Despite Flagrant Dissent of Father Hans Küng, Some Church Leaders Pay Glowing Tribute. By Edward Pentin

ROME — Despite his profoundly dissenting views that included questioning the divinity of Christ, rejecting papal infallibility and undermining doctrines on the Virgin Mary, warm tributes were paid yesterday by some prominent Church leaders to Swiss theologian Father Hans Küng, who died Tuesday at age 93.

Father Küng never repented of his positions, which caused him to be formally censured more than 40 years ago by the Vatican as an individual whose views are so contrary to key Church teachings that it was impermissible for him to be considered as a Catholic theologian at all.

Father Küng was ordained to the priesthood in 1954 and came into international prominence at the Second Vatican Council, where he served as a theological adviser, but immediately afterward he began to clash openly with Rome over a range of central issues.

“In the early days of John Paul II’s papacy the tensions culminated in a 1979 declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Küng had ‘departed from the integral truth of Catholic faith, and therefore he can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian nor function as such in a teaching role,’” Catholic News Agency noted Tuesday. “The Congregation cited his opinions on the doctrine of infallibility, expressed in his 1971 book Infallible? An Inquiry, as one of the reasons for the move.”


Cardinal Kasper

Despite this strong official censure of Father Küng’s thought, yesterday’s tributes included respectful comments from Cardinal Walter Kasper that appeared on the front page of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

“My relationship with him was good,” Cardinal Kasper said, adding that it was always one of “mutual respect” and that they “regularly exchanged greetings and good wishes” — despite the fact that they had drifted apart over the doctrine of papal infallibility, which Father Küng rejected and that led to the revoking of his teaching license in 1979.

In his L’Osservatore Romano tribute, Cardinal Kasper stressed that the theologian “was not only a critic of the Church or a rebel” but also “a person who wanted to bring about a renewal in the Church and implement its reform.” At the same time, the German cardinal conceded that Father Küng went “beyond Catholic orthodoxy and therefore did not remain tied to a theology based on Church doctrine, but ‘invented’ his own theology.” He quoted the Second Vatican Council theologian Yves Congar, who described Father Küng as Catholic, “but in his own way.”

Cardinal Kasper, who first met Father Küng as a graduate student at the University of Tübingen in the 1960s, assessed Küng’s ecclesiology as “too liberal,” and said that he departed from the position of “his great teacher,” the Protestant Swiss theologian Karl Barth.

But the cardinal, who served as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 2001-2010, said that even though he and Father Küng differed on the doctrine of justification and ministries in the Church, they mostly agreed on the issue of “ecumenical dialogue.”

“He was a combative man,” Cardinal Kasper said, someone who “criticized in his own way, harshly, and sometimes unjustly,” but on the other hand, “used a language everyone could understand,” especially those “who were far, or had drifted away, from the faith and the Church.”

The German cardinal praised his work on interreligious dialogue, and his creation of a foundation to promote global ethics through the recognition of common values between religions.

Cardinal Kasper also noted that Father Küng’s legacy includes “ideas that have become current in Germany,” even though he said he personally has “doubts about these reforms” as they include women’s ordination to the priesthood and the abolition of priestly celibacy. (Cardinal Kasper also noted differences he had with Father Küng over Humanae Vitae in another April 7 interview, with Corriere della Sera.)

He stressed that Father Küng “never even thought of wanting to leave the Church,” and recalled that Pope Francis conveyed his greetings and blessings to him “in the Christian community” when the aging priest was close to death last summer. Indeed there was a “certain consensus” on the part of Father Küng with the papal magisterium under Pope Francis, the cardinal said, adding that Father Küng was “eager for reconciliation” and wanted to die in peace with the Church.

Referring to the frosty theological relationship Father Küng had with his former colleague at the University of Tübingen, Joseph Ratzinger, Cardinal Kasper said they “esteemed and respected each other but were not in agreement.”

“I must say that Küng had spoken ill of Ratzinger in the past, and this for me was unacceptable,” Cardinal Kasper said. “However, I believe that Ratzinger’s esteem has remained even in the last months [and] I know that Benedict XVI prayed for him; the personal relationship between the two was not interrupted.”


Less Measured Tributes

Cardinal Kasper’s tribute was relatively measured compared to the tributes from some other significant Church voices, including from the Pontifical Academy for Life, headed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

“Disappears a great figure in the theology of the last century whose ideas and analyses must always make us reflect on the Catholic Church, the Churches, the society, the culture,” the academy eulogized in a tweet.

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, also a former student at Tübingen, described Father Küng as “a great impetus for the Church,” someone who “in his own way he loved her very much” and whose “prickly spirit was motivated by the desire to create that Church that the Council had desired.”

Asked by La Stampa to explain further, Archbishop Forte, who was a special secretary to the 2014 Synod on the Family, said the Church is neither a spectator nor an opponent of humanity, but is “leaven in the mass of humanity” and “participates in the lives of people by encouraging justice and peace.”

He added, “Sometimes there were harsh tones, but they were part of the post-conciliar troubles, perhaps necessary to shake up the process.” He said Father Küng, who was a peritus (theological expert) at the Second Vatican Council, “exasperated some people with his interventions” but added that his “profound intent was constructive.”

Regarding relativism, Archbishop Forte said Father Küng saw truth not as “something one possesses and therefore can dispose of at will” but rather “someone who comes to us, who transforms us. In this sense it has a dynamic aspect, which was what Küng insisted on.”

In another tribute, Lucetta Scaraffia, a former editor of L’Osservatore Romano’s women’s supplement, wrote in a commentary for La Stampa that while Father Küng’s hope for a world of unified religions had failed due to Islamic fundamentalism, “his other proposals have been tacitly affirmed, also within the Catholic world, where there is no longer any talk of the need to convert.”

Meanwhile, the head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said in a statement that Father Küng was a “recognized and controversial researcher” who was committed to “living ecumenism” and interreligious dialogue. Despite his conflicts with the Church, Bishop Bätzing thanked him for his “many years of commitment as a Catholic theologian in communicating the Gospel,” and said Küng left behind “a rich theological legacy.”

Jesuit Father James Martin called Father Küng a “towering Catholic theologian,” while his fellow contributor to America Magazine, Jesuit Father Roger Haight, wrote that Father Küng had an “amazingly productive career as theologian, ecumenist, religionist and finally a moral leader of humanity” and that the “Catholic Church, Christianity, other religions and all humanity in a recognizable way are his beneficiaries.”


Critical Perspective

Counterbalancing yesterday’s tributes is the perspective of Professor Stefano Fontana, director of the Cardinal Van Thuân Observatory on the Social Doctrine of the Church.

Writing April 7 for the Catholic website La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Fontana noted that Father Küng’s theological life was the “exact opposite” of that prescribed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and its 1990 Instruction on the vocation of the theologian Donum Veritatis — namely prudence, avoidance of the media, and not to flaunt theological positions contrary to the magisterium.

