Family & Life: Personal Update - October-November 2019
Dear Friend of Family & Life,
On Tuesday 9th July 2019, 332 MPs in the House of
Commons in London, none of whom represented the people
of Northern Ireland (NI), voted to remove protection for
unborn children and allow abortion on demand in the
province until at least 24 weeks—unless the NI Executive is
reinstated by 21 October.
This well-planned ploy, later passed in the upper house,
alerted the citizens of NI to the threat of abortion and the
danger to the fragile peace of the province. Both Houses of
Parliament in London had ignored the known wishes of NI,
and rode roughshod over the Good Friday Agreement. You
could also ask why the Irish government has remained silent
about this destabilising action of London. Could it be that
Varadkar and his ministers want to see free abortion in NI? Is
their refusal to intervene a cynical exercise to promote the
‘We Were Not Asked, They Cannot Speak’
The response of the people of NI to Westminster’s bullying
was two great marches in Belfast. On Friday evening,
September 6, a large crowd of people, estimated at 20,000,
assembled and walked up the Prince of Wales Avenue in front
of the parliament building at Stormont to stage a silent
protest against London’s unlawful diktat to impose abortion
on demand on NI. They stood with heads bowed and lighted
candles for six minutes to symbolize the six counties of NI.
Sarah Crutchley, one of the organisers of NI Voiceless
explained, “We organised this event which was open to people
of all religions, all political persuasions and all cultural
backgrounds, so we could come together and unite on this
issue, and stand in silent protest... We want our silence to say
two things: that first, we, as the people of Northern Ireland,
were not asked about this change in legislation, and that it
actually goes against public opinion here, and that every
sitting MP from Northern Ireland voted against this change,
and that the unborn children... they have no voice, they
cannot speak so they were not considered in this legislation.”
Secondly, that unborn human beings cannot speak in their
own defence, and we, the born, must speak for them.
‘We Were Not Asked, They
‘Weasel Words’ on Abortion
from Sinn Féin
A Round-Up of F&L’s
US Conscience Laws Call Out
Bishop: We Will Bury the
2, 246 Aborted Babies
UN Called to ‘Protect Unborn
Babies’ and ‘Back Religious
The Hybrid ‘Binding Church
Synod’ to Redefine Doctrine
Priests Warned: Either Face
Jail or Excommunication
Cardinal Pell Loses Appeal
against Abuse Conviction
Free Book: Kreeft’s Latest
Book: A Dialogue on the
Family & Life, 26 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, Ireland.
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Marching for Their Lives in Belfast
On Saturday afternoon, September 7, the March for Their Lives brought 20,000 pro-life
witnesses, according to estimates, to the city centre. The event was led by Precious Life’s
Bernadette Smyth who had no doubt about its significance. “I think the people spoke today, they
voted with their feet. They came out in large numbers. I think today spoke for itself, we don’t want
abortion, it’s not in our name.” One of the speakers was Baroness Nuala O’Loan who called on
Northern Ireland’s MLAs to return to office and legislate on the issue.
‘Law Reform’ or Lawlessness?
On September 7, Alliance for Choice, a pro-choice/pro-abortion group, organised a march
through the city centre and a rally at Writer’s Square, beside a venerable church. A photo shot of
the pro-abortion crowd listening to speakers didn’t suggest much more than two thousand, despite
the best efforts of a sympathetic photographer
Among the supporters at the pro-choice march were veteran campaigner and former MP
Bernadette McAliskey, former MLA Eamonn McCann and campaigner Elaine Crory. Not to be left
out was Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International, who uttered the following gaffe: “Today’s rally
comes at a critical time. Following recent law reform at Westminster we will soon have
decriminalisation of abortion and free, safe and legal and local services... After many years of
fighting, we are finally getting the equality we deserve. Any return to Stormont before October 21
must only happen with agreement on abortion reform on exactly the same terms as has been
secured at Westminster.”
‘Weasel Words’ on Abortion from Sinn Féin
Speaking after taking part in the demonstration, Sinn Fein MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said: “Current
legislation in the north is failing women and remains incompatible with the European Convention
on Human Rights.” Well, no! There is nothing about abortion in that convention, and the ECHR
court has pointedly avoided the issue of abortion for decades. However, putting aside the false
claim of this Sinn Féin member (MLA), her words are an alarm bell for double-dealing. Sinn Féin
believes the House of Commons should have no jurisdiction over NI, and its elected MPs refuse to
take their seats in a “foreign parliament”. Yet, when the House of Commons voted in early July to
introduce abortion on demand, if the NI Assembly still remains suspended on October 21, Sinn
Féin said nothing. Even if they welcomed the content of that amendment, they should have been
shouting about the violation of NI’s constitutionally established assembly.
So, what role will Sinn Féin play in the negotiations with the DUP to restart Stormont? I have
no doubt that some pro-abortion campaigners will have no scruple in scuppering any agreement by
insisting that London’s “law reform” must be introduced, even while knowing that most citizens of
NI abhor abortion, and the DUP will not stomach such an evil law. Sinn Féiners will grind their
teeth in silence, knowing that abortion will only enter the land through the brute force of the
traditional “enemy” in London.
To the thousands of people in NI who have written to Sinn Féin to protest at its support for
“abortion reform”, the standard reply opens with, “The issue of abortion is a sensitive and emotive
one and one that requires compassion.” As Fr Paddy McCafferty put it, “Weasel words”.
News from Adrian, F&L’s National Co-Ordinator
The pro-life struggle must have a spiritual side, be it in private prayer or the Rosary, but
especially the Mass. For this reason F&L has organised Healing Masses, recently in Portlaoise and
Cavan, with more to come. They were well attended, and many felt inspired, telling me afterwards
how this event fulfilled a spiritual need for them.
Pro-Life Training Programme
Our pro-life public workshops have started again with Waterford kicking off and Tuam and
Ennis coming up soon. The workshops are crucial in effectively preparing for the battle ahead.
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They are the places where we engage directly with activists, and where they can discuss with us
the local challenges and opportunities in their area. After we open with an invited speaker’s
address, we break into working groups and talk through argument and media training, all aimed to
learn how we can better help the pro-life cause in their locality.
Breaking the Consensus Project
Our “Breaking the Consensus” live broadcasts are also resuming after a short summer break.
These public talks organised throughout Ireland are broadcast live on Facebook and so far tens of
thousands of people have viewed these meetings where we get to discuss and expose many of the
issues the liberal media ignore.
These talks can be downloaded here: https://soundcloud.com/protectlife
or viewed on: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZTDo9SvaHogEMiOJBvzgBA
New College Project
Our team is starting the pro-life training workshops for students on college campuses across the
country. By the beginning of October all the colleges should be open and at work. We have already
arranged workshops with students on their campuses, and will offer training on how to promote the
pro-life message and put forward the best arguments in a hostile environment.
Our GP Outreach
We continue to offer our GP leaflets at local meetings. One single leaflet, ‘Crisis Pregnancy:
Know Your Options’, in a waiting room of a GP surgery could be crucial to help a mother choose
life as she weighs up her options. It may be the last hope to deter her from feeling she must abort
her unborn baby. The leaflet describes various alternatives to abortion, often not offered and even
known by the doctor or staff.
Life Day Project 2019
For the annual Life Day of 2019, F&L is promoting its National Novena for Life. Please
encourage as many people as possible to distribute the Novena prayer card. Life Day begins on the
vigil of the first Sunday of October every year, and is a great opportunity to promote more prayer
for the unborn, mothers and parents, and all who can help to overturn Ireland’s abortion law. If you
would like extra copies, just call the office and we will get them to you. As part of Life Day this
year we are arranging specialised training for priests and seminarians throughout the country. We’ll
keep you updated as the project progresses.
Social Media Team Report
Social media changes minds and is a powerful instrument of persuasion, now common in
politics and elections, and the advertising of every product imaginable.
Family & Life has long known that it is imperative to build up a active presence in social media,
the fastest, most efficient and growing way to communicate with people. Every week our various
messages reach over 100,000 people, usually welcomed with positive “feedback”.
One of the media campaigns we ran during the Summer was the “In Her Words” campaign. Each
week we featured the story of a woman who had chosen an abortion and now regrets the decision.
While every story is different, the reactions from the public are usually the same. Many know that
women are sold a lie and misinformed about both the nature and the consequences of abortion.
Blog Broadcasts of Public Meeting ‘Conversations’
When Adrian organises a “Breaking the Consensus” public meeting in any one locality, he
arranges for a speaker to give the keynote address on pro-life issues. You may think it’s a lot of
work for the small group of people who come to the meeting. Not anymore! Social media allows
us to place that videoed address on Facebook, not just for our followers but for who knows how
many thousands of web browsers in Ireland and across the world.
F&L’s blog is open to anyone—no fees, no registration, no conditions and no questions.
Remember the young woman who decided not to proceed with an abortion, after finding and
reading our pages. She was so relieved that she felt she had to tell us, but surely there have to be
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others. If our messages reach over 100,000 people a week, like the sower of the seed, we can only
imagine what good they lead to, and the differences they make.
F&L and Protect Life are the two largest pro-life social media pages in Ireland and the Protect
Life page is constantly engaging with more people, especially young people.
A Word about Symbol or Substance, the ‘Free Book’
How many Catholics in Ireland believe in the real presence of Our Lord at Mass and in the
tabernacles of our chapels? There are good reasons for thinking that many don’t believe as their
grandparents used to do before 1960. If they could return next Sunday, they would be shocked by
the noisy chatter and laughs in so many churches after Mass has ended—and sometimes before
Mass. It’s as if the doctrine of the Real Presence is no longer real and true any more. If you
questioned those who receive the Sacred Host—and truth be told—I suspect many would reply
after some thought, “The bread and wine after the Consecration are symbols of Christ. Mass is a
human ceremony that strengthens our faith and our sense of community. That’s it.” Professor Peter
Kreeft has written an excellent book, reviewed at the end of the Update, and is offered as a
corrective to this lapse of faith. Please get it, read it, and keep it for someone near and dear to you.
