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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Italian bishops are canonizing a climate alarmist, a bisexual activist, a lesbian journalist, an open-borders agitator and Muslim campaigners in a woke "Way of the Cross" for Lent and Holy Week.
Via Crucis, published by the Italian Episcopal Conference for use in Italy's dioceses and parishes in 2022, glorifies Swedish climate alarmist Greta Thunberg among the ranks of "missionary women and men who were martyred."
Thunberg is exalted at the 10th Station (Jesus is stripped of His clothes) by the publication as a 19-year-old "protagonist of change" who "became famous for her strike against climate change."
The inclusion of individuals like Thunberg is "intended to underline the link between young people and the Church" and help the faithful to "rethink" their idea of Church, the Via Crucis booklet explains.
The CEI's Stations of the Cross also glorifies Marielle Franco, a Brazilian lesbian, feminist, communist and LGBT+ activist, among the "missionary women and men who were martyred."
The First Station calls on the faithful to meditate on the assassination and achievements of the Brazilian agitator. The commentary also claims that the "irresponsibility" of Brazil's leaders led to the deaths of 600,000 people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This political critique is directed primarily at Brazil's populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who refused to capitulate to pandemic hysteria and did not mandate masks, vaccines or lockdowns.
The meditation does not mention Marielle Franco's life as a bisexual who "married" her female partner, Mônica Benício, or her defiance of Catholic teaching on abortion — despite having received a scholarship from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.
The Second Station (Jesus is laden with the Cross) exalts a Filipino–American lesbian journalist, Maria Ressa, for providing "critical insight into the work of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte."
Ressa spent nearly two decades working as a reporter in Southeast Asia for the far-left media outlet CNN. In 2020, a tribunal in Manila found her guilty of cyber libel under the Philippines' anti-cybercrime law.
The pro-abortion journalist, who was charged with fraud, tax evasion and receiving money from the CIA, is hailed in Via Crucis as a joint recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize who aided in "safeguarding freedom of expression and fighting to report on the injustices and violence" in the Philippines and Russia.
The Twelfth Station (Jesus dies on the Cross) features Pakistani activist and blogger Malala Yousafzai, a Muslim, who praises her religion, saying, "Islam has taught me the importance of peace. Islam has taught me the importance of education."
The Via Crucis commentary hails Yousafzai as the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a campaigner for the right to education for women under the Taliban regime.
While the world rightly cheers Yousafzai for her bravery and passion, she "would not receive the same worldwide praise" if she were "a Christian standing up for girls' right to believe in Jesus," writes evangelical columnist Chelsen Vicari.
Vicari compares Malala Yousafzai to Aasiya Noreen "Asia" Bibi — a Pakistani-Catholic mother of five who spent a decade on death row after being falsely accused of blaspheming Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
"None of the figures chosen for these Stations are martyrs or even faithful Christians. The exercise is one of secularized and politicized profanation of the sacred — and not just the general, sacred but the most personal sacred suffering our Lord," Dr. Gavin Ashenden, former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, told Church Militant.
The Seventh Station mentions another Muslim, Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh. She was featured on the list of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2021 and was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes after she defended the right of women to reject the Islamic veil, notes the CEI in its meditation.
Ashenden, a convert and host of the newly launched Merely Catholic podcast, elaborated:
The spirit behind this travesty is the same one that inspired the crowd to call for the release of Barabbas instead of Christ. In the so-called victims they have chosen, they too seek refuge in the violent and political, rejecting and not knowing the true Christ — but preferring a secular semiotic solution to their suffering Savior.
The Ninth Station (Jesus falls the third time) hails Italian politician, activist and former mayor Domenico "Mimmo" Lucano, who was given a prison sentence of 13 years and two months for "exploiting migrants for his benefit." Lucano was also charged with abuse of office, fraud, ideological falsehood and embezzlement.
The CEI Stations praise him "for his approach to managing political refugees and immigrants in general, in the context of the European migrant crisis." They also praise him for resettling some 450 (mostly Muslim) migrants in Riace — a town of 1,800 inhabitants in Calabria. According to the Italian bishops, Lucano's "model of reception was deemed a crime."
The CEI Stations feature Mexican priest Alejandro Solalinde, who assists illegal immigrants to cross the border into the United States, and Combonian nun Sr. Gabriella Bottani for her fight against human trafficking.
Alessia Bonari, a nurse who became a celebrity after her mask left bruise marks on her face, is hailed in the Fifth Station (Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His cross) as a "symbol of the fight against COVID."
The Via Crucis urges the faithful to recreate a Church that "becomes mother, womb, welcoming family, generator of life, sister and disciple and that listens to and includes all humanity, denounces all abuses and injustices and strips itself of everything superfluous to continue walking the streets of the world."
Jesuit priest and journalist Fr. Thomas Reese earlier compared Thunberg to the biblical seer Isaiah, calling her "an Advent prophet giving us hope but challenging us to prepare the way of the Lord by protecting the Father's creation."
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