Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of MaryLonger ago than I want to admit a reader emailed me a suggestion to add to the resource section of the blog. I didn’t forget about her suggestion, but life got crazy, all my projects have been needing my attention–and mostly not getting any attention at all–and illness of one kind or another got in the way, too. But tonight I finally began the page. Healing, Hope and Encouragement is now live on the site. It’s just a beginning but at least it has begun. My sincere thanks to the reader who sent the suggestion and my sincere apologies for taking so long. May something on the list help you or someone you know somehow somewhere sometime. And may the Lord richly bless you and yours now and always. Amen.

Healing, Hope and Encouragement is a new page in the resource section of the blog. Because we’re living in a fallen world and we’re all in need of healing and hope and no small amount of encouragement. God bless you!

[Brief list of voting guides at the end of this post and on the new Vote page.] People have told me here at the blog, in emails, on forums, in conversations, that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics, has nothing to do with choosing a candidate, has nothing to do with any part of life except one hour on Sunday. Most of these people are not Catholic or they would realize many of us don’t go to Mass just that one hour on Sunday; many of us go during the week, too, and some go every day of their lives and always have. Even so, being Catholic is not just about what we do at Mass, no matter how many times a week we attend.

And voting as a Catholic is not merely a matter of prayer and reflection, but prayer and reflection on the teachings of the Church, listening to the priests and bishops giving guidance concerning the teachings of the Church, and doing our best to live as faithful Catholics abiding by the teachings of the Church. Yes, we have to follow our consciences. But first —FIRST–we have to FORM our consciences! And how do we form our consciences? By listening to our priests and bishops, the Chief Bishop, and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the marvelous teaching documents written by the Popes (including but not limited to the last two Popes, the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI).

There is absolutely no excuse for any Catholic old enough to vote not to know his or her faith. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (here or here or here) and/or study the Catechism and the documents written by the Popes and the documents of Vatican II, and much more, all on the web and all for free. The bishops of the USCCB have been trying to teach people for some time now and the “faithful” blithely ignore them and say they can follow their own consciences. Without forming them!

Yes, some bishops are less than stellar examples. So don’t follow their examples! But do as they say, the same way Jesus told the disciples to do what the Pharisees said do. But He told them not to do as the Pharisees did! And besides, a good many bishops are wonderful shepherds and I pray for them every day. They do not have an easy job. Shepherding Catholics is like herding cats. Everybody wants to be his own Pope! Well, there’s only one Pope and he’s in Rome!

So form your Catholic conscience and THEN follow it! Read Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) and Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). Study them (study guides to  Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae). I’ve been told that the Church has yet to rule on abortion being a sin. Newsflash: The Church has taught that abortion is a grave sin since the time of the early Church, in the Didache (in chapter two, really the second paragraph)! And we know that taking it upon ourselves to take an innocent life is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

So right there, before we go any further, we can see that if a candidate wants to do everything in his power to promote and support abortion and cram it down the throats of the people and refuses to do anything that would limit abortion, which is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always and everywhere a serious and grave sin, then, guess what? A Catholic may not vote for that candidate and say that he is following his Catholic conscience. Because he would be demonstrating that he does not, in fact, have a Catholic conscience!

We can vote for someone who does not share our idea of the intrinsic evil of abortion IF–IF IF IF–we have reason to believe that that person would act in such a way as to limit abortion more than another candidate would. And we do have just this case in our political landscape as I write these words. We must vote in such a way as to limit evil. If you vote for the candidate who has put into positions of authority numerous people formerly connected with the largest abortion provider in this country, then you are not voting to limit evil, you are voting in support of evil. You are voting against a Catholic conscience, which you would demonstrate by your action, by your vote.

This is a grave scandal and for the life of me I cannot understand anyone not understanding this issue or thinking that any issue at all could ever take precedence over LIFE! If you don’t have life, I ask you, then what, pray tell, do you have? Nothing! The economy doesn’t matter if we are happy to ignore the slaughter of millions to get that economy. And the economy certainly doesn’t matter to those who we slaughter! So stop saying that pro-life people are “one issue voters” and then proceeding to say that you are voting on the issue of the economy. Hello! Isn’t that being a “one issue voter”? Isn’t that what you just said we shouldn’t do, reduce our vote to a vote on just one issue? Well, at least, if I “reduce” my vote to “just one issue”, I “reduced” it to the ONE FOUNDATIONAL issue–LIFE ITSELF!

