Transgender Christian Confronts Pastor During Anti-LGBTQ+ Sermon

A transgender Christian publicly confronted a Catholic pastor in Cleveland, Ohio, after the pastor denounced an LGBTQ+ nonprofit in a sermon at St. Raphael Parish on Sunday.

The LGBTQ+ community has been at the center of a culture war, with conservative political figures working to create anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, such as Tennessee banning public drag shows and Florida banning gender identity education in the classroom.

Recently, conservative voices have called for boycotts of organizations entering into the nation’s social issues, specifically in the LGBTQ+ realm, such as Kohl’s, PetSmart, Bud Light, The North Face and others.

The faith community has entered into the debate as well, with some churches pledging support to the LGBTQ+ community and others condemning it.

In Sunday’s sermon, St. Raphael Parish Pastor Timothy W. Gareau apparently spoke out against the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a pro-LGBTQ+ nonprofit in California comprised of an “order of queer and trans nuns.”

The group recently received a community hero award from the Los Angeles Dodgers and was invited to the team’s LGBTQ+ Pride Night in June.

“Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Look what’s happening. Defaming the name of Jesus Christ. Defaming the name of every Christian here on Earth.

It just burns a hole in my heart, angers me and embitters me. And it should you,” Gareau said during the sermon, according to a report from the online news outlet

Gareau didn’t specifically mention the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence but gave enough information that one parishioner approached the altar and spoke out against Gareau’s criticism.

“Queer and trans people also carry the Holy Spirit, and that was really painful to hear. That was really hurtful,” the person said, who identified as a transgender former parishioner named Avery.

“You baptized me. I carry the Holy Spirit within me. I know you’re talking about the Sisters of Indulgence, and I understand that from the outside it looks like they are defaming the Catholic faith … There are queer children here. The spirit of God moves through all people.”

The quarrel comes amid political groups restricting the freedoms of transgender people.

According to the report, three men attending the sermon approached the altar and removed the former parishioner from the pulpit.

After facing backlash for inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Dodgers rescinded the invitation but later changed the decision and reinvited the group to the field upon facing further backlash from the LGBTQ+ community.

Companies and organizations have differed in their responses to the boycotts, with some struggling amid the backlash like Bud Light and the Dodgers and others digging deeper in their support of the LGBTQ+ community like The North Face and the television series The Chosen.

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Catholic School Board Member Calls Christian Men ‘Dangerous’ Sparking Anger

A Canadian Catholic school board collectively walked out of its meeting Monday night after a crowd called for a member’s resignation over her tweets disparaging Christian men.

School board meetings, notably across the United States, became plenty more contentious throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to the implementation of various safety stipulations, as well as debates on book bans and critical race theory.

Similar clashes have occurred in Canada, as the father of a fourth-grader chastised a local school board in January after his daughter was reportedly asked about her gender identity. He also questioned sexually explicit books on school shelves.

The scene on Monday during the Waterloo Catholic District School Board meeting in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, became chaotic after a journalist identified as Rebel News’ David Manzies inquired about a purported tweet written by board member Wendy Ashby.

Ashby wrote in a now-deleted tweet that white Christian males are the “most dangerous creature on the planet,” adding that “They’re a Threat to anyone that is not them.”

The tweet was screenshot and tweeted by a parent in the district.

Ashby wrote in another tweet, also screenshot and posted on Twitter, that “white women make obedient soldiers for the christofascist patriarchy.”

Her account no longer exists, according to Twitter.

Manzies then got into a back-and-forth shouting match with Board Chair Tracy Weiler, who threatened to remove Manzies from the chamber if he continued to act out of order.

“Do you approve or condemn this racist, sexist, anti-Christian statement? Yes or no?” Manzies asked, receiving no response.

The audience then erupted with loud clapping in support of Manzies’ questioning, essentially drowning out Weiler’s voice. Guests then continuously chanted “Shame! Shame!” as the board members walked out of the room.

Ashby, a clinical counselor and psychotherapist who was elected in 2022, was not in attendance.

Newsweek has reached out to Ashby via phone and email for comment, and all members of the school board via email.

‘Racist, misandrist and bigoted anti-Christ filth’

Campaign Life Coalition, a national anti-abortion organization in Canada, launched a petition last week calling for Ashby’s immediate resignation. As of Tuesday, the petition received over 2,440 signatures.

The organization also published an open letter for parents and concerned stakeholders supporting Ashby’s resignation to demonstrate at Monday’s meeting. An outdoor protest also occurred.

“We’re very pleased to see that parents and grandparents are waking up to learn just how rotten and corrupt the education system has become, and how dangerous is the filth these so-called ‘education leaders’ peddle to students—and that they’re fighting back against it,” Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Coalition’s director of political operations, told Newsweek via email.