Not following these prescriptions leads a theologian to think “the future of the Church depends on him, or at least above all on him,” Fontana wrote, which in turn leads to an “historicist and progressive theology.”

Father Küng, like the German Jesuit Karl Rahner, was such a theologian, he said, adding that he was above all Hegelian — the adherer of a philosophical view that the Church was “continually becoming,” guided by the future, not the past, so that only new theological notions are valid. It is what the 20th-century French Dominican theologian Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange feared about Nouvelle Théologie, Fontana said, and of which Father Küng was “basically a child” and “even more reckless than others.”

Furthermore, he said it is a philosophy followed by Bishop Bätzing.

“Küng,” he said, “was Swiss by nationality, but German by theology,” someone “tuned into a Vatican III and eager to meet a John XXIV.” He believed the Church was “established from below and also renewed from below,” and that this “new Church from below” had already begun.

He noted how Father Küng promoted not only contraception and women’s ordination, but also “Eucharistic hospitality” (something also pushed by Church leaders in Germany) and Father Küng “considered it untenable for the Catholic Church to have only one legitimate religion.” The Church, he believed, “had to accept the challenge of other religions’ claim to truth,” Fontana wrote.

Internally, this meant making local Churches autonomous to honor the “richness of variety,” to be against “dogmatic arrogance,” “dogmatic rigidity” and “moralistic censorship.” The Church, he believed, had to live a “communitarian relationship” and abandon a Church “from above, obstinate, reassuring, bureaucratized.” And just as the Soviet Union rehabilitated its dissidents, so he was of the conviction that the Church “should rehabilitate her own, from [liberation theologians] Hélder Câmara to Leonardo Boff.”

“He saw the future of the Church not only in ecumenism, but also in pacifism and a new ecologism,” Fontana said.

He concluded by asserting that Küng’s legacy lives on, most notably in today’s German Church and its synodal path. Some of his ideas are said “with greater grace,” Fontana observed, “but we find them all,” and also in the universal Church where Leonardo Boff helps write papal encyclicals (he’s contributed to Pope Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato Si) and in the cause for Hélder Câmara’s canonization which is now being promoted.

“Many think that we are already in Vatican III and that a John XXIV has already arrived, Luther and Calvin have been welcomed back into the fold, Eucharistic hospitality is the norm, and women are approaching the altar,” Fontana wrote. “While the media covered his outbursts, Hans Küng was busy sowing the seeds.”


Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion. By Pete Baklinski

(LifeSiteNews) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke said that pro-abortion Catholics in public life such as President Joe Biden, who “obstinately and publicly” deny truths of the faith and act against them, must not only be denied Holy Communion but must now face the charge of the “crime of apostasy” where the “canonical penalty” for the guilty is “excommunication.”

“Such a person who claims to be a Catholic and yet promotes in such an open, obdurate, and aggressive way a crime like procured abortion is in the state, at least, of apostasy,” the cardinal said in an interview this week with Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action for Faith and Family.

“In other words, to do this is to draw away from Christ and to draw away from the Catholic faith. And so the second action, which needs to be considered, is a canonical penalty, a sanction, for the crime of apostasy, which would be excommunication,” the cardinal added.

Cardinal Burke, one of the world’s foremost canon lawyers who was formerly the prefect of the Church’s highest court, made the above comment while responding to McKenna’s question about “what can be done now … what is the next step” for Catholic leadership to take in response to President Biden professing to be a practicing Catholic who takes his faith seriously while signing executive orders that directly promote abortion.

Biden has identified himself as a devout Catholic despite working to expand abortion, an act that the Catholic Church condemns as a “moral evil” that is “gravely contrary to the moral law.” In his first two weeks in office, Biden pledged to make abortion available to “everyone” by “codifying” the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which imposed abortion on all 50 states. During that same time, he also revoked by executive order the Mexico City policy that blocks federal funds from going to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide or promote abortions overseas.

Democrats have pledged to eliminate the pro-life Hyde Amendment that prohibits federal funds from going to pay for abortions in programs like Medicaid. In February, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a COVID-19 relief bill which, among other things, will use taxpayer money to fund abortions and the abortion industry across a host of federal programs under the guise of coronavirus relief.

The Catholic Church teaches that excommunication, incurred by “certain particularly grave sins,” is the “most severe ecclesiastical penalty.”

It “impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Excommunication is intended to bring the sinner to repentance for his sins and back into full communion with the Church.

Cardinal Burke, in his interview this week, began his answer to McKenna’s question about what can be done by noting that there are “two things that should be done immediately.”

The first action is that it must be communicated to Biden that he may not present himself for Holy Communion while championing abortion.

“A person who obstinately and publicly denies truths of the faith and actually acts against the truths of the faith or of the moral law, may not present himself or herself to receive Holy Communion,” said Burke.

“And, at the same time, the minister of Holy Communion, usually the priest, is not to give them Holy Communion, should they present themselves. Now, normally speaking, people should understand that the crime of procured abortion is a grievous violation against the first precept of the moral law, namely the safeguarding and promoting of human life. But the priest should warn such a person that he should not present himself to receive Holy Communion,” he added.

Burke said that should such a person after receiving such a warning still present himself to receive Communion, that person “should be denied” the sacrament.

The cardinal said there are two truths at work that must be upheld in this kind of situation that pertain to the reality of the Eucharist and to its worthy reception.

“One [truth] is the holiness of the Holy Eucharist. It is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to receive the body of Christ knowingly and willingly in the state of sin is a sacrilege. It’s one of the worst sins. And Saint Paul said it already in the first letter to the Corinthians in Chapter 11, ‘He who eats the body and blood of Christ without recognizing it, eats his own condemnation.’ And so, in order to prevent a commission of a sacrilege, we have to insist that such people not approach to receive Holy Communion,” he said.

“It’s not only for their own salvation, certainly, but also then to avoid the scandal given to others who see someone who’s publicly promoting grievously immoral acts and yet presents himself to receive Holy Communion. And so that is the first thing and that has nothing to do with a penalty. And people say, ‘You’re punishing.’ No, it has to do with a worthy reception of the sacrament. It’s simply the discipline that is necessary because of the reality of the Holy Eucharist,” he added.

At this point, the cardinal pointed out that the second action that could be taken against Biden is excommunication.

The cardinal pointed out that even those who do not agree with the Church’s teaching on abortion know that it’s wrong for a Catholic to claim to practice the faith and to be receiving Communion while at the same time being a public promoter of abortion.

“They might not even agree with the Church’s teaching on procured abortion, but they know what it is, and they say to themselves, ‘How can the Church that teaches that procured abortion is intrinsically evil, that it can never be right, how does that same Church give the Holy Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist to a public promoter of this evil?’”

