with medically sanctioned murder, you get what you pay for.

It was obvious the minute I walked into the doctor’s office that she was really much more into the baby-delivering end of her practice than the baby-killing end.

The first clue was, every other woman in the waiting room was happily pregnant. They wore their baby bumps like badges of honor. Their faces radiated the joy of expectation. What must they think of me? I wondered as I sat down amongst them.

A beaming blonde leaned over. “When are you due?” she asked me.

I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t tell her, “I’m here to get rid of mine,” so I lied and said, “Oh, I’m here to find out” instead.

“How exciting!” She positively glowed with glee. I wanted to weep.

The second clue was, there were snapshots of the babies the doctor had delivered wallpapering every inch of that office. When I laid back on the cold metal table and put my feet in the stirrups, I discovered that even the ceiling was plastered in pictures. While the doctor brusquely tore away at my flesh (I was bedridden afterward for about two weeks), crushed the life of the tiny boy inside of me, and I cried out in abject pain, little toothless grins mocked me from above. Everything that could have been, but would never be, was right there in front of me, confronting me with joys I would never know.

I wanted to scream, “STOP! I want to keep him! Give him back to me!” but it was too late. My son was gone.

And every day since the deaths of my children, I have felt the two holes in my life where my son and daughter should be. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your life will be more complete after an abortion, because it’s a lie. It will feel like something is missing for the rest of your life.

*             *             *

There are very few people in my life who know about this part of my past—at least there were before today. It’s something about which I am deeply ashamed. Abortion is, by far, the worst thing I ever did—and I did it twice. And it’s something I don’t just regret, because “regret” is not a strong enough word to even begin to describe my feelings about what I did. I rue it. I lament it. I mourn it. Every single day. I have built intricate psychological walls to protect me from the crushing pain of it all, just to enable me to function on a day-to-day basis.

It is not my aim to give a political lecture, or to give statistics about the emotional, social, and psychological damage wrought by abortion—there are people who are already doing a much better job of that than I could ever do.

No, all I hope to do by telling my story is add my voice to the chorus of people saying, “I did this, and it was horrible. I did this, and it was not a solution—all it did was create a larger problem that will never be solved, not in this lifetime. I did this, and I really wish I hadn’t. I did this, and I hope you won’t make the same mistake.” I’m telling my story with the hope that I might save even just one woman or girl the suffocating sorrow that I have felt all these years—and that I will continue to feel until the day I die.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that bringing a new life into the world will close doors for you, because it’s a lie—the birth of something new always represents the opening of a door. And don’t ever let anyone tell you that destroying a life through abortion will open doors for you, or that it will help you realize greater fulfillment, because those, too, are lies—the biggest ones of all. Pushing your child off the stage of your life closes the door between the two of you, but it doesn’t sever the bond. And you can knock on that door ’til the end of time—you can pound on it ‘til your fists are bloody, but abortion seals that door shut. The only thing that provides some hope and eases the pain is seeking, and finding, the mercy and grace of God, and the promise of a life to come. And yet, the void–the hollow space where your child should be–remains.

And inside that void, the longing whispers of what might have been will echo endlessly, inescapably, for the rest of your life.

 

Originally published at Watching the Whirlwind. Reprinted with permission. 

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THE LATIN MASS BEGAN TO ASSUME ITS PRESENT FORM IN THE SIXTH CENTURY WITH POPE SAINT GREGORY; YOU DO NOT REJECT SOMETHING VALIDATED BY 1,500 YEARS AS THE MASS OF THE LATIN RITE CHURCH

How the Latin Mass Helped Me Discern My Vocation

ONE/PETER/FIVE

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Image: Interior of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

When I was a teenager, and when it came to considering the state of life to which God was calling me, I had strong, gripping hopes and dreams for what I wanted to do – but an even stronger, more gripping fear of letting my soul be silent. A fear of simply listening.

In my own imperfect way, I loved God and the Catholic Faith and was trying to grow in holiness…but I was, nevertheless, terrified of letting my soul be still, to the point where I could let go of my desires and wait to hear Our Lord’s voice telling me His designs for me. That might have required me giving up everything I wanted (that is, marriage and motherhood in the home). And that felt physically impossible for me at the time.

If I ever sensed a type of spiritual silence descending on me (whether it was in Adoration, at Mass, or in bed), I would panic and chase it away. I was so immersed in this fear of God’s will that, now, I can only imagine how worn and unhappy I must have been, without even realizing it.

I desire you to be a consecrated virgin. I ask you to be a nun for My sake. Fantasies of hearing those phrases ring out clearly in my soul were paralyzing. If I felt “a silence” coming, I would immediately begin convincing myself – “I’ve always wanted to be a good wife and mother. That means God gave me the desire from the beginning – that means it’s my vocation.” Essentially, I had my spiritual hands clapped over my spiritual ears.

After high school, I had chosen to be a young woman at home who didn’t attend college but instead remained with my family, waiting to see where God led me in my vocation. Still, while I’ve never regretted that decision and never will, it was to a large extent backed by my own ardent desires for traditional wifehood and a family, and not so much a calm resignation to the will of God.

And then, over a year ago, my father made the decision that our family was going to begin attending the traditional Latin Mass each Sunday morning, at a parish forty minutes from home. He cared for how we might feel about transitioning and initiated discussion after discussion about the impending change, but he also sensed strongly that we needed to be there. As the head of our family, he was determined to see it through.

Thank God he listened to that divine urge.

It’s impossible for me to write a complete narrative of what the traditional Latin Mass has done to my soul and to my spiritual life over the past year. It’s so much larger than me, and in many ways beyond my comprehension. But I am convinced, without any lurking doubt, that God knew I, personally and individually, was in sore need of the Latin Mass and the conversion it would help bring about in my soul, as a Catholic, a woman, a person.

Firstly, it took away my fear of interior silence. This is something, I think, I’ve overlooked until recently – but now I realize the importance of it and how tremendously it helped to transform my spiritual life.

Any newcomer to the Latin Mass is struck, and often disoriented, by the silence of things. Apart from the entire liturgy being celebrated ad orientem, with everything being directed away from oneself and toward God in adoration and sacrifice, the Canon – and most importantly, the Consecration – is offered inaudibly by the priest, as it was for over a thousand years.

Also, at a Low Mass, hymns are optional and (in the case of my parish) usually omitted except for special feasts. This frequent, tangible silence helps to create a profound spiritual quiet. This interior silence is concocted not just by a mere lack of hymns, because it also pervades High Mass, where much of the Mass is chanted, where plainchant and polyphony abound in an effort to lift the soul out of itself, out of the world, in adoration of God.

Reflecting on my initial experience of the Latin Mass, I recognize that, simply because its liturgy is so visibly directed toward God, and because it is suffused with such ancient reverence, quiet, order, and beauty, it immediately stilled my soul. There, I had to be silent and know that God is God. I had to look at Him. I had to fall still. There was nothing to hide behind.

My fear of interior silence wasn’t eroded all at once. Rather, it occurred drip by drip, grace by grace, Mass by Mass, before I even halfway knew it. Our Lord disassembled my stony wall, my terror of spiritual quiet where I might hear His voice telling me to do something I didn’t want, my fear of a steady gaze into His eyes, of my vulnerably opening my hands to Him. He dissolved my fears gently through the wondrous and ancient liturgy. He taught me how to be silent in His presence and how not to be afraid of the silence or of Him. This was the first and most crucial step towards my becoming far more open to the will of God than I had been previously.

The Latin Mass also increased my desire to learn more of the Truth. Maybe it was as basic as the ancient character of the liturgy captivating my heart, or, possibly, it was the fact that this liturgy was the one that the vast majority of canonized saints were enveloped in at every Mass during their lives – but I found myself wanting to read (devour might be a better word) works written by saints, priests, and holy thinkers who lived when the traditional Latin Mass was all there was. This was how I fell in love with my now frequently quoted “adopted” spiritual father, Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance, and many others.

