Friday, November 20, 2015

Abortion Myth # 5

MYTH: “Most abortions are wrong, but they should be allowed in cases of abnormal fetus.”


-         People with disabilities are human beings, enjoying full human dignity and the same right to exist as the rest of us.

  -Families who are expecting a handicapped child need support, not an abortion!  Studies indicate that women who abort for genetic reasons have a high incidence of suffering grief, guilt, shame, and depression.  The actual incidence of of depression following “selective abortion” for genetic reasons may be as high as 92 percent for mothers and 82 percent for fathers among those studied.  (The Post-Abortion Review, July-Sept. 2003, Elliot Institute, link)

-          -There are lists of families willing to adopt babies with any serious medical condition including spina bifida and down syndrome.

-          -The belief that society is better off without the “genetically inferior” was the credo of  Nazi Germany, where thousands of people were exterminated solely because they had disabilities.

-          -There are numerous support groups for families with special needs children, among them CHASK (Christian Homes and Special Kids) and NATHHAN (National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network); NATHHAN also provides a list of further resources (link)


Essential Pro-Life Resources:

Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments (link)  

The Elliot Institute (link)  

National Right To Life Committee (link)  

Care-Net (link)

The Nurturing Network (link)

To See The Entire Abortion Myths Series Click HERE 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Presentation, Atheism, And The Problem Of Suffering

(This Thursday Throwback was first published on The Feast of the Presentation, February 2nd, 2015)

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:33-35)

Girolamo Romanino: The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
     The Presentation of the Lord presents us with a paradox, or maybe a series of paradoxes, which can lead us deeper into the mystery of Christ.  On the one hand, it is our last fleeting look back at the recently concluded Christmas Season, and we experience some of the joy and wonder of that season, particularly in the prophetic utterances of Simeon. Simeon proclaims the infant Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32). His final words, however, foretelling that Christ will be “a sign that is spoken against” and warning the Blessed Mother that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” redirect us toward the quickly approaching Season of Lent and beyond to the sorrow and suffering of the Triduum.  The last thing we see in Luke’s account of the Presentation is the prophetess Anna, who pulls together the apparent contraries in Simeon’s prophecy: she “spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).  In the end, the glory of Christmas and the sword of Good Friday come together on Easter Sunday: Redemption comes only from the light shining through the darkness of suffering, and we catch a glimpse of the entire story in the Feast of Presentation.
     Given the above, I found it interesting that this story [here] appeared just this morning: Englishman Stephen Fry, an “outspoken atheist”, was asked what he would say if he found himself, contrary to his expectation, face to face with his Creator in the afterlife:

 “I’d say, ‘Bone cancer in children? What’s that about?’” he began.

“’How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault,” Fry continued. “It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’ That’s what I would say.”

"Outspoken Atheist" Stephen Fry

In other words, the old Problem of Suffering (which I spend a lot of time discussing with my adolescent religion students).  For us Christians this problem is resolved in the Mystery of the Cross, as we saw above: it’s a paradox that leads us to a higher understanding, and a greater experience.  For the unbeliever, however, it is a contradiction which, if followed to its logical conclusion, leads to annihilation.  Most atheists believe that all reality is reducible to matter, and that this present world is all there is.  Suffering, therefore, is the worst thing that can possibly happen; hence the righteous indignation of the Steven Frys of the world:

Fry went on to question why the God of the universe would allow pain and suffering and argued that doing away with belief in God makes life “simpler, purer, cleaner, more wroth [sic] living, in my opinion.”

Doing away with belief in God, however, really only makes Fry’s problem worse: instead of leading to redemption, suffering is now simply random and pointless pain.  Not only that, but it is something we all must experience, it’s inescapable.  The only way to eliminate suffering for a Steven Fry is to eliminate not God, but humanity.  Fry’s fellow atheist, the philosopher David Benatar [here] proposes just this solution is his book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence
    Small wonder that The Presentation is included in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, despite Simeon’s ominous (and alarming, no doubt, to Mary and Joseph) utterance.  We are reminded that, through his Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection, Christ has sanctified suffering, that it is no longer a random, meaningless evil, but a path to Heaven.  That is, indeed, Good News.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"It Is A Fearful Thing When Man Sets His Will Against The Will Of God"

