CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the underground Bishop of Siping.
In his early years growing up in a Catholic family, Han received a high-quality formation and education from the Canadian missionaries of Quebec, who ran the apostolic vicariate in his region of China before the communist revolution.
After Mao Zedong took power, the late bishop was sent to a concentration camp where he would be imprisoned for 27 years (1953-1980) “for refusing to participate in the ‘independent and autonomous’ Church, as Mao Zedong wanted,” AsiaNews reports.
Once freed, his command of the English language made him an asset for the communist regime, which conscripted him into service as an English teacher at Changchun University and then at the Northeast University for masters and doctoral programs. According to AsiaNews, “He introduced many Chinese to the study of Classical, Latin, and Greek languages and cultures.”
After his academic retirement in 1987, he dedicated his pastoral efforts to the local Legion of Mary and the religious congregation he founded, The Sisters of Mount Calvary.
According to AsiaNews. “He himself recalls that in the 1950s the regime wanted to ‘get rid of the pope’s interference and expel foreign missionaries. At that time, I realized that the Church was facing a great challenge and needed strong stamina, otherwise the Church would not be able to stand up. This is why I decided to set up a religious congregation.'”
He was secretly appointed bishop of Siping in 1982, but his underground ordination could only happen in 1986.
After being put under strict house surveillance in 1997, he continued to tend his flock under constant threat, convening secret gatherings and encouraging the laity to remain steadfast in faith and charity.
According to recent statistics provided by AsiaNews, his diocese includes some 30,000 Catholics, two-thirds of which belong to the underground Church. It has 20 priests and more than 100 nuns.
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 31, 2020 / 02:15 pm (CNA).- The Michigan Catholic Conference is pleased with a recent state Supreme Court decision that requires a lower court to review the constitutionality of a state program which reimburses non-public… […]
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 31, 2020 / 12:56 pm (CNA).- In a post published on Wednesday, December 30, just hours after abortion was legalized by the Argentinian Senate, one of the international branches of Planned Parenthood, the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPFWHR), boasted about having financed a large operation in the South American country to push to legalize abortion.
The celebratory post on the IPPFWHR website contradicts the claims of Argentinian President Alberto Fernández, who presented the abortion law and who repeatedly rebuffed pro-life concerns that the law was in fact being pushed by international organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Ford Foundation rather than the will of the Argentinian people.
According to a November 2020 survey carried by independent pollster Giacobbe & Asociados, 60% of Argentinians opposed the law, while only 26.7% were in favor.
“Argentina’s Senate just voted to legalize abortion up to 14 weeks! This is a historic moment for our region, our incredible partners in Argentina, and the countless activists and organizers who formed ‘the green wave’,” the IPPFWHR posted.
The post also revealed that the IPPFWHR “has nurtured an ecosystem of feminist organizations and activists for more than 15 years that contributed to make today possible.”
“IPPFWHR directly supports seven partners in Argentina, who in turn sub-grant funds to 20 other grassroots organizations from around the country. They have been coalescing around shared activities, such as advocating with policymakers and ensuring communication campaigns in favor of so called abortion rights featured prominently in the public discourse. They’re also actively planning how to best support the implementation of the new law.”
CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 12:49 pm (CNA).- In a short message published on his Twitter account, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the decision of the Argentinian Senate to legalize abortion and vowed that abortion will never become legal in Brazil – the largest Latin American country – under his presidency.
“I deeply lament for the lives of Argentinian children, now subject to being cut in their mothers’ wombs with the consent of the State. As far as it depends on me and my government, abortion will never be approved on our land. We will always fight to protect the lives of the innocent!,” tweeted Bolsonaro.
– Lamento profundamente pelas vidas das crianças argentinas, agora sujeitas a serem ceifadas no ventre de suas mães com anuência do Estado. No que depender de mim e do meu governo, o aborto jamais será aprovado em nosso solo. Lutaremos sempre para proteger a vida dos inocentes!
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) December 30, 2020
A new abortion law was approved by the Argentinian Senate on Wednesday, December 30. The new law, in practice, will allow abortions at any time until birth and has no provisions for protecting the baby if he or she survives a late-term abortion.
Flatten the curve. Radio, television, and Internet authorities drummed the message into us at the beginning of the COVID drama early in 2020. That little mantra has long since been dropped, of course. In the […]
MPAA Rating: PG-13 USCCB Rating: Not rated at the time of this review Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 reels (Disclaimer: The following review contains spoilers!) Whenever discussing neo-paganism in my World Religions course, I […]
Washington D.C., Dec 31, 2020 / 12:10 pm (CNA).- This article is the second part of Mary Farrow’s two-part series on the Church, gender-critical feminists, and transgender ideology. Part one can be found here.
In their efforts to teach the truth in the face of the transgender ideology, Catholics are finding an unlikely ally: trans-exclusionary, or “gender critical,” feminists, who say the transgender movement hurts women.
