Saturday 28th January 2023

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A Fight Between Sense And Insanity . . . Pro-lifers Love The U.S. Despite The Evils Done In Its Name

January 27, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on A Fight Between Sense And Insanity . . . Pro-lifers Love The U.S. Despite The Evils Done In Its Name

By DEXTER DUGGAN

Why do people choose a certain path in life, whether political, religious, occupational or otherwise? Why do some see patriotism as admirable while others see it as constricting and tribalist?
Why do some seek God’s own revealed truth in religion, while others think it’s up to them to construct whatever makes them feel good and think that God is subject to their feelings?
Other people may fall somewhere in between these in their attitudes, but political conservatives and political liberals don’t see the world with the same gaze.
An example occurred at the pro-life presentation given January 13 by the nationally known Defend Life activist organization in Bethesda, Md., that featured remarks by Frank Pavone, the pro-life longtime internationally activist priest who was surprised to learn in December that he was laicized the previous month by some authority in the Vatican.
Also speaking in Bethesda was Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute (lepantoin.org), which is prominent in investigating misuse of funds by Catholic organizations including the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development when the money is given to organizations that oppose core Catholic moral teaching.
For more than two hours Pavone and Hichborn spoke in separate talks about widespread, serious immoral activity under the aegis of the U.S. government and Catholic agencies.
Following this, pro-life activist Anna Little closed the program by singing God Bless America.
After the audience had listened to numerous facts that might make a person reject the U.S.A. as unworthy of any affection or loyalty, Little reflected their gratitude to be Americans and sang out to bless this nation.
On the other hand, when U.S. leftists for decades often were given what they demanded from politicians and the courts, no matter how reprehensible, like massive permissive abortion, they still condemned this nation as retrogressive, racist, and in need of total transformation toward some sort of globalist or Marxist society.
What qualities within different people make one choose a certain path, and the other select a very different one?
Whatever the reasons, some people observed that the strongly pro-life Pavone being laicized and thereby forbidden to function as a priest was very different treatment than that which clergy who might be considered open heretics and outright dissenters received from Rome.
LifeSiteNews.com posted on January 10 that it had an interview with Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, the former head of the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whom it quoted: “There are other prominent persons in the United States and other countries who are denying openly the basics of the Catholic faith and morals, and they [face] no reactions from the side of the ecclesiastical authority.”
The news service said Mueller said, “I think there was truly a lot of pressure [from] the Democratic Party” and champions of permissive abortion against Pavone, who had been a campaign adviser of pro-life former President Donald Trump.
In his January 13 Maryland talk, Pavone said he was asked to speak about his work of the last 30 years by Jack Ames, founder and director of the Baltimore-based Defend Life (www.DefendLife.org). Pavone said that during that time, the battle expanded to include other elements like transgenderism.
It’s a fight “between common sense and insanity,” said Pavone, who continues as national director of Priests for Life, which is based in Florida.
He said that in 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing permissive abortion nationwide, “of course we knew” the child in the womb is a human being, but pretended otherwise.
Saying today that “a man is not a man” because of transgenderism is simply the logical outgrowth of the fiction of the acceptability of abortion, Pavone said.
He talked of how he was led into fighting to defend preborn babies and into the priesthood.
As a high school student he attended the third annual national March for Life in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which launched his vocation, Pavone said, adding that his involvement in the pro-life movement and development as a priest were integral.
He was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York and loved every moment of parish life, including doing marriages and funerals, Pavone said, although some priests groused about performing these ceremonies.
“It was the wake services which were really memorable,” Pavone said, describing how he’d attend these gatherings and circulate the word that people could come see him in another room at the mortuary so they could go to Confession and properly prepare themselves to receive the Eucharist the next day at the funeral.
“Lots of people” would come to the room for penance after word circulated that he was a nice guy, he said.
After four to four-and-a-half years, Pavone said he came to a point “when you know what’s next,” so he asked New York’s John Cardinal O’Connor for permission to do pro-life work full-time as his ministry, which Pavone said O’Connor granted.
“I wanted to get on the road” and visit every national pro-life leader in order to ask “how can we help you,” Pavone said, even though he had little to work with financially.
Pavone’s later problems with other prelates appear to stem from their disagreement with this sort of full-time ministry, and Pavone’s strong belief this is the only proper assignment for him.
He said he introduced former militant national pro-abortion leader and practicing abortionist Bernard Nathanson, MD, for a 1994 talk on chemical abortion, but Nathanson, who still was an agnostic after having been an atheist, told the audience he wanted to talk about his spiritual journey.
Pavone told the January 13 Maryland audience that Nathanson said the love he saw among pro-lifers, including pro-life rescuers at abortion clinics, had cracked his shell, adding, “I stand before you today on the brink of conversion.”
Two years later, Pavone said, O’Connor baptized Nathanson into the Catholic Church.
Pavone described forming friendships of a sort with militant abortion leaders like Martin Haskell, MD, who had given the first detailed description of performing partial-birth abortions to a convention of abortionists.
When Pavone asked how Haskell could do such abortions, he replied, “I don’t know when the baby receives a soul.” The priest said he responded the fact is that the baby has a body.
One illustration Pavone provided showed the difference between pro-life and pro-abortion activists.
Radical pro-abortion pioneer Bill Baird attended many pro-life conferences, Pavone said, both demonstrating against them outside the venue and coming inside to listen to the talks.
So, Pavone said, he asked Baird if he could attend one of Baird’s events, but Baird replied, “Frank, I don’t think I could guarantee your safety.”
Pavone said that thanks to “credible threats” against him, “To this day, I have federal protection.”
In 2003, on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, someone said the pro-life movement needed something more, so the “Silent No More” organization of women who publicly regretted their abortions was founded, Pavone said, enabling them to arise from their despair and find healing and forgiveness with Jesus.
He said he could go on and on about his work, including time spent in Rome with Pope John Paul II, and also working with Mother Teresa — both of whom later were canonized as saints.
John Paul II palpably understood the importance of the pro-life movement, for whom his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae was “a Magna Carta,” Pavone said.
“To be pro-life politically is a winning issue,” Pavone said, describing pro-life as “the greatest human-rights cause, not only of our time” but of all time.
Taking audience questions after his talk, Pavone was asked about the laicization. “Not much changes, believe it or not,” he said, because a lot of his work wasn’t sacramental ministry although that was important.
“I’ve gotten offers to become bishops in other denominations,” he said, but he’s staying with the Catholic Church.
He didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the priesthood, saying, “If this Pope doesn’t do it, what comes after him.”
He could run for political office but has no plans to do so, Pavone said, adding that his current work is “all-consuming.”
Pavone said he doesn’t know if the person responsible for laicizing him understood the full implications because Priests for Life assists the Holy Father’s mission to the United Nations. “This is the largest pro-life organization in the Catholic Church.”
He mentioned a recent National Public Radio presentation of a woman having an abortion that regarded abortion as “a big eraser, a magic wand” to make the pregnancy cease to exist. However, Pavone said, NPR said nothing about the necessary task of disposing of the baby’s body parts.
An abortionist said that in a suction abortion, the baby’s heart can be seen still beating as it goes through the suction tube and into the collection jar for up to a minute, Pavone said.
Pavone didn’t say this, but I will: Maybe the smirking dunce of a bad Catholic named Joe Biden would like to hold some of these baby hearts destroyed by the trauma of dismemberment and tell the nation how proud he is of his depravity.