“It’s not only a sin against faith, which certainly it is, but even against reason,” he said.

Burke said that any action taken against Catholics in public life who merit such penalties is not for the sake of wishing such a person “harm,” but for the sake of “wishing his ultimate good.”

“Sometimes it is said that if the Church denies Holy Communion to these politicians, that it’s making the sacrament into a political weapon. But that’s not the case at all. The Church is safeguarding its most sacred realities and safeguarding the souls of the faithful,” he said.

“In my judgment, it’s these politicians who are using the sacrament for a political end, in other words, pretending to be devout Catholics and to give this impression so as to gain the support of Catholics when, in fact, they’re not at all devout Catholics,” he added.

Cardinal Burke joins Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life office, in calling out Biden for calling himself Catholic while publicly promoting abortion. Naumann has stated that the U.S. bishops need to “correct” Biden for “acting contrary” to the Catholic faith.

The cardinal said that Archbishop Naumann is “giving wonderful leadership.”

“Let’s hope we hear a whole chorus of bishops who are giving the same message to their faithful.”


Pete Baklinski

So many lies about Covid and Africa. By Anna Bono


“To date Africa has reported more than four million Covid-19 cases and over 100,000 related deaths. Still many regions of the continent have not received a single dose of vaccine while richer countries are on the verge of vaccinating their entire populations,” stated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a meeting with representatives of African countries on 25 March.

Any initial reaction to the Secretary General’s words involves asking many questions. For example, where and from whom does he get his information? How is it possible that a man in his position can appear at an international meeting without having first done his own research? And how does he always allow himself to be so blatantly full of impartiality and hostility towards some member countries of the organization he heads? 

 Guterres certainly didn’t consult the one source that the whole world uses to track the pandemic’s progress: the World Health Organisation (WHO), a UN agency. On 25 March, the WHO reported that there were at least 3,036,768 official cases in Africa and “no more than 4,000,000.” It also reported 76,912 deaths (a maximum of 100,000) and that the “richest countries” were on the verge of vaccinating their entire populations, which is far from the truth. “We see many examples of nationalism and hoarding of vaccines in the wealthiest countries,” Guterres added, “as well as ongoing parallel agreements with manufacturers that compromise access for all.”

But, as any sensible and well-informed person knows, universal access to Covid-19 vaccines, as far as Africa is concerned, is compromised not by the availability of sufficient doses (right now 1.27 billion doses are already destined for the continent, 600 million being provided by COVAX, a programme ensuring vaccines for everyone via donated doses and funds from rich countries). It is compromised rather by the poor possibility of administering vaccines. This is due to the inability of health systems (Liberia has four doctors for every 100. 000 inhabitants, Zimbabwe 19!) and the unviability of entire regions that are at war or under control of armed militias. As Guterres himself admits, by 21 March  a total of 26 African nations had already received more than 15 million doses because of COVAX. However, according to the WHO Regional Office for  Africa, only 736,000 doses had been administered.

African governments may find it politically expedient to accuse rich countries of selfishness, to call for fairness and global solidarity, but they are well aware that this is not the reality. Above all, they know (even if they won’t admit it, the facts speak for themselves) that Covid-19 is an emergency but not one that is devastating an entire continent. It should, therefore, be dealt with by taking a realistic account of the means available and assessing whether and where it deserves priority over other health emergencies, despite the apocalyptic forecasts of millions of Covid deaths and unsustainable humanitarian crises.

Many have praised and held up African governments as models for fighting the spread of Covid-19, despite having such inadequate health systems. If they deserve credit, it is for making risky decisions and taking responsibility for them. The first coronavirus wave in Africa was much less severe than in the rest of the world. The second wave, which started in autumn 2020, was more aggressive. However, African governments continued to take much less stringent quarantine and social distancing measures than elsewhere, and even relaxed them at times, without this leading to a noticeable increase in contagion.

In other words, they put into practice what the late Tanzanian President John Magufuli had said at the beginning of the pandemic to justify his decision to adopt only extremely mild containment measures: “We have had a number of viral diseases, including Aids and measles. Our economy must come first. It must not sleep… Life must go on.”

Magufuli was right. Last year, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo had to fight four other epidemics in addition to the coronavirus: measles, cholera, Ebola and malaria.

A total of 70% of people living with HIV-AIDS and 25% with tuberculosis are African. Tuberculosis affected a total of 2.5 million people in 2016 and resulted in 417,000 deaths. In 2019, 94% of cases (230 million) and deaths (over 400,000) of malaria were reported in Africa and its spread seems uncontainable. In 2019, 1.5 million cases were reported in Congo, 1.4 million in Uganda, 10.7 million in Kenya. The most dramatic situation is in Burundi where there are 5.7 million cases, representing more than half of its estimated 10.7 population.

The deaths are numerous and the cost in economic and social terms is truly frightening. One can understand why the Burundian government has declared that it is “not ready” for Covid-19 vaccines and, like Tanzania and other African countries, it has not yet prepared a vaccination plan. Burundi’s Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, Thadee Ndikumana, announced this on 23 March, saying that his government preferred to wait until the real effectiveness of vaccines was known. We are not against vaccines,” he explained, “but considering the percentage of people who are cured [with therapeutics], which is 96%, we have decided to wait.” As of 27 March, official figures reveal only 2,657 Covid infections and six deaths, or just 0.5 deaths per million inhabitants. Although these figures might be a little underestimated, they still prove that Minister Ndikumana is right.

Anna Bono

Statement on the Reception of Holy Communion by Those Who Persist in Public Grave Sin. By R. L. Cardinal Burke

Many Catholics and also non-Catholics who, while they do not embrace the Catholic faith, respect the Catholic Church for her teaching regarding faith and morals, have asked me how it is possible for Catholics to receive Holy Communion, while at the same time they publicly and obstinately promote programs, policies and legislation in direct violation of the moral law. In particular, they ask how Catholic politicians and civil officials who publicly and obstinately defend and promote the practice of abortion on demand can approach to receive Holy Communion. Their question clearly applies as well to those Catholics who publicly promote policies and laws in violation of the dignity of human life of those burdened by serious illness, special needs or advanced years, and in violation of the integrity of human sexuality, marriage and the family, and in violation of the free practice of religion.

The question merits a response, especially as it touches on the very foundations of the Church’s teaching regarding faith and morals. Most of all, it touches upon the Holy Eucharist, “[t]he sacrament of charity, … the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God’s infinite love for every man and woman…. Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us ‘to the end,’ even to offering us his body and blood.”[1]

It is my hope that the following points of the Church’s teaching will be helpful to those who are rightly confused and indeed frequently scandalized by the all too common public betrayal of the Church’s teaching on faith and morals by those who profess to be Catholic. I will address myself to the question of procured abortion, but the same points apply to other violations of the moral law.