US Conscience Laws Call Out Vermont Hospital
At the end of August, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), part of the Health and Human Services
Department (HHS) in Washington DC, sent a Notice of Violation to the University of Vermont
Medical Center, a hospital which received $1.6 million in federal funds over past three years. It
informed the hospital that, by forcing employees who objected to assist in elective abortions, it was
breaking federal laws on freedom of conscience.
This followed a complaint from a nurse who was called to assist at what she was led to believe
was a “post-miscarriage D&C” but when she entered the theatre, she realised that it was an elective
abortion, in other words, surgery on a healthy baby and a healthy mother. She was told that, should
she refuse to take part, she would lose her job. The OCR noted that this abortion was not an
emergency, and the nurse’s objection to abortion was well known to the managers.
Even though the above hospital refused to co-operate with the OCR, the evidence of
wrongdoing was conclusive. The OCR’s investigation found that this hospital began to perform
elective abortions in 2017 without telling staff, and operated a staff rota that forced all staff to
participate. Other cases of nurses forced to take part without prior warning came to light, and point
to a deliberate policy of targeting pro-life nurses. As the above letter concludes, the result was “a
moral injury... a crisis of conscience, and... significant emotional distress...” OCR noted that
“forcing medical staff to assist in the taking of human life inflicts a moral injury on them that is not
only unnecessary and wrong; it violates longstanding federal law.”
Conscience Laws Ignored
US “longstanding federal law” goes back to the Church amendments in the Seventies, passed in
Congress soon after the Roe v. Wade diktat in 1973 which nullified all regulations restricting
abortion. From then on, doctors and nurses immediately came under pressure to accept abortion as
a normal and legitimate part of medical care. More recently, the Weldon Amendment in 2004 was
a further “federal conscience and anti-discrimination law” to protect the conscience and religious
rights of healthcare providers including doctors, nurses or other staff, hospitals, health insurance
companies, and institutions and businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. It
ensures that no one or no group will be forced to pay for, supply directly or indirectly, or refer for
abortion or other procedures deemed immoral like assisted suicide.
Representative David Weldon successfully made this amendment effective by attaching it to the
annual act of Congress that sets federal payments to health centres across the USA. If this and other
similar laws are enforced robustly, a hospital, if found violating these rights, could lose its
substantial federal funding, should it refuse to conform to law. The Vermont hospital above has 30
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days to change its policies and practices to become compliant with federal law.
In May 2017, President Trump, following his election pledge, signed an executive order to
protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom of health workers. One consequence of this
action was a revised Final Conscience Rule, issued in May 2019, by the Office of Civil Rights. This
rule counters the trend under President Obama, who favoured “abortion rights” for women and
access for transgender patients against the claims of Christian healthcare workers. He effectively
ignored the Weldon Amendment and encouraged the states to follow his example. (See:
This invigoration of civil rights for health workers, no doubt strongly attacked by the usual
suspects as another reason to hate Trump, is a response to widely known discrimination against pro-
life healthcare professionals in US hospitals, who are forced to participate in abortions, and denied
promotion or face dismissal, should they decline to take part in abortions and other immoral
procedures. For example, in 2014, the government of California made elective abortion—even late-
term or gender selective—a “basic health service” like any other, and ordered all health insurance
providers including churches to cover abortion. In 2016 the same state government passed a law
requiring all crisis pregnancy centres to refer patients to an abortion provider, should they not be
able or willing to provide it themselves. In Illinois, a law was enacted in 2016 to force all medical
persons and crisis pregnancy centres to discuss the “benefits” of abortion and refer patients to
abortion centres, despite their objection of conscience. In recent years, there has been a rising
number of lawsuits from healthcare workers, alleging violation of conscience and coercion, some
claiming to have been targeted because of their religion-based opposition to abortion.
Abortionists Rule the Medical Council
The contrast of the US government with Ireland’s post-2018 abortion regime could not be
clearer. Under the direction of Varadkar and Harris, the Health (Regulation of Termination of
Pregnancy) Act 2018 legalised abortion on request up to 12 weeks, and thereafter under fairly wide
conditions. Turning to the problem of unwilling healthcare workers, Section 22, § 1 allows a person
with conscientious objection to abortion to refuse “to carry out, or to participate in carrying out, a
termination of pregnancy...”, but then in § 3 obliges a doctor to “make such arrangements for the
transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as maybe necessary to enable the woman to avail
of the medical procedure involved”. How referring a patient to another doctor for an abortion
absolves a doctor of participation is not explained, and is a truly Orwellian form of freedom of
Varadkar and Harris have minimal respect for freedom of conscience. They granted doctors and
nurses the very limited right of religious freedom but ignored all other hospital workers. Doctors
are required to actively refer a patient to a known abortionist, and Catholic hospitals received no
freedom at all. This is an abuse of state authority and the work of an illiberal government.
In its drive to implant abortion in Irish medical practice, Ireland’s legislators show scant respect
for religious freedom and human rights. There is little doubt that existing doctors, nurses and
midwives will have a black mark on their records, if they fail to sign up for this evil law, and those
seeking employment in obstetrics will face the abortion test. Pro-lifers need not apply. And this at
a time when Irish health services are facing an acute shortage of doctors and nurses!
An Exercise of Servility
“Conscientious objection” is a right derived from “the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion”, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, § 18. The right to
conscientious objection is not a right per se since international instruments of the United Nations
do not make direct reference to such a right, but is normally characterised as a derivative right; a
right derived from the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Ireland’s Medical Council lost little time in revising its Guide to Professional Conduct and
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Ethics in its zeal to be a full supporter of the new regime, especially the sections on abortion and
conscientious objection (§§ 48 and 49). It deleted those paragraphs, which expressed the pre-2018
view that abortion is not medical care, is unethical and illegal. In its place it enthrones the Abortion
Act, and expands “conscientious objection” in a servile manner, degrading the once independent
Medical Council, now a willing servant of coercive political power.
The previous editions of the Guidelines laid down that doctors had an “ethical duty” to make
every reasonable effort to protect the life and health of both pregnant women and their unborn
children. They also said that while it was legal to give information about having an abortion abroad,
it was “subject to strict conditions”, and added: “It is not lawful to promote or advocate an abortion
in such cases.” These guidelines have disappeared without trace, and have been replaced
with Section 48 which now states: “Termination of pregnancy is legally permissible within the
provisions of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
While Section 49, titled “conscientious objection”, is written in a general manner, it was revised
with abortion uppermost in mind, so it is correct to apply it to this now legalised procedure. The
new section appears to apologise for doctors who refuse to hand out abortifacients pills. Poor
things! They are odd-bods, stuck in the past, but, don’t worry, nanny Council will be watching
Section 49, § 1, excuses a doctor from performing an abortion “which conflicts with your
sincerely held ethical or moral values”. What was a recognised fact not long ago is now a purely
personal and subjective “value”, with nothing to do with medicine.
§ 2 equates abortion to “a treatment or a form of care”, and requires an objecting doctor to tell
patients, colleagues and employer of his objection a.s.a.p. Will pro-life doctors need to wear a
specially designed armband to advertise their backwardness?
§§ 3-6 covers the duty of referral, insisting that the patient requesting an abortion should not be
“distressed”. Is a doctor allowed to explain why he won’t offer this “treatment”? May he talk about
the health risks of abortion? Even the humanity of the unborn child? The text has nothing to say
about these questions except § 5: “You should not provide false or misleading information, or
willfully obstruct a patient’s access to treatment based on your conscientious objection.” This is the
language of pro-abortion campaigners attacking pro-life pregnancy centres and calling for their
suppression. For the authors of this revision, “conscientious objection” has nothing to do with the
practice of evidence-based medicine and medical research; consequently the reasoning of pro-life
doctors must be “false or misleading”. Pro-life doctors, be warned. Don’t expect any understanding
or sympathy from the Medical Council, if a complaint is made against you.
NEWS FROM AMERICA
[By Brendan Gleason] Recently four small towns in Texas—Waskom, in June; and Omaha,
Naples and Joaquin, in September—have declared aborting babies to be illegal within their city
limits. Pro-lifers are now calling them “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn”. Town officials hope to
deter any abortionists from coming into their areas. Pro-life writer Georgi Boorman notes that, until
the US Supreme Court reverses its 1973 Roe v Wade abortion ruling, the towns cannot enforce these
...the ordinances provide a “private enforcement mechanism” by which violators of the ordinance can
be held liable in tort to any surviving relatives of the dead unborn child. Liability includes compensatory
damages, including for emotional distress, punitive damages, and costs and attorneys’ fees.
According to [East Texas pro-life leader] Mark Lee Dickson, “Unlike the provisions that
require public enforcement, these tort provisions can be enforced immediately and do not
depend on overturning Supreme Court abortion precedent.”
North Carolina County Safe for Babies, Too
In Yadkin County, North Carolina, in late August, the board of commissioners voted
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unanimously for a resolution that declares the county a safe place for the unborn, said Keith
Pavlansky, a pastor. Longtime pro-life leader Keith Tucci asks pro-lifers in communities around the
United States to get their local governments to do the same.