The Salvation Of Souls

The evening’s other speaker, the Lepanto Institute’s Michael Hichborn, cited the Bible on the qualities a good bishop should have — not merely not being a criminal, but also not having such characteristics as pride and impiety.
What of the steward, Hichborn asked, who not only squanders the funds entrusted to him but also gives them to the king’s enemies?
One such example, he said, is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which he has investigated since 2009 and which has given money to organizations promoting abortion, contraception, Marxism and homosexuality.
The Lepanto Institute’s website says: “The Lepanto Institute was created to present the facts regarding organizations that claim the name Catholic or even Christian, but are acting in opposition to the teachings of our Blessed Lord and His Holy and Immaculate Church.
“Sadly,” the site says, “organizations like Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Health Association and many others are giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ.
“Even worse,” it continues, “dissident and apostate Catholics in politics and other prominent arenas are giving a false witness to the faith by claiming to be Catholic while promoting abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. As a remedy to this grave situation, the purpose of the Lepanto Institute is to encourage recourse to the Holy Rosary, particularly offered for bishops and priests, while presenting the facts on individuals and institutions such as these.”
The CCHD says it has a rigorous vetting process about who receives funds, Hichborn said, but it’s easy to discover negative information about the recipients.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are Marxist, Hichborn said, but Pope Francis promotes this.
“God loves souls. He desires the salvation of souls,” Hichborn said, asking what about bishops who commit to worldly causes that have nothing to do with souls’ salvation?

In Deceptive World Of Politics . . . Are Biden, Hobbs Their Own Sorts Of Potemkin Villages?

January 26, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on In Deceptive World Of Politics . . . Are Biden, Hobbs Their Own Sorts Of Potemkin Villages?

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — When Joe Biden went to a carefully sanitized city of El Paso on January 8 under the pretense that he actually was looking into border problems caused by the invasion, critics said this was his Potemkin village visit — a reference to a deceptively arranged situation to make it look better.
Well, how about thinking of Biden as his own sort of ongoing Potemkin village?
Goofy, harmless Grandpa Joe actually manages to remember most of the words in singing “Happy Birthday” — while his administration imposes the most depraved, evil policies ever widely inflicted on the United States, and beyond.
Easily confused, sleepy, cognitively impaired bad Catholic Joe isn’t even sure how to exit the stage — while his administration pushes massive, tax-paid permissive abortion, sexual disorientation, officially sanctioned left-wing racism, social censorship, medical assault on patients and loss of their livelihoods, anti-religious bigotry, just to name a few of his Democratic Party’s outrages.
Sort of like the shifty shell game to conceal the bean, befuddled Biden stumbles his way through his lightly scheduled day even as his puppet masters more or less do the work of Satan, while friendly Catholic prelates can’t find it in themselves to call Biden to account for daily performing and encouraging deadly mortal sin as the nation’s way of life.
Would you worry if a puppy skipped over to sniff your pants leg? Until the puppy amazingly pulled out a pistol and demanded all your cash? With Biden, the threat may appear similarly unlikely, until you discover you and your family’s entire way of life and belief system are coming under threat of federal indoctrination and even imprisonment.
Ten years ago, whoever would have thought such a rapid, thorough national change in politics, religion, and society generally was even possible, much less right on the doorstep?
Yet as it shockingly arrives, the establishment’s U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and his GOP allies seemed all too ready to surrender, while they screamed out their opposition and insults against someone like Donald Trump daring to oppose degenerate Democratic leaders’ onslaught.
And if anyone still needed proof that conservative Republicans suffer a different standard of justice, they need only recall that last summer, not long before the midterm elections, Trump’s Florida residence was raided by the federal government at night, in the glare of flashing red lights and media hysteria, in a search for confidential documents from his presidency.
However, when documents that Biden wasn’t supposed to keep from the days of his vice presidency under Barack Obama began to be found only a few days before the 2022 midterms, this wasn’t reported at all until two months later, when voter outrage over the double standard for sleepy Joe would have been too late to affect the November elections anyway.
Nor was there the same political insistence that Biden strongly be held to account for this, and right away.
In his daily radio update for January 18, veteran right-tilting commentator Bill O’Reilly said he’s starting to feel a personal dislike for Biden that he never felt for any U.S. president he covered before. O’Reilly cited Biden posing as the savior of hapless blacks — although Biden didn’t compile such a civil-rights record during long decades of government work as a U.S. senator.
Meanwhile, conservatives waited hopefully to see how Republicans’ new although narrow majority in the U.S. House under Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) changed the shameful direction that had been set by previous Speaker and bad Catholic liberal Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).

Lake Pursues Legal Challenge

Besides Biden, basement-dwelling Katie Hobbs was another Democrat who was slipped into office as the choice of the establishment, in this case as the officially declared new governor of Arizona after term-limited Republican Gov. Doug Ducey left office.
However, Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake continued to pursue her legal challenge to the November 8 election results after widespread suppression of Republican voters in populous Maricopa County.
The Arizona Sun Times posted on January 13 that the Arizona Court of Appeals scheduled conferencing on February 1 for Lake’s appeal after a Maricopa County Superior Court judge in late December dismissed the two counts that he agreed to hear of Lake’s total of ten counts.
The Sun Times said a Lake attorney “alleged that the ‘clear and convincing’ standard of evidence enforced by the [superior] court is ‘not the standard that the election-contest statute requires for misconduct’.”
It reported that the Lake campaign tweeted, “Do not underestimate @KariLake’s desire to get justice for the people of Arizona. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. She will see this through.”
In a separate Sun Times story, posted January 17, about a rumor that Lake is considering running for Kyrsten Sinema’s U.S. Senate seat in 2024, Lake’s gubernatorial campaign was quoted:
“Kari is hyper-focused on winning her court case as she is the duly elected governor and her election case proves that.
“Hundreds of thousands of invalid ballots were counted in Maricopa County alone,” the statement added, “more than 60 percent of Election Day voting centers were sabotaged, causing lines of four hours or more at some locations, the wrong ballot image was printed on Election Day ballots causing tabulators to jam and spit out ballots, 25K ballots were mysteriously added to the official vote count two days after the elections, and more than 100K ballots with rejected signatures were counted anyway.”
Some conservative media continued reporting on the November voting scandal here, including this article posted January 18 at The Federalist: “With 25,000 Mysterious Votes And Missing Documents, Maricopa’s 2022 Election Process Marked By Chaos And Uncertainty.”
However, some conservative-inclined writers thousands of miles from the Grand Canyon State seemed to be letting themselves get talked into minimizing this voter suppression.
Although Hobbs avoided commenting as much as possible during the 2022 campaign, she quickly started pushing the positions of her left-wing puppet masters after she was declared governor — including permissive abortion with tax dollars, a dangerously open border, and opposition to expanded educational choice that Ducey signed into law only last year.
In a separate Arizona Sun Times story posted January 17, GOP state Sen. T.J. Shope was reported as saying he and his GOP colleagues wouldn’t support Hobbs’ proposed state budget.
Shope was quoted: “My colleagues in the Senate GOP will not support this budget and its declaration of war on parents. We will not support taxpayer-funded scholarship programs for non-citizens. We will not support a repeal of the Border Strike Force at a time when the scourge of fentanyl plagues our people. We are united and we will hold the line for the Arizona we love.”
The Republican Party holds narrow majorities in both the state Senate and House.
The Sun Times also reported that Hobbs proposed taking $200,000 from a program for homeless pregnant mothers and giving “it to the Department of Health Services’ budget for ‘pregnancy services that are inclusive of all options and support personal choice’.”
In other words, the rabidly pro-abortion Hobbs wants to yank aid from homeless mothers and give it to abortionists.
The same news article said that Republican state Senate President Warren Peterson “said this budget would be dead on arrival and that it would be Republican legislators introducing a budget to help the state,” instead of trying to make Arizona into another California.
During his January 12 talk program on Phoenix-based KFYI (550 AM), conservative host James T. Harris said he thought Hobbs “should be legally, morally resisted at every turn.”
Harris was interviewing Phoenix elections attorney Tim LaSota, who said it was “totally unprecedented” for a governor to take dark money here to fund an inauguration, but Hobbs “hit up” donors with a request for $250,000 then wouldn’t reveal who they were.
By contrast, LaSota said, Hobbs’ immediate predecessor, Republican Ducey, limited individual donations to his inaugural to $25,000.
LaSota said he filed a public-records request for details on Hobbs’ pitch and wondered how much money might be left over for other purposes because, he said, how many $250,000 sums would be needed to pay for an Arizona inauguration?
The attorney was back on Harris’ program on January 18 with news that his public-records request at least persuaded Hobbs to release some information to Arizona political reporter Howard Fischer, who wrote that she raised nearly $1.5 million but spent only about $207,000 on the ceremony.
Now here’s a lesson on how the political game is played. And everyone wants to be in the winner’s circle.
Fischer wrote that Hobbs set up her inaugural fund under a section of the Internal Revenue Code that allows proceeds to be used for political purposes.
LaSota told Harris that Hobbs may plan to spend the large leftover to try to get more liberal Democrats elected to the state legislature in 2024 and take over the majority.
Both Fischer and Arizona Republic newspaper columnist Laurie Roberts noted the irony that the largest giver, Arizona Public Service ($250,000), donated significantly to Arizona Republicans in the recent election cycle, so perhaps this major utility company was seeking to get into Hobbs’ good graces now.
Roberts also noted that while Arizona Public Service had so much for these political donations, it also is seeking to boost its customers’ bills by around $38 a month.
She posted on January 18: “Just how badly does APS need more money from its customers if it can afford to fritter away $1 million to boost its political standing with the governor and not-governor of the state? And the hundreds of thousands more it spends on lobbying and other political activities, to remain in the good graces of the power set?”