1. Regarding the Holy Eucharist, the Church has always believed and taught that the Sacred Host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, God-the-Son Incarnate. The faith of the Church is thus expressed by the Council of Trent: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread [cf. Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:19f; 1 Cor 11:24-26], it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy council now again declares, that, by the consecration of the bread and wine, there takes place a change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his blood” (Session 13, Chapter 4).[2] Therefore, as Saint Paul teaches clearly in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11, 27).

2. The reception of Holy Communion by those who publicly and obstinately violate the moral law in its most fundamental precepts is a particularly grave form of sacrilege. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us” (no. 2120). It not only merits eternal punishment for the one who receives unworthily but constitutes a most serious scandal for others, that is, it leads them into the false belief that one can publicly and obstinately violate the moral law in a grave matter and still receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. A thoughtful person, before such a situation, must conclude that either the Sacred Host is not the Body of Christ or that the promotion of procured abortion, for instance, is not a grave sin.

3. Can. 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which repeats the perennial and unchanging teaching of the Church, provides: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”[3] The denial of Holy Communion is not an ecclesiastical penalty but the recognition of the objectively unworthy state of a person to approach to receive Holy Communion. The discipline contained in can. 915 safeguards the sanctity of the most sacred reality in the Church, the Holy Eucharist, keeps the person who obstinately perseveres in grave sin from committing the additional most grievous sin of sacrilege by profaning the Body of Christ, and prevents the inevitable scandal which results from the unworthy reception of Holy Communion.

4. It is the duty of priests and Bishops to instruct and admonish the faithful who are in the condition described by can. 915, lest they approach to receive Holy Communion and thus commit a most grave sacrilege, redounding to their own eternal harm and, likewise, leading others into error and even sin in such a serious matter. If a person has been admonished and still perseveres in grave public sin, he or she may not be admitted to receive Holy Communion.

5. Clearly, no priest or Bishop can grant permission to a person who is in public and obstinate grave sin to receive Holy Communion. Neither is it a question of a discussion between the priest or Bishop and the one who is committing the sin, but a matter of admonition regarding truths of faith and morals, on the part of the priest or Bishop, and a matter of reform of an erroneous conscience, on the part of the sinner.

6. Pope Saint John Paul II presented the Church’s constant teaching regarding procured abortion in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae. Referring to the consultation of the Bishops of the universal Church in the matter by his letter of Pentecost of 1991, he declared: “Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops – who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine – I declare 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.”[4] He made clear that his teaching “is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”[5]

7. It is sometimes argued that a Catholic politician can personally believe in the immorality of abortion, while favoring a public policy which provides for so-called “legalized” abortion. Such was the case, for instance, in the United States of America at the summit of certain Catholic moral theologians who espoused the erroneous moral theory of proportionalism or consequentialism, and Catholic politicians, held at the compound of the Kennedy Family in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1964.[6] Pope Saint John Paul II responds clearly to such erroneous moral thinking in Evangelium Vitae: “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.”[7] In his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, Pope Saint John Paul II corrects the fundamental error of proportionalism and consequentialism.[8]

8. It is sometimes said that the denial of Holy Communion to politicians who obstinately persevere in grave sin is the use of Holy Communion by the Church for political purposes. On the contrary, it is the Church’s solemn responsibility to safeguard the holiness of the Holy Eucharist, to prevent the faithful from committing sacrilege, and to prevent scandal among the faithful and other persons of good will.

9. It is rather the Catholic politician, who publicly and obstinately promotes what is contrary to the moral law and yet dares to receive sacrilegiously Holy Communion, who uses the Holy Eucharist for political purposes. In other words, the politician presents himself or herself as a devout Catholic, while the truth is completely otherwise.

10. Apart from the denial of Holy Communion to persons who publicly and obstinately violate the moral law, there is also the question of the imposition or declaration of a just ecclesiastical penalty for the sake of calling the person to conversion and of repairing the scandal which his or her actions cause.

11. Those who publicly and obstinately violate the moral law are, at least, in a state of apostasy, that is, they have effectively abandoned the faith by the obstinate refusal, in practice, to live in accord with fundamental truths of faith and morals (cf. can. 751). An apostate from the faith incurs automatically the penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1364). The Bishop of such a person must verify the conditions for the declaration of the penalty of excommunication, which has been automatically incurred.

12. They may also be in heresy, if they obstinately deny or doubt the truth about the intrinsic evil of abortion as it “is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (can. 751).[9] Heresy, like apostasy, incurs automatically the penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1364). Also, in the case of heresy, the Bishop must verify the conditions for the declaration of the penalty of excommunication, which has been automatically incurred.

In conclusion, Church discipline, beginning with the Apostle Paul, has consistently taught the necessary disposition of conscience for the reception of Holy Communion. The failure to follow the discipline results in the desecration of the most sacred reality in the Church – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ – , constitutes the most grave sin of sacrilege, and causes most serious scandal by the failure to witness to the truth of Holy Communion and the moral truth, for example, the inviolable dignity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the family, and the freedom to worship God “in spirit and truth.”[10]

The answer to the question so frequently posed to me is clear: a Catholic who publicly and obstinately opposes the truth regarding faith and morals may not present himself or herself to receive Holy Communion and neither may the minister of Holy Communion give him or her the Sacrament.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Rome, 7 April 2021


[1] “[s]acramentum caritatis, … donum est Iesu Christi se ipsum tradentis, qui Dei infinitum nobis patefacit in singulos homines amorem… Eodem quidem modo in eucharistico Sacramento Iesus «in finem», usque scilicet ad corpus sanguinemque tradendum, diligere nos pergit.” Benedictus PP. XVI, Adhortatio Apostolica Postsynodalis Sacramentum caritatis, De Eucharistia vitae missionisque Ecclesiae fonte et culmine, 22 Februarii 2007, Acta Apostoliae Sedis 99 (2007) 105, n. 1. English translation: Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, February 22, 2007 (Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2007), p. 3, no. 1.

[2] “Quoniam autem Christus redemptor noster corpus suum id, quod sub specie panis offerebat [cf. Mt 26:26-29; Mc 14:22-25; Lc 22:19s; 1 Cor 11:24-26], vere esse dixit, ideo persuasum semper in Ecclesia Dei fuit, idque nunc denuo sancta haec Synodus declarat: per consecrationem panis et vini conversionem fieri totius substantiae panis in substantiam corporis Christi Domini nostri, et totius substantiae vini in substantiam sanguinis eius.” Heinrich Denzinger, Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals, ed. Peter Hünermann, tr. Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund Nash, 43rd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012), p. 394, no. 1642.

[3] “Can. 915 Ad sacram communionem ne admittantur excommunicati et interdicti post irrogationem vel declarationem poenae aliique in manifesto gravi peccato obstinate perseverantes.” Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition, tr. Canon Law Society of America (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1998), p. 298.