The traditional Latin Mass also filled me with a hunger to absorb and contemplate as many of the truths of the Catholic Faith as I possibly could. This hunger led me to read old instructional and devotional books about the Faith, and more modern books written in a traditional tenor. Several of these spoke of authentic vocational discernment and of simply desiring God’s will, of desiring sainthood. I began to learn, clearly, the traditional Church teaching on the different states of life.

In fact, here I can pin down the precise moment where I first realized I had been fundamentally changed by God’s grace from the person I used to be…when I realized my old fears of hearing Our Lord’s voice were gone.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading Chapter 11 of Fr. Pietro Leone’s The Family Under Attack. I had my highlighter in hand (almost every passage in my copy is highlighted now). I was bent over the words, intently absorbing.

My attention was arrested when Fr. Leone embarked on a description of perfect chastity in the religious life.

The love of one who is perfectly chaste is directed towards Christ. The Fathers of the Church considered perfect chastity as a form of spiritual marriage to Christ and as an exclusive love of Christ. As the consecration of virgins puts it: ‘The Kingdom of this earth and all worldly trappings I have valued as worthless for love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom I have seen, loved, believed, and preferred above all else.’ Yet there is more to perfect chastity than the bonds of affection, as Piux XII goes on to declare, for this ‘burning love for Christ’ impels the virgin to the imitation of Christ’s virtues, way of life, and self-sacrifice. In this way virgins ‘follow the Lamb wherever he goes.’ (Apoc. 14:4)

Upon finishing this passage, I paused, sank back into my chair, and thought – without even realizing what I was doing – “The consecrated life is utterly, sublimely beautiful. It is true, and it is the most perfect representation of our lives to come in Heaven. If I were called to it, I would go without hesitation.”

And then I realized what I had thought…and I marveled at how completely unafraid my soul was. At how still it was.

It was still at the knowledge that, if God were to show me that He’d given me the vocation of perfect consecrated chastity, I would surrender my hopes and natural inclinations to the married state and go joyfully – because His will is good and is all I should ever desire.

I had never experienced such a moment until then. It was all God’s grace – nothing whatsoever to do with me. But if it hadn’t been for the traditional Latin Mass working steadily on my soul, I doubt I would ever have become open to that kind of grace.

So now I can say that as an almost twenty-one-year-old young woman at home, I’m finally in a place of true vocational discernment. A place of listening. Of being able to tell Our Lord each day, “Thy will be done. Do what Thou wantest with me,” and to mean it. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I see my many faults and vices more clearly than ever and yet truly desire to be a saint, for God’s sake, in a way I’ve never done before. My dreams and hopes for the future are no longer my property – I still have them, and yet I don’t “have” them. I realize that this is a tremendous, undeserved grace, and I pray I will never take it for granted.

The humorous thing is, if I were writing my own story, now would be the time when I reveal that I’ve discovered that God has been calling me to the religious life all along, that He has guided me out of my lifelong dreams for marriage and motherhood and made me realize that surrendering my will to His means I’m to become a consecrated religious.

I consider nothing certain apart from my desire to do His will, and I am completely open to, and listening for, the call to the religious life. Still, I daily find myself – through prayer and study – becoming more sure, in that quiet and calm way that speaks of God’s presence, that it’s quite possible He does desire me to be a wife and mother. My long held desires for that vocation remain, but in a way, they’ve been transformed. Through God’s grace, and again through no merits of my own, I want to be married only if God sees that it will best help me (and my future husband) to become a saint. I want to be a mother only if God has ordained that I am capable, with His and my husband’s help, of raising saints.

At this point, I feel as though He is equipping me for the vocation of wifehood and motherhood and that He is asking me to be patient, trusting, and entirely open to His voice. If He ever shows me that He desires me elsewhere, I’m ready. But I am convinced that I can say this only because of His great mercy in guiding my family and me to the traditional Latin Mass. This liturgy opened, stilled, and illuminated my soul in a way that nothing previously ever had. Deo gratias!

In closing, I especially want to encourage the traditional Catholic young men and women who might be reading this, who are in a place of similar vocational discernment. In the mystical Body of Christ, we are united to one another in a special way, because we all are waiting – we all desire to do God’s will in our lives. Though we live in a time of “brazen impiety” (to quote Pope Leo XIII), confusion, and often sorrow, we desire to serve Christ’s Church, His Kingdom, with sublime joy and complete self-abandonment. We want our lives to cry out Viva Cristo Rey with the courage and fortitude of the martyrs.

Now is the time to be radically open. Now is the time to be wholly silent, awaiting His voice. Now is the time to whisper, along with Samuel: “Speak, Lord: Thy servant is listening.”

I would like to share a passage of spiritual wisdom from the holy Fr. Lasance, in the hopes that it will encourage and enlighten you in your discernment. May God bless you, and let us all pray for one another, most especially at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

 

In the first place, direct your heart constantly toward heaven. Have but one desire, namely, to know and to do the will of God; God will then bestow His grace upon you, and you will be certain to make a wise choice. No one must count upon an extraordinary call, such as the apostles and many great saints received. Those were very special gifts of grace, which you cannot expect. But if you keep your eye and heart constantly directed toward God, He will enlighten you with His grace, will give you prudent counselors, and so ordain external circumstances that you may, if I can thus express it, be led by the hand of your guardian angel to enter the state of life God intends for you.

Truly the ways of God are wonderful and manifold. Sometimes He impresses on the heart of a young child a desire for a particular state. Consequently, later on in life there can arise no question as to making a choice, the question having already been decided. To others He signifies His will only when a choice has to be made; and these often enter with joy of spirit into a state for which they had long experienced a rooted aversion.

In the second place, keep your soul pure. A very great deal – everything, indeed – depends upon this. The brighter and more transparent is the glass of a window, the more readily do the rays of the sun penetrate into the room; but the dimmer the glass, the darker will the apartment be. The soul may be compared to glass, to a mirror, in which they are reflected. If you desire to be enlightened from on high in your choice of a state of life, keep your heart clean, preserve therein the bright light of innocence. If this light is obscured or extinguished by sin, delay not to rekindle it by means of contrition and confession.

In the third place, be diligent in prayer. From what has already been said you must plainly perceive that prayer is of the utmost importance in choosing a state of life. For, on the one hand, you seek to choose the state of life which will best promote your eternal salvation; on the other, the world, the flesh, and the devil strive to decoy you into taking the wrong road.

There are two epochs in the life of every individual when the devil lays snares for him with particular cunning. The first is when he ceases to be a child; then comes the crisis, the critical period when the result of previous training will show in the innocence and purity of the youth or maiden, or the reverse to be unhappily the case. I believe this critical period has already passed with you; I confidently hope you have successfully withstood the test and preserved your innocence.

But with yet greater cunning and force will the devil attack you either now or a few years hence when you come to choose a state of life. Should he succeed in inducing you to take the wrong road, he will expect to emerge victorious from your final, death-bed struggle. Therefore, my dear child, pray, pray! Pray for light, that the mists may disperse and the road of life stretch clearly before you; pray for strength to resist your passions whatever sacrifices it may cost you; pray simply that you may know and do the will of God.

In the fourth place, receive frequently and worthily the Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. These Sacraments will maintain the purity of your soul, and the Giver of grace will descend into your heart with His light and strength. After each communion entreat Our Lord, with earnestness and confidence, to teach you what are the designs of His Sacred Heart in regard to you, and to strengthen you to make any sacrifice that may be necessary. And on your communion days give some time to serious reflection. Imagine that you are stretched upon your death-bed. Ask yourself if you were in that awful hour what state of life you would wish you had chosen. Would it not be a cause of bitter regret if you had acted in accordance with your own self-will . . .?

I cannot refrain from mentioning one more means for arriving at a right decision, namely, a true, filial, confiding love and devotion to Mary. On the present occasion I will only make two brief remarks in regard to this devotion. If you desire wisdom and enlightenment concerning the choice of a state of life,  the surest way to obtain it is through Mary, for she is “Sedes sapientiae,” the “Seat of wisdom.” And if you wish to attain eternal salvation, the surest way to realize this is through Mary, for, as a great saint tells us, “a true servant of Mary can never be lost.”