Wild Voting

Finally, with election integrity a top concern of local Republicans, the annual meeting of Maricopa County GOP precinct committeemen was held January 14 at Phoenix’s Dream City Church.
The January 16 issue of the unofficial Maricopa County “Republican Briefs” blog said an attendee reported that the gathering “was rough. It was 12.5 hours in the building from start to finish. The meeting was 10 hours.”
The blog added: “Attendees report disruptions caused the meeting to run over at least an hour and a half, resulting in many PCs [precinct committeemen] leaving prior to the second ballot.”
Conservative Republican political consultant Constantin Querard told The Wanderer on January 18: “The debate over hand counting versus machine counting consumed the entire morning and seemed largely driven by some folks who just object to any machine doing any part of the process, which misses the mark if your concern is how to use the good of machines (speed and accuracy) while addressing their vulnerability (coding, insufficient auditing, etc.).
“They just didn’t want any machines in the name of election integrity,” Querard said. “The crazy part is how they ran the vote counting to decide that motion — when it was time to vote Yay or Nay, you just held up however many fingers representing however many votes (including proxies) you had. No one checked to see if the number was right, so anyone could hold up three or four fingers if they wanted.
“Then one person counted fingers and wrote numbers down before turning them in, but none of us voting had any idea if the number was accurate,” he said. “And this was all done because the same folks who didn’t trust machines somehow had complete trust in human beings. So it was all pretty wild.”

Cardinal Pell’s Lessons From Prison

January 25, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on Cardinal Pell’s Lessons From Prison

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Prison Journal by George Cardinal Pell (Ignatius Press: three volumes, $53.88 on Amazon).

The untimely death of Cardinal George Pell has given rise both to sorrow and praise. In the midst of it all, there comes to mind one crowning achievement that can teach us all: the valiant and forgiving spirit that he nurtured during the thirteen months that he spent in prison, as reflected in the diary entries that he wrote every day.
Cardinal Pell went to prison not because he had committed a crime, but because he had been falsely accused. And a false accusation is foul indeed.
A false accusation violates the Eighth Commandment, but can also violate several more. If prompted by envy, it violates Commandments Nine and Ten. If prompted by a vicious desire to murder, it violates Commandment Five. In some cases it can even kill outright, as the distraught victim’s life is ruined, marriage broken, livelihood destroyed. If the lie is motivated by sexual lust, it violates Number Six; for material gain, Number Seven.
So false accusations can be a really big deal.
Consider now those who have been falsely accused. They have a mountain to climb. The personal wound is grave, all the more if the lie is public.
When the law enters, it gets even worse. The innocent target must endure an investigation that makes the Chinese Communist “Social Credit System” look positively libertarian.
Meanwhile, the target silently suffers.
“Who did this to me? Why?”
Raymond Donovan, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, spoke for many victims after his 1987 acquittal on spurious fraud charges in the State of New York. Even as members of the jury applauded as the trial adjourned quite rare, and clearly a sign of their contempt for the charges — Donovan asked, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”
But there is no such office. Instead, in the familiar terms of the Reagan era, the victim is left to “twist slowly in the wind.” Meanwhile, the contempt of the generic lying accuser is helpfully demonstrated by The Washington Post as a public service.
Thirty-five years ago, when the paper’s weeks of accusations were proven false, the paper wouldn’t print a correction. The target asked why.
“When you were accused, it was news, but it wasn’t true,” the ombudsman replied. “Now that you’ve been cleared, it’s true, but it isn’t news.”
“Democracy Dies In Darkness,” boasts the Post’s banner.
Well, it looks like truth does, too.
In his younger days, Donovan studied in Louisiana’s Notre Dame Seminary before he realized that his true vocation lay in marriage and family. His experience there undoubtedly fortified the composure and character that he manifested during the ordeal dumped on him years later.

The Innocent And The Guilty

When an accusation deals with the issue of clerical sex abuse of minors in the Catholic Church, it just ups the ante. Whatever the investigation reveals, the accused is either sidelined or fired. Sometimes the facts might not be revealed until the Last Judgment. At which time, we hasten to add, it’s quite possible that our thoughts might be focused on another more abiding verdict.
Fr. David Link, an accomplished lawyer, had served for over ten years as dean of the Notre Dame Law School when his wife died. He studied for the priesthood, was ordained, and devoted his life to prison ministry, serving in Indiana’s maximum-security prison near Gary, Ind. He inspired many, including this writer, to volunteer for prison ministry.
Fr. Link once told a convention of federal judges and court lawyers (here I paraphrase), “Don’t worry, most of the guys you send to prison are guilty. But there a lot of folks out there walking the streets every day who are just as guilty, if not more.”
So Cardinal Pell was the exception. He was innocent, but he was charged in 2017 and convicted after two trials (the first resulted in a hung jury). On February 27, 2019, he was remanded in custody and taken to prison.
“Even the prosecutor — and we know of the judge’s views, too — believed me innocent,” he writes in his journal that day. “In fact, we all knew.”
As he passes through the humiliating intake procedures — strip search, handcuffs, give up belt and shoelaces — the cardinal observes that the various guards are respectful — an exception to the norm in prison life, and a welcome one in his case. He is placed alone in solitary confinement. There he will hear from up and down the hall the myriad of sounds that will abide, ebb and flow, until the day he is released.
“In every way, it is a relief the day is over. I am now at the quiet heart of the storm, while family, friends, and wider Church have to cope with the tornado,” he writes.

Prayerful Witness:
A Model For Us All

“From the first day I was allowed to keep my breviary and a pair of prison rosary beads was placed in my room, after my own beads were confiscated like most of my possessions,” he writes. Such flimsy rosaries are universal in prisons, since inmates will use anything with metal to make tattoos or even weapons. Like every prisoner, he is reduced to bare necessities, and subjected to the challenge of having no privacy at all every day for over a year.
A week later, he is “starting to develop a routine, beginning with the Prayer of the Church, followed by a meditation later in the morning. Moving through the Epistle to the Hebrews, a favorite of mine.”
And by divine coincidence, he writes, “The first reading in the breviary today has Job’s troubles just beginning.”
This duty of prayer, reflection, and writing continues throughout his confinement. Pell is a humble, faithful Catholic, unjustly imprisoned but more aware than ever of the need for prayer in good times as well as bad.
Cardinal Pell prays and lives the same life as the other prisoners.
At least the guilty know they belong there. He knows he doesn’t.
But prison life is cruel indeed. “This is the first Sunday for many decades, apart from illness, that I have not attended or celebrated Sunday Mass — probably for more than seventy years. I wasn’t even able to receive Communion,” he writes.
How hard is it for us, dear reader, to receive Communion? Maybe try a little harder now, Cardinal Pell asks?
Prison life is not easy. “God our Loving Father, help me to keep hatred out of my heart. Not only should I speak the truth in love, but I should think the truth in love.”
On one day Cardinal Pell notices the “shouters” on his cell block, but on another day, he writes, “jail life is very quiet.”
He reads every letter sent to him. Hint to the Faithful: If you want your bishop to read your letter, write him in prison.
“I believe in God’s providence; I never chose this situation and worked hard to avoid it; but here I am, and I must strive to do God’s will.”
Fifty years ago, Bishop Fulton Sheen gave a retreat for the priests of the Diocese of Gary. “Never ask for suffering,” he told them. “I did. Once.”
The last lines of Cardinal Pell’s entry on April 7, 2019, cite lines from Shakespeare’s Othello that “provide a fitting conclusion for my day of liberation, in Holy Week, just before Easter.”
“Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing.
“ ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands,
“But he that filches from me my good name
“Robs me of that which not enriches him,
“And makes me poor indeed.”