7th Annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children
Thousands of pro-lifers gathered on September 14 for memorial services at more than 100
graves and markers for aborted babies in cemeteries across the United States. Detroit Archbishop
Allen Vigneron led one such service at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan. In
Decatur, Georgia, organiser Samantha Harrell said, “We will never know these unnamed victims of
abortion, but we will never forget them or stop calling on our society to cherish the life of every
Bishop: ‘We Will Bury the 2, 246 Aborted Babies’
On September 19, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, offered Catholic
Cemetery in Fort Wayne as a burial site for the 2, 246 aborted babies discovered stored in plastic
bags inside cardboard boxes piled high in the garage of notorious mega-abortionist Ulrich Klopfer,
who died September 3 aged 75. The bishop called for “the proper and dignified burial of the
remains of these unborn children”.
Klopfer aborted babies in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Gary for decades. He admitted to killing
50,000 preborn girls and boys. He had lost his medical licence in 2016 for violations of safety,
sanitation and reporting regulations.
Officials suspect they might find more of Klopher’s victims at an old office of his. The 2, 246
bodies found so far have been turned over to authorities as probes begin. Curtis Hill, Indiana’s
attorney general, said, “We are going to bring our babies home.” Pro-lifers hope to obtain the
babies once the process is complete, in order to bury them—and, one group says, “to give a name
to each of these nameless wee ones”.
Governor Eric Holcomb (Republican) has asked federal officials for their help with the case.
White House spokesman Judd Deere made this statement:
The radical left now defends late-term abortions, including infanticide, while President Trump protects
our most innocent and vulnerable, and defends the dignity of life. A full investigation is needed to
determine whether crimes were committed and if anyone else was involved.
Buttigieg Protected Abortionists
South Bend mayor and extremist pro-abortion Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg
was silent about the discovery of the babies. He has a history of protecting abortionists, including
as late as this August past. When he finally did speak, after several days, he called the situation
“disturbing”—but he qualified his remarks by saying he hoped the incident would not hurt the
abortion cause in any way.
Buttigieg is so pro-aborting babies that in 2018 he stopped a pro-life pregnancy centre from
opening next to a South Bend abortion facility that has been called “a descendant” of Klopfer’s
business. As pro-life journalist Dr Susan Berry reports, “...he vetoed a decision made by the South
Bend Common Council to allow a pro-life pregnancy centre, the Women’s Care Center, to open
next door to Whole Woman’s Health.” She continued, “According to the news report, Buttigieg said
his decision to veto the decision was made based on his beliefs [about] what was best for the
Buttigieg had baldly claimed that “Issues on the legality or morality of abortion are dramatically
beyond my pay grade as a mayor.” He went on, “I don’t think it would be responsible to situate two
groups in a neighbourhood, literally right next to each other, that have diametrically opposed views
on the most divisive social issue of our time.”
Never mind that the staffs of pro-life centres that have opened next to abortion facilities have
been so kind and prayerful toward their neighbours that some have converted to pro-life and to
Christianity. In his remarks Buttigieg unwittingly gave the lie to pro-aborts’ pretence that they are
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“pro-choice”; he simply did not want any competition for his abortionist friends.
Buttigieg’s attempt to stifle the pro-life centre did not succeed. Dr Berry notes, “As the
Washington Free Beacon reported, the pro-life Women’s Care Center ultimately opened across the
street from its originally proposed location.”
Klopfer Visited Adoration Chapel
Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More group for post-abortive women, reports that
after he lost his licence the abortionist Klopfer began visiting the Apostolate of Divine Mercy in
Service of Human Life chapel, which had opened next to his abortion centre in 2013.
In celebrating Mass as he dedicated the chapel in 2013, Bishop Rhoades had said:
Filled with the merciful love flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are thereby moved to love
our neighbour: our neighbour not yet born, in the womb of her mother; our neighbour feeling
desperate about an unexpected pregnancy; our neighbour, blinded by the deceiver, who performs
or cooperates in abortion. This chapel of Divine Mercy should remind all who come here of this
truth... It is only the power of Christ’s merciful love that will bring about an end to abortion and a
new culture of life.
Miss Morana quotes Shawn Sullivan, the chapel’s director, who had said this before Klopfer
He has sat in the chapel. We compiled evidence that led to the revocation of his business and
his licence, and now he helps trim the trees. He converses with us regularly, including today. Fr
Krause blessed him last week. He’s considerably changed now. He is on a road. It was clear he
was transforming. But to what end, I have no idea.
Pro-lifers, of course, hope the road Klopfer was travelling was his road to Damascus and that
all abortionists and their staffs will find that road, repent and reform.
Charges Dropped for Rescuers
After a state’s witness did not show up in court, District of Columbia Judge John Ramsey
Johnson on September 19 dropped trespassing charges against four Red Rose Rescuers. Last March
19, reports Martin M Barillas, they had entered a DC abortion centre to try to persuade mothers
there to let their babies live. The notorious Steven Chase Brigham, who had lost his New Jersey
medical licence for “gross negligence” in killing late-term infants, was operating in DC without a
licence, said the rescuers’ attorney, John C Kiyonaga.
The Rescuers involved were Father Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal,
Will Goodman, Patricia Woodworth and Matthew Connolly.
Impeaching the President?
As our deadline for this issue approached, the Left, ever on the lookout for opportunities to
remove President Donald Trump from office, thought it saw a chance for another attempt. By the
time you read these lines, things will have moved along. At the moment, veteran pro-life political
observers are reminding each other that, when politicians are loudly accusing someone else,
invariably they are trying to draw attention away from their side’s misdeeds. In this case, they are
baying for Trump’s head to try to distract from Joe Biden’s conduct as vice president.
President Trump has pledged to release a transcript of the telephone call that the Left is
complaining about. We will be following developments.
President to UN: Protect Unborn Babies
On September 24 Donal Trump, in his annual presidential address to the UN General Assembly,
said that his administration will continue to defend unborn babies. After stating, “We are aware that
many United Nations projects assert a global right to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand”; he
warned the audience that “global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty
of nations that wish to protect innocent life.”
He added, “Like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child, born and
unborn, is a sacred gift from God.”
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The president also said he would not allow any “international actors” to infringe upon the rights
of US citizens—rights, he reminded his audience, which are affirmed in America’s founding
documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Pro-family observers, though,
were disappointed that the president urged decriminalization of homosexuality. They are mindful
of the many ramifications in law that could result—say, for conscience protections.
President to UN: Back Religious Liberty
On September 23, President Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo and others, told the UN that persecution of religion is widespread around the world
and that governments need to start protecting believers. He also announced that his administration
is allotting $25 million to a new group of businesses that will fight for religious liberty. Said the
Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to
end religious persecution. Stop the crimes against people of faith. Release prisoners of
conscience. Repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief. Protect the vulnerable, the
defenseless and the oppressed.
President Trump reminded his audience of these facts:
The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government, they
come from God. This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and
enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
The president, estimating that on average 11 Christians are murdered every day, said, “We ask
the governments of the world to honour the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience,
live by their faith, and give glory to God.”
US and 18 Nations Back Life and Family
Also at the UN, President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, read a
joint statement by 19 nations that proclaimed “there is no international right to an abortion” and
that governments need to protect the family because it is “the foundational institution of society”.
The statement countered years of utter falsehoods by UN officials about a supposed, but in
actual fact non-existent, “right” to kill unborn girls and boys.
The 18 countries besides the United States are Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
PP Lies about Margaret Sanger
Pro-lifers are calling out Planned Parenthood interim president Alexis McGill Johnson for
insisting, against all facts, that the abortion giant’s founder, Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), was not
a racist and eugenicist. For example, pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger notes that Sanger’s “Negro
Project” (her name for it) aimed to curb births among African Americans and that she belonged to
the American Eugenics Society. Also, pro-life scholar Dr Brian Clowes remarks that her magazine,
The Birth Control Review, carried multiple eugenics articles and its masthead read, “Birth Control:
To Create a Race of Thoroughbreds”.
Ex-Head Rips PP
Dr Leana Wen, the physician whom Planned Parenthood sacked earlier this year, has written its
board to object to its refusal to transmit her severance pay until she signs a confidentiality
agreement. She says she will not do that, and she is not ruling out the possibility of suing the
abortion giant. She says PP fired her for wanting the group to de-emphasise its “stridently political,
Another Smear against Kavanaugh
Not content with seeking to impeach President Trump, the pro-abortion Left also hopes to
unseat Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, from the US Supreme Court. Their latest try,
reviving a previously reviewed sexual accusation from Kavanaugh’s college days, failed of its own
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weight when the news came out that the ostensible accuser’s friends say she does not remember
any such incident.
That did not stop the pro-abortion politicians, however, from loudly demanding that Kavanaugh
be impeached. Neither did a revelation from Debra Katz, an attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, the
main Kavanaugh accuser at his confirmation hearing a year ago, that they hoped to besmirch his
reputation before he ever votes on Roe v Wade.
Abortion Drug Bill
As of our deadline, pro-abortion California Governor Gavin Newsom (Democrat) was
considering whether to sign into law SB 24, a bill that would force student health centres at all
California State College and University of California campuses to provide an abortion-inducing
drug free of charge. Last year, then-Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown (Democrat), also a pro-abort,
vetoed a similar bill on the grounds that the drug is already widely available.
The state government’s financial department has recommended a veto of the bill. There is a
potential for big liability costs that could arise from use of the drug. Last year the student health
centres opposed the original bill; they are not equipped to handle the emergencies. More on this
story for you in the next issue.
Democrat Candidates Back Abortions, Infanticide
The Democrat hopefuls in the race for their party’s presidential nomination in 2020 are abortion
extremists. There is not a unborn baby girl or boy they would protect. They will not even support
saving the lives of babies who survive being aborted.
