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How the ‘Satanic’ New York City Courthouse Statue Is All About Abortion

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Catholic speaker Leah Darrow combines life on the farm with cultivating one’s faith

A behind-the-scenes photo of the Darrows filming “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation” on their Missouri farm. / UST MAX Studios

Denver, Colo., Jan 28, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Nestled within the countryside of Fordland, Missouri, a town of 800 people, is an 80-acre farm filled with chickens, cattle, vegetable gardens, pumpkins, and a whole lot of faith called the Big Family Farm. This is where Catholic speaker, mother of six, and former model Leah Darrow and her family reside.

In a new video series called “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation,” created by University of St. Thomas Houston’s MAX Studios, Darrow welcomes viewers into her home and shares what inspired her family to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the peace and tranquility of the farm.

Raised on a cattle farm in Oklahoma, Darrow was brought up in the farm lifestyle and would share stories about the farm with her husband, Ricky. He, on the other hand, was raised on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Their family of eight was living a life in St. Louis that Darrow described as “incredibly comfortable” thanks to the accessibility of having groceries delivered to their front door, Amazon, Uber, and more.

The married couple began to ask themselves, “‘Do you think that this life is how God is calling us to live? Are we living the life God is calling us to live right now?” Darrow said in an interview with CNA.

A behind-the-scenes photo of the Darrows filming “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation” on their Missouri farm. UST MAX Studios
A behind-the-scenes photo of the Darrows filming “The Cultivation of Purpose with Leah Darrow: Faith, Farming and Vocation” on their Missouri farm. UST MAX Studios

“And then we began to say, ‘Where could we raise saints the best?’” she added. “And we just realized that it was in a place where we had more space, and we had more quiet, and we had more nature, and we had more time for contemplation, and we had more time just to be together as a family.”

She also emphasized that the couple knew they wanted their lives to be a “little bit more uncomfortable and inconvenient” — a life where it was necessary to plan ahead to account for the 45-minute drive to get groceries.

“We have our milk dropped off to us by our farmer down the road every week. That’s probably the most convenient thing that we have right now in our life,” she joked.

Darrow shared that part of the driving force behind their move was a desire to create something for families where they could come together as one. This led them to plant a 3-acre pumpkin patch on the farm, which now hosts an event called Pumpkin Days during the month of October.

“We did want to create an opportunity for families to come together and spend time outside in nature and just connect themselves back to the land and ideally back to their Creator,” she explained. “So, what could we do to bring people here? What could we do to have an opportunity where families could get out instead of doing something inside or being on screens all day? And we decided to have a pumpkin patch.”

Darrow discussed how moving to the farm also impacted not only how she sees God’s creation in nature but also how her prayer life has changed. Now, when she sits down at her kitchen table, she knows where everything came from — whether it be vegetables from their garden, eggs from their chickens, milk from their neighbor, or meat from animals they raised.

“It’s a very different relationship with the land, with respect to nature, with the weather — obviously all this leads to God willing all of this,” she shared. “My prayers have never included rain as much as they have after becoming a farmer.”

Leah Darrow and her husband, Ricky, during the Pumpkin Days event held on their farm in Fordland, Missouri. UST MAX Studios
Leah Darrow and her husband, Ricky, during the Pumpkin Days event held on their farm in Fordland, Missouri. UST MAX Studios

Through this video series, Darrow hopes that people will be inspired to look at their lives and ask themselves where God is calling them to be a little bit more uncomfortable.

She explained: “We want to create a deeper awareness of asking ourselves, where am I comfortable? Is this where God’s calling me? And where could I begin to branch out and seek something in a more natural state?”

Life on the farm and the purpose behind the video series also offer a segue into Darrow’s new personal development program called Power Made Perfect. This program is a Scripture-based course for women that focuses on human formation. The 14-week course is split into two sections: restoration, looking inward; and resurrection, looking outward. Its purpose is to empower Christian women to reach their full potential and embark on a transformative journey, done through faith in Jesus, in order to experience true change from within.

“The goal of Power Made Perfect is to really help a person live in a state of possibility with God,” Darrow said.

Together through the video series and her personal development program, Darrow hopes to “increase awareness” among people so that they begin to develop a growth mindset and are willing to ask themselves the hard questions about where God is truly calling them.