(This Worth Revisiting this post was originally published in September, 2014. To enjoy the work of other faithful Catholic bloggers see Worth Revisiting Wednesday, hosted by Elizabeth Reardon at and Allison Gingras at

"In today's Gospel we read of an unusual event: Our Savior weeps. Yes, the Son of God sheds tears. Whoever weeps must be either in physical or mental anguish . . This is the reason for the tears of Jesus, for the tears of God. . . . Tears for the misrule, the injustice and man's willful refusal of Him and the resulting evils, which, in His divine omniscience, He foresees and which in His justice He must decree. . . . It is a fearful thing when man sets his will against the will of God, and it is because of this that Our Lord is lamenting over Jerusalem."

The Lion of Muenster

Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen
The passage above is the opening of a remarkable sermon [full text here] delivered August 3rd, 1941, in the city of Muenster in the German state of Westphalia. It is one of a series of sermons that summer by Bishop Clemens August von Galen harshly criticizing the policies of the Nazi government of Germany at the same time that Hitler’s Wehrmacht was thundering toward Moscow.  In his homily of August 3rd, the Bishop of Muenster (dubbed the “Lion of Muenster” because of his outspoken bravery in the face of the Nazi tyranny) went on to say:

For the past several months it has been reported that, on instructions from Berlin, patients who have been suffering for a long time from apparently incurable diseases have been forcibly removed from homes and clinics. Their relatives are later informed that the patient has died, that the body has been cremated and that the ashes may be claimed. There is little doubt that these numerous cases of unexpected death in the case of the insane are not natural, but often deliberately caused, and result from the belief that it is lawful to take away life which is unworthy of being lived. This ghastly doctrine tries to justify the murder of blameless men and would seek to give legal sanction to the forcible killing of invalids, cripples, the incurable and the incapacitated.

"Who can have confidence in any doctor?"

Bishop Von Galen stresses that these people are not being put to death because of some crime they committed, or because they represented a threat of some kind:

No, these are not the reasons why these unfortunate patients are to be put to death. It is simply because that according to some doctor, or because of the decision of some committee, they have no longer a right to live because they are ‘unproductive citizens’. The opinion is that since they can no longer make money, they are obsolete machines . . .

He reminds his flock in forceful terms that murder is violation of God’s commandments:

. . .there are sacred obligations of conscience from which no one can release us and which we must fulfil even at the price of death itself. At no time, and under no circumstances whatsoever, may a man, except in war and in lawful defence, take the life of an innocent person.

But he also give a very common-sense argument against the destruction of the infirm, one accessible to people of all faiths, or no faith at all:

Here we are dealing with human beings . . . unproductive—perhaps! But have they, therefore, lost the right to live? Have you or I the right to exist only because we are ‘productive’?  . . .
Once admit the right to kill unproductive persons . . . then none of us can be sure of his life. We shall be at the mercy of any committee that can put a man on the list of unproductives. There will be no police protection, no court to avenge the murder and inflict punishment upon the murderer. Who can have confidence in any doctor? He has but to certify his patients as unproductive and he receives the command to kill.

Once the state, or a committee or, ahem, a panel created by the government has the power to declare one human life not worth living, then it can decree death for any one of us, because it will no longer recognize that we have an inherent right to exist. If it has the power to remove such people from their unwilling families, it will have removed one of the last meager checks on totalitarian tyranny. At the same time, it will necessarily corrupt the medical profession, because doctors will be transformed from healers to dealers in death.  Who indeed can trust his doctor in such a world?

The More Things Change . . . 

     I was reminded of Bishop von Galen’s sermon by this story [here], about a young mother whose disabled child has been taken from her by the state, which refuses to lift a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) on the baby, even though the mother has not been declared unfit. A lower court has already sided with the state against the mother and her family. This case did not happen in Nazi Germany, however, but is taking place right now in my own State of Maine.  And, while it doesn’t involve active euthanasia, that is the direct killing of the child, forcing the unwilling family to stand by helplessly while “care providers” allow the child to die is not that far removed. Fortunately, a collection of advocacy groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland have filed amicus briefs on the mother’s behalf, and are providing her with legal help in her appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.  As recounted in the Fox News story, a brief filed by the group echoes the Bishop’s argument cited above [my bold]:

State officials, according to the attorneys on behalf of the girl's mother, have an interest in affirming the medical profession as one that heals and does no harm. "Allowing a physician to mandate that a mother agree to a DNR does not properly respect that duty," the brief continues. "The integrity of the profession depends on its ability to utilize the best practices, with the best information, to promote patient well-being. In contrast, a physician-mandated DNR would be fraught with uncertainty and risk."ADF Senior Counsel Steve Aden said the state is effectively arguing that the girl’s mother is unfit to make medical decisions for her child and called upon the state’s highest court to preserve the value of life.