Do not imagine that thoughts like these are suited only for a young woman who is about to enter the cloister. These reflections are not intended for this one or that one, but for all who desire to choose aright so as to ensure their eternal salvation.

As you ought to beware of rashness in choosing a state of life, so ought you to guard against over-anxiety. Do not lose heart in presence of the momentous decision. Make use of the means I have pointed out to you; look constantly toward Heaven. Keep your soul pure; be diligent in prayer; frequently approach the sacraments; practise devotion to Mary; regard her as your Mother; and look with cheerful confidence into the future. Eternal peace and joy follow the earthly struggle. The way of the cross leads to the crown of immortal joy.

 – Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance (d. 1946). Requiescat in pace.

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THE MOMENT OUR PHILOSOPHICAL DISCIPLINE BREAKS DOWN OUR THEOLOGY BEGINS TO GO HAYWIRE, THAT IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE PROPONENTS OF HOLY COMMUNION TO THE DIVORCED AND ‘REMARRIED’

In the Communion debate, the cogent arguments are all on one side

The arguments against the Church’s perennial teaching are not impressive

Charles Moore, a leading British public intellectual and a master of understatement, has recently given an interview to an Italian magazine in which he describes Pope Francis’s papacy as lacking the intellectual weight of that of his predecessors. “I think this intellectual deficiency in his papacy may also be causing some organisational deficiencies and a slight sense of confusion,” he says.

No one can accuse Moore of having an axe to grind or a grudge to settle. He is above that sort of thing. And we should be grateful for his intervention: it takes someone of Moore’s calibre to articulate what many have been noticing for some time.

Where are the great intellectuals in the Amoris Laetitia debate, for example? They are there, but they are all on one side. Firmly against the idea of communion for the divorced and remarried, and articulate in pointing out why this cannot be done without violating Catholic tradition, is Cardinal Caffarra, the foremost theologian of our time. In his corner – for how could he be anywhere else? – is Saint John Paul II, and, though no one mentions this, the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. So are popes and councils down the ages. Communion for the divorced and remarried just cannot be reconciled with the tradition.

Some proponents of communion for the remarried are intellectually distinguished. But even these bright stars have failed to advance a single cogent argument for the novel practice. Cardinal Kasper’s book, where all this originated, fails to make that case, for while it makes several splendid assertions, it fails to find any convincing evidence to back them up. Again, take Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s defence of his document, which said that avoiding adultery may be “impossible”: “Whoever wishes to discover what Jesus wants from him, he must ask the Pope, this Pope, not the one who came before him, or the one who came before that.” This gives no argument against the traditional teaching; it just takes refuge in ultramontanism. (It also makes unwarranted assumptions about what Pope Francis has actually taught.)

Everyone knows that all mortal sins have to be confessed before receiving Holy Communion – this is what has always and everywhere been believed. To admit the divorced and remarried who live more uxorio – or those not married at all – to Holy Communion is to contradict this basic and millennial teaching. I am of course fully aware that there is a difference between objective sin and subjective guilt, but we know from Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and the whole historical witness of the Church, that this cannot be used to defend Communion for the remarried.

Charles Moore says: “One thing I value about Catholic teaching is a strong theological and intellectual thread through the argument, allowing you to determine whether you agree with it or not.” This concept – that Catholicism is an intellectually coherent religion – rests ultimately on the principal of non-contradiction: in other words, something cannot be two things at the same time when those two things contradict each other. You cannot be married to Katherine of Aragon but living with Anne Boleyn and be in a state of grace. If the second union is good, then what has happened to the first union? Catholics do not do doublethink; certainly St John Fisher and St Thomas More did not, though numerous Tudor lickspittles did.

All Catholic seminarians study philosophy before they do theology, and the idea behind this is to provided a strong intellectual framework for the theology they learn. The moment a theological position is show to be philosophically bogus is the moment it should be rejected. Charles Moore is reminding us of this heritage. The moment our philosophical discipline breaks down, our theology loses credibility. This applies all too well to those who interpret Amoris Laetitia as overturning Church teaching.

At stake here is something much greater than the question of Amoris Laetitia. At stake is the credibility of the Church. If we can just cancel the teaching of John Paul II and all the Popes up to him, all on the presumed word of the current Pope, then the teaching of each and every Pope is only of any interest until such a time it is overturned. And if teachings can be so easily abolished, the concept of the magisterium crumbles to dust. Is this what the proponents of Communion for the remarried want?

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JESUIT LEADERS: CHAPLAINS TO THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE, RELATIVISM AND SECULARISM

Chaplains to the Zeitgeist

CRISIS MAGAZINE

Recently, La Civilta Cattolica ran an article by that journal’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, the Argentinian Presbyterian minister chosen by Pope Francis to be the editor of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which subsequently republished the article. Since articles in La Civilta Cattolica are vetted by the Vatican secretary of state, since L’Osservatore Romano is the Vatican’s own newspaper, and especially since both Spadaro and Figueroa are reputed to be close to Pope Francis, this article has garnered enormous attention in Catholic circles. Also noteworthy is the article’s thesis: a contrast between what it terms “Pope Francis’ geopolitics” and an “ecumenism of hate,” the authors’ term for the alliance between American Evangelical Protestants and Catholics, who have been drawn together “around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.”

The first point to note, of course, is that the “geopolitics” of a particular pope are not matters of faith and morals, and the faithful are free to disagree with them. The authors concede as much when they use their essay to attack, of all things, the Holy Roman Empire, the entity created when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne on Christmas Day in 800 and whose leader was prayed for by name in the Easter Exsultet for centuries. No Catholic need have any more deference to what Spadaro and Figueroa claim, accurately or not, to be Pope Francis’ political vision than Spadaro and Figueroa show to the political vision of the many popes who supported the ideal of Catholic monarchy for centuries, or indeed to the political vision of more recent pontiffs who had a warmer appreciation of political parties opposed to legalized abortion and homosexual marriage than Spadaro and Figueroa do.

Indeed, it is odd that Spadaro and Figueroa single out for criticism, of all the political movements in the world, one centered on agreement on Catholic teaching pertaining to matters of faith and morals. American Evangelicals were not behind the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.” (CCC, Section 2273). American Evangelicals did not lobby to have St. John Paul II declare, in Evangelium Vitae, that “direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being…. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”

Nor were American Evangelicals the impetus behind Pope Francis’ declaration, in Amoris Laetitia, that “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Not only does the “ecumenical convergence” between Evangelicals and Catholics center on matters of clear Catholic teaching, but, for many Evangelicals, this “convergence” represents a conversion. When Roe v Wade was decided, many Evangelicals were indifferent to the prospect of legalized abortion or even somewhat supportive. It was the Catholic Church that was the center of opposition to legalized abortion in America in 1973. One would think that this conversion would be a cause for joy in Catholic publications, but for Spadaro and Figueroa it represents instead an “ecumenism of hate.”

There are, of course, legitimate criticisms to be made of both American Evangelicals and American pro-lifers. Many American Evangelicals subscribe to a theological anti-Catholicism, and they actively seek to convert Catholics to Protestantism. These efforts are particularly pronounced in Latin America, where the region’s historic shortage of priests has left many Catholics poorly catechized and easily persuaded by Protestant arguments they have never been taught to counter. And many Republicans have been quite cynical in their professed opposition to Roe v Wade, which remained the law of the land even after professed pro-life Republicans had appointed a majority on the Supreme Court. But, despite this political failure, the American pro-life movement has at least succeeded in keeping abortion alive as a moral issue. No matter how cynically many Republican politicians treat abortion, it is hard to say that the pro-abortion position has become dominant in America when a major political party claims to take the opposite position, its presidents profess to support the opposite position, and at least some of the justices on the Supreme Court continue to dissent from the decision that is the focus of the opposition.  Indeed, no one who pays any attention to American life can fail to notice that a substantial portion of the population does not accept the morality of abortion. The same cannot be said for many other Western countries whose politics Spadaro and Figueroa do not criticize.