“There’s something to be said about growth, and we grow when we have those difficult moments in life. That’s where we’re really growing,” she said. “And if life is incredibly comfortable, if we have everything we need at literally a drop of a hat … if we’re in a place where we’re not looking up and connecting with people and connecting with nature and what God is providing, we really miss out on something greater.”

How the ‘satanic’ New York City courthouse statue is all about abortion

The golden-horned female statue titled “NOW” was made by Pakistani-born artist Shahzia Sikander. / Credit: Ben Shapiro/YouTube

Washington D.C., Jan 28, 2023 / 06:00 am (CNA).

An unusual new 8-foot-tall golden statue standing on top of a New York City courthouse has sparked controversy, with many across the country reacting to its unveiling with shock and disgust. One media outlet even called it a “satanic golden medusa.” 

According to the artist who created the statue, it’s a symbol of women’s empowerment and an expression of support for abortion. The “satanic” imagery so many have pointed out closely resembles that employed by a pro-abortion group dedicated to banning religion from the public square. 

What does the artist say?

The golden-horned female statue titled “NOW” was made by Pakistani-born artist Shahzia Sikander.

Sikander, 53, has been an influential New York City artist for years, serving on the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers in New York in 2017. A self-described “citizen of the world,” Sikander says her work is meant to take classical and Indo-Persian styles and imbue them with modern feminist inflections.

According to the artist, the statue was commissioned as part of “cultural reckoning” to better represent “21st-century social mores” in public spaces, the New York Times reported.

She described her statue as a “fierce woman” and a “form of resistance.”

The title “NOW” is meant to call attention to Sikander’s belief that fierce female resistance is needed now, after the death of the first female Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and since the national right to abortion was eliminated with the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

The goat-like horns

Atop the head of the courthouse statue are large braids that curl in on themselves to form goat-like horns. According to Sikander, the horns signify “sovereignty” and “autonomy.”

On Fox News, commentator Tucker Carlson decried the statue as “demonic.” 

The horned statue does bear a resemblance to the image of the goat-like “Baphomet,” used by The Satanic Temple (TST), a self-described “non-theistic” religious organization that frequently engages in political protests of expressions of religion in the public square. 

The Satanic Temple, while employing satanic imagery, states in a FAQ on their website that they do not believe in Satan.

In recent years, TST has sued states with significant abortion restrictions, saying these laws violate the group’s “religious right” to practice its “abortion ritual.” The organization has also protested prayer in school and Christian-themed imagery displayed on public space.

The lace collar

The statue wears a lace collar around its neck, which Sikander has explained is meant to resemble the collar worn by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg, who died in 2020 and sat on the Supreme Court for 27 years, has come to be seen by many abortion activists, such as the group “Ruth Sent Us,” as a symbol of female empowerment and even abortion itself.

The “Ruth Sent Us” website states its mission is to fight what it calls “a racist and misogynistic theocracy” Supreme Court. The group has organized protests at Supreme Court justices’ homes and inside Catholic churches during Mass.

An ‘anti-monument’ monument

Since 1900, the New York City courthouse has displayed a collection of statues of men significant to the development of law, including Moses, Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and Confucius. The New York Times ran a glowing feature of the new statue, titled “Move Over Moses and Zoroaster: Manhattan Has a New Female Lawgiver.”

By depicting a naked, horned female image, Sikander said she meant to break from tradition.

“I have always had an affinity for the anti-monument in my practice,” Sikander explained in an artistic statement released on Madison Square Park Conservancy’s website.

Explaining the figure’s nakedness, Sikander said “the body is a powerful tool that carries its social construction. It can also function as a site of resistance.”

The statue rises atop a lotus flower, which Sikander described as “alluding to perception as illusion” and signifying “a deeper truth beyond its form.”

The sister statue ‘Witness’

The courthouse statue is one piece of a pair, with its sister statue “Witness” displayed in nearby Madison Square Park. The park statue is identical to its partner save for a hooped skirt, which is meant to resemble the dome of the New York City courthouse.

Along the figure’s hoop skirt are mosaic swirls that spell the word “Havah.” A Hebrew, Arabic, and Urdu word, translations for “Havah” vary.