[4] “Auctoritate proinde utentes Nos a Christo Beato Petro eiusque Successoribus collata, consentientes cum Episcopis qui abortum crebrius respuerunt quique in superius memorata interrogatione licet per orbem disseminati una mente tamen de hac ipsa concinuerunt doctrina – declaramus abortum recta via procuratum, sive uti finem intentum seu ut instrumentum, semper gravem prae se ferre ordinis moralis turbationem, quippe qui deliberata exsistat innocentis hominis occisio.” Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Litterae Encyclicae Evangelium vitae, “De vitae humanae inviolabili bono,” 25 Martii 1995, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 87 (1995) 472, n. 62. English translation: John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995 (Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995), p. 112, no. 62.

[5] “… naturali innititur lege Deique scripto Verbo, transmittitur Ecclesiae Traditione atque ab ordinario et universali Magisterio exponitur.” Evangelium vitae, 472, n. 62. English translation: p. 112, no. 62.

[6] Cf. Albert R. Jonsen, The Birth of Bioethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 290-291.

[7] “Nequit exinde ulla condicio, ulla finis, ulla lex in terris umquam licitum reddere actum suapte natura illicitum, cum Dei Legi adversetur in cuiusque hominis insculptae animo, ab Eccesia praedicatae, quae potest etiam ratione agnosci.” Evangelium vitae, 472, n. 62. English translation: p. 113, no. 62.

[8] Cf. Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Litterae Encyclicae Veritatis splendor, De quibusdam quaestionibus fundamentalibus doctrinae moralis Ecclesiae, 6 Augusti 1993, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 85 (1993) 1192-1197, nn. 74-78. English translation: John Paul II, The Splendor of Truth, Veritatis Splendor, Encyclical Letter, August 6, 1993 (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1993), pp. 112-121, nos. 74-78.

[9] “Can 751 … fide divina et catholica credendae.” English translation: Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition, p. 247.

[10] Jn 4, 23-24.

Bp. Schneider calls for ‘new pro-life movement’ to protest ‘abortion-tainted’ medicines like COVID vaccine.

An outspokenly pro-life Catholic bishop is calling for the formation of a “new pro-life movement” that refuses to have anything to do with medicines or vaccines derived in one way or another from aborted babies.

“We have to make a new pro-life movement,” said Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, during his February 19 presentation at an online conference hosted by LifeSiteNews titled “Unmasking COVID-19: Vaccines, Mandates, and Global Health.”

Bishop Schneider said that until now, the pro-life movement has been “very meritorious” in raising a united voice against abortion. “But I think there now comes a new time, a new phase, a new period of all pro-life movements to protest, clearly and unambiguously, against abortion-tainted medicines, against the abuse of the body parts of the unborn.”

“This is a new phase, and we have to be courageous,” he added.

Schneider’s call to action comes in the wake of revelations about how researchers procure cell lines used in the development of numerous vaccines — including a number of COVID vaccines — from babies who were aborted alive in order to have usable tissue.

Inizio modulo

Fine modulo

The Catholic Church’s 2020 guidelines permit Catholics to receive abortion-tainted vaccines, emphasizing that Catholics who receive a COVID vaccine connected in some way to abortion can do so in “good conscience” with “the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion” (italics in original).

While Schneider would certainly acknowledge that there is no formal cooperation (that is, a willing participation) on the part of a vaccine recipient in an abortion from which was procured a cell line to make vaccines, he also holds that Christians cannot “simply resign” themselves to the fact that the production of various medicines is tied to the slaughter of preborn babies who are utilized for their body parts.

“The voice of the unborn children’s blood is crying to God from the abortion-tainted vaccines, from the abortion-tainted medicines,” he said. “This voice is crying all over the world, and we have to awaken.”

“No one who is really deeply concerned about the defense of life and the moral law can be silent or can be quiet and can resign to this situation,” he added.

The bishop lamented Church leaders, especially those connected to the Holy See, “who, unfortunately, do not see the grievousness” of the matter.

Schneider pointed out that there is an “accumulation of crimes” involved in the creation of abortion-tainted medicines.

“The first crime is the murder, the assassination, of the unborn child. Then there is the extraction of the cells – it’s a crime, it’s horrible. And then there is the recycling of these body parts. And then there is the commercialization, and so on. And then there is the fabrication of medicines and the fabrication of the vaccines.”

“These are all connected. You cannot separate them,” he said. “When you take this medicine in your body or this vaccine, you cannot say, ‘Oh, all these evils disappear, and I am very far away [from them all].’ This is not true. You are entering this chain.”

“The hour has now come that all people of goodwill, especially believing Catholics, all pro-life organizations have to stand up and make a fiery protest with one voice and say, ‘We will never agree [with], we will never admit [into our lives] these evils.’”

Schneider quoted from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, citing the Russian author’s warning about the moral cost of creating a utopia of “peace and rest” that was, however, founded on the torture, death and “unavenged tears” of “only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist.”

“So, we have to protest against this and start a new movement in pharmaceutics, in medicine, with no connection, not the remotest, to these crimes,” the Bishop said.

Schneider said that Christians in this new movement should be willing to face “prison” and even “death” rather than receive health benefits derived from the murder of unborn babies.

“How can you use for your temporal health benefit the murdering, and all these horrible crimes, of the most weak and innocent unborn children? The end never justifies the means. You cannot enter into this chain.”

He pointed to the example of the first Christians who, when facing times of persecution, chose martyrdom rather than save their lives, their families, their children by putting a pinch of incense in front of a statue of an idol.

“They refused any act of ambiguity or cooperation against the first command of God,” he said.

“I think we are approaching a time where the true Christians will approach a kind of time of persecution. The signs are already there. But we have not to be fearful because God is with us […] If Christ is living in us, we don’t have to be fearful,” he added.

“We have to be convinced that we belong to the winners. And, we have to look at eternity. What is a Christian? I would say a person of eternity. And because we are looking beyond only this temporal life, we are looking on the eternal, we are looking for God’s will. And when we do this, God will always give us Jesus’ strength, his consolation even, and his blessings.”

Source: LifeSiteNews

Italian Philosopher Renato Cristin: The Great Reset ‘Feeds Secularization’ and Paves Way for ‘De-Christianized Society’

The World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” initiative will communize capitalism, technocratize society, feed secularization, and pave the way for a de-Christianized world, Italian philosophy professor Renato Cristin has warned.

The proposal, backed by world leaders and which aims to create a more sustainable future and build solidarity after the coronavirus crisis, would “exacerbate” the current process of secularization and de-Christianization and the Church should not be a part of it, believes Prof. Cristin who teaches philosophical hermeneutics at the University of Trieste in Italy.

An ardent anti-Communist who has called for a Nuremberg trial for Communism, Cristin commented on the initiative for an article in the Register published Feb. 4 on the Great Reset. As always, it’s not possible to include more than a few select comments in such an article, so here below are his comments in full.

