Pope Francis addresses participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and stresses the importance of rediscovering the value and beauty of family life, despite changes and prolonged crises affecting families.
By Vatican News staff reporter
Over the last three days, the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has been taking place in the Vatican under the theme, “The family as relational good: The challenge of love.”
Greeting participants on Friday, Pope Francis went to the heart of this theme, focusing his attention on marriage and the challenges facing families today.
Challenges to family life
He noted that “social changes are altering the living conditions of marriage and families all over the world,” and that “prolonged and multiple crises” are putting a strain on family life.
His antidote to this was to “rediscover the value of the family as the source and origin of the social order, as the vital cell of a fraternal society capable of caring for the common home.”
Pope Francis underlined that despite many changes marriage and the family have undergone through the centuries, there are “common and permanent traits” that reveal the greatness and value of both. But, he warned, “if this value is lived out in an individualistic and private way, as is partly the case in the West, the family can become isolated and fragmented in the context of society.”
The Pope went on to say that it was important to understand that “the family is good for society, not insofar as it is a mere aggregation of individuals, but insofar as it is a relationship founded in a ‘bond of mutual perfection.’”
The good of the family, Pope Francis said, “consists in sharing relationships of faithful love, trust, cooperation, reciprocity,” which brings about their happiness.
“The family humanises people through the relationship of ‘we’ and at the same time promotes each person’s legitimate differences.”
Church and the family
The Pope highlighted that “the Church’s social thinking helps to understand this relational love appropriate to the family, as the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has sought to do, following in the wake of the great tradition, but with that tradition, take a step forward.”
He also emphasized that the family “is a place of welcome,” adding that its qualities are “particularly evident in families where there are frail or disabled members. These families, he said, “develop special virtues, which enhance the capacity for love and patient endurance in the face of life’s difficulties.”
He also pointed to families “that generate benefits for society as a whole, including adoptive and foster families and noted that the family “is the main antidote to poverty,”
In his address, Pope Francis stressed that family-friendly social, economic and cultural policies need to be promoted in all countries that make it possible to harmonise family life.
Rediscovering the beauty of family life
Turning his attention again to the theme of “rediscovering” the beauty of family life, the Pope said there were certain conditions.
The first, he continued, “is to remove from the mind’s eye the “cataracts” of ideologies that prevent us from seeing reality.”
“The second condition is the rediscovery of the correspondence between natural marriage and sacramental marriage.”
Finally, spelling out the third condition, he drew from his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia which recalls the awareness that the grace of the sacrament of Matrimony – which is the ‘social’ sacrament par excellence – heals and elevates the whole of human society and is a leaven of fraternity.”
In an exclusive report from the Texas border for “Hannity“, journalist Sara Carter spoke directly with multiple agents who were shocked at statements made by our Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a House committee hearing on Wednesday.
The agents also have a very strong message: illegal migrants should not be entrusting their lives to Mexican cartels.
“It’s incredible,” Carter told Hannity. “A lot of agents have been stunned by his statements.” In the hearing, Mayorkas said the greatest terrorist-related threat comes from “domestic violent extremism” rather than other threats such as those one a terror watchlist or criminals and terrorists who are being apprehending when attempting to cross the border in the U.S.
“I’ve been o the phone with ICE officers, as well as Border Patrol agents who really cannot believe what Alejandro Mayorkas is saying” said Carter.
“Many of them have called for his resignation. So this is certainly not going to end here and lawmakers are certainly going to continue to challenge him and the Biden administration in the upcoming months,” she said.
Those sentiments were echoed in the hearing by several questioners, including Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., who also went further and pledged support for impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas if the GOP wins back the House.
“I ask you as a man: own this thing,” Higgins entreated the secretary, adding that his handling of the border crisis is causing “disintegration of our national sovereignty.”
Carter also interviewed Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who urged migrants not to put their lives in smugglers’ hands:
“[Cartels] aren’t taking into consideration that this is human life, and they’re going to put them in dangerous conditions whether the back of a tractor-trailer, crossing the Rio Grande river at night with small children, or whether it’s putting them in a train car,” Ortiz said.
There’s not much romance in theology. That’s why the two can clash: the syllogisms of the former despise the sentiments of the latter, or the drive to be theologically perfect in the one runs up against the desire to be theatrically passionate in the other.
But God has established a Church for the logicians and the lovers alike. As there are many types of personality, so are there many types of spirituality, and in her wisdom, the Church provides many religious orders, many forms of prayer and worship.
St. Louis de Montfort was, as a Frenchman, one of the high romantics of the Roman Catholic faith. Though he wrote a good deal and preached a good deal more, scholars have rarely found his efforts good. Especially critical are those who see in this eloquent and courtly champion of Our Lady a type of Mary-olatry, to the point where Louis puts more stock in the Mother of God than in God Himself.
But here is where the poetry of this knight lies. Those who miss the man’s poetry will miss the man.