The Democrats’ candidates who are in the lead at the moment exhibit this type of heartlessness.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), for example, has voted against the Born-Alive
Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would mandate giving the same care to little abortion
survivors that newborns of the same age receive. She also has proposed a bill that would invalidate
almost all protections in law for unborn infants.
Pro-lifer Maria Gallagher notes that not long ago Warren dared to quote the words of Jesus from
Matthew, chapter 25, and announced, “We are called on to see the value of every human being.”
Except, of course, for every human being who happens to be abortion-targeted.
Sanders Invokes Population Control
“Independent” and erstwhile Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) takes no back seat to
his fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren when it comes to promoting the aborting of babies. In early
September he advocated worldwide population control via abortion and artificial contraception.
Sanders also complained, “And the Mexico City agreement, which denies American aid to those
organizations around the world that are—that allow women to have abortions or even get involved
in birth control—is totally absurd.”
Rand Paul’s New Surgery
Pro-life US Senator Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) had part of a lung removed in August as
a follow-up to lasting injuries inflicted upon him two years ago when a left-wing neighbour
blindsided him with a vicious body-slam. The attacker eventually pleaded guilty to assaulting a
member of Congress but his sentence was only a slap on the wrist. Later, though, a jury awarded
Mr Paul $580,000 in damages and medical expenses.
Mr Paul remarked that, after he announced he would need surgery, he found that “there’s still so
much hatred out there....thousands of people on Twitter are swarming to wish...that I had either
died or that someone would assault me again.” He added, “I see...this left-wing mob wishing that
I were dead, and I’m like, ‘Who are these people?’”
President Reshapes Judiciary
The US Senate has now confirmed 153 of President Trump’s nominees to the federal bench.
These judges are thought to believe in interpreting laws as written rather than in “legislating from
the bench”, as do leftists who consider the US Constitution “a living document” and so their
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plaything. Pro-aborts are lamenting that Trump’s judges, most of them comparatively young, will
be safeguarding the Constitution for several decades to come.
Senate Confirms K of C Member
One of the president’s new federal judges, Brian Buescher of Nebraska, is the Knights of
Columbus member whom abortion fanatics in the Senate last year objected to because of his
Catholic faith. At the time Senator Kamala Harris (Democrat-California)—now a Democrat
candidate for the presidency of the United States—asked Buescher questions which suggest she
thinks belonging to the Knights, a Catholic fraternal order founded in 1882, should disqualify a
man from the judiciary. Senator Ben Sasse (Republican-Nebraska) called Buescher’s enemies
“anti-Catholic bigots”. This July the Senate confirmed Buescher 51-40 on a party line vote.
David Daleiden and Friends on Trial
By the time you read these words, a jury trial will have begun for pro-life citizen journalist
David Daleiden, now 30, and his associates. You’ll recall that in 2015, he released undercover
videos he had taken that proved Planned Parenthood’s involvement in selling aborted babies’
organs to researchers. He and friends were to face a jury trial on serious charges, beginning on
October 2. Pro-lifers ask our prayers for these brave pro-lifers.
Georgia Froncek, Sidewalk Counsellor, R.I.P.
Georgia Froncek, a heroic pro-life sidewalk counsellor in Los Angeles, died in July at age 73.
Two or three times a week for four decades she offered help to expecting mums outside abortion
centres—and according to unofficial count she saved a thousand babies.
A fellow pro-lifer paid tribute to Mrs Froncek with these words: “truly an amazing, courageous,
dedicated, faithful, Catholic pro-life heroine... an inspiring, generous woman who sacrificed and
sacrificed beyond words to help unborn babies, mums, dads, families and the pro-life movement.”
In her later years, even severe osteoporosis did not stop her.
It is now out of print, but a book Mrs Froncek wrote still inspires pro-lifers with its title alone,
Supernatural Saves: God Rescues the Unborn through Divine Intervention, and with its liner notes:
“Miracles Happen through Pro-Life Activism... You Can Make a Difference between Spiritual Life
or Death... Turn Your Own Life into a Miracle.”
May Georgia Froncek rest in peace, and may her noble and loving soul inspire others
everywhere to take up life-saving missions like hers on pro-life’s front lines. Amen.
Crossroads Pro-Life Walks
For 12 weeks this summer, says CNA reporter Christine Rousselle, 23 young adult pro-lifers
from Crossroads Pro-Life walked across America to pray and to witness to people about the right
to life. Along the way they visited churches, convents and pro-life pregnancy centres, attended
daily Mass, prayed outside abortion businesses, prayed many Rosaries and said the Chaplet of
Divine Mercy every 3pm. They travelled two routes, one from San Francisco and the other from
Santa Monica, and on August 13 they converged in Washington, DC, at the Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Victoria Bliss, 19, recounted that hearing Crossroads walkers’ testimonies when she was a child
had made her want to do a Walk someday. She said, “A couple of times cars swerved into the
shoulder and we had to leap out of the way, but our guardian angels were clearly with us.” She
added, “We saw Jesus in so many people. I came to realize how beautiful people are, no matter how
broken, and how much they need us to radiate God’s joy and peace to them.”
40 Days for Life
This year’s 40 Days autumn campaign of prayer vigils outside abortion businesses takes place
from September 25 to November 3. Previous efforts worldwide have totaled 16,004 babies saved.
Also, some 104 abortion centres have closed and 191 abortion staffers have quit their jobs.
More pro-life news from America for you next time. God bless—Brendan
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Further Comments on the Amazonian Synod’s Agenda
In recent weeks, a number of critics from South America have added their voices to the
European critics of the Instrumentum laboris (IL) for the Amazonian Synod, taking place in Rome
this month. They have wide and long experience of living and working in the Amazonian basin, but
were not asked to contribute to the IL, suggesting that this document was the product of a partisan
The first critic is retired Bishop José Luis Azcona Hermoso, who worked in Brazil for 30 years.
He noted two major omissions in IL, namely, that most Amazonian people are not Catholic but
either Pentecostal or Animists, and secondly, that child sexual abuse is significant in the region.
Further, most people now living there are not Amazonian. That descriptive can only be applied to
“a very small minority, who fill the pages of the IL. Lastly, the bishop rejects IL’s “indigenous
theology” which in fact is pagan and “in no way legitimate” in an inculturated Catholicism.
A second critic is a German missionary priest in Brazil, Fr Herbert Douteil, who finds IL’s
depiction of the native religion deeply misleading. Animist religion believes that “trees, plants,
animals, rivers and forests” have good and bad spirits, and the native peoples “always live in fear”
of having offended the spirits in the tropical forests. The Gospel, far from being a foreign
imposition, liberates these people from fear.
A third critic is Reinhold Nann, a longtime missionary, now Bishop of Caravelí in the Peruvian
Amazon. He points out that the poverty of the native peoples, the scarcity of priests and the vast
distances contribute to a superficial understanding of the Church. The people continue to follow
their traditional morality, not the Church’s; allowing married priests and deacons makes little sense
since few couples ever get married; and creating and then supporting local clergy would raise a
major problem for extremely poor groups of people.
A fourth critic is an anonymous anthropologist who has long studied the culture and society of
the Amazonian peoples. In his view, IL presents an “abstract and invented world of the indigenous”
peoples who in fact have a very different view of family morality. In the communal living area,
known as the long house, the maloca, couples sleep in the same open area, and children are brought
up communally. This follows the common belief that a child may have more than one father
because the mother sought to give her child the admired features of more than one man.
IL creates the myth of the indigenous “good life”, ignoring the poverty, alcohol and drug
addiction, male violence and abuse of women and children. The authors of IL celebrate the
harmony of these peoples and the environment, ignoring the traditional way of “slash and burn” to
clear a field to grow food for a few short years before the soil is exhausted. What these peoples
need, he argues, is “knowledge, not magic” and “modern medicine” to defeat modern diseases.
“Literacy and higher education, not shamans, will be able to free the indigenous from their historic
subjugation, from the marginalization” in which they now find themselves, this expert concluded.
And this existing subjugation is also due to those experts “who still pretend today to speak for
them, to tell them what to think, what they desire, and, most of all, what they are supposed to be.”
Addendum: After decades of "mission" in the Amazon as a priest and then bishop, Erwin
Kräutler has boasted: “I have not yet baptized an Indian, and I also will not do it.” He was born in
Koblach, Austria in 1939, ordained a missionary priest in 1965 and consecrated bishop of Xingu in
1981. Xingu is a missionary diocese, named a “prelature”, and covers the vast Xingu river basin in
the Amazon. Kräutler retired in 2015, but has been active in preparing the Amazonian Synod.
According to an approving article in The Tablet, Britain’s dissenting weekly, Kräutler is the main
author of the Instrument Laboris, the working document for the Synod.
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The Hybrid ‘Binding Church Synod’ to Redefine Doctrine
Another synod gathers momentum, this time in Germany where the bishops and their lay experts
prepare to hold a “binding church synod”, not on pastoral questions alone but on matters of Church
teaching. The stated issues, expressed in coded language, are “authority, participation, and
separation of powers” (reduction of the role of ordained ministers), “sexual morality” (legitimising
adultery and homosexuality), “the priestly mode of life” (abolishing clerical celibacy), and “women
in Church ministries and offices” (female deacons leading to priests and bishops).
Pope Francis was so alarmed at the nature and agenda of this synod that he wrote a four-page
letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the Bishops Conference, gently asking him to pull
back from the project. The Cardinal was unimpressed and replied:
We hope that the results of forming an opinion [on these matters] in our country will also be helpful
for the guidance of the Universal Church and for other episcopal conferences on a case-by-case
basis. In any case, I cannot see why questions about which the Magisterium has made
determinations should be withdrawn from any debate, as your writings suggest... Countless
believers in Germany consider [these issues] to be in need of discussion.
