Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

By: Kathleen Yacharn

Generally, it’s much easier to get someone to tell you about a bad time they had at a restaurant, a hotel, an airline or concert venue than it is to get someone to tell you about the good time they had. Most of us don’t bother with writing online reviews for the decent or even great meals or stays we had. But why is it that usually within a day or two of an uncomfortable time with a rude server, long wait, or bad food, we’re signing up for an account on Yelp or Urban Spoon, ready to unleash our righteous anger, of course as a civic duty to help others avoid the place?

Isn’t it because people are so much more motivated by strong emotion than by satisfied entitlement? When we have even a great time, we might tell a few people, but isn’t that what we expected in the first place? Instead of appreciating the good things in our lives, we take them in and move on with a sense of complacency, which unfortunately bleeds into our civic and moral lives, too.

sleeping babyFor those of us who believe in protecting God’s creation, from conception to natural death, we have to be careful to avoid that cultural complacency. If we are pro-life, then we have to live that truth 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not just once a year during the March for Life. We have to communicate the message tirelessly because it is a matter of life and death and anything less than ceaseless effort can tip the scales in people’s hearts and minds toward the great lie that is the culture of death.

I write this asking you to take the time today, literally just a few minutes, to support life in a meaningful way. The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s two bishops. Bishop Paul S. Loverde of our Arlington Diocese and Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Richmond Diocese. They need you to comment on yet another machination of the abortion industry trying to promote their cause at the expense of the lives of innocents. Read below the VCC’s request, share it with your friends, and truly support life today.


Your Comments Needed as Abortion Center Regulations Review Begins

The Virginia Department of Health is now reviewing the recently enacted abortion center health and safety regulations (several years before regulations are typically reviewed) due to a recent directive from Governor McAuliffe. 
Click here to tell the Board of Health that this review process is premature and that these commonsense regulations must be maintained. Public comments will be accepted until July 31, 2014.

Again and again, the abortion industry claims that these regulations are unnecessary and expensive. Yet, inspections of these abortion centers repeatedly reveal health and safety violations that are endangering Virginia women.

One particularly egregious violation was uncovered during a biennial 
licensure review inspections at one Virginia abortion center. The abortion center’s complication log revealed that 15 of the 18 complications recorded in January 2014 were “incomplete medical terminations” (RU-486). In 11 of those cases the women returned for another chemical abortion, while 4 women decided to have surgical abortions. RU-486 is only approved by the FDA to be used in the first 49 days of pregnancy with a “failure” rate of 8%.  This incredibly high complication rate puts women’s well being at great risk. If these abuses are occurring while abortion centers are regularly inspected, imagine the conditions with no regulations! Please click here to tell the Board of Health to maintain all the regulations because the abortion industry cannot self-regulate.

If you are not a member of the Conference’s advocacy network, click 
here to receive regular Conference email alerts and updates. Please like us on Facebook, follow@VACatholicConf on Twitter, and sign up for our blog at www.fromthetibertothejames.wordpress.com.

In prayer and in public, your voices are urgently needed to bring Gospel values to bear on vital decisions being made by those who represent you.

The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.

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By: Thomas O’Neill

Some things are so predictable that you take them as a given, such as fireworks on the National Mall on Independence Day, or fireworks throughout the media and the political world whenever the Supreme Court hands down a decision on a socially contentious issue. June 30 proved to be no exception.

When the Supreme Court decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was handed down, the reaction was immediate and intense. Some folks, especially those on the side of Hobby Lobby, were excited about the affirmation of religious liberty. Yet, in the media, the reaction was largely negative – outrage over the “denial” of contraception to employees, and a parade of “horribles” about what would be denied next, by whom and to whom.

Hobb3Petula Dvorak, in a column for the Washington Post, attempted to strike a middle path, calling the decision “dangerous,” and warning that “the five male justices who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby just handed employers a powerful tool to opt out of laws they don’t like.” Yet, Dvorak also admits that Hobby Lobby isn’t forcing their employees not to use contraception — their employees are still free to buy it on their own. But now, she argues, many lower-tier employees will be unable to afford contraception and will fall back on less reliable methods, leading “inevitably” to more abortions.

One of the greatest canards involved in this case — the seemingly universal assumption that contraception has been an unmitigated blessing on American society. This myth persists not because it is true, but because it is so widely accepted that the only time people talk about the Pill’s effects is simply to laud it as the wonderful gift that it is.

