Tagged pro-life

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

Six Weeks Off FB: (Not the Usual) Lessons Learned

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Growing in our spiritual life means that we sometimes need to do hard things. Leaving Facebook was one of those things for me. I’ve posted before my main reasons for leaving, but as I’ve been gone these six weeks I’ve been working on attaining greater purity and rectitude of intention with regards to the use of social media, and I share these in the hopes that they may help someone else. But first this, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices.

On becoming frustrated with the slowness and the challenges of pro-life work:

From Father’s homily a couple of weeks ago:

How do you respond when there are tensions in a group? Do you say “I’m fed up, enough for me?” Or do you work through the tensions, accepting that it’s refining, changing, like gold in fire, as you all grow in charity and holiness? Do we allow peculiarities/oddities to grate on us — do we grow in annoyance, or do we grow in affection? Do we recognize that it’s holiness in the making?

From a conversation with my daughter:

Once we’re in the pro-life movement, we just need to accept that people will never not need information and education. We may need to repeat ourselves a hundred times before a message penetrates, takes root, or moves people to action.

On being overwhelmed with human need and suffering, especially those I feel powerless to help with (like Paris over the weekend):

If certain problems are beyond our power to change, at least we can contribute the warmth of our friendship. True love can overcome any obstacle. – In Conversation with God

On becoming upset/annoyed at noise/content:

Jesus does not distance himself from sinners. The life of Christ is a continual reaching out to souls in need. Jesus intends to serve everyone, not only those who follow his call, but even those who seem completely hardened to the divine Word. – In Conversation with God, Volume 5

So much of social media is noise, and the Hide, Block, and Unfriend buttons make it easy to make judgments one shouldn’t make. Where engagement was uncalled for, prayer should have been my automatic response, but it often wasn’t. My knee jerk response was “I don’t want/need to see this.”

I curated my feed so that noise was minimized, but while practicing custody of the eyes and ears is essential, there is also the danger of objectification — “I only want to see/hear from you if what you’re saying/doing enriches me.” Instead of allowing the Lord to bless and sanctify each moment of encounter, I get preoccupied with the CONTENT, instead of the PERSON behind the content. I decry fakeness and demand authenticity, but even when authenticity is on full display I refuse to meet people where they are. I wanted those friendships, but only on MY TERMS.

On being exhausted:

This requires an intense spiritual stamina as compared to the passive state of daily mechanical work; but this stamina perishes in the long run if not refreshed by the eternal wellspring. – Edith Stein/St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Woman

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. – from Isaiah 30:15

I didn’t recognize spiritual depletion because I had not stopped praying daily. My mistake was in assuming that that was enough. I had let it get to the point where I was practically running on empty and felt I had nothing left to give. But what I needed to do was to actively pursue the Lord, even more than before. Because of the work I was involved in, I needed MORE of Him, not less; certainly not status quo. Simply put, I couldn’t give what I didn’t have.

Mindfulness in the age of social media can be tricky, as the pendulum can swing both ways — we can engage too much than is necessary or helpful, but we could go the other extreme of excessive withdrawal from people. Balance can only be reached by a careful consideration of how we engage. As an introvert getting to that balance was important to me.


More helpful reading, if you like, on the next page:

Bacon and Contraception? Not the Same Thing

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A pro-lifer friend shared his concern with me this morning, asking if we should oppose bacon along with contraceptives, since bacon has been declared a Class 1 Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

First of all, the processed meat and cancer connection is nothing new. I’ve heard that since I was a child, that’s why my mom (who’s a pharmacist) never stocked it at home. Bacon, SPAM, hotdogs — especially the bright red ones available in the Philippines — rarely appeared on our dinner table.

What has always concerned me more as an adult and what I think has not been explored enough is the connection between GMO feed, antibiotic use in animals, factory farming, the use of pesticide in plants that end up as animal feed… and cancer.

My friend is concerned that we make a big deal about OCPs being Class 1 Carcinogens, but we proclaim our love for bacon all the time, and therefore we’re being inconsistent and hypocritical. That bacon is now a proven carcinogen (I don’t agree with this 100%) means we can no longer use “the carcinogen argument”. I still don’t think it’s the same thing.