In early September, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, wrote to
Cardinal Marx, requiring the German bishops to obey Pope Francis’ rule that a national synod
cannot decide to change the teaching and discipline of the universal Church. In Ouellet’s words,
the “binding Church Synod” is not “ecclesiologically valid”, and appears to be heading towards a
schism within the Church.
Council and Synod are not the Same
Attached to this letter was a legal analysis of the draft statutes for the German synod, which the
German bishops have approved, but which are deemed contrary to Canon Law. It was prepared by
Archbishop Filippo Jannone, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Vatican body
set up to give official interpretation to the Church’s canon laws.
Jannone pointed out that the German bishops were setting up a national Council rather than a
national Synod. A Council, as described in canons 439-446, is a bishops’ meeting, held only with
the permission of the Pope, to deal with doctrinal and policy issues that will bind the national
church, as clearly shown in the four major issues listed above, and already discussed in preparatory
committees. In contrast, a synod is a pastoral and consultative meeting of a diocese or group of
dioceses, which doesn’t decide doctrine and policy, is not binding and where individuals and
groups, ordained or lay, can take part.
A second major problem is the role of the ZdK, the Central Committee of German (lay)
Catholics, which will have 70 members with voting powers on the binding decisions, and has a
long record of doctrinal dissent on the four principal topics above. Yet the German bishops treat the
ZdK as an equal partner, making the Synod/Council a forum of “mixed membership” of bishops
and lay people, something also contrary to Canon Law.
Addendum 1: Marianne Schlosser, professor of theology at the University of Vienna, was
appointed to the Vatican’s International Theological Commission in Rome by Pope Francis in 2014.
She has an advisory role with the German and Austrian bishops, and was invited to take part in the
preparation of the Synod’s statutes and agenda.
On September 21, Dr Schlosser anounced that she would take no further part in the Synod
because of her fears of how it is developing. She cited its “fixation on the ordination” of women,
her way of saying that the issue is already a “done deal” within the preparatory groups. In her own
words, the debate about women priests has “been conducted for so long” that there is nothing new
on the table to overturn the judgement of John Paul II that the Church has no authority to ordain
women to the priesthood. She declared that the proposed ordination of women has no theological,
historical, pastoral or spiritual support in the life of the Church.
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Addendum 2: Cardinal Marx was in Rome for a meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisors,
and had what he described as “constructive talks” with the Pope and Cardinal Ouellet. No doubt,
the president of the German Bishops Conference will report to the full assembly of bishops, but
most observers are not surprised that a large majority voted to give final approval to the statutes of
this home-made, hybrid Synod/Council. In other words, the assembly will be “decision-making and
binding”, not merely an exchange of views. Further confusion followed, as Cardinal Marx assured
Vatican officials that the synod would not bind any bishop, while assuring the ZdK that the synod’s
decisions would determine the future of the German Church.
Priests Warned: Either Jail or Excommunication
As recounted in Updates nos. 168 and 169 (News from America), a bill to abolish the privileged
status of a priest or ordained minister of religion was withdrawn in the state Senate of California
after 140,000 letters, 14,000 emails and thousands of phone calls were sent to its sponsor, Senator
Jerry Hill. The public uprising against this dangerous piece of legislation was due to the proactive
archbishop of Los Angeles, Dr José Gomez, who launched a campaign of public protest to defeat
this unjust and anti-Catholic proposed law. He appealed to Catholics and people of all faiths and
none to protest against a measure to force priests to reveal to the police or courts information about
crimes revealed in the sacrament of Confession.
Under the drive to make mandatory reporting of sexual abuse of minors part of the law,
governments and official agencies across the western world, angered by the scandals of clerical
abuse of minors, are homing in on the autonomy of the Catholic Church, and indirectly on that of
all other religious bodies. Demands have been made to use the law to force priests to testify to
crimes, even if they break the seal of confession. The loss of respect for clergy of all denominations
and the decline of religious belief render the priest-penitent privilege vulnerable to the “negative
prejudice” of civil legislators.
Even in once Catholic Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated in 2011, “priests should have the
obligation under the law to report cases of abuse disclosed in confession.” Hence the law,
Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons Act 2012 omits
any reference to this privilege, and the then Minister for Justice declared that mandatory reporting
would apply, “regardless of any internal rules of any religious grouping”.
In India, where Catholics are a mere 1.5 percent of the population, the National Commission for
Women asked the government to forbid the sacrament of confession throughout the country,
because, it asserted, the sacrament is being used by priests to blackmail women for sexual favours.
This was based on two cases as reported: the Catholic bishop of Jalandhar was accused by a nun
of rape and abuse over a two-year period, and in Kerala five priests of the Syrian Orthodox Church
were accused of blackmailing a lay woman by using information gained in confession.
In 2014 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child took the Church to task for its “code of
silence” which stops priests from reporting abuse, learned in confession. The Committee demanded
that the Vatican “adjust its laws”, in other words, abolish the seal of confession.
In Chile, convulsed by a raft of church scandals, the investigating magistrates raised the
possibility of issuing a summons to Pope Francis to appear before them and explain how
incriminating documents were destroyed. However unlikely to happen since the Pope is the head
of an independent state, the suggestion shows a huge loss of respect for the Church.
In the Australian Capital Territory of Canberra, a new law, passed by all parties and activated in
March 2019, requires ministers of religion to inform the police about sex abuse, learned by any
means including the sacrament of confession. Failure to do this will be regarded as a criminal
offence, punishable by a prison sentence.
Most alarming but not taken up by the media, in January 2017, the Supreme Court of Cassation
in Rome, Italy’s supreme court, ruled that in a criminal trial a priest commits perjury if he refuses
to reveal what he has learned in confession about a crime, apart from sins confessed. For example,
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this might happen when a young person discloses that he had been abused. This ruling contradicts
the Church’s law placing an absolute seal on everything revealed in the sacramental action—the
time since the previous confession, the spiritual problems of the penitent, the priest’s counsel, the
penance given, the act of contrition, and the nature and frequency of the sins confessed.
‘An Abominable Crime’
On June 29 this year, the Apostolic Penitentiary issued a document with the approval of Pope
Francis, On the Importance of the Internal Forum and the Inviolability of the Sacramental Seal, up
to now unavailable in English. It is worth rereading Church law on the seal of confession:
Canon 983.1 of the Code of Canon Law states, “It is an abominable crime (nefas) for a confessor
in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.” A priest cannot
reveal the contents of a confession either directly, by repeating the substance of what he has been
told or indirectly, by some sign, suggestion, or action.
Canon 983, § 2, goes further by placing this obligation on any bystander, priest or lay, who
happens to hear what is said in a confession. For example, an interpreter, a nurse, or a bystander
who in any way has knowledge of another’s confession are also obliged to observe total secrecy.
Canon 1388 § 1 states the penalty without equivocation: “A confessor who directly violates the
seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.”
A priest cannot break the seal to save his own life, to protect his good name, to refute a false
accusation, to save the life of another, to aid the course of justice (like reporting a crime), or to avert
a public calamity. He cannot be compelled by law to disclose a person's confession or be bound by
any oath he takes, as for example when he is a witness in a trial.
Each priest realises that he is the ordained mediator between Christ and the penitent, of a very
sacred and precious sacrament. He knows that in the confessional, the penitent speaks not so much
to him, but through him to the Lord. Therefore, humbled by his position, the priest knows that
whatever is said in confession must remain a lifelong secret, no matter what the cost.
Defending the Priest-Penitent Privilege
The bishops have defended the seal of confession as an essential element of the freedom of
religion, and described these intrusions as unconstitutional, showing a “total lack of understanding
of the nature, meaning, sanctity and importance of this sacrament for our people” (Cardinal Oswald
Gracias of Mumbai, India).
As recounted in the Settimo Cielo blog, Professor Andrea Bettetini of the Catholic University
of Milan, analysed the challenges facing the Church in the growing “negative prejudice” to the seal
of confession. He concludes that laws demanding “mandatory reporting” regardless of the seal of
confession are riding roughshod over “the fundamental legal and moral right” for “protection of the
conscience of the person who opens his soul to a minister of religion”. The opinion of the Supreme
Court of Cassation in Italy is based on a distortion of Church law and teaching, and a setback to
the “juridical civilisation” that has characterised western culture for centuries.
Both the Australian law and the Italian ruling are changing the balance between the temporal
and spiritual orders. The temporal order is the exercise of the civil authority to enhance human
flourishing by establishing visible norms of behaviour and laws which encourage the virtuous life,
and punish actions recognised as criminal and injurious to others. The spiritual order covers human
reaching out to God, our creator and saviour; the working of conscience, “the deepest nucleus of
the freedom and responsibility of man”, and, after the good of one’s physical life, belongs to the
human person in the most fundamental and irremovable way, and is due to him in justice. While
the civil authority may legislate about the Church’s temporal activities like schools, social work and
material goods, it is beyond its competence to rule what Christians believe, how they should
worship or, as in this instance, confess their sins.
Both orders are necessary, both should know their limitations, and should respect the activity of
the other. The history of the 20th century has numerous examples of regimes that replaced
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conscience with the diktats of state ideology, violating the dignity of persons.