Taking a deeper look gives us a more nuanced view. Contraception was billed as liberating women from the “tyranny” of motherhood, of being forever relegated to the sidelines of bearing and raising children. It also promised to prevent a population explosion, preventing unintended pregnancies and the overpopulation of our planet. Finally, it would liberate us from the puritanical sexual mores which had repressed sexual relations for centuries. The truth – in the form of a pill – was here to set us free.

Worried woman visiting a psychologist.Unfortunately, the actual story of contraception in America is not quite as idyllic. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, social effects have gotten dramatically worse, not better. Abortion rates are quadruple what they were in 1970, and 51 percent of women who have an abortion report using contraceptives the month they got pregnant. From 1960 to 2011, the percentage of children living with a single parent has tripled, and among women under 30 today, 53 percent of all births are to unwed mothers. Meanwhile, when asked about having a child outside of wedlock, almost 56 percent of high school seniors view it as “a worthwhile lifestyle choice” and as “not affecting anyone else.”

Since contraception use became widespread, the connection between sex, marriage, and children has been lost, to the detriment of our society and particularly our children. Countless studies have shown that children of single parents and cohabitors are significantly more likely to: have psychological problems, drop out of high school, become unwed parents, and to end up in poverty.1 Moreover, these results are true even after controlling for race, family background, and socio-economic factors.

All of this in the name of “liberating” adults. Yet, do any of us really believe that consequence-free sex justifies all these negative effects? Has casual sex, cohabitation, and marriages with a 50 percent chance of divorce really made anyone happier?

Not all of this can be laid at the feet of contraception — many other factors are involved, of course. But the overall culture that contraception creates has not been a boon to women, children, or to society.

[1] See the Institute of American Values’s The State of Our Unions 2012 and Why Marriage Matters: 30 Conclusions from the Social Sciences for a summary of hundreds of social scientific studies on these topics.

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By: Natalie Plumb

We celebrated a tremendous victory on Monday when the Supreme Court decided in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects closely held, private for-profit corporations from being forced to comply with the HHS mandate under Obamacare. The mandate would force these corporations to provide insurance coverage of abortifacient drugs and devices, regardless of the owners’ religious conscience, and despite their faith that forbids complicity in abortion. For cogent Catholic responses to this, read this articlethis article, this article and this article.


I must not be the first to notice that, in the midst of this grand decision, we are also in the midst of the Fortnight for Freedom, “a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power — St. Thomas More, the Patron of the Diocese of Arlington, St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.”

Today, on July 4, we celebrate our Independence Day. That means freedom. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom of speech; freedom of the press; freedom of religion. As the First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Thank you, Supreme Court, for upholding those roots and those rights. But, as Bishop Loverde stressed in his column, never stop praying; never quit fighting! The battle has only just begun.

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By: Sr. Clare Hunter

The Washington Post’s Louise Melling wrote last week about how satisfying it is that a movie portrays abortion sympathetically and even comically. However, for me, other testimonials come to mind…

  • Joyce tells me that she keeps having dreams of her 30-year-old daughter. She is a beautiful young woman who smiles at her. It has helped ease some of the pain in dealing with the abortion, and she is wondering if this is a sign that her daughter, and God, have forgiven her.
  • A hospice nurse shared with me an experience of being at the deathbed of 85-year-old Lydia. The nurse realized that Lydia was not in physical pain, but emotional turmoil.  Lydia burst into tears and begged forgiveness for an abortion she had 65 years ago and never spoke about. After the priest came, Lydia’s body relaxed and she looked “radiant,” dying peacefully the next day.
  • I read a comment from Lea, who said:  As someone who worked at an abortion clinic for seven years, I find it now quite disturbing. Although I do not sit and scold girls for having it, I must say there is a lot about it we won’t tell you. I cleaned up a lot. The bodies of aborted babies got thrown in dumpsters pretty much. What really got to me was whenever I performed one, I could feel the baby twitch. Like a startled type of twitch. For years I didn’t think much until my daughter got pregnant at 14 and I performed one on her. When that baby twitched and got thrown away, I cried in secret for weeks. Those babies had nerves. My grandchild had nerves. They felt their heads being crushed. Now, respect my opinion as I will respect yours, but to me, that is murder. And no longer do I find it a choice someone can make because it’s their body. I no longer believe it is just their body. It’s someone else in their body. And I can’t bring myself to support it. My daughter committed suicide five months later.[1]