Contraceptive pills are taken daily and are promoted by the World Health Organization as essential medicine. (Most recent list here.)

The message given to us by the WHO, by Big Pharma, by pro-choice lobbyists, by supposed philanthropists, is worlds apart from anything we’ve ever said about bacon. First of all they either don’t even acknowledge that OCPs are carcinogens, or they downplay that by telling a woman to do it for her family, her country, and for the man who uses her body. They sell it as a NEED and a COMMON GOOD.

By contrast, our position about contraception is so much more nuanced than “It’s a carcinogen.”

Contraceptive pills and bacon are both LIFESTYLE CHOICES. People can choose to take pills or not. They can also choose to consume bacon or not. We’ve never promoted bacon as a MUST. It’s food, and one that poor people can rarely even afford, if at all. We don’t go around giving away bacon for free or selling it at discounted prices. The Catholic Church doesn’t fund bacon distribution to the poorest countries saying that it will help them, whereas contraceptives have been touted as panacea for poverty and hunger. For much of the world, bacon isn’t even an option. One could even say “bacon is carcinogen” is a first world problem.

Contraceptives, on the other hand, are not only sold so people can purchase and use them freely as they wish, they are MANDATED and PAID FOR BY TAXPAYERS, even those of us who don’t use them and don’t agree that it’s beneficial to do so. When was the last time we lobbied for access to bacon?

And I say all this not just because I love bacon, but because I love people too. I am all for increased awareness of the dangers of processed meat consumption. Educating and informing people about it doesn’t dilute our advocacy against contraception one bit. As far as our family is concerned, we are always trying to increase our consumption of plant-based foods, just because we’ve read and learned enough to know that it’s the healthy way to eat. When it comes to meat I try to purchase grass-fed beef, pastured pork, naturally cured meats (or we cure our own without the use of things like saltpeter) whenever I can. I try to find out as much as I can about our local farmers’ practices so I can discern better what to feed my family.

I’ve only ever seen pro-lifers promote healthy diets, with everything in moderation, and that includes bacon, though we tend to agree that bacon makes everything better! Pills? Not so much. Besides, Bacon Causes Cancer? Sort of. Not Really. Ish.


More reading:
Save Your Bacon! Sizzling Bits about Nitrites, Dirty Little Secrets about Celery Salt, and Other Aporkalyptic News
Nitrites & Nitrates: Are They Harmful Or Actually Healthful?

John Lillis and Lifeboat Coffee

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Typing this on a (still!) chilly spring morning while sipping John Lillis’ Lifeboat Coffee. Yum!!

I first heard about Lifeboat Coffee through Facebook friends, and as we’re always on the look-out for pro-life businesses to support, I added Lifeboat to my shopping list. What a blessing to find out that they will donate 10% to my favorite pro-life charity! We get coffee, John gets our business, and our favorite charity gets some much needed funds! Win-win!!

I did have to wait a bit to place an order because we buy our coffee in bulk and had to finish up our stash. In the meantime, John was kind enough to satisfy my curiosity, so sharing our little Q&A here:

How did you get into the coffee business?
Here is a great link to explain it: About Lifeboat Coffee.

Is it a family thing? Yes, it is. Even in-laws have helped! The kids all love helping too!

How do you source your coffee? All of our coffees come from a “family” roaster, who have been blending, cupping and roasting coffees for 30+ years! We started with 20 varieties from around the world… But now, we do two things: 2 USDA Certified Organics – Dark and Medium and then two Colombians, Dark/Medium and an Espresso Blend and also one flavor, Hazelnut. Both of our organics are purchased co-op direct and the rest are bought on the sustainability model, above fair trade.

What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in establishing a pro-life business, and how did you overcome it? Financing. Finding financing and people who will do what they say. Very hard to find people who do more than talk. Another obstacle is roasting: the high cost of roasted beans.

How long have you been in business? We started August of 2013 and went “live” on the web in November 2013.

What’s your favorite way of brewing coffee? I am a quantity guy, so I auto-drip every day. If I had the time, I would press the coffee.

