Archive for February, 2009
Posted on February 27th, 2009 by Paycheck in Catholicism
BELGIUM, February 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Benedict’s selection of an orthodox Austrian priest as auxiliary bishop in the ultraliberal diocese of Linz has generated a firestorm of protest from liberal Catholics in the laity, among priests and even the bishops of Austria. The furor was venomous in the media, priests voted to reject the nomination, and last week the priest himself - “not entirely voluntarily” - signed a letter asking the Pope to withdraw his appointment to the bishopric. The Vatican has not, however, accepted the resignation.
The priest’s request to withdraw his nomination may be rejected by Rome according to a prominent German-speaking blogger, who is the main source of the developments to the English-speaking world.
In a recent interview with the Austrian newspaper Tagespost, Fr. Gerhard Wagner stated that his resignation was “not totally voluntary,” according to Chris Gillibrand, who covers the Linz diocese on his blog “Catholic Church Conservation.”
Fear of ongoing opposition, which had been fierce in the days following his nomination by the pope, was the basis of his decision, Wagner told Tagespost. He was reportedly concerned that parishes might turn him away when he came for confirmations or parish visits.
He also stated that the diocesan bishop, Ludwig Schwarz, was himself experiencing “anxiety and distress” at the thought of his ordination and its likely consequences. “The deaneries perhaps I could convince, but what happens when the bishop gets scared?” he said.
Gillibrand calls the statement by Wagner an “ecclesiastical bomb,” because resignation from an office due to “grave fear” unjustly or maliciously inflicted is invalid, according to ecclesiastical law.
Gillibrand says that the diocese of Linz is overrun with dissent and heresy against the Church. “The diocese is no longer ruled by the bishop but by a libero-clerical elite which is itself dominated by a pseudo-clerical lay elite,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Wagner has in the past provoked the ire of the diocese’s liberal establishment by speculating that Hurricane Katrina might be retribution for sin, and speaking of the idea of curing people of homosexuality. He has also denounced the Harry Potter books, echoing the sentiments of Pope Benedict XVI, expressed while he was still a cardinal.
Many of the ultraliberal Austrian bishops, including Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, have joined in the assault on Wagner, indirectly scolding Benedict for his decision to appoint him.
“The faithful are legitimately concerned that the process of candidate search, examination of the proposals and the final decisions should be carefully undertaken and with pastoral sensitivity are possible,” they wrote in a recent statement. “This can ensure that bishops are appointed who are not ‘against’ but ‘for’ a local church. We bishops will make every possible effort to support the forthcoming episcopal appointments in the sense of monitoring these procedures in close cooperation with the relevant Vatican offices.”
However, bishop Andreas Laun, auxiliary of Salzburg, has openly defended Wagner, comparing his treatment to a crucifixion. “With the indictment, the verdict is known: ‘Away with him!’” wrote Laun recently for the German website kath.net.
I saw this report a few days ago on Catholic World News. I know a lot of people are going to be upset by this, but I’m not. I feel more relief than anything else because FINALLY the Church is beginning to push back against the liberal elements within its body.
If schism has to come, then let it come. It will be the most liberating feeling, I guarantee you.
Best to be honest about the Catholic faith, then pretend. And we’ve been pretending for the last 40 years.
My only hope is that the same muscle is applied right here in Canada. Please, dear God, clear out the rot here too!
6 Comments »
Posted on February 27th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
I was praying from 1 to 2 p.m. today. It was raining. By the time I left, my mitts were dripping wet and my jeans were soaked.A police car came. The policeman came out and talked to the security guard. Then another police car came but he didn’t get out. Then he rolled down his window and asked us across the street if we were obstructing the sidewalk. I said no, we’re just peaceful. He smiled and nodded and rolled up his window. They left. One of two ladies praying before me said that someone called the police because a group of about six (not connected with 40 days for life who march every Friday regularly ) were walking so slow that they were obstructing pedestrians and she thought that was why the police came.
These two ladies from the previous hour stayed for about half an hour and then left, so I was alone. A woman in a beige van drove away and gave me the finger. Later on two clinic workers, I think, a man and a woman came out to talk to the security guard. When they went back in, they both gave me the finger. The man then came out later and crossed the street without looking at me, to where his black van was parked and he drove away.
However, during the hour, I did get nods of approval from two passers by, so not all is bad.
- Sharon G.
2 Comments »
Posted on February 27th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
The day began on an encouraging note. The first couple I encountered seems to have turned-around. They showed up before 8:00am, before the mill opened. I got a chance to exchange a few words with them and gave them some brochures. They looked them over while waiting in the lobby. When the staff arrived around 8 o’clock, they went up. I was very happy to see them come back out within the hour.
The rest of the morning went on as usual, some of the people going in were receptive, many were not.
At one point, a young woman came out for a cigarette and started chatting with the security guard. She mentioned that the staff take the brochures away from them as soon as they enter, claiming it’s for their own good, so as not to upset them. How patronizing! Imagine, the very people who have everything to gain if these women choose abortion are telling them what’s good for them or not. They are censoring what they can read while they’re waiting. So much for choice. Of course, I saw it first hand yesterday when one of the staffers took it out of the hands of a woman about to enter. She didn’t ask for her to hand it over, she just took it right out of her hands. I guess they don’t realize how overbearing they come across, so caught up in their ideology, afraid of someone getting any bit of information that doesn’t come from them.
A heart breaking comment came from a young woman who had come back out for a cigarette with her boyfriend. They were chatting with the security guard, mostly about the 40 Days for Life campaign. Then I over-heard her say « as far as I’m concerned, it’s a human being when the heart starts beating ». I asked her if she happened to know when that was and she replied « frankly, I don’t care ». I told her it took place at 21 days after conception. She just said « I don’t care, and don’t talk to me anymore ». Her tone of voice clearly indicated she wanted to be left alone, so I moved away from them. An hour or two later, as she left with her boyfriend, her face was pale and you could tell she’d been crying. I know that the staff probably blame me, the mean pro-lifer, for having caused her some emotional stress. All I did was give her a simple fact. A fact that she’d eventually come across anyway. Whether she finds out today or in five years, she’d still have to face the fact that she took the life of what was by her own definition « a human being ». Waiting five years to find out won’t make it easier. At least today she was given the truth. This is a battle for the minds of our youth, they’re fed so many lies. How many more children and women must be sacrificed on this altar of ideology? My heart goes out to her and I pray that God will bring healing to her.
Another possible turn-around occcured early in the afternoon. I spotted two young women standing at the corner of Sparks and Bank, just in front of the entrance to Howard’s Jewelers. They were looking around and checking a sheet of paper, as if to match their surroundings with a map. It’s quite possible they were looking for 65 Bank St. since a search for it on Google Maps brings you exactly to that point. (see here). So I walked over and spoke to them and gave them a flyer. They looked the flyer over as they walked and continued past the mill. When they got to the corner of Queen and Bank, they stopped, looked at their map again and looked back towards 65 Bank. They stood there for a while, hesitating, looking over the map and the brochures, and eventually walked away.
So that’s two yesterday and two today.
Praise God! And thank you to all the pray-ers. That’s what’s making a difference. Yes, many women go in and do have an abortion. We’re there as Mary and John were, keeping vigil at the foot of the cross. Our presence there is the only human love these babies will have while on this planet.
Once in a while, though, we get to see some of them change their mind. Through it all, something tells me we’re the ones being transformed the most. It’s called discipleship.
- Doris G.
No Comments »
Posted on February 26th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
I was walking with my “I regret lost fatherhood sign.” An intelligent looking businessman in his 50’s approached me. He said “I am very moved by your sign. I got my girlfriend pregnant at 21 years old. I tried to convince her to get an abortion. Her doctor and the nurse at the clinic tried to convince her. Her friends and family tried to convince her. But she said to me ‘it’s ok, you can go, I’m going to have the baby’. We stayed together and my son is 28 years old today. He’s a great guy and I look at him and think about how wrong and selfish I was. I’m not religious but when I saw your sign it really hit home. I’m sorry you lost your child.”
I said “thank you for sharing the story, even though I lost mine, I still love to hear about the life choice made for other children who are saved from the horror of abortions.”