Yes, other matters matter. But Life is the one matter that matters most. Without it, the rest of the issues are empty talk and chatter.

Voting as a Catholic: Live Your Faith, Vote Your Faith!

These links are also on the new Vote page added tonight. I’ll add more as I find them.

To Help You Form Your Catholic Conscience:

Abortion never saves a lifeHow many times have you heard the lie that we must keep abortion legal to save women’s lives? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this monstrous lie. And that is just what it is. A monstrous lie. A fabrication. An absurd and false claim that is nothing but a ridiculous attempt by some people to rationalize the destruction of those who they consider to be unwanted or inconvenient. It’s a lie often told by those who pretend to be rational, upright, responsible and–this is my favorite–compassionate.

Well, I never believed it. And doctors in Ireland don’t believe it either. (See video below or on YouTube.) They have testified in a court of law that abortion is never medically necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life and that life-saving healthcare is never denied to a pregnant woman in Ireland either. In fact, despite the ban on abortion in Ireland, it’s one of the safest places in the world for women to have children according to the United Nations. (Well, perhaps it’s because abortion is banned; it’s pro-life!) So next time you hear someone lying about how abortion is necessary, speak up. And tell that person to admit that he or she is pro-choice, that choice being the death of an innocent child in the womb.

From the story at LifeSiteNews:

“Abortion is not needed to treat cancer. In fact, it’s not needed to treat any medical condition arising in pregnancy.” Those are the opening lines of a powerful and important new video message from the Life Institute, which brings good news for mothers and babies.

That good news has been confirmed by medical experts, and is borne out by Ireland’s experience in maternal healthcare. The demonstrable, verifiable, and certain truth is that abortion is not needed to save a mother’s life. The only purpose of abortion is to kill a baby.

View video on YouTube. View video on The Life Institute website.

Dear Friends, I just heard from Shawn Carney and David Bereit of the national 40 Days for Life leadership team, and I am VERY excited about what they shared with me:

http://2012definingmoment.com

In 2012 — the 40th year of legalized abortion in America — we have unprecedented opportunities to save lives, impact eternal souls, and restore our nation … And you are invited to attend a one-time-only teleconference and web simulcast event this Tuesday night, April 24, at 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific) that will reveal how the rest of this year can be a DEFINING MOMENT for our efforts to end abortion. During the FREE event (which you can attend by phone or via the web) you’ll discover:

The stunning results of this spring’s 40 Days for Life — the most successful campaign EVER — and how these accomplishments point to even bigger victories in the months ahead … Why the rest of 2012 is crucially important, and how the pro-life movement is positioned to achieve massive, life-saving success on multiple fronts … The groundbreaking strategic initiatives about to be unleashed to help mobilize more people, change more hearts and minds, and save more lives than ever before … How YOU can help make a profound impact on ending abortion, right in the community where you live … and some exciting surprises!

This is the great news we’ve been waiting for, and there’s no charge to attend — however there are limited spaces available, so REGISTER NOW at:

http://2012definingmoment.com

On that page, you’ll also see a short, three-minute video that Shawn and David made for us at the U.S. Supreme Court, explaining what’s about to happen. This is going to be GREAT, and I hope you can join me on the teleconference or web simulcast Tuesday night!

For Life,

Disciple

Planned Parenthood has their own version of 40 Days for Life, well, not for Life. I guess it’d be 40 Days for Aborting Life. What I really want to know is…who do they pray to? :/

Read more at LifeNews: Planned Parenthood’s Prayer Vigil Parody: Planned Parenthood’s 40 Days of Prayer for Abortion Condemned.

October Baby, Every Life Is BeautifulWent to see October Baby last night, loved it! I’ll tell you more about that later. Part 2 of the rally post will be up later also (see rally post Part 1). Right now I’m too pooped to do much more than this. I’m emotionally drained. Why? Because after Mass this morning (yes, I’m keeping my commitment to attend Daily Mass; pray for me!) a friend stopped as I knelt making my thanksgiving after Holy Communion. She was on her way out the door and wanted to tell me that abortions were in full swing over at Planned Parenthood, so we headed over there.

They’re usually closed on Saturdays but they were closed a lot this past week; they sure made up for lost time today. Their parking lot was packed. So sad. But a church had adopted the day as part of 40 Days for Life, so we had the sidewalk covered with prayer volunteers while there were women inside making the worst decisions of their lives. And ending the possibility for some lives to ever reach the point of making any decisions at all. Ever.