I get it. I actually understand why people want to make us laugh about abortion. The articles, blogs, and reviews about the upcoming romantic comedy, “Obvious Child,” are correct. If one in three (the number is actually more like one in four[2], but I see the logic in making it seem like “everybody’s doing it”) women have an abortion,[3] then there are a countless number of mothers in our country who are living with the reality of ending the life of their child. That also means there are equally that many fathers whose sons and daughters were killed. Should we mention the grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters? Regardless of the religious, political, and socio-economic backgrounds, there is nowhere we can go, no family, no relationship left unscathed by abortion.  That is too much. It is too painful, overwhelming, and inconsolable.  In the unbearable guilt, grief, and fear, it makes perfect sense to do what I — what we — do best. Desensitize.

sad-man-and-womanIn our fallen nature, what should shock us, make us uncomfortable, and repulse us usually becomes entertainment.  From Circus Maximus to public hangings, the crowds cheering at the guillotine of the French Revolution to reality television, we are experts at normalizing the profane.  A phenomenon studied and theorized for centuries; people continue to need psychological and physical outlets to deal with horrible, inhumane behavior and deep woundedness.

Secretly, we seek that macabre pleasure of knowing that someone is more “messed up” than we are. But the answer cannot continue to be desensitizing through entertainment.  In fact, what we need is more sensitivity. The mother and father who chose abortion do not need levity to deal with their tragedy. Whether there is guilt or regret — now or later — they will have to face the reality of their decision to end the life of their child, just as all of us have to face the wounds we incur in our lifetime. I believe that by desensitizing ourselves to painful situations and the consequences of grave immoral choices, we become incapable of knowing true selfless love and honesty. As relationships of love are based on sensitivity, what becomes of a culture desensitized?

[1] Gurl.com, 90% Of Women Who Had Abortions Felt Relieved (2013).

[2] Guttmacher Institute, Fact Sheet: Induced Abortion in the United States (2014).

[3] The Daily Signal, In ‘Obvious Child,’ Abortion as Comedy at a Theater Near You (2014).

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By: Therese Bermpohl

Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI).

So begins the imaginary conversation that I have been having in my mind with Governor Terry McAuliffe, an avowed Catholic, ever since he ordered the Virginia Board of Health to review state abortion clinic regulations yesterday.  I’m certain that if I could just get him alone for 30 minutes I could explain to him the truth about the human person, the value of every woman, and last but not least, what is wrong with his policies and his thinking with regard to abortion.  I would say something like:

mother-childThe truth is, governor, the abortion clinic regulations help women.  They attempt to prevent the events that occurred in Kermit Gosnell’s shop of horrors from potentially happening in clinics throughout Virginia.  In fact, women do die from botched abortions in legal government sanctioned facilities.

The truth is, governor, every abortion destroys an image of God…a life full of promise, willed, loved and necessary.

The truth is, governor, that although you have been entrusted by the people of Virginia with the highest position in the state, you would have no power at all had it not been given to you from Above.

The truth is, governor, you will be called to give an account of your life before the Great Judge.  I ask you sincerely to reflect on your policies toward women and the unborn before that moment in time when you no longer have the opportunity to change your ways.

In the meantime, I will pray that your eyes will be opened and that your heart will be stirred to protect and defend all life from conception to natural death…so that at the moment of your natural death, you will hear the long-awaited words of the Lord: Well done, good and faithful servant.

Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington issued the following statement in response to Gov. McAuliffe’s actions.

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By: Sr. Clare Hunter

With the Hobby Lobby suit going on in the Supreme Court, there is a great deal of “The Pill” in the news. It is certainly a hot topic, with statistics, medical information and lots of personal opinions coming at us left and right. Environmentalists and scientists have been warning us for years that women’s use of artificial hormonal birth control is not a private matter. In fact, it has worldwide effects. Not only are there moral implications regarding the use of artificial contraception to prevent pregnancy, but what about the moral implications of using a drug that can cause cancer in others, or change the ecosystem?

