This Encyclical Pushed me Over the Edge and Into the Church

Even though I had it marked on my calendar, I still missed posting about the encyclical that I studied the most before I was received into the Church, before I sought instruction, before I took that fateful catechism class in the summer of 95. Before all of that I’d have to say it was this encyclical that moved my study from intellectual tourism to a heart-and-mind-engaged commitment to seeking and gaining admittance to the Catholic Church. (Notes and links will be at the end of this post.)

Continue reading “This Encyclical Pushed me Over the Edge and Into the Church”

Those videos are hard to watch

Mother of the Light of the world, pray for us.
Mother of the Light of the world, pray for us.

I have not watched the videos all the way through. You know the videos I’m talking about. Those videos. I have not watched them all the way through because they make me ill. They make me want to throw up and the images haunt me. I go to sleep and I wake up in a cold sweat, still seeing them before my eyes.

Bad enough that I have been researching for the last couple of years the Holocaust and the World Wars. Bad enough that I have been watching the last couple of weeks many documentaries about these subjects and have seen things I wish I had never seen, things I wish had never happened. Bad enough I have been reading about eugenics and “scientific racism” and the incredible and preposterous cruel things man can do to his fellow man in the name of the “greater good” or “science”. Bad enough, all of that.

But something very like the Holocaust is happening now, and has been happening right under our noses since 1973 when we had the audacity to make legal to do to humans what we consider monstrously inhumane to do to wild animals. And do not misunderstand me: I care about wild animals and would not think of trying to harm one unless I had to protect myself or someone else. But I love my fellow man even more and certainly do not want to cause any harm to any man, woman, or child, unless, likewise, in defense of myself or someone else.

I find the chopping up of tiny babies to be sickening, but not less sickening than killing them in the first place. ALL of it must stop. There is no reason to take an innocent human life, ever. To directly and deliberately take an innocent human life is always and everywhere evil. There is no way around it. There is no name you can give it to justify it. There is no way to cover it with ridiculous words and excuses, no way to hide from the truth of what it really is.

There is no way we can pretend that we do not know what we are doing, what we are permitting, what we are approving and condoning, what we are selling, what we are making legal and profitable.

In the end, what does it profit you if you make all the money in the world and drive the fanciest car you can buy and wear the best clothes and drink the best wine, when you have to hack tiny human babies to pieces to do it? How much money do you make for each of the lives you take, to make it worth it to you to take them? How many pieces of silver do you get for selling your own soul?


More:

The Gospel of Life by Pope Saint John Paul II. Here he quotes Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes (easier to read at EWTN), 27:

“The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: ‘Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator’.”


From the Gospel of Life, 40 and 41:

  1. The sacredness of life gives rise to its inviolability, written from the beginning in man’s heart, in his conscience. The question: “What have you done?” (Gen 4:10), which God addresses to Cain after he has killed his brother Abel, interprets the experience of every person: in the depths of his conscience, man is always reminded of the inviolability of life-his own life and that of others-as something which does not belong to him, because it is the property and gift of God the Creator and Father.

The commandment regarding the inviolability of human life reverberates at the heart of the “ten words” in the covenant of Sinai (cf. Ex 34:28). In the first place that commandment prohibits murder: “You shall not kill” (Ex 20:13); “do not slay the innocent and righteous” (Ex 23:7). But, as is brought out in Israel’s later legislation, it also prohibits all personal injury inflicted on another (cf. Ex 21:12-27). Of course we must recognize that in the Old Testament this sense of the value of life, though already quite marked, does not yet reach the refinement found in the Sermon on the Mount. This is apparent in some aspects of the current penal legislation, which provided for severe forms of corporal punishment and even the death penalty. But the overall message, which the New Testament will bring to perfection, is a forceful appeal for respect for the inviolability of physical life and the integrity of the person. It culminates in the positive commandment which obliges us to be responsible for our neighbour as for ourselves: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18).

