Culture of Life Rising (Abortion Compilation) | August 2015 – January 2016

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I haven’t been able to blog much lately. Busy with several projects and expect to remain this busy until the latter half of the year. Also need to declutter my digital space badly, so for a while, my posts here will probably consist of compilations — articles I’ve read and saved on various notepads (by topic) and really need to process somehow. I’ve grouped them by sub-topic to make it easier to find them again when I need them. Hopefully my groupings will be helpful to you too.

Through the Eyes of Faith
Marching for Life, Mother Teresa, and Mrs. Clinton
Chiara Corbella Petrillo: 21st Century Witness to Love
Letter from a Pregnant Nun Who Was Raped
There is no equivalence
Laughing at dead babies and the avenging conscience
Pope Francis on Abortion’s “Innocent Victims:” “It’s Wrong to Look the Other Way or Remain Silent”

Conversions of the Heart
NBC’s Gifford Blames Abortionist Kermit Gosnell for Real ‘War on Women’
“The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head”
I Don’t Know if I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos
Pro-choice, but with open eyes, heavy heart
A Tale of Two Baby Boys Slated for Abortion
A Millennial’s Take on the Culture’s Acceptance of Abortion

In the Year of Mercy
When my abortion is forgiven by the Catholic church, I will be free — Note that the sin of abortion has always been considered forgivable (as all sins are) by the Catholic Church, but its gravity is not in the same league as talking back to your parents, let’s say, and therefore someone confessing this sin would have had to receive extra guidance than would typically be available in the daily/weekly Confessional. In allowing the sin of abortion to be forgiven via regular channels, Pope Francis a requirement that was considered a huge burden by many (mostly from misunderstanding), but at the same time it also places a much larger responsibility on priests. If you don’t understand this, consider your child coming to you and confessing that he has murdered someone. What would you say and do, how would you react? THAT’S how heavy that burden is — there’s no way to take it lightly, not by the sinner, and not by the priest in the Confessional.
On Pope Francis and abortion: a reply to Fritzie Rodriguez
Pope Francis on reconciliation for abortion
Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share

Non-Believer but Pro-Life
You Can Be An Atheist And Still Be Pro-Life

Hippocrates Who?
Abortion workers reveal disturbing facts about abortion industry
How the ‘abortion pill’ Mifegymiso could change reproductive health
Suppressing Awareness Regarding Breast Cancer
Since Abortion Was Legalized in the U.S., Women’s Risk of Breast Cancer Has Quadrupled
Abortion is the Primary Preventable Risk Factor for Breast Cancer
New Docs Confirm UMass Purchased Fetal Cadavers for Use in Humanized Mice as StemExpress Dumps Planned Parenthood
Boston Children’s Hospital Has Been Using Brains of Aborted Children in Research for Years
Why We Don’t Need Fetal Cells to Conduct Life-Saving Research

Surrogacy
Surrogate defies biological parents’ abortion demand

Tales of the Misled, Corrupted and Pseudo-Scienced
Woman charged with attempted murder in failed abortion
Herbal Abortion Experiences in the Philippines
Poll: More Than 40% of Women Having an Abortion Attend Church, 70% Say They are Christians
Catholic Colleges Collude with Planned Parenthood
‘Leftovers’ Star Amy Brenneman: Abortion is Being ‘Demonized’
Back to Science Class for the Science Guy
I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice

The Hard Cases: Rape, Incest, Life of Mother
Philippa Taylor: Abortion is no answer to children conceived through rape or suffering fatal fetal abnormality
Report from LTI speaker Jannique Stewart, on her debate at Florida Atlantic University with Dr. Ethelene Jones of the ACLU and former director of Planned Parenthood
Catholic Hospitals Are Right, Abortion is Rarely Medically Necessary

Culture of Life Rising
Pro-life activist heads to court to defend undercover videos
Closed Planned Parenthood Facility Purchased by Pro-Lifers Re-Opens as Pregnancy Center

It is increasingly clear to me that as the culture continues to degrade we are wasting valuable time trying to change the minds of college students. Unlike most HS students they have been fed a bunch of lies from their liberal teachers and pop culture for too many years. Also, HS students are not generally as sexually active as college students and, therefore, have not developed sophisticated coping mechanisms for defending immoral behavior.

On the other hand college outreach represents a good training ground for our staff, interns and volunteers because we get to respond to the party line pro-abortion arguments. – From From Mark Harrington and Created Equal

Meet The Pro-Life Millennial
Taking Back Our Pink
The Wall of Secrecy Is Crumbling…
#ShoutYourAbortion? How Could Anyone Shout Her Abortion?
I’m a Pro-Life Female Attorney, I Didn’t Have to Abort My Baby to Advance My Career
When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense
Can National Pro-Life Health Centers Become the Cure for Planned Parenthood?
Now hospitals are saving babies born at just 22 weeks: Medical advances raise new doubts on abortion limit
Planned Parenthood issue isn’t going to go away

Master Manipulators
The three types of men who support abortion
Reuters Agrees to Correct Questionable Abortion Statistic
Watch the Shocking Scene From ABC’s ‘Scandal’ That’s Being Lambasted as ‘Stomach Churning’ — and Listen for Song Playing in Background
Obama Administration Paid for Research Using Intact Human Brains From Aborted Babies
New Abortion Panel Bought & Paid For
Baby Development… and Murder
Liam Neeson and Amnesty International get abortion wrong
Obama Science Czar Hides E-mails
Woman: Planned Parenthood pressured me to ‘donate’ my aborted baby
Now We Know Why Reporters Won’t Cover The Planned Parenthood Videos