- David MacDonald
I got to Ground Zero at about 7:30 am. There was the usual hustle and bustle of downtown
Ottawa. Pretty soon, though, women (and staff) started arriving at the mill. Just as I
was giving some brochures to a woman about to enter, one of the abortion workers passed
by, also on her way in. She immediately took the brochures from the woman’s hand and gave
them back to me. I did not take them back, instead I told her "It’s her right to have
this information". She wouldn’t hear of it and put them back under the strap of my
shoulder bag. At least she didn’t tear them up, which is what a young man did later in
the morning, throwing the pieces in my face, saying, "Haven’t you ever heard of choice?"
By 8:00, the owner of Sauna 63, seeing me there, as well as the vigilers across the
street, decided to call the police. It took a good 40 minutes, but they (6 of them!)
finally came and had a long talk with him. They came out and spoke to me, taking my name,
and letting me know it was OK for me to be there, handing out pamphlets, as long as I
don’t throw them at anyone (that would be construed as harrassment) and that I not block
the entrance to anyone. Those are exactly the guidelines I’ve been following, and intend
to follow, so there’s no problem there. All of this before 9:00 am.
On a more encouraging note, there were two possible turn-arounds. We can’t be sure if the
life of a child was saved, but I was greatly encouraged. The first involves a young
couple who seemed to be looking for an address. They went into 71 Bank, then turned
around, headed towards the McDonalds, came back a couple of minutes later. I approached
them with the brochures saying "I know the women going into this clinic have some serious
problems, but the solution to a crisis pregnancy is to take care of the crisis, not
terminate the pregnancy." The young man grabbed the brochures and exclaimed "I believe
that too!" and nodded to the woman with a "told you so" kind of look. We exchanged a few
more words and then they walked towards Sparks St, turned the corner, and I didn’t see
them for the rest of the day. May God bless them and encourage them.
A bit later on, as another couple was about to enter, again, the man took the brochures and thanked me. They went in, and I noticed they were looking through the brochures as they were waiting for the elevator. They came out not more than 30 minutes later, too short a time for having gone through with the abortion (it seems to take on average 2-3 hours). Since the mill’s own website says that "counselling, ultrasound and a doctor’s exam are usually done in the same visit as your abortion, so you’ll only need to come to our clinic once", I would
say it looks like they may have changed their minds. They didn’t come back to tell me,
though, other than a nod from the gentleman as they left, I can’t say for sure.
- Doris G.
The opening rally for the 40 Days for Life Campaign was an encouraging success. Although it was very cold, some 100 people braved the elements to attend the candle light event and hear a few speakers, sing some hymns and reflect on Scriptural passages.
After the one-hour event ended at 9PM, I stuck around to chat and have a coffee with some friend at McDonalds and then headed back across the street to Ground Zero to pray. I was there from about 9:30pm to Midnight. It was frigid and I was miserable. Since I was not well dressed for the evening, the cold was penetrating by bones and the numbness had already started to set against my fingers and toes. I started to shiver and even shake. The cold was so methodical and unyielding. When an unborn child is first confronted with his death, he feels the cold surgical instrument touch his soft, innocent skin. His life will then end in a most violent and vicious assault.
As I stood there praying in the cold night, I received a singular grace — a grace that I had never experienced before in my life.
I received the grace to rejoice in suffering.
I’ve rejoiced before. I’ve suffered before. But I’ve never experienced both at the same time, and it was a strange feeling indeed. To rejoice in suffering is not to relish the thought of feeling pain for pain’s sake like some sick masochist does. Rather, it is to see beyond the pain, to overcome and conquer it with the help of God’s grace. You still feel the pain. It’s not any less intense, but there is a purpose and a meaning to it which makes it bearable. And it is faith which is the difference between succumbing to the pain and overcoming it.
So, as we brave the elements during these 40 days, let us unite our sufferings with the unborn. Let us rejoice in conquering suffering so we can serve as a witness to remind an unbelieving world that suffering and death are not the final answer. Indeed, they have already been conquered through Christ.
No Comments »
Posted on February 24th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
1 Comment »
Posted on February 24th, 2009 by Paycheck in Canadian Politics
No Comments »
Posted on February 23rd, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
Tomorrow is the big day. After many weeks and months of planning, the 40 Days for Life global campaign begins tomorrow evening. The time for talking is over. The time for prayer is here. The Ottawa campaign starts tomorrow at 8PM sharp at Ground Zero (65 Bank Street). For the next 960 hours, heaven is going to be besieged with prayer, petitions, and sacrifices as the Body of Christ turns its gaze to the killing centres across this country and around the world, providing the witness of hope this world so desperately needs.
The seventh corporal work of mercy is to bury the dead. In today’s time this particular work has been somewhat obscured due, in part, to the contempt the human body is subjected to in our day and age. It is no surprise that the dignity shown to the human body is closely associated to the dignity shown to the human person. And as the latter has come under increasing attack over the past number of decades, so too has the respect and deference shown to our bodies. Perhaps many of have not reflected on what it means to be “merciful” in burying the dead. In our time, this mercy certainly becomes apparent when we reflect on how the unborn die during an abortion and where their little bodies go afterwards. Who will bury them? Where is the mercy shown to them – not only before they are killed but afterwards as well. The last touch they will ever experience is not their mother’s caress or their own children’s embrace if they had lived to a ripe old age, but the cold and rubbery touch of an abortionist’s hands as he callously deposits them in the body parts bag.
And so, when you are standing outside of Morgentaler’s Mill at Ground Zero, remember that you might be the only person grieving for that little soul. From afar, you may be the only one who travelled to stand outside of the place where they were “buried”…to show mercy where none was shown. And although the abortion workers won’t give them a decent burial, and although there are no little white coffins, you’re not too far away to offer your prayers for their little bodies and their little souls to commend them to God for the Day of Ressurection when all things will be restored and made right again.
Mercy is to bury the dead.
There are still many spots to fill on the schedule. In particular, we are asking people to sign up for the next two days as soon as possible. Wed. Feb.25 and Thurs. Feb. 26.
Some additions to the site and other general news items of interest:
Archbishop’s Homily @ Vespers
40 Days for Life Canada Begins With Kick Off Rallies and Prayer Services http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09022307.html
Reason, Faith and the Abortion debate
Regards in the Lord
No Comments »
Posted on February 23rd, 2009 by Paycheck in Abortion
by Fr. Scott McCaig, CC – Moderator of the Companions of the Cross
From a homily given on July 13, 2008
The decision to award the Order of Canada to the abortionist Dr. Henry Morgentaler has led to much public debate. Some of it has been encouraging. Several Members of the Order of Canada have even returned their medals in protest. But there has also been much that has been discouraging. Particularly disconcerting have been the opinion pieces that begin: “I’m a Catholic, BUT…” and then proceed to give reasons why the authors feel it is justified to support abortion and why we should be honouring those who perform them.
Yet in all these arguments there is a conspicuous absence, one thing that nobody acknowledges, which even abortion advocates no longer try to deny: in every direct abortion an innocent living human being is put to death.
From the moment of conception there exists a separate human being with a distinct genetic code. Her sex, eye color, blood type, fingerprints, and innumerable other personal characteristics are all her own, and different from her mother’s. A unique human being, unlike any that has ever been or ever will be has come into existence. All that remains is for her to grow. You and I were the same once, a living human being in our mother’s womb.
At 18-25 days old, her little heart is already beating. By four weeks, her blood circulation is well established, her arms and legs, little lungs and ears are forming, all before the mother is likely even aware she is pregnant. At 42 days, she has measurable brain waves, all her organs are in place and she is moving and kicking, though she is too small for her mother to notice. At week nine, she weighs about seven grams. The iris of her eyes and her fingernails appear. She can squint, swallow, move her tongue, and would make a fist if you stroked her palm.
By ten or eleven weeks, all her body systems are functioning. By week twelve, she is sucking her thumb vigorously and practicing breathing in her mother’s amniotic fluid. And all of this occurs in the first trimester of her mother’s pregnancy. Her growth continues even after she is born at around nine months. In fact, she will be only slightly less dependent on others after her passing through the birth canal than before. She will continue to develop right into her late teens.