A Beacon Of Light… Afraid To Return To Mass

January 24, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light… Afraid To Return To Mass

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn.)

  • + + “I’m afraid to return to Mass in person. And it’s not because of COVID” (America Magazine, June-July Issue, 2022).
    This is the title of an article that appeared in America Magazine’s new nationwide marketing campaign entitled: “Own your faith.” Its purpose it to offer a place where Catholics can present essays and questions and voice concerns that they have regarding the Catholic faith and the world.
    America Magazine presents the experience of Valerie Schultz, a freelance writer for The Bakersfield Californian, who shares the reason why she no longer goes to Church.
    Schultz, like so many others, states that her “life changed” when one of her children came out of the closet revealing a struggle with being a transgender. In addition, the fallout of the clergy sexual abuse crisis had also caused her husband to “leave” the Catholic Church to become an Episcopalian. In a sense, for her, the safety that was felt surrounding her faith was compromised and everything seemed to crumble.
    In the article, Shultz makes the following statement: “I think of my Catholicism now as a fragile little bird that I keep sheltered in the nest of my heart.” In the end, Shultz and so many other Catholics have used the circumstances of the pandemic as a means to satisfy their already personal dislike of the Church and her authority over them.
    The scenario presented by America Magazine has sadly infiltrated so many lives of the faithful since the pandemic. In 2020, amid the pandemic, the Church was presented with a great opportunity to re-evangelize the faithful on the importance of participation in Sunday Mass.
    Unfortunately, so many in the United States Church hierarchy succumbed to the pressures of the government and gave up on the faithful. During a time when the Church was needed more than ever, the very men with the authority to uphold the Church and her teachings tossed all that aside. The widespread blanket dispensations did more to hurt the faithful then protect them. It actually gave many the excuse they needed to stop going to Church. This was the case with Mrs. Schultz in the article from America Magazine.
    What should have happened during 2020? The Church’s hierarchy should have fought the government mandates as a violation of separation of church and state. We should never have impeded the faithful from the right they have in participating and receiving the Eucharist. Some thought that if the faithful had to refrain from receiving the Eucharist, then there would develop more of a yearning for our Eucharistic Lord. In theory, this would be correct, but that implies there has been adequate catechesis of the faithful with regard to the Eucharist.
    Sadly, we are seeing the result of quite the opposite. The implied desire of the faithful “yearning” for the Eucharist has not happened as was thought. Instead, the dispensational approach had the opposite effect, and many used it as an excuse to just not come back.
    The problem here, as I see it, is a lack of catechesis on why we go to Mass in the first place. What happens during our participation at Mass? In essence, we encounter and participate in a “divine reality” that forever changes us. This idea of being changed is not something new. In fact, the Prophet Ezekiel reminded the people of what happens when they enter the Temple:
    “But when the people of the land shall go in before the Lord in the solemn feasts, he that goeth in by the north gate to adore, shall go out by the way of the south gate: and he that; goeth in by the way of the south gate, shall go out by the way of the north gate: He shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go out at that over against it” (Ezek. 46:9, Douay-Rheims, Bible). The Prophet Ezekiel explains, even from ancient times, the importance of what happens when we enter the “temple.” We enter through one gate and leave by another. Thus, it is impossible to go back from the gate we entered. Thus, entering the Temple and our participation causes a change.
    If the Lord used the prophets to proclaim the need to be “in the Temple,” then, it must be because this is essentially necessary in our journey of faith. In ancient times, the Temple was the place where the Israelites and others, encountered the living God. This encounter caused an internal metamorphosis.
    Similarly when we participate in Sunday Mass, we also encounter the living God in the person of Jesus Christ. This encounter, like that of the Temple, also transforms us. Every encounter with our Lord, Jesus Christ, causes an internal transformation that potentially impacts our external reality of life. This is precisely why we are given the instruction at the end of Mass to go and live what we have received.

Laziness In Some Of The Faithful

So, hearing of the many people who have stopped going to Mass since the pandemic, is sad because they have denied themselves of the encounter with the Lord. In the parish I minister in, we have seen a 30 percent decline in the number of those who have returned to Mass. And of those I have spoken to, asking why they have not returned, it’s because the live-streaming of Mass has caused laziness in some of the faithful. We need to stop live-streaming and get people back to Mass. By giving them an excuse, we are hindering their encounter with Christ.
So many of those who no longer attend Mass have become confused “sheep of the fold.” We must never be afraid to go after the lost sheep. In the Gospels, Jesus tells His disciples the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the need to go in search of them and bring them home. Well, we need to do the same thing! Our search is not one of going after the sheep who have left us, it is actually going after the sheep we have pushed away.
Sometimes, we fail to recognize that our actions as a Church have broader consequences. And sometimes when we recognize this, it’s too late because the damage has already been done.
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, John the Baptist points out who Christ is and recognizes Him as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” He exclaims that Jesus is the one to whom we are to seek. We need to open our eyes of faith and look for Jesus. We need to return to the “Temple,” to the place where we are physically in His presence in order that we might be transformed.

Strong And Firm In Their Faith

We live in a world that justifies everything, so as to make the bad good and the good nonexistent. This attitude, sadly, oftentimes flows over into the way we live our faith. Justification erodes the Truth of our faith and causes us to become weak. We need to seek Truth! Seeking this Truth comes from our participation in the Sacred Liturgy. Not virtually, but by our active and physical participation in the Eucharist and the other sacraments.
In the end, God doesn’t want lukewarm children of faith, who make excuses for themselves. He wants children who are strong and firm in their faith. Such firmness of faith comes from the frequent participation in the Eucharist where we meet Christ. On the Day of Judgment, there will be no opportunity to offer excuses as to why we lapsed in living our faith.
When we stand before the throne of God, we must like John the Baptist exclaim: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Then, in turn, we long to hear the loving response from our Lord: “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of time.”

Maryland “Catholic” Hospital Loses… Diocese Curbs Gender “Wokeness”

January 23, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on Maryland “Catholic” Hospital Loses… Diocese Curbs Gender “Wokeness”

