Rome Life Forum – 6 May 2016
John-Henry Westen, editor in chief of LifeSiteNews and co-founder of Voice of the Family
Under the guise of fighting homophobia, sex education, freedom of choice, LGBT rights, and non-discrimination we are experiencing the imposition of gender ideology – an ideology that is asserted all over the world with religious fervor. Unlike the Christian faith however, this set of beliefs is imposed rather than proposed.
Gender ideology is the intellectual underpinning of the homosexual movement. It proposes that a person’s sex is not biologically determined but that it was historically socially constructed and that individuals should have the choice to determine their own sex – or gender. It is a belief system that denies bodily reality and forbids even the consideration of the risk factors associated with abnormal sexual activity. It employs the education system, national legislation, attacks on religion and the Church in an effort to achieve total adherence.
To demonstrate how ubiquitous is the new faith, you may note that there are now 71 different genders to choose from when you sign up for Facebook – the most popular social media site in the world with over a billion active users.
But as Gabriele Kuby would say, there are much more dire implications since the ideology has been taken up by governments and is being written into the legal codes all over the western world. She posits that now that gender theory has been widely adopted, the gender ideologues insist that “society must not only tolerate but positively accept any kind of sexual orientation.”
A new religion
This ideology, I would posit, is profoundly religious, with profound religious implications. As Pope Francis has said repeatedly, the pushing of “gender theory” is a type of “ideological colonization” where like the “Hitler youth,” they come to impose their “doctrine.”
Pope Benedict XVI explained the “profound falsehood” of gender theory and the “anthropological revolution contained within it.” He described gender theory as people disputing “the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being.” Rather than acknowledging that God created people male and female, the theory contends that these are societal constructs and we now may decide for ourselves.
“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being,” Benedict concluded. “The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears.”
As the Croatian Bishops explained it, “So man, under a gradually increasing impression of [his own] power, and convinced that there is no natural, preset order of things, increasingly began to put [himself] in the place of God and claim a role for himself omnipotent creator and legislator, whose freedom is absolute.”
Philosopher Peter Kreeft has observed that almost the whole of the culture war is centered on a deformation of the conjugal union.
Abortion, same-sex “marriage”, contraception, adultery, pornography, promiscuity, sex-education, divorce, homosexuality, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research are all related to sexuality.
In answer to why this should be the case, two quotes attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the children of Fatima are important. The first was related by Blessed Jacinta Marto: “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” And the second sent in a letter by Sister Lucia to Cardinal Caffara in which she said that Our Lady told her “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”
Additionally, as Pope John Paul II noted in his Theology of the Body, the sacred union of man and woman in marriage – the conjugal union – is a prime image stamped in mankind of the Trinitarian relationship to which we are called in the life to come. The fathers describe the Trinity as the Father loving the Son completely, and the Son the Father completely, and that complete giving of Themselves to Each Other is Itself the Holy Spirit. It is also as St. Paul teaches, the key image of Christ’s relationship with His Church.
Thus Satan whose primary objective to steer mankind away from heaven and Christ, has made this his primary focus of attack – to distort the most prominent image of the Trinitarian relationship to which we are called and to distort the image of Christ’s own relationship with His Church.
As I said in the beginning, this new religion is imposed rather than proposed. Gabriele Kuby expresses it this way: “A new totalitarianism is developing under the cloak of [sexual] freedom.” “The destruction of the family uproots every single human being. We become atomized human beings who can be manipulated to do anything.”
As recently as last month, Pope Francis described it as an “educated” or “polite persecution” that seeks to restrict rights to freedom of religion and conscientious objection. In his characteristic style the Pope said this “educated persecution” of “which not much is being said,” comes “cross-dressed as culture, cross-dressed as modernity, cross-dressed as progress.”
It targets individuals, he added, “for wanting to have and to manifest the values of a Son of God… It’s a persecution that robs man of his freedom, even from conscientious objection!”
“We see every day that the powerful countries create laws that force us to go through this path … a nation that doesn’t follow these modern laws, these cultures, or that at least doesn’t want to have them in its laws, is accused, is politely persecuted,” he noted.
Both martyrdom and the “educated” persecutions have “a boss,” he said. “Jesus named him the Prince of this World.”
“And when the powers want to impose attitudes, laws against the dignity of the Son of God, they persecute and go against the Creator, against God. It is the great apostasy,” Francis said.
The results of persecution
Across North America and Western Europe for the last 20 years we’ve seen bakers, wedding photographers, florists, professors, counselors, media personalities, professional sports players, bed and breakfast owners, mayors, printers, politicians, foster parents, fire chiefs, magistrates and police fined and some lose their jobs and livelihoods for criticizing homosexuality or homosexual ‘marriage.’
The persecution was directed squarely at religious leaders. In 2003 Swedish pastor Ake Green gave a sermon on homosexuality for which he was charged with hate crime and sentenced to one month in prison. He appealed the ruling and it was overturned in 2005 only to be appealed and finally acquitted permanently later in 2005 after the Supreme Court suggested that while he contravened Swedish law the European Court would not uphold the conviction.