Born in 1673, Louis Marie Grignion led the charge of his eight siblings, of modest parentage and means, in the town of Montfort in the northwest of France. He took his education with the Jesuits in Rennes and, inspired by the gallant history of the knight-priest Ignatius of Loyola, he went to Paris to pursue his own call to holy orders.
With his ordination in 1700, Louis carried out priestly duties in Nantes while training for mission work in France or the French colonies in the New World. He also worked as a hospital chaplain during this time, and it was while tending to the sick and poor that he formed a holy order of reformation in this ministry—and a core of female followers, who would become the congregation of the Daughters of the Divine Wisdom.
Like so many reformers, Abbé Louis was blasted and blistered with criticism and mistrust. He was eventually forced to step away from his position in the hospital. People wondered at his emphasis on angels and the indispensable role of the Blessed Virgin in the course of salvation, and they questioned the dramatic way in which he presented the Faith to simple folk.
Under these disparagements, Louis turned to the streets to help the poor, but even there, his detractors influenced the Bishop of Poitiers to forbid Louis to evangelize. So Louis went to Rome to appeal to Pope Clement XI. The pope was favorably moved and sent him back to France with the title of apostolic missionary. Louis returned to his native land of Brittany in the northwest to lay the groundwork of his mission.
Though Louis de Montfort was beloved and successful in nearly every parish, his reputation as a startling and sensational preacher never left him. He was especially shunned by those in thrall to Jansenism, who strongly suspected, or even heretically rejected, the beauty of the soul that falls in love with Mary and Jesus to save itself from damnation.
To be fair, with all his passion, Abbé Louis could be shocking. Sometimes he would make an effigy of the devil and dress it up in the gaudy clothing of a society woman. Setting up this grotesquerie in the public square, he would call for people to bring out their secular or sinful books and make a great heap of them before his infernal mannequin. Then he would light them on fire and hurl the stuffed imp on the blazing pyre, to the delight of some and the disturbance of others.
At other times, Louis would fervently enact the struggle of a dying sinner as an angel and a devil wrangled for his soul. He was known for drama and flair in these “performances”—not the pulpit fare that most were accustomed to, with desperate thoughts, devilish entrapments, and holy sentiments put into angelic dialogue.
It is here, in the realm of the poetic preacher, that Louis falls prey even now to denouncement, as too flamboyant or far afield in his devotion to Mary. His enduringly popular treatise (despite naysayers), True Devotion to Mary, may at times be flowery or fantastic in its treatment of the power of the Mediatrix of all Graces, but its intention is to sound a chord of love. As a lover of the Mother of God, Louis speaks in the language of love: poetry. He even sang hymns and recited metered prayers that he wrote himself for his congregation.
Catholics may stumble and be suspicious when they hear Louis say with imaginative drama that the “Hail Mary” was Mary’s favorite prayer to recite, but they are missing the angle of his approach. Louis was not being obscene in his exaltation of Mary and the angels or in his unconventional displays as a preacher. He was being poetic. And poetry should always be unconventional. If it takes no risk, if it stays on safe territory, it will not shake the soul into new vistas of wonder beyond the reaches of logic and rhetoric. It is in those realms, beyond logic and rhetoric, St. Thomas Aquinas taught, where poetry reigns.
Poetry is not dogmatic, in any case. It is expressive of an essence beyond the texts of dogma to delineate. There is, therefore, a romance that is proper to the spiritual life, for the mode of romance emphasizes and exults in perfection, and this divine quality should be the hopeful beginning and the joyful end of any spiritual journey. As John Senior, another poetic and impassioned soul, wrote in The Restoration of Christian Culture,
the Camino Real of Christ is a chivalric way, romantic, full of fire and passion, riding on the pure, high-spirited horses of the self with their glad, high-stepping knees and flaring nostrils, and us with jingling spurs and the cry “Mon joie!”—the battle cry of Roland and Olivier. Our Church is the Church of the Passion.
With rosary in hand, Louis sallied through France like a knight errant for his lady, with all the romance of religion aflame in his heart, bringing the heat of his passion to rough sailors from market boats, young hooligans dancing in the street, and the entrenched Calvinists of La Rochelle. All turned to Louis de Montfort and, in so doing, turned to Our Lady and Our Lord.
Louis was only forty-three when he passed away from a sudden illness, dying as unexpectedly as any dramatic tale might have it. But his dramatic tale is true, and one that reflects the poetic, romantic side of the Catholic faith and the wonders of Mary, whom, to borrow a phrase from Chesterton that Louis would have adored, “God kissed in Galilee.”
NOAH Abraham, the founder of the Christ High Commission, is keeping about 40 people in his church at the Araromi-Ugbesi in Omuo-Oke, Ekiti State South West, Nigeria in what he describes as preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the rapture.
Some of those he keeps have sold their belongings and taken the money to him, hoping Jesus would meet them while camping at his church.