Fonseca described Ashby’s two tweets in question as “racist, misandrist and bigoted anti-Christ filth” that proved “this was no momentary lapse of reason on her part but rather a deep-seated racist and anti-Christian sentiment that she harbors.”

When asked if the organization has corresponded directly with the Waterloo board members, Fonseca said it had not.

“We feel that grassroots approach is more effective and, in the end, is what will win the day for a return to decency, parental rights, and the teaching of academics in our school systems instead of ideology,” he said.

A Canadian parent group called Parents as First Educators (PAFE) has also been vocal about pushing for Ashby’s resignation, citing the board member in multiple blog posts—including her use of Twitter hashtags associated with the LGBTQ+ community that accompanied one of her posts.

“She appears to consider herself a social justice warrior, fighting for justice and acceptance for all!” PAFE wrote in an April 6 post. “But where is the representation for the white Christian males she so blatantly discriminates against?

“If these comments had been made towards anyone of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or Indigenous communities, the school board would have taken immediate action and removed her from position as trustee, especially as a Catholic school board.”

Teresa Pierre, president of PAFE, told Newsweek via email that Ashby has had months to walk back the comments and now must face resignation. “There is no place for racism in Canadian public life,” she said.

“Yesterday’s scene shows that like an ostrich with its head in the sand,” Pierre said. “This board is waiting and hoping that the drama will die down. … Trustees left parents with more questions than answers: Does the board appreciate that the public no longer has confidence in Trustee Ashby? Will any repercussions follow for her hateful, bigoted remarks?

“The public is demanding a response from the board and will not allow silence to continue to prevail.”

Original Article

Vatican Reveals ‘Extraordinary Exchange’ Between Pope and Accused Cardinal

At a session of the Vatican’s corruption trial on Thursday (March 9), the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, presented the court with an extraordinary exchange of letters between Pope Francis and Cardinal Angelo Becciu, one of the trial’s 10 defendants, in which the cardinal pleaded with the pontiff to back his version of events and drop charges of financial malfeasance against him.

Becciu asked the pope to confirm that he had endorsed the 2014 purchase and later sale of a London real estate property that resulted in the Vatican losing millions of euros.

In a letter dated July 21, 2021, Francis expressed “surprise,” writing that Becciu’s request “immediately seemed strange to me because of the content, forms and timing.”

Since “I had no other elements of evaluation, I suggested that we proceed to a preliminary consultation with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, prefect of the (Vatican Secretariat for the Economy).”

The pope’s letter was in response to a July 20 missive sent by Becciu, sent two weeks after the cardinal was indicted, in which he also asked the pope to confirm that the cardinal’s dealings with Cecilia Marogna, a self-styled security analyst who is also on trial, were bound under “pontifical secret.”

Marogna, who is charged with embezzlement, was paid exorbitantly for advising Becciu, and used the payments to buy expensive designer bags and furniture, according to prosecutors.

Becciu and his lawyers have argued that the payments made to Marogna were made to negotiate the freedom of a Colombian nun who was kidnapped in Mali in 2017. In November 2022, the Vatican court heard a recording of a phone call between Francis and Becciu, in which Becciu again asked the pope to confirm that he had authorized the payment to Marogna.

The telephone recording, obtained by Italian investigators who were looking into a charity linked to Becciu, was made without the pope’s knowledge or consent.

In a letter dated July 24, 2021, Becciu thanked the pope for his call and once again asked the pope to confirm his authorization. “I should cite you as a witness in the trial, but I would not allow myself to do so,” the cardinal wrote.

Nevertheless, Becciu asked the pope for two statements “confirming how the events took place” regarding the London property and the payments made to Marogna.

The pope responded two days later, writing that he believed that he “had clarified, in a spirit of truth, my negative position on the declarations you intend to have me sign.”

“Evidently and surprisingly, I have been misunderstood by you,” he wrote.

Furthermore, Francis said the payments made to Marogna could not be protected under pontifical secret due to “the opaque aspects” of Becciu’s actions that were being scrutinized by Vatican investigators.

The court also heard testimony Thursday from Gianluca Gauzzi Broccoletti, commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, and Vatican Police Commissioner Stefano De Santis.

Gauzzi told the Vatican judges that he and De Santis met with Becciu in October 2020 to discuss allegations that the cardinal had provided financial support to the accusers of the late Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted of child abuse charges in Australia before being acquitted on appeal.

Initially aloof, Gauzzi said, when presented with evidence of the purchases Marogna had made, Becciu “bent down on his knees and putting his hands over his face, he said, ‘If this thing comes out, it will be a serious damage for me and for my family members.’”

He also said that Becciu told the two law enforcement officers that he was willing to pay back the money spent by Marogna to the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank. 

In a statement released Thursday, Becciu said the commander had assured him the meeting would be confidential and had assured Becciu that he was “the one being cheated.” 

Becciu called Gauzzi’s testimony “yet another wound” he has suffered in the trial.

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