The brief also argues forcefully for the rights of parents to control the care of their children.

Will We Become "Obsolete Machines"?

     There have been some positive developments in this case the past couple of days: Governor Paul LePage has said that regardless of the court’s decision, he will not allow the DNR order to be put into effect against the mother’s wishes (I’m not looking to make this a political ad, but I can’t help but point out that there are real consequences of electing candidates who are pro-life . . . or not).  That will help in this particular case, but the legal precedent will be set by the court – and even a favorable decision now can be overturned later.  And of course if LePage is re-elected (the oddsmakers don’t favor it), the next governor, regardless of political affiliation, is likely to act differently.  In future cases where the state removes a child from his or her parent, there is a good possibility that families here will be in the position described by Bishop von Galen: “We shall be at the mercy of any committee that can put a man on the list of unproductives. There will be no police protection, no court to avenge the murder . . .”  There is a persuasive argument that such committees are also mandated in the federal Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).
     Bishop von Galen’s allegations were considered so shocking at the time that German authorities banned publication of his sermons, and allied planes dropped them in leaflet form onto German troops in the hopes of rousing their consciences against their government.  After the war, participation in the euthanasia program was one of the atrocities for which Nazi doctors were tried by the Nuremburg Tribunal [here].  And yet today respected public officials feel no shame about asserting the government’s right to remove those whose lives they consider “not worth living” from their families and allowing (or even causing) those people to die.  We need more von Galens, and not just in the pulpit (although assuredly we need them there);  we all need to find a little “Lion of Muenster” somewhere inside and roar in defense of human life.  Nothing else will prevent our slide into a society where none of us can trust our doctor, or be sure that loved ones won’t be taken away from us to be discarded like “obsolete machines.”

Note: Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 9 October 2005; his feast day is March 22nd.

Update: In late September 2014 the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the motion to lift the court's do-not-resuscitate order, saying the issue was moot since the Le Page administration made it clear that the order would not be enforced regardless of the court's decision.  Little Aleah Peaslee is still alive, although the order can still be enforced at a later date, and the power of the state to impose such an order against the will of the child's parents remains unchallenged.  

Governor LePage was re-elected in November of 2014 after receiving the largest number of votes ever in the history of Maine Gubernatorial elections.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

"To Whom Shall We Go? You Have The Words Of Eternal Life" (from Nisi Dominus)

    Our first child seemed reluctant to be born.  The baby (we didn't yet know whether boy or girl) was almost two weeks overdue, however, when we went to Mass one Sunday in March, so we knew that we would have a newborn child in our home before the Lord's day came around again.  We heard this first reading at that Mass:

And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here."
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he."
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
(1 Samuel 16:10-13)

St. Frances X. Cabrini Church, Scituate, MA (Boston Globe photo)
We had not yet settled on a name for our baby, although "David" was on the short list. Now we were sure that our child would be a boy, and that we would name him David (as an aside, we heard the same reading six years later before the birth of our youngest son, whom we had already decided would be named Samuel if he were a boy).
    Now, almost twenty years later and several states away, I see this same little church is in the news, but the news is not as happy as it was for us and our son David.  Granted, if you look at the Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini website, you see all the signs of thriving, vibrant parish: a wide range of charitable works and causes, parish activities such as craft fairs and picnics, prayer services, etc.  Most pastors would be ecstatic to have such involved, committed parishioners, except . . . there is no pastor.  There is, in fact, no parish any longer.  St. Francis X. Cabrini was one of several dozen parishes ordered closed by the Archdiocese of Boston 11 years ago, and the people devoting so much time and energy to their local church in Scituate have been occupying the property all these years in direct defiance of their bishop . . .