The Real War on Women
‘One Child,’ by Mei Fong
Naresh Patel, who attempted “abortions” on non-pregnant women, sentenced to 18 days
The Fashion of Abortion
Dr. Drew is Deluded: Blah Blah Blah

On Killing Abortionists
Killing Abortionists: A Symposium

Abortion Law
Supreme Court Review Puts Abortion At A Crossroads
Supreme Court agrees to hear biggest abortion case in two decades
The Surprising Ways Other Countries Think About Abortion

Wisdom for the Battle
4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need to Stop Doing This
If abortion kills children, act like it.
The Surprising Ingredient To Creating A Pro-Life Culture
The Myth of the Pregnancy Rewind
‘We Are Ambassadors to the Pro-Life Cause’
What are The Best and Worst Biblical Arguments for the Pro-Life View on Abortion?
A Letter to Jennie

First Person
The Timeline Of What It’s Really Like To Go Through An Abortion
Archbishop Cupich’s Seamless Bulletproof Vest for Pro-Choice Politicians: An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Chicago on Planned Parenthood and Poverty

Religious Liberty
Southern Nazarene Universty v. Burwell

Abortion Survivors
Why Abortion Survivors’ Stories Should Be Heard

The Truth Will Out
UN Data Backs Pope on Abortion and Contraception, Climate Alarmists Disappointed

Voices of Sanity
I Should Be Able To Murder You In a Safe, Clean, Legal Way
Abortion Is The New Slavery
A Miscarriage of Humanity: A Brief History of Abortion Arguments
Wouldn’t More Women Die if Roe Fell?
Feminism and the Unraveling of the Social Bond

Folks, when are we going to learn that abortion empowers men and not women? There is an article on Slate about Jacqueline Smith, a woman who died in an illegal abortion in 1955 (link in the first comment). They are trying to use it to make the case for legal abortion of course, but it actually makes the case against it.

Jacqueline Smith was in College, away from her family. She found out she was pregnant and she thought her boyfriend was going to marry her but he told her that she was going to have an abortion. Sounds familiar? This is exactly what happened to me 21 years ago.This happens all the time. Men coercing into/forcing abortion on women who comply out of fear.

The difference is that Smith’s controlling boyfriend arranged for a butcher to come to his apartment and the botched abortion sadly claimed her life but the narrative is still the same. – Beatrice Fedor

Dear Mainstream Media, We Know What You’re Doing

image from Mike Brummond
image from Mike Brummond

Today my feed was inundated with Pope Francis supposedly relaxing the rules on abortion.

Except that’s not quite accurate.

He didn’t relax the rules on ABORTION per se — it’s STILL considered a sin in the Catholic Church — always has been, always will be. We already know that most folks in mainstream media these days are too lazy to do any real research or real reporting, although since they had an idea this was going to happen back in May, you’d think they’d have done some of the legwork between then and now, but no.

[Edited to add: It always also has been a forgivable sin, because ALL sin is forgivable in the Catholic Church, given the conditions necessary for forgiveness. Priests for Life, a pro-life organization, has for a long-time talked about this here. This is misleading.]

So, for the sake of those who might stumble upon this and actually want to learn something:

What Pope Francis relaxed was the way the sin of abortion is forgiven, so that the person can once again partake of the Sacraments.

Note that Pope Francis is simply addressing the FORGIVENESS of those who PROCURED an abortion. He doesn’t say anything about ABORTIONISTS. And he makes a distinction between those who know how serious a sin abortion is when they get one, versus those that don’t or that are coerced into getting one. This is called culpability.

Despite reconsidering their position on abortion. The tide IS turning, and media is panicking.

Presenting Pope Francis’ words this way makes it appear that the Catholic Church is either changing Her teaching or realizing that She’s been wrong about abortion all along. In a sound bite world, people will read those headlines and conclude wrongly that abortion really isn’t the major evil that CMP, conservatives and pro-lifers and all those fanatic Christians/Catholics are always portraying it to be.

Except that it still is.

In so doing, those of us who respect life in all its stages from conception/fertilization to natural death can be painted as “holier than the Pope”. See the reversal here?

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
– Isaiah 5:20, RSVCE

To sum up: Abortion is still a sin. Relaxing the rules on forgiveness of the sin still requires repentance. It still requires Confession. It is not automatic. It is not planning to sin and then planning to confess later since one will be forgiven anyway: that’s What Pope Francis’ Abortion Announcement Really Means

More info for those who actually want to understand:

What Pope Francis actually said (though translation is somewhat clunky): Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis According to Which an Indulgence is Granted to the Faithful on the Occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
From Jimmy Akin: Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share
From Canon Lawyer Dr. Edward Peters: Pope Francis on reconciliation for abortion (I will not pretend to understand this better than the average Catholic, though some points were clearer to me than others.)

Horror Fatigue, Desensitization, Escape, Responsibility

Fr. Dwight makes a sad observation here.