It is important to note that none these facts are disputed on either side of the abortion debate. These are scientific facts. They can easily be found with an internet search on fetal development (for example at www.abortionfacts.com) with wonderful pictures of a living, growing human being at every stage.
We are not dealing with some nondescript cells lining the uterus or a mere ‘blob of tissue’. This is not the mother’s body tissue. Even in the earliest stages of embryonic development these cells contain different DNA than the mother’s. This is a distinct, individual human being. To see this, consider the following question: Does a pregnant woman have four eyes, two brains, or two hearts? Of course not, because it’s not her brain or her heart, it’s someone else’s! They are the fruit of her womb, but they are not her.
If you are unconvinced, try asking Gianna Jessen, Amy Charleton, Heidi Huffman, or many others who have survived after attempted abortions. Talk to Ana Rosa Rodriguez whose arm was ripped off in the process of an abortion. Listen to the words of Sarah Smith who survived an abortion, but her twin brother wasn’t so fortunate: “Andrew was aborted and we lost him forever.” (www.prolife.com/SARAH2.html)
The one undisputed fact, the most important fact, the one fact that is most carefully avoided is that in every direct abortion a unique, innocent, living human being is put to death by someone else. Those who promote abortion are claiming that one person has the right to take the life of another innocent human being.
- Whether they adopt the arguments of 19th century slave owners, who believed that one person could be the possession of another and so have life and death rights over them;
- or the arguments of racists who believe that some humans are more human than others and, therefore, should have the right to put their inferiors to death;
- or the arguments of those who opposed the right of women to vote, because, although they were human, they were not deemed equal, so only others were competent to decide their fate;
- or the arguments of dictators and oppressors throughout the ages who believed that the value of a life is measured by the degree of service or convenience it offers to the privileged few;
- or the arguments of eugenicists who believe that humanity should be improved by selectively killing those they deem to be imperfect.
They can spin it any way they want. Whatever justifications are used, it all comes down to this in the end: that it is somehow justified to intentionally put an innocent and defenseless human being to death. One does not have to be Catholic, or even a believer in God, to see that the above arguments are always and everywhere wrong.
First, no human being can be the possession of another. They can be dependent on another, under the care of another, responsible to another, but not their possession. Human beings are not objects to be owned and discarded at will. If you believe they are, then what is to stop someone from overpowering you and claiming you as their possession, or discarding you, or your family, at their whim? A child is under a mother and father’s care, but she is never their possession.
Second, some human beings are not more human than others. Human dignity is universal and inviolable. It is not conferred on us by our parents or anyone else; it is inherent to our nature. If not, then who decides who is superior or inferior? What would stop someone from claiming superiority over you because of your skin color, IQ, or economic situation? An unborn child is a human being with as much humanity as you or I have. Passing through the birth canal does not make a child more or less human.
Third, since every human being has equal dignity, each unborn child has the same right to live, grow up, laugh and play, and decide her own direction in life. If she doesn’t have that right, why should you or I? To deny the fundamental rights of one person is to endanger the rights of all.
Fourth, the value of human life cannot be measured by the service or convenience they provide to the privileged few. It is an injustice to make one class of people a lower “caste” to serve another.
Fifth, despite what modern eugenicists might say, our dignity is not measured by some arbitrary standard of perfection. Otherwise, some of the greatest heroes of human history would never have been allowed to live. It is indeed our task to improve humanity, but through love: by showing compassion to those in need and helping them to overcome disabilities, not by killing them.
Justifying abortion on the basis of lowering crime or poverty rates is ludicrous. If it is argued that some potential criminals have been destroyed, then it must also be granted that along with them have perished those who would have been scientists, poets, philosophers, doctors, humanitarians, and even recipients of the Order of Canada. In fact, any society that says it’s acceptable to intentionally kill innocent human beings is far more likely to produce a sick culture and depraved morals. Blessed Mother Teresa put it this way: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion” (National Prayer Breakfast Speech, 1994). Or as Archbishop Collins of Toronto wrote: “A community’s worth is measured by the way it treats the most vulnerable, and no one is more vulnerable than in the first nine months of life’s journey.” (www.archtoronto.org/pdf/morgentalerjuly1088.pdf)
The moment you say that it’s justifiable to put an innocent human being to death, for whatever reason, you cannot have a humane and just society. Human dignity is either inviolable or it isn’t.
Blessed Mother Teresa summarized it well: “The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.” (“Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, February 25, 1994, p. A14)
Many who advocate for abortion call themselves ‘pro-choice’. I believe strongly in the freedom to choose. My own great-grandmother was a well-known suffragette who fought for women’s rights in England. Free will is a precious gift from God.
But free choice has limits: Your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. I don’t have the right to choose to drink and drive because I would endanger other people’s lives. I don’t have the right to choose to stop feeding my elderly parents, no matter how inconvenient or dependent they are on me, because that would be abuse. I don’t even have the right to choose to drive without properly securing a child in an approved car seat, because I would be risking his or her life. It’s the law. We have such laws to protect the fundamental rights of everyone.
So why is it legal in Canada to choose to have a child dismembered alive in her mother’s womb? Or even kill her in the process of being born? Behind all the rhetoric, that’s the ‘choice’ in ‘pro-choice’. And what does it say about a society that honors those who do it? If you tried to do to a house pet what is legal to do to unborn children in this country you could be arrested (and rightly so). In fact, the womb has become the most dangerous place in Canada to be.
Now everything I’ve said so far is human logic. It is something any properly informed rational person can understand. We call it the natural law. People of every faith, and no faith at all, can and do recognize the truth that direct abortion is the taking of an innocent human life and that no argument, circumstance, or need can ever justify it. The end never justifies the means. Doing evil that some foreseen good might come of it is always self-defeating. It never works. It is like sawing the branch on which we are all sitting.
As Catholic Christians we recognize even deeper reasons why abortion is wrong. We know that God is the author of all life. We are not merely the products of a biological process. Before, beyond, and through the wonders of biological development, we were loved into being by God who chose each one of us and calls us by name. The prophet Isaiah says: “Listen to me and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb; from the body of my mother He named me” (Isaiah 49:1). Through the psalmist God says to each one of us: “You are fearfully and wonderfully made, I knit you together in your mother’s womb” (Psalm 139). To the prophet Jeremiah He says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5).
God has chosen every life and has a plan for every life and it is not our place to destroy it. We should avoid taking the life even of the guilty, let alone the innocent. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, made this point beautifully in The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf tells Frodo, who is tempted to destroy his adversary Gollum, “Many that live deserve death, and some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.” (The Two Towers)
God writes straight with our crooked lines. No matter how difficult the circumstances of a child’s conception, they are wanted, welcomed, and chosen by God. They were created by Him and for Him, to love and be loved, in this life and for all eternity. As Pope Benedict reminded us in Deus Caritas Est, at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian is that “we have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16). God loves each and every one of us with an everlasting love. To see the worth of every unborn child in God’s eyes, look carefully at a crucifix. The life of His own Son is the value God sets on every child He has created.
There can be no “I’m a Catholic, BUT…” ‘Pro-abortion Catholic’ is as much a contradiction in terms as ‘Pro-life abortionist’. Jesus has revealed to us that on the Day of Judgment, He will ask us what we have done to help and protect those in most danger and need. “Whatever you did to the least of these, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). He will ask us whether we have been merciful as He has been merciful to us, or if we have excused ourselves because virtue was just too difficult or inconvenient.
So what is God asking of us? Let me suggest a few things that all of us can do:
1. Speak up. Take the time to contact your political representatives. Sign the various pro-life petitions that circulate each year. Learn the facts about abortion and defend the cause of life in the places where you live and work.
2. Teach your children and grandchildren the truth: Life is sacred from conception to natural death.
3. Open your heart to those in need, especially pregnant women who are in dire circumstances. If you can’t help directly, then help those who do. Pro-life ministries are always in need. Be merciful and compassionate to those who have been victimized by abortion. Those who advocate for abortion and those who profit from it often deceive women into thinking that abortion will erase all their mistakes and problems. They don’t tell them about the pain, potential infertility, remorse, and even trauma. As Christians we need to welcome those victimized by abortion with the same love and mercy that we have received from the Lord.