40 Days for Life, Pray to End Abortion

There were women outside the abortion mill, waiting for sisters or daughters or friends who were inside. Many years ago I was one of those women sitting in a car while a friend went inside to make the worst choice she ever made. Strange, isn’t it, how people always call it a “choice” but my friend didn’t feel like she had a choice at all. She felt trapped and terrified and horrible.

I haven’t seen her in years now. Don’t know how she manages to look into the eys of the kids she already had, knowing that there was another one who they will never know. Who she will never know. Who will never know what it means to live or breathe or exist outside the womb that held him until the moment the abortionist tore him apart and vacuumed him out of what should have been the safest place in the world for a little baby waiting to be born. Waiting to be held. Waiting and imagining the face that goes with the voice he’s been hearing as he grows. Never imagining the awful fate that awaits him.

God, have mercy on us. Forgive us the horrible evil that people do in our world. Your world. You have made us for Yourself, You have given us Life and offered us Love and Truth and Goodness and Beauty. And we have chosen to rip each other apart. We have chosen evil and sin and death instead. God, forgive us! Have mercy on us all. Amen.

Every life is beautiful, Go see October Baby, in theaters now

[The following is a report from my participation in 40 Days for Life, Days 17 and 18.] Friday was abortion day at Planned Parenthood in Birmingham. On Friday afternoon the truck came to pick up what is (euphemistically, I suppose) called “waste material”. On the side of the truck it says “Protecting People. Reducing Risk.”

Protecting folks and reducing risks. Uh huh.

Ironic, isn’t it? And just a bit sickening. The most defenseless ones of all were certainly not protected and the risk they were in was neither reduced nor even acknowledged. So much for the “compassionate choice.” I’m sure you’ve heard that argument. “It’s compassionate to save a child from possible suffering.” By killing him before he even has a chance to take his first breath outside his mother’s womb? Don’t make me vomit.

Today was a quiet day on the sidewalk. The only person who stopped to talk to me today was someone who seemed familiar at the time, but I couldn’t quite place her. Until later when I remembered the first time we met. She did exactly the same thing to me today that she did that time, during the first 40 Days for Life campaign in which I ever participated back in 2009. She stopped her car in the middle of the street, rolled down her window and said, “I want to ask you a question.” Now this was simply a deception on her part because what she really wanted to do is what she proceeded to do. “Why are you encouraging women to have babies they can’t take care of? There are (blah blah blah, fill in the blank, insert your favorite non-reason here).” And it went downhill from there. She listed the same lame excuses you’ve heard over and over and no matter how many times those excuses are repeated, the repetition of them will not ever make it right to kill a baby. Not ever.

This one got me, though. “Why do you want a baby to come into this world without a daddy? There are so many people in prison now who didn’t have daddies.”

Oh, yeah, I love this one. I replied, “I didn’t have a daddy, or a mommy either. At one time, anyway. I’m adopted and I’m very glad that I’m standing here today to say this to you because someone gave me a chance. And I’m not in prison. I’ve had a wonderful life, thank you very much.”

She went on with her litany, unable to hear or think about what I’d said because she did not want to hear or think. She did not want to ask me a question or hear my answer. She wanted to feel better about some choice she made at some point in her life and she wanted to make me feel useless or worse, even terrible. But it didn’t work. I knew whose voice I was hearing. I knew that the attack was not against me. I’ve learned to recognize the voice that says these things. I’ve learned to recognize his way of acting and thinking. I’m learning what to do when I find myself suddenly face to face with him, and that is to remember that this kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

So I did not argue with her. I did not continue the conversation with her. I told her to have a nice day and then I turned away and picked up where I had left off praying my rosary. Only I  said a special prayer for her and mentioned her (and others like her) at the beginning of the meditation on each Mystery. I don’t want to get into an argument or a yelling match with someone who is under the ancient enemy’s power. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. And I don’t want to give him an opening into my own heart and mind.

But there is one thing I wish I’d thought to tell her before she drove away this time. I wish I had told her that I’m glad she was not my mother. Maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t think of it until later. But maybe I’ll remember it if I ever see her again.

Peace be with you and keep praying. We are making a difference and our ancient enemy is profoundly disturbed. Thanks be to God!