I agree. It’s also desensitization. When you see violence all over the place, real and unreal (video games, movies, TV) it’s easy for everything to just become one huge blur. And I think (analyzing some of my friends’ responses to what’s happening) the thinking goes, “I have my family to worry about, my job, my personal problems.” That’s more than enough for some of them. When they sit down in front of the computer or the TV at the end of the day, they want to relax, to be entertained, to zone out.

No one wants to click on one more Planned Parenthood post. I know I don’t. I haven’t watched any of them after the 3rd video, because I had seen enough and David Daleiden did say they were going to get progressively worse. Just the descriptions and commentary from fellow pro-lifers are more than enough for me.

Sometimes when I get to thinking of the apathy it makes me want to just shut down and cocoon from the world. But I know that’s not going to help, so I force myself to hit that “Share” button, one more time.

Till We Have Faces: The Unmasking of Planned Parenthood

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Last week I finally finished reading CS Lewis’ Till We Have Faces. Lewis’ own favorite out of his works, this novel takes us along on the journey of a soul, from the prison of selfishness into the freedom of truth. I saw much of Orual in myself, and like Orual I hope that my pilgrimage on this earth ends with me becoming Psyche.

The book reveals many moments of grace in Orual’s soul. Since this is Lewis’ retelling of Cupid and Psyche, it happens in a polytheistic setting, though “the gods” in the story are really *our* God. Orual has many questions that need answering, and gets frustrated with the gods when the answers aren’t forthcoming. As we work out our salvation, we discover these answers, and unearth our deepest motivations. It is only then that we are able to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and find peace in conforming ourselves to God’s will.

In this age of social media and high definition scrutiny, however, it becomes too easy to hide behind masks and convince ourselves and everyone around us that we are doing good, and doing well. Image is valued so highly by many, and that makes it hard to talk about the things we wrestle with in our minds and in our hearts. In our prayer we may find that we justify ourselves even to God, like the Publican in Luke 18.

Orual, towards the end of the story, eventually realizes the pain she has caused Bardia’s wife, and her sisters Redival and Psyche. We have similar stories to tell, of people we have hurt, and to whom we were unable to make amends. At times, it takes a glimpse into other people’s suffering to realize the evil that we do.

The story also tells of the false god, Ungit. In 21st century America, our sacred cow, our Ungit, is abortion.

I look at what has been going on the past week with a glimmer of hope. I am relieved to know that there are many tireless warriors out there, who continue to work to get truth out into the open. Already companies are distancing themselves from being identified as donors to this organization. The facade PP has worked so hard to maintain is slowly being chipped away.

But I cannot cheer loudly yet. It’s not just the possibility that all this will again be swept under the proverbial rug. The blinders are now off, at least for some. It’s difficult to be joyful, when there are people like this lady who admitted to being near suicidal after finding out: all PP could offer was a suicide hotline. No remorse, no apologies, no “I’m sorry we’ve contributed to your hurt by aborting your baby and by not telling you the whole truth about what we do”. She’s not the only one. There are millions more who will wake up one day if they haven’t already, and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I am angry, but at the same time I think of David Daleiden who calls Dr. Nucatola his friend. I wonder if the friendship that had been built might perhaps be strong enough for us to witness another Abby Johnson conversion. As I think of those who are involved in abortion and the harvesting of babies’ organs, I pray that like Orual they would eventually come to self-knowledge.

In the Genesis story, Adam and Eve obtained knowledge of good and evil. From that knowledge a multitude of sins have sprung, and yet because God is God, He can turn anything into good, and set those who have gone astray back onto the path of truth and freedom. There already is much pain and suffering in the hearts of those who were deceived. I pray that Planned Parenthood’s employees see what they have wrought and stop justifying their actions, to themselves and to the rest of the world.

Because of her father’s rejection and her lack of physical beauty, Orual went through much of her life preoccupied with the pain she received and was unable to see, until the very end, that she too, was Psyche. Psyche was always called “Blessed, Beautiful, Beloved” — perhaps in time, all the Oruals involved in abortion will realize that each person, born (themselves included) and unborn, is indeed Blessed, Beautiful, and Beloved. I pray for the continued movement of grace in our souls, for conversion, for the truth to be completely unmasked and for the scales to fall off all of our eyes.

Sex Education Is How We Got to “Body Parts”

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Let’s get something straight right off the bat here. I am not a proponent of abstinence education though I respect my fellow parents’ choice to take that route. Nor am I saying that children shouldn’t get sex education at all. I’m saying that right now, and for the past several decades, our children have been getting the WRONG kind of sex education in the schools, and that’s exactly how we got to this point, where someone who took the Hippocratic Oath could sit there, munch on her greens and swirl her wine and talk callously about forceps and CRUSHING “below” and “above” in order to preserve the choicest parts of a human baby, whether for “humanitarian reasons” or for selling.

We are here today because we have commodified and objectified people. We have not only perverted the procreative aspect of the marital embrace, we have corrupted the unitive aspect as well. This determines whether we see human beings as integrated, WHOLE individuals — heart, soul, mind, and body — or whether we consider them simply a summation of organs, skin, nerves, bones and musculature.

The mentality that sees women as legs, butts, breasts and genitalia is exactly the same mentality that sees fetuses in the womb as hearts, lungs and livers: as objects that can be used, bought, or discarded.

How exactly does the kind of sex ed promoted in our schools lead to this?