Needless to say, these are not the criticisms Spadaro and Figueroa offer of the “ecumenism of hate.” Instead, they offer a potpourri of contemporary leftist tropes. They assert that those whose politics they disagree with are motivated by “hate.” They suggest that opposition to the legalization of abortion and gay marriage represents “the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state” and a “direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state,” the same positions advanced by secularists for decades. They attack American Evangelicals for being “composed mainly of whites from the deep American South,” sounding remarkably like Hillary Clinton bemoaning the “basket of deplorables.” They fret about “Islamophobia,” something that also worries The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel, but something that probably did not bother St. Pius V, who prayed for the victory of the Christian fleet he was instrumental in assembling at Lepanto, the date of which is marked on the Church’s calendar by the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

They worry about man-made global warming, which has become a matter of faith for the secular left but whose scientific basis is still being disputed in peer-reviewed scientific articles, including recent papers by Nikolov and Zeller and Wallace, D’Aleo, and Idso. They claim an affiliation with the “ecumenism of hate” for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and of course Donald Trump, but they do not offer any criticism at all of any leftist politician, political coalition, or political figure. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the main purpose of their essay is to bring about an alliance between the Church and the left, an alliance made difficult not just by Catholic teachings on abortion and marriage but by those Catholics whose votes are determined by those teachings.

They also come very close to suggesting that any opposition to non-Western immigration to the West is illegitimate, attacking members of the “ecumenism of hate” for being worried about “the migrants and the Muslims” and attacking moves to “build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire.” The Church, however, has always taught that immigration is a prudential matter, with Pope Francis telling the Spanish newspaper El Pais that “each country has a right to control its borders, who enters and who leaves, and countries that are in danger—of terrorism or the like—have more right to control them.” Similarly, the statement issued by Benedict XVI on immigration in 2010 indicated that states have the right to regulate migration and defend their frontiers, and also recognized the importance of respecting a country’s laws and its national identity.

Spadaro and Figueroa completely ignore the weighty reasons supporting calls for immigration restriction in both America and Europe, preferring to wail about a “narrative of fear” instead. But America has admitted tens of millions of immigrants in recent decades, a massive influx that has depressed wages and caused great social disruption in many American communities. In Europe, an influx of Islamic immigrants has resulted in numerous instances of terrorism and mass murder. And future immigration into Europe has the potential to dramatically, and permanently, alter the continent that has been the center of the Church for centuries. At this writing, for example, many thousands of immigrants from the Mideast and Africa are hoping to be admitted into Italy. If everyone in the Mideast and Africa who wanted to come to Europe actually did, that number would be many millions. Given the very low birthrates in Italy and the very high birthrates in Africa and parts of the Mideast, it is easy to imagine unfettered immigration producing an Italy where Italians were outnumbered in their own country. At some point, such an Italy would be what Metternich quipped it was, merely a geographic expression.

It is not clear, though, that Spadaro and Figueroa would be bothered by such a radically transformed Europe. They write that “the Christian roots of a people are never to be understood in an ethnic way.” So much for Belloc’s “The Faith is Europe, and Europe is the Faith.” So much for Ireland being “the Land of Saints and Scholars,” so much for France being “the Eldest Daughter of the Church,” so much for Croatia being the “Antemurale Christianitatis,” a title bestowed by Leo X. So much, too, for this passage from Norman Davies’ great history of Poland, “God’s Playground,” of which I have always been particularly fond: “The Church’s path, therefore, is strewn with ambiguities. Sometimes, no doubt, the Church has failed the Nation. Sometimes, no doubt, it has closed its eyes to social ills and to political injustices. Sometimes, no doubt, it has proved itself to be unworthy of the Faith. But of the central fact, that the Catholic Church embodies the most ancient and the most exalted ideals of traditional Polish life across the centuries, there can be no doubt whatsoever.”

Spadaro and Figueroa also claim that the “ecumenism of hate” employs a “Manichean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil.” And this tendency does exist in American politics, as shown by George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. But it is by no means confined to the Right, as shown by Hillary Clinton’s attack on “the basket of deplorables” and the continuing media assaults on Donald Trump and his supporters. Indeed, despite Spadaro and Figueroa’s invocation of Pope Francis’ “ecumenism … of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges,” they seem remarkably uninterested in building bridges to anyone on their right, or even of trying to understand them.

In contrast to the American evangelicals and Catholics who incur the scorn of the powers that be by refusing to accept gay marriage and abortion, this, then, is the vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa:  a Christianity where the highest expression of Christian values is for Christian nations to cease to be Christian, both in terms of the laws they enact and the composition of their populations, with endless dialogue and bridge building for those on the left and scorn and condemnation for those on the right. In his great eulogy for the courageous Cardinal Meisner, Benedict XVI spoke of the need for pastors who resist the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist. The vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa does not challenge the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist in any significant respect. Indeed, they seem all too willing to serve as chaplains to the spirit of the age.

Editor’s note: In the photo above, Pope Francis accepts an issue of La Civilta Cattolicafrom Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit-run magazine, in February, 2017. (Photo credit: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano.)

64

Tom Piatak

By

Tom Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He earned his JD from the University of Michigan Law School.

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HERE IS A LOOK AT THE WORLD YOUR CHILDREN AND CERTAINLY YOUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL INHERIT

 

Mark-Steyn-hi-res

Mark Steyn

SteynPost #18: The Biggest Issue of our Time

The link immediately above is what this post is all about.  The biographical information about Mark Steyn was added to this post to satisfy your curiosity, in the event that you are unfamiliar with Mark Steyn, so that you might learn something about him.

Mark Steyn has been a favorite of mine ever since, a ‘hundred years ago’ he started writing the back page column of the NATIONAL REVIEW.  He is smart, he is an intellectual, he is “spot on” in his understanding of what is happening to our world.

I enjoy his wit and wisdom and I hope that you do also, or will start to do after you watch this video I have linked to above.

 

Mark Steyn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn 2014.jpg

Steyn in 2014
Born December 8, 1959 (age 57)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Residence Woodsville, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality Canadian[1]
Occupation Author, writer, journalist, commentator
Children 3
Website http://www.steynonline.com

Mark Steyn (born December 8, 1959) is a Canadian author, writer, and conservative political commentator.[2] He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller. He is published in newspapers and magazines, and appears on shows such as those of Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

Steyn lives and works mainly in Woodsville, New Hampshire.[3][4] He is married, and has three children.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Steyn was born in Toronto. He was baptized a Catholic and later confirmed in the Anglican Church;[5] he has stated that “the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers” and that “both my grandmothers were Catholic”.[6] Steyn’s great-aunt was artist Stella Steyn.[7] His mother’s family was Belgian.[8]

Steyn was educated at the King Edward’s School, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, the same school that author J. R. R. Tolkien attended and where Steyn was assigned a Greek dictionary that had also been used by Tolkien.[9] Steyn left school at age 16[10] and worked as a disc jockey before becoming musical theatre critic at the newly established The Independent in 1986.[11] He was appointed film critic for The Spectator in 1992. After writing predominantly about the arts, Steyn shifted his focus to political commentary and wrote a column for The Daily Telegraph, a conservative broadsheet, until 2006.

He has written for a wide range of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, Orange County Register, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, The New York Sun, The Australian, Maclean’s, The Irish Times, National Post, The Atlantic, Western Standard, and The New Criterion.

Steyn’s books include Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now (a history of the musical theatre) and America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, a New York Times bestseller. He has also published collections of his columns and his celebrity obituaries and profiles from The Atlantic.

Steyn held a Eugene C. Pulliam Visiting Fellowship in Journalism at Hillsdale College in spring 2013.[12] As of 2010, Steyn was no longer the back-page columnist for the print edition of National Review, conservative writer James Lileks having taken over that space in the print edition. Steyn’s back-page column for National Review, “Happy Warrior”, resumed with the March 21, 2011 issue.