This setback, in Bettetini’s view, reduces the autonomy, not just of the Catholic Church but of
all religious denominations. In pursuit of a just society, the state involves itself in an area in which
it has no competence, and by doing so invites serious problems for society. This is what the
archbishop of Canberra feared most when, on the eve of the enforcement of the law last March, he
stated: “Now we priests in the ACT [Australian Capital Territory] find ourselves on the brink of an
impossible choice. We will have to either respect the seal of confession and face prosecution, or
comply with the law and face automatic excommunication.” When priests find themselves forced
to become criminals, then the guides of civil society have lost the plot.
Pope Emeritus Benedict Answers his Critics
A postscript to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Notes on the causes of the clerical sex abuse in
the Church published last April (See Personal Update, no. 168, p. 11-14). Not everyone was happy
with Pope Benedict’s analysis. Most of the heated criticism came from his home country and not
for the first time. When Benedict visited Germany in 2010, he was unafraid to point out certain
serious failings in the Church there, something that seems to have infuriated the progressives—
then and now—holding positions of power. Far from being a celebrity in his native country, for
many German Catholics, the Pope Emeritus is a hate figure.
In his Notes, Benedict pointed to the Sexual Revolution of the Sixties as the major influence on
the beliefs and behaviour of Catholics, priests and laypeople. If you were an adult in 1968, you
cannot fail to remember the storm of dissent that greeted Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae from
church circles, echoing the indignation expressed outside the Church. Coupled with the weakness
of moral theology and the relaxation of seminary life after the Council, there was a surge of sexual
abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in the Seventies and Eighties, yet prominent German
theologians and historians are indignant that Benedict attacked the Sexual Revolution of 1968.
Judging by the messages coming from the German synod, he may well be fully justified.
Benedict singled out one critic for special attention, Professor Birgit Aschmann, a history
professor at Humboldt University in Berlin. He described her four-page critique “typical of the
general deficit in the reception of my text”, or, in plainer language, the lady ignored the most
important point of his argument.
Aschmann rejects Benedict’s analysis of the influence of the Sixties Revolution. For her the
abuse crisis is “home-made”, caused by Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae which maintained the
Church’s exclusion of artificial contraception, and in so doing undermined freedom of conscience.
Lay people were angry, she claims, and priests unable to speak about it. This made priests frustrated
and led some into “seeking sexual contacts with other men and women, and also children”.
Aschmann is a leading member of ZdK, the Central Committee of German Catholics, the
official lay group supported by the bishops and one which has called for married priests, women
priests and a radical revision of the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality.
In response to Aschmann, Benedict pointed out that in her four-page critique, she did not once
mention God or a society that is forgetting God, and this “general deficit” is characteristic of most
of his critics. Yet this was “the kernel of the question” in his Notes, and her unwillingness to face
this fact, the retired Pope continues, “shows me the seriousness of a situation, in which the word
God even in theology often seems to stand at the margins.”
Addendum: Cardinal Müller, born in Germany, was disgusted by the irrational enmity of the
former pope’s critics, commenting, “These are people who neither believe nor think. Most of all,
they lack the slightest decency.”
From Liberator to Tyrant in Africa
On September 6, 2019, Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe for 37 years, died at the age of 95.
As the leader of an African nation for the longest time, Mugabe should have spent his last years in
the graceful retirement of an elder statesman; instead he has died after been forced out of his office
and reviled as a cruel and heartless tyrant.
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Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born in 1924 in the self-ruling British colony of Southern Rhodesia,
and grew up in poverty after his father abandoned the family. His mother brought him up as an
observant Catholic, with daily Mass and Rosary. He won a scholarship to a leading boys school, St
Francis Xavier College where the priest in charge recognised his abilities. Later he won a second
scholarship to a third-level college, and obtained a degree in 1951 to be a teacher. After working in
Ghana during the years of political awakening in Africa, he returned home in 1961, and
immediately became active in the politics of independence and liberation. Intelligent and educated,
Mugabe rose fast in the party to become the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe African National
Unfortunately, the liberation movement was weakened by bitter tribal rivalry. Zanu was the
political party of the majority Shona people, led by Mugabe while the Zimbabwe African People’s
Union (Zapu) represented the Ndebele people in the South of the country, headed by Joshua
Nkomo. Both Zanu and Zapu had military wings, trained and armed by Russia and China.
The white-dominated government, led by Ian Smith, blocked majority rule and in 1964 declared
a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) from Britain, believing that its security forces would
be able to repel the attacks of the black insurgents. Shortly after what is known as the Bush War
began in earnest. Zanu and Zapu mounted guerilla raids against the Smith regime from the safety
of neighbouring states, even as their efforts were hampered by bitter tribal enmity.
In 1964 Smith had Mugabe and the leading politicians of Zanu and Zapu detained without trial.
For nearly 10 years Mugabe remained in jail while the insurgency raged across the country. Once
released Mugabe left for the safety of Mozambique where he directed the guerilla raids against
Smith and sometimes Zapu. Smith finally accepted it was a war he couldn’t win, and in 1980 the
newly independent Republic of Zimbabwe was born.
When Mugabe took control of the government as prime minister, Zimbabwe was a prosperous
country. For good reason, the country was named “the bread basket of Africa”, being a major
exporter of cereals to neighbouring countries, mainly through the efficient estates of the white
farmers who owned 70 percent of the productive land.
As prime minister and then executive-president, Mugabe at first welcomed reconciliation and
worked to realize a multi-racial democracy, assuring the white farmers of their security, and
building a network of much-needed schools and hospitals across the country. Sadly, old enmities
arose with Zapu and the Ndenele people, whom Magabe accused of plotting an insurrection. His
“final solution” was to send the infamous Fifth Brigade to Matabeleland to wreak a brutal
suppression of “terrorists” and their supporters between 1983 and 1987. Estimates of those killed
range from 4,000 to 80,000. The remnants of the defeated Zapu party were united with Zanu to
After a Promising Start
In 1992, Mugabe’s first wife Sally died, and four years later he married Grace, one of his
secretaries 40 years his junior and a divorcee. Sally was believed to have been a restraining
influence on Mugabe’s ruthless way of dealing with opponents and rivals. Grace was the opposite,
scheming to attain power, greedy for a luxurious lifestyle, and uncaring about the misery of most
of the population.
Mugabe became obsessed about the plots of those he regarded as enemies. Private businesses
were nationalized, and his loyal supporters were rewarded with the profits of state assets. In 1997
he moved against the 4,500 white farmers, confiscating their land, and handing the farms to the so-
called army veterans. Within a few years, most farms had returned to wasteland, and food shortage
became chronic problem.
Always a loner, he now governed to maintain his grip on power, using the wealth of Zimbabwe
to reward his enforcers. Since 2000 Zimbabwe declined economically and politically, soon rated as
a failed state, its people famished and unemployed, its industries looted and farmland wasted.
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Almost one in four of the 11-million population fled the corrupt regime.
For years Mugabe had outwitted his rivals and opponents, but in the end he made a fatal error
by sacking his principal deputy and enforcer, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to allow Grace Mugabe to
take over when he died. Mnangagwa escaped to South Africa, and in 2017 the army, disgusted by
the prospect of having Grace as president, staged a coup to force Mugabe to resign, ensuring that
Mnangagwa became President.
The outlook for the starving and unemployed people is not encouraging. The generals and power
brokers who forced Mugabe to resign are the very people enriched by him over the years of his
repressive rule. Do leopards change their spots?
Addendum: Even though Mugabe professed a Marxist political creed, he still liked to call
himself a Catholic and appeared at Mass from time to time, expecting to be invited to speak from
the pulpit. His relations in later years with the Catholic bishops were often fractious, especially
after 2000 when the country fell into poverty and hunger.
China’s War against Religion, Christians in Particular
The theory that a fully socialist society would lead to “the withering away of the state” is
certainly not happening in Communist China. Engels, the author of this celebrated phrase, was
referring to the coercive powers of the state in the transition period from capitalism to a classless
and equal society. These powers are needed at the beginning of the revolution to make sure that
individuals act in a way that benefits the whole community, but will no longer be needed when the
Workers’ Paradise emerges after the Revolution.
If certain dreamers thought that the coercive nature of Communist China would “whither away”,
the current policies of the Beijing government, 70 years since Mao Zedong took control of the
country, offer a very strong corrective. Under President Xi Jinping’s vigorous rule, the subjection
of every citizen to the Party’s agenda and the suppression of any group, church or movement that
challenges the total control of the State are at the forefront of government in China.
According to Marxism, religion is a superstition, a social evil and a remnant of feudalism and
capitalism, and is only tolerated as long as it is under the control of the government. In 1949 Mao
chose to avoid a violent persecution of Christians, which might have led to a popular rebellion;
instead he decided to use the state power to suffocate bit by bit the churches’ ability to survive. By
1954 the Communists had established two official churches, the Three Self Church, a state-run
group to which all Protestants were obliged to join, and side by side the Patriotic Catholic Church
for Catholics. By then, all foreign missionaries had been expelled, and the Chinese ministers and
priests in both churches had to be licensed by the Religious Affairs department, after they had been
vetted and passed an examination in Chinese Marxism.
Contrary to Mao Zedong’s expectations, religion did not disappear. In fact, the opposite
happened, the number of Christians increased. Many believers refused to join the “official”
churches, and flourishing “underground” churches spread in spite of often-brutal police
harassment. Among Protestants, hundreds of independent House Churches sprang up and attracted
large numbers of new members, something seriously alarming to the regime.
In 1966, the Cultural Revolution broke out across the country, and religion, official or unofficial,
was violently persecuted for nearly a decade; churches were demolished, many priests, monks and
imams were jailed and executed, and every product of religious culture wantonly destroyed. After
Mao’s death in 1976, the Communist Party, recognising the widespread social anarchy, repudiated
the Cultural Revolution and returned to the original scheme to control the recognised religions.