4. Pray! We can pray for the healing of the women who have had abortions and for those who promote the culture of death. Pray for their conversion. With God anything is possible.
You might be surprised to discover that Norma McCorvey (the ‘Jane Roe’ of Roe vs. Wade which legalized abortion in the United States of America) was baptized and received into the Catholic Church in 1998. Now she is fighting the good fight for pro-life. The Lord won her back and now she is helping win others.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson was personally responsible for 75,000 abortions and was one of the chief architects of the modern abortion industry. He entered the Catholic Church in 1996, and became an impassioned pro-life campaigner. He was a more influential advocate for the culture of death than Dr. Morgentaler ever was. If God can reach Dr. Nathanson, He can get to anyone! He is only one of many former abortionists now fighting for the pro-life cause. We have no idea how powerful our prayers are. We need hearts to be converted and only God can do that. I would especially recommend mentioning this intention when you pray the rosary. Our Lady is the Patroness of the Unborn and will not let our pleas go unanswered.
Because so many have been deceived and victimized by the false and empty promises of the culture of death, I would like to close with the compassionate words of our late Pope John Paul II:
“I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly.
“If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitely lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord.
“With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.” (Evangelium Vitae, 99)
Fr. Scott McCaig, Moderator, Companions of the Cross
Reprinted with permission.
No Comments »
Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Paycheck in Catholic Health Care
Charles Lewis of the National Post wrote a column over the weekend about Fr. Michael Prieur, a theologian and medical advisor to St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in London Ontario. It was prompted by an an eye-opening exposé by LifeSiteNews.com about some of the scandalous advice Fr. Prieur has been giving as a theologian and Catholic ethicist to couples about “early inductions”. “Early inductions”, in case you are wondering, is a gentle way for the professional euphemists in our society to talk about abortion without actually saying the word.
Charles Lewis tries to present Fr. Prieur in a favourable light, and of course, to the ignorant among his readership, he’s done a commendable job. However, the facts and the brutal truth, both about Fr. Prieur’s moral theology and the euphemism of “early inductions”, indicate a different story.
Let me take a moment here to comment on some of the more salient points in Mr. Lewis’ article.
A pro-life Catholic Web site, LifeSiteNews.com, launched a stinging attack and accused Fr. Prieur, along with colleagues at the Diocese of London and St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, of secretly performing abortions over the past two decades.
The story, launched late last year by an online group whose views are considered extreme by many Catholics, went off like a bomb.
Bishop Ronald Fabbro wrote to the Vatican to say he was ordering a full review, though the Vatican had yet to express any concern. Seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary, where Fr. Prieur teaches, were asking questions. A London anti-abortion group received calls from across the country trying to find out what the real story was. Fr. Prieur is still fielding calls.
Why is it necessary to call LifeSiteNews.com “extreme”? Indeed, if it was so “extreme” why would it be necessary for the Bishop to order a “full review” of Fr. Prieur’s actions? While Mr. Lewis is certainly within his journalistic boundaries to point out the general ignorance, and, in some cases, hostility to legitimate Catholic news sources, it is disingenuous to paint a news organization who has done nothing but fairly report on what the Catholic Church teaches on matters of sexual ethics as “extreme”. He might as well be saying that “many Catholics” view the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “extreme”, which is closer to the truth, although, admittedly, it doesn’t serve Mr. Lewis’ brush quite the same way for his article.
St. Joseph’s performs early inductions when the fetus has a lethal anomaly, a situation that poses grave risks for the mother and child. One of the most common anomalies is called anencephaly, a disorder in which a major portion of the brain and scalp of the fetus fails to form. There are other situations in which vital organs – lungs and kidneys, for example – fail to develop, making life for more than a few minutes or hours impossible after delivery. The closer the fetus moves to term, the more likely there will result in another serious condition that could seriously injure or kill the mother, especially with anencephaly. One-third of the deaths of pregnant women is caused by lethal fetal anomalies.
Actually, it is not true that anencephaly poses grave risks to the mother. According to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the diagnosis of anencephaly in the fetus poses a slightly increased medical risk to the mother. (Source) Nor is it true, as it is assumed throughout Mr. Lewis’ article, that these babies will die immediately or even for certain. An ethics report issued by the American Medical Association in 1994 (CEJA Report 5 – I-94) admitted that ten percent of such babies survive for more than a week after birth. Moreover, if Mr. Lewis had taken the time to do some research by searching the “extreme” LifeSiteNews.com website, he would have also read this interesting story published just last summer of a baby who had survived (at the time of the report) for a year and a half!
But Fr. Prieur worked out during that very first moral struggle, 24 years ago, that it was not abortion because the child would not be killed in the womb, but rather, delivered early…So I decided to travel around the world. I consulted with theologians. I went to Rome, Belgium, India, Australia. Each place I went I said, ‘I need one hour with your top moral theologian.’ Eighty per cent were in agreement with what we were doing at St. Joseph’s. The other 20% said it was only lawful [under Church teaching] if the woman was about to die – the risk factors have to be that serious.”
Fr. Michael Prieur has had a long history of unorthodox beliefs in the area of sexual ethics, including his support of the infamous Winnipeg Statement which effectively opened the floodgates of abortion in Canada through its dissent from Humanae Vitae. Furthermore, Fr. Prieur’s moral theology is rooted in proportionalism, which maintains that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition against certain type of behaviour or actions which are inherently evil. In 1993, Pope John Paul II condemned this thinking in his monumental encyclical Veritatis Splendor.
But as part of the effort to work out such a rational morality (for this reason it is sometimes called an “autonomous morality” ) there exist false solutions, linked in particular to an inadequate understanding of the object of moral action. Some authors do not take into sufficient consideration the fact that the will is involved in the concrete choices which it makes: these choices are a condition of its moral goodness and its being ordered to the ultimate end of the person. Others are inspired by a notion of freedom which prescinds from the actual conditions of its exercise, from its objective reference to the truth about the good, and from its determination through choices of concrete kinds of behaviour. According to these theories, free will would neither be morally subjected to specific obligations nor shaped by its choices, while nonetheless still remaining responsible for its own acts and for their consequences. This “teleologism”, as a method for discovering the moral norm, can thus be called — according to terminology and approaches imported from different currents of thought — “consequentialism” or “proportionalism”. The former claims to draw the criteria of the rightness of a given way of acting solely from a calculation of foreseeable consequences deriving from a given choice. The latter, by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation. (Veritatis Splendor, 75)
In fact, we see proportionalism all over the ethical guidelines of the hospital in this case. St. Joseph’s policy on the matter states: “An early induction may be permitted after viability for a proportionate reason which can include grave physical, psychological or psychiatric considerations.”
It is only now, some 40 years later, that the bishops of Canada have finally begun to shake off the pastoral disaster of the Winnipeg Statement and the failed proportionalistic philosophy undergirding it, and declare their unequivocal support for Rome’s absolute teaching against contraception (and abortion). Fr. Prieur would be well advised to update his understanding of Catholic teaching and take their lead.
On Dec. 11, 2008, LifeSite ran an explosive story under the headline: “Exclusive: Twenty Years of Eugenic Abortion at Ontario Catholic Hospital.”…”We’re smarting under the article,” Fr. Prieur said. “We’re pro-life. Early induction is not abortion.”
Fr. Prieur is “smarting under the article” because the article was an accurate description of what he has been doing these past 35 years and it’s very clear that the euphemism of “early induction” just isn’t holding up with Catholics. If a medical procedure is inducing babies with the express purpose and intent of ending their lives (even prematurely) for so-called “proportionate reasons”, that practice qualifies as abortion.
Father William McGrattan, rector of St. Peter’s Seminary, and another member of St. Joseph’s ethics committee, concedes there are some people within the pro-life movement who come to a “premature conclusion and judgment that this is direct abortion.” “But the action being done is not an action that is direct killing of the child,” he said. “It is an action that is trying to recognize that the life of this child is dying and we’re trying to support that process in a natural way and balance that with the complications to the health of the mother.”