My boys would agree with John — they can never have enough coffee. As for me, I love coffee regardless of how it’s made, but my favorite is the moka pot. Alas. I have yet to find a well-designed stainless steel version, so for now it’s French pressed for me.

John Lillis’ story about finding a way to meld his various passions together is truly inspiring, and especially this:

While it’s pretty obvious to me why we need to support pro-life businesses like yours, maybe you’d like to offer some words of wisdom to other would-be business owners that would like to help rebuild the culture of life, and what they need to do? I think the biggest issue is to not be afraid of the culture… While it is true there is some prejudice against us, I do believe our Christian country will go big and support those who support life! In short, “Be Not Afraid!”

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!

It’s Not About Rabbits, But Maybe It’s Not About You Either

It’s been a little over 24 hours since I woke up to Facebook hopping (pun unintended) because of a remark the Pope made on the plane to Rome from Manila, where he spent four days with the Filipino people, celebrating, teaching, loving.

Many are upset because once again, the Pope said something that just *hit* them the wrong way.

I am a Filipina who came to the US when I was 18. I’ve lived here, got married, had kids and raised them for the next 28. Today I also work with a pro-life group in the Philippines. The entire transcript is a must read if one wants to fully understand, but I ask that you not stop there. Please consider reading the transcripts from his four days in Manila. The Pope’s rabbit remark has to be evaluated not just within the context of everything he said on that plane, but ALL the teaching he did in the third world last week. I am hoping that today’s clarification helps.

In a nutshell, and because I tend to ramble on, he’s basically teaching BALANCE. In Manila he taught a lot about being open to life, about GENEROSITY. Prompted by further quetions on the plane, he continued the lesson, this time highlighting RESPONSIBILITY. These two go hand in hand. His words on the plane did not cancel out what he said in Manila, as some claim. On the contrary, they are but parts of a whole. But there are farther nuances I’d like to point out if I may.

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(Image Credit: ofelio.com)

He came to the Philippines to be with the poor. While there he addressed corruption, the cause of so much suffering there, as opposed to the liberal anti-life mantra of overpopulation. He spoke against foreign ideologies, many of which are funded and exported by us US taxpayers. Instead of helping them with the basics like food, clothing, shelter, education that uplifts them and upholds their dignity — we give them instead contraception, abortion, pornography, and contribute to their corruption. Pope Francis described this ideological colonization as insidious. The colonizers of old may have used guns and swords to conquer other lands. Today they use books, movies, music, social media, to conquer hearts, minds, souls. In addition, programs brought in by population controllers and eugenicists do irreparable harm.

In that same homily, he reiterated the Church’s teachings on the value of human life. During his trip he also traveled to see the victims of Yolanda, and spent time with the youth, many of whom experience suffering as a daily reality. (The rest of the transcripts are at Salt and Light TV.)

When he got on that plane, it’s reasonable to assume that his mind was still on the people he encountered. I’d like to propose that his words on RESPONSIBILITY AND GENEROSITY cover so much more than what appears on the surface:

He was calling pastors to shepherd their flock well, to catechize better. In the Philippines, many are cultural Catholics. They live the faith, but have little understanding of the Church’s basic teachings, especially Her teachings about sex. Many men still think it is their right to have on-demand sex and many women still think they are obligated to comply. Yes, this is partly a failure on the part of the clergy. The Pope is saying they need to teach more effectively; their flock need to listen and understand better. It is a pressing need and Pope Francis addressed it, for which I thank him.

Each person with his pastor seeks how to do that responsible parenthood.

When the Pope talked about responsibility, however, he was addressing not the first-world mother who has access to modern hospitals and well-trained doctors and the newest technology. A woman having an 8th caesarean section in the US is different from a woman having an 8th child in a third world country, caesarean or not. Here in the US, we have 911; they don’t. Here we have a medical team, in the Philippines you’re lucky if you can afford to go to a private hospital. Midwives there are not the same as midwives here. The Philippine maternal mortality rate has improved, but it is not the same as first world numbers.