(To read the rest of this post go HERE)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Dark Matter: "Proving" God In A Materialist World

(This Throwback was first published on 30 January 2015)

Nasa graphic of the Big Bang theory from "Dark Energy, Dark Matter"
     How do you show young people that Christian belief is reasonable?  I’ve seen more and more over the years in which I have been teaching in Catholic High Schools that most of my students have been formed in a materialist worldview – even when they are professing Christians.  It’s an unspoken assumption in most of the classes they’ve taken, particularly the science classes.  They just assume that a transcendent God who cannot be measured or detected with scientific instruments cannot be shown to exist.  I have found that, with a little help from NASA and modern cosmology, many students can better understand that belief in God is at least as reasonable as many “scientific” concepts that are accepted almost without question.  
     Cosmological science offers a good illustration of some ways in which we apply reason to our world and experience.  You may occasionally hear in the news, for instance, reports of planets discovered in other solar systems.  We do not now have any instruments capable of “seeing” the planet itself; instead, we detect it by observing its effects on other things, such as the miniscule wobble its gravitational pull causes in the star it orbits, or the very slight changes in the light we observe from the star as the planet passes in front of it (read more here).  On an even grander scale, consider the question of “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy.” Over the past century, scientists have formulated what is known as the Big Bang Theory to account for the fact that the entire universe appears to be expanding at a consistent rate.  At the same time, they have calculated that in order for the universe to do what it seems to be doing, there needs to be much more matter and energy than we can detect – many times more.  As the NASA publication “Dark Energy, Dark Matter” explains (my italics): 

More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. But it is an important mystery. It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the Universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn't be called "normal" matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe. (full publication here

Notice that physicists say that more than 95% of the matter and energy in the universe is completely undetectable, and we may never be able to detect it.  There is no direct evidence of the existence of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, and yet they are sure it is there, only because of the effects we observe on other things.
     Much of the evidence for God’s involvement in our world is of a similar sort, at least for those who have not themselves had a direct experience of God.  Like Dark Energy, God cannot be measured with scientific instruments, but his effects are very clear.  Consider the case of Bernard Nathanson, an atheist doctor from a Jewish family who was one of the founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).  Nathanson himself performed or presided over tens of thousands of abortions until he was convinced by ultrasound images of the humanity of the unborn.  Deeply disturbed by his involvement in the taking of so many innocent lives, Nathanson, still an atheist, became active in pro-life activities, where he encountered many committed Christians.  He noticed something different about his religious friends, which he eventually recognized as what St. Paul called “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).  It was clear to him that the difference he saw was due to the religious dimension of their lives, the visible effects of their relationship with God.  He eventually converted from atheism to Catholicism.

Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520 from "Dark Energy, Dark Matter" 
     Literally millions of people have come to Faith in the same way over the last two thousand years.  Like Nathanson, they were first attracted by the effects they saw in others, and after embracing Christ, found the same changes in their own lives.  They very reasonably based their faith on the real results they saw in others, and in themselves. 
     That, by the way, is one way in which belief in God is different from a belief in Dark Energy or Dark Matter.  Nobody has ever had a personal encounter with Dark Energy, or seen a miracle performed by Dark Matter; countless people throughout the ages have had direct experiences of God, or witnessed His miracles, which continue up to the present day.  One might say that, when we examine the evidence of the world around us, belief in God is actually quite reasonable.

Related Posts: 

"What Would Darwin Do?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Christ Is The Only Firm Foundation For Western Civilization

Given the crisis surrounding the current influx of refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries into Europe, it seems Worth Revisiting this post from August 12th, 2014 (originally titled "If they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization”). To enjoy the work of other faithful Catholic bloggers see Worth Revisiting Wednesday, hosted by Elizabeth Reardon at and Allison Gingras at