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

By now I think most have seen or heard about the un-woke gender policies that have been adopted by Des Moines Bishop William Joensen. As diocesan clergy, I received an advance copy of the policy but was still surprised when an old Creighton buddy called at 7:30 in the morning it was released to the public to congratulate me for having a bishop willing to take a firm stand on this gender identity nonsense infecting society.
It seems he heard of our new policy on the FOX News program Fox and Friends which I actually had on at the time. I also noticed the story was picked up nationally by Newsmax as well. Now I can’t listen to them all, but at least before 8 a.m. the story had made it to two national outlets.
But, more about that at the end, I first want to start in Maryland where a “Catholic” hospital lost a round in federal court to a transgender man — that is, a woman who is making the change — for damages when the hospital, citing Catholic ethical teachings and Catholic medical guidelines, refused to perform a hysterectomy.
The man (I guess) was suing the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), and the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, among others, over the refusal to allow the hysterectomy to be performed in its hospital. The hospital had claimed protection from the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which basically protects religious institutions from government interference.
Now, before we get into the weeds of the case, we should determine exactly how a public institution was seeking protection of a legal doctrine and federal statute designed to protect religious communities, and why it cited Catholic teaching as a reason to object to the hysterectomy request.
Long story, but to make it short, here’s why, as explained by the court:
“The medical center was owned and operated as a Catholic hospital by Catholic Health Initiatives prior to being purchased by UMMS. When UMMS purchased the medical center in 2012, a condition of the ‘Asset Purchase Agreement’ was that ‘UMMS . . . shall continue to operate [St. Joseph] in a manner consistent with Catholic values and principles including complying with a ‘formal reporting mechanism’ to ensure St. Joseph is held accountable for its ‘Catholic identity.’ Specifically, UMMS agreed to ensure that St. Joseph’s board implemented the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services (the “ERDs”), as promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in St. Joseph’s provision of health care….
“Around the time of the sale, each of the defendants entered into a ‘Catholic Identity Agreement’ with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore, which provided a ‘framework within which to continue authentic Catholic traditions and practices’ at St. Joseph. This agreement provides that, every two years, St. Joseph ‘will undergo an audit of its adherence to the’ ERDs by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.”
The court went on to explain that the ERDs — and this was key to the court’s ultimate ruling – say “[d]irect sterilization of either men or women…is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution” but that ‘[p]rocedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available” (emphasis mine.)
The last part of the ERDs quoted is what doomed the ship for the defendants. They had argued that they must comply with the Catholic teachings on gender transition that the National Catholic Bioethics Center, which audits hospital compliance, articulates as Catholic teaching in its guidance document: “Gender transitioning of any kind is intrinsically disordered because it cannot conform to the true good of the human person, who is a body-soul union unalterably created male or female. Gender transitioning should never be performed, encouraged, or positively affirmed as a good in Catholic health care.”
But the plaintiff argued that this was not a simple procedure to change gender, but that it was an allowed exception to the guidelines because it was being used to treat a known condition, gender dysphoria. It cited the testimony of the hospital’s chief medical officer as stating that hysterectomies were frequently performed at the hospital when connected with an identifiable medical condition that could not be solved by other means, “so long as [a] hysterectomy is consistent with the standard of care for a given diagnosis, the hysterectomy may be performed [at St. Joseph].”
Thus the court found that the medical ethics would have been satisfied had the hospital approved the surgery since gender dysphoria is a recognized medical disorder and the requested surgery was not for the purpose of elective sterilization but to treat this particular individual’s medical condition for which there was no other available treatment.
Accordingly, the court found that since St. Joseph was — for the purposes of this case — a “state actor” – the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply and therefore its refusal to perform the hysterectomy was discrimination on the basis of sex and granted summary judgment to the plaintiff.

The Diocese Of Des Moines

Now, getting back to my home diocese. Our bishop has issued a document, pastoral in tone, but controversial nonetheless. In it he speaks of concern for our brothers who experience gender confusion and how the Church must continue to love and assist them in their travails. Two paragraphs, I think, sum up what he is trying to say, but for space needed to be edited here:
”In a culture that advances a highly subjective conception of love, many families of an adult or child with gender dysphoria will feel a sense of obligation to support their loved one by acceding to and advocating for an uncritical sense of ‘whatever is going to make them happy’….[Family members] will likely face pressure…from the prevailing culture to affirm and validate their loved one’s newly adopted gender and, in conjunction with medical personnel, to ‘resolve’ the dysphoria by electing to pursue surgical and hormonal interventions aimed at altering the biological sex of the affected person.
“Such treatments, especially for children, are invasive and disruptive when aspects of the entire person are taken into consideration…[but] these treatments do not promote the common good of society, particularly when it comes to the institutions of marriage and family….
“For the parents of a child who presents with gender dysphoria, the overarching priority is to genuinely assist the child by acknowledging the suffering involved and to accompany him or her along the path to personal healing, self-acceptance, integration, and peace. Any response that merely ratifies and reinforces the perceived disconnect between biological sex and gender affiliation is not genuine compassion.”
Here are the diocesan guidelines:
All entities of the diocese in areas where designation by sex is required the use of the person’s biological sex shall be used and pronouns must reflect this. No preferred pronouns may be used. All persons will use the bathrooms and locker rooms that matches their biological sex.
Participation in school, parish, and co-curricular activities must be consistent with the participant’s biological sex; all persons are to present themselves in the attire of their biological sex; entry into single-sex building and instructions are restricted to persons by their biological sex; no person is permitted to have or distribute any medication for the purpose of gender reassignment on Church property.”
This, of course, is a shorthand version of the document; the full document can be found at: https://www.dmdiocese.org/resources/evangelization-catechesis/catechetical-services/cladd.
Unfortunately, some have taken this as an affront to the LGBTQ community. One Democratic state senator suggested that Jesus would not be happy with this document. Sorry, senator. I think Jesus would thank the bishop for complementing His Father’s creation.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every week on Faith On Trial at https://iowacatholicradio.com/faith-on-trial/)

Biden: Truth Or Falsehood

January 22, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on Biden: Truth Or Falsehood

By BARBARA SIMPSON

After all the headlines, media chatter, and accusations about the classified documents found in Donald Trumps’ Florida home, you would think that the opposition party, the Democrats, would be doing all it could to keep their own record clean.
Not so, given the revelations about the classified papers being found in Joe Biden’s properties — from his home in Delaware, in his garage, in his office at Penn State and even in his own office.
The search continues and as more and more classified papers are being found, President Biden has not said anything about how and why the papers are so scattered. Biden now has his own lawyers doing most of the searching but what the result of this will be remains to be seen. Will he be charged with mishandling the classified papers? Don’t count on it. This is big time politics, after all.
How and why those papers are there — we may never know — the ways of politics are always a maze of hidden intentions.
Another area involving President Biden deals with the issue of aliens from a number of foreign countries crossing our Southern border, gaining illegal entrance into this country. There are hundreds of thousands of them and when they are here, they are the beneficiaries of our largesse — food, clothing, housing, medical attention, education, and more.
What seems to be going on is that there is an actual intent on the part of Democrats to have these people get citizenship, whether they earn it or deserve it or not. In fact, New York Sen. Charles Schumer has stated openly he is in favor of “citizenship for illegal aliens.” In fact, he has said, “If we can get ten Republicans to join us, we will get this done by the end of the year.”
He said, “It’s the smart — right — moral — and humane thing to do.” He said, “We want to assure everyone that we will not stop fighting till we get a fix for DACA, a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, and a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented.”
Given that there is great opposition to granting open and free citizenship to illegals, this promises to end up being a huge political fight between the parties.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimate of the number of illegal aliens living in this country now is at least 11.4 million. They are scattered across all 50 states. While the number continues to grow daily at the border, governors in those states are sending busloads of illegals to northern states causing problems for politicians there.
Americans should realize that not all of those people are Hispanic. Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement mistakenly released the names and other identity details of more than 6,252 migrants seeking U.S. protection. The publicity raised fears for their safety. Among them were 63 Russians, along with Chinese, Iranians, Mexicans, and Venezuelans.
To complicate the matter even further, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, a Democrat with presidential ambitions, is implementing a new law in his state that allows recently arrived border crossers (read that as “illegals”) to police American citizens as law enforcement officers with local, county, and state agencies.
Current law requires such positions to be filed by citizens — the new law eliminates that. It allows recent border crossers to be given work permits by the Biden administration to secure jobs as California law enforcement officers.
As reported in Breitbart, from February 2021 to October 2022, Biden’s DHS has released at least 1.4 million illegal aliens into the United States, and most have been given work permits.
While you may think that most of them are Hispanics, think again. The Biden DHS has extended temporary amnesty status (TPS) to thousands of Somali nationals who are eligible for deportation. This will allow more than 2,600 Somali Nationals to remain living and working here.
In May 2021, Biden awarded TPS to more than 100,000 Haitians living in this country who would otherwise would have been eligible for deportation. Since then, it’s been reported that DHS has seen a significant spike in tens of thousands of Haitian border crossers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border on a monthly basis.
One issue that needs to be addressed is that there are thousands of people who have notices of cases that are supposed to be addressed in U.S. Immigration Courts. How many?
The last estimate that I was able to ascertain is that there is a backlog of 2,023,441 cases!
Anyone want to wager a bet that President Joseph Biden is aware of that, or even cares?