Excuse me? Trying to support the process in a “natural way”? What kind of “natural way” is that? By definition, “induction” is something OUTSIDE of the natural order, otherwise it would not be called induction. It is morally unlawful to use another human being – whether that is killing him or ending his life prematurely (even by one second) – so that another good may occur. In other words, there are some acts (i.e. “early induction”) which are disordered by their very nature and no intention or consequence (however positive) can change their disorder, as John Paul II said in his encyclical:
Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that “there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object”. (Veritatis Splendor, 80)
Reformulating the moral scenario at the hospital, consider this situation: Two men stand before you. The first man is going to die within a week. The second man is sick and in need of an organ which only the first man can supply, but he must have it now to avoid serious complications in the future. Should we “induce” the first man to his death to help the second man? After all, he’s going to die in a matter of days and the second man can be saved serious problems in the future if things are “expedited” along.
For the euphemists on this question of “early induction” of unborn babies, the answer to the above hypothetical scenario is in the affirmative. It is no surprise, therefore, that this is the type of thinking which leads to euthanizing our elderly population. It’s all about squeezing out the undesirables and the consequent sacrifices from our meaningless lives. It’s all about eugenicizing us.
There are no specific Church guidelines in Canada when it comes to early induction. So LifeSite looked to guidelines laid out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Center to draw a judgment about what was going on at St. Joseph’s. It cited Directive 45 of the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which states: “Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo.” The St. Joseph’s guidelines for early induction says the same thing: “Procedures whose immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability are considered direct abortions.” The hospital’s guidelines also tackle the extremely rare situation in which intervention is necessary before the fetus is viable. “Medical treatment is permitted to prevent or cure a grave illness in a pregnant woman that cannot be deferred until the unborn child is viable even though the pregnancy may be endangered … even though they will result in the foreseen but unintended death of the unborn child.”
So, in other words, “early induction” is only performed on “pre-viable”, disabled babies, but not on viable, healthy babies. Is this not a form of eugenics? Of course it is.
But just to be clear, the Catholic Church’s position is unmistakable. In 1996, the US bishops issued a statement titled “Moral Principles Concerning Infants with Anencephaly” that declared, “it is clear that before ‘viability’ it is never permitted to terminate the gestation of an anencephalic child as the means of avoiding psychological or physical risks to the mother. Nor is such termination permitted after ‘viability’ if early delivery endangers the child’s life due to complications of prematurity. Only if the complications of the pregnancy result in a life-threatening pathology of the mother, may the treatment of this pathology be permitted even at a risk to the child, and then only if the child’s death is not a means to treating the mother“.
This, of course, correctly draws on Humanae Vitae where the Church definitively proclaimed the absolute prohibition on abortion, in particular so-called “therapeutic abortion”.
Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (Humanae Vitae, 14)
This “therapeutic” justification of “soft abortion” (i.e. inducing the child’s death) is the same one that is being used by St. Joseph’s. What is the MEDICAL REASON for inducing the child? It’s certainly not in the child’s best interest since it would hasten death, and it’s most likely not in the mother’s interest either, all things considered.
The Church uses the same kind of absolute language about the inviolability of the child from the moment of conception in other documents dealing with sexual ethics and the transmission of life. There is therefore no mistake or confusion on the question:
From the moment of conception, the life of every human being is to be respected in an absolute way because man is the only creature on earth that God has “wished for himself ” and the spiritual soul of each man is “immediately created” by God; his whole being bears the image of the Creator. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves “the creative action of God” and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being. Human procreation requires on the part of the spouses responsible collaboration with the fruitful love of God; the gift of human life must be actualized in marriage through the specific and exclusive acts of husband and wife, in accordance with the laws inscribed in their persons and in their union.
Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. This doctrinal reminder provides the fundamental criterion for the solution of the various problems posed by the development of the biomedical sciences in this field: since the embryo must be treated as a person, it must also be defended in its integrity, tended and cared for, to the extent possible, in the same way as any other human being as far as medical assistance is concerned. (Donum Vitae, 1)
The Catholic Church’s teaching is very clear and very simple. It involves accepting the principle that every human being has eternal and unfathomable and timeless dignity. To deprive or diminish the life of a human person even for one-millionth of a second – and even if it were to advance another good, no matter how wonderful or commendable – would be an attack on the Creator and His Creature WHO IS MADE IN HIS IMAGE FROM THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION and whom He loved from the beginning of its existence.
One need not be a bioethicist or a theologian or a bishop or a main stream media reporter to understand this teaching and its application to this case.
Sadly, as this case of St. Joseph’s hospital aptly demonstrates, these days, judging by the kind of advice that is being given and being permitted to be given, it is safer for one’s immortal soul to be none of the above.
2 Comments »
Posted on February 22nd, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
We’re only a few days away from the Kick Off Rally on Tuesday night. Here are some updates….
1) Vigil Registration – We still have many empty slots to fill for the first week of the campaign which starts officially on Wednesday at Midnight. Even Wednesday itself has a half-dozen empty slots as of this writing. C’mon everyone. Time to buckle down and commit to a date and a time (and hopefully more than one!):
2) Upcoming Events:
|SUNDAY Feb 22, 2009
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
40 Days for Life Vesper service with Archbishop Prendergast on Sunday February 22 at 7 pm at St. Patrick’s Church ( corner of Kent & Nepean Streets)
|TUES Feb 24, 2009
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Kick Off Rally
Be sure to join us as we kick of the second 40 Days for Life Campaign in Ottawa with speeches, hymns, and unity at Ground Zero, across from 65 Bank Street.
3) 40 Days for Life @ 180º – If you have any friends of family in cities which are not participating in the 40 Days for Life, then pass the word around about this initiative:
40 Days for Life @ 180º is a way of acknowledging the participation of Canadians across the country, from north to south (hence the 180º), who either do not have an official campaign in their city or cannot make it out to the Vigil outside of the local abortion mill. The idea is similar to the one used for recording the hours in front of the abortion mill. Each participant registers for one or more hours of the available 960 hours of the Campaign, indicating the Church or Group and the City they represent. The goal is to cover the calendar completely with prayer warriors….
Check it out here:
5) St. Pat’s Prayer Program: St. Pat’s will be hosting a Catholic Spiritual Reflection for the 40 Days for Life from Feb. 25 to March 6. It’s under our “Events” tab on the website.
Check it out here: http://www.40daysforlife.com/ottawa/documents/Prayer1.pdf
6) A Spiritual Reflection For You:
“Could you not watch one hour with me?” (Mt. 26:40) - Would you spend some time with the little babies in your own neighborhood before they die? Maybe you’ll even be able directly to save lives; maybe not. What’s even more important: you’ll be there. In a sense, it may be a way to redeem the abandonment of Jesus by His apostles when they refused to be with Him at His death. Too often we also refuse to be with Jesus for fear of the Cross, do we not? These little ones dying today are intricately connected with the sufferings and death of Our Savior. These little ones dying today are intricately connected with the sufferings and death of Our Savior. There is a bond here that must not be overlooked. All the political action, educating, donation of funds, demonstrations, alternative work, important and necessary as these are, do not make up for an absence at the death scene. Thus, let me beg you to view your presence at the killing center in your area as the place where God wants you to be. Grab your Rosary, pick up your Bible, bring your devotionals, and go out to the Calvary not far from you – where Christ is being crucified today in your midst. … we may not be able to save their lives, but can we not plead on their behalf? And should they die, as usually happens (God forgive us!), let us lift up our hearts to God Almighty on their behalf … it will be the only human love they will know on this earth - Joan Andrews, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants
7) New Item:
Not Everyone’s Ga-Ga Over Obama
February 21, 2009
From David MacDonald who was there with a friend, witnessing to the pain that abortion caused them… “Frances and I went up to the Hill to meet Obama with our signs… got slight mention in the Citizen… they didn’t mention my “fatherhood” sign but at least they mentioned Frances’ sign. Page A 6 yesterday
…Not everyone who greeted Mr. Obama was star-struck. One person from the animal rights group PETA dressed as a seal carried a sign asking to be hugged, not clubbed. A woman held a sign proclaiming her regret at having had an abortion. One couple toted a banner suggesting that Mr. Harper is dishonest about climate change….” (Source)
8) Past Reflection on 40 Days by Fr. Galen Bank:
Communication and Vigil Co-Ordinator
No Comments »
Posted on February 21st, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
From my friend David MacDonald who was there with a friend, witnessing to the pain that abortion caused them…
“Frances and I went up to the Hill to meet Obama with our signs… got slight mention in the Citizen… they didn’t mention my “fatherhood” sign but at least they mentioned Frances’ sign. Page A 6 yesterday
“…Not everyone who greeted Mr. Obama was star-struck. One person from the animal rights group PETA dressed as a seal carried a sign asking to be hugged, not clubbed. A woman held a sign proclaiming her regret at having had an abortion. One couple toted a banner suggesting that Mr. Harper is dishonest about climate change….” (Source)
If you can read the article long enough before you puke at Obama’s cult-like Messiah greeting in “Iowa” (pronounced “Ott-a-wa”), you’ll have done very well for yourself.