Please don’t get me wrong, as the mom of 5 who has a lot of mom friends, many of whom live heroic lives of sacrifice, I do have some sense of the confusion or, as one commenter put it, devastation, that some of them felt when they heard the phrase. I have great compassion for them who have been so generous with their lives and with their bodies; and it’s not about the number of children anyway. That’s not the point and never was. Church teaching is clear that it’s a prudential decision left to husband and wife, and that’s beyond the purview of even us pro-lifers. But while those of us who have more than “the experts’ ‘required'” 2.1 kids sit here, tweeting, Facebooking or blogging away, getting our voices heard, what about the moms who don’t even have access to a computer or even a phone, much less good medical care? What about their voices?

Pope Francis was talking to the parents about being responsible because each child needs a mother and a father. In the first world, a mother’s chance of surviving childbirth is higher than it is in the third world. A child losing a parent in the first world, while he/she would not be any less devastated emotionally, would almost certainly have better access to material support and resources than his or her third world counterpart. We may have homeless and jobless people here, but in poverty-stricken Philippines, if a mother is lost, where do the orphans end up? If not in orphanages such as the one Pope Francis visited, they end up in the streets, begging for their food, or prostituting themselves. Trafficking is a huge problem, and it is directly related to poverty. The Philippines is easy prey for those who believe contraception and abortion to be the answer to these ills.

Understanding what responsible parenthood is about and getting access to what Pope Francis refers to as licit ways to plan the family aren’t the same either. NFP instructors have a hard time promoting NFP because those “insidious programs” that Pope Francis talked about refuse to give it priority or simply pay them lip service. The recently passed RH Law, for instance, mandates that people get access to whatever contraceptive method they choose. Millions are budgeted for artificial birth control, with subsidy coming in from outside sources; zero for the Church-approved NFP, which is left entirely to the laity to fund and promote.

NFP instructors have to deal with the “Pinoy macho image”. They hesitate to teach NFP outside of the Catechism *because* they need the Catechism to provide the backbone — there are places where the secular or scientific approach won’t be adequate or appropriate. Often the responsibility falls on the woman. And while that in itself isn’t a problem specific to the third world, the difference is that in the poorest areas of a third world country, men who don’t understand NFP and/or Church teaching fully end up raping their wives during the fertile period — this from a veteran NFP instructor. In the population controllers’ eyes, this is one more reason to accuse the Church of inefficiency and oppression, and one more excuse to promote aggressive anti-life measures.

I ask that you keep these in mind as you read the Pope’s words. All these are part of the whole, and when we take that whole apart and nitpick what is offensive to us, we not only turn a blind eye to those who are most in need of compassion, we undermine our own Church’s and our Pope’s ability to speak out on these issues that we may not fully understand but nevertheless exist. More than that, I am afraid that we also undermine our own efforts to reach those who see the Church’s teachings as archaic and oppressive, and to open their eyes to the truth.

Recommended Reading:
Breed Like Rabbits: The Pope and an Anti-Catholic Slur
Someone is getting lost in all this talk about Francis and rabbits
Pope Francis and Catholic Rabbits–5 Points to Consider
The Pope Said What about Rabbits? And I said Ee-I-ee-I-oh!
“Breeding like rabbits”, eh?
About the Pope’s “don’t be like rabbits” remark UPDATED

Ten Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

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My hubby and I will be married 25 years in December. While we don’t claim to know everything there is to know about divorce-proofing a marriage, we do have some experience with growing a marriage to its 25th year. Hope this helps.

1. Start by eliminating DIVORCE from your vocabulary as a couple. My husband did this for us when we first got married. He sat me down and asked me to promise that no matter what happens between us, the word “divorce” will never enter our vocabulary. The couple of times it crossed my mind (I blame youth and immaturity and pettiness for that) I didn’t dare say it out loud, because I knew it wasn’t an option, and truth be told, I didn’t want it to be an option for either of us.

2. Borrowing from Stephen Covey: Begin with the end in mind. See yourself growing old with this person you married. It might be morbid, but see yourself on each other’s deathbeds, holding each other’s hands, praying each other into heaven. Hold on to that image. What you do today will determine how that future scene will be.