Biden’s Open Borders Kill Thousands Of Americans

January 21, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on Biden’s Open Borders Kill Thousands Of Americans

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

For the last two years, Joe Biden has declared January to be “National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.”
Curiously, on his visit to El Paso on January 8, he forgot all about it.
His neglect endangers hundreds of thousands of American lives.
The term “Coyotes” refers to a powerful and extensive network of criminal gangs that traffic in drugs, sex slavery, and illegal aliens. They are also known as “Cartels.” They control a significant portion of Mexico, but are also active internationally, running throughout Latin American and, through powerful domestic gang affiliates, most of the United States.
The Coyotes work closely with the Communist Chinese, who produce the deadly drug Fentanyl. The Chinese use the Coyotes as their distributors throughout the Western Hemisphere.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, it is a medicine that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery.”
Fentanyl is also widely available from the Coyotes in various illegal and deadly forms. They kill some 100,000 Americans a year.
Although Fentanyl did not come up in media coverage of Biden’s El Paso visit, he had mentioned the drug briefly on January 5:
“[S]ince August of last year, Customs and Border Patrol [Customs and Border Protection] have seized more than 20,000 pounds of deadly Fentanyl,” Biden told reporters. “That’s enough to kill — kill as many as 1,000 people in this country. Twenty thousand pounds of Fentanyl. It’s a killer. It’s a flat killer.”
In reality, that quantity of Fentanyl is enough to kill everyone in the United States. Last month the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced its laboratory “estimates that these [2022] seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of Fentanyl.”
In addition, Texas and Florida law enforcement agencies have seized enough Fentanyl to wipe out the entire populations of both states.
The Center Square reports that the DEA issued several public safety alerts last year about Fentanyl. Last October, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned of Mexican cartels targeting young Americans with rainbow Fentanyl pills, fake prescription pills that look like candy but are laced with Fentanyl.
Moody called on Biden to demand that Mexico take action to prevent Fentanyl from pouring across the border. She said she was “deeply concerned” because in his meetings with the Mexican president they didn’t appear “to discuss the deluge of illicit Fentanyl flooding across our border from Mexico or the record number of Americans dying because of your failure to take action and stop the unmitigated flow of this deadly poison.”

Biden Strikes Out
But Cashes In . . .

Biden did nothing. Not then, not in El Paso, and not in Mexico City on January 9, when he met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
According to the U.S. Embassy’s official “readout” of the meeting, “The two leaders…discussed increased cooperation to prosecute drug traffickers and dismantle criminal networks, disrupt the supply of illicit precursor chemicals used to make Fentanyl, shut down drug laboratories, and prevent trafficking of drugs, arms, and people across our shared border.”
This pleasant palaver is “all show no go.” There is no “cooperation” to “increase.” Neither AMLO nor Biden want it. After all, a good-size portion of Mexico is controlled not by AMLO, but by the Cartels. In fact, in April 2021, Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News that “the Border Patrol no longer controls the U.S.-Mexico border, the cartels do.”
And that’s fine with Joe.
The next day Biden and AMLO were joined by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. What did they accomplish? The joint “Declaration of North America” published by the White House spells out their priorities: “1) diversity, equity, and inclusion; 2) climate change and the environment; 3) competitiveness; 4) migration and development; 5) health; and 6) regional security.”
They put “security” last for a reason.
Even though Biden’s own Drug Enforcement Agency has repeatedly emphasized the danger posed by Fentanyl trafficking, he has fought every effort to tighten border controls to prevent it.
Biden’s lip service on Fentanyl and the Coyotes distributing it might stem from his reluctance to criticize the Communist Chinese regime and its Coyote Cartel trafficking partners.
Congressional hearings this year might delve more deeply, but it’s already clear that Communist China has made Joe Biden very rich, and Biden has made the Coyote Cartels very rich.
No way is Biden going to shut down anything. It will be business as usual.

But He Continues To
Push Radical Sex Agenda

On December 30, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, held that separating use of male and female bathrooms in public schools based on students’ biological sex does not violate either the Equal Protection Clause or Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [Adams v. School Board of St. Johns County, Florida].
The opinion merely affirms the commonsense notion that boys got to the boys’ restroom and girls go to the girls’ restroom, but Lambda Legal, a homosexual law firm, has been advocating otherwise for four years.
Meanwhile, on January 12, Oregon Federal Judge Ann Aiken, a Clinton appointee, dismissed a case brought by “40 LGBTQ+ students” insisting that they were discriminated against by religious schools, also citing Title IX. (Hillary Clinton undoubtedly raged at Bill about Aiken’s decision: One can imagine her screaming, “Why did you appoint that ditz?”)
No matter how many cases they lose, the homosexual Left won’t stop pushing, because the attack on the family is central to the Left’s broader campaign to weaken the country’s resolve to defend itself against a cabal of radical tyrants. On the sexual front, Phyllis Schlafly and her allies successfully defeated the Equal Rights Amendment long ago, so the sexualized Left has turned to using Title IX as its battering ram in these cases.
The Biden Administration has used the same pretext in its efforts to shove boys in the girls’ room down the throats of Catholic grade school children, soldiers, sailors, and Marines in the Armed Forces, spies and analysts working for the CIA, NASA, veterans relying on the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and more.
When the Biden radicals lose in court, they don’t comply, they get even. Biden issues “directives,” countless federal agencies and bureaus “implement rules,” or impose “mandates,” or sue (at taxpayer expense) — all designed to bring the public to its knees with the bureaucratic version of the ancient Chinese “Death of 1000 Cuts.”
To that end, they can also arrest and drag their opponents into court.
Last September, FBI Storm Troopers raided the home of Mark Houck, a Christian father of eight who had dared to demonstrate in front of a Pennsylvania abortuary. The spurious case against him had already been thrown out by a state court two years ago, but the principle of “double jeopardy” doesn’t apply to pro-lifers, so Houck’s trial will begin in Philadelphia Federal Court on January 24.
Like the other tactics used by the Garland’s Gestapo in the name of “justice,” Houck’s raid, arrest, and trial are designed to intimidate millions of Americans from defending their First Amendment rights of free speech and association.
The massive character of these attacks reveals the Left’s intention: to intimidate Americans and herd us back into the lockdown mentality that made it so easy for government goons to boss us around.
After all, it was all “to keep us safe.”
The leader who effectively unites and organizes the resistance to this monstrosity will win in a landslide.

U.S. Catholic Bishops . . . Condemn Biden Administration’s New Policy On Abortion Pills

January 20, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on U.S. Catholic Bishops . . . Condemn Biden Administration’s New Policy On Abortion Pills

By KATIE YODER

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The U.S. Catholic bishops are challenging the Biden administration after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced for the first time that pharmacies can distribute abortion drugs.
“The FDA should protect the life and health of both mothers and children, not loosen safety standards under industry or political pressures,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Va., the chair of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said Friday, January 6.
“We call on the administration to correct its policy priorities and stand with mothers in need.”
Burbidge’s statement was in response to the FDA’s new decision to allow any patient with a prescription to obtain the drug mifepristone from her local retail pharmacy if it is appropriately certified to dispense it.
The FDA first approved mifepristone, which is paired with another drug called misoprostol, for earlier abortions in 2000. Taken by pill, this type of abortion — approved by the FDA for use up to 10 weeks of gestation — is also referred to as abortion pills, chemical abortion, medication abortion, and telemedicine abortion.
It accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive research organization once associated with Planned Parenthood.
In response to the FDA, Burbidge, who became the pro-life chair in November, warned of the dangers to mothers and their unborn children.
“This week’s action by the FDA not only advances the obvious tragedy of taking the lives of the preborn but is also harmful to women in need.”
The bishop cited a fact sheet by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the national pro-life group SBA Pro-Life America, on the risks and complications of abortion by pill.
“The rate of serious complications after chemical abortion is considerably higher than after surgical abortion,” he cautioned.
“Overturning the safety protocols around abortion-causing drugs to effectively make them available on demand at pharmacies, requiring no in-person medical supervision, facilitates the isolation of critically vulnerable pregnant women and invites more risk, pain, and trauma. It may also result in new violations of conscience for pharmacy workers who cannot dispense such drugs.”
The FDA’s new decision comes after the agency warned in November about the dangers of health professionals prescribing mifepristone to women before they are pregnant after it had previously loosened restrictions on the drug.
In December 2021, the agency lifted restrictions on mifepristone distribution. The decision authorized doctors to prescribe the drugs online and mail the pills, allowing pregnant women to perform early abortions without leaving their homes.
As pro-life chair, Burbidge reaffirmed the Church’s position on life.
“The Catholic Church is consistent in its teaching on upholding the dignity of all life, and that must include care for both women and their children,” he said. “We decry the continuing push for the destruction of innocent human lives and the loosening of vital safety standards for vulnerable women.”
The FDA did not provide comment by the time of publication.