I am sure that I am not the only one who has noticed the great irony in placing the victims of abortion along side the tree huggers and the “save the whales” groupies, like some kind of marginalized members of our society.
These are the same type of people who, after all, pinned the Son of God between two thieves, did their mocking and went about their day.
1 Comment »
Posted on February 21st, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
Feb 17 2009 7:37PM
KXMCTV Minot North Dakota’s House of Representatives has passed a bill effectively outlawing abortion.The House voted 51-41 this afternoon to declare that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.That means a fetus could not be legally aborted without the procedure being considered murder.Minot Republican Dan Ruby has sponsored other bills banning abortion in previous legislative sessions – all of which failed.He also sponsored today’s bill and says it is compatible with Roe versus Wade – the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.(Rep. Dan Ruby, -R- Minot) “This is the exact language that’s required by Roe vs. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that’s what this does.” VO CONTINUES But Minot Democrat Kari Conrad says the bill will land North Dakota in court, trying to defend the constitutionality of a law that goes against the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
(Rep. Kari Conrad, -D- Minot) “People who presented this bill, were very clear that they intended to challenge Roe versus Wade. So they intend to put the state of North Dakota into court defending Roe vs. Wade”
The bill now goes to the North Dakota Senate.
Obama or No Obama – the March continues.The unborn shall not be denied.
No Comments »
Posted on February 21st, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
by Fr. Galen Bank
A new pro-life campaign called “40 Days for Life”, took place in Ottawa from September 23rd to November 2nd, 2008. During this campaign, the faithful of Ottawa joined together to pray, fast and hold vigil outside of the Morgentaler abortuary, in downtown Ottawa, for 40 days and 40 nights.
When I was approached by Nicole Campbell, of Campaign Life Coalition, to promote 40 Days for Life at St Maurice Parish, it did not take a great deal of time to see the enormous potential of such an initiative. I saw it as an opportunity to encourage the faithful to participate in peaceful and prayerful activism in the pro-life movement. It also provided occasion to expose the truth and stark reality of abortion and to plead for God’s mercy and healing for the damage abortion has inflicted upon so many.
Personally, 40 Days for Life was an important realization that as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we have responsibility to love and care for all members of the Body – saint and sinner alike. Jesus, as the head of this body, has a deep love and commitment to its members, which is revealed in the scriptures. In John 17, Jesus expresses the burden on his heart for humanity as he prays to his Father. Allow me to quote a few passages:
“When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn 17:12).
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one” (v.15).
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world so I have sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth” (v. 17-19).
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one so that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (v. 22-24).
In these passages, it is Jesus’ desire that we be consecrated in truth, protected and guarded from the evil one, that no one be lost and that we be one with him now and in eternity. As disciples of Christ, we must embrace the same heart and desire of Jesus, that our brothers and sisters be consecrated in truth, protected and guarded from the evil one, that not one be lost and that all become ONE with him now and in eternity. By virtue of our Baptism, Jesus sends us into the world to carry on the same mission for which he came. We are entrusted with the responsibility and obligation to deeply love and care for one another desiring that not one soul be lost. The 40 Days for Life campaign was an opportunity for us to love and nurture the body of Christ and make some sacrifices for our brothers and sisters involved in the abortion industry – for mothers and fathers who have had abortions and are pondering abortion – and to pray for an end to the tragedy of abortion in our country.
In John 17:15, Jesus prays for our protection from the ‘evil one’ because he knows Satan relentlessly leads us away from God who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we doubt the power of Satan, then we might ask ourselves why so many men, women and teenagers are convinced that abortion is an acceptable practice? Why do many believe that the child in the womb of a mother is not a child when science indicates otherwise and that we have the right and authority to exterminate that life? The “father of lies” is hard at work and responsible for the veil of deceit and lies that prevent so many from grasping the truth of abortion. With conviction, we can say that the prayer, fasting and sacrifice offered in the 40 Days for Life were a powerful means of combating the darkness and deceit of the ‘evil one’.
The battle for life can become exhausting and seemingly fruitless, leading us to disengage, to not take it seriously or to simply roll over and say “nothing can happen anyway”. However, God is waiting for us to arise from our apathy and engage in the battle with him to end the innocent killing of babies. Without question, abortion is a great concern upon the heart of God. How painful it must be for Him to see approximately 120,000 abortions per day worldwide. How painful it is for God to see how we treat the most vulnerable and to see our apathy towards abortion. Nevertheless, our intercession and sacrifice releases power from on high and consoles the heart of God. I thank Nicole Campbell for organizing and motivating the faithful of Ottawa to engage in the battle for life.
Here are some reflections on the 40 Days for Life by Nicole Campbell the organizer from Campaign Life Coalition.
“The 40 Days for Life Campaign was a life-changing experience for many of us. Hearts were changed and people came to know Christ in a very powerful way. There were many people who would consider themselves ‘pro life’ but admittedly stated that they had never done anything ‘active’ like this before. Many people shared that they had intended to come out for an hour with their Church but after being out at the abortion facility they new they had to keep coming and so they did. There was one participant who was 79 years of age who took the late night shift every night of the Campaign for two hours – 39 nights in a row! Now, THAT is dedication!
“Ottawa will never be the same! The enemy’s grip has been greatly weakened and I believe with all of my heart that this abortion facility will close sooner rather than later. The Lord will hear our prayers and in his perfect time, we will see great fruit! During the 40 Days for Life Campaign we know of at least three children who were spared from abortion. This of course has major repercussions, as family trees have been potentially spared as well. Abortion workers have quit their jobs during the 40 Days for Life and we believe that many more women cancelled their appointments or just walked by the clinic doors because of our prayerful presence. We will find out in heaven one day.
“There was a profound peacefulness and spirit of reverence at the vigil site and passers-by could not help but be silent and respectful as they walked by all of us with our signs and rosaries. A community was formed on the streets of Ottawa during the 40 Days for Life which was so beautiful, who knew such a place would become a place of refuge drawing hundreds of people to come out and pray. We could not have been as successful as we were if it were not for the Companions of the Cross’ support and visible efforts! Vigil candles were lit, holy hours were arranged and CC priests spoke with boldness about the life issues from the pulpit. This is crucial in ending abortion and these brave priests were unafraid to give a voice to the voiceless as Jesus will ask us what we truly did for his little ones. What answer will we have for Him? We are called to be his hands and his feet and if we shy away from such issues, we will be held responsible.”
We must remember those who have had, participated or supported abortions in our prayers. We are called to love and show compassion to those who have been through this painful and tragic experience. If you are suffering from an abortion, please contact “Rachel’s Vineyard” in Ottawa, 613-806-5522 and in Toronto you can contact “Second Chance Ministry” at (416) 261-7135, 905-430-7990, or e-mail email@example.com.
Fr. Galen Bank is the Pastor of St. Maurice parish in Ottawa.
Originally published in the Winter 2009 Companions of the Cross magazine
No Comments »
Posted on February 20th, 2009 by Paycheck in Religious Persecution
ROME, FEB. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org). – The new religious diversity curriculum introduced in the Québec school system is a violation of parents’ rights and borders on being “anti-Catholic,” according to the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski discussed the Canadian province’s “Ethics and Religious Culture” program with ZENIT on Monday, after a conference held at Rome’s Pontifical Antonianum University on “State Financing of Catholic Schools,” hosted by the Acton Institute. In September 2008, the Québec Ministry of Education introduced the new curriculum into all public and private schools in the province. The mandatory courses replaced the “Catholic Religious and Moral Instruction,” “Protestant Moral and Religious Education” and “Moral Education” programs, between which parents could choose for their children. In the new program, students are taught a diversity of world religions and secular ethics. “Talking about all religions violates the right of parents to educate their own children according to their own religion,” explained the Polish cardinal, echoing the protests of some parents in the province who say the textbooks are not ideologically neutral. “Talking in the same way about all religions,” Cardinal Grocholewski continued, “is almost like an anti-Catholic education, because this creates a certain relativism.” He concluded that this approach to instruction could ultimately be anti-religious, since youth are left with the impression that each faith is a fictional narrative.
The Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops have been measured in their criticism of the “Ethics and Religious Culture” program, recognizing in a March 2008 statement that the curriculum would “promote the development of a better mutual understanding between those who have different religious or secular beliefs.” The bishops also applauded the course for highlighting the distinct role played by Catholicism in the French Canadian province’s history. However, the bishops reaffirmed their preference for parental choice and described their stance as “critical and vigilant.” The bishops further worried that teaching religion from a purely socio-cultural view could lead to a restrictive understanding of religious experience. Some Canadian clerics, such as Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Québec City, maintain that parents should be able to exempt their children from the program for reasons of conscience. Presently, the provincial government has permitted no such allowances for concerned parents. Students who consistently miss “Ethics and Religious Culture” classes could face suspension. (Source)
Two words: Civil Disobedience. No free person is required to follow a law that is immoral, and this law is immoral.
The ultimate right and responsibility of raising children fall to the parents and the PARENTS ALONE. The State only has the duty to educate children IF it is delegated to them by the parents. It does not inherently possess that right.
“As it is parents who have given life to their children, on them lies the greatest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.” (Declaration on Christian Education, no. 3)
No Comments »
Sometimes things seem so silly it is almost impossible to believe they are true.
For many years in Cornwall, letter carriers would greet each other with the expression: “Merci Seigneur pour la belle journee” (Thank you Lord for the beautiful day) –a friendly greeting reflecting the francophone culture of the region.
Now both Canada Post management and apparently, the postal workers union, have forbidden the greeting. Why was this greeting forbidden? Someone complained to the Human Rights Commission because others were Thanking the Lord before starting their rounds to deliver mail. Canada Post has cracked down on an innocent greeting.
This leads me to wonder what other greetings could be stopped because of fear of the Human Rights Commission and their thought police mentality.
Merry Christmas would probably have to be banned (people who don’t celebrate Christmas would be hurt), bless you (after a sneeze) could be considered an intrusion into someone’s personal beliefs. Perhaps even Happy Birthday could be banned because it promotes ageism by reminding people of their age.
As ridiculous as my suggestions are, the arbitrary exercise of power by our Human Rights Commissions is a serious matter. People are being harassed over trivial issues. If Canadians cannot exchange simple greetings without incurring the wrath of power hungry bureaucrats, we need to change the human rights legislation. Canada’s Human Rights Commissions do not protect the rights of most Canadians. I for one think if major reforms cannot be accomplished, we need to consider abolishing these parodies of justice.
No Comments »
Posted on February 19th, 2009 by Paycheck in Contraception
By Jerry Beckett
The overriding difficulty with the Abstinence Ed vs. Contraception Ed. debate is that both positions stem from opposing moral positions, and these positions are rarely, if ever, acknowledged as the engines which drive the opposing camps.
The debate goes something like this:
Abstinence: We want to prevent our kids from getting pregnant and/or getting STDs. The most effective way of achieving this end is to teach them not to engage in sex.
Contraception: It is naïve to think that teenagers won’t have sex. What happens when they give in to the temptation, as we know they will? They need to know how to protect themselves when they are having sex.
Note: At this point, it would be interesting if the Abstinence Ed. supporters would pursue the option of pointing out the Contraception side’s contradictory premises: that a) teenagers do not possess the self-control to refrain from initiating sexual intercourse 100% of the time, but simultaneously possess the even greater self-control required to, after initiating sexual intercourse, 1) Stop 2) Pull out a condom 3) Apply it correctly, and to do this 100% of the time. However, I have yet to see this in public debate, though it has come up in private conversation.
Abstinence: The message of “The safest way is to not have sex, but if you do engage in sex, which we’ll be talking about at great length for the rest of this and every presentation, here’s how to reduce the risk.” is akin to the message of “The safest way to stay out of trouble (with your parents, teachers, authorities, whomever) is to not do something you shouldn’t do. However, if you decide to do something you shouldn’t do, here’s how to avoid the consequences.”
Both messages are saying the same thing: “The safest option is to not [do something you are tempted to do but shouldn’t], but if you [do something you are tempted to do but shouldn’t] here’s how to avoid the consequences.”
Anyone with an ounce of experience knows that a teenager (or pretty much anyone, for that matter) will be inclined to opt for the second choice in each of these messages. What parent in their right mind would make such a statement to their child?
Contraception: You’re making a values statement, equating teenagers having sex with them doing something they shouldn’t do. You can’t enforce your values/religious beliefs/morals on everyone!
Abstinence: So you’re saying that teenagers having sex is not something that they should discouraged from doing?
Contraception: It’s up for each person to decide.
While the Abstinence side makes some good points, on the surface the Contraception side seems to have carried the day with “You can’t enforce your values/religious beliefs/morals on everyone!” and “It’s up to each person to decide.”, which, in our increasingly relativistic society, tend to serve as debate-enders. However, there are multiple flaws in these statements.
For starters, while the “You can’t enforce your values/religious beliefs/morals on everyone else!” charge has been very effective at cowing folks into silence and even acquiescence, it contains a superfluous and erroneous over-reach: the rightness or wrongness of teenage sex (or any sexual matter) is not a “religious belief”, but a moral position. It is true that one’s religious beliefs can and do inform one’s moral position; however, there nothing unconstitutional about one’s religious beliefs informing one’s moral positions, as to prevent such a thing would be nigh impossible. Everyone has religious beliefs – atheism is a religious belief, even “I don’t give a fig about religion” is a religious belief – and these beliefs shape our individual moral outlook whether we acknowledge that fact or not.
So the statement made by contraceptive ed. proponents, if they are concerned with accuracy, should be “You can’t enforce your values/morals on everyone else!” This statement, however, is undermined by two things:
1. Their response to “So you’re saying that teenagers having sex is not something that they should discouraged from doing?”, because “It’s up for each person to decide” is itself a moral position. No one would say that whether to cheat, steal, or harm someone is a moral matter that “It’s up for each person to decide”, because those actions are inherently wrong in a moral sense. Therefore, to say that “It’s up for each person to decide” whether teenagers engaging in sex is bad, good, or neutral is to say that it is not inherently wrong. This is a moral position. Therefore, “You can’t enforce your values/morals on everyone else!” amounts to the statement “You can’t enforce your values/morals on everyone else while I’m trying to enforce my values/morals on everyone else!” This statement is either intellectually dishonest or hypocritical, depending on whether one could actually believe such a thing.
2. As I understand it, Sex Ed. (of either variety) is not optional in public schools, and comes as either Abstinence or Contraception Ed., depending on which way the local school board is leaning. Therefore, students are being force-fed either Abstinence or Contraception Ed. Following on #1, in schools where contraception ed. is taught or being proposed, the contraception ed. folks apparently have no objection to enforcing their values/morals on students, which vitiates both “You can’t enforce your values/morals on everyone else” and “It’s up to each person to decide.”
So at the bottom of all this back-and-forth is the reality that the debate is between folks who hold the moral position that teenagers having sex is an inherently wrong act and those who take the moral position that teenagers having sex is not an inherently wrong act. The shriek of the latter group that those of belonging to the former are “pushing their morals/values” on others is hypocritical, self-serving palaver.
I would offer the following solution: If both Abstinence and Contraception Ed. were offered in public schools, which each individual student (and therefore, their parents) given the option of which to attend, there would not be much of a debate. Frankly, I don’t see why this has not been seriously proposed. For religious schools, I would hope (and for any school that hopes to get my tuition money, demand) that sex education be taught from the viewpoint and within the framework of the religion of that institution, which is their moral duty and their constitutional right.