A few others have also abandoned their families who refused to join them to live at the church, the ICIR gathered.
The pastor believes a “mighty palace” will descend from heaven and land on his church, where members would live forever with the “one that sent him.”
Because of the way he camps his church members, some of his members’ relations accuse him of abduction.
On Wednesday, April 27, the ICIR’s reporter visited the church where he was given a tour by Abraham.
The people of Araromi-Ugbesi in Omuo-Oke, Ekiti East Local Government Area of Ekiti State are currently in shock that the community hosts a church allegedly holding people captive.
News had filtered on the social media during the week that the founder of the Christ High Commission Ministry, Noah Abraham, held people captive in his church in preparation for the rapture and that he made them pay N310,000 each.
The pastor, Abraham said he a native of the town. He had run a church in Kabba, Kogi State, in 2009 and another in Kaduna before returning to his hometown.
His church at Omuo-Oke is the only one he claims to now own.
He told The ICIR he had ordered the demolition of the Kaduna church after his assistant laid claim to its ownership.
He believes a mighty palace will soon descend from heaven and land at Araromi-Ugbesi in Omuo-Oke, where he runs his current church.
To this end, he is assembling people from different parts of Nigeria and camping them in preparation for the rapture.
Some of the people at the camp are secondary and university students who have decided not to return to school because they are waiting for the rapture, relatives say.
As of April 26, 38 people, including almost a dozen children, had been with him for weeks.
His wife does not live with him at the church. She stays in Kabba.
But the reporter saw a lady the pastor said was his daughter who assisted him in the church.
How an aggrieved member exposed the church
A former member of the Kaduna chapter of the church had told The ICIR that his wife and children were at the camp without his consent.
He involved the Police at Omuo-Oke to secure the release of his family on a day before the ICIR’s visit.
The man’s wife refused to follow him after staying at
the church with her three children for nearly 20 days. But the man succeeded in taking his three children away.
One of the children attends a private university in Ondo state.
He claimed his children said they were no longer interested in going to school but would wait for rapture at the church.
A man who gave his name as Tobi, told the ICIR he plans to go to Ekiti from Kaduna where he is a resident to attempt to pull out his brother-in-law and his nephew who are in the camp.
He said his brother-in-law sold his belongings and took the money to the pastor.
Tobi explained that his brother-in-law told the wife (Tobi’s sister) that she should forget about the marriage since she refused to follow him. They have been married since 1991. He eventually left for Ekiti with one of his sons abandoning his wife and four children.
The church – Christ High Commission Ministry – is at a remote location, inside a large and fenced building. It is close to the fuel station along the expressway at Araromi-Ugbesi.
The compound has a big gate and about six buildings. There are at least eight palm trees and some mango trees on the premises.
Some of the buildings were unkempt.
There was no signpost inside or outside the premises to show it is a worship centre.
Conducting the reporter around the premises, the pastor, Abraham showed the reporter his kitchen, which had four gas cylinders, many crates of eggs, scores of yams, and bags of grains and other foodstuffs.
There was a local kitchen behind one of the buildings where the occupants used firewoods and big local pots to cook.
The reporter saw a heap of shoes and an area dedicated to charging phones, lamps and other devices in one of the buildings.
The premises have a conference room with about 40 plastic chairs. There was another large room with chairs used for dining. There was also the church’s main auditorium. Besides, the pastor showed the reporter other rooms used for storing belongings. There were some unoccupied buildings.
Everyone at the camp lived in a building
A striking thing about the camp is that all the people, including the pastor, live in a four-bedroom apartment -one of the buildings.
The pastor has his room. The women, men and children have separate rooms.
There are small mattresses, some with torn covers, spread on the floors.
Members declined to speak
When called upon by the reporter to share their experiences at the camp, none of the members showed interest. Only the pastor’s daughter and his assistant agreed to talk.
As the reporter interviewed the pastor, his daughter and other church leaders ushered the members into their rooms.
Who owns the premises?
Findings by our reporter showed that a late Major General, Ogunsakin, who hailed from the community, owned the premises. The late general bought the house from a woman who was a contractor and a public servant.
The woman had built a church on the premises.
Abraham rented a building on the premises when he started his church in the town last year August. He took over the whole place after the occupants of a four-bedroom flat on the premises left in December 2021.
Neighbours express concerns over Abraham’s conduct
The reporter interviewed six neighbours around the camp.
“They always close the gate. You could knock for hours, and nobody will open for you if they don’t know you,” one of the neighbours said.
Another neighbour who pleaded not to be named said she could not understand why many people, mostly teenagers and other younger children, would gather in such a manner.
“They are always inside. You will see the pastor filling his car with foodstuff all the time. There’s a man who brings big cow meat for them every day. I have been wondering the kind of church the place is. After all, we have church around us, and we know how they are open to everybody in our community,” she noted.