So that you won’t think that this could only happen in ultra-liberal Sweden, I will tell you the same intimidation appeared in 2014 in one of the most conservative states in the United States of America. The openly lesbian Mayor of the city of Houston Texas issued subpoenas demanding five pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity. If they failed to comply they could be held in contempt of court.
In Canada two bishops were taken to human rights commissions over their stances in defense of the traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Also from the beginning, schools were a target for the re-education programme. Even Catholic and private schools are not exempt. A Catholic Canadian bishop was threatened with denial of Catholic school funding if he did not remove the teaching against homosexual acts from the religious education classes – sadly he acquiesced. Other bishops through pressures of various kinds have permitted comprehensive sex education, homosexual clubs and other such indoctrination programs in their schools.
Parents rights also fall victim to the new ideology. In various cities throughout North America and Europe parents are forbidden from withdrawing their children from sex-ed classes, which are explicitly pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, and more. Two provinces in Canada have proposed that even in home schooling parents are not permitted to teach against homosexual sex.
In Germany parents have their children taken away and are jailed for home schooling their children in the truth and meaning of human sexuality.
Bowing to the new altar
While many bishops like Belgian Primate emeritus Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard have fought the new ideology valiantly despite even physical assault, some churchmen have capitulated to the new religion. In December last year a flyer bearing the stamp of the German Bishops Conference was published in which “gender mainstreaming” was described as if it were harmless, as “a political strategy which wants to contribute to the equality of opportunity between women and men.”
In most dioceses throughout West especially in big cities you will find a ‘gay parish’ where the Catholic faith is warped so as to excuse those living in grave sin. Such parishes exist even in the most conservative dioceses in America.
Even the Vatican itself has bowed at the altar of the new religion.
The situation revolved around the visit of Pope Francis to the United States last September. We were at first overjoyed to hear that the Pope met with Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed over her refusal to endorse homosexual marriage. The Holy Father thanked her for her courage and encouraged her to “stay strong” in her fight for natural marriage. The meeting brought hope that the Holy Father saw and understood the struggles facing supporters of true marriage in America; that his concerns went beyond climate change, the death penalty and the arms trade.
But then the unthinkable happened. Vatican spokesman Fr. Ciro Benedettini told ABC News that “the Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given.”
The non-response fueled speculation that Kim Davis lied about meeting with the Pope for her own purposes. The Vatican also refused to release and has never since released photos that were taken of the meeting, leading to even more media suspicion over the meeting.
When it was finally acknowledged as having taken place, the Vatican distanced the pope from Davis. English-language attaché of the Vatican press office, Fr. Thomas Rosica, described what he labeled the “negative impact” of the pope’s meeting with Davis and suggested that the pope may not have been properly briefed before the meeting.
An official Vatican press release suggested overtly that the Holy Father’s meeting with the embattled Kentucky clerk was not a ‘real’ audience – and that the meeting “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
Fr. Lombardi’s statement said, and I quote: “The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of His former students and his family.”
Who was this student ‘and his family’ who was granted the only ‘real’ audience with the Pope? It was his former student Yayo Grassi who is a practicing homosexual. He attended the audience with the Holy Father accompanied by his homosexual partner and members of his family. And while the Vatican refused to release photos of the Pope’s meeting with Davis leading many to doubt the meeting, there were photos and even video of the Pope meeting with Grassi. In the video the Pope is seen embracing both Grassi and his homosexual partner.
Grassi, told CNN that the Pope himself arranged the meeting with a personal phone call weeks prior to his visit. In contrast, Fr. Rosica said the pope’s meeting with Davis was arranged by the Nuncio to the USA. Other Vatican sources claimed to various media that the Pope was “blindsided” by the meeting with Davis, claiming the meeting was unknown to the Vatican and also to the U.S. Bishops conference, which would have opposed the meeting, according to a CBS source in the Vatican.
So while the Holy Father met with Davis and encouraged her and also commended religious freedom on his return flight, the Vatican press office turned what should have been a rejection of the false god of sexual revolution into a genuflection at the altar of political correctness or the ideology itself.
The new front – economic pressure and persecution
In the movement for life and family we have long seen international economic pressure used on developing nations to force them into compliance with the new dogmas of false freedom, gender ideology and a warped conception of human rights. The United Nations, Europe and North America have conditioned aid money to poor countries on the acceptance of contraception, abortion and homosexuality. According to Bishop Badejo of Nigeria, even help with fighting Boko Haram was impeded by the nation’s refusal to accept homosexual ‘marriage’.
Of late however we have seen use of these same economic pressure tactics on a national level. In the United States, large corporations have effectively usurped democracy by strong-arming elected officials into betraying the people they represent with the threat of financial ruin.