The Liturgical Reconquista Of Pope Benedict XVI

January 19, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on The Liturgical Reconquista Of Pope Benedict XVI

By JAMES MONTI

The passing of Pope Benedict XVI on the very last day of 2022 has cast a long shadow over the beginning of the new year as the Church reflects upon the loss of one of her most heroic and eloquent champions in the battle against postmodern secularism.
Yet from this occasion for sorrow there arises the opportunity to revisit his legacy and reawaken in ourselves what he taught us. Among his greatest gifts to the Church was his liturgical Reconquista (Re-conquest), a taking back of the sacred liturgy and the House of God from those who for over four decades had been working to purge sacrality from the Church’s worship. Considering that the papacy of Pope Benedict lasted less than eight years, he achieved a lot in this regard in a short time, perhaps in large part because he had already been deeply engaged in this Reconquista long before becoming a Successor of St. Peter.
The battle over how the Catholic liturgy ought to be celebrated comes down to whether or not what is done at the altar transcends the secular realm — whether or not it ought to be otherworldly, supernatural, sacred. The 1960s saw a major theological push to eviscerate the distinction between the sacred and the secular, to pull down the walls of the House of God, as it were, by declaring that everything outside those walls was just as “sacred” as what transpired within.
Of course, the reality is that when everything is declared to be sacred, one ends up with a world in which nothing is sacred. In the single-minded pursuit of this re-engineering of the liturgy and the liturgical environment of our churches, its adherents carried out a systematic campaign to eliminate as many of the external signs of the sacred as they could, succeeding in a stunningly short time. This radical makeover was also purposefully intended to deliver the message that if Catholic worship could change so drastically, so could Catholic doctrine.
During the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, the future Pope Benedict XVI was already working to reverse this desacralization particularly through his talks and writings. His subsequent accession to the papacy gave him the opportunity to promulgate a return to sacrality with the full weight of the supreme pastoral office in the Church, to affirm in so many substantive ways the simple truth that “the Liturgy is not about us, but about God” (Pope Benedict XVI, July 2004 preface to Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2005, p. 13).
For Pope Benedict, one of the most important expressions of man’s response to the sacred is the act of kneeling. In his landmark book The Spirit of the Liturgy, he exhaustively demonstrates the deep biblical roots of kneeling, and addressing contemporary attempts to eradicate it, declares that “a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick to the core” (The Spirit of the Liturgy, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2000, p. 194).
The gesture of kneeling is most especially directed to the Holy Eucharist, and thus is essential to our supreme encounter with the omnipotence of God in the celebration of Mass, the consecration, a moment that Pope Benedict describes with the utmost awe:
“The moment when the Lord comes down and transforms bread and wine to become his Body and Blood cannot fail to stun, to the very core of their being, those who participate in the Eucharist by faith and prayer. When this happens, we cannot do other than fall to our knees and greet him….For a moment the world is silent, and in that silence we touch the eternal — for one beat of the heart we step out of time into God’s being-with-us” (ibid., p. 212).
Kneeling is likewise the most fitting posture for our supreme personal encounter with our Lord at Mass, the moment of Holy Communion, a point that Pope Benedict sought to drive home during his pontificate by mandating that those at papal Masses who receive Holy Communion from the Supreme Pontiff himself were to do so on their knees. Paired with this was his catechesis on the significance of kneeling, explaining in a 2008 Corpus Christi homily:
“Kneeling before the Eucharist is a profession of freedom: those who bow to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate themselves before any earthly authority, however powerful. We Christians kneel only before God or before the Most Blessed Sacrament because we know and believe that the one true God is present in it, the God who created the world and so loved it that he gave his Only Begotten Son (cf. John 3:16). We prostrate ourselves before a God who first bent over man like the Good Samaritan to assist him and restore his life, and who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet.
“Adoring the Body of Christ, means believing that there, in that piece of Bread, Christ is really there, and gives true sense to life, to the immense universe as to the smallest creature, to the whole of human history as to the most brief existence” (Pope Benedict XVI, homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, May 22, 2008 — Copyright 2008 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
Pope Benedict spoke regularly of the two most solemn occasions for Eucharistic adoration in the course of the liturgical year, Corpus Christi, as seen above, and Holy Thursday, wherein the act of kneeling in the chapel of reposition on Holy Thursday night imitates the posture of Christ Himself in Gethsemane:
“Christians, in kneeling, enter into Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives. When menaced by the power of evil, as they kneel, they are upright before the world, while as sons and daughters, they kneel before the Father. Before God’s glory we Christians kneel and acknowledge his divinity; by this posture we also express our confidence that he will prevail” (Pope Benedict XVI, homily at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday, April 5, 2012 — Copyright 2012 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
For Pope Benedict, another essential expression of the sacred was the music chosen for the sacred liturgy, the musical settings of the Mass texts themselves and the hymns, motets, and instrumental music selected to accompany the sacred rites. The virtual abolition of Gregorian chant that had rapidly transpired following Vatican II in blatant contradiction to the directive expressed in this regard in Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (n. 116) was a disaster that had to be reversed.
The adulteration of Church music became one of the most destructive means employed by those who sought to desacralize the liturgy, imposing the dictum that only “profane music” would henceforth be allowed a place in Catholic worship, so as to fit their ideological narrative that “Christianity recognizes no other sacredness and no other sacred space than that of everyday life” (Pope Benedict XVI, “Theological Problems of Church Music,” Sacred Music, volume 135, 2008, n. 1, p. 9).
For Pope Benedict, it was unthinkable that such banal music had taken the place of the “greatness of Western music from Gregorian chant to polyphony to the Baroque age, to Bruckner and beyond” which he described as “the most immediate and the most evident verification that history has to offer of the Christian image of mankind and of the Christian dogma of redemption” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, writing in 1986, quoted in Tracey Rowland, Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed, London, T & T Clark, 2010, p. 30).
Pope Benedict repeatedly made the case for a return to the immemorial practice of celebrating the Mass ad orientem, facing toward the East, a corrective so manifestly justified by liturgical symbolism, eschatology, and liturgical history that it is a sheer wonder that this has remained a contested issue. Among the Pontiff’s many insightful comments on the inherent value of both the priest and the people being turned toward the Lord as the Mass unfolds is his observation that within the context of the Church’s continual expectation of the second coming of Christ “every Mass is an approach to the return of Christ,” and hence most fittingly celebrated facing the direction associated with the Parousia, the East (The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1986, pp. 140-141).

Vindicating The Traditional Liturgy

A key affirmation of Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical thought, expressed in his Spirit of the Liturgy and elsewhere, is the need to repudiate the a priori assumption of all too much of the liturgical decision-making of the past sixty years — namely that the liturgy must be “cleansed” of the supposed “decadence” of medieval and Baroque Era practices and influences (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 82).
This brings us to what is arguably the boldest of all the liturgical initiatives of Pope Benedict, his 2007 decision to normalize the return to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and the other pre-1962 forms of the liturgical rites of the sacraments and the Divine Office, to raise the celebration of the preconciliar Mass from a status of merely being tolerated to a place of honor side by side with the “Novus Ordo” form of the sacred liturgy.
His decision effectively overthrew the premise that the preconciliar liturgy was fatally flawed because of its medieval and Baroque Era accretions and that its underlying theology was hopelessly outdated and irreconcilable with Catholicism in the present age. The Pontiff expresses this vindication of the Traditional liturgy in no uncertain terms in his letter to the bishops of the world accompanying his apostolic letter on the preconciliar liturgical books, Summorum Pontificum:
“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful” (Pope Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops accompanying the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, July 7, 2007 — Copyright 2007 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
We are all painfully aware that there is an ever-widening effort to cancel much of the liturgical legacy of Pope Benedict XVI, with not only the freedom to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass being rolled back and stifled but in some places even the freedom to do anything in the celebration of the Novus Ordo liturgy that might look “too traditional,” the very sort of things that Pope Benedict believed would enrich the liturgy.
Yet there is nothing that can erase from our hearts and minds the memory of what Pope Benedict has taught us. And there is a whole generation of young priests who have been interiorly formed in the genuine spirit of the liturgy that Pope Benedict taught. The liturgical Reconquista of Pope Benedict is not over — in God’s good time it will flourish anew. Requiescat in pace.