A former member of the church called to question the activities of Abraham.
The 55-year-old woman said she left the church after she suspected the pastor’s activities were not in tune with the Bible.
Community monarch in shock, pledges action
Oba Adeyeye Lawrence Ajayi is the Owa Elesi of Araromi-Ugbesi. The monarch said the new Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the town had just briefed him on the matter shortly before the reporter came in.
He said he became more worried because of the premises that belonged to the late Major General, whom he described as a “very respected son who could lay his life to defend the town.”
He pledged to get to the roots of all that happened in the church.
The king said he was sad because he had just left the meeting of all monarchs in the Ekiti-East Local Government Area, where he could have mentioned the matter if he had been aware.
Omuo-Oke Police DCO says pastor innocent, State Command summons cleric
On Tuesday, the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) of the Omuo-Oke Divisional Police Headquarters, Joshua Sunday, absolved the pastor of blame.
He said a preliminary investigation showed that he didn’t force anyone to join him at the camp.
He said his Division went to the church with vans and officers with the hope of raiding the camp but did not see anyone chained or stopped from walking freely.
He said there were no grounds for suspicion in the church.
An aggrieved member of the church in Kaduna had reported the pastor to the police division in his bid to bring out his three children and wife from the church.
The DCO was the officer in charge of the case.
But the game changed on Wednesday after the church’s matter went viral on social media.
The Omuo-Oke Divisional Police Headquarters again invited the pastor to provide more information on his activities.
The Division sent the DCO and one other officer back to the church for further investigation.
The Ekiti State Police Command in Ado Ekiti also invited Abraham for interrogation.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, the state police spokesperson Sunday Abutu said the command invited the pastor to clarify the allegations against him.
Heaven is coming down to Omuo-Oke – Abraham
“When you hear that a whole city descends from heaven and a mighty palace appears in Nigeria here in Ekiti, know that the man speaking here is the one to be contacted because the whole world will hear.”
These were the words of pastor Abraham while addressing our reporter.
He said his mission was to gather people and train them about the rapture.
He denied allegations of kidnapping levelled against him.
He said he handed over the church he started in Kabba and Kaduna State to his subordinates. But the assistants later claimed the church.
The pastor said he ordered the demolition of the church.
He said since he sited his new church in Omuo-Oke, his former members in Kaduna and Kabba had been coming for his programmes.
Because of the increasing population, he said God told him to charge anyone coming to him N310,000, which they must send to his account before they arrive. The money was a sacrifice,’ he stated.
He, however, contradicted his earlier claim that he would not collect a gift from anyone.
Because many people could not afford the money, some jointly got the amount and sent it into his account before coming to him.
Similarly, he said one of his church leaders decided to sell a car he bought for N1.5 million for N700,000 to enable him to come and wait for the rapture.
“He placed his car for sale. He said he bought it for N1.5 million, and they were pricing it at N700,000. He also put his own house on sale. But I said no, you don’t need to sell all those things. What if you come here and don’t like what we are doing here, and you want to go back? Then it will go viral, and people will say pastor Abraham is the one asking people to sell their property?”
When the police accused him of harbouring people on Tuesday, he told them: “don’t you know it is a big responsibility to lead human beings? If you say they are going (to leave my church), it will take responsibilities off my neck.”
He said he mandated the wife of the man who came from Kaduna to go with her husband.
He said no pastor had the right to intrude into any home without the permission of the head of the family.
But the pastor said it was not yet time for the rapture. The people had to wait for it.
The reporter asked him how soon the people in his custody would leave. He said: “It is the one who sent me that will determine.”
He boasted that he had the resources to cater to the people’s needs.
He said he bought N20,000 worth of meat for them daily.
“We are thinking of buying a complete cow if the owner will allow me. “There is no amount that we want to spend here that he is not capable of.”
He, however, said he didn’t have more than N3,000 in his bank account.
The reporter sought to know how he got the money he used to meet the people’s needs. He said: “The God of Isreal is the owner. Is He not the owner of the whole earth? If he moves you to come and give me money because he needs it, you can’t refuse. You will just like me and give me the money and say God sent me to give me this money. That’s all.”
Abraham’s adult daughter Anabel assists him.
Anabel said the church was to help those who were helpless. She said everybody was tired of the state of the nation.
She said she was aware that people say her father kidnapped the people in his custody.
Another leader in the ministry is Peter Bada Akin, the church’s pastor in Kaduna.
He told The ICIR reporter said the people came for a brief programme but expressed shock that people claimed the church’s leaders had kidnapped people in their custody.
He said leaders must face unfavourable allegations to succeed.
According to him, the congregants came from different parts of the nation.
He said the people had been at the camp for many weeks, adding that nobody came to the camp without the consent of their family.