But while there are some points of common ground between Catholics and gender critical feminists, there are also important points of disagreement, even on the issue of what gender is.
One point of unity between the Church and trans-exclusionary radical feminists is agreement that the growing transgender movement is especially dangerous to children, who will often outgrow feelings of gender dysphoria naturally, or are led to believe their gender differs from their biological sex simply because they have atypical toy preferences for their biological sex.
“We agree that children should not be subjected to medical experimentation by doctors who profit from ‘affirming’ children, especially girls, in transgender or non-binary identities” in ever-increasing numbers, Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and director of the Catholic Women’s Forum, told CNA.
Kara Dansky, a board member of the Women’s Liberation Front, agreed, telling CNA that children going through the typically-turbulent time of puberty deserve care and guidance, but not medical treatments that could cause them permanent harm.
“A child who is confused about her or his sex definitely deserves compassion and care and guidance to understanding that they’re not born in the wrong body. Their body is fine just the way that it is (barring physical, medical ailments that should be treated appropriately), but we’re all born in the bodies that we’re born in,” she said.
“And we need to learn how to love ourselves physically and emotionally,” Dansky added. “So any child who is struggling to figure out what sex they are really needs caring, compassion and concern and guidance, but not sterilization and mutilation.”
Hasson said she hopes parents are aware of how the growing transgender movement is “radically reshaping how our children understand themselves and others, in ways that are incompatible with Christian beliefs. We need to be compassionate and kind to those who embrace transgender ideology, but we must be wise, and educate and guard ourselves – and our children- against the lies it proposes.”
On Causes, churches, and homophobia
On the causes of transgenderism, feminists and Catholics have both points of agreement and of disagreement.
Feminist Mary Kate Fain, who grew up in a conservative Evangelical church and community, said she thinks that in some cases, an overly rigid take on gender roles has contributed to the rise in the transgender phenomenon. For example, she said that feminists have long fought the gender norm that the only way to be a woman is to desire to stay home, cook in the kitchen, and raise children.
Feminists have argued that women can partake in any role in society that she wishes, Fain said.
But today, she said, a pervasive social message has become: “If you want to stay at home, work in the kitchen, and be feminine, have children, then you must be a woman. And therefore, if you don’t want to do any combination of these things, you must not be a woman.”
Fain also said that from her perspective, some communities with rigid gender roles also speak about homosexuality in particularly negative or disparaging ways. That can lead children in these communities who experience same-sex attractions to believe they were born in the wrong body, Fain believes.
She added that she has friends from such communities who, upon experiencing same-sex attractions, choose to identify as transgender or non-binary (neither male nor female), rather than face the stigma of identifying as gay or lesbian.
“We’re seeing this new ‘trans-the-gay-away’ movement happening, and people think that it’s progressive, when in reality this is happening in some of the most conservative areas across the globe,” Fain said.
“It’s happening in Iran where the government outlaws homosexuality on pain of death, but they’re paying for homosexual people to transition in order to no longer be gay. Then we see it in the United States, where the most red states are where you have the highest rates of transgenderism, and it’s no wonder that this is deeply linked to homophobia,” Fain said.
But Hasson cautioned against the assertion that homophobia in Christian and conservative churches is a significant contributor to the rise in transgenderism in youth. She said the assumption that most Christian churches with a biblical view of homosexuality are homophobic is unfair.
“I can’t speak to the views of ‘conservative’ or ‘evangelical’ churches as such. But I can say that those who adhere to biblical morality, like Catholics who adhere to Catholic teaching, are frequently charged with being ‘homophobic’ because they believe that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, or that the homosexual inclination is not what God intended, because sexual desire should be ‘ordered’ rightly towards the opposite sex,” Hasson said.
“So there’s an unfortunate tendency for those who identify as gay or lesbian to cry ‘homophobia’ when a Church teaches against same-sex sexual relationships or behavior,” she noted.
Hasson said most churches today that teach a biblical view of sexuality do so with the distinction of the action and the person. – the Church’s rejection of homosexual acts is not a rejection of the person, but of the act of sexual relations outside of marriage, which the Church holds is only possible between a man and a woman.
“But there are a significant number, including Catholic churches, that rightly reject the expression of sexuality towards a same-sex partner (which is always outside of marriage, as understood by the Church). We need to push back on the left’s talking point that Catholic teaching is by definition ‘homophobic.’”
Furthermore, Hasson said, she doubts the assertion because Christian parents by and large would not prefer that their children be transgender instead of homosexual, as both transgenderism and homosexuality go against God’s plan for human sexuality.
“…conservative churches and evangelicals who are against homosexual behavior are generally not going to accept assertions of a trans-identity,” Hasson said.