Steyn also has contributed to the center-right blog Ricochet.com and recorded numerous podcasts with the organization.[13]

Steyn is also a guest host of The Rush Limbaugh Show.[14]

From December 2016 to February 2017, Steyn hosted “The Mark Steyn Show” on the CRTV Digital Network.[15] Following the cancellation of the show, Steyn sued CRTV.[16]

Positions[edit]

Criticism of news media[edit]

In a May 2004 column Steyn commented that editors were encouraging anti-Bush sentiments after the Daily Mirror and The Boston Globe had published faked pictures, originating from American and Hungarian pornographic Web sites,[17] of British and American soldiers supposedly sexually abusing Iraqis.[18] Steyn argues that media only wanted to show images to westerners “that will shame and demoralize them.”[19]

In a July 2005 column for National Review, Steyn criticized Andrew Jaspan, then the editor of The Age, an Australian newspaper. Jaspan was offended by Douglas Wood, an Australian kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq, who after his rescue referred to his captors as “arseholes.” Jaspan claimed that “the issue is really largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.” Steyn argued that there is nothing at all wrong with insensitivity toward murderous captors, and that it was Jaspan, not Wood, who suffered from Stockholm syndrome. He said further, “A blindfolded Mr. Wood had to listen to his captors murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how crude and boorish would one have to be to hold that against one’s hosts?”[20]

Conrad Black trial[edit]

Steyn wrote articles and maintained a blog[21] for Maclean’s covering the 2007 business fraud trial of his friend Conrad Black in Chicago, from the point of view of one who was never convinced Black committed any crime. Doing this, he later wrote, “cost me my gig at the [Chicago] Sun-Times” and “took me away from more lucrative duties such as book promotion”.[22] Steyn expressed dismay at “the procedural advantages the prosecution enjoys—the inducements it’s able to dangle in order to turn witnesses that, if offered by the defence, would be regarded as the suborning of perjury; or the confiscation of assets intended to prevent an accused person from being able to mount a defence; or the piling on of multiple charges which virtually guarantees that a jury will seek to demonstrate its balanced judgment by convicting on something. All that speaks very poorly for the federal justice system.”

After Black’s conviction, Steyn published a long essay in Maclean’s about the case, strongly criticizing Black’s defense team.[23]

Eurabia[edit]

Steyn believes that what he describes as “Eurabia“, a future where the European continent is dominated by Islam, is an imminent reality that cannot be reversed. “Every Continental under the age of 40—make that 60, if not 75—is all but guaranteed to end his days living in an Islamified Europe.”[24] “Native populations on the continent are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic.”[25]

In his book America Alone, Steyn posits that Muslim population growth has already contributed to a modern European genocide:[26]

Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since the second World War? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography—except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out, as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you cannot outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.

When some left-wing critics claimed Steyn was advocating genocide in this passage, he wrote:[27]

My book isn’t about what I want to happen but what I think will happen. Given Fascism, Communism and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, it’s not hard to foresee that the neo-nationalist resurgence already under way in parts of Europe will at some point take a violent form. … I think any descent into neo-fascism will be ineffectual and therefore merely a temporary blip in the remorseless transformation of the Continent.

Criticism of multiculturalism[edit]

Steyn has commented on divisions between the Western world and the Islamic world. He criticizes the tolerance of what he calls “Islamic cultural intolerance.” Steyn argues that multiculturalism only requires feeling good about other cultures and is “fundamentally a fraud … subliminally accepted on that basis.”[28]

In Jewish World Review, Steyn argues “Multiculturalism means that the worst attributes of Muslim culture—the subjugation of women—combine with the worst attributes of Western culture—licence and self-gratification.” He states, “I am not a racist, only a culturist. I believe Western culture—rule of law, universal suffrage—is preferable to Arab culture.”[29]

Support of Iraq invasion[edit]

Steyn was an early proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2007 he reiterated his support while attacking Democrat John Murtha, stating that Murtha’s plan for military action in Iraq was designed “to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don’t have to share the blame for the defeat. … [Murtha] doesn’t support them in the mission, but he’d like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years”.[30]

Books[edit]

America Alone[edit]

Steyn’s work America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (ISBN 0-89526-078-6) is a New York Times bestselling nonfiction book published in 2006. It deals with the global war on terror and wider issues of demographics in Muslim and non-Muslim populations. It has been widely praised by conservativecommentators,[31] and recommended by George W. Bush.[32] The paperback edition (ISBN 1596985275), released in April 2008 with a new introduction, was labeled “Soon to Be Banned in Canada”, alluding to a possible result that Steyn then anticipated from the Canadian Islamic Congress’ human rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine.

Response to America Alone[edit]

In an essay about America Alone,[33] Christopher Hitchens wrote that “Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case,” then went on to detail many points at which he disagreed with Steyn. For instance, Hitchens believed that Steyn erred by “considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes; seeking asylum and to build a better life.” Nevertheless, Hitchens expressed strong agreement with some of Steyn’s points, calling the book “admirably tough-minded.”

After America[edit]

In 2011, Steyn published After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, a followup to America Alone. In it, he argues that the United States is now on the same trajectory towards decline and fall as the rest of the West, due to unsustainable national spending and borrowing.[34] While America Alone concentrated on demography and the rise of Islamic extremism, After America concentrates on Federal debt and the growth of government and bureaucracy.

After America peaked at number 4 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list.[35]

Climate Change: The Facts[edit]

In early 2015, Steyn together with the Institute of Public Affairs published Climate Change: The Facts, a collection of 21 essays by what Steyn describes as “leading scientists and commentators” on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate. The book is written from the perspective of a climate change skeptic.

Legal issues[edit]

Canadian Islamic Congress human rights complaint[edit]

In 2007, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission related to an article “The Future Belongs to Islam”,[36] written by Mark Steyn, published in Maclean’s magazine. The complainants alleged that the article and the refusal of Maclean’s to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights. The complainants also claimed that the article was one of twenty-two (22) Maclean’s articles, many written by Steyn, about Muslims.[37] Further complaints were filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission refused in April 2008 to proceed, saying it lacked jurisdiction to deal with magazine content. However, the Commission stated that it, “strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims … Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism.”[38] Critics of the Commission claimed that Maclean’s and Steyn had been found guilty without a hearing. John Martin of The Province wrote, “There was no hearing, no evidence presented and no opportunity to offer a defence—just a pronouncement of wrongdoing.”[39]

The OHRC defended its right to comment by stating, “Like racial profiling and other types of discrimination, ascribing the behaviour of individuals to a group damages everyone in that group. We have always spoken out on such issues. Maclean’s and its writers are free to express their opinions. The OHRC is mandated to express what it sees as unfair and harmful comment or conduct that may lead to discrimination.”[40]

Steyn subsequently criticized the Commission, commenting that “Even though they (the OHRC) don’t have the guts to hear the case, they might as well find us guilty. Ingenious!”[41]

Soon afterwards, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a public letter to the editor of Maclean’s magazine. In it, Jennifer Lynch said, “Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be give free reign [sic]. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred.”[42] The National Post subsequently defended Steyn and sharply criticized Lynch, stating that Lynch has “no clear understanding of free speech or the value of protecting it” and that “No human right is more basic than freedom of expression, not even the “right” to live one’s life free from offence by remarks about one’s ethnicity, gender, culture or orientation.”[43]

The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the Canadian Islamic Congress’ complaint against Maclean’s in June 2008. The CHRC’s ruling said of the article that, “the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.” However, the Commission ruled that overall, “the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court.”[44]

Steyn later wrote a lengthy reflection of his turmoil with the commissions and the tribunals. The reflection appears as the introduction to The Tyranny of Nice,[45] a book authored by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere on Canada’s human rights commissions. In it, Steyn writes:

I’ve learned a lot of lessons during my time in the crosshairs of the [Canadian human rights investigator Jennifer] Lynch mob. Although the feistier columnists have spoken out on this issue, the broad mass of Canadian media seems generally indifferent to a power grab that explicitly threatens to reduce them to a maple-flavoured variant of Pravda. One boneheaded “journalism professor” even attempted to intervene in the British Columbia trial on the side of the censors. As some leftie website put it, “Defending freedom of speech for jerks means defending jerks.” Well, yes. But, in this case, not defending the jerks means not defending freedom of speech for yourself. It’s not a left/right thing; it’s a free/unfree thing. But an alarming proportion of the Dominion’s “media workers” seem relatively relaxed about playing the role of eunuchs to the Trudeaupian sultans.