It's never really safe to be a Christian

It’s never completely safe to be a Christian in this world.  In my recent Sunday Snippets post [here] I briefly discussed the plight of Christians in Iraq, who are facing brutal persecution at the hands of ISIS, an armed movement embracing a particularly virulent strain of radical Islam. I illustrated the post with the Arabic “N”, with which ISIS terrorists target Christian homes, and which has since become an emblem of solidarity and a badge of honor for Christians around the world.
The Fall of Rome
     That explicit identification as Christians, and with other Christians, is vitally important. I made the point the week before [here] that radical Islam would pose little threat to “a Christendom united in Faith and fortified with Prayer”. Unfortunately, what had been Christendom is rapidly de-Christianizing, which creates a twofold threat, both from within and from without.  The external threat, a radicalized and aggressive Islam, still looks relatively distant to those of us in the United States; it seems a lot more formidable in Europe.  There, a growing, poorly assimilated, and increasingly alienated and hostile  Muslim population  is combining with the forces of societal destruction under the guise of secularism and “multiculturism” to attack the very basis of historic (which means, essentially, Christian) European culture, as described by Joseph Pearce in a piece that is appearing on Life Site News [here].  The article is well worth reading in its entirety; the best summation of Pearce’s point comes in a quote from actor John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli in the screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  Rhys-Davies says: “I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged, and if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization”.  Since the actor first spoke these words several years ago, the concrete evidence of their truth has been rapidly multiplying, and so although the multi-culti wrecking ball pounds on, an increasing number of Europeans are starting to see multiculturalism for the civilizational suicide that it is.

"If we falter and lose our freedoms, 
it will be because we destroyed ourselves" -Abraham Lincoln

     To those of us in the United States the threat of islamism, although real, still seems remote.  The incidence of jihadism here can be seen as sporadic, with only a few serious incidents (9/11, the Fort Hood Massacre), and the local Muslim population is still quite small and has shown only scattered signs of radicalization – so far.  The heedless dismantling of our culture from within, however, proceeds apace.  I’ll provide just two recent examples.  First, the College Board, which through the content of its Advanced Placement (AP) exams determines the curriculum of thousands of high school classes around the country, has come with a new AP American History course [article herethat ignores great Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, jr.  Instead it emphasizes impersonal “historical forces” - and not so much those familiar to earlier generations of students like the development of democratic institutions, or religious tolerance.  From the Fox News article: 

“ . . . you’re not going to find Thomas Jefferson and the House of Burgesses and the cradle of democracy either,” said Larry Krieger, who retired in 2005 after more than three decades in the classroom.  And finally, you’re not going to find Benjamin Franklin and the birth of American entrepreneurialism . . . what you’re going to find is our nation’s founders portrayed as bigots who developed a belief in white superiority . . .”

The article adds that students will find, overall, “a narrative laden with tyranny and subjugation.”  
     As if it’s not enough that individual classes are convincing young people that their country is and always has been irredeemably corrupt, we now have entire schools dedicated to the purpose – at your expense.  We now have “social justice” charter schools [here], government schools funded with taxpayer money.  And while the term social justice has an honorable origin in Catholic social teaching, it has long since been hijacked by the left.  No, the students at these schools won’t be studying Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, they’ll be training in “social activism”, a.k.a. leftist political agitation.  All of which means that in certain localities in the United States we’ll have the curious phenomenon of the government expending public funds to set up public schools dedicated to training young people to tear it all down. 

"The Church of the Living God, the pillar 
and the foundation of the Truth." -1 Timothy 3:15

     Tearing it all down seems to be the program of the cultural and political left, whether we’re talking about multi-culturalism, the redefinition of marriage, revisionist history, or Robin Hood economic activism.  Very often, they don’t even seem to pretend anymore to have a coherent positive vision of what might replace all the institutions they seek to eradicate.  Not that it would help much if they did: every attempt to destroy a society that had developed over time in response to the real needs and experiences of human beings and construct on its ruins a society hatched in the brains of men (e.g., the French Revolution, Soviet Communism) has been a disaster; bloody, inhuman disaster, such as is still playing out in North Korea.  In similar fashion, the man-made religion of Islam has had a track record over the past millennium and a half of spawning anti-human horrors such the one currently on display in Iraq and Syria.
     The most profound and radical revolution in human history, on the other hand, was the transformation of the Greco-Roman civilization by the unlikely spread of Christianity.  It was no mere human idea, but the revelation of God himself in the person of Jesus Christ that subdued “the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome” (props to Edgar Allan Poe).  And notice that the Church didn’t so much destroy and replace the institutions of the Roman Empire as it “baptized” them and made them the bulwarks of a more humane culture [for more on that, see here and here].  When Rome did fall to invaders from the North, the Church worked the same transformation on the newcomers.
     And now here we are in a society that wants to do away with both the Church of Jesus Christ and the institutions passed on by our ancestors.  Do we really think that the empty shell that will be left can stand against the legions of the New Caliphate, or any other motivated and determined conqueror from without or within?