Why do you think Pope Francis and the Vatican are aligning themselves with such initiatives as The Great Reset, the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, Mission 4.7, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, etc.?

I think that, in principle, Pope Bergoglio adheres to any initiative that is, even minimally, hostile to the capitalist system. His vision, which is strongly based on liberation theology or on that political theology that originated in Latin America and is anti-Western (and especially anti-U.S.), anti-capitalist, progressive, pro-Marxist, and essentially communist, leads him to embrace any social-economic project that has some of these characteristics. Examples of this are the adhesion to the Great Reset project or to the Global Compact for Migration drawn up by the UN, but also the close relationship between the Vatican and China, with which Bergoglio seems to be in great harmony, to the point that one of the people closest to Bergoglio, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, maintains that “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” and so China “is assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.” China as the world’s moral leader is an image that is too grotesque to be credible, but it is useful for Bergoglio’s argument against the capitalist socioeconomic system and in his parallel praise of poverty as an effective instrument for approaching God. And in this direction also goes the project entitled The Economy of Francesco, which supports the theory of a “communal economy,” which beyond the beautiful formula is in open contrast to the Western capitalist system and leads to very dangerous impoverishment and socialistic adventures.

Do you think that the book The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret, on which the agenda of the World Economic Forum is based, is as serious as some claim it is: an attempt to merge Chinese communism with capitalism, repackaged Marxism, or something else in your opinion, perhaps simply offering a humanist ideal?

Schwab’s book is a typical example of the crisis of the current world, of the lack not only of certainties but also of ideas, understood as firm, clear and solid points on which to build the future. The Great Reset is an example of this deficiency and of the mental confusion with which people try to find answers. I think that the Western world is today, for many reasons I don’t have the space here to explain, under what I call “the mark of chaos,” and that even attempts like the Great Reset are a result of the disorientation that afflicts the Western world today. Of course, the project (I do not speak of “plot” because there is no plot in the proper sense, only the struggle for power, which has always animated human history) of the World Economic Forum is to build a “new world order”, but this set-up, if it ever comes to fruition, will be a further contribution to global chaos.

Today we need theories that are well-founded, solid, clear and effective, that refer to the great values of the Western tradition and that will really bring order to the world, but the Great Reset project is a melting pot of various approaches, a mixture of positions in which stands out a propensity both to communize capitalism and technocratize society. This will have the possible result of creating an economic, social and cultural hybrid in which, I believe, in the end the strongest ideological aspect will prevail, namely socialism. And I fear that the Biden administration will be fertile ground for this confused and feel-good economic-social theory.

Some argue that this is a positive, hopeful document with sensible ideas for making the world a better place, mainly by increasing mutual solidarity after years of consumerist excesses and individualism. What do you say to his point of view?

Progressives, understood not only as cultural Marxists but also as naïve people who believe in the goodness of man and the progress of humanity, see in any seemingly philanthropic theory something positive, a contribution to the betterment of humanity. But if you don’t analyze the contents of a theory in detail, you lose sight of its purpose, which is not always immediately decipherable. The purpose of Schwab’s book is to overcome the crisis of the system by subtracting elements of capitalism and introducing principles of another kind, socialist above all and therefore also statist. Excessive consumerism is not attenuated by greater control on the part of the state, nor by economic “degrowth,” as many left-wing economists and sociologists claim, but by a growth in consciousness on the part of people. There is no trace of the problem of conscience, which is a spiritual and philosophical problem, in Schwab’s book, where the term conscience is mostly used in a pragmatic sense and, in one case, in reference to Confucianism.

In my opinion, in order to overcome the crisis of capitalism we should not look for other economic experiences, because then we always end up, in one way or another, with socialism. Instead, we need more capitalism — that is to say, a strengthening of the foundations and of the traditional and healthy principles of capitalism, which would reduce wild financial speculation and bring the compass back to its classical hinges: production, accumulation, reinvestment and so on.

The Great Reset book does not mention God or religion. Do you think the Church should align itself with such a secular initiative?

The loss of the religious dimension (and therefore the disappearance of the sense of the sacred) is an outcome of secularization that not only affects the Church and the faithful in the strict sense, but also produces a nihilistic secularism that damages the entire Western society, even in its secular institutions and civil structures. Therefore, a general theory of society (as the Great Reset would like to be) should protect and enhance the religious sphere and its institutional structures, while the theory of the Great Reset feeds secularization and paves the way for a de-Christianized society, deprived of a founding nucleus of western civilization, which is precisely the traditional religious sphere.

And so, to answer your question, I believe that the Church should not support this type of initiative that exacerbates de-Christianization, because historical processes are difficult to reverse, especially if, at the gates of the West, there is a religious force like Islam that is radically hostile to our Judeo-Christian tradition and that, although fragmented and lacking an institutional summit, aims at nothing less than the conquest of our societies.  And it is also to negative forces like Islamism that reckless initiatives like the Great Reset pave the way. The Church should instead apply the Social Doctrine of the Church, in its original and authentic formulation given by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, and by Pope John Paul II in his encyclicals Laborem Exercens and Centesimus Annus, instead of following Third World and anti-Western economic and theological-political visions linked to liberation theology.

Fonte : Edward Pentin

Communist Crackdown in China is “Beyond George Orwell’s Imaginings” — and It’s Only Getting Worse. By Edward Penting

(— A British political party report into human rights violations in China released last Thursday aims to show the true extent of state-sponsored abuses of millions of Chinese citizens and argues for international sanctions and other measures to be taken against the communist regime.

The 87-page report called The Darkness Deepens — The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2016-2020 and published by The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, produces evidence of widespread human rights abuses and atrocities including ethnic cleansing, organ harvesting, forced labor (helped to a large degree by global brands), torture, arbitrary arrest, clampdowns on religious freedom and forced confessions.

The document was published a few days before a vote today in the House of Commons on a post-Brexit trade bill which some UK parliamentarians wanted amended to forbid any trade with states accused of committing genocide. The amendment attempt was defeated in a 319-308 vote.

Hong Kong’s last governor of the former British colony, Lord Christopher Patten, called the report a “deeply researched and exceptionally well-informed report” that “gives a terrifying view of the cruelty of Xi Jinping’s brutal regime.”

“To preserve its grip on power, the Chinese Communist Party has assaulted any sign of dissent and has set about building a totalitarian surveillance state beyond George Orwell’s imaginings,” said Patten, a Catholic who helped reform Vatican communications in the 2010s. He added that the report “demonstrates exactly why we must be on our guard in democracies to protect our freedoms and values.”

The report contains testimonies of Chinese citizens, pro-democracy and human rights activists who have had first-hand experience of the brutalities of the regime.  At the launch event broadcast online on Thursday, four Chinese citizens living in exile recounted their experiences and views of the situation.