  1. The commandment “You shall not kill”, included and more fully expressed in the positive command of love for one’s neighbour, is reaffirmed in all its force by the Lord Jesus. To the rich young man who asks him: “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”, Jesus replies: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:16,17). And he quotes, as the first of these: “You shall not kill” (Mt 19:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus demands from his disciples a righteousness which surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, also with regard to respect for life: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Mt 5:21-22).

By his words and actions Jesus further unveils the positive requirements of the commandment regarding the inviolability of life. These requirements were already present in the Old Testament, where legislation dealt with protecting and defending life when it was weak and threatened: in the case of foreigners, widows, orphans, the sick and the poor in general, including children in the womb (cf. Ex 21:22; 22:20-26). With Jesus these positive requirements assume new force and urgency, and are revealed in all their breadth and depth: they range from caring for the life of one’s brother (whether a blood brother, someone belonging to the same people, or a foreigner living in the land of Israel) to showing concern for the stranger, even to the point of loving one’s enemy.

A stranger is no longer a stranger for the person who mustbecome a neighbour to someone in need, to the point of accepting responsibility for his life, as the parable of the Good Samaritan shows so clearly (cf. Lk 10:25-37). Even an enemy ceases to be an enemy for the person who is obliged to love him (cf. Mt 5:38-48; Lk 6:27-35), to “do good” to him (cf. Lk 6:27, 33, 35) and to respond to his immediate needs promptly and with no expectation of repayment (cf. Lk 6:34-35). The height of this love is to pray for one’s enemy. By so doing we achieve harmony with the providential love of God: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:44-45; cf. Lk 6:28, 35).

Thus the deepest element of God’s commandment to protect human life is the requirement to show reverence and love for every person and the life of every person. This is the teaching which the Apostle Paul, echoing the words of Jesus, address- es to the Christians in Rome: “The commandments, ?You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet’, and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ?You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:9-10).


When I ran a search in the Gospel of Life for the word “murder”, I got 29 hits. I highly recommend reading it in full. I’ve read it many times, usually once a year or every two years, along with the Splendor of Truth. More than anything else I have ever read, outside of Scripture, these two encyclicals changed my life (and just so you know, John Paul II’s encyclicals are filled with Scripture references). They woke me up. I went from being someone who was nominally pro-life to someone who was pro-life actively, outspokenly, finding out more, sharing what I had found, voting for pro-life laws, supporting pro-life candidates, no longer supporting candidates who are not pro-life. Really, if you do not stand for life, then what in God’s name do you stand for?

What does choice really mean?

Be honest about what the mean choice really meansYou’ve heard it, I’ve heard it. I heard it today in a conversation I had while waiting for tires to be put on my car. To paraphrase: The decision to abort is a difficult one, but it’s better than letting those poor children end up in orphanages. I beg to differ. I am one of those poor children who ended up in an orphanage. Thanks be to God! Who in her right mind would think that death was preferable to having a fighting chance at life? Who in his right mind would think, because something might happen to a child at some point in his or her life, that murdering that child at the outset was the better, the nobler, the Christian choice?!

Boggles my mind. Absolutely boggles my mind. Especially the same person tells me that if something is in the Word of God, then that something is as if written in stone and cannot be changed or ignored. The day of worship cannot be changed. Oh, the calamity if that is changed. But the commandment against killing an innocent (which is what the commandment is actually about in the Hebrew, not just killing, but murder of an innocent)–that is less important than the day of worship?

Seems to me that which day we worship on is a point of discipline and can be changed by the Church which is the Body of Christ and was given authority over such things by Him. But the commandment against murder is not a point of discipline. The blood of Cain’s brother cried out to God from the ground upon which it had been spilled. The blood of so many innocent children who were sacrificed to Moloch caused that land to be cursed. That was the land that was known as the Valley of Gehenna, a place where nothing would grow and no one wanted to live there. The people used it as a trash dump and the fires burned there both day and night.