Republican Majority Sets Ambitious Goals For 118th Congress

January 18, 2023 Frontpage Comments Off on Republican Majority Sets Ambitious Goals For 118th Congress

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Some observers made a big deal of the turmoil during the first hours of the 118th Congress, but all in all, it was pretty routine: The Republicans’ purpose was to answer the age-old question posed by Secretary of State Al Haig upon hearing on March 30, 1981 that President Reagan had been shot:
“Who’s in charge here?”
Once the dust settled, the Republican majority got to work on its agenda. On that score, Ohio Cong. Jim Jordan laid out the game plan.
“In two years’ time,” he said, “we have a border that is no longer a border, we have a military that can’t meet its recruitment goals. We have bad energy policy, bad education policy, record spending, record inflation, record debt, and a government that has been weaponized against We the People — against the very people we represent.”
Jordan’s first goal: “So, we need to pass legislation to address all that.”
“All that”? Quite a challenge in any Congress.
Well, Jordan’s second goal was more specific, but equally ambitious: “Pass a budget and responsible appropriation bills.”
Well, what happens then? Like all legislation, appropriation bills have to be passed by the Senate, and then signed by the president. What are the chances of that happening in 2023?
Jordan was hopeful but not optimistic: “I hope my Democrat colleagues will join me, I really do. But I have my doubts. And if they don’t, and if Chuck Schumer says ‘No, we’re not going to take up that legislation’ that we pass, and if Joe Biden won’t sign it, so be it, they’ll have to answer to the people in 2024.”
Right there, Mr. Jordan concedes defeat — and he admits as much. Because Schumer won’t take it up and Biden wouldn’t sign it. Period.
Well, Jordan muses, “we can stand firm on a CR or something, we can have that fight.”

Continuing Resolution
Or Continuing Chaos?

For Jordan, “that fight” means a bill called a “Continuing Resolution” (CR). The CR is required when the Congress doesn’t pass those twelve appropriations bills, all of them, each considered separately on the floor in a timely fashion.
And that hasn’t happened in years.
As the expiration date (usually the end of the current fiscal year) of the last appropriations bill approaches, the majority party quickly concocts a bill to “continue” the expenditures approved for the previous fiscal year.
Jordan addresses the most recent instance, which was a disaster: “We can never ever let a bill like the one that passed 12 days ago, $1.7 trillion, we can never, ever let that kind of legislation pass again,” he said.
That bill, a Continuing Resolution, was passed on a party-line vote on December 23, just hours before a deadline that would have shut down the federal government on Christmas Eve. The bill authorizes federal expenditures until September 30, 2023. If twelve new appropriations bills don’t pass between now and September, “we can have that fight,” Jordan says — we can have another CR, a Republican CR this time — and fight for it.
If Schumer’s Democrat Senate majority won’t pass it, then Republicans can either cave or fight. If they fight, they risk a shutdown.
That risk will require a large dose of “fight.” Historically, Republicans freak out about shutdowns. As the deadline approaches, Democrats scream that hospitals will close and the poor will die in the streets, all because of stingy Republicans. Compliant media will join the chorus.
Curiously, during a shutdown — normally very short-lived — only “nonessential” government employees are sent home. Unfortunately, instead of being fired (they are “nonessential,” aren’t they?), they routinely enjoy a paid vacation and come back with uninterrupted salary and benefits when Congress finally passes a CR. [In similar fashion, thousands of federal bureaucrats were sent home during the China Virus lockdowns. Many of them performed no work for months, or more. Their salaries, benefits, and automatic promotions continued throughout.]
On to Jordan’s third goal — investigations.
Republicans have talked it up a lot this past year. But they don’t call the embedded bureaucracy the Deep State for nothing. Since the 1960s, career federal employees have looked at Republicans in the White House and Capitol Hill as temporary political employees — amateurs. They treat their agenda accordingly.
So in the coming investigations, Democrats called to testify will use the hearings on the Muller investigation charade as their model. They’ll make sure that Jordan’s widely touted investigations will be “all show and no go.”
State Media’s Usual Suspects will ignore them, the guilty will have amnesia, the bad guys will wipe their phones, stonewallers will insist, “that’s classified,” and they’ll do it all year. If criminal referrals are made, they’ll go to Biden’s Justice Department, where they will die.
In early 2024, investigations will fold as elections take over, and it will be business as usual.
If Joe Biden doesn’t get us into a nuclear war with Russia first, that is.

Forecast: A Slight
Chance Of Pain

But wonders never cease, and some budget-cutting Republicans might use the power of the purse in a positive way.
Why not defund the Departments of Education and Homeland Security, NPR, PBS, and every self- perpetuating “peer review” federal government grant committee in Washington? Sending those billions back to the states would be wildly popular beyond the DC Beltway. The targets are legion.
Let the Democrats fight that for a change. Because otherwise, they’ll just continue filling their airwaves with attacks on the GOP as MAGA, extremist, white supremacist, revolutionary, and insurrectionist — and threaten a shutdown when the current CR expires six weeks before the 2024 general election.

Potemkin President
Visits Potemkin Village On The Southern Border

For the first time in two years, Joe Biden visited El Paso on January 8 to tour the border.
El Paso’s KFOX TV described the visit as “highly controlled.” Migrant settlements were everywhere when Pitt barely defeated UCLA 37-35 in El Paso’s Sun Bowl on December 30, but federal officials and their “nonprofit” grantees had stealthily cleared the streets by night and cleaned up the trash before Biden’s arrival.
When Biden visited a “migrant center,” why, there weren’t any migrants! They’d been cleared out as well. The migrants, the mess, and the chaos, had all been magically “disappeared.”
Three Democrat House Members joined Biden’s entourage, while the White House barred GOP border Cong. Tony Gonzales. Biden’s handlers finally informed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — the night before Biden’s arrival — that he would be allowed to greet Biden briefly as he arrived the next day.
Gov. Abbott made the most of it.
As he shook hands with Biden, the governor handed him a letter and sternly suggested that he do his job and protect the border.
Abbott’s letter was blunt. “Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late. Moreover, your visit avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies.
“Even the city you visit has been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun downtown El Paso because your Administration wants to shield you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis.”
“This chaos is the direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted,” Abbott wrote.
Abbott’s letter specifies five federal immigration laws that Biden has refused to enforce.
But a staffer later said that Biden hadn’t read it. Bear in mind that Biden, suffering from advanced dementia, can’t read anything.
Meanwhile, his handlers routinely tell the public that “the border is secure.” Undoubtedly they tell that to Biden as well.
After his visit to El Paso’s Potemkin Village, our Potemkin President might even believe them.

Twitter Feed

House Republicans approved 2 #ProLife measures.

The first measure would ban #Abortion on babies born alive and require the babies be given medical care and treatment. The other measure condemned a spurt of growing attacks against crisis pregnancy centers.

House Republicans Pass Pro-Life Bills

House Republicans on Jan. 11 approved two pro-life measures. The first measure passed by the House would ban abortion ...

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"I'm afraid that the West will die. There are plenty of signs. You are invaded,still,by other cultures & peoples,who will progressively dominate you by their numbers and change your culture, your convictions, your morality."~ Cardinal Robert Sarah

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Catechism

Today . . .

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Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

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