Rahima Mahmut, representative of the World Uyghur Congress now living in exile in London and separated from her family, said the last time she spoke to her brother living in Xinjiang, the Muslim Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, was on Jan. 3. “He told me in a trembling voice, ‘Please leave us in the hands of God and we will also leave you in God’s hands,’” she said, before recalling the following concerning first-hand accounts she has received from fellow Uyghurs:

“These accounts are from 21st century concentration camps, heart-rending accounts of people who’ve lost loved ones, young and old. Every Uyghur has a similar story, each more horrifying than the other — the effects of the brutal ethnic cleansing and genocide that has been taking place there since 2017 while the world has closed its eyes to the suffering. The most painful part is not being able to offer words of comfort and hope in the midst of the torment. Since August 2018, when the UN acknowledged that one million had been interned in what China called ‘re-education camps,’ growing numbers of courageous individuals have been working to expose truth. They don’t have human rights. It is not about violations. They just don’t have human rights. Our basic human rights are taken away from us by this brutal, cruel regime. Just before I started, I received a message from someone whose mother, a doctor, disappeared two years ago and they recently learned she was sentenced to 20 years in prison. So there are millions of my people suffering at the moment unbearable pain and I am, too.” 

A compelling first-hand testimony came from Simon Cheng, a former local employee of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, who recalled on Thursday how he was arrested on Hong Kong soil by Chinese state security in August 2019 as he returned from a business trip, and then detained and tortured for 15 days:

“I was held for two weeks accused of being a spy for the UK. I was tortured and forced to make a false confession of solicited prostitution and later, treason. I’m currently a refugee … one of those on the wanted list by national security police… The Chinese police give no reason for the arrest, show no badges, and breach personal privacy of citizens. They extract biometric information from people, detain and interrogate people in small cages, and have them placed in a tiger chair [a seat specially designed to restrain detainees]. They carry out brazen interrogations about political opinions, try to frighten citizens with mainland Chinese laws for criticizing the government of Hong Kong, systematically detain Hong Kong protesters and breach the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. This happened to me in August 2019, long before the National Security Law was imposed by in Hong Kong by Beijing… They try to frighten citizens using draconian rules as excuses to further extend detention and to execute persecution. They can detain you for two years without trial and the support of lawyers. They place you in 14 days solitary confinement, part of psychological torture, where there are no hours for exercise, they exclude rights to purchase daily necessities and toiletries. They force confessions, force you to stand and squat for long hours.”

In a detailed submission for the report, Cheng described how he was “handcuffed and shackled on a steep X-Cross doing a spread-eagled pose for hours after hours” and “forced to keep my hands up, so blood cannot be pumped up my arms.” Further torture included sleep deprivation followed by “politically correctional education.”

He added in his testimony on Thursday that Chinese police, state media, and its foreign ministry “collude together in a smear campaign using non-political charges against political dissidents.” Cheng also added that Chinese secret police “hide detainees’ whereabouts from lawyers and family members” and that if a case “doesn’t get public exposure, the detainees can be disappeared.” He recalled how a human rights lawyer was forced to “stand with his hands up in the air for 15 hours and when he dropped them, he was yelled at for being a traitor.” He said the lawyer became “so weak he was unable to stand even for a few minutes.”

The commission report noted that “if the Chinese Communist Party regime tortures an employee of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong in this way, one can only imagine how much worse the use of torture is against unknown mainland Chinese activists who have little hope of any voice in the international community.”

Chinese law professor Teng Biao, himself a victim of “severe torture” at the hands of Chinese authorities, spoke of crackdowns against human rights lawyers in China and how “hundreds” of them have “disappeared” over the past five years, while many NGOs and churches have been “shut down” or “destroyed.”

“All religions are being persecuted, especially Muslims, the Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists and underground Christians,” he said. “Torture is rampant ­— almost all criminal suspects and detainees including political prisoners are tortured” and what is happening to the Uyghurs is “literally genocide.”

Biao added: “The Chinese government has utilized methods to tighten control on society, and it is a huge threat to privacy. High tech social media, big data and modern telecommunications make it easier for the Chinese Communist Party to keep people under total surveillance. Internet is used as an effective tool for censorship, propaganda and brainwashing.”

He said he could give “countless examples” of human rights violations not only in China “but beyond its borders,” and gave as an example Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen and book publisher who was living in Thailand. Minhai was kidnapped in 2015 by Chinese police, sent back to China, and forced to reapply for a Chinese passport because he “published books on China’s top leaders,” including an alleged sex scandal involving President Xi Jinping.

The launch seminar also heard from Nathan Law Kwun-chung who at 23 became the youngest legislator for Hong Kong in 2016 but was soon disqualified when he quoted Mahatma Gandhi when taking his oath of office and said he would rather “stand by my principles and use my conscience to defend Hong Kong.” Law, who stressed the West must cease propping up such authoritarian regimes, said he was jailed, became a political prisoner, and “had to leave Hong Kong to protect myself and to continue speaking for the Hong Kong people.”

China is a “criminal state,” former Conservative Party Leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said in closing the seminar, adding that the Western world in particular has slowly come to realize this reality.

“These are all testimonies of a state we’ve seen and experienced many times before in the past,” said Duncan Smith, a Catholic. “In many of those cases, we’ve done absolutely nothing, and we’ve seen what happens as a result: they are emboldened by the inaction of members of the free world and they think they can get away with anything.”

Edward Pentin

FULL TEXT: Judge Amy Coney Barrett accepts Trump’s nomination to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, delivered these remarks at the White House Rose Garden this evening upon being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.

Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am deeply honored by the confidence that you have placed in me. I am so grateful to you and the First Lady, to the Vice President, and the Second Lady, and to so many others here for your kindness on this rather overwhelming occasion. I fully understand that this is a momentous decision for a president. And if the Senate does me the honor of confirming me, I pledge to discharge the responsibilities of this job to the very best of my ability. I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution.

I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court, should I be confirmed. I will be mindful of who came before me. The flag of the United States is still flying at half staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life. Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession. But she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them. For that, she has won the admiration of women across the country and indeed all over the world.

She was a woman of enormous talents and consequence, and her life of public service serves as an example to us all. Particularly poignant to me was her long and deep friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, my own mentor. Justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed fiercely in print without rancor in person. Their ability to maintain a warm and rich friendship, despite their differences, even inspired an opera. These two great Americans demonstrated that arguments, even about matters of great consequence, need not destroy affection. In both my personal and professional relationships, I strive to meet that standard.

I was lucky enough to clerk for Justice Scalia, and given his incalculable influence on my life, I am very moved to have members of the Scalia family here today, including his dear wife, Maureen. I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago. But the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine, too. A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policy makers, and they must be resolute and setting aside any policy views they might hold. The president has asked me to become the ninth justice and as it happens, I’m used to being in a group of nine: my family.