Two nights ago my profile was blocked from the Planned Parenthood Facebook page, because of two little comments I made on their posting of this article. All I did was point out that fetal tissue could not have hearts, lungs, or livers, unless those organs came from the body of a human baby. On that same post, women were defending their “rights”, and Planned Parenthood for their “heroic role” in women’s health and saving women’s lives. The blindness was stupefying.

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That same night the Women’s Rights Facebook page posted this video on Consent:

One comment in particular caught my eye: “I love this video. Something to show my boys when they’re old enough.”

?????

And I ask — in the 21st century, with decades of sex education behind us — how is it that we find a need for this kind of video, FOR ADULTS? Setting aside for now any moral arguments, including the argument that sex isn’t just about consent, what that video teaches is that a woman is more than just an orifice.

What is going on in sex ed? Young people are told that “they are going to have sex anyway”.

We teach our youth that they cannot help themselves, that sex is a need that MUST be satisfied. By doing that we disconnect their brains from their bodies, and tell them that the sexual urge is paramount over everything else. Focus is placed on “safety”, on prevention of disease and pregnancy, and not much else. Finding a partner who respects your emotional, mental and spiritual needs is to be set aside until you’re an adult (and if we are to be honest, many sex educators would scoff at “spiritual needs”).

We then expect our young men to magically transform into chivalrous beings, able to take women’s verbal and nonverbal cues and interpret them correctly, practice self-control and fight the rape culture, and recognize that women are more than bodies. Suddenly we want them to know that women also have brains and feelings and emotions and need more than just casual sex. In essence that’s when we say that relationship — the unitive aspect — is important. If it’s important in adulthood, shouldn’t that have been the lesson taught all along?

By the time the young woman reaches adulthood, chances are she has been used and discarded many times. Why should we expect her to turn around and give that baby in her womb more respect than men ever gave her, more respect than she ever gave herself?

When we Catholics talk about unitive and procreative, those aren’t simply words to us. Unitive to me as a Catholic means communion — of oneness in mind, body, soul and heart. It’s the kind of oneness that brings forth life, that respects life and doesn’t break it apart into pieces to be sold or donated at the whim of whoever is in control.

This is why contraception and abortion are ultimately not about empowering women. We rail about the rape culture and slut-shaming and consent. And yet that contempt for womanhood that we rail against is the same contempt we hold against the babies that come to inhabit our wombs.

Feminists can roar all they want about women’s rights; their roars are nothing but echoes of the same depravity that denies babies their humanity.

And which organization plays a large role in bringing about that depravity? The same organization that benefits from tax dollars and unsuspecting women, for whom the withholding of information means greater profits and continued support from blind followers who have lost their souls.


Related: Sex Education in the Homeschool
Theology of the Body

Contraception, Abortion, Population Control, and Laudato Si’

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From Laudato Si’:

50. Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”. To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption. Besides, we know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”. Still, attention needs to be paid to imbalances in population density, on both national and global levels, since a rise in consumption would lead to complex regional situations, as a result of the interplay between problems linked to environmental pollution, transport, waste treatment, loss of resources and quality of life.

95. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others. That is why the New Zealand bishops asked what the commandment “Thou shall not kill” means when “twenty percent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive”.

120. Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”.

172. For poor countries, the priorities must be to eliminate extreme poverty and to promote the social development of their people. At the same time, they need to acknowledge the scandalous level of consumption in some privileged sectors of their population and to combat corruption more effectively. They are likewise bound to develop less polluting forms of energy production, but to do so they require the help of countries which have experienced great growth at the cost of the ongoing pollution of the planet. Taking advantage of abundant solar energy will require the establishment of mechanisms and subsidies which allow developing countries access to technology transfer, technical assistance and financial resources, but in a way which respects their concrete situations, since “the compatibility of [infrastructures] with the context for which they have been designed is not always adequately assessed”. The costs of this would be low, compared to the risks of climate change. In any event, these are primarily ethical decisions, rooted in solidarity between all peoples.

More thoughts later.

Where I Get My Pro-Life News and Commentary

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A friend, Francis B., requested a list of my sources for pro-life news. So, in no particular order, my favorites:

General

Crisis Magazine
First Things
Catholic World Report
MercatorNet
NewAdvent.org
National Catholic Register

Abortion
Live Action News
Americans United for Life
Students for Life
National Right to Life News
Priests for Life Blog

Politics, Legislation, Religious Freedom
Susan B. Anthony List
Alliance Defending Freedom
American Center for Law and Justice
Judicial Watch
Catholic Vote

International
Turtle Bay and Beyond
Human Life International

Bioethics
Charlotte Lozier Institute
National Catholic Bioethics Center

Marriage and Family
National Organization for Marriage
Family Research Council
The Public Discourse
Ruth Institute Blog
United Families International

Education and Education-Related
Catholic Education Resource Center
Catholic Education Daily (from Cardinal Newman Society
Intercollegiate Review
Circe Institute

Conservative
The Heritage Foundation
Ethika Politika
American Thinker
PJ Media
Taki’s Magazine
The Imaginative Conservative
The American Spectator

Catholic
Ignatius Insight Scoop
Catholic News Agency
Catholic Herald
National Review Online
Sandro Magister
Touchstone
Catholic Culture
Women of Grace
PewSitter
What Does the Prayer Really Say?
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Vatican News

and because sometimes, I just need a humorous take on all those:

Eye of the Tiber
Creative Minority Report
Curt Jester
Ironic Catholic
Catholic Memes (there’s a whole lot more on FB, plus Tumblr)

Two ways I organize my news sources:
Feedly
and when on Facebook, Lists, where I have lists for a) Pro-Life Leaders and Writers, b) Current Events, and c) my mom friends and other close friends who keep up with the same concerns.