Friday, October 16, 2015

Abortion Myth # 3

MYTH: "There are few psychological consequences of abortion; most women simply feel relief."


- A study of the medical records of 56,741 California medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery. Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years. (link)

Approximately 60 percent of women who experience post-abortion sequelae report suicidal ideation, with 28 percent actually attempting suicide, of which half attempted suicide two or more times. (link)

-Over twenty studies have linked abortion to increased rates of drug and alcohol use. (link)

- Abortion is linked with increased depression, violent behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, replacement pregnancies, and reduced maternal bonding with children born subsequently. These factors are closely associated with child abuse and would appear to confirm individual clinical assessments linking post-abortion trauma with subsequent child abuse. (link)

- Post-abortion couples are more likely to divorce or separate. Many post-abortion women develop a greater difficulty forming lasting bonds with a male partner. (link)

- Women who have one abortion are at increased risk of having additional abortions in the future. Women with a prior abortion experience are four times more likely to abort a current pregnancy than those with no prior abortion history. (link)

- Some women experience all or some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (link)

-Some claim that having the "products of conception" removed in an abortion is no more traumatic than having a tooth pulled.  Yet many thousands of women belong to postabortion support groups such as Silent No More, Women Exploited By Abortion, and  American Victims of Abortion, or seek healing from programs like  Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard.  Why don’t survivors of other "common medical procedures" need support groups?

 To read the testimonies of women scarred by abortion, see Silent no More,Women Exploited By AbortionThe Elliot Institute

Another extensive resource on the documented psychological effects of abortion can be found here.


Essential Pro-Life Resources

Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments (link)  

The Elliot Institute (link)  

National Right To Life Committee (link)  

Care-Net (link)

The Nurturing Network (link)

To See The Entire Abortion Myths Series Click HERE

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Choice" and The Father of Lies

(Here in Maine we will be holding our Annual Right to Life Convention this coming weekend; it seemed to good time to re-publish this post from January 23rd of this year, 42 years and a day after the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision voided the abortion laws of all 50 states).

"He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)    

March For Life in Washington 22 January, 2015 (Washington Times photo)

     As we mark the ugly anniversary of Roe vs. Wade this week, it is only appropriate that we take a look at “Old Scratch” himself, the Devil.  In John’s Gospel our Lord tells us everything we need to know about the Devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning”, and “He is a liar, the father of lies”.  And what is his first lie, the Big Lie that is still his primary murder weapon? “You will not die . . . you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. (Genesis 3:4-5)  There will be no eternal consequences, Satan tells us, we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil, we are gods.  For this reason he is called “the Devil”, from the Greek διάβολος (diabolos), which means “slanderer, perjurer, false accuser, and can also mean “deceiver, one who misleads”.  It derives from the verb διαβάλλω (diaballo)whose original meaning is “drive through”, or destroy.  Satan seeks to destroy us, eternally, by using falsehood and deception to separate us from God.

     I got to thinking about all this the other day due to a comment from my Lovely Bride.  She had just run across this article [here] from the National Right To Life News, detailing certain pro-abortion "prayers" that are being circulated by our old friends at Planned Parenthood, and she couldn’t help but think of the observation of C.S. Lewis (and many others) to the effect that Satan can’t create anything on his own, all he can do is mock and falsify God’s creation.  I think she has a point.  PP calls their campaign by the inelegant title “40 Days of Prayer For Women Everywhere”, an obvious mockery of 40 Days For Life.  Here is a sample of a few of the Planned Parenthood “prayers”, from the NRTL News article:

     “We give thanks for the doctors who provide quality abortion care"

     “We pray for a cloud of gentleness to surround every abortion facility.”

     “We pray for all the staff at abortion clinics around the nation.  May they be daily            confirmed in the sacred care that they offer women.”