Studies show that birth control pills have a negative effect on the environment, and primarily the water system. Scientists report that “many decades of research have shown that when released into the environment, a group of hormones known as estrogens, both synthetic and naturally occurring, can have a serious influence on wildlife. This includes the development of intersex characteristics in male fish, which diminishes fertility and fecundity.”[1] Water treatment plants are not able to break down the hormones excreted by women who are using the Pill: High estrogen levels have been found in rivers in Paris, and studies seem to show that in some places the levels of estrogen found in waterways are high enough to affect human health.[2]

Prescription NeededHere’s a fascinating study that questions the link between prostate cancer in men and the Pill. David Margel and Neil Fleshner, of the University of Toronto in Ontario, looked at contraceptive pill usage and incidence of prostate cancer in 88 countries around the world. In every case, they found a significant correlation between the two.[3] Although studies continue to look at various possibilities, and findings are inconclusive, the scientists consider this a valid and strong component in the mystery of the increase in prostate cancer; the fact is that estrogen-like chemicals pass into the urine and ultimately make their way into the water supply.

There are consistent reports that show that the environment and human health are being detrimentally affected by women’s use of chemical contraceptives, which has environmentalists around the world searching for solutions. If findings continue to reveal these links, govern­ments will need to step in to enact laws and regulations to protect innocent citizens and future generations.

The Catholic Church has spoken consistently on the need to protect and care for creation, as it is God’s gift. Pope John Paul II stated: “Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith.”[4] There is a moral responsibility to care for God’s creation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”[5]

[1] Susan Jobling and Richard Owen, “Ethinyl Oestradiol in the Aquatic Environment,” in Late Lessons from Early Warnings: Science, Precaution, Innovation (Copenhagen, Denmark: Europa Environment Agency, 2013), 279.

[2] Wynne Parry, “Water Pollution Caused by Birth Control Poses Dilemma,” Live Science, May 23, 2012; and “7 Surprising Facts about the Pill,” Live Science, June 21, 2011.

[3] David Margel and Neil E. Fleshner, “Oral Contraceptive Use Is Associated with Prostate Cancer: An Ecological Study,” BJM Open 1.2 (2011), http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/1/2/e000311.full.

[4] John Paul II, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace (January 1, 1990), n. 15.

[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2415.

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By: Deacon Marques Silva

Last week was the March for Life. The day after, I read a blog quote that said:

It’s impossible to be at the March and not hear the comparison between abortion and slavery. But abortion is not slavery. Both are/were deeply polarizing issues, and both inspired massive movements to outlaw them. But slavery was a deliberate attempt to monetize a class of people slaveholders considered equivalent to animals. It was a systemic, calculated, and brutal.

M4L2014RussellSenateblgbalconyI would submit that this is a sophmoric, if not irresponsible, statement – especially due to the youthful readers that it influences (James 3:1). Regrettably, “The court decisions on slavery vs. abortion demonstrate an equivalent denial of personhood for two different categories of human beings, slaves and unborn children.”[1] The fact remains that abortion is a very lucrative money-maker. I dare to say that Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, should be considered a subject matter expert as an international civil rights leader who is quoted as saying:

How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate. (Emphasis mine)

It is callous and inhuman not to see that both slaves and the pre-born share the same discriminatory qualities by being depersonalized, used for profit, and experiencing the same systematic, calculated and brutal fate. I would be open to agreeing with the author if he was willing to admit that the pre-born and yes, partially-born (in ages past we called partial-birth abortion infanticide) that this is worse than slavery. This is genocide.feet-in-chains

Just as a sidebar, the Church finds all forms of slavery just as reprehensible. There is no excuse for the enslavement of a people for any reason; whether it be the Africans of our own colonial heritage, immigrant labors (legal or otherwise) and most recently, sexual human trafficking which is not just an international issue but equally a domestic problem run by gangs. As Cardinal O’Malley is quoted in the Boston Herald:

For us, life is at the very center of our social teachings…When the state begins to decide who is worthy of living and who isn’t, all human rights are put in jeopardy, but the voice of the church is very clear. And we’re not just saying that life is precious in the womb but life is precious when someone has Alzheimer’s when someone has AIDS when someone is poor when someone has mental illness. Their humanity is not diminished – and they have a claim on our love and on our services. So the church’s position is a very consistent one. It is a consistent life ethic.[2]

