European Court: Aborting Jesus At Mass A Sacred Right
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently overturned the ruling of a French court that had fined and issued a jail sentence to a feminist who interrupted a Roman Catholic church service and "aborted" Jesus on the altar while topless.
Eloïse Bouton was bare-breasted and painted in pro-choice slogans all over her body when, in December 2013, she interrupted Christmas carols at Paris' famous Madeleine church and protested the Catholic Church's teachings against abortion by simulating an abortion of Jesus.
Wearing a crown of thorns to mock Jesus Christ and a blue veil to deride the Virgin Mary, Bouton carried pieces of ox livers to symbolize an aborted baby as she stood in front of the church altar and pretended to perform an "abortion" before urinating on the ground in front of the congregants.
The Ukrainian group Femen, which Bouton used to be a member of, later celebrated the act on social media, writing "Christmas is canceled!" and that "the holy mother Eloïse has just aborted the embryo of Jesus on the altar of the Madeleine."
The church's priest filed a legal complaint against Bouton, who was found guilty by a French court of an unlawful "sexual display." She was sentenced to more than a month in prison and ordered to pay the church €2,000, a punishment France's highest court upheld.
In an opinion rendered Oct. 13, the Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled that by punishing Bouton for her display, France violated the article of the European Convention on Human Rights that protects freedom of expression.
I remind you that in many European countries, it is against the law to say that a penis-having person who claims to be a woman is really a man. But according to the ECHR, you can commit the ultimate blasphemy on the altar of a Catholic Church, during the liturgy, and it's protected speech.
Who wants to defend a social order that calls that just? Who will fight and die for the right of feminists to simulate aborting Jesus on the altar of a Catholic Church at Christmas?
Not me. Count me out.
Something very dark and evil is coming. Open your eyes and ears. In the United States, as Olivia Reingold reported, there have been scores of violent acts against pro-life centers since Roe was overturned -- and our media don't care. Christians and other pro-lifers have it coming, they surely figure. From Reingold's report in Bari Weiss's invaluable Substack newsletter:
On a Sunday morning in May, Wisconsin Family Action, a pro-life group housed in a brick building in a suburb of the state capital of Madison, was fire-bombed.
Windows were blown out. Furniture was destroyed. Someone spray-painted, in neat, girly handwriting: “if abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
When she saw federal agents carting buckets of evidence out of the building, hours later, Julianne Appling, Wisconsin Family Action’s executive director, figured that someone would be arrested, indicted, prosecuted—that justice would be served.
That was Mother’s Day, the first weekend after the Dobbs leak, the Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and throw the question of abortion back to the states. While tens of thousands of Americans across the country were protesting the impending decision, Wisconsin Family Action was burning. (Just days before, 1,000 or so people had demonstrated less than five miles away, in front of the state capitol.) The attack on Wisconsin Family Action was one of many attacks on pro-life facilities that weekend.
It’s been almost five months, and Appling says she still has no idea who blew up the facility—which is fighting to remove all exemptions from Wisconsin’s recently implemented abortion ban.
“When there’s this level of inaction with the investigation, you start asking questions,” Appling told me. “Is it who we are and what we believe?”
Yes, Mrs. Appling, it is. More from the story, including on the silence of Democrats and pro-choice groups (this, after Reingold quotes a number of pro-life conservatives who openly condemned violence against abortion clinics in the past):
When I asked the White House for comment on the recent attacks on pro-life groups, a spokesperson directed me to President Joe Biden’s past calls for peace following Dobbs—including his statement that “violence is never acceptable.”
Congressional Democrats did not seem to share the president’s feelings. In July, they thwarted an effort to condemn violence directed against pro-life activists, a House Republican press secretary confirmed. (This was noted by a handful of venues, including The Daily Wire, but not widely reported.) Representative Jerry Nadler, one of the few Democrats to condemn violence against pro-life groups, did not return messages.
Nathaniel Hurd, a policy fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute who co-authored a report on the rising threat faced by pro-life groups, suggested Democrats are unwittingly encouraging future attacks. “When you look at the last 50 years, if a religious institution is attacked—especially violently—everyone across the board condemns it,” he said. “That just seems to be missing here, which suggests that that consensus has started to fray somewhat.”
That did not appear to surprise Sen. Ted Cruz. “This DOJ has become so politicized by the Biden administration, it’s almost unrecognizable as the historic institution that’s held up our legal system,” the Texas Republican told me, arguing the agency has been weaponized by Democrats to go after their political opponents instead of meting out justice.
Read the whole thing. It will tell you what time it is.
