25

Green Fields of Ireland Stained Blood Red

The amount of metaphorical ink spilled over the Ireland abortion referendum will likely be less than the amount of actual abortion blood. I don’t know a lot of detail about the history of Irish abortion laws or this particular referendum; I just wanted to share a brief news post I ran across the day of the vote. I found it disturbing, but was not sure why.

 

Polls Open in Irish Referendum on Abortion

About 3.2 million people are eligible to vote in today’s referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, a portion of the Irish Constitution introduced in 1983 that guarantees expectant mothers and unborn children equal rights to life. Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Ireland, with no exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities, rape or incest, and thousands of Irish women every year travel to the U.K. to terminate pregnancies. Polls suggest the law is likely to be overturned, which would pave the way for legalized abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

 

So what’s disturbing about it? After some contemplation, I found the article was too nonchalant; it does not convey the simple reality of the situation and the gravity of the sin. It’s about legalizing murder; the killing of innocent human life. Additionally, (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), I’m pretty sure that intentionally using the power of your vote for the sole purpose of  legalizing abortion would be a mortal sin, provided the voter understands what they are doing. I also found the article inclined as pro-choice, even if only subtly and subconsciously. How so?

  • “Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Ireland” – I sense some outrage. How could a modern nation in this day and age have such a law? The author could have said, “The unborn are almost entirely protected in Ireland”.
  • “…pave the way for legalized abortion…” – This has a positive tone. Metaphorically, paving a new road represents progress unless used in sarcasm. The author could have said, “… a slippery slope to legalized abortion”.
  • “…thousands of Irish women every year travel to the U.K. to terminate pregnancies.” – The poor dears need to travel a long way to kill their babies…so unfair.

Consider the above article with just a few simple changes. Imagine if the following article was published in the 1930’s about Germans voting on Genocide.

 

Polls Open in German Referendum on Genocide

About 32 million people are eligible to vote in today’s referendum on repealing an amendment, a portion of the German Constitution introduced in 1883 that guarantees that Germans and Jews in Germany have equal rights to life. Genocide is almost entirely illegal in Germany, with no exceptions for deformed Jews or Jews brought to Germany illegally, and thousands of Germans every year travel to other countries to terminate Jews. Polls suggest the law is likely to be overturned, which would pave the way for legalized Genocide during the first stages of a Jew’s life.

 

We should all be horrified by such a news post regardless of our politics, right? I’ll await the outrage from Catholic leaders around the world and the Vatican, but I won’t hold my breath.

12

My Problem With Expanding Pro-life Definitions

Expanding the definition of “Pro-life” by new pro-life/whole-life movements reminds me of trying to expand the definition of marriage. I’ve heard it said that marriage should mean anything we want it to mean, which of course, makes it mean nothing. Taken to an extreme, if “Pro-life” should refer to almost any issue that relates to a human being alive, as opposed to dead, then it means too many things. If someone feels called by God to help the poor for example, why not join one of the many poverty alleviation organizations that already exist? If someone feels called by God to help end abortion, should they start a “New Poverty Alleviation Movement” that helps alleviate death for poor unborn children?

As possible definitions increase, meaning will decrease. If you say “I want a place to live” many things could fit the bill including your car, if you’re willing living out of it. But if you say “I want a single family home”, more meaningful and efficient action will follow. I can imagine a graph of definition vs. meaning looking something like this:

This website lists the 11 pillars of the New Pro-life Movement (NPLM) which include everything from the environment to healthcare, and there is no question that these things are certainly relevant to those of us who are alive. But since pillars are foundational, many things can fit under the roof supported by said pillars. Think of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; it consists of 4 main pillars. In brief, they are The Creed, The Sacraments, The Commandments and Prayer, but think of how many topics fit under each pillar!

One problem I have with multiple “pillars”, other than using one blanket term to describe them all, is the lack of any kind of prioritization. If you think of pillars supporting a structure, you don’t think of any one pillar standing out; they are all the same and bear the load equally. The very first pillar on the NPLM site is “The Right to Life” and it states the following, “First and foremost, we believe all humans have an absolute, inherent right to life, and we believe this right spans from conception to natural death. This includes both the protection and the sustainment of life at all stages, and creates the foundation for our entire platform.” This seems like the top priority concern, but isn’t the “Right to Life” pillar just restating the name of the movement? Couldn’t we just as well call it the “New Right to Life Movement”?