In a country and society that prides itself on its rationalism and fact-based approach to – well, everything, urban myths abound around the subject of abortion. Again, many in the mental health field have suggested that abortion is primarily aimed at the poor who have no other resources and thus, out of fear, procure an abortion. In fact, the statistics bear that out:

Between 2001 and 2008, already large disparities in unintended pregnancy by income level increased. The national unintended pregnancy rate in 2008 was 54 per 1,000 women aged 15–44, meaning that about 5% of women of reproductive age have an unplanned pregnancy each year. Among poor women, however, the rate of unintended pregnancy was more than five times that of women with an income of at least 200% of the federal poverty level (137 vs. 26 per 1,000 women 15–44). The recession and shifts in population demographics may be contributing factors…[3]

The numbers are now demonstrating that there has been a substantial increased use of abortion by Blacks and Hispanics below the federal poverty line. The only caveat I would add is the closest generator of reliable data is provided by the Guttmacher Institute – the former research affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Which brings me to my point. Even the Guttmacher research, in providing data on reasons for abortion, contradicts this common assertion that most abortions are procured due to a lack of income and/or resources. In fact it says, 69.5 percent are procured for a variety of convenience reasons, 23 percent out of affordability, 7 percent for health issues (mother and/or child), and 0.5 percent are rape victims.[4]

All disordered decisions are a result of fear. And yet, most decisions do not involve the violent death of the most  defenseless and innocent among us. That being said, the author of the blog did touch on an issue that has some traction to it. He said that the March for Life it is rather “safe”. For many, we would rather protest, sign petitions and march than get our hands dirty and jump into the trenches. Mr. John Zmirak treats this beautifully in his blog post, Our Hot, Sexy Culture: Welcome to the Burn Ward which reviews a current movie. “Gimme Shelter”. It is not that the march is safe but rather, it should be a jump point to battle the underlying causes that result in abortion.

I also feel the need to comment that I think the 0.5 percent of women who report they were forced into abortion is way too low.[5] For many abortion is not about a choice but un-choice[6]. I am privileged to work with Ms. Sarah LaPierre and her team at the Arlington diocese Gabriel Project and Project Rachel. These ministries are among a number of the best kept secrets in the diocese, and they shouldn’t be. They have exposed me to many amazing and courageous post-abortive and single-mother women who have taught and clearly demonstrated to me, that forced abortions are far more common than we are willing to admit or report.

Abortion is slavery. Abortion is genocide. Abortion is legal and reveals the malignant tumor that is festering in the soul of America. I would like, over the next year, to see the mental health field admit their complicity in this human rights crime. It is neither a way to “cull the welfare rolls,”[7] nor a necessity answering the claim that “If we banned abortion outright, there is no way we could handle the influx of children needing homes, assuming the parent chose to not raise his or her child.” What needs to change is a throwaway and convenience society and government that wants quick solutions for long-term investments: people. Abortion is not just slavery of the unborn for commercial financial gain; it enslaves the culture that allows it.

We need to assist the poorest of the poor – I have worked with and led organizations serving them at the domestic and international level. But if we refuse to recognize the hierarchy of goods, a reasoned approach to who is the most innocent and defenseless, and what constitutes personhood and sexuality, then we will always compromise and end up loving things and using people – even with the best of intentions.

[1] “Slavery Compared to Abortion,” Illinois Right to Life Committee, January 25, 2014, accessed January 25, 2014, http://www.illinoisrighttolife.org/SlaveryAbortion.htm.

[2] Jessica Heslam, “Full Interview with Cardianl O’Malley,” BostonHerald.com, January 21, 2014, accessed January 29, 2014, http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/01/full_interview_with_cardinal_o_malley.

[3] “Unintended Pregnancy Remains a Persistent Problem in the United States,” Guttmacher Institute, January 29, 2014, accessed January 29, 2014, http://www.guttmacher.org/.

[4] L.B. Finer et al., “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37 (2005):110-118 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf; visited March 19, 2009).

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Why Is Abortion the Unchoice?,” Abortion is the unchoice, January 29, 2014, accessed January 29, 2014, http://www.theunchoice.com/intro.htm.

[7] John Zmirak, “Our Hot, Sexy Culture: Welcome to the Burn Ward,” Aleteia, January 28, 2014, accessed January 29, 2014, http://www.aleteia.org/en/society/article/our-hot-sexy-culture-welcome-to-the-burn-ward-5259862367797248?.