Defamation lawsuit[edit]

In July 2012,[46] Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blogger Rand Simberg accused American climatologist Michael E. Mann of “deception” and “engaging in data manipulation” and alleged that the Penn State investigation that had cleared Mann was a “cover-up and whitewash” comparable to the recent Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, “except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.” The CEI blog editor then removed the sentence as “inappropriate”, but a National Review blog post by Steyn cited it and alleged that Mann’s hockey stick graph was “fraudulent”.[47][48]

Mann asked CEI and National Review to remove the allegations and apologize, or he would take action.[46] The CEI published further insults, and National Review Editor Rich Lowry responded in an article headed “Get Lost” with a declaration that, should Mann sue, the discovery process would be used to reveal and publish Mann’s emails. Mann’s lawyer filed the defamation lawsuit in October 2012.[47]

Before the case could go to discovery, CEI and National Review filed a court motion to dismiss it under anti-SLAPP legislation, with the claim that they had merely been using exaggerated language which was acceptable against a public figure. In July 2013 the judge ruled against this motion,[49][50] and when the defendants took this to appeal a new judge also denied their motion to dismiss, in January 2014. National Review changed its lawyers, and Steyn decided to represent himself in court.[46][51] Journalist Seth Shulman, at the Union of Concerned Scientists, welcomed the judge’s statement that accusations of fraud “go to the heart of scientific integrity. They can be proven true or false. If false, they are defamatory. If made with actual malice, they are actionable.”[52]

The defendants again appealed against the decision, and on 11 August 2014 the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with 26 other organizations, including the ACLU, Bloomberg, Gannet (USA Today), Comcast (NBC), Time, Fox News and the Seattle Times, filed an amicus brief arguing that the comments at issue were Constitutionally protected as opinion.[53][54] Steyn chose to be represented by attorney Daniel J. Kornstein.[55]

An appeal to get the lawsuit thrown out, filed by Steyn’s co-defendants (National Review, CEI and Simberg), was heard in the D.C. Court of Appeals on 25 November 2014.[56] Steyn was present for oral arguments but did not join in the appeal, preferring to go to trial.[57] On 22 December 2016 the D.C. appeals court ruled that Mann’s case against Simberg and Steyn could go ahead. A “reasonable jury” could find against the defendants, and though the context should be considered, “if the statements assert or imply false facts that defame the individual, they do not find shelter under the First Amendment simply because they are embedded in a larger policy debate.”.[58]

Critical reception[edit]

Steyn’s writing draws supporters and detractors for both content and style. Martin Amis, who was harshly criticized in America Alone yet nevertheless gave it a positive review, says of his style: “Mark Steyn is an oddity: his thoughts and themes are sane and serious—but he writes like a maniac.” [59][60] His style was described by Robert Fulford as “bring[ing] to public affairs the dark comedy developed in the Theatre of the Absurd.”[61] Longtime editor and admirer Fulford also wrote, “Steyn, a self-styled ‘right-wing bastard,’ violates everyone’s sense of good taste.”[61] According to Simon Mann, Steyn “gives succour to the maxim the pen is mightier than the sword, though he is not averse to employing the former to advocate use of the latter.”[11]

Susan Catto in Time noted his interest in controversy, “Instead of shying away from the appearance of conflict, Steyn positively revels in it.”[62] Canadian journalist Steve Burgess wrote “Steyn wields his rhetorical rapier with genuine skill” and that national disasters tended to cause Steyn “to display his inner wingnut.”[63]

In 2009, Canadian journalist Paul Wells accused Steyn of dramatically exaggerating the rise of fascist political parties in Europe. Wells also accused Steyn of repeatedly “shrieking” about Islam in his political writings.[64]

Awards[edit]

In 2005 Mark Steyn received the Henry Salvatori Prize in the American Founding at the Claremont Institute established by philanthropist and conservative leader Henry Salvatori. It is awarded in honour of those who “distinguish themselves by an understanding of, and actions taken to preserve and foster the principles upon which the United States was built”.[65]

Mark Steyn was awarded the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism for writing which “best reflects love of this country and its democratic institutions”.[66] The announcement quotes from Steyn’s syndicated column for June 26, 2006, “Be Glad the Flag Is Worth Burning”:[67]

One of the big lessons of these last four years is that many, many beneficiaries of Western civilization loathe that civilization, and the media are generally inclined to blur the extent of that loathing.

Roger Ailes of Fox News Channel presented the prize, which included a check for $20,000.

Steyn received the Center for Security Policy‘s “Mightier Pen” award in 2007, receiving it at an event that featured a convocation by Jewish scholar and rabbi Yitz Greenberg and remarks by Board of Regents Honorary Chairman Bruce Gelb.[68] In 2010, Steyn was presented the Sappho Award from the International Free Press Society in Copenhagen, Denmark for what was described as both “his ample contributions as a cultural critic” and “his success in influencing the debate on Islam, the disastrous ideology of multiculturalism and the crisis of the Western civilization.”[69]

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STOP THE PORN VIDEO GAMES FOR KIDS

to me

07/23/17
Dear Rene Henry Gracida,

We are close to reaching our goal of 20,000 names against Steam video game distributor’s immoral video games which expose children to suggestive and pornographic content.

Could you help us out by signing our petition, or spreading the message to your family and friends if you have already signed.

As you may recall, the company has scandalously allowed two pornographic themed video games that are available to children of all ages through the simple click of a button.

Click here and send your urgent
complaint to Steam distributors

The video games, Party House and Porno Studio Tycoon have serious graphic and suggestive content that is accessible to computer users of all ages.

Warning: Read with caution; very disturbing
“The House Party ‘hook up’ game is literally training its users in predatory tactics for sexual assault, and even sex trafficking…The game includes disturbing features that allow users to increase their odds of ‘having sex’ with a woman in the game if they manipulate and coerce women into sex acts…The sexual encounters are blatant animated pornography, featuring genitalia, ejaculation, and more.

“The game Porno Studio Tycoon centers around sexual themes where the user acts as the pornographer. It includes sexual sounds, hypersexualized characters, and generic depictions of sex acts…This game promotes and glamorizes the exploitive industry of pornography.

Steam sells and promotes these games to users of all ages and requires only a simple click of a button to pass through a tepid warning that the material may not be suitable for all ages. These games are in direct violation of Steam’s own policies against pornographic or patently offensive content.”
(Lifesitenews.com; emphasis added)

Sign this petition telling Steam video game
distributors that enough is enough

We cannot stand for this attack on children’s innocence.

That’s why I would like to ask you to please sign our urgent petition demanding that Steam video game distributors remove its pornographic themed games. And if you have already signed, consider forwarding this message onto your friends to help us reach our goal of 20,000.

Thank you!

I remain,

Sincerely,

John Horvat
Vice-President, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)
www.ReturnToOrder.org
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LIVING TOGETHER, SHACKING UP, COHABITATING, SERIAL FORNICATION, CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL, IT IS A SIN

 

El_Greco_021-large

Living Together

 

Questions and Answers Regarding Cohabitation and the Church’s Moral Teaching

Dear Engaged Couple,

We congratulate you on your engagement and want to offer a word of encouragement to you during this special period of preparation for marriage.