- Jerry Becket
No Comments »
Posted on February 18th, 2009 by Paycheck in Freedom
This map shows a growing number of states that have passed and propose resolutions to assert the Tenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
In response to increasing federal encroachment, a growing number of states have passed and proposed resolutions to assert the Tenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
The Tenth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights and was ratified on December 15, 1791. It states the Constitution’s principle of Federalism by providing that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states are reserved to the states and to the people. It is based on an earlier provision of the Articles of Confederation: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”
On this resource page, you will find links to the various bills and proposed bills by the states, articles covering this important topic, and related videos.
Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California, and Georgia have all introduced bills and resolutions declaring sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada, Maine, and Illinois are considering such measures.
I see the Americans take their freedom seriously.
If you had a president like Obama, you’d start declaring independence too.
1 Comment »
Posted on February 18th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
WASHINGTON, DC, February 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Communities in Australia and Northern Ireland will join with well over 100 cities in the United States and Canada that are hosting 40 Days for Life events from February 25 to April 5, 2009.
The 40 Days for Life Campaign was started in 2004 by a pro-life group in Texas. Over the following years it spread across the USA and Canada. This year, two cities in Northern Ireland and one in Australia are also taking part.
Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has organised a campaign of ’40 Days of Prayer and Fasting’ in an effort to stop the serious abortion threat to Northern Ireland.
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “This Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, communities across Ireland and Britain will be uniting with more than 127 cities in the USA, Canada and Australia for the largest simultaneous pro-life mobilisation in history – The 40 Days for Life Campaign. We will be praying and fasting for the protection of Ireland from abortion and the repeal of the 1967 Abortion Act in Britain.”
She added, “During the 40 Day Campaign, Precious Life will also encourage more people to join Prayer Vigils outside abortion facilities. Here in Northern Ireland, we are urging people to join our daily vigils outside the Family Planning Association’s (FPA) abortion referral agencies in Belfast and Derry.”…
There’s definitely something going on in the abortion wars, outside of the normal activism. It’s almost “other worldly“, really. We see the pressure gauge rising and it’s going global. Something has to give very soon. Either a crackdown or an emancipation.
No Comments »
Posted on February 18th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
…not sure why I’m posting this. It’s now a daily occurrence.
Just insert different name, city, and time.
You get the picture.
No Comments »
Posted on February 17th, 2009 by Paycheck in Pro-Life Activism
I received this comment in one of my earlier blog postings on the SMU controversy from “firstname.lastname@example.org“. I thought it was significant enough to post it here along with my rebuttal. It’s a real eye-opener.
Clarifications may be in order here. The protests held were not organized by a student group. The protesters were led by Coalition For Choice, a grassroots organization that espouses pro-choice values across the country. Some protesters were students, but most were not.
Excuse me? Clarifications may be in order, but so is the necessity for a little coherency and clarity.
If any SMU student was involved with those protesters, which you have admitted, then a call for disciplinary action is very appropriate considering their banchy-style shoutdown and intimidation of an invited speaker. Furthermore, if it is true that an outside group was able to shut down free speech on the University’s campus, then it is even more incumbent on the University to take action against the “Coalition for Choice” in order to protect its integrity as a free and open university. If it does not take action against this outside group, then St. Mary’s University has simply buckled to a form of feminist tyranny, and sent a message to their students (and to the country) that any group can simply show up on Campus to yell and intimidate their opponents into silence without reprisal. If this is the message that the University’s Administration wants to present as normal operating procedure, then it doesn’t have to do anything. But, of course, they really can’t be considered a real university any longer, either.
To demand disciplinary action against members of such an organization is to discipline people due to their free association with a group whose opinions run counter to your own. This in itself would be an act that would stifle debate.
Uh. No. If there were students who happened to belong to this “Coalition for Choice”, and were not present at that FeministShoutDown, I don’t believe they should be sanctioned. However, if they were there, and it appears that, judging by their age, a good number of those protesters were indeed students, they should be disciplined. Now admittedly, students at a Canadian university are not required to hold to many high moral standards these days, but surely one of them is to respect the principle of free speech. If you don’t at least have that, best to fold up the tent altogether because you’ve got absolutely no redeeming virtues left to offer.
On the topic of stifling debate, it can be argued (as it has been in circles at Saint Mary’s) that the very nature of the lecture served to shut down divergent opinions. The public lecture was promoted by a pro-life group and led by a lecturer who himself is pro-life. The same lecturer was given the authority to moderate questions from the floor. This gives proponents of one side of an argument the opportunity to determine who can speak, and for how long, without any chance for rebuttal. This develops a framework for a monologue instead of a dialogue, thereby becoming an outward sign from the beginning that divergent opinions will not be respected at the talk. Many students on campus are wondering if was indeed possible for anyone with a divergent opinion to have even asked a question an enter into a free debate in the first place.
This is such a ridiculous comment. I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, this was not a formal debate, although Mr. Ruba made it very clear that he would be most open to taking questions in his presentation. That does not sound like someone who wants to have a “monologue”. Indeed, for him to make his presentations in Canadian universities is to make it obvious that he wants to engage university students in a respectful and calm dialogue about his thesis. But before one can engage an opponent intelligently, one must be permitted to give ONE’S SIDE of the argument unencumbered and uninterrupted, which is far more than we can say Mr. Ruba received at St. Mary’s University. Admittedly, this was not in a debate format, but must it be? Is it now required at Canadian universities, that, to give a presentation, one must have a formal, moderated debate? How will this affect university lectures and the professors who give them? Will I now be permitted to crash a Women’s Studies course and demand that the University give me equal time to counter the professor’s arguments? Or will the Pro-Life Group be permitted to engage in the same kind of disgraceful behaviour as the Pro-Abort Stormtroopers engaged in when SMU’s Pro-Abort group invites Henry Morgentaler on campus? This I have to see.
And what about the respectful pro-abort students who wanted to hear what Mr. Ruba had to say? There were many of them in the audience. Not only did the Pro-Abort Stormtroopers take away the right to freedom of speech of pro-lifers, they took away the right of those who opposed Mr. Ruba’s position to at least hear what he had to say. I find that extremely ironic but typical of the militancy and stridency of the pro-abort groups in this country: they don’t even respect the rights of those who ultimately agree with them!
And even beyond all this, there is the question of freedom of association. The pro-life group had every right to invite the members of the student population and general public to come and listen to a presentation. Those who decided to come did so of their own free will. They freely decided to “associate” with one another for the duration of the presentation. The Pro-Abort Stormtroopers denied the freedom of that association. That is yet another disgrace, even above and beyond the free speech issue. (I note in passing that there is at least one professor at your “university” who gets it.).
But wait, let me guess, you don’t agree with freedom of association, either.
If this lecture was truly in the spirit of “free speech,” “dialogue,” and “open ideas,” then its entire format should have been different to allow for people who have different viewpoints to even have a fair chance to speak. To suggest that a lecturer of any discussion – let alone a discussion on such an important topic as abortion – can also moderate his discussion is a little short-sighted. A person in such a role can control who can ask questions, and how long that person can speak for. Whether or not the speaker would stifle debate, the lecture’s frames of reference from the very outset becomes hostile to anyone without divergent opinions.
See above. Your comments are absurd, and you haven’t thought through the implications of what you are saying. I somehow doubt, even if you were to maintain your view after a sobering second thought, you would hold the ProAborts to the same “dialogue” standard you comically want to hold Pro-Lifers to. If that is the case, then any speaker invited to your University would be subject to the your stupid format and restrictions. But, of course, we know that’s never going to happen (nor should it!) and your special rule is really only for pro-lifers. Isn’t that the truth? I believe it is.
Can I ask you, if you please, by what authority do you presume to regulate how campus groups host their guests and by what authority do you arrogate yourself to dictating the formats of their presentations?
I am neither pro-life nor pro-abortion in this argument. I make these comments only to raise questions about nature of the talk and its ensuing “free speech” rhetoric.
You are a pro-abort. That much is obvious. And as for free speech “rhetoric”, it’s only “rhetoric” when your rights are not threatened. Believe me, if the shoe was on the other foot, the University would be under lockdown right now.
It would be one thing to lose free speech to open thuggery, but to lose it on the basis of the absurd arguments that you have presented is quite pathetic and sad.
3 Comments »