Use-of-force expert says DC Metro Police officer committed felony in attack on Rosanne Boyland
By Joseph M. Hanneman April 29, 2022
A District of Columbia police officer used a large wooden stick to strike the body and head of protester Rosanne Boyland three times as she lay motionless on the ground on Jan. 6, 2021, according to bodycam footage from several officers obtained by The Epoch Times.
Use-of-force expert Stanley Kephart, upon reviewing the previously unreleased footage, concluded that the three full-force blows by D.C. police officer Lila Morris constituted a felony assault with intent to cause great bodily harm.
Kephart called Morris’s use of force “indefensible” and the internal-affairs investigation of Boyland’s death a “clear and convincing coverup.”
“I think that the first thing that occurred is an assault under the color of authority by Morris,” Kephart told The Epoch Times. “That is a crime, an arrestable offense.”
Police at the mouth of the Lower West Terrace tunnel at the U.S. Capitol ignored dozens of pleas to help Boyland after she collapsed, the videos show.
When a lifeless Boyland was pulled inside the building more than 10 minutes later, other police and EMS personnel began 50 minutes of life-saving efforts that ultimately failed.
An independent forensic pathologist hired by the Boyland family contends that her cause of death wasn’t an overdose of the prescription drug Adderall—as reported by the D.C. medical examiner—but manual asphyxia. Boyland was crushed under a pile of people when police gassed protesters and pushed them out of the tunnel at about 4:20 p.m. on Jan. 6.
‘Under the Color of Authority’
Kephart, a 42-year law enforcement veteran and former director of security for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, reviewed Boyland’s case at the request of The Epoch Times. He has testified as a witness more than 350 times on topics including excessive force, police discipline, officer safety, and crowd control.
Kephart concluded that Morris’s use of force was a felonious “assault under the color of authority,” with intent to cause great bodily harm. He said that Morris should be prosecuted in criminal court and fired from the D.C. Metro police force.
“I believe two things were in operation here. One was anger at this person,” Kephart said, referring to Boyland. “That was overridden by fear. And those two elements were the causal connection between what was done to the person by the officer and the result.”
The force used against Boyland fails a four-part standard set in the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case Graham v. Connor, Kephart said: whether force was ever needed and appropriate in the situation, the extent of the injury, and “whether the force was applied in a good-faith manner to maintain and restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically.”
Police are trained not to strike people in the head with a blunt object. In the West Terrace tunnel, something overcame that training, Kephart said.
“If you have a trained officer who is angry at what the crowd is doing and the crowd rises up and puts him in a position where he feels his personal safety is compromised, fear begins to take over the anger, and the reflexive response throws the training right out the window,” Kephart said.
Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment. A message left with the department’s public information office wasn’t returned.
After publication of the article, department spokesperson Alaina Gertz told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement: “The matter involving Officer Morris was previously brought to our attention and reviewed thoroughly. This review included her body-worn camera footage, and did not substantiate the allegations you have outlined.”
One protester who allegedly used the same wooden stick to strike and jab at police in the terrace tunnel was charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon. Jonathan Mellis was charged in a 10-count indictment on March 10, 2021. He pleaded not guilty. Mellis is being held in jail pending trial.
Police Ignored Pleas for Help
Police bodycam video shows protesters begging officers to render life-saving aid to Boyland from the moment she collapsed at the mouth of the tunnel. The pleas grew more desperate as it became apparent Boyland was dying. That sparked a violent backlash from rioters, who attacked the police line with fists, flag poles, sticks, and a whisk broom.
“There’s people under here!” shouted Justin Winchell, Boyland’s friend who accompanied her to Washington that day. “There’s people trapped under here!”
A protester right at the police line who was bleeding from a baton strike to the head pointed to Boyland and pleaded for help. “Get her up. Get her up! Get her up, please,” the man urged. “Save her life! Save her life, please!”
One officer used his baton and boots to push five protesters on top of Boyland, bodycam video shows. “Please get her up! She’s gonna die!” Winchell shouted.
There was the sound of a female coughing as a battle raged above and around Boyland. The coughing stopped at 4:26:04 p.m., according to a timeline developed by The Epoch Times from police bodycam footage. A few seconds later, the large crowd on the terrace began chanting, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
“My God! She’s dead! She’s dead! Rose!” Winchell cried at 4:26:52 p.m. “Rosanne! I need somebody! She’s dead! … I need somebody! I need medics!”
Just shy of 4:28 p.m., protester Luke Coffee of Dallas stepped to the front of the police line, held up his hand, and shouted, “Stop!” He was squirted in the face with pepper spray but maintained his position.
A rioter threw a large wooden stick at Morris from out in the crowd. At the time, Morris was in the tunnel, crouching behind a protester who had his arms covering his head.
Morris picked up the wooden stick, raised it over her head, and struck Coffee on the right elbow, bodycam video shows. She aimed a second strike at Coffee but missed.
The video then shows that Morris raised the stick over her head with both hands and unleashed three quick hits to Boyland’s body: one to the ribs and two to the head. The second blow to the head drew a horrified reaction from Winchell.