The blood of our brothers and sisters cries out to God our Father from the abortuaries in our own land now. How can God bless us and our country while we continue to spill the blood of the children He meant to be blessings for us? How can God bless us while we continue to pay millions and millions of dollars to those who shed that innocent blood here and abroad? We even tie our foreign aid to acceptance of our exported genocide! We have slain as many as 55 million children in this country alone since Roe v Wade. About a billion worldwide! How can God bless us when we do such things?

Is it any wonder that the world is in such a mess? Is it any wonder that people treat each other worse and worse every day when they think nothing of killing every day at least as many children as the terrorists killed on 9/11?

Who are the terrorists? We the country who supports and exports the genocide against humanity–we are the terrorists!

Bishops call for novena for culture of life

Just saw this on EWTN Live: the bishops of the USCCB have called for a simple novena, “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” toward a culture of life. The novena will be from January 19-27, 2013. You can sign up for e-mail or text updates and get more information at the USCCB website. I think it’s a great idea. The battle we are in must be waged at the spiritual level and we need to pray together to defeat our common ancient enemy.

20130116-212612.jpg

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

God bless you.

Thine Eyes, A Witness to the March for Life

Yes, I know it’s not a new film. Thine Eyes: A Witness to the March for Life was made during the March for Life in 2009 before I got actively involved in the pro-life movement beyond prayer groups, study and blogging, and before I made the trek to D.C. to take part in the March in 2010.* I caught the tail-end of the film on EWTN just now but managed to hit record before it was too late, so I’ll be able to watch the whole thing later. Jennifer O’Neill narrates, the beautiful Irish music is by Kennedy’s Kitchen. And memories of the 2010 March are flooding my mind while I type this. Get two copies of the DVD for free, just pay $2 each for shipping and handling, $4 total. Read an article about the film, pdf format from Celebrate Life magazine.


View Thine Eyes, A Witness to the March for Life, Part 1 of 5 on YouTube.

*I want so much to go to the March again, especially at this historic time. But I’ve been too ill and I’m too worn out to even think about driving up there, much less walking around the city. When I went in 2010, I spent the following two days in bed in the motel, flat on my back exhausted. My dog Abby was not amused, though she had enjoyed having her very own fancy shmancy room at the pet motel while I was giving myself a heart attack trying to keep up with the gigantic crowd at the March. I finally gave up and climbed up on the base of a lamp post, Zaccheus-style, so I could play at taking pictures while I was really waiting for my breathing to calm down and my heart to stop pounding. ;) But I did get some good photos.

After I had semi-recovered, the drive home was leisurely. My little dog Abby and I drove down the coast and took our time (two weeks or so) enjoying the sights. Myrtle Beach became one of my favorite places in the world. Well, I haven’t travelled out of the U.S.–yet–but I’ve travelled all over the lower 48, and Myrtle Beach is up around the top of my list. :)

Doing things backward: Study was designed to support the HHS Mandate

Methinks the study leans a little to the left!OSV has published an article that exposes the flawed reasoning behind a study that was designed, not to evaluate the situation and see what steps were needed to deal with it, but to support the HHS Mandate. The “study” is a flagrant display of bias and pseudo-science.

Authors of the study said they devised it to mimic what they believed would happen if the Department of Health and Human Service’s contraceptive mandate were in place and women would have free access to all forms of contraception, including IUDs and hormone implants, which have upfront costs of more than $500.

The goal of the study was to increase the number of women using IUDs and implants because they “are more than 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy” than other methods. [Emphasis mine.]

Excuse me, but the goal of the study was to influence behavior and not to study actual behavior, not seek to find and understand patterns? Not to see if a remedy suggested itself but to have a “remedy” in mind at the outset and mold the study to produce the desired result? How is this science? Lunacy! I’m happy to post the link to the article here to help expose the idiocy that masquerades as knowledge and science in our day.

Read Critics: Study designed to support the HHS mandate flawed.