3. Don’t let the kids come between you. Always strive for a united front. Don’t let them play you against each other. Children are children and sometimes that means they don’t fully understand how marriage works. It is up to parents to teach them that Mom and Dad are of one mind especially when it comes to the most important things. When the kids know this they won’t try and involve you in a tug-o-war. Instead they’ll be your biggest fans and supporters.

4. Surround yourself with successful marriages and families. Seeing and spending time with other couples who are in the trenches just like you, and who are doing well, is inspiring, motivating, and keeps you hopeful when times get rough.

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5. Make God a priority. Prayer needs to be #1 recourse, not the last resort, for husband and wife as individuals, and as a couple. Spend time in Adoration together. Pray without ceasing — when you wake up, at night before bed, at mealtimes, in the car. Say the Rosary as a family. God and Mama Mary will not let you down.

6. Journal the good times. My hubby suggested we start our family journal in 1996. We’re on our sixth or seventh one. It helps to be able to look back, not just at pictures, but things we said, did, first words, milestones, etc. It will help you hold on to happy memories during those moments when life seems to have become routinary.

7. Don’t forget the sex. I asked my hubby what he thought needed inclusion in this list and OF COURSE he said this. I agree. Part of communication in marriage is sex. Total, Faithful, Free, Fruitful. Doesn’t get better than that. And yes, Natural Family Planning (NFP) can be a cross sometimes, but remember that you are carrying it together.

8. Never stop getting to know each other. Keep asking questions. I’m amazed that after almost 25 years of marriage there are still things we can discover about each other. Can’t wait to find out more in the next 25.

9. Be your spouse’s biggest fan. Don’t ever criticize your spouse in front of other people. Find ways to compliment and thank each other for the little things, because oftentimes the little things turn out to be the big things. Knowing that your spouse is ALWAYS in your corner, cheering you on, means so much and goes a long way in maintaining an atmosphere of trust, respect and gratitude in the home.

10. Get the communication right. Find ways to speak without making digs at each other and putting each other down. Learn to say what you mean honestly and simply. If we happened to have developed unhealthy patterns of communication from the way we were raised, or our school environment, or our friendships, marriage is the time to put those away and begin anew. Be careful not to let any negativity leftover from those determine how you and your spouse talk to each other.

There are many more, but these are our most basic ones that we return to time and again in our own relationship.

As I click “Publish”, I ask for your prayers for my husband and me, and offer prayers for yours.

May St. Joseph and Mama Mary be our examples of what a holy marriage should be! And if you need more “examples”, get hold of this book. God bless!


Update 06 November 2015


Recently there have been several articles recommending better marriage preparation classes for those wanting to get married. But the reality is that marriage prep begins in the family and not at a Pre-Cana class. Many people are so ill-prepared for marriage because they didn’t see a marriage well-lived at home. People develop patterns of communication and conflict resolution early on, and if they’re not seeing good examples of those, one or two sessions of intense marriage preparation isn’t going to miraculously fill that void. So yes, let’s talk about better marriage prep programs for our young adults, but ultimately what will build solid marriages in the future is US making sure OUR marriages NOW are what they’re supposed to be.

Love and Marriage Sound So Easy: Where Did We Go Wrong?
Will the Synod Replace Pre-Cana With ‘Marriage Catechumenate’?
Can We Do Better Than Just Pre-Cana?
Annulment Questionnaire: The Marriage Prep That Came Too Late

Burden Or Gift? The Audacity of Trust

This is a repost of my Filipinos for Life blogging event entry for August. Thanks to DBoncan for hosting my post when I couldn’t get into my blog. 🙂

greying

There was a time in Philippine history when the words “sa awa ng Diyos” could come out of anyone’s mouth at any given moment. Trust in God’s grace, mercy and love, was a basic but significant part of the Filipino psyche. We used to be able to see God’s hand in all things, both joy and suffering. This profound abandonment to Divine Providence gave us comfort, and allowed us to take risks, armed with the courage that we could leave whatever needs leaving in God’s capable hands.