Every so often, I go on Twitter to see what people are talking about, but I prefer getting my current events from the above.

I also like taking a peek at how the Catholic youth view their faith and current events from time to time, so I check out Catholic Tumblr blogs.

Note that many of these overlap in terms of the news they report/comment on. It goes without saying that I am not capable of reading all these sources every single day, so it just depends on what time I have. Sometimes I go on FB to catch up on news, sometimes I go on Feedly, other times I rely on friends and family to keep me informed. I try to not to overwhelm myself with too much input, especially during Lent. I process/digest things throughout the day — blogging and journaling helps at times — and when I feel that I’m inundated I shut things down and focus on prayer and family.

Hope that helps!

“Make Yourself a Capacity, and I Will Make Myself a Torrent”: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

josephmary

Nor do all couples fight — many do and a few do not. What is hellish are marriages in which the spouses are not living according to the divine plan, or they are not deeply converted from their sins, mortal and venial.

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ve written a lot lately about how great my marriage and my husband are. One of the things brought up at the forum was other moms’ hesitance to be so vocal about their happy marriages — because being vocal somehow may offend others or make them feel bad if their own marriages aren’t as happy… or it could be misinterpreted as bragging. I do agree there is that factor to consider and I vacillate as well when I make these posts. But then I go back to the 50% divorce rate so often quoted in articles, and I don’t think that muting ourselves is the answer. I don’t think we are doing marriage any favors when we keep quiet about how and why our marriages work.

p. 63

Jesus himself plainly said that it is by our love that the world will come to know that we are his disciples (Jn 13:35). A saint is homilist without saying a word, a powerful proclamation of revealed truth and splendor.

I am reminded anew of a friend’s reassurance that the way we help promote the culture of life is just by living the way we live. If we live lives of authentic love, we can change the world.

Saint Catherine of Siena (in her letter 368) remarked that “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.” Saints do indeed light fires — and the reason is the title of this volume.

p. 64, on deep conversion and deep prayer:

They are not merely juxtaposed, one next to the other. Each one helps to bring about the other. The more we are rid of our egocentrisms the more we are opened to the divine infusions of love and intimacy.

why profound conversion? It triggers inexpressible joy. If one doubts this, let him try it.

– LOVE LOVE LOVE this quote.

While I can’t say I’ve been 100% converted (still have a lot to work on obviously!!) I’ve found that the more I commit to following Him the more I experience REAL, OVERFLOWING JOY in my life. It doesn’t happen every day, but I notice that it happens most often when I put Him and His will FIRST above all else.

It is difficult to believe that advocates of abortion do not see that any sin is pro-choice, or it would not be a sin. The rapist is pro-choice, or it would not be a sin. The rapist is pro-choice, and so are the thief and adulterer and the liar.

Genuine love is self-sacrificial.

Genuine love means, “I desire your well-being… and all that that implies.” Lord, help me to live this every single day, and help me to love everyone that You put in my path, with a genuine love.

He is always endlessly lovable even when the neighbor is ugly, hurtful or an enemy.

Oi. I need to remember this often, esp. these days when anti-life people, or even some of the ones close to me, are being petty or whiny or just plain not-as-lovable as other days.

But the supreme example, the matchless exemplar of real love, is Jesus being slowly tortured to death on his Cross out of nothing but a total self-gift for you and me. The Crucifixion and all that went before it is, in our universe the supreme horror and the supreme beauty.

Sigh. Speechless before this Truth.

This too:

Real love is uncommon in our world because full conversion is uncommon.

And this:

The Lord’s statement to Blessed Angela of Foligno applies likewise to all of us: “Make yourself a capacity and I will make myself a torrent.” With his grace we open ourselves by deep conversion and he eagerly pours out by his Spirit a deluge of love (Rom 5:5).


Two posts/articles today that caught my eye — they both write about how beautiful marriage can and ought to be:

From Leila, who is reading through Casti Connubii, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter:

Husbands: Your wife is making a sanctuary for you, as well as all the other things she does. Your home. This sanctuary is hidden from most. But it is your delight. Belittle this gift at your peril.

Wives: Your husband is making it possible for you to be a maker of a sanctuary, the heart of what you build together. If you tear it down with your own hands, you are tearing out your own heart. (Proverbs 14)

And, like my husband, this guy gets it: I’m a Guy and I’ll Never Badmouth My Wife.

Here’s my challenge to the real men out there; it’s very simple. If you have a good marriage, talk about it.

Unless those of us who love our wives (and thus, our lives) make a conscious change to the way we speak of them, unless we begin choosing to elevate and praise our spouses instead of denigrate, we will be letting an incredibly corrosive self-perpetuating societal meme destroy the very institution that defines our lives.

Yup, he gets it.