To Sikander, translations of “Havah” as “to breathe,” “to be,” and the name “Eve” all fit her intention.

To her, “Havah” means “to breathe, to add air, to change a narrative.” The Art Newspaper reported that Sikander said she hopes her statues will be icons of resistance, saying, “Eve is also the first law-breaker, right?”

The two statues will remain in New York until June, when they will be placed on exhibit in Houston.

Pope Francis clarifies comments on sin and homosexuality

Pope Francis speaks at his general audience in Paul VI Hall on Jan. 18, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Jan 28, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has written a letter to clarify his comments on sin and homosexuality from a recent interview with the Associated Press.

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin,” the pope wrote to Jesuit Father James Martin in response to a request for clarification.

Francis said he was trying to say in the interview that criminalization of homosexuality “is neither good nor just.”

“As you can see, I was repeating something in general,” he wrote. “I should have said ‘It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage.’ This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sin, but we know well that Catholic morality not only takes into consideration the matter but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this, for every kind of sin.”

Martin published the pope’s Spanish-language letter and an English translation on the website of Outreach on Jan. 27. Martin is the editor of Outreach, which describes itself as “an LGBT Catholic resource” operating under the auspices of America Media.

In an interview published Jan. 25 by AP, Pope Francis said: “Being homosexual is not a crime. It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”

The Outreach article posited that the pope’s comment that “yes, but it’s a sin” was intended to be from a hypothetical interlocutor to whom Pope Francis was responding.

In his Jan. 27 letter, Pope Francis ascribed the confusing statement to the conversational tone of the interview.

“It is understandable that there would not be such precise definitions,” he said.

The pope also noted that the AP interview was “not the first time that I speak of homosexuality and of homosexual persons.”

When speaking about the sin of sexual activity outside of marriage, he added that “of course, one must also consider the circumstances, which may decrease or eliminate fault.”

The Catholic Church does not teach that homosexuality, that is having same-sex attraction, is a sin.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, people with homosexual tendencies should be treated with respect, and unjust discrimination against them should be avoided, while “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Catechism also teaches that for a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be met: It must be grave matter, which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.

Skull of St. Thomas Aquinas unveiled at 700th anniversary of his canonization

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Denver, Colo., Jan 28, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).

The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas has arrived at the Dominican Convent of Toulouse, France, and placed in a new reliquary as the order celebrates the 700th anniversary of the saint’s canonization in the Catholic Church.

The new reliquary was created by Augustin Frison-Roche and was blessed during a Mass on Jan. 27 in the church of the convent. It was then transferred to the Jacobin Convent of Toulouse for the opening Mass of the seventh centenary of the Italian saint, theologian, and philosopher on Saturday, Jan. 28. A procession of the relics followed the Mass.

The opening of the reliquary took place in the Dominican convent’s sacristy in the presence of Monsignor Jean-Louis Bruguès, OP; the chancellor of the Toulouse Diocese, Father J.-François Galinier-Pallerola; and prior of the Toulouse convent, Father Philippe Jaillot, OP.

Sculptor and painter Frison-Roche posted a photo of the new reliquary on his Instagram account, where he wrote: “Happy New Year to all. For me it begins in the light of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

The Dominican order also shared photos of the rare event.

“The opportunity to witness the opening of a reliquary is rare, as it is sealed to guarantee the authenticity of its contents,” the order wrote in their Instagram post. “The opening is only done for major reasons that require the renewal of the container.”

You can also watch a video of the reliquary journey shared by the Dominicans: 

The reliquary will now embark on a journey across France and abroad. 

Aquinas was a Dominican friar and priest and is considered one of the Church’s greatest teachers, philosophers, and theologians. 

Some of his greatest accomplishments are his works of theology. These include the Summa Contra Gentiles, the Compendium Theologiae, and Summa Theologica.

Nearing death, he made a final confession and asked for the Eucharist to be brought to him. In its presence, he declared: “I adore you, my God and my Redeemer … for whose honor I have studied, labored, preached, and taught.”

Aquinas died on March 7, 1274. He was canonized in 1323 and made a doctor of the Church in 1567.

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Pope Francis Clarifies Comments on Sin and Homosexuality

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