I know that’s how my mother and her nine siblings were raised. Their parents started out without much, but due to hard work and this characteristic reliance on God, “sa awa ng Diyos”, all ten kids finished college degrees, raised families of their own, and as far as I know are still eating three meals a day. Some have even achieved a certain degree of success by this world’s standards.

I saw this same spirit of trust repeatedly lived out in other large families that I grew up with. Even as they struggled with day to day needs and other life challenges, the Godly focus and dependence remained evident and rarely wavered. It’s a huge contrast to today’s prevailing attitudes, when the old confidence in God’s loving provision has been exchanged with an often-unjustified belief in material goods and government assistance. Like a frog set in cold water and slowly brought to a boil, the change wasn’t instantaneous, but we observe that even Filipinos who used to see children as gifts, now quantify them. Babies are now set on invisible scales, and the determination of whether they’re blessing or burden falls to him who operates the scales.

Pro-RH folks argue that mandating a two-child policy in the Philippines is a stop-gap measure, meant to be implemented only for a short while “until things get better”. What these folks must not realize is that ideas and attitudes can take hold not only of the individual but entire countries, and that’s exactly what happened to those who took this disastrous route: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Greece, Canada, and even the USA. There are numerous signs that show this contraceptive mentality to be wrong and incompatible with long-term, sustained progress. Once an abhorrence of marriage, family, or childbirth becomes “normal”, we are left with a void that cannot be filled with the snap of a finger. An instant paradigm shift cannot be created, as these countries experiencing a birth dearth are finding. They offer incentives, but few are biting. The thinking that babies can be quantified isn’t connected to a switch that can be clicked off at will. Once material wealth is given a greater value than the human person, it becomes easier to simply keep going down that road and not even look back. “It’s not going to happen here” is a foolish pronouncement when there is evidence to the contrary.

Once a upon a time, the formula was simple. People fell in love, got married, reproduced. Children grew up, became consumers and producers, their parents aged and died. Cycle repeated. Somewhere along the line we decided simple wasn’t a good thing. So we invented complications: people can fall in love but not get married, or get married but not be in love, or get married but not reproduce, or reproduce without getting married, aging can be optional because now we either have miracle drugs and cosmetics or surgery, or if those don’t work, and if aging starts becoming a real drag, there’s always euthanasia. Forget about people becoming consumers and producers and keeping the economy stable, we’ll just pretend that part of the equation doesn’t exist.

What people seem to forget is that when discussing matters of population and economics, we are dealing with HUMAN BEINGS here. I’m not an expert on the economy, but I do have a good understanding of people. And in the above formula, the main ingredients are PEOPLE. People want happiness. But governments have gotten adept at selling the lie that happiness is determined more by material wealth than anything else. See Exhibit A from a Filipina who has bought the lie:

rdlss

In this case, notice how happiness seems to have been equated to remaining childless. From the point of view of someone who has borne children, the reasoning sounds empty and heartless and cold. Poverty of the heart is much, much worse than poverty of the pocket. If this person remains childless by choice, I can’t imagine the scene at her deathbed, when no offspring is there to hold her hand and pray her into heaven.

In the natural order of things, men and women fall in love, get married, and bear children, not so much because a child will bring material wealth, though that certainly could happen, as it has in the families I know. Most people have babies only for one reason, even against impossible odds: because LOVE.

When we forget that babies are tangible proof of our love for each other, that God is the ultimate Provider, and that each new life is a gift we are given to embrace, we begin to walk the slow road to extinction.

Reasons Why Love from Babies is the Best Kind of Love
Related post: The “Ideal” Family Size

Caught My Eye 09.March.2013

Fascinating and creepy at the same time:

Google Glass: How It Feels


Contribute to Catholic Mom’s Project and help provide spiritual support for pregnant women (click on the pic to get there):
catholicmom — I just sent in my donation.