In the Quiet of Advent, the Call

Well, it’s done. The RH Bill has passed in the Philippines. Now the real work begins. Some thoughts on this dreary Monday afternoon, as I ponder what my fellow Catholics and Filipino friends and family are facing:

I’ve been thinking of everything I’ve done for the pro-life cause, but especially the last two years that I’ve been involved with Filipinos for Life — how much I poured my heart and soul into it…. and the fact that I didn’t make that much of a difference. I don’t say this to ask for reassurance or praise… the results have been depressing but I am trying to be as clear-headed about this as possible.

Last I looked, known abortion proponents are still out there referring women to underground abortionists. Girls are still able to procure illegal abortifacients via unscrupulous individuals on topix.com — they’re just a phone call away. The bill got passed — despite opposition from priests, bishops, nuns, the laity. In the coming months there will be more international conferences, and the same-old-same-old pro-abortion, pro-divorce, pro-same-sex-marriage people will be involved. The divorce bill is next. [Collective sigh from all faithful Catholics.]

I’m not dismissing the work that pro-lifers have done and will doubtless keep on doing. But I don’t know if my role will necessarily be the same. I’ll always be pro-life and I’ll always do what I can do, but as I take some time this Advent to quiet my heart in anticipation of His coming, I am discerning the call to focus on my primary vocation: be the best wife and mom I could possibly be, simply live an authentic Christian/Catholic life, and spread the “gospel” of homeschooling wherever and whenever I can. A few years ago as I lamented to a friend that our pro-life efforts seem to be so fruitless at times, she wisely advised, “Just be what you are. Your presence and witness — your life — will be what changes lives.” Today, that advice is echoing loudly in my soul. My fellow homeschooling friends know homeschooling is very much a part of “the movement”… that’s where the roots of cultural change need to be. And repeatedly I am seeing that that’s where I’m most needed and where I can touch lives the most. (Interestingly enough, I see a Freethinkers post on homeschooling that’s very much on the mark: http://filipinofreethinkers.org/2012/04/16/demystifying-homeschooling/; you’ll have to copy-paste. Color me pleasantly surprised.)

We always say, we’re here to plant seeds, and we may never see the fruits — not in our lifetime anyway. But at the same time the fruits are all I have to go by at this point, when I have to make decisions. I keep coming back to this: that we are called to New Evangelization, especially in this Year of Faith…. but for a while now I’ve known, like many others have recognized for a while, that politics is not the answer and never will be. Like many Catholic homeschoolers, I have long lost faith in manmade institutions. Too often our trust has been misplaced. And while we are called to be active participants in the public square, it is always helpful to remember that we are called to be in the world but not of the world.

So how do we build a culture of life, even as we live within a culture of death? A list, and then some, in the next post.

Where I’ve Been

Faith:

From Project: Sowing Seeds: 101!! Books to Read in this Year of Faith — includes some of my favorites, some that I’ve been meaning to read, and many that I’ve never heard of before.

Poll: Catholics want pastors to blog. Yes, Father, we do. It would be a great way to dialogue, and keep the conversation going beyond the brief small talk after Sunday Mass.

The Great Tragedy of the 2012 Election

The tragedy of the 2012 election is that in this land of the free and home of the brave, many people were not allowed to vote. Their voices were silenced. Their votes were not cast. Their opinions not expressed. Why?

Because they were dead.

I Figured Out the Problem. You. Sigh. Yes, fellow Catholics. We love you, but sometimes you just really drive us batty. And yes, I know that “you” includes ME too.

A Watershed Election. A Weimar Election?

We may need to be preparing for more direct persecution for religious doctrines and prudential norms. The state in effect has now consolidated its responsibility for all aspects of our lives from before conception to “helping” us to the cemeteries as expeditiously and conveniently as possible. The Church will be deeply divided; those who voted for the president will now claim that they have been “protecting” the Church all along. But, in exchange, the Church will need to “downplay” (read, stop) its strident opposition to the now widely approved “rights” that justify these actions. It will only be necessary on a few outmoded doctrines about sex to change things. In any case, those who gets any assistance from the state must conform to all the laws and mandates of the state, including ones that go against objective standards or subjective conscience.

Some Thoughts on the Five Stages of Religious Persecution: I’m not going to quote. READ IT. ALL OF IT. Looks like we are on Stage 4. Oh boy.

Fr. Z’s Reflection on the Election, wherein he talks about frequent Confession and the Four Last Things. Amen, Father.

Family:

The Chef that my daughter works for: Mantra on the Hill on Fox 19

Videos, Information, and a Call to Action

For a background on all of this, here again is the link to the video of Fr. Sammie Maletta’s homily + transcript.

Last week, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, we saw Sandra Fluke’s opening statement before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

If you Google “Sandra Fluke” and click only on links from mainstream media, most of the information you’ll find will refer to Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word “slut” when he was talking about her testimony. These links, as to be expected, don’t tell the whole story. Here’s more information on Sandra Fluke from a REAL Georgetown student and what’s really going on here. Meanwhile, traditional media continues to frame this as a contraception debate instead of a religious freedom debate, to propagate the lie that the Church oppresses women and all who need “reproductive health care”.

As in a well-orchestrated play, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards releases her “I Have A Say” video the day after Fluke’s statement, inviting women to share their thoughts on why birth control is an essential part of women’s health care. (If you click to watch the video on YouTube instead, YouTube will give you related videos of other women “having their say”, including pro-abortion NARAL’s Nancy Keenan.)