Abortion Never Saves A Woman’s Life, It Just Kills A Baby

Abortion never saves a life

How 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.

One decision down, get ready, the real battle is only just beginning

Where's the freedom? Protesting the HHS Mandate outside the Supreme Court

Yes, I heard the news. No, I’m not surprised. Neither am I throwing up my hands in despair. The battle over religious freedom (and freedom in general) is on and it has only just begun. I’d like to quote a newsletter I received today from Eric Scheidler. I think it will help to clear up some of the misinformation which is already flooding the airwaves now that this decision has been handed down. We have a long way to go, folks. Get educated. Do it now.

THE SUPREME COURT DID NOT UPHOLD THE HHS MANDATE TODAY.

Our opponents will try to claim we’ve lost our fight against the HHS Mandate because of today’s ruling. That is simply FALSE.

The Supreme court did not address the HHS Mandate issue in their ruling today. Nor did they declare the whole 2700-page Obamacare law to be constitutional.

Today’s ruling only addresses the constitutionality of a few pages of that law, on completely different issues from the HHS Mandate.

Provisions of Obamacare like the HHS Mandate could still be struck down in the future. In fact, I’m sure it will be when the scores of lawsuits against the HHS Mandate reach the high court.

But I’m not willing to wait that long — not when religious freedom is on the line. …

As I said, I’ll be nailing down specific plans for future action against the HHS Mandate soon. Meanwhile, visit the Stand Up website to see what you can do RIGHT NOW to fight the HHS Mandate:

http://StandUpRally.com/action/

So don’t lose heart.

Yes, today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment. But in the end it will only INCREASE the urgency of our protests and inspire MORE people to join us out onto the streets!

The fight to stop the HHS Mandate will go forward with zeal — in the courts, in Congress, on the streets and on election day!

Yours for Life,

— Eric

This is truly spiritual warfare. Join the battle! Stand Up For Religious Freedom today! Read another interesting take on the decision and its implications.

2012, Our Defining Moment, Important Webcast Event

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

A lot of abortions today in Birmingham, Alabama

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

Stand Up For Religious Freedom, Birmingham, Photos and Thoughts, Part 1

[Note: This page has several photos on it, so I’m not posting the whole thing on the front page of the blog. See the post page for all the photos. Thanks!] I’ve been sitting in a cafe downloading and editing photos from the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally in Birmingham, AL, that took place from noon until around 1 p.m. today.

CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer
CEC For Life Director, Fr. Terry Gensemer

Didn’t realize that today is Fr. Coyle’s birthday. Who’s Fr. Coyle? He was a Catholic priest at St. Paul’s in downtown Birmingham, back before St. Paul’s was made the cathedral. He worked very hard to bring people together, used to pray the Divine Office on the steps outside the St. Paul’s so he could be close to those passing by. He was threatened many times for the audacity of true hope, for taking Christ’s prayer that we all be one seriously and doing something about it.

Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...
Hey, check it out! News cameras! Local news coverage! Maybe...

Continue reading “Stand Up For Religious Freedom, Birmingham, Photos and Thoughts, Part 1”

Rally for Religious Freedom, Then Go See October Baby

In a few hours I’ll be heading to Mass (I better get to sleep quick!), then I’m off to the rally to Stand Up For Religious Freedom. After that I’m going to go see October Baby, which was filmed right here in good old Birmingham, Alabama. The trailers look great and what I saw on EWTN’s Life on the Rock last week convinced me that I have to see this film.

October Baby, filmed here in Birmingham AL, the trailers look GREAT

What a wonderful day it should be. Got my cameras all cleaned up, batteries charged, smart cards formatted and ready to go. May have to make a stop somewhere on the way to the rally to pick up a raincoat, judging from the forecast and the rain we got on Thursday. My full report on the day’s events will be forthcoming some time this weekend. See ya then! And please don’t forget to stand up for religious freedom in a town near you!