A New Campaign to Stifle Religion
Today, Xi Jinping, the current president for life, is determined to speed up the demise of the
despised religions by imposing “increased governance”, code words for active harassment. Any
criticism of the Communist Party, that is, the government, will bring instant retribution. The law
forbids efforts to gain new members, and all preaching or catechising is restricted to “authorised”
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places. No person under 18, and that includes one’s own children, may take part in church worship
or be instructed in the Faith. Lastly, “building regulations” are routinely used to find planning faults
in church buildings, resulting in their total demolition and their clergy jailed for serious crimes.
More recently, Xi Jinping is returning to the methods devised by Mao Zedong during the horrific
Cultural Revolution. In villages or urban centres, “class enemies” or “enemies of the Revolution”
are brought before the assembled local population whose role is to scream accusations and call for
punishment to force the guilty person to confess his “sins” and undergo “reformation”. These
kangaroo courts are cheaper than using the police to arrest and charge believers who deviate from
the “right paths”. The co-operation of the masses is “free”, even though the final bill may not be
what the officials expect.
Under a government that has power to strip you of your job, cut your health benefits and punish
your spouse and children, there is no limit to what the state can do to force its will on Christians.
Your own family, your children and friends of a lifetime may become your enemies, treating you
as an outcast and willing to believe you guilty of every kind of crime. Keep in mind that, should
one family member “sin”, then the whole family may be treated as guilty and punished.
A Children’s Crusade or Big Business Takeover?
In August, the news media were agog with smiley Greta Thunberg setting out for New York on
the racing yacht, Malizia 11, from the UK port of Plymouth. The carbon-neutral vessel, while
costing £15 million to build, lacked every comfort imaginable in the pursuit of speed and was a call
to hardship to save the world. The purpose of Greta’s carbon-free, 15-day voyage across the
Atlantic was to appear before the UN climate change conference as the child prophet for the
world’s peoples, threatened with devastation by unchecked climate warming and the indifference
Let me state without hesitation. I am no scientist nor even up to date with the vast amount of
data on climate warming and its causes. Certain things are clear: human activities have and
continue to damage the environment, as for example, plastic pollution of the seas, certain methods
of industrial farming and the wide and careless use of fossil fuels. At the same time, I can’t fail to
notice the intransigent demands of “climate activists” and the polarized debate that inevitably
follows from personal attacks and accusations.
Greta Thunberg is just an ordinary 16-year old Swedish school student, the child of two ordinary
parents, Svante and Malena, an actor and an opera singer. All three have firmly accepted that
climate warming is caused by modern living and, if not radically changed, will devastate, if not
destroy, human civilisation. They are also committed to environmental activism to “save the
planet”, and Greta had persuaded the family not to eat meat and avoid flying to reduce their carbon
Back in May 2018, Greta tried to organize a “school strike” among her peers to protest at the
Swedish government’s inaction but without success. She then decided to stage a one-girl protest
outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. On August 20. Greta began a three-week protest, and
was noticed by a climate-change activist, Ingmar Rentzhog, who happened to be passing by, had
her photographed and put her on the mailing list of his social media platform, We Don’t Have Time.
It was a gold strike. Within days Greta became a celebrity. Her simple but stern message directed
to school students spread like a forest fire. Since then, school climate-strikes have occurred in
almost every city across the world including the UK and Ireland. By October 2018, Greta was
travelling around Europe to appear in person to her followers, and addressing conferences and
parliamentary meetings in many countries. She has addressed EU committees, the Davos World
Ecnomic Forum, and the European Parliament, and received numerous awards and recognitions.
Penguin Publications has published a collection of her speeches. Her doomsday oratory has
triggered the governments of the UK and Ireland to declare a “climate emergency”. Greta has even
been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the amazing story of Greta the climate warrior
who appeared out of nowhere to galvanise young people and save the world.
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Big Business Scents Profits
Well, not quite! Green campaigners in Sweden had been looking for a young face for some time,
and Ingmar Rentzhog had been tipped off about Greta’s stunt in August. Her photogenic
appearance and TV charisma made her a dream icon for “youth mobilization”, and, with
Rentzhog’s social media skills, Greta became a world celebrity, culminating in her carbon-free
journey across the Atlantic.
Greta’s message is the Climate Emergency Plan, expressing an apocalyptic vision of the
future—“If we haven't made the changes required by approximately the year 2030, we will
probably set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. Then we will pass a point of
no return which will be catastrophic.” This alarming message will demand that governments make
huge investments to create green energy sources, and pass emergency laws to force populations to
change their lifestyle. Greta is now seen as the instrument in turning the “emergency” from a
dogma of a minority into a mainstream truth.
The whole controversy about climate change and human activity is anything but rational and
thoughtful. Raise questions or doubts, and you will be called a “climate denier”; query Greta, and
you’ll be accused of bullying a young girl with Asperger’s syndrome. Despite the fact that Greta’s
parents insist that she has no links with organisations or influential individuals, there are certain
indications that major business interests have not been slow to see the commercial possibilities in
Take Ingmar Rentzhog, who founded the social media lobby, We Have No Time, in 2017 to
“hold leaders and companies accountable for climate change”. There was nothing accidental in his
presence at Greta’s one-girl protest on August 20. He already had got to know her mother at a
conference last May called the Climate Parliament, and had been tipped off by its organisemr Bo
Thorén who had suggested the school strike protest to Greta. Rentzhog and his CEO Olsson
became wealthy in banking and investor relations and real estate before they turned to the climate
change crusade, and have valuable connections with major investors and heads of industries.
In May 2018, Rentzhog and Olsson became directors of a new think tank called Global
Utmaning (Global Challenge). Among the advisors and patrons are representatives of the power
companies, the future builders of the Green Industry.
Cardinal Pell Loses Appeal against Abuse Conviction
In late August, the Court of Appeal in the state of Victoria rejected the appeal of Cardinal George
Pell. Two judges declared the trial was correctly carried out and jury’s verdict were “safe”. They
paid special attention to the sole witness for the prosecution whose testimony convicted Pell,
declaring that he was a “very compelling witness... not a liar... not a fantasist and was a witness
Their confidence in the sole witness stands in glaring contrast to the dissent of the third judge,
Justice Mark Weinberg. He found that “the complainant was inclined to embellish aspects of his
account”, and his evidence contained discrepancies, displayed inadequacies, and otherwise lacked
Pell will probably appeal to Australia’s highest court, the High Court of Australia, but there is
no certainty that his appeal will even be accepted. As Michael Cook of Mercator blog writes, the
Pell case is “the indictment of a legal system that could not bring itself to render justice in the face
of public hysteria, political vendetta, and media aggression.” He concluded, “If this is justice, it
The evidence of the sole testimony of one 30-year old man who was a choir boy in the 1980s,
when George Pell was the new archbishop of Melbourne. There was no supporting evidence, no
CCTV, no forensic data and no one in the cathedral that morning, either a staff member or a visitor,
who might have noticed something unusual about the archbishop’s routine. Every priest, altar boy,
and chorister at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne testified that Pell was celebrating Mass and
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then meeting people at the main entrance at the time of the alleged attack.
Indeed, it is literally impossible that Cardinal Pell committed the heinous crimes described by
his accuser. The acts of abuse described by the prosecution are not only ridiculous, they’re
physically impossible for any man to perform. (See: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/03/catholic-
Australians should ask the question, would Pell have been convicted on this testimony if he
wasn’t a Catholic priest? If, for example, he was an imam or a rabbi? Even if he were not George
Pell? Remember that this man was demonized by the major media well before he appeared in court
in 2018. Louise Milligin’s character assassination book, The Cardinal, alone should have made a
fair trial all but impossible. Forget innocent until convicted; Pell was convicted by public
acclamation, much like rough justice in the Wild West. The role of the media in attacking Pell was
much like the media’s mischievous treatment of Lindy Chamberlain during the infamous “dingo
baby” case in 1980. She was convicted of murdering her six-week old baby and spent three years
in prison until a chance discovery of her baby’s clothing at a dingo’s lair confirmed her explanation.
Four Lessons to be Noted
Michael Cook drew four conclusions from the Pell trial and appeal.
One, the current law that allows a person to be convicted on the anonymous testimony of one
complainant, without any corroborating evidence, is an open door to a miscarriage of justice, and
should be revised to protect innocent persons from being convicted on untrue testimony.
Two, Pell’s conviction and sentence follows a decade of savage abuse on social media and
mainstream media. Before he returned to Australia in 2016, his reputation was destroyed, and his
conviction was a foregone conclusion. What happened to Pell is “a paradigm on how to destroy a
powerful and controversial public figure”, and it can happen to anyone in public life who might
incur the hostility of opinion formers.
Three, without in any way doubting Cardinal Pell’s innocence, a Catholic believes in God, in
Christ and in his Church, not because of this or that priest, bishop or pope, but because they are the
Truth. As St Augustine wrote, “Augustine is a bishop... Even if he is good, it is not in him that I
have put my trust, because the first thing I learned in the Catholic Church is not to put my hope in
Four, the Church has experienced trials like that of Pell before. Under the Nazi regime and
throughout the 70 years of Russian Communism and now in China, the courts have condemned
priests and bishops for vile and outlandish crimes, invented by their persecutors. Don’t ever
underestimate the hatred of unbelief, however well disguised by the rituals of the courts.
Remember two cardinals, Aloysius Stepinac and József Mindszenty, one died in prison, the second
was lucky to escape the same fate during the Hungarian Uprising.
In the Vatican, Pell is under the now obligatory canonical investigation for sexual abuse of
minors. It will be interesting to see how the canon lawyers will make of the evidence that
condemned George Pell. Will they be allowed to criticize Australian justice or will diplomatic
necessity muzzle them?