We faithful Catholics, we who Occupy the Pews, we who believe in the teaching authority of the Magisterium and who know that our Truth comes from Scripture and Tradition, *could* just keep quiet about all this and offer it up…. or we could respond to Fr. John Hollowell’s invitation and call to action:

It would be great if we moms and our daughters and other women, young and old, could contribute to Fr. Hollowell’s blog specifically set up for this by sending in a picture, a video or even just a short paragraph sharing our thoughts — because I don’t know about you, but neither Sandra Fluke nor Cecile Richards speaks for me. We cannot and should not underestimate the power of alternative media — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs. These ultra-liberal women are using precisely these tools to continue to brainwash those who unfortunately are only marginally aware about these issues. Our Holy Father recognizes the reach that social media has, and even he is Tweeting these 40 days of Lent. We, now more than ever, need to learn to use social media, to do our part to spread the Gospel Truth, and to defeat the father of lies and his minions.

Oh, and I apologize in advance for this, but I just couldn’t resist. I’m still working on becoming a turn-the-other-cheek Christian and Catholic… not quite there yet 😀 !!! So here it is…. the newest movie poster in town, which I found at freerepublic.com.

Fr. Sammie Maletta’s Homily on Religious Liberty and the HHS Mandate (Transcript)

Prayers for and cheers to this courageous priest-lawyer for speaking the truth! May more of our priests be like him. Spread the word.

I’m posting the transcript of his homily here for my parents’ benefit. If you see any errors, please comment and I will edit.

In recent years, we’ve had cause to discuss the subject of political speech from the pulpit here at St. John the Evangelist. Many many many of you have regularly challenged me to speak out more frequently on matters that I deemed are purely political and as a result, I have refused to do so. However, others are so sensitive about this that even when I recently recommended two of our parishioners that were running for local office, they became vocally upset. Generally speaking, the message we priests preach should not be political except when it comes to faith and morals. What I’m about to share with you in my opinion moves beyond faith and morals and goes to our very existence to function and therefore I claim the right as your pastor. I claim the right as an American citizen. I claim the responsibility as a priest to speak what I perceive to be the truth.

Little more than three years ago, after Mr. Obama was elected but not yet sworn in as President of the United States of America, the bishops finally gave us priests permission to tell our congregations the truth about what Mr. Obama’s intention was and that was to force the Catholic Church to engage in morally repugnant actions or lose our ability to carry out the gospel message in health care, social services and education. I gave a stirring talk that Sunday, and you as well as people across the country, because the priests in their parishes also got up and spoke, sent millions of cards, letters, phone calls to DC, demanding reassurances that the Obama administration would not proceed with its plans. Almost immediately, the President-elect contacted the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and invited the bishops to a meeting, at which time he gave his word. He gave his word to our bishops that the conscience clause that exempts religious organizations from participating in those federal mandates that go against our conscience would not be disturbed. At that time, President-elect Obama feigned surprise that Catholics would even think that he would do something like this. And with those assurances, the bishops backed down. Within a few months of his administration, Obamacare was introduced creating a deep division in our country as the President’s vision of comprehensive health care coverage became clearer. Arguing that the poor would finally receive health care which is a longstanding goal of our bishops and of all Catholics, arguing also that the cost of healthcare under Obamacare would be reduced, another longstanding goal of our bishops and Catholics, the President asked the bishops to support this legislation. They were once again given assurances that abortion, sterilization, and other so-called reproductive services would not be included in the legislation, at least not in a way that would compromise Catholic conscience. As a whole the bishops declined to support that legislation. However, some naive bishops believed the President and came out in support of the ideas behind Obamacare.

Last week all those assurances and promises President Obama made were broke and his true intentions made known when the Department of Health and Human Services announced that virtually all insurance plans must pay for reproductive services even if they are morally repugnant to the organizations, specifically including the Roman Catholic Church.

Stop and think of this. We are the one voice that speaks out clearly to this culture of death that abortion is wrong. We are the one voice that speaks out clearly to this nation on issues of life. And now we will be forced to actually pay for someone to have an abortion. This is only part of the war that the Obama administration is quietly waging on the Catholic Church. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the US Labor Department has aggressively attempted to expand its control of how we conduct business. This is one of the regulations, there’s about eight of them. Imagine how thick that is. This is page after page, detailed. I as a lawyer, it takes me about an hour to go through and try to understand each of these pages.

Now, I’m your pastor! Now, we have to comprehend and implement every detail of that because the government wants to get into our business and tell us how to run our business, how to run our Churches! And there are no exemptions for us. I mean it’s overwhelming, just stop and think of that. How can I be pastor when I got to stick my nose in this kind of stuff every single day. I can’t make a decision about the Church without going through all this stuff, and this is across the country.

Furthermore, again as I mentioned a few weeks ago, federal moneys are being withheld from Catholic social services even though the Catholic services receive top ratings from the government. The government creates the rating system, the government scores the rating system, the government sets the rating system. Catholic social services get the highest score, even though part of that rating service is to penalize the Catholic church because we don’t provide reproductive services. And so the scores drop down, even after that, we’re higher than others. And consistently the government is giving money to other organizations with lower scores in other words to other organizations who reach fewer people, do it less effectively and cost more, will not give it to us because we do not provide reproductive services.