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By: Sr. Clare Hunter

Yesterday, I was actually perspiring. However, the weather changed so rapidly that I spent most of this morning angry that the 40th March for Life is tomorrow, after a “snow storm” and on a day with a projected high of 15 degrees, which we all know means it will feel like zero. I will confess I even whined, “Why is God doing this to us?” Now, thousands will not come to the March for Life. Of course, even with smaller numbers, the events will still go on. The beautiful Mass for Human Life will be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Arlington Diocese will host the Life is VERY Good night of prayer tonight at the Patriot Center, with a concert with Matt Maher and an hour of Adoration. The crowd will not be at the expected capacity of 8500, but it will be full of love, life and prayer. Tomorrow morning there will be three rallies and Masses for teens at the Verizon Center, D.C. Armory, and the Patriot Center. Each venue was sold out, expecting to host 40,000 youth from around the nation. The rally at the March for Life will be wonderful, and the crowds will still be impressive.

March for LifeOf course, God is not to blame for bad weather. On the bright side, maybe those who do come will impress the media, and they will give coverage to the March for Life, which has been profoundly missing from media outlets for years. The March for Life will happen regardless of the numbers. And in fact, maybe the sacrifices made by the thousands who will not be able to attend, and the thousands who will brave the bitter cold, is the very thing that will save a child from being aborted, stop a mother and father from making the worst decision of their lives, and cause hearts to be thawed, and changed, that laws in our nation will protect human life.

Today at Mass, the homilist reminded us that we do not know how God works, and that we must trust that the intentions of our hearts, our will for the good, is His very desire. Of course, in my opinion, it should be His desire to have hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million, come to the 40th March for Life. The success of record crowds at Masses and rallies throughout the area would impress the nation, solve all our problems, and change the world!

The notion that God might have other desires and plans that do not make sense to me reminded me of the story of Gideon’s Army. The Lord told Gideon he had too many men to fight (not the typical strategy for winning battles), because should they win, they would consider the victory a success of their power, not God’s. And so God ordered Gideon to shrink his army from 22,000 to 300 men. Thus, the glory and power of God shone forth through the 300 men chosen to fight and win the battle.

We will miss our friends who will not be able to join us tonight and tomorrow, and we join you in the battle for life in prayer and sacrifice. We offer special prayers of safety for those of you traveling tonight and tomorrow. And we especially pray for the trust to say, “God’s will be done!” Those of us who will be at the March for Life tomorrow must trust that there is a reason we are there, bodily, and offer our physical sufferings and sacrifices to God, reminding ourselves that to Him alone belongs the victory.

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By: Sr. Clare Hunter

I’ll confess, though not a devout Facebook user, I have it, and I learn from it. A scan of the news feed shows me pictures and news of friends (um, real ones) and family, articles on faith,  recipes, videos, and world news. My “friends” happen to give me a lot of information about the Arlington Diocese, life issues, sexuality, and Pope Francis. Overall, it has become my go-to place to get a quick view of what is going on. I can see why they don’t have options to click “dislike,” or “pathetic,” or “this is sick.” I suppose I could put that in the comment section, but that would be a lot of work, and un-Sisterly. For the most part, my “friends” are quite tame as far as information goes, but I have run across a fair share of links that pose the question: “how much crazier are things going to get?”  There is some whacked stuff out there! In the spirit of generosity, I thought I should share a few. Feel free to reassure me that I am not completely insane.

 Two different stories coming out of the Big Apple: an animal rights group is filing a petition in to make a law which would establish the “legal personhood” of chimpanzees; meanwhile, New York City currently holds the national record for highest percentage of black and hispanic babies aborted at 81.9% of the 83,750 babies aborted in 2010. According to the report issued by the Centers for Disease Control, New York continues to hold the record for most abortions annually at 115,724, as reported by those abortion facilities participating (which makes one wonder about those not in compliance and not legally required).

 About a month ago an inspiring and tear-jerking story went viral about a “Mother’s Love” and her premature baby boy’s fight for life, which he won through the love of his parents. Please watch this video made by his father as a gift to his mother: Ward Miles – First Year. Meanwhile, in Belgium, they are fighting to pass laws to euthanize children.