The wooden stick flew from Morris’s left hand as she wound up for another strike on Boyland, the videos show. Morris whiffed in her final attempted hit. The stick ricocheted off the tunnel arch and flew over Morris’s head.
Coffee reached down and picked up an aluminum crutch that had been thrown at police several times during the afternoon. He held the crutch over his head for several seconds, then used it like a plow to push the police line back into the tunnel several feet.
As Coffee pushed the police line back, bystanders dragged Boyland down several steps and began CPR. Nearly three minutes later, they carried her directly in front of the police line and continued doing CPR. No officers moved to lend assistance.
At 4:31 p.m., Boyland was dragged by officers to the back of the tunnel and inside the Capitol. In the process, she lost her jeans, backpack, and top, leaving her clothed only in leggings, according to bodycam video.
A SWAT team member in a green tactical uniform began CPR. The D.C. Fire and EMS Department was summoned. Within a few minutes, a team of six to eight first responders was working to resuscitate Boyland. She was hooked to an automated external defibrillator.
Morris watched the resuscitation efforts. At 4:38 p.m., her bodycam captures a female voice—likely Morris—asking, “Is he dead?”
Boyland was loaded onto a makeshift gurney and wheeled to the east wing of the Capitol to meet a medical transport unit from D.C. Fire and EMS.
“When we got into the Capitol, they had her on some sort of dolly or pull cart, and they were pulling her down the hallway towards us,” Capt. Ellen Kurland, an EMS supervisor, said in a Jan. 6 documentary produced by DC Fire and EMS. “We worked her for 30 minutes, and she had been down 20 minutes before we were even able to get to her.”
Boyland was put on an IV and given epinephrine every four minutes to stimulate her heart. The rescue squad requested approval to depart for The George Washington University Hospital at 5:10 p.m. “Authorization was not granted,” read a summary of records obtained by the Boyland family.
The records don’t indicate why the ambulance wasn’t allowed to leave the Capitol for a half-hour after requesting approval. A message from The Epoch Times left at the D.C. Metro Fire and EMS Department hasn’t been returned.
The ambulance finally left the Capitol at 5:40 p.m. for the one-mile trip to the hospital. Due to traffic and road closures, the ambulance didn’t arrive at the emergency room until 6 p.m. Boyland was pronounced dead at 6:09 p.m.
“We are not 100 percent [certain of] when she actually passed, but agree it was in that time frame [4:21 to 4:26 p.m.] and probably before Lila Morris got hold of that stick,” Bret Boyland, Rosanne’s father, told The Epoch Times. “No matter whether Rosanne was alive or not, we were shocked and appalled at the officer’s attack.”
Troubled by the contradictions in the Boyland case, Gary McBride of Decatur, Texas, filed an excessive-force complaint against Morris with the Metropolitan Police Department in September 2021.
“I don’t condone what happened at the Capitol, and I don’t condone the beating of anyone who is defenseless either,” McBride wrote to the D.C. Metro Internal Affairs Bureau on Sept. 14. “It doesn’t matter if you are a protester, preacher, or politician; you should be held accountable for your actions.”
Two months later, in November 2021, Capt. David K. Augustine wrote to McBride and said, “The use of force within this investigation was determined to be objectively reasonable.”
Cause of Death Disputed
The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Boyland on Jan. 7, 2021. The cause of death was ruled amphetamine intoxication. Boyland’s family questioned that conclusion.
Boyland had a prescription for Adderall, a medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There was no visual evidence or witness statements to indicate any signs the drug impaired her on Jan. 6.
The Boyland family hired Park Dietz & Associates to review the autopsy findings. The Park Dietz forensic pathologist agreed that the manner of death was an accident but concluded Boyland’s death was caused by manual asphyxia. Boyland was cremated, so a new autopsy was not possible.
“Compressional asphyxia refers to a situation in which pressure exerted on the chest or back of an individual impedes normal breathing and often leaves no diagnostic physical findings,” read a summary of the Park Dietz report provided to The Epoch Times by the Boyland family.
Amphetamine toxicity “was not the proximate cause of Ms. Boyland’s death, although it cannot be ruled in or out as a contributory factor,” the pathologist wrote. “The circumstances surrounding Ms. Boyland’s death are not consistent with a drug overdose as the proximate cause and cannot be ignored.”
The original autopsy didn’t note any evidence of injury, except for a four-inch bruise on her right forearm. However, bodycam footage of Boyland being dragged from the tunnel entrance at 4:31 p.m. shows what appears to be a wound on her forehead. Another bodycam view seems to show a long red mark starting on the lower section of her left rib cage.
Winchell told an Atlanta television station in 2021 that Boyland developed a nosebleed after the officer struck her in the face with the walking stick.
“I want you to hear me: She was already blue, and the Capitol police—I kid you not—had been hitting everyone with batons and stuff, understandably,” Winchell said.