One would think that many of the objectives of the Obama administration would be consistent with Catholic objectives, relative to caring for the forgotten, the underprivileged and the needy. The president has been most eloquent in speaking about this segment of society and frankly, his words are very appealing to our sensitivity as Roman Catholics. So why is this president’s administration so intent on destroying the Catholic Church’s ability to perform our ministries which we do better and for less than the government can do?

Why is President Obama’s administration, with all the problems in this world, with the economy, with terrorism, with our country being sold to China, with Iran possibly becoming a nuclear power, with all these things. Why is it so obsessed on reproductive services and so obsessed by forcing us to go against our faith to do what they want us to do in that matter?

The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health services, social services and education. If the government can put us out of business, and make no mistake, the Bishop is right, we cannot and we will not follow this law. We will close down our schools, our hospitals, our nursing homes, our orphanages. We will go out of business in that area before we will pay to have a child murdered.

And once we are out of business, there will be literally millions of people suffering because who will provide those services for them? There will be a gap, a crisis in our nation and then we begin to see the real issue that’s going on here, because once that happens the government can reasonably argue that we cannot as a nation allow that suffering to continue. And the government will step in and provide less effective and more costly services which will mean more government employees, more individuals who become completely dependent on government help. Taxes will be raised to cover this, and the ultimate goal behind all this is exposed, for the United States of America will be one step closer to socialism. And in every country that has become socialistic, religion has become peripheral, but you’ll be able to have reproductive services available at every corner.

Why is the Obama’s presidency so addicted to expanding abortion and so called reproductive services on all of America and forcing Catholics to participate in what we consider to be the culture of death? Why would they sacrifice the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in favor of reproductive services? When did reproductive services become the national cry of our nation? When did it become more important than the Bill of Rights? More important than the Constitution?

And so before you get upset with me or any priest at our bishops’ instruction for addressing a political issue, get more upset over what’s happening in this country on this issue and how it will be devastating to your Church! I especially address those of you who voted for this President. I cannot believe that you voted for this, and now, I need you and all of us to stand up for the First Amendment, to defend your Church and to stand up for your Catholic faith. This week, we are going to follow the Bishops’ instruction and I ask you all to pray, to fast, to ask God for wisdom.

Next week we will have materials available for you to let your voice be heard to do what we can to stop this. We need to contact DC and demand that the longstanding conscience clause is respected and preserved even under Obamacare.

Let our message be clear. President Obama, let us be Catholic! And let us continue to contribute to this great nation as Catholics providing vital services and care especially to that segment of our nation that needs us the most. Let the Church say Amen.

You can read more about Fr. Sammie Maletta here.

Let’s pray, fast, pray, fast, pray, and fast some more.

St. Michael, defend us in battle! Mama Mary, ora pro nobis!

People of Faith, Stand Up and Be Counted

These are exciting times. Religious persecution is a scary thing, I don’t think my children even fully grasp yet what is happening right now in the country, though we’ve explained it to them. But to see people of all faiths standing up for what is right, not just because it’s in our Constitution, but because it is God’s will, is encouraging and moving. I’m grateful to be living in this century.

Pastor Warren, of course, is the guy who interviewed Obama in 2008 on his thoughts about abortion and when life begins:

and delivered the invocation at Obama’s inauguration.

Hockey player Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has spoken up too.

It’s an exciting time because you see not only Catholics you’ve long-respected and admired, but other, fellow Catholics who are speaking up for the faith, like psychotherapist Dr. Michael Ludwig:

But that’s not the end of it. The non-Catholics are speaking out too! (Hooray, humans for religious freedom!)

And of course our dear, faithful bishops. God bless them!

What’s funny is the normally pro-abort pro-contraception secular media, FOR ONCE!!, is with us on this one. We may not agree on many important issues of our day, but they still recognize religious persecution when they see it.

Indeed, it’s time to push back.

See, what some of the world does not get yet, is that there are those of us who actually care about humans, more than we care about sea turtle eggs (nothing against sea turtles, though you gotta admit they’re not as warm and huggable as a human baby).

Know what I mean? They’re just not as cuddly as, you know, humans.

If you’re not Catholic, and you’re not understanding the reason behind all the uproar, it’s because the main issue here is Not the PILL, it’s religious freedom. You don’t adapt to injustice, you oppose it. In that sense, we are all Catholics now.

If you’re a person of faith, you should be up in arms too, because some people can be very very deceptive about the truth, calling evil good. Some of them love abortion so much, being appointed Planned Parenthood’s new President is now equivalent to “a sacred duty”. Well yeah, it’s sacred alright. In an anti-Christ sort of way….

And what about our youth? Long have they been given the lie that the pill is “the answer”. But like most “magic band-aid solutions” that this government seems to think helpful, this mandate will only serve to increase cases like this one.

And then there are those who are you sold us out and then quit very conveniently right after. And you’re disappointed now? Really? You *knew* this was coming! We certainly did.

Another shocker! (Not.) Doug Kmiec “breaks up” with Mr. O, though we’ll have to wait and see on that one. Me not trusting him after 2008. :/

Our waters are already polluted, a contraceptive mandate will make more contraceptives available to even more people, and the assault continues on the few remaining farmers we trust to produce food that won’t kill us. But what we do we expect from the most anti-life administration ever, right?

Compromise schmompromise. Who do they think they’re kidding? Enough is enough! Enough of the CINOs! We’ve let way too many things pass. This army will not kneel to the HHS mandate!!