     “We give thanks for abortion escorts who guide women safely through the hostile gauntlet of protesters.”

     “We pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power [of choice, i.e.      abortion] by their religion.  May they learn to reject fear and live bravely.”

National Right To Life News notes that these “prayers” were composed by a group calling itself “Faith Aloud”, and that “Infamous late term abortionist Dr. Leroy Carhart is a member of the board.”
     My first reaction on reading this was: do these people really believe that God will surround their butchery of unborn babies made in His image and likeness with “a cloud of gentleness”? That this butchery could be in any sense called “sacred care”? That the Lord would smile upon their request to separate women from their (most often Christian) religion?  Well, maybe they don't, because these petitions are not actually addressed to God, or to anyone else for that matter.  Is it due to a lack of faith, or perhaps a realization that a just and loving God would not be likely to answer prayers such as these? Whatever the case may be,  these are the same people who mocked the words of the Heavenly Host with “Choice on Earth” Christmas cards (in Planned Parenthood newspeak, “choice” always means “abortion”); these are the same people who thought it a generous gesture after the terrorist attack on 9/11 to offer free abortions to pregnant widows of men who died in the World Trade Towers.  This macabre mockery of religious faith has been a part of the pro-abortion industry/movement for a long time, and it isn’t limited to that movement’s flagship enterprise: immediately after the Roe decision in 1973 a group calling itself the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR) was founded, which soon, recognizing that the truth in this case was a rather unlovely thing, changed their name to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  And that ugly truth is the reason for the euphemisms and the bizarre, phony prayers: if they’re honest, they lose, and so they must pretend to be something they’re not.

The Anti-Christ and the Father of Lies
     So, let’s see now, lies, mockery of God and sacred things, death, who does that sound like? Could it be…? Yes, you know where this is going.  Now, I’m not saying that the people at PP and their fellow travelers in the abortion industrial complex are Satans themselves: I’m willing to believe that most of them think they’re doing the right thing, and that they’re on the side of the angels.  The problem is, they are on the side of the fallen angels, led by the father of lies himself.  I am again reminded of the words of St. Paul: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the  powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly place” (Ephesians 6:12). 
     So how do we go about combating the powers of darkness?  St. Paul tells us to take on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13)  and pray at all times in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18that utterance may be given me in boldly proclaiming the Gospel (Ephesians 6:19).  
     It is a two-pronged strategy: first prayer and reliance on God, next a bold proclamation of the truth.  Thats why, before the March for Life in Washington and our local marches, we attend Mass or a prayer service.  We need to remember that, and remember that this isnt simply a matter of politics, its a matter of Good and Evil, the God of Truth and the father of lies.  Lets make sure we stay on the right side.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Marriages Are Made In Heaven

(My lovely bride and I celebrated our 29th Wedding Anniversary this past weekend; given that, as well as the Synod on the Family currently unfolding in Rome, it seems Worth Revisiting this post about marriage from January 14th, 2015. To enjoy the work of other faithful Catholic bloggers see Worth Revisiting Wednesday, hosted by Elizabeth Reardon at and Allison Gingras at

    Marriage is our oldest human institution, and the indispensible foundation for any successful society, and hence is a perennial topic of discussion.  Just this past week I’ve run across two different articles, one from a positive perspective, the other from the negative; together, they say a lot about marriage today, which is to say that they say a lot about the challenges facing our world.
     First, the good news.  This is a feature article from called “Seven ways to stay married” [full article here].  The author starts out by explaining that he wanted to know, “What can people do to have a happy, fulfilling, lifelong marriage?”  Rather than ask the so-called experts (“psychologist or self-help gurus”), he went to the real experts: “older Americans who have been married 50, 60, 70 years and more.”  What he found turns out to be not that surprising, at least the first six points (not all are really presented as “ways”): “ 1. Marriage is hard . . .  2. But marriage for a lifetime is worth it . . . 3. Marry someone a lot like you . . . 4. Think small . . . 5. Talk, talk, talk  . . . 6. Stop trying to change your partner.”  Number 7 looks like a new one at first: “Are we hungry?”  “The elders”, our author tells us, recommend stopping to eat when a big fight is in the offing.  As it turns out, the food is just a way of buying some “cooling off” time, which is another tried and true technique.