If any reader has doubts about Pell’s innocence, let him recall that Pell could have stayed in the
Vatican, completely secure from Australian authorities. But, because he knew he was innocent, he
returned to have his day in the court, confident that Australian justice was robust enough to
withstand popular hostility. He believed, foolishly one may think, that he would defend his own
good name and also that of the Church he served.
Cathedrals for Fun, and Apologising for the Past
The cathedrals of England are venerated by those of Christian faith and those of none as
constructions of beauty without parallel. So it comes as a jolt to read that the cathedral of Rochester
in Kent has constructed a nine-hole “crazy” golf course in the nave of the 11th century building.
The holes are interlinked by a series of bridges, highlighting, according to the cathedral’s managers,
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the importance of “building bridges” in multi-racial Britain. The same managers have assured the
faithful few that religious services will continue, and quiet places for prayer will remain. Small
In 2018 Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, told a conference on cathedrals in England
and Wales, “The first thing I want is for people not to be bored. I want them to have fun . . . If you
can’t have fun in a cathedral, you don’t know what fun is.” Was he talking to an audience of ten-
Other fun projects are in course of being enacted in Norwich and Chester, while the Rev Adrian
Dorber, chairman of the Association of English Cathedrals, said: “There is a cathedral-shaped space
out there and we hope we are occupying it in bold, fresh and exciting ways . . . that say something
about cathedrals being a place for all.” Is there a clergyperson-shaped space out there?
The Church of England has long being in desperate straights about filling its churches on
Sundays, and that leads to big problem: how to find the money to keep its wonderful cathedrals in
good nick. But turning cathedrals into play areas for adults to have fun is not the way forward. Is
this how the C of E ends, not with a bang but with a putt?
Addendum: It is a profound irony that Rochester Cathedral was the see of Saint John Fisher,
the only English bishop who refused to swear allegiance to Henry VIII, self-proclaimed head of the
Church of England, for denying which he was judicially murdered by the King in 1535.
Requiescant in Pace
We pray for the following friends and supporters of Family & Life who have died recently: PJ
McMullan, Josie Murray, Patrick Clarke, Fr Gerard Butcher, Anne Roddy, Maurice Byrne, William
McManus, Angela Plaisted and Fr Albert Slater.
Please remember them in your prayers.
Every month Fr O’Boyle is to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the intentions of our
supporters and the repose of the souls of our deceased donors as well as the members of the Eternal
Friends Society, our special expression of gratitude to those who have remembered Family & Life
in their will.
The Will To Save Lives in the Future
There are few more valuable things you can do to protect unborn babies and mothers than by
remembering Family & Life in your Will with a bequest. This will help to guarantee that your
values will remain and be defended long into the future. Even if it may not get your name into the
history books, isn’t there a greater satisfaction in knowing that you will be making a real difference
in rebuilding the culture of life in Ireland?
Apart from immediate threats from the pro-abortion lobbies, there will always be women who
need the help of the Baby Ben fund, school students who need to discover the truth of parenthood
by watching How You Began, and all the other essential, on-going, pro-life work that Family &
Life is doing.
You can help guarantee that the work of Family & Life will continue into the future by
remembering us in your Will. For more information about this, ask for our leaflet, Your Legacy of
Hope, Joining the Eternal Friends Society. If you need help making a will or adding a bequest,
please contact the office today to avail of the free services of our solicitor in Dublin.
Enrolling benefactors in our Eternal Friends Society is our way of thanking them now and in the
future. We will remember your gift in two ways. On Life Day every year we have a special Mass
offered at Knock for all the benefactors of F&L. Then, on the anniversary of a member’s death, a
special Mass in Rome will be offered for his or her eternal rest.
If you have already added a bequest to your will for F&L, many, many thanks.
update 170_86.1 15/10/2019 14:43 Page 22
Wishing you and yours every blessing,
Contributors: Brendan Gleason and David Manly
PS What, exactly, does “This is My Body...This is My Blood” mean? For 2,000 years,
Christians have been debating Our Lord’s startling words—so much that more than 150
different interpretations of them have existed among the various churches.
But it’s absolutely vital that we find the meaning that Christ intended, because it
concerns our eternal salvation! And now you can be more certain of that meaning than ever
before—thanks to Professor Peter Kreeft’s fascinating new book, Symbol or Substance? A
Dialogue on the Eucharist with C S Lewis, Billy Graham and J R R Tolkien.
Imagine eavesdropping on an evening with these towering figures of modern
Christianity! “Rarely have I learned so much while being so entertained”, says one
reviewer. In this imaginary but highly believable “trialogue”, you’ll discover...
...a beautiful “way for any Christian to test the...astonishing Catholic claim that Jesus is really
present in the consecrated Host”; profound insights about how the Eucharist “works” in your soul;
important ways in which Anglicans’, Catholics’ and Evangelicals’ Eucharistic beliefs differ; what
you should do if you’re not sure which belief is true; what an agnostic or atheist should do
concerning the Eucharist; and Tolkien’s enchanting paean to the Eucharist.
Three renowned Christians seek truth of Eucharist
Professor Kreeft’s rivetting book likewise explains Graham’s heartfelt Protestant beliefs about
the Lord’s Supper; Protestant arguments against Catholic Eucharistic doctrine, and vice versa;
whether the Catholic teaching is idolatry; whether it’s magic; why Catholics believe Christ’s Real,
physical Presence is essential; whether we can be saved without the sacraments; and why Christ
hides His Presence in the Eucharist.
You’ll also ponder the dazzling Catholic vision of the Eucharist; a lovely analogy that
illuminates what Protestants are missing in their Communion service; the Reformation
leaders’ clashing doctrines about this sacrament; the Catholic case against bible-only
theology; vital differences among the three men’s traditions on the question of religious
authority; the only reason why anyone should believe what a church teaches; and how
Catholics, Anglicans and Evangelicals should handle their doctrinal differences.
The Eucharist: intimate union or sacred symbol?
More gems you’ll find: the many telling reasons why the Eucharist can’t be a mere symbol;
truths about the Eucharist that most Catholics don’t know; impressive historical arguments for the
Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist; whether faith or works save us; a sceptic’s satire of faith that
actually tells the truth; whether we can reconcile free will and predestination; and an ancient proof
of Christ’s divinity that one of the three men powerfully updates.
You also read the “divine fingerprints” argument for the Real Presence; whether Anglican
sacraments are valid; vital truths that Christ’s words and actions at the Last Supper reveal about the
Real Presence; proofs from history and Scripture that the Catholic Church is the one Christ
founded; and whether the Jews of the Old Testament were saved.
Plus, you’ll encounter the ancient heresy that critics of the Catholic doctrine are
update 170_86.1 15/10/2019 14:43 Page 23
unwittingly reviving; the crucial reasons why God conveys His sacraments in matter; a
little-noticed truth about the Miracle of the Loaves; what the Good Thief’s salvation
teaches us about the Eucharist; a way that Catholics and Protestants might reach unity on
the Eucharist; and a beautiful image of how we should see our fellow Christians.
New insights that’ll enrich your Communions
This unusual book also relates Eucharistic analogies found in touching stories from the news;
the famous atheist who unwittingly explained the Eucharist; profound quotes about the sacrament
from inspired saints; how “the Body of Christ” can have more than one meaning; key quotes from
St Augustine that Protestants should reflect on; “the best paragraph” that Lewis wrote in his entire
life; and much more.
In this unique book, says one reviewer, you’ll get “the inspiration, the debate, the mystery and
ultimately the truth about the Eucharist”. “Full of curiosity, insight and good humour”, he adds,
“Symbol or Substance brings twentieth-century heroes to the table to discuss the heart of the matter
with loving candour.”
The renowned Professor Kreeft’s latest work is easy-reading and non-scholarly, yet it packs an
impressive breadth of Christian thought, history and inspiration into its 232 pages. Whatever your
beliefs, you’ll grow in knowledge and understanding of your fellow Christians, in affection for
them, and, most important, in love for Our Lord in the Eucharist.
Symbol or Substance? sells for €15.40 (£ST13.60), excluding postage, handling and packaging,
but IT’S YOURS FREE AS OUR THANK-YOU GIFT for your contribution of €40 or more (or
£30 or more) for Family & Life’s work.
Simply tick the Reply Form and use the Freepost/Response-Paid envelope today. We’ll send you
your FREE COPY of Professor Kreeft’s book by return post.
Dear friend, you must be driving Ireland’s pro-abortion people crazy. Why? Because they
wildly underestimated you. They thought that after the 8th Amendment vote, you’d lose heart,
give up and let them impose their agenda unopposed. Yet here you are, a year and a half on,
still supporting Family & Life’s work, which exposes their plans, snatches babies out of their
grasp, and teaches countless people to protect human lives.
They don’t understand you because they don’t understand grace. They can’t comprehend
that Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist gives you the strength to keep on defending the
sacredness of every human life. They’re baffled at how you keep living out the graces of your
Baptism and Confirmation by helping Family & Life’s work to make every man, woman and
child in Ireland pro-life again.
So keep driving them crazy—crazier than ever! Please send a gift today to keep all our
programmes going and growing. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your
sacrifices for our work, which simply couldn’t happen without the help of special people such
as you. May God reward you for generosity!
PPS SAVE TIME! To receive your FREE GIFT more speedily, simply phone through
your donation to our office right now at (353) 1 855 2145, or e-mail your credit card details to me
at email@example.com Remember, you can also donate quickly and easily through our online service at
<www.donate.familyandlife.org> May Our Eucharistic Lord bless you abundantly!