Our family includes me, my husband Jesse, Emma, Vivian, Tess, John Peter, Liam, Juliet, and Benjamin.

Vivian and John Peter, as the president said, were born in Haiti and they came to us five years apart when they were very young, and the most revealing fact about Benjamin, our youngest, is that his brothers and sisters unreservedly identify him as their favorite sibling. Our children obviously make our life very full. While I am a judge, I’m better known back home as a room parent, carpool driver, and birthday party planner. When schools went remote last spring, I tried on another hat. Jesse and I became co-principals of the Barrett E-Learning Academy. And yes, the list of enrolled students was a very long one. Our children are my greatest joy, even though they deprive me of any reasonable amount of sleep.

I couldn’t manage this very full life without the unwavering support of my husband, Jesse. At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners. As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook. For 21 years, Jesse has asked me every single morning what he can do for me that day. And though I almost always say, “nothing,” he still finds ways to take things off my plate. And that’s not because he has a lot of free time. He has a busy law practice. It’s because he is a superb and generous husband and I am very fortunate.

Jesse and I have a life full of relationships not only with our children, but with siblings, friends and fearless babysitters, one of whom is with us today. I am particularly grateful to my parents, Mike and Linda Coney. I have spent the bulk of my adulthood as a Midwesterner, but I grew up in their New Orleans home. And as my brother and sisters can also attest, mom and dad’s generosity extends not only to us, but to more people than any of us could count. They are an inspiration. It is important at a moment like this to acknowledge family and friends. But this evening, I also want to acknowledge you, my fellow Americans. The president has nominated me to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and that institution belongs to all of us. If confirmed, I would not assume that role for the sake of those in my own circle and certainly not for my own sake.

I would assume this role to serve you. I would discharge the judicial oath, which requires me to administer justice without respect to persons, do equal right to the poor and rich, and faithfully and impartially discharge my duties under the United States Constitution.

I have no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, either for the short term or the long haul. I never imagined that I would find myself in this position. But now that I am, I assure you that I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage. Members of the United States Senate, I look forward to working with you during the confirmation process, and I will do my very best to demonstrate that I am worthy of your support.

Thank you

China’s Catholics and the Church’s Moral Witness. By Michael R. Pompeo

The human rights situation in China has deteriorated severely under the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, especially for religious believers. Credible reports have exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s program of forced sterilizations and abortions of Muslims in Xinjiang, its abuse of Catholic priests and laypeople, and its assault on Protestant house churches—all of which are parts of a “Sinicization” campaign to subordinate God to the Party while promoting Xi himself as an ultramundane deity. Now more than ever, the Chinese people need the Vatican’s moral witness and authority in support of China’s religious believers.

Vatican diplomats are meeting this month with their CCP counterparts to negotiate the renewal of a two-year-old provisional agreement between the Holy See and China. The terms of that pact have never been publicly disclosed; but the Church’s hope was that it would improve the condition of Catholics in China by reaching agreement with the Chinese regime on the appointment of bishops, the traditional stewards of the faith in local communities.

Two years on, it’s clear that the Sino-Vatican agreement has not shielded Catholics from the Party’s depredations, to say nothing of the Party’s horrific treatment of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong devotees, and other religious believers. The State Department’s 2019 annual report on religious freedom provides an illustrative example in the story of Father Paul Zhang Guangjun, who was beaten and “disappeared” for refusing to join the CCP-run Patriotic Catholic Association. Sadly, his experience is not unique. Communist authorities continue to shutter churches, spy on and harass the faithful, and insist that the Party is the ultimate authority in religious affairs.

As part of the 2018 agreement, the Vatican legitimized Chinese priests and bishops whose loyalties remain unclear, confusing Chinese Catholics who had always trusted the Church. Many refuse to worship in state-sanctioned places of worship, for fear that by revealing themselves as faithful Catholics they will suffer the same abuses that they witness other believers suffer at the hands of the Chinese authorities’ increasingly aggressive atheism.

In Hong Kong, the local government’s recent imposition of a Beijing-mandated National Security Law raises the specter that the Party will use the same tactics of intimidation and the full apparatus of state repression against religious believers. Hong Kong’s most prominent voices for human dignity and human rights have often been Catholics, so it is no surprise that prominent Catholics like Martin Lee, the “father of democracy” in Hong Kong, and Jimmy Lai, an outspoken media baron and promoter of democracy, have been arrested, spied on, and harassed for the simple “crime” of advocating the basic freedoms Beijing promised to protect in exchange for regaining sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. I know both men and can attest to their goodness and sincerity of heart. Their devotion to God, to all God’s children, and to a peaceful, free, and prosperous China is undeniable.

Many nations have joined the United States in expressing revulsion at the Chinese regime’s accelerating violations of human rights, including religious freedom. Last year, 22 nations sent a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Council to denounce the CCP’s detention of more than a million Uyghur Muslims, ethnic Kazakhs, and other minorities in so-called “re-education” camps in Xinjiang. The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which includes legislators from democracies around the world, has deplored the Party’s “unfolding atrocities.” The State Department has been a strong voice for religious freedom in China and around the world and has taken steps to hold those who abuse the faithful responsible for their actions. We will continue to do so.

The Holy See has a unique capacity and duty to focus the world’s attention on human rights violations, especially those perpetrated by totalitarian regimes like Beijing’s. In the late twentieth century, the Church’s power of moral witness helped inspire those who liberated central and eastern Europe from communism, and those who challenged autocratic and authoritarian regimes in Latin America and East Asia.

That same power of moral witness should be deployed today with respect to the Chinese Communist Party. The Second Vatican Council and Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have taught that religious freedom is the first of civil rights. Solidarity is one of the four foundational principles of Catholic social doctrine. What the Church teaches the world about religious freedom and solidarity should now be forcefully and persistently conveyed by the Vatican in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s relentless efforts to bend all religious communities to the will of the Party and its totalitarian program.

Pope Francis said in 2013 that “Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did.” History teaches us that totalitarian regimes can only survive in darkness and silence, their crimes and brutality unnoticed and unremarked. If the Chinese Communist Party manages to bring the Catholic Church and other religious communities to heel, regimes that disdain human rights will be emboldened, and the cost of resisting tyranny will rise for all brave religious believers who honor God above the autocrat of the day. I pray that, in dealing with the Chinese Communist Party, the Holy See and all who believe in the divine spark enlightening every human life will heed Jesus’s words in the Gospel of John, “The truth will set you free.”

Michael R. Pompeo is U.S. Secretary of State.

EU, letter to vice president Schinas. Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief: Call to appoint a candidate with a strong human rights record.

Mandate of the EU Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief:

Call to improvetransparency and to appoint a candidate with a strong human rights record