It was foretold by a homosexual activist financier in March of 2015. Tim Sweeney spoke of defeating religious freedom exemptions in the U.S. within three years. “We are at a crossroads where the choices we make will mean we will fight religious exemptions for two to three years or have a protracted twenty year struggle on our hands,” Sweeney told leading business executives and others attending the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates executive forum, held in San Francisco.
Such corporate financial pressure has exploded in the last number of months into a monster-threat to democracy recognized even by some liberals as a concerning development. Even the descriptions of the situation from media cheering the developments read like a horror novel. Here’s the description of the situation from the New Yorker magazine of April 25:
Last month, executives at more than eighty companies—including Apple, Pfizer, Microsoft, and Marriott—signed a public letter to the governor of North Carolina urging him to repeal the state’s new law (protecting religious freedom). Lionsgate Studio is moving production of a new sitcom out of the state, Deutsche Bank cancelled plans to create new jobs there, and PayPal has cancelled plans for a global operations center. In Mississippi, G.E., Pepsi, Dow, and others attacked the law there as “bad for our employees and bad for business.” Disney said that it would stop making movies in Georgia, which has become a major venue for film production, if the governor signed the bill. Something similar happened last year in Indiana, after the state passed a religious-freedom law allowing businesses to discriminate against L.G.B.T. customers and employees. At least a dozen business conventions relocated.
A little corporate muscle flexing can work wonders, it turns out. Last month, Georgia’s governor vetoed its religious-freedom bill, implicitly acknowledging that the state could not afford to lose Disney’s business, and South Dakota’s governor, citing opposition from Citigroup and Wells Fargo, vetoed a law that would have required people to use the bathroom that corresponded to their biological sex at birth. Last year, Indiana and Arkansas amended their religious-freedom bills after a corporate backlash (led, in Arkansas, by Walmart).
We have seen the financial coercion go from the international level to the national. As I mentioned earlier we have also begun to see it affect certain individuals. I would suggest it will not be too long before that pressure is applied to each individual.
Such a development was predicted over 2000 years ago in the Apocalypse or the book of Revelations. In the 13th and 14th chapters of the Apocalypse we read about the so-called “mark of the beast”:
“And he shall make all, both little and great, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, to have a character in their right hand, or on their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:16-17)
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If any man shall adore the beast and his image, and receive his character in his forehead, or in his hand; He also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mingled with pure wine in the cup of his wrath, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels, and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night, who have adored the beast, and his image, and whoever receiveth the character of his name.” (Rev 14:9-11)
Having some mark which allows buying and selling is not evil in and of itself, thus there must be something attached to getting the mark which makes receiving it worthy of eternal damnation. It would follow logically that in order to have the means to buy and sell people could perhaps be required to be upstanding citizens. Might not they be expected to sign on to some statement of human right to attest to such a state?
For over 20 years the ideologues of the new global religion have worked to insert language into United Nations human rights documents that would support the new ideology. They have had partial success and with every new UN conference comes new incursions.
The purveyors of the new religion have achieved a level of global saturation in the developed world which seems ready to demand from each and every citizen adherence to their dogmas. With false love and false mercy a universal salvation is promised to all those who ‘lovingly’ accept others’ sexual lifestyles without discrimination and bigotry.
Many have wondered how, when persons with homosexual tendencies form such a small minority of the population, they can have acceptance of their deviant sexual lifestyle made a unieversal requirement.
With most of the world engaged in aberrant sexual behaviour such as the use of pornography or contraception, the link to protecting the sexual aberration of homosexuality becomes clear. One cannot allow for the condemnation of one sexual perversion when he is himself engaged in another, rather all should be protected and accepted.
The coming years will see an increase in persecution I’ve described thus far. There is an increasing hatred for those who dare to dissent from the dogmas of the new religion coming from the general public which has been taught that most of the world’s problems are due to those unwilling to embrace love and tolerance.
It is instructive to remember the passage from chapter 11 of the Apocalypse where the two end-time prophets are finally slain by anti-Christ. The Scriptures note that their bodies shall lie in the streets for three days and all shall rejoice and exchange gifts “because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth.”
In what way did they torment those on earth? By giving voice to their consciences.
Kuby concludes her book asking “What does a culture do when it no longer has a way of cleansing guilt because it has made men their own gods? It must silence the conscience, in the vain hope that then inner peace will be found.” She highlights three methods for this silencing.
- Create ideologies that make sin appear good.
- Drag everyone into the sin
- Defame, shun, and persecute everyone who gives voice to the conscience
In conclusion there remains hope along with faith and charity. Cardinal Caffara recalled that when Sister Lucia wrote him of the final battle between Our Lord and Satan being over marriage and family she added these words: “Don’t be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”
The battle is the Lord’s and He has already won. We are on the winning team, despite what the situation may look like. Ours is but to do our best to carry out the will of the God in our lives and accept even with thanks all the circumstances He sends our way.
Just as the Passion brings us Easter, the tougher the times the greater good God will bring from them. He never gives us more than we can bear and all things work for good for those who love Him.
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in his Easter Homily in 2012, the Resurrection of Jesus assures us that: “Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies.”