Heritage House is holding a Free Pro-Life T-shirt Survey at their site. Only thing is, I don’t know when the deadline is, if there is one. But may be worth a try: (click on the pic to get to the survey)

Heritage House National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day Survey
caption

And this post from Erin made me scratch my head, shake my head, lift my eyebrow, say HM several times, and annoyed me a bit…. and then by the time I got to the comments it was… ho-hum. What haven’t we heard/read yet about homeschoolers? Maybe one of these days I’ll do a “Why We Homeschool” post, since it seems to be a popular topic these days. Even at the forum someone started a new thread, which is quite exciting — to be where we are now in our homeschooling life (going on 15 years I think), have a 21-year-old who’s almost done with college and doing well, have one going to college soon, and at least 3 more waiting in the wings…. and then seeing all these new homeschooling families just starting out. I’m not a pioneer by any means, but to some of the young ‘uns I guess I look like one :D. Anyway, Erin’s post: Homeschooling: Revenge of the Nerds?

And then this, from the Ruth Institute Blog: Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right Says Justice Department. That same week I was listening to Al Kresta and, I believe, Michael Farris of the HSLDA, speaking about laws that are being attempted to pass or have already passed, etc. right here in the good ol’ US of A. Oh, here it is: German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom. Couldn’t find a podcast but it’s all covered in that article. Good to keep aware.

Interesting article on CSAs and health insurance rebates.

Lamest video ever, but I still couldn’t keep from laughing:

This one from the hilarious Eye of the Tiber blog: Catholic School Children Offended by Dumbed Down Homily.

Oi. Notre Dame again. Are there are any real Catholics left at that university? What are they doing?

Lastly, LOL:

suicide

Plumbing the Depths: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

Lenten Reading:

deepconversion

On the dedication page of the book, there’s a quote from Blessed John Paul II, which he addressed to the Austrian bishops, but is quite applicable to us as parents.

“Your first duty as pastors is not projects and organizations, but to lead your people to a deep intimacy with the Trinity.”

I am not a pastor, but this one sentence encompasses our homeschool’s mission — to raise saints for God. And I cannot raise saints for God, if I am not, myself, on the way to becoming a saint.

On the first page he talks about St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

At about the age of twenty he entered the Cistercian order, bringing thirty other men along with him…. Bernard united among his many talents fearlessness and tenderness, a rare combination. The saint was a man of profoundly deep prayer and love for God — which, of course, translated, as it always does, into a genuine love for the people in his life.

I immediately think of my children, and our saints who were called to be wholly His at a very young age. My job as a mom is to see that the fearlessness and tenderness that come naturally to my children aren’t lost. A lot of that has to do with atmosphere in the home, impressing upon my kids the need to always be in communion with their Creator, to light a fire such that LOVE becomes their goal in all that they do. As parents we are not only called to light that fire but to keep it burning bright. My husband has set the bar high, as from the beginning he is the one person in the house who dies to self every single day, in order to serve us. This Lent would be an entirely fruitful one if we but follow his example, our very own alter-Christus right here in our domestic church.

There are more people converted from mortal sin to grace, than there are religious converted from good to better.

Once again I am brought to the heart of every Christian’s struggle. As I reflect on my work as wife, mom, pro-lifer, I am hit with the reality that it is easier to be faithful in the big things than it is to be faithful in the little things. The five non-negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, same-sex “marriage” — these are the giants, and as a Catholic/Christian, it is easy to feel good when I can say, I am against all of those.

At the same time, other than abortion, I have not really been forced to face a situation where I’ve had to make a choice. I am not dealing with a dying parent. I don’t have a disease that would necessitate the use of stem cells. God gave us five kids such that cloning is a very distant concept for me. I’m already happily married. My personal response to these battles for the most part is already a given.

Those issues seem to be giants, particularly because at every election we are reminded of them. But it’s easy to be fooled.

The real giants are the things I encounter in my daily life: what’s in front of me, right here, right now.

The getting up in the morning to prepare breakfast for the family.
The commitment to prayer and alone time with God every single day.
The patience to deal with pressing needs of the children and adults I am privileged to serve, right here in my home.
The call to say yes to the voice at my side instead of the voice at the other end of the line.

And so I am here to plumb the depths of my commitment to my Lord. It is almost effortless to be faithful on the surface. It doesn’t take much to say, I am against any and all forms of abortion. It is harder to decide to fold laundry or start dinner when a pro-choice/pro-life debate beckons online.

To raise saints, I need to be able to model this faithfulness in the little things. That’s what deep conversion and deep prayer is all about.