“But I’m talking, she is laid out, maybe dead at this point, but they hit her at least two times in the body. And then they hit her once in the face, once right here in her nose, and some blood started coming out of her nose.”
According to the autopsy, Boyland suffered left and right anterior rib fractures, but those were likely caused by CPR compressions, the Park Dietz report said. The report noted no evidence that a beating or traumatic injury contributed to her death.
“This does not mean that she was not beaten by a police officer, only that she was already deceased at that time,” the Boyland family said in a statement.
The report said it’s unclear what role chemical irritants sprayed by police and protesters might have had on Boyland’s death. Videos show mace dripping off the clothing of protesters near the police line.
“Please stop pepper spraying,” an unknown man near Boyland pleaded at 4:26 p.m. “Her lungs are full of it.”
Police used an unknown gas on protesters in the tunnel at 4:20 p.m. According to security video, a loud explosion was heard seconds beforehand, causing many protesters in the tunnel to drop to the ground.
Chemical agents such as pyrotechnic oleoresin capsicum, delivered via an exploding munition, work primarily on the lungs. Witnesses in the tunnel described feeling like the oxygen was sucked from the air, making it impossible to breathe. The response was panic.
Kephart said crowd-control munitions were a mistake in such a tight and crowded space.
“If you’re using gas munitions to cause the air to be saturated with a gas displacing the oxygen, and causes them to panic and pass out, thereby clogging the ability for them to disperse because they’re passed out, you have created and worsened the problem,” Kephart said.
“This is an absolute symptom of a lack of proper training. This offends common sense.”
Police can allow fear to overcome their training in high-stress situations, but so can crowds like the one in the West Terrace tunnel.
“The same thing is true with the crowds: If fear [strikes], they do the wrong thing,” he said. “They either drop-down, or they try to flee. And in attempting to do either of those two options, they worsen the circumstance in crowd compaction.”
Birthday Filled With Sadness
April 26 was a sad day at the Georgia home of Bret and Cheryl Boyland. Their late daughter Rosanne would have turned 36. Instead of enjoying a birthday celebration, the Boyland family had to confront the grief that has been ever-present since the night of Jan. 6, 2021.
Rosanne’s parents struggle with many lingering questions about her death. Among them is the exact time their daughter died. Bret Boyland said that based on the review of Rosanne’s autopsy and other factors, he believes she died between 4:21 p.m. and 4:25 p.m.
A review of video and audio from police bodycams identified a series of female coughs between 4:25:34 and 4:26:04. Boyland said the coughs were too short for him to tell if they came from his daughter.
The belt tightening appears to have started at Netflix: A number of journalists working for the company’s entertainment site Tudum have been laid off, according to tweets by those affected. A Netflix spokesperson told Protocol Thursday that there were no plans to shutter the site, calling it “an important priority for the company.”
Netflix had launched Tudum as a kind of online entertainment magazine focused on content streaming on its service in December. The company had hired entertainment journalists from publications including Vice, Bustle and elsewhere to staff the site. It’s unclear how many Tudum writers currently remain at the company.
Journalists working at Tudum/Netflix and their supporters aired their grievances on Twitter.
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At least two staffers who left full time jobs to work for Tudum/Netflix were let go today.
We know that infant baptisms have dropped off steadily in the United States over the past generation (see Phil Lawler’s An epidemic of unbaptized Catholics), and I suspect trends are quite similar across the largely homogeneous cultures of the secular West. We also know that the percentage of those who do not identify as Christian or Catholic has been rising steadily. And we know generally that in terms of a robust and active faith, Catholic life has diminished as much or more in regions that are triumphantly secular as in regions in which Christians are specifically persecuted.
Throughout the West, at least, the members of the Church have become increasingly secularized, such that there is a continuing pressure within the Church to ignore or even change unpopular Church teachings in order to curry favor with the dominant culture. We see this constantly among socio-political leaders, teachers and professors, priests and religious, and even some bishops and cardinals. Indeed, nothing is more understandable than that the Church’s members, who are often formed as much by the dominant culture as by the truths of the Faith, should very often reflect the habitual misunderstandings, failures and rebellions of the time and place in which they live.
If we look back at any period in Church history, we will find that the dominant misunderstandings and weaknesses within the Church closely mirror (though typically with significantly less severity) the misunderstandings and weaknesses characteristic of the cultures from which the Church draws her members. It takes the zeal characteristic of new converts—a zeal constantly refreshed and deepened in all Catholics who take very seriously the sacraments, personal prayer, Church teaching and self-examination before God—to rise above mere cultural assumptions, personal misunderstandings, and habitual faults to the light of Christ. This is a difficult and ongoing process.