While there are many issues which you will discuss over the course of your preparation period, one important area in which many priests and couples have shared their concerns with us is that of engaged couples living together before marriage. While many in our society may see no problem with this arrangement, living together and having sexual relations before marriage can never be reconciled with what God expects of us.

In addition, countless studies have shown that couples who live together before marriage have higher rates of divorce and a poorer quality of marital relationship than those who do not.

Your engagement is meant to be a time of grace and growth in preparing for your marriage. In the months ahead, we urge all engaged couples who are living together to separate. All Catholics should seek to be reconciled with God and the Church by going to confession and by going to Mass and Holy Communion regularly.

Living chastely during your remaining months of engagement will teach you many things about one another. It will help you to grow in the virtues of generous love, sacrificial giving, self-restraint and good communication – virtues which are essential for a good and lasting marriage.

We pray that as you seek God and his way more deeply, you will be rewarded with an abundance of his grace. May your love for each other always be strong and life-giving.

With every prayerful best wish, we remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Bishops of Pennsylvania
September 1991

 

1. What is cohabitation?
“Cohabitation” is commonly referred to as “living together.” It describes the relationship of a man and woman who are sexually active and share a household, though they are not married.

 

2. Why is cohabitation such a concern for the Church?
As you work with your priest during this time of preparation for marriage, you will speak with him about many issues. But the Church is particularly concerned about cohabitation because the practice is so common today and because, in the long run, it is causing great unhappiness for families in the Church. This is true, above all, because – even though society may approve of the practice – cohabitation simply cannot be squared with God’s plan for marriage. This may be why most couples who live together before marriage find married life difficult to sustain for very long.

The Church does not invent laws. It passes on and interprets what God has revealed through the ages. No one in the Church has the right to change what Jesus has taught. To do so would be to deprive people of saving truths that were meant for all time. Our Christian faith teaches that a sexual relationship belongs only in marriage. Sex outside of marriage shows disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and human dignity.

 

3. We have good reasons for living together before our wedding. Why can’t the Church just accept that?
The Church cares for you as a parent cares for a beloved son or daughter. Knowing that cohabitation increases a couples’ chance of marital failure, the Church wants to protect you and preserve your happiness. Besides, most couples don’t really evaluate the reasons they give to justify their decision. Think about it:

  • Reason 1: “It’s more convenient for us.”
    “Convenience” is a good thing, but it’s not the basis for making a decision that will affect your entire life. Married life is sometimes inconvenient and even demanding. Cohabitation for convenience is poor preparation for that kind of commitment. Research bears this out. Studies show that those who live together before marriage tend to prefer “change,” “experimentation”and open-ended lifestyles – all of which could lead to instability in marriage. One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan, concluded that couples who cohabit tend to experience superficial communication and uncommitted decision-making once they are married. Cohabitation for convenience does not allow for the careful thought and adequate “space” necessary for making wise life decisions.
  • Reason 2: “We’re trying to save money for the wedding, so living together is more economical.”
    Sure, you might save the price of monthly rent, but you’re sacrificing something more valuable. Engagement is more than just time to plan the party. It is a time for deeper discussion and more thorough reflection, which are best carried out in a detached way. Couples who are living together do not have the luxury of such detachment. So whatever expenses you save, you’ll likely pay more in the end. Dr. Joyce Brothers said it well in an article on cohabitation: “short-term savings are less important than investing in a lifetime relationship.”
  •  Reason 3: “Because of the high divorce rate, we want to see if things work out first.”
    Studies consistently show that couples who live together score significantly lower in both marital communications and overall satisfaction. On the surface, a trial run at marriage may seem to make sense, allowing one to screen out less compatible mates. But it doesn’t work out that way. Couples who live together before marriage actually have a 50% greater chance of divorce than those who don’t. And about 60% of couples who cohabit break up without marrying. Living together before marriage is different from living together in marriage, because there is no binding commitment to support the relationship.
  • Reason 4: “We need to get to know one another first. Later we’ll start having kids.”
    Cohabitation is actually the worst way to get to know another person, because it shortcuts the true development of lasting friendship. Those who live together before marriage often report an over-reliance on sexual expression and less emphasis on conversation and other ways of communication – ways that ultimately lead to a more fulfilling sexual union after marriage. Traditionally, the process of dating or “courtship” has led couples to a deeper appreciation of one another through conversation, shared ideals and dreams, and a mutual understanding of one another’s values.
  • Reason 5: “The Church is just outdated and out of touch with its thinking in this matter. Birth control made those old rules obsolete.”
    That’s just not true. In the early days of the Church, living together outside of marriage was common among the non-Christians in the Roman Empire – as was the use of artificial contraception. But these practices were devastating for individuals, families, and society. Women were treated as disposable objects, mere toys for sexual pleasure, to be discarded when passions waned. The Christian vision of marriage and family led to happiness and fulfillment for individuals and families – and a great renewal of culture and society. Far from being outmoded, then as now, the Church’s teaching is revolutionary – and it works!

 

4. Why does the Church interfere in the sex lives of couples? It’s really just a private matter between us.
Sex is intensely private and personal, but it also has deep moral and social dimensions. Sex works as a primary bonding agent in families and the family is the building block of society. Sexual rights and wrongs influence the health and happiness of individuals, families and neighborhoods. That’s why sexual behavior has always been the subject of many civil laws. The Church, of course, wishes to safeguard the family and society. But, more than that, the Church wishes to safeguard your relationship with your future spouse and with God. Sex is the act that seals and renews the couple’s marriage covenant before God. Sexual sins, then, are not just between a man and a woman, but between the couple and God. And that’s the Church’s responsibility. Sex is not simply a private matter. If it’s between you and God, it’s between you and the Church. You need to ask yourself: “When do I stop being a Christian? When I close the bedroom door? When does my relationship with God cease to matter?”

 

5. But, really, how does what we do with our own bodies affect our relationship with each other and our spiritual relationship with God?
The gift of your body in sexual intercourse is a profound symbol of the giving of your whole self. In making love, the husband and wife are saying to one another in “body language” what they said to each other at the altar on their wedding day: “I am yours, for life!” God created sex to be physically pleasurable and emotionally fulfilling. But it is even greater than all that. It is, above all, the deepest sign of the complete gift of self that a husband and wife pledge to each other. This mutual gift empowers the couple to become co-creators with God in giving life to a new person, a baby. According to God’s design, the gift of sexual union has two primary purposes: strengthening married love and sharing that love with children. The only “place” where this total self-giving between a man and a woman is to take place is in marriage. It is the only “place” where children can be raised with the secure, committed love of a mother and a father. So sexual intimacy belongs only in marriage. Outside of marriage, sex is a lie. The action says: “I give you my whole self” – but the man and woman are really holding back their commitment, their fertility, and their relationship with God.

Before giving your body to another person, you need to give your whole life, and you need to receive your spouse’s whole life in return – and that can only happen in marriage.

 

6. Why can’t I just follow my conscience if I believe living together is okay?
People can be wrong in matters of conscience, and people often are. Where our self-interest is concerned, our capacity for self-deception is huge. Here, as in everything we do, we need an objective standard to tell us if our conscience is properly formed and able to make right judgments. Morality is not a matter of opinion or “gut feeling.” Conscience is God’s voice, speaking the truth deep within your heart. It’s unlikely – if not impossible – that God would contradict His own commandments just for your convenience or desires. You are acting in good conscience when you choose to do what God intends. The choice to live together outside a marriage is always wrong and sinful.

 

7. Why does the Church claim that living together is a scandal to others?
Many of our family and friends are doing the same thing. Just because everyone does something doesn’t make it right or any less serious. A couple’s choice to live together is not simply made in isolation. It affects everyone in relationship with these two people – parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and even other members of the parish. A cohabiting couple implicitly communicates that there is nothing wrong breaking God’s law. This can be especially misleading to young children – nieces, nephews, and children of friends – who are impressionable and whose moral reasoning is immature.