 I had to read this one twice and call a friend to verify I was reading it correctly. Apparently, there is the proposal of the A.B. 460 law that would allow for same-sex couples to get insurance coverage for their, er….”infertility problem.” Read more from the National Catholic Bioethics Center Commentary here. There is something to be said for the moxy of individuals or groups who, once biological realities are eschewed, push the limits to what would be a logical outcome of such a denial. It follows that once we change the definition of marriage, sexual intercourse, or decide being male or female is an option, we have to change the definitions of fertility and infertility. I feel naïve for being surprised. If a whole kingdom did not say anything when its Emperor paraded around naked, but rather admired his clothes, this should seem rather normal.

 Okay, let’s end on a few fun things provided by my Facebook education:

Pope Frodo?

I am Emma Woodhouse in: “Who in Fiction Are You?”

Fr. Lundberg reminds me: Millennials Are the Hopeful Generation

Catholic Memes – Great job on St. Nicholas



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By: Sr. Clare Hunter

In my opinion, it is a sin if you have not seen “It’s A Wonderful Life.” In addition to being my favorite movie, isn’t the question that ultimately drives the film part of a good examination of conscience to make each night? “What if I did not exist?”

wonderful_lifeAs we thank God for His many gifts, are we really accepting that our lives are part of His divine plan? Are our thoughts and actions in accord with His Will for our existence? Most of us spend a great deal of time deciding what is unlovable, unacceptable and why, in fact, our existence is not such a good thing. Very dangerous territory, isn’t it? If we think the good of our existence is measurable, then the life of others is measurable. In our throwaway society, what we don’t like, we get rid of.

At this time in history, more and more of us should be asking another question. “Why am I one of the lucky ones to make it?” With an estimated 50 million abortions since 1973, the fact that we got to take our first breath is more of a miracle than we think. I have had the blessing of hearing many accounts from mothers and fathers who admitted to me that they almost aborted their son or daughter. I have even had grandparents confess with a look of horror in their eyes that they pressured their child to have an abortion, and how grateful they are each day for the life of their grandchild.

Each life saved is a gift! The circumstances of how life was chosen in the endvary from the support of a loved one to the absolute miracle of divine intervention. Whatever the case may be, each parent must shudder to think “what if” when they look at their son or daughter before them, and must know inexpressible gratitude and certainty that they made the right decision.

Providentially, I happen to be aware of a number of priests and religious, even some conceived and born well before the legalization of abortion, whose parents considered aborting them. Certainly, this is a profound aspect of their discernment and vocation story! The following poem is written by the mother of a priest. Many would think that having a baby at seventeen would certainly ruin the life of a woman. What a blessing that this mother did not agree  her story proves that choosing life is wonderful!

May God bless her abundantly for choosing life, and offering that life to God!

Just seventeen

Full of hopes and dreams

She then found out she was a pregnant teen

Pressure from many

To end a blessed life

Scared, confused, and alone facing each day with strife

Then visions of new hopes and new dreams appeared in bright light

She knew in her heart she couldn’t take a life.

God spoke her name one snowy eve

Giving her peace, strength, and courage,

Yes she believed

The boy took his first breath on a hot summer day

The path was set,

He was on his way

When she first saw her son, so fragile and small

She instantly loved him and

Knew in her heart

She had been called

Called to raise her son from an infant to a man

She would need God and a really good plan!

Daily life took over and she didn’t always know

That God was right there with her

She was never alone

He protected her son and held her hand tight

He whispered to her heart and helped her though each night

Guiding her choices and making her strong

He help her become a Mother and to see right from wrong

As she watched her baby, learn and grow

She began to see the Holy man she would soon know

As a small boy he was playful, happy, and kind

As a teen he grew strong, self-confident, and sublime

She often wondered “how it could be

That this fantastic young man is part of me”!

Many years passed by and on one quiet day, she was thinking out loud

She thought of her life

As she stared up at the clouds

Her entire life flashed past her

In an instant it seemed

Was she really the best that she could possibly be?

She knew the answer and she began to pray

She asked God for forgiveness and gave thanks for each day

When she was finished and wiped her tears

She knew for certain that God had been with her through all of those years

He was with her always during her life

Through the joy, happiness, bad choices and strife

He gave her the wisdom

To give her child life

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