I am doing this little project with a dear Catholic friend who’s reading the book with me, and posting his own reflections at his blog. We are 13 hours apart, but share a love of the Lord and a passion for the pro-life movement. I am very honored to share this journey with him, and I look forward to learning from him as well as from Fr. Dubay.

An End-Of-Year Examination of Conscience for the Family

prayer

Continued from this post on Raising Pro-Life Children Amid A Culture of Death.

There are many versions of an examination of conscience out there. I wrote this for our family, but I share this here in case it might be helpful to anyone else.

Are we praying more?
Have we committed to praying the Rosary?
Do we pray it with reverence, or do we hurry through it?
Have we made our Consecration? (Do we know about Consecration?)
Have we read one encyclical that we hadn’t read a year ago?
Have we brought anyone into the Church? Have we invited a former Catholic to Mass?
Have we shared our faith with other people, not via argumentation, but via genuine friendship? (Excellent food for thought from my friend Angie.)
Are we giving more to charitable causes?
Have we spent time with the sick, the hungry, the elderly?
Have we tried curbing our own materialistic tendencies?
Do we tithe?
Have we read the Catechism more closely?
Did we have, adopt, or sponsor a(nother) child?
Did we support traditional marriage?
Do we read Scripture daily?
Do we pray with the Church via the Liturgy of the Hours?
Have we tried to attend Mass more than once a week?
How often do we go to Confession?
How often do we go to Adoration?
Have we practiced custody of the eyes and ears?
How much of traditional media do we still consume?
Have we read a devotional or spiritual book that we hadn’t read a year ago?
How often do we fast?
Has LOVE been our one encompassing goal in all that we do?
Have we prayed for vocations to religious life? Have we considered our own vocations?
Do we pray and encourage our children’s vocations?
Do we pray for our children’s future spouses?
Did we take time to learn more about at least ONE saint?
Have we given more attention and support to Catholic media?
Do we spend at least 15 minutes daily in silence with the Lord?
Have we practiced holy detachment more fully?
Have we committed to a hopeful attitude and not one of despair?
Have we volunteered our time/talent at our local parish?
Have we praised God daily and seen the blessing in every little thing, including our crosses?
Did we take our time to get to know our pastor/vicar more fully?
Have we gone on pilgrimage?
Have we gone on retreat?
Have we talked to our children and our spouse about faith matters?
Do we take our roles as primary faith educators of our children seriously?
(Husband) Am I the spiritual leader of my household?
(Wife) Have I submitted to my husband?
Have we prayed a novena?
Have we taken time to understand the social doctrine of the church?
Have we been truly thankful for our blessings?

More helpful links:

An Examination of Conscience for Pro-Life groups
An Examination of Conscience for Parents, from Mark Shea

(another work-in-progress, will revisit quarterly)

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.

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!!

Saul and David

A few short thoughts this morning before I get started on my mammoth list of to-dos:

Samuel’s message from God to Saul.

1 Samuel 15:22-23:

22And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Obedience before sacrifice. God wants our obedience FIRST before anything else we may offer Him.

How is rebellion divination? It is an attempt to foresee into a future that we are incapable of seeing because of our limited view. We presume to know better and listen to another voice (our own) instead of seeking to do the Lord’s will. Easier said than done, it applies to every little thing we do in our day, in our lives. Starting the morning right — with Scriptures and prayer — leads to obedience, because we have listened FIRST before doing.


And for all of us who fight for life:

1 Samuel 17:45-47:

45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and he will give you into our hand.

God is on our side, we have nothing to fear. Victory, in God’s perfect time.


Further reflection:

I vaguely remember doing another blog post a couple of years ago maybe about this very same thing. This seems to be my constant struggle. To keep a firm focus upon my primary vocation as wife and mom. It is easy to get distracted by things that are also “good” and “noble” and “holy”… but in the end when I fail to serve the ones given to me to serve first, then I’m still not obeying as I should. And if I’m going to teach my kids that obedience to the Lord comes first before anything, I have to model this for them faithfully. In this case staying faithful to my calling is my Goliath.