So much, then, for what we see every day all around us. And yet there remain large numbers of good bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people who pray and work energetically to renew the Church, to bear witness to Christ, to preach and teach the Faith, to give courageous counter-cultural example, and withal to invite others to make their own commitment to Christ and the Church. But all these collide with the trends: Baptisms are down, conversions are down, Mass attendance (even apart from Covid) is down, and the influence of Christianity on human culture continues to decline.
How are we to interpret these results? What is the explanation of this steady decline? Is it Catholic failures that are specifically to blame?
Somewhat surprisingly, while the failures of Church leaders and of those who bear the name “Catholic” are certainly significant, they are not in themselves a sufficient explanation. If they were, there would never be an age of Christian “expansion”, for every era is replete with the failures of the Church in her members, including our own personal failures. And yet sometimes the Church grows, sometimes Christianity shapes culture, and sometimes the Christian way of life seems to gain traction in the world, while at other times it staggers and falls. We can always point to obvious deficiencies which “explain” the failures, just as we can always point to striking Christian witness which “should have had” the opposite effect.
Quiet: Providence at work
Our Lord responds directly to this misguided form of human analysis in a single epigram: “For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps’.” (Jn 4:37) But let us look more closely at these words of Christ, as he instructs his disciples:
I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. [Jn 4:31-38]
These words of Our Lord are a stunning confirmation of the spiritual sense of Psalm 126 in verse 6: “He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves”. But the harvest of souls is not the work of a single growing season, and what Our Lord tells us is that this passage is fulfilled transcendently, that is, far beyond a single time and place or a single generation. For if He sends some to reap in joy that for which they did not labor, this means he sends others to sow in tears what they will not reap.
There are quite a few passages throughout the Old and New Testaments which speak of sowing and reaping. Some emphasize that God’s anger can bring human effort to nothing. This is true, obviously, when God is displeased with how we are acting, and determines that it would be both just and in our best interest if even our normal human efforts were to come to nothing, so that we learn to pay heed and depend on Him. (See, for example, Jer 12:13 and Mic 6:15.)
Others emphasize the deeper moral truth that we all reap what we sow (Job 4:8; Hos 10:13; 2 Cor 9:6; Gal 6:7-9). In its most fully-developed Christian form, this may be summarized in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Apart from this deep relationship between the soul and God, however, there is a genuine human uncertainty. Thus in the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher stresses that we simply do not know how things in this world will turn out:
He who observes the wind will not sow; and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. [11:4-6]
This is a frank reminder that much of what happens is simply beyond our control, a lesson that even Christians must never forget. There is a huge range of spiritual results which are dark to us—not the ultimate results of fidelity for us personally, but the manifestation here and now of the results we hope to achieve at least partly through our own efforts. Any faithful Christian who has watched helplessly as friends or family members go astray understands this terrible uncertainty, this terrible inability on our part to control the outcome even among those we love most. This is a special challenge to our trust in God.
The assurance of Christian hope
The unpredictability of our most treasured relationships is raised to a far higher degree in the whole history of man, and indeed of all created beings. Nonetheless, in his most mature teaching, St. Paul addresses even this:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. [1 Cor 3:6-8]
Note that wages are according to the goodness of the labor itself; not according to the exterior success of that labor—for God gives the growth. This reminds us of a very important Catholic teaching, the teaching on the “economy of salvation”. For in the economy of salvation, nothing good is ever wasted. Not only is it true that we mysteriously make up what is “lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the church” (Col 1:24), but it is also true that every good prompted in us by Divine grace is credited with great value—value that will produce a corresponding return somewhere, sometime, not necessarily as we see it, but far beyond our comprehension.
St. Paul continues his discussion in 1 Corinthians with other metaphors, which further stress the uncertainty of our efforts, but also the assurance of our reward: “So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:21-23).
In other words, there is no predictable visible and immediate one-to-one correspondence between even our best intentions and efforts and their results in these matters of renewing the Church, drawing others to Christ, and hallowing human culture. We do not fully understand the causal relationship between virtue and success, on the one hand, and vice and failure, on the other. For this reason, while we can identify spiritual problems and failings in the Church today, and we ought to work to correct them for the good of souls and the glory of God, we cannot say: “If only these things that I discern were corrected, the Church’s mission would succeed.” We must allow room for the mystery of Christ’s action in the world, which most definitely includes the mystery of the cross.
If the Church grows in one region or era and shrinks in another; if Catholicism penetrates deeply into a particular human culture or shrivels away; whether our own heartfelt efforts bear visible fruit or not; whether our loved ones live exemplary Catholic lives or seem to get very, very lost—whatever happens, it is not for us to predict or even fully to understand the results; nor to cast the blame for failure; nor to take the credit for victory; nor even to assume that fidelity, virtue and mission will always meet with visible success for the Church in this world.
I have emphasized often that we are called not to be successful but to be faithful. Only then are the world, life and death, the present and the future guaranteed to us. For Our Lord saved us through obedience to the Father. In exactly the same way, it is not through visible success but through fidelity alone that we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.