For greater clarity on what I mean about the lack of prioritization consider the following…No analogy is perfect, but ponder a reverse situation involving only two issues new pro-lifers and/or whole-lifers might deal with; immigration and abortion …Suppose abortion was never made legal in the U.S., but those women who would have had an abortion deported their newborns to orphanages in other countries instead; and this type of deportation was perfectly legal. I’m talking about deporting these babies to poor 3rd world countries that didn’t really want them either, but the babies will be alive and cared for to an extent, but their future well-being would be uncertain.

At the same time suppose immigration to the U.S. was always unlimited (open borders), but around 1973 all immigrants were declared non-persons by SCOTUS with no protection under the law. This meant that if legal immigrants happened to be on or cross over your property, you could kill them as a personal choice; a choice between you and your local law enforcement officials.

Now imagine these legal baby deportations totaled about 250,000/year in recent years and these legal immigrant murders were about 750,000/year. I’m sorry, but the 750k immigrant slaughter would be what cries to heaven for vengeance.

Now suppose that a politician or political party was working hard to keep the babies here in the U.S., so they could have a better life, but also did everything in their power to keep immigrant murder “safe & legal” (lest we return to the days of back-alley immigrant murder), and even wanted to provide government funding for it. In fact, this type of killing is part of his or her platform; a formal set principle which is supported by the party and the politician. Additionally, you are told not to be a “one issue voter” and consider all the deported babies and all the other issues in which you agree with the politician or party in question; don’t use the murder of 750,000 immigrants/year as a political shield that keeps you from voting for people who will work on others matters that are important too.

Any social justice issue needs to assume the right to life. All other rights are useless when life can be taken away by law. Therefore the inherent right to life is a foundational priority; the pillar supporting all other pillars. I can’t help but wonder how many in the new pro-life or whole-life movements would accept the above scenario as a valid way to take political action.

 

Top photo by Notas de prensa – Notas de prensa, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52817663

17

Sucking the Life Out of Prolife

In a world of texting, tweets and one-upmanship, people are getting very clever at “owning the language” with the use of overgeneralizations. This seems to be happening with the term “prolife”. I’m pretty sure it used to mean opposing legalized abortion and perhaps euthanasia, but that’s about it. Today it might relate to just about any issue that has anything to do with being alive, such as the environment, the death penalty, immigration, minimum wage, healthcare, gun control and more. This doesn’t seem to go both ways however. Do we have a NEW prochoice movement that blends the right to an abortion with the right to bear arms and the right to a secure border? How about “school choice”? Is that now part of being prochoice?

I am perhaps overly sensitive to overgeneralizations because they are problematic for both apologetics and any kind of problem solving. Overgeneralizations are terms that can mean too many different things to too many different people. Think of the word “God”. If you walk up to a stranger and ask “Do you believe in God?”, what you mean by “God” and what the other person means can be as far apart as Heaven is from Hell. Until things are made clear, there will be little progress and much frustration in the discussion. How about terms like love, spirituality, community, conscience, etc.? How many homilies have you sat through that use too many of these kinds of terms, making you think “He said a lot… without saying anything.”

Consider problems in everyday life. Someone says their smartphone is acting funny. “Acting funny” can mean too many different things to too many different people, but deliberate questioning can drill down to the specifics and possibly reveal more than one issue.

What’s wrong with your phone?

  • Camera won’t focus
    • What else?
  • Battery life is too short
    • What else?
  • It drops calls
    • What else?
  • That’s it.

“Acting funny” was separated and clarified in to three specific concerns. The three concerns may or may not be related to an underling root cause; we don’t know, but to go forward we must first we prioritize the issues and then begin to investigate each one. Depending what you use your phone for, the camera and battery issue may just be an annoyance that is manageable, but dropping calls might be totally unacceptable and thus given the highest priority, and dealt with first.

Now suppose you ask someone about being prolife:

What does “prolife” mean to you?

  • Ending abortion
    • What else?
  • Banning guns
    • What else?
  • Abolishing the death penalty
    • What else?
  • That’s it.

Once clear, we should look at the life (or death) impact of all three aforementioned issues. You can search the statistics yourself, but abortion wins in biggest death toll by far. So no matter how many issues you want to intermingle with being prolife, abortion should be dealt with first and most urgently IF preserving human life is your sincere concern.

Without clarity and prioritization—especially with complex issues with a lot of emotional baggage— confusion, division and frustration render problems nigh unsolvable. Overgeneralizations are the enemy of clarity. A recent article by Fr. George Rutler helps explain why ambiguity can be so helpful to those wishing to put agenda over reality.

“Clarity requires effort because it requires honesty, which can be a costly commodity. So George Orwell said: ‘The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.’ Clear expression issues from clear thinking, which in turn requires conforming thought to reality. This was a primary concern of the Master in his holy agony, for he prayed to the Father that his Church never fudge the truth: ‘Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth’ (John 17:17).”

Amen!!

3

From Crisis:

Was the Seamless Garment Always a Scam?:

Rebecca Bratten Weiss and Matthew Tyson started the “New Pro-Life Movement” precisely for Seamless Garment purposes. You’d think they would opine. Nope. Crickets. Nothing on the New Pro-Life Movement website and nothing in the blogs of Weiss and Tyson. Oh, you will find things there about the death penalty and posts condemning the actual pro-life movement, but nothing about the shame of these Seamless Garment quislings in the U.S. Senate.

American Magazine published a decent editorial condemning the practice of abortion past the 20th week but the article goes on to condemn the GOP for bringing up the vote at all because it had no chance of passing. They say it was a wedge issue. But the reason the vote went down is precisely because of the 14 Seamless Garment Catholics who voted against it. Had they voted right, it would have passed with 65 votes. Instead of criticizing them, America condemns the pro-life party for partisanship.

Read the whole thing.

26

The Moral Blind Spot Continues

So the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act last Monday by a 51-46 vote (it required 60 votes). According to this article at LifeNews, 2 of the 46 votes against were from Republicans, so 44 must have been Democrats unless some Independents were in the mix. If Republicans are not the party of life, then I can’t think of a substantial political party that is closer. If the Senate had 100 Republicans, do you think it would have pasted? No party is perfect, but where does the data lead?

Part of the argument was that a fetus past 20 weeks is “pain capable”, so this makes it wrong to rip it out of the womb and throw it in the medical waste bin. We shouldn’t think a human being needs to feel pain in order to be a considered a legal “person”, but actually voting to keep these late-term abortions going should give us pause. How can supposedly rational people be pro-choice and recognize science, reason and human rights all at the same time? To be pro-choice one must “abort” science and/or reason and/or human rights. In fact, this is such a harsh contradiction; one can see a need for a diabolical force to help the pro-choice movement along; something to help generate a moral blind spot.

Scientifically, human life begins at conception as an objective and observable fact. To say the first stage of one’s life (or one’s personhood) begins at some other threshold of consciousness or viability is subjective; a matter of opinion. To declare something as important as this on something subjective is irrational (and devious), especially when an objective and observable beginning point clearly exists. Where does the data lead?

In contrast, can anyone name the scientist who discovered that an unborn human baby is actually a “non-person”?  Of course not; there is no such scientist and there is no such science. I would ask again “Where does the data lead?”, but there is no data. Once past the freedom from religion objections and someone is shown how deviously subjective and unscientific the legal term of “non-person” is, the real issue of Human Rights can finally be discussed.

As a side, I wonder how many people will kneel during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl this Sunday. They kneel because they believe certain injustices are happening in this country. Should Catholics and Christians kneel during the Anthem for all the aborted children? I’d say no, because it disrespects the Nation as a whole, but at least it would be for a real injustice that is actually still legal.

8

Catholics: Fight Pro-Abortion Intolerance!

 But laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.–Albert Einstein, “Out of My Later Years”

Even though the news from the 2018 March for Life was heartening, it is but one foray against an army of intolerant anti-life leftist politicians and jurists.     We’ve seen abortion advocates in Canada and California trying to silence pro-life voices and eliminate anti-abortion opinions from the public domain, and these are only two examples among many others.

CANADA: You can be Pro-life–in private.

Justin Trudeau recently said that you don’t have the public right to advocate pro-life policies:

An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion, the right for women to control their own bodies, is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society,” Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

This statement was in response to a question about the right to free expression of ideas, and the Canadian government’s policy of requiring religious organizations to sign a statement supporting the right to abortion and LGBT “rights” if they wished government support for summer worker stipends:

“He then referenced recent changes to the Summer Jobs program that requires applicants adhere to Canadian rights — including access to abortions, and protections for LGBT Canadians. The program funds summer job placements for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses, the Canadian Press reported.LifeNews.com, 12 January, 2018.

CALIFORNIA: “Reproductive FACT Act”–Pro-life Centers must advertise abortion facilities

The “Reproductive FACT Act,” enacted by the California Legislature in 2015, requires pro-life centers to post signage and inform clients about the state’s taxpayer-funded abortions and contraception support.   A Riverside Country Superior Court judge issued an injunction against enforcement of the law in November, 2017.  The case is currently on the docket for the Supreme Court.

This is only one example of many–New York City, Baltimore, Hawaii, Illinois–in which anti-life advocates, politicians and jurists,  are trying to force not only acceptance of their practices, but advocacy by those who are deeply offended by them.   Whether it is to bake a “Wedding” cake for a ceremony you hold to be a