“They both involve deviations from God’s explicit design, plus no parent would prefer a trans-identity over a same-sex attraction issue with a child, given the chemical castration and surgical interventions that are becoming commonplace ‘treatments’ for identity confusion.”
Hasson acknowledged that there are some fringe Christian communities that could be perpetuating truly homophobic attitudes. She also added that she is aware of a small subculture of Catholics who hold overly-rigid gender roles, such as that women shouldn’t wear pants and are not capable or fit to hold jobs outside the home.
“I think it’s not healthy when someone does that and that strain of Catholicism is nothing new,” Hasson said, though she added that the sliver of truth there is that there is a different between men and women, and there are certain social cues used to distinguish between men and women that vary from culture to culture.
“Within that narrow slice, my sense is that someone who’s growing up and feels constrained, if they feel some sort of weight of conscience like – ‘Oh, my gosh. I’m being a terrible woman,’ – they’re also going to be getting a message that there are men or women,” Hasson said.
She said she didn’t necessarily see how someone who failed to fit into rigid gender stereotypes would then assume that they were actually a different biological sex.
“The most fundamental thing is whether you are a female, and that just doesn’t change,” she said.
“And the fact that someone has put you in a box as to how to express that, it would take quite a leap of logic or something to talk that around and say, ‘Oh, that means I must be the opposite sex,’ when everything else that you would be taught in that same environment would say, ‘No, you are one sex or another.’ And your body tells you that. And science tells you that.”
A growing number of people who were given medical treatments to transition their gender, and then regretted it, are now speaking out against the push to medically treat minors with gender dysphoria.
Keira Bell, a 23 year-old woman in the UK, has recently joined a lawsuit against the gender clinic that began her gender transition when she was 16 and wanted to be a male.
At 16, Bell was given hormone blockers to stunt her development as a female, and then was given male hormones. Bell said the treatments gave her symptoms of menopause, depleted her sex drive and weakened her bones, and may have rendered her infertile. At the age of 20, the National Health Service paid for a surgery that removed her breasts, the Daily Mail reported.
It was not long after the surgery that Bell started to question her gender transition. She told the Daily Mail that she felt “stuck” between male and female, and that she didn’t feel she fit with either gender. At the age of 22, she decided to detransition back to female, and to fight giving such treatments to other young people. She said she felt like a “guinea pig” that was experimented on by the gender clinic, without much thought given as to how the treatments would affect her life in the long-term.
Bell is now considered a key witness in a high-profile case against Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the gender clinic where she had gone for treatments. The lawsuit was brought against the clinic by a psychiatric nurse formerly employed at the clinic, who is arguing in the suit that children are not capable of consenting to the powerful and experimental puberty blockers and hormones being prescribed to them.
Bell is just one of many people – many of them women – who are speaking out after having gone through experimental gender transitioning treatments as minors and who are now in the process of detransitioning.
Charlie Evans, a 28 year-old woman living in the UK, is in the process of detransitioning after identifying as trans since her teenage years. After sharing her story, Evans was contacted by so many men and women who regretted their gender transitions that she was inspired to found The Detransition Advocacy Network, a non-profit that seeks to support men and women who regret their gender transitions.
Evans told The Telegraph that she attributes her own desire to transition as a young person to abuse that she suffered outside of her family, that made her hate her own body so much that she wanted to cut parts of it off. That experience seems to be common among the people who contact her Detransition network, she added.
“…you can’t be born in the wrong body – it’s our minds that need treatment, not our sex,” Evans said.
This article was originally published on CNA Feb. 13, 2020.
Vatican City, Dec 31, 2020 / 10:20 am (CNA).- Pope Francis explained Thursday why the Catholic Church gives thanks to God at the close of a calendar year, even years that have been marked by tragedy, such as 2020’s coronavirus pandemic.
In a hom… […]
Vatican City, Dec 31, 2020 / 09:20 am (CNA).- Because of sciatic pain, Pope Francis will not preside at the Vatican’s liturgies on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, according to the Holy See press office.
Pope Francis was scheduled to lead vespers on Dec. 31, and to offer Mass on Jan. 1, for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, stated Dec. 31 that the pope would no longer be doing so “due to a painful sciatica.”
Pope Francis has suffered from sciatica for a number of years. He spoke about it during an in-flight press conference returning from a trip to Brazil in July 2013.
He revealed that “the worst thing” that had happened in the first four months of his pontificate “was an attack of sciatica – really! – that I had the first month, because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt.”
“Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone!” Francis said.
The pope will still recite the Angelus on Jan. 1, the Vatican statement said. During the Christmas season, Francis has been giving his Angelus message via livestream from the library of the Apostolic Palace, due to holiday coronavirus restrictions in Italy.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, will offer the Jan. 1 Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica.
First Vespers, the singing of the “Te Deum,” and Eucharistic adoration Dec. 31 was led by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, deacon of the College of Cardinals.