In speeches lately, I've been telling people that we are in a "Kolakovic Moment," a reference to the prophetic Catholic priest, Father Tomislav Kolakovic, who foresaw the coming of Communist persecution in Slovakia, and who spent the years leading up to it preparing the underground church for resistance.
Last weekend, I went to Kosice, the second-biggest city of Slovakia, for an ideas festival sponsored by the Hanus Fellowship, a group of young Catholics who hold events focused on how to live faithfully in the modern world. (By the way, if you are a Catholic or of Slovak heritage, and you would like to donate to an excellent group of orthodoxy young Catholic keeping the life of the Church thoughtful and lively in contemporary Slovakia, please go here to give to the Hanus Fellowship, named for an intellectual priest who was persecuted by the Communists.) While there, some of the fellowship took me to see the new Museum Of The Victims Of Communism in the city. This small private museum is a labor of love by the Hnic family, who started it to memorialize the 250,000 Slovaks killed or imprisoned by the Communist regime.
They have video testimonies by the prisoner and underground church leader Silvester Krcmery, and many others. No matter how many times I have heard tales like this, I never fail to be poleaxed by the pointless cruelty of the Communists. It is a terrible scandal that we today almost never talk about the victims of Communism. Get this: they told me at the museum that most young Slovaks, born after the end of Communism, don’t know these stories either. The museum is trying to change that.
We also talked there about how Slovakia (like Hungary, and other former Communist countries, East Germany excepted) never had a post-communist lustration — that is, bringing light to bear on the role played by regime collaborators. Many of those who prospered under Communism went on to use their connections to prosper under liberal democracy, and never had to answer for what they had done. In Hungary, for example, the leader of the left-wing opposition is a former Communist bureaucrat. I was told that many who had gone into the teaching profession were Communists, or favorable to the Communist cause, and that that is likely one reason that the crimes of the Communist era are ignored or downplayed with the post-communist generation.
In the museum, there is a special section devoted to the production of samizdat — illegal publications that kept alive the spirit of resistance (and, in the case of religious samizdat, gave to the underground church what it needed to carry out its worship).
If you read Live Not By Lies, you’ll recall me talking about going into a hidden room in a sub-basement, and behind a wall, of an ordinary suburban Bratislava house. In that tiny chamber, the underground church produced samizdat for a decade, using an offset printer that the heroic Christians of Open Doors smuggled into them around 1980. Here is a Dutch Christian from Open Doors celebrating in the chamber with a Slovak samizdat printer:
At the end of my visit, Pavol Hnic, the museum director, gave me a Slovak language copy of the spiritual exercises Father Kolakovic led for his followers in 1945. I was stunned! I asked him to send me the Word file of the manuscript, and I would use DeepL to translate some of it, and try to get an American publisher interested in a translation. We Christians in the West today desperately need to prepare ourselves as Father Kolakovic prepared the young Christians of Slovakia! Mr. Hnic agreed to do this. If we can make it happen, I hope the proceeds from its sale go to fund the museum and its work. Here's an image of the Slovak version of Fr. K's spiritual exercises:
Here, on the right, is museum founder and director Pavol Hnic, accompanied by his son Peter, a museum guide:
I am eager for the Hnics to get me the Word document on which Father Kolakovic's spiritual exercises were written down. I have a sense that it is urgent to get them translated into English, and distributed to American Christians now, while there is still time. It was stunning to me, and depressing, to learn that so many young people in Slovakia are oblivious to what was done to their country and their people by Communism. I've heard similar things in other post-communist countries of Central Europe. And of course it's true in America too (that our young aren't taught about Communism).
We are so lucky to still have the witnesses of Communism alive today to tell us about it, and to warn us that we are falling back into the same mindset that brought tyranny. They are dying out, though. Right now, a couple of film producers in Nashville are putting together funding for a Live Not By Lies documentary, so we can get these heroes on film now, while they are with us. I'll keep you updated on the fundraising.
Don't know if you saw it, but Live Not By Lies has just been released in paperback, making it more affordable for group study. If you have your church group or student group reading it together, click here for a free, downloadable study guide.
Yeah, I'm an alarmist -- because what's happening in the world is alarming! It means something. We are fighting above all a spiritual battle -- and we are going to take casualties. We have all been given the luxury of being able to see what's coming, and to prepare. Father Kolakovic, whose farsightedness and courage gave the Slovak underground church the guidance they needed to get ready, is speaking to us again today. I'm sure of it.
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UPDATE: And yet, the Controlled Opposition Conservatives will tell you that the freedom to do this is a blessing of liberty: