The Catholic Association
Ep. 265 Chloe Cole on the Fake Science of Gender-Affirming Care & Praying for Nigerian Christians
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Episode Description

Learn what our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing amid escalating Christian persecution in Nigeria. Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach of Sovereign Global Solutions tells us why the nation must be put on the Biden administration’s list of countries of concern and reveals how it is fast becoming, “a killing field for defenseless Christians.”

With news this week exposing how science was doctored to push dangerous procedures on vulnerable youth, detransitioner Chloe Cole joins us to share her powerful testimony about the lies she was told in the name of “medicine.”

Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Pentecost Sunday, as he prepares to embark on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage along the Seton route for the next sixty days!

Bios

Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach is the Founder and Principal partner of Sovereign Global Solutions, with over thirty years of professional experience in government relations, public policy, grassroots strategies, and communications. She has served in a number of senior executive positions in government at the Federal and state level, as well as in government relations and communications for non-profit advocacy organizations. She is a founding member of the Board of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and the Founder and Vice President of the International Catholic Legislators Network-Western Hemisphere, as well as a lobbyist and spokesperson for issues pertaining to dignity and rights of the human person.

Chloe Cole is an American activist and speaker who advocates for protection of minors from the traumatic effects of dangerous gender transition surgeries and treatments. Following her own “transition” process beginning at the tender age of 12 which culminated in a double mastectomy at 15, she shares her journey of regret that began by age 16 and her attempt to detransition from what was done to her at that vulnerable time in her life. Chloe has testified before numerous legislative bodies for laws to safeguard minors, and shares her story to affirm to young people that, “it’s what you do with your life, not what you look like,” that will bring the meaning they seek.

Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes for numerous publications, speaks on radio and TV, and is the author of the book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God. He is a graduate of Harvard and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and was Attaché to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York. Father Landry is set to embark on the full 1500-mile Eucharist Pilgrimage this summer to commemorate his 25th anniversary as a priest.

The following transcript is machine generated.

Episode 265 Transcript

GrazieHello friends, and welcome to Conversations with Consequences. And we are the radio show and podcast of the Catholic Association where we aim to change the culture one conversation at a time. You can listen to conversations with Consequences on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. We are also on Sirius XM Channel 130. Of course, our radio show is always a podcast.
Go to the Catholic Association, Dawgs podcasts, or directly to wherever you listen to your podcast. I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christie. And thank you again for joining us this week on Conversations with Consequences. Jacqueline how they Ron Schlep and Buck is here with us to discuss a dire situation in Nigeria where there is tremendous violence and brutal killing of our Christian brothers and sisters.
There is very little, if any, international response or concern. We're going to hear all about that from Jacqueline. It's a very important subject because the United States has the political strength to help the situation in Nigeria, for instance, to put it on a special list called the Countries of particular concern. There is a resolution by Representative Chris Smith that is working on putting the Nigeria back on that list.
And this would hold the Nigerian government up to a higher standard in defending our Christian brothers and sisters there. We're excited also to talk to Chloe Cole about the very important topic of transgenderism and its effects on young people. She is a very brave young woman who went down the very ugly road of gender medicine. I hate to call it medicine, but the way in the way it applies to children.
She was very young when she had her puberty blocked, cross-sex hormones administered, even a mastectomy. She's going to tell us all about that. She's only 18 as we speak. It's a powerful story from a very powerful and vulnerable source. And I I'm really glad that I'm really honored that she's willing to talk to to us about it here at Conversations with Consequences.
Welcome to the show, Chloe.
Yeah, thank you for having me on.
Chloe, you are only 18. Myself and many of our listeners can remember back when we were 18 and we were not doing the kinds of things that you are doing. You you are very bravely going about the world and telling your story and entering into situations which I'm sure are very difficult. Putting yourself in the spotlight, answering aggressive questions and being very, very brave.
Where do you find the strength for For what? What you are doing?
I think the biggest thing motivating me is just knowing that there's more there's more young people, and especially young girls and boys are out there struggling with the same thing that I am. And they don't really have many of them don't really have a voice and they're not able to speak out for themselves. And I was in that situation once, and it's not something that I wish on anybody else.
So you feel that you are sort of on the leading edge of a group, of a group of young people who have been ill served by their bikes, society, by the medical profession. Right. And you're willing to you're willing to to do what most of us are not willing to do, which is to try to let ourselves be be in that leadership group.
Right. And in a in a situation which is very contentious.
Yeah, I really feel strongly called to speak on the subject after after going through what I have and speaking to other people who have been announced.
Many of our listeners may know about me know your story more or less, but maybe you want to. Can you share with us a sketch of how you came to this point in your life, all the different things that happened? Yeah.
ChloeSo I am a transgender, meaning that I was somebody who went through the process of medically and socially transitioned to the opposite sex. And then I went back on my decision, and this all happened while I was still a kid. I started socially transitioning at 12, meaning that I changed my name the way that I presented and dressed myself.
And then I was medicalised at 13 with puberty blockers or Lupron and testosterone. And at 15 I had a double mastectomy. And just a year afterward, when I was 16, was when I had stopped transitioning.
GrazieMy gosh, you were extremely young at 12 to be making these decisions. What let me ask you this decision. Where did it come from? Were you influenced by your peer group or what you were seeing on the Internet?
ChloeYeah, for me it was I had struggles relating to to being a girl growing up, but it wasn't until I started using social media that I was introduced to the idea that I could be a boy. I didn't have to be a girl. And there were a lot of things that I think made me vulnerable to that being that I started puberty pretty young age, and so my breast started developing when I was only around eight or nine.
And this is really uncomfortable out here. Comments about all time for my peers. And I became really conscious of my body at a very young age, and I started to develop body image issues and felt like I wasn't enough of a woman and that I would never compare to other girls and women and that I would be better off as a boy.
I was also I had a previous diagnosis of ADHD, but I strongly believe that I've actually on the spectrum.
GrazieAnd so you found you found the onset of puberty very disturbing, which I'm not I'm not surprised. I mean, I'm a woman and I went through puberty and I found it very disturbing. When little girls start, when their bodies start to change, they become extremely self-conscious. And it sounds like that happened to you. I don't know if you agree with me, but our culture doesn't present to us images of womanhood, of young womanhood that are comfortable for our eyes, right?
There are things that we can achieve or that we even we want to achieve.
ChloeYeah, that was another thing that really complicated this. I already had a habit of constantly comparing myself to my older sisters and being their elders and my friends. But I started using a phone when I was 11 and I started using social media and actually Instagram because that's what everybody else my age was doing. And I on Instagram, I saw a lot of images of young women that were often very, very sexual in nature and a lot of discussion having to do with that that I don't think that anybody that age should be exposed.
I mean, this is content that is already difficult for for adults to digest. And for me, it definitely was. And it really did complicate my view of what being a woman was actually supposed to be like. And even the stuff that I would hear about about womanhood from other women and girls was always very negative. It was always about the negatives, about the pain of menstruation and childbirth and pregnancy and menopause.
And nobody ever talked about the good things that came with it. I didn't want it was it was hard to imagine myself growing into.
GrazieDo you think that the that the heavily sexualized culture that is reflected back at girls where a woman I mean, I've raised so far two girls and I've helped them go through womanhood and I had that experience to go into womanhood from girlhood. And when you're a little girl, you're protected. You're like in this beautiful pink bubble, right?
And everybody treats you beautifully and your parents treat you like a princess. And everywhere you go, you're a you're a delight to everyone's eyes, Right? But but in a beautiful, pure sense in a very decent and moral sense. And then when you start to look at womanhood as something that's about to happen to you, what you see in the culture is that a woman is treated as a sexual object.
And so not only and I'm I'm telling you how I feel and you and I'd like to know if this makes sense to you and this is what you know.
ChloeIt does. Yeah. That's absolutely how how I feel.
GrazieAnd then in.
ChloeExchange, I felt growing up, you.
GrazieSay, okay, I'm going to become a sexual object. I'm also going to have a debilitating, painful, undignified period, one to once a month. And they say that childbirth is horrible and that I'm going to be weighed down with screaming children. Why would I want to be a woman? Is that how you experience this?
ChloeYeah, I in a lot of these the discussion I would hear from from a young women, especially online and like these feminist circles about things like being a mother, the importance of like building a family was really downplayed and it was always about like how annoying and screaming children are and how they use phrases like ruin your body for for nothing, just so horrible.
GrazieLike it's a total.
ChloeLovely thing about it.
GrazieThey don't bring anything good. They only take away.
ChloeYeah. About what you said about childhood though. About female childhood. That was, that was another thing. I often felt like I wasn't taken seriously because I was too cute, because I was a girl. And no matter what often felt like because I was cute, I hated to work. You know, I hate being called cute.
GrazieYou are actually.
ChloeListening to me. You're calling me seriously?
Grazie
ChloeAnd I thought that was what being a girl was all about. Just trivial things, not really being important, always getting in the way. And I wanted to be something better than that.
GrazieAnd you know, there is truth to what you say. Women, when we're not being sexualized, we're often very much treated in trivial and trivial ways, right? Like we're like we only think about things like dress and and casual things like we're not deep thinkers. I remember when I was in in medical school and working in a big group of other doctors, you know, you do rounds, right?
But you do rounds with a bunch of doctors and you're the lowest on the totem pole. And I would ask questions, but like, I might I might make a comment or ask a question, but nobody would turn to look at me. And I felt it was because my voice was too high. So I started pitching my voice lower.
So.
ChloeSo it's actually pretty common.
GrazieRight? That is really common. I've talked to other women and they said, yes, you have to pitch your voice lower. You have to ask more like more like a guy so that people will pay attention to you. And so what a strange world we present to our girls. Right? Here's the here. Welcome to womanhood. Here's what womanhood is like.
It's a and we reflect back to them a very negative experience. And let me ask you, what did you hope life would be like as a man as opposed to entering adulthood, as a woman, what were your dreams?
ChloeWell, I mean, a lot of my idea of what being a man was really like was kind of a caricature based off of how I saw my older male relatives, including my brothers and my dad. And I tried I tried to I tried to emulate them and my peers at school. And on one hand, I really just didn't want to be a woman.
And I didn't really see myself as a woman. I often felt like I didn't even look like a girl at times, and I didn't really enjoy being feminine for a period of time. But I thought that transitioning was going to make me happy and whole as a person allows you to become my real self as a boy.
GrazieSo there was a hidden self inside of you when you were going to open the doors to that hidden self. And that hidden self was masculine, right?
ChloeThat's kind of how the trans community presents it. And on top of that, the medical community and the research that I had done on this, including from resources that my health care provider actually has seemed to point at, seemed to point out transition as the only means of treating gender dysphoria.
GrazieDo you think if you had been born 15 years earlier and you had that same the same set, your makeup, your normal natural makeup that you were born with, do you think that you that it would have manifested in a different way than than as gender dysphoria? Because there is discussion about that, right, girls, girls become troubled around puberty.
Yeah, they're very emotional. What do you what do you think might have happened in another in another lifetime and another time?
ChloeI probably would just if it were this, I probably would have just been like a normal kid or something.
GrazieAnd it was still very cute, but like. Right.
ChloeRight.
GrazieYeah, that's very hard. So. So you okay, so you're, you're 12 or 13 and they start medicalizing you were your parents supposed or were they scared into, into going along.
ChloeYeah. They actually pushed back on it heavily. They wanted me to wait until I was an adult, but they had their hand forced by the doctors. They were told like there's not any other option. And if you don't do this, then she's going to kill herself.
GrazieAnd you know, now that they were wrong in a sense, or do you do you think that they were right? Do they do they say that because they have the numbers behind them or are they simply trying to scare parents?
ChloeYeah, I mean, they they cite really faulty studies like the 41% rate, for example. But I wasn't suicidal until I started transitioning.
Grazieand then you went as far as until.
ChloeI was until I was on these treatments and it made it so much worse.
GrazieWell, you were taking tremendous doses of hormonal first, the hormonal blocker. Lupron. That's a that's a that's a terrible drug. Chloe People who have breast cancer and women I'm sorry, men who have prostate cancer, women with breast cancer, take that drug and they they have terrible side effects.
ChloeAnd on top of that, I was constantly I was I was on other I was on psychiatric meds like like both short release and long release medication for ADHD. And they're using Wellbutrin as an antidepressant at one point, even though it actually has like a huge black box warning for use in kids.
GrazieYes, it does. And the the ADHD medicines cause emotional fluctuations, which are very violent.
ChloeRight.
GrazieSo you were on all these drugs and here you are, a little 12 year old girl trying to navigate this this hormone nightmare and chemical nightmare that's much worse than puberty, right? I mean, it's so unnatural.
ChloeYeah. And really, puberty would have been to cure.
GraziePuberty was your cure amazing? And what what happened when they added testosterone? What happened to your mental makeup and your emotional makeup? When the testosterone started, the.
ChloeBlockers were really stressful to be on because the drop in sex hormones actually induced a period for me, which people say like it's supposed to be like this, where kids can decide whether whether they want to go on to the next puberty or not. It's like.
GrazieA pause.
ChloeBut it's not like that. And it not only does it pretty much induce a state of menopause, it also causes periods in girls who have already had them. And you can't you can't you can't stop you can't stop puberty anyways. So I was I was very lethargic, although I was getting hot flashes and itching all over my body.
And I it was just really depressing for me. I really just wanted to move on to the next treatment, which came about a month afterward, and I was proud. Sjöström which that felt great because I finally I body was no longer in the absence of sex hormones and.
GrazieAnd testosterone is a very it's a mood improver. It improves your foot. It gives you it's powerful. It's a powerful, powerful hormone does it does fabulous things. If you want to improve your mood and have energy and sleep well And yeah, it's it's amazing. You know, you're describing you're describing I just went through menopause in the last couple of years and you're describing a very menopause is very difficult when you're all grown up and have a family around you and and understand your body.
So I'm very sorry you had to experience that at the tender age of 12. Very sad. So then you take the testosterone and you have a new flowering of of sex hormone in your body. You have all the wonderful side effects of testosterone, but it's still not working for you. wait, we then you you had a mastectomy, which.
ChloeYeah.
Graziemy.
ChloeGod. I mean, I was I was very happy initially while starting on it, but there really nobody told me like there was going to be a honeymoon. These honeymoon period, these treatments.
GrazieThere is a honeymoon with testosterone for sure.
ChloeYeah. And I was like on the high school actually became more and more distressed. And that was when I was put on Wellbutrin and diagnosed with with with depression. And then after a few years of stopping, they decided to put me on a shortlist medication to treat my declining grades that were mostly caused by my depression that was not being properly treated.
GrazieAnd now you're and now you're in a situation you're in high school. I but I've many I've been through high school, many of my I have a lot of kids who've been through high school who are in high school, and that's a very high school's a very socially fraught place, especially for girls, very lots of emotions and lots of problems.
But now you're trying to do high school on all these drugs and you're not present and you're presenting as a boy, right, socially, as a young man. And that must come with a million social complications of the way people are interacting with you and reflecting back to you who you are. What was that.
ChloeLike? Yeah, I feel like I do feel like it's done in my development socially and especially as a girl, because I was I was socializing as a boy and I was being treated as one because everybody other than a few close friends thought that I was a boy and I was missing out on the things like dating and getting into relationships because a lot of my other friends my age were getting into relationships, but I was still attracted to boys as somebody who appeared to be a boy.
And so my dating, my dating pool was pretty severely limited.
GrazieYeah. Yeah, of course. And so you were still attracted to boys and you didn't think of yourself as a homosexual man, I don't suppose at this point.
ChloeYeah, I did.
GrazieYou did?
ChloeYes.
GrazieBut that's very confusing, right?
ChloeYeah, it was very difficult to navigate.
Graziemy gosh. It sounds. Absolutely. I just can't imagine you doing this at this age, Chloe. And such as if it wasn't like there. That's such a nightmare. I can then beyond shock that we're doing this to so many children in this country, putting them through these torturous situations that just go on year after year, and then even.
ChloeKnow somebody who who's gone through it. It still shocks me. I don't know how we've gotten to this point.
GrazieThen then something happened to you, which as a physician, I can and wakes me up at night and I think to myself, who are the doctors that remove healthy breasts from little girls? Who are these people? And how can we not how have we not stopped them? What you you endured radical mastectomy. I believe it's radical, right? They take everything I leave anything behind.
ChloeNo, I don't think it was a radical mastectomy. They so I did undergo a double mastectomy. The incision that they they called it, the incision type I got was the most common type, which they call double mastectomy with nipple grafts, meaning that the excess into the breast tissue, they take it out and they also graft the areas onto a they called a more masculine positioning on the chest.
okay. I'm area scraped skin.
GrazieSo it's not radical, but they remove the Orioles and then regress them.
ChloeYeah. And they they take out the breast tissue and I think they also took out some lymph nodes with that as well because they they tested they tested the tissue for cancer afterwards and I was perfectly healthy.
GrazieAmazing. I mean what does that feel like now to look back and say the doctors did this to me, a surgery of that, of that.
ChloeImportant. It's, it's very difficult to put into words just how painful it really is for me. Like I can I can describe my feelings around it and the pain I have and where the most painful points are.
GrazieBut but it's impossible to express, Right. The the trauma that has been done to you and what it.
ChloeDoes feel like a part of my sexuality has been taken from me before. I was able to fully realize it. And it hurts knowing like I'll never have that function back like old ever have those those nerve endings back. I'll never be able to breastfeed my kids. And on top of that, I'm having complications with the grafts.
GrazieNo, I'm sorry to hear that. Well, you know, these surgeons, they tell girls who are undergoing these these evil mastectomies, I call them evil, because there's no reason ever to amputate a body part that's not ailing. They tell them that you can just get implants later if you change your mind. That's that's not really true. I mean, you can never go back to a real female breast.
ChloeRight? You can never bring the function back. And on top of that, implants come with their own range of complications.
Grazie
ChloeHumans are just Legos. You can't take parts on and off.
GrazieAbsolutely. You didn't you didn't go on with more surgeries.
ChloeNo, I did not.
GrazieAnd I'm sure is you thank God every day that you didn't go on.
ChloeYeah, I would have. I would have been too young by the standards. Their standards which they actually broke their, their standards of care and how they treated me.
GrazieYeah. Because the mastectomy was very early. Right. Because this was some. Right. This was three years ago. And I think they're doing them earlier now. But 15 seems very early to me for that.
ChloeYeah. I actually know somebody who had a mastectomy at 13. that's the same hospital.
GrazieThat's just heartbreaking. A little 13 year old girl with a mastectomy.
ChloeRight.
GrazieSo you didn't go ahead with any more surgeries. And and I'm I'm very I'm very glad you didn't. But people do. Very young people. So people here. Let me ask you, I many people who who who are against transgender surgeries and medicalization for young people for for minors, they say, well, once you're 18, people can make their own decisions.
ChloeNot always.
GrazieThat shocks me because I've had 18 year old children. Several. And they're not making good decisions. They're making lots of bad decisions all day long. And and that's it feels like as a parent, all you're doing is trying to protect them from bad decisions for years. What do you think about that? That once you're an adult, these things are all fine and that that person, an 18 year old, can choose properly?
ChloeNo. Once you hit 18, you might legally be an adult, but that doesn't mean you know all the answers. 18 is still very young and you don't really you still don't really have much experience or knowledge having to do with the world. I mean, a lot of people, a lot of people don't know that they want to have kids until they're in their late twenties or early thirties.
Grazie
ChloeAnd the decision that will affect that on top of pretty much every other aspect of your life. And I feel like 18 is just too young to to fully appreciate that.
GrazieI don't know if you want to share this, but how do you think you've recovered your fertility? You don't have to share that information with us. Obviously.
ChloeI hadn't gotten the fertility test, but I, I started having my my periods again about two months after I started off testosterone. stop taking testosterone. I need. But I.
GrazieThen you must be.
ChloeSurprised because they've been they've been very regular when before I only had about three or four per year because I was so young.
GrazieYou were a little baby. You were right when all this happened, you were a tiny girl. So thank God, thank God that your fertility was preserved. And I'm very, very sorry for all those whose fertility has been has been erased. I was reading a book.
ChloeI mean.
GrazieA young boy who was on Lupron, and. And he said that he didn't he didn't care about his fertility. He's 14. This boy, of course, didn't care about his fertility. And that if he changed his mind later, he could adopt. There is the there's like an abyss of ignorance in that statement, which is normal for a 14 year old and then somebody else who was who was against the this this medicalization said, well, at least this child should have had fertility counseling.
And I'm thinking. Right. Fertility counseling at 40 with a 14 year old boy. What does that even mean? What's a 14 year old boy know? Even if you how can you explain to a 14 year old boy what that means to give up? No. Your sons and daughters?
ChloeNo. I mean, no matter how much you tell a kid, they're not going to they just can't make an informed decision on this. But I kind of had the same idea, like when when when my endocrinologist told me, like, I might not be able to have kids, I was like, no, I don't. I don't want to have kids because I was 13 when I was starting on these treatments.
Yeah, but at the same time, yeah.
GrazieImagine I had to say, Yeah.
ChloeYeah. I had this idea that like if I wanted to have kids, then I could just go through like, IVF or use a surrogate or something that nothing could go wrong with any of that. Right. So I was naive. I was a kid.
GrazieRight. And there's a lot of rhetoric out there acting like children can just you can sort of pull them off trees like like apples. Right? When you want a child, you just reach up and grab one as though as though that's even possible or even should be done right. Like things children should just be got whenever a right wants them.
Instead of coming from our bodies.
ChloeRight.
GrazieChloe, we're we're pretty much out of time. I'm, I'm very I'm very honored to have had this conversation with you. I feel that the world is a better place because you're in it and because you are so brave and so good to speak so frankly about your troubles. And I know that you're saving lots of lives and lots of futures of young people.
Just as parting words of advice to to parents, to grandparents, to aunts, uncles who might be listening to this, to young people, who might be listening to this and have friends who are struggling with gender dysphoria or family members. What would you say to them?
ChloeThis is never appropriate for kids. It's something that should wait until and until adulthood. And that doesn't necessarily mean when that doesn't necessarily mean the moment that you turn 18. This is something this is a decision that takes a long time to make a decision on. And there's no guarantee that it's going to treat your gender dysphoria and chances are that if you experience gender dysphoria, it might be caused by underlying issues and traumas that you have that need to be treated first.
And an issue that I noticed with a lot of these dysphoric kids, they're not really active in their communities. They don't really partake in like school clubs or extracurriculars or sports or anything. And they're very lonely. They don't really have that sense of community around them, especially with their peers. And so they turn to the Internet to to feel that when really they should be they should be working together with their peers.
They should be they should be mingling with their peers and working together on something.
ChloeTo give them a sense of purpose. That's often what these kids are lacking. And they need to they need to be they need to know the truth. Because these doctors and this community that promotes this treatment as a one size fits all thing, it's it's dangerous. It comes with a host of complications. And these doctors are often not informing their patients of the full picture of things.
GrazieWell, there you have it. Thank you, Chloe Cole. And thank you for joining us and telling us telling us the truth of your of your story. And thank you for your bravery.
ChloeThank you so much.
GrazieWelcome back to Conversations with Consequences. Our guest now is Jacqueline. How Big Von Schlep and back. She's the CEO and principal of Sovereign Global Solutions. She's going to tell us all about that. And these days, the age she and her group are concentrating on the persecuted Christians and Nigeria. So I thought we would have her on and have her give us an update on something that we should all be very concerned about, which is our Christian brothers and sisters in a place that is war torn and the suffering is immense.
So welcome to the show, Jacqueline.
JacquelineThank you so much for having me. Gracy And for also concentrating your program on things that really matter and matter to all Christians. Really. I'm very grateful to be able to talk with you about this today.
GrazieNigeria seems very far away, very far from our everyday concerns, and there is that danger, right, of forgetting things and disregarding things because they seem so distant from us and culturally and situationally and even geographically. So tell us bring bring Nigeria home to us so that we can ensure that we can take this to our prayers.
JacquelineI would love to do that. Thank you. Well, first of all, Nigeria does seem so far away, and yet Nigeria has been called the powerhouse of Africa. It's the most populous country in Africa, and it has an enormous oil and gas industry. But as of right now, where it is located in in the country, in the in the continent of Africa, it has become a killing field for defenseless Christians.
One of the things that is so deathly frightening to anybody who works in security and understands what this means in terms of the destabilization and even the global scene. If you're not concerned about your brothers and sisters, let's think about security, is that it really threatens the security of the entire continent and the continent threatens the security of the entire world.
Many experts in geopolitical affairs will tell you, as goes Nigeria, so goes all of Africa. And where do you think that ends up? It ends up here. Wow. Here in our country and also.
GrazieAlso the migration crisis. Right. All right. We are tackling this crisis of migration with so much suffering for the migrants, so much suffering for the people who receive the migrants. Right. Because that's because let's face it, it's that kind of assimilation might just be impossible of those kinds of numbers. So, yes, so there is a big geopolitical necessity to there being peace in a place like Nigeria.
JacquelineThat's right. It's a it has a huge impact. And the area where it is in the surrounding countries is called the Sahel region. And right now, that area is sort of a tinderbox. It's because of all that is happening in Nigeria. The entire area is very it's rampant with terrorism. It's it's kind of falling apart, if you will.
And we have a chance, as a country, United States, to just kind of hold them to account when we really ought to be doing that.
GrazieWhat are the elements of the conflict?
JacquelineBasically, there is, you know, as you look at Nigeria, everyone has heard of the terror group called Boko Haram, and they are mostly located in the the northern states of Nigeria. And they have gotten the world's attention and they have gotten their own governments attention. And Boko Haram, as you may know, actually means they're totally against Western education.
So this is why you may have heard of various things that are taking all the schoolchildren out of the school, kidnaping all the schoolchildren. They don't want, whether you're Christian or Muslim, they don't want you to have an education. So so but the government itself has been tackling that and so have a lot of our Western dollars gone into helping Nigeria tackle Boko Haram.
So the government is definitely not in support of Boko Haram over there. They are trying to tamp their terror efforts down and they're having some success in doing so. But as you go south and by the way, most of the north is now run by Sharia law. That's the problem. If you're a Christian.
GrazieGovernment, is the government of Nigeria, is it a Sharia government? Is it a muslim government?
JacquelineIt's not per say, a Sharia government, but it is supposedly trying to be a democracy. But one of the things that it is is very friendly to to obviously, Islamic life and in fact, something that is sort of an undercurrent in history about what's going on there is and I mean, recent history. So we're looking back to the early 1990s, there was an agreement called the Abuja Agreement where the Islamic caliphate and the Islamic group or a governing body, not that not the government, but the kind of their church leaders or their leaders decided that they were going to try and make it their effort to make an Islamic nation out of Nigeria.
So that's been an undercurrent that's been brewing all this time. And they are having success as you look at the map. And North has moved farther and farther south.
GrazieSo Sharia. Okay. So when you say an Islamic nation, you mean a fundamentalist Islamic nation?
JacquelineRight, exactly.
GrazieWe've had coverings and nothing for girls and women.
JacquelineAnd and Christians.
GrazieThey'll kill you and they'll kill you if you are plasticizer or in practice, your Christian faith.
JacquelineOkay. Yes, that's right. And currently, right now, Nigeria has a population that's 50, 50 Christians and Muslims, and that's been for a long time. But they're working on changing that. And and they're doing so with a lot of this, with a lot of murders and then also raping women because when you rape a woman and if you're Islamic and you're a woman and she has your child, that child is considered Muslim.
So so those kinds of things are happening rampantly. But I want to talk to you about this other group that is perpetrating most of the violence currently in the Middle Belt region and also throughout some throughout the north with the militant Fulani herders. And they're like an Islamic militant group of of herders, and they're called the Fulani herders this and that's a name that you'll come across a lot, but they are not held to account.
And really currently the government in charge, vice President and president. They're both from Islamic backgrounds and one of them is a Fulani. And so they nobody from the Fulani terrorist cell ever, ever gets held to account for their for their work, for their murdering and murdering of Christians and others. So I want to give you some examples of what we're talking about in terms of numbers and what's been happening there on the ground in 2020 to open doors, which is an organization that collects data and is very reputable with regards to the world's Christian martyrs, said that 90% of the world's Christian martyrs lost their lives in Nigeria in 2020 to 90%.
And then now this year, another organization that is following what's happening in Nigeria, they are specifically a Nigerian organization that's collecting data on this exact area, persecution. They're called the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, and they're known as the Interest Society for Short. And they estimate that in one year it's ratcheting up. Now it's 2022 since January 2020 through to January 2024, they show that there were over 8000 Christians murdered for their faith.
And that marks the deadliest year in recent years. And so you see there, it's growing. It's growing and growing. The number is not under control. It's not reducing. It's getting greater and greater with each passing month. And then you probably even heard recently, in the last six months at Christmas time, there was a brutal and systemic attack which occurred in the Plateau State on Christmas Eve, starting on Christmas Eve, and then lasting about three days where militant Fulani herdsmen went to 26 Christian communities and killed between nearly between 203 hundred people in a series of terror attacks.
They occurred those attacks just to show you how planned out they were and in intentional they occurred. Samuel tenuously they are as Islamic militant. Fulani went church by church and house by house selecting and targeting Christians. So villages were raised and hundreds of Christians displaced. So then let me ask you a question. What happens to those poor people who were displaced because they were run out of their homes, their houses were burned down, their cars burned down, their churches were burned down.
Where do they go now? Well, they go to what are called IDP camps or IDP camps are formed. And those are sorry for the acronym is Internally Displaced Persons. And what do they look like? They look like CHANTIES. They must be.
GrazieTheir own particular band of hell.
Jacquelineyes, absolutely. And it's been going on for now quite some time. And then we've had, even since the year began, these various massive kidnapings have made the news actually. But on a daily basis, I'm telling you, on a daily basis, we see murders and martyrdom happening in the IDP camps because it wasn't enough to shove them violently out of their homes and make them find a temporary home.
That temporary ends up lasting forever, but then they get targeted there as well. They're not safe in those IDP camps. So but at sovereign, we are working on this issue with one of our clients, Aid to the Church in Need, which is a pontifical Catholic pontifical organization that serves the persecuted church. And so we're very grateful to be partnering with them on this issue.
And because of just connecting various partners to them, some of these IDP camps are now receiving more funds and more materials, aid from Sierra and from various different entities around the world that are trying to pour in a little bit more aid. Because one other thing, Grace, if I may say this, the next state over Ben Wei state is a state where we have been doing we've been in very close contact with their bishop and they're the leader for their Justice and Peace Department there.
And the Justice and Peace Department and the Catholic Church are the only means of coordinating aid there. They're doing so with other charities, but there is no government aid getting into those states. Why would that be? The United States sends $1.25 billion in military and defense aid over to Nigeria. What is that money used for? Who knows? But basically.
GraziePossibly they're not getting armed. The Fulani? Possibly.
JacquelineYeah. Well, I will tell you, it doesn't appear that the government is doing anything to stop the Fulani.
GrazieSo so what's really what is the relationship of our current federal administration, the Joe Biden administration, with Nigeria? What what are they doing? What are they are they a nation of interest, for instance, a country, a country of concern? I know that. I know that the government keeps a list of countries of concern where the human rights violations.
JacquelineAll right. Right. So glad that you asked that very important question. Under the International Religious Freedom Act, there are designated countries, there are that are defined by that. And one of those lists is called the Country of Particular concern list. And then there is another list as well, countries that we basically have to really sanction and stay away from.
But they were on the country of particular concern list during the Trump administration. But for some reason the Biden administration took them off of the country of particular concern list. And what we hear is that that was our most immediately felt by the people who are the most vulnerable. And they they notice like the world notices, the countries notice and the people on the ground notice and they are always hoping and praying that the United States and other Western countries are going to stand up for them.
GrazieSo can you explain why that is, why Trump the Trump administration will have them on the list and then they would be taken off where the quite administration.
JacquelineYes, I know that in the Trump administration's case, this exact issue, the persecution of Christians the persecution of people of all religions who are not militant and were being persecuted by their Fulani herders, as well as Boko Haram and it met the standard that is laid out in that International Religious Freedom Act for what is considered a country of particular concern, which means that the government is tolerating.
That is the exact wording. So government is tolerating this persecution and or aiding it to happen. And in both cases we would say that's what it looks like. They are definitely, definitely tolerating is if not actually providing arms and and cover. And they and I can tell you there is not one single circumstance that we are aware of in which people, Fulani militant Fulani herdsmen have been held to account, have been prosecuted or or anything.
There has been no justice. So why is it.
GrazieThat they were the Biden administration put them back on the list? Would that be something that would then make it more reasonable to condition all this billion dollars of aid on on a protection of the of the persecuted Christians? Or is that kind thing is that the kind of thing that has political ramifications so that something could actually get done?
JacquelineYes, it does have political ramifications if the Biden administration did put them back on the list, it would have political ramifications. They would be compelled to show proof that they're helping protect their own people from this type of harm. And so there are there are different mechanisms and levers that can be put into place that can can help ensure that.
And so that's why.
GrazieWe want the Biden administration less concerned with with religious persecution. When it comes from the Islamic side, perhaps, Or am I just be am I being very cynical and unkind?
JacquelineI it's not I don't know if you're being cynical. I don't know. But I don't we don't know what their reasoning is. I mean, I can't I never I tried to never, you know, try to predict what's in the minds of others and and what is their exact motivation because one can't really totally know. But I will say, like, why are they doing this?
We we have only been given the the disastrous idea that and this is so laughable when you hear this but what's happening in terms of perpetrators run by militant Fulani herders is happening because of climate change. what could be more laughable.
GrazieSo yeah, you know what? It just got really hot in Florida last week and I am feeling more violent, so I don't know, maybe there is something that my husband better watch out.
JacquelineYeah, exactly. So, yeah.
GrazieJacqueline, we only have one minute left, but before you go, can you. I know it went so fast. Can you tell us about how. How can we learn more about this? How can we help put pressure? I know you're working on something in Congress that could help in this. How can we help as as as citizens of the right?
JacquelineWell, I would say citizens could call their congressmen and ask for them to pass House Resolution 82, which is the Nigerian resolution. This Nigerian resolution asks for the State Department to designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern. We're also trying to really urge the House leadership right now to bring it for a vote. But if you can, you know, one way or another, get your congressmen to say that they will vote yes on res 82.
This will help to protect the persecuted in Nigeria and it will start to raise the issue again on the world, on the world scale. And that has the effect of encouraging and helping bring the relief to those who are there on the ground suffering. That's one thing they can do. And we would love it if they would, because very soon, we hope very soon that we will see a vote on this.
GrazieWell, thank you so much, Jacqueline. Can you maybe come back on in a month or so and give us an update? We would love to hear more. I hope that all our listeners will pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and call their congressmen and women so that this resolution can be passed and maybe some relief will come to those poor people.
So thank you so much for joining me today.
JacquelineYou're most welcome. It's an honor to be with you and I'd be delighted to share again. Thank you so much for having me.
GrazieAnd now Father Roger Landry offers us, as is customary, a short and inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday's gospel.
Fr. LandryThis is Father Roger Landry, and it's a joy for me to be with you as we enter into the consequential conversation originally, which is one step with each of us on Pentecost Sunday and the gospel, we will hear Jesus will tell the first apostles in the upper room, and through them all of us receive the Holy Spirit. These are words that I hope to interpret in a particularly Eucharistic key, because I'm now in New Haven, Connecticut, where on the vigil of Pentecost with various others, I will begin a 65 day Eucharistic pilgrimage walking with the Blessed Sacrament to Indianapolis.
There are three other teams starting on Pentecost, one from near the Canadian border in northern Minnesota, another from the Mexican border in Brownsville, and a third from the West coast in San Francisco, all bound for the national Eucharistic Congress that will take place starting July 17th in Indiana. As we approach Pentecost during this pivotal time of the Eucharistic revival, it's fitting to deepen our awareness and appreciation for the role of the Holy Spirit in the Eucharist.
Acknowledge faith, gratitude, amazement, love and life that the Eucharistic revival is trying to revivify. It's not a coincidence that Pentecost took place in the same upper room where Jesus, 53 days earlier, had celebrated the first Eucharist. During the Last Supper. Jesus had already spent much of his time speaking about the Holy Spirit, instructing us that the Holy Spirit would testify to Him.
Remind us of all that He told us. Teach us everything, guide us to all truth. Give us what belongs to Jesus, convict the world with regard to sin, righteousness and condemnation, and declare to us the things that are coming. Jesus even made the astonishing assertion that it was better for Him to go to die, rise and ascend, so that he could send us the Holy Spirit as if the Holy Spirit were somehow a superior gift.
In his beautiful 1986 encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Saint John Paul, the second dedicated five rich paragraphs to the connection between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Eucharist, the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed Mary as the Incarnation, making it possible for the Word to become flesh and dwell among us within her womb, overshadows the priest in the altar to transform bread and wine into the continuation of that incarnation, to bring about the Eucharistic sacrifice in communion, the sacramental realization of Christ's Salvific presence, the Pope asserted, is part of the Holy Spirit mission.
We see this in the earliest days of the church, when Christians right after Pentecost were led by the Spirit to devote themselves to the breaking of the bread in the prayers which Saint John Paul, the second said, expressed and confirmed the church's identity as the bride and body of Christ, formed through the Eucharist and helped the church become the efficacious sign of Christ presence in the world.
When we look at the principal works of the Holy Spirit, they can all be understood with reference to Christ in the Holy Eucharist. First, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray. Since we don't know how to praise, we ought. And he helps us to pray the mass to adore Jesus in the altar, in the Tabernacle, one in Monster within US, in Holy Communion.
He helps us with Jesus to praise, thank, beg for mercy, intercede and petition God the Father with the confidence of beloved sons and daughters. Second, the Holy Spirit helps us to live a truly Eucharistic life, which is life according to the Spirit putting to death in US all worldly life according to the flesh, so that we might lift up our hearts and set them on the things of God.
The Holy Spirit third helps to bring about in us through worthy reception of Holy Communion, the spiritual Communion, one body, one spirit in Crisis, We pray and Eucharistic prayer. Three that Jesus prayed for repeatedly during the Last Supper. Fourth, the Holy Spirit helps us to make our lives a commentary in the words of consecration, teaching us anteriorly how to make our entire existence our body, blood, sweat, tears, joys and sufferings.
A gift of love to God and to others bestowing on us certain garrisons or manifestations of the Spirit for the good of the church in the world. Finally, the Holy Spirit forms us to give joint witness with Him to the risen Lord Jesus in the Eucharist, making our hearts burn, illuminating our minds with the seven fold gifts, and igniting our tongues to proclaim zealously and effectively that Christ is truly alive and with us until the end of time, just as He promised in the Holy Eucharist.
Therefore, Pentecost, it's clear that one of the principal ways by which we're called to receive the Holy Spirit and by which we're called to grow in Eucharistic knowledge, faith, gratitude, amazement, love and life is to increase our appreciation of the Holy Spirits role in the celebration of the mass that makes the Eucharist possible. Let's go through the mass and just see how much the Holy Spirit is there.
We begin mass in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Something that reminds us of our baptism when we through water, were baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Immediately after the priest on behalf of the church, echoed St Paul's prayer in a second letter. The Corinthians that we receive Christ's grace, God, the Father's love and the Communion of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the personal communion between the Father in the Son. We've been made in the image and likeness of that Trinitarian communion personified by the Holy Spirit, the Communion for which Christ prayed during the first Mass, and that the mass brings about through our worthy reception of the Eucharistic Jesus. Next, the Holy Spirit helps us to acknowledge and confess our sins and implore God's mercy.
The Holy Spirit searches everything Saint Paul tells us, convicts us about sin, as Jesus said, helps us reject the works of the flesh, as well as to trust in and cry out for God's mercy. Throughout the liturgy, the Word, the Holy Spirit, similarly, is very much at work, guiding us through the biblical readings he inspired to all the truth, to remember and live all that Jesus taught and received this revelation.
Like little children, He similarly helps us who are deigned to proclaim God's Word in a way that can cut to the heart. The culmination of the creed accentuated often in liturgical music as well as by genuflection. Twice a year is when we ponder how by the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.
We also proclaim the Holy Spirit as Lord and give her life to be worshiped and glorified and heeded as He has spoken to the prophets and speaks still. When we pray, the General Intercessions not only are we assisted by the Holy Spirit of winter seeds for us and helps us to pray with the simplicity and confidence of beloved children.
But the Holy Spirit is the principal response God the Father gives. Jesus says that whenever we ask the Father for anything, He will give us the Holy Spirit. God always responds first and foremost by giving Him given us Himself in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit becomes even more explicit and prominent. He is the one who helps us to lift up our hearts to the Lord and fills us with a desire to thank God.
The Father always and everywhere. The most obvious work at Holy Spirit happens at the time of the upper classes. When we ask God the Father to send the Holy Spirit over the bread and wine to transform them into Jesus body and blood. After the consecration, we beg the Father to send the Holy Spirit down once more so that we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.
Become one body, one spirit in Christ. Make us an everlasting gift to God and become a living sacrifice in Christ in the dark psychology. At the end of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we summarize the entire Eucharistic sacrifice by giving God the Father all glory and honor in the unity of the Holy Spirit, who seeks to unite us to each other into Christ and through with an in Christ to the Father.
When we get to the our Father, the Holy Spirit infuses our recitation. He helps us to crown Abba Father tallow, God's name by transforming us into God's image, tendering to God's Kingdom, to accomplish God's will, to give us each day our super substantial bread, to bring us the forgiveness of sins, to protect us when tempted and to deliver us from the evil one.
There are scriptural citations for all of that, which I'll save you. But the Holy Spirit helps deliver each of those things that Jesus teaches us to pray for. The LAMB of God, the Spirit helps. The whole church is Christ Bride. Say, Come just as we see in the Book of Revelation in Holy Communion, He helps us to become the true tabernacle and Temple of God, to guard the treasure entrusted to us and to give thanks at the final Trinitarian blessing.
We're set out to glorify God by our life, which is a Eucharistic life according to the Spirit, and to announce the Gospel of the Lord in tandem with the Holy Spirit, leaving the upper room strengthened by the power cleat like the First Disciples did on Pentecost. And his message in 2008 for the 23rd World Youth Day, held in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict XVI called the Eucharist a perpetual Pentecost, since he said, Every time we celebrate mass, we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him.
This is a recognition and reality in which we're called to grow during this Eucharistic revival as it reaches its zenith. When Jesus says to us, Receive the Holy Spirit, He speaks those words truly present in the Holy Eucharist as the Spirit comes to help us pray, love and live the mass as Christ desires. Happy Pentecost.
GrazieThank you so much, Father Landry. To hear more of Father Landry's homily, please visit Catholic preaching dot com and to follow him on the Eucharistic pilgrimage route dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Seton, please visit Seton pilgrimage dot org. And with that, we leave you for our prayers for a wonderful week for you and your families.