     The good news about the good news is that all of these things are commonsensical and accessible to anyone, once you know them.  My lovely bride and I have benefited from them (sometimes, it is true, after learning them the hard way) in our own experience over twenty-eight years of marriage.  The bad news is that such obvious things, most of which would have been conventional wisdom passed on from mothers and fathers to their children a couple generations ago, are now presented as revelations.  But it makes sense: how many newlyweds today can turn for advice to parents who are still married to each other?  The number is shrinking all the time.
     Which brings us to Exhibit B: a article called “Young men giving up on marriage: ‘Women aren’t women anymore’” [hat tip to Fr. Z; full article here].  The article draws on a survey from the Pew Research Center detailing attitudes about marriage among various people from various age groups.  One section focuses on data showing that young men are growing less interested in marriage: only 29% say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things, a six-point drop since 1997, while the number of women saying the same thing rose nine points to 37% over the same period (perhaps a reflection of the fact that women and their children suffer the brunt of family erosion more directly).  There are plenty of other frightening statistics in the article; I found this one particularly alarming:: “Just 20 percent of those aged 18 to 29 are married, compared with 59 percent in 1960.”  In other words, four out of five people in their prime child-bearing years are unmarried, which means they are either denying their children the enormous advantages of married parents who are committed to each other and to the family, or they are having no children at all.  Those who do get married after thirty will have much less time for building a family (fertility starts declining sharply after 35, here), but a surprisingly large number of them will never marry at all, according to Pew’s own updated summary [full summary here] of their survey:

                In 1960, some 12% of adults ages 25-34 had never been married.  After 10 years, when that group was between the ages of 35 and 44, 7% of them still hadn’t wed.  By 1980, when they were in their mid-40s to -50s, only 5% had still never married.  The next cohort starting in 1970 followed a similar trajectory.  However, each new cohort of young adults since then has had a higher share of never-married members than the cohort that came before it.  If current trends continue, 25% of young adults in the most recent cohort (ages 25-24 in 2010) will have never married by 2030.  That would be the highest share in modern history. (Pew Research: “Record Share of Americans Have Never Married” – bold mine)

     We are headed into uncharted waters.  In most western countries we are not producing enough babies to replace our current population as it dies, and an increasing proportion of those children who are being born are being raised outside of the framework of the traditional family, with all the well-documented implications for their own well-being and the health and stability of society as a whole.  And, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better soon: the Pew report also tells us that 67% of those aged 18-29, the prime family-building years, are off the opinion that “society is just as well off if people have other priorities than marriage and children”. This is a recipe for societal suicide.

     And yet . . . I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet.  Let’s return to the first article for a moment, on the Seven Ways to Stay Married.  We are told that marriage is hard, “both because of the range of stresses and problems that confront all couples, but also because of the fundamental difficulty of merging two separate and different people into one single life.”  Nonetheless, for those who persevere, “It is a sublime experience, a connection to another person unlike any other relationship.  The elders describe it as the experience of a lifetime.” 
     Now, I’m not privy to the author’s private notes, but I can’t help but suspect he’s left something out.  Where do people find the strength and perseverance to stay at it long enough to merge themselves ”into one single life” with another person?  In effect, to sacrifice themselves? One might almost say, to become one flesh? I find it very surprising that none of these long-married couples seem to make any mention of Faith, or relying on the help of God.  Most of the long-married couples I know (not all, it is true, but most) would put those things at the very top of their list.  Surely many of those who spoke to this author did the same. In any case, we know, as Psalm 127 puts it, “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor”, and also “Truly sons are a gift from the Lord, a blessing, the fruit of the womb”.  Not only that, Jesus Christ provides us with both a model of self-sacrifice, and help in bearing our own burdens. 
     Just as God is the only sure foundation for individual marriages, so he is for society as a whole.   Scripture tells us to be ready with reasons for the Hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15), which means we need to be prepared to speak out on the importance of marriage and family; we also know that those who are not amenable to reason can often be swayed by the power of example, and so we need to show by our actions we honor and support marriage and family life, and that we find it a joyous, "sublime" experience.  Above all, we need to pray for marriage, families, and for our society, and ask the Lord to yet again “turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) and heal our wounded culture.