 

8. What is the best way to prepare ourselves spiritually for our upcoming marriage?
“A wedding is for a day, but a marriage is for a lifetime.” That can be a long and happy time, but only with good preparation. The best way to get ready for marriage is to practice your faith. Catholics do this by faithful attendance at weekly Sunday Mass, by going to the Sacrament of Penance (confession), by prayer, and by practicing works of charity. If you haven’t been attending Mass regularly, your parish priest will want to see you back. If it’s been a long time since your last confession, your priest will help you. Confession is a necessary step if you have already been cohabiting. During the days of preparation, you are strongly encouraged to pray together as a couple, read Scripture, and lead a virtuous life. For guidance, look to other couples with strong Christian values.

 

9. Why should we need to separate now? It’s just an arbitrary rule of the Church.
The Church’s teaching on cohabitation is not an “arbitrary” rule. Living together before marriage is a sin because it violates God’s commandments and the law of the Church. St. Paul lists this sin – technically called “fornication” among the sins (whether within or outside cohabitation) that can keep a person from reaching heaven (see 1 Corinthians 6:9) Cohabitation works against the heart’s deepest desires and greatly increases the chances of a failed marriage. If you are honest with yourself, every practical consideration will tell you that separating before marriage is the right thing to do. It is a decision to turn away from sin and to follow Christ and His teaching. That is always the right decision. But it’s a good decision for other important reasons, too:-it will strengthen your marriage -it will deepen your friendship -it will foster deeper intimacy and communion -it will build up your problem-solving and communications skills -it will give your marriage a greater chance for success. You may think you are unique and that your passion for each other will never wane. But that’s what most couples think. No one goes into marriage planning for a breakup; yet a majority of couples today do break up. You want to be one of the exceptional couples who not only succeed in marriage, but also live together in happiness and fulfillment. Some couples who are living together think that separation before marriage is artificial or meaningless. Some fear that halting sexual activity will be harmful to the relationship. But this is rarely the case. Sometimes in marriage, too, a sexual relationship will have to be suspended for a time due to illness, military service, business travel, or the good of a spouse. Relationships not only survive this, but actually grow stronger. God rewards such sacrifices with graces for a good relationship. Abstaining from sex will also enable you to rely on other means of communication, which ultimately will empower you to get to know each other in a deeper, lasting way.

 

10. What good will following the Church’s teachings do for us anyway?
Catholic teaching in this matter brings rich blessings to those couples who willingly accept it. The Good News of Jesus frees you to enjoy intimacy even more:

-by appreciating your spouse as a person, not an object
-by living in a stable, secure, permanent, and faithful relationship
-by expressing true, committed love rather than simply satisfying a physical urge

Married life has a special place in God’s plan. Like everything good, it require sacrifices. But they’re small compared to the rewards. Seek first the Kingdom of God; everything else you desire will be given to you – and more!

 

Questions for Reflection and Prayer:
1. As an engaged couple, why did you choose to cohabit before marriage?
2. What have the two of you learned from your experience of living together? What have you learned about yourselves as a couple and as individuals?
3. What is the driving force behind your decision to marry at this time? What has changed in the relationship and made you wish to marry and have your marriage blessed in this Church?
4. Was there a previous reluctance or hesitation to marry? If so, why? Have those issues been completely resolved?
5. Why are you seeking marriage in the Catholic Church?
6. What does marriage as a sacrament mean to the two of you?
7. How do you see your faith and love for each other as an intimate part of your marriage?
8. How do you want your marriage to be open to life?

“At the beginning, the Creator made them male and female and declared for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. And the two shall become as one. Thus, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined.”
– Matthew 19:4-6

“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws . . . God himself is the author of marriage.”
– The Church in the Modern World, Vatican II, 48

“The conjugal covenant of marriage opens the spouses to a lasting communion of love and life, and it is brought to completion in a full and specific way with the procreation of children. The communion of spouses gives rise to the community of the family.”
– Letter to Families, Pope John Paul II, 7

“Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses . . . is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death . . .That total physical self-giving would be a lie if it were not the sign and fruit of a total personal self-giving.”
– Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II, 11

“The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family. The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.”
– Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2363

“The very preparation for Christian marriage is itself a journey of faith. It is a special opportunity for the engaged to rediscover and deepen the faith received in Baptism and nourished by their Christian upbringing. In this way they come to recognize and freely accept their vocation to follow Christ and to serve the Kingdom of God in the married state.”
– Pope John Paul II, The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World

(c) 1999 Pennsylvania Catholic Conference

 

 

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BE STRONG, BE BRAVE, TRUST GOD AS THE ALLIES OF SATAN COME TO PERSECUTE YOU

Ultra-Rich Gay Activist On Targeting Christians: It’s Time To ‘Punish The Wicked’

Ultra-Rich Gay Activist On Targeting Christians: It’s Time To ‘Punish The Wicked’

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, tech millionaire turned LGBTQ activist Tim Gill said he’s aiming to punish Christians who don’t want to participate in same-sex weddings.

For more than two decades, the software programmer has poured an estimated $422 million into various gay rights causes. After the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 states in 2015, Gill turned his attention and resources to targeting Christians.

The election of Donald Trump, who claims to support gay rights but stocked his administration with anti-LGBTQ extremists, has only emboldened those looking to erase the gains of the past decade. Gill refuses to go on the defense. ‘We’re going into the hardest states in the country,’ he says. ‘We’re going to punish the wicked.’

Allow me to add some context. After the Obergefell ruling in 2015, which forced all 50 states to perform same-sex marriages, several state legislatures passed protections to ensure that those who object to participating in a same-sex wedding for religious reasons have recourse when hauled into courts or extralegal commissions for this belief. It’s these state laws that Gill and his various nonprofit entities have decided to go after — and persecute Christians along the way.

Here’s how Rolling Stone — a magazine with a history of throwing journalistic ethics and pesky things like truth and accuracy out the window to advance a narrative that fits their agenda — describes religious freedom restoration acts (RFRA): “Under the guise of right-to-worship protections, these bills offer legal cover for individuals and businesses to deny service or otherwise discriminate against LGBTQ people,” Rolling Stone‘s Andy Kroll wrote.

Except that’s not at all what religious freedom restoration acts are. For one thing, religious Americans still serve gay customers in myriad capacities, just as they do every other customer. Their objections are to being forced to use their artistic talents to proclaim particular speech they find fundamentally false or to be required to participate in a religious ceremony that conflicts with their consciences. As Sean Davis has explained, these laws simply ask that judges use a simple balancing test when ruling on cases involving a person’s religious freedom.

The laws state that the government may only substantially burden the free exercise of religion of a person or organization if the government 1) has a compelling interest to do so, and 2) is using the least restrictive means possible to further that compelling interest. In legal parlance, RFRA requires courts to use strict scrutiny when adjudicating these types of cases.

Nevertheless, asking a judge to think twice before demanding that a baker craft a wedding cake for a lesbian couple and stomping all over his freedom of expression is apparently a wicked deed that Gill intends to punish.

Last year, the Gill Foundation set up a group to wrangle corporate support in going after religious freedom proponents in Georgia. Called “Georgia Prospers,” the fake grassroots effort organized protests against a religious freedom restoration act that passed the state legislature. The pressure from the corporate-backed endeavor dissuaded Georgia’s governor from signing the bill — a victory for the wealthy activist.

The group also opposed North Carolina’s bathroom bill, which barred cities from passing laws that would force businesses to allow customers and employees to use restrooms that are not consistent with their biological sex.

Along the way, Christian business owners have been maligned and demonized for not wanting to participate in a same-sex wedding. In Colorado, a cake baker was forced to change his company’s policies and provide training to staff after he objected to baking a cake for a gay couple. A Christian couple was slapped with a $13,000 fine for refusing to host a same-sex wedding on their property. People threatened to burn a pizza shop to the ground after its owners answered that they would happily serve gay customers, they just wouldn’t want to cater a gay wedding should they be asked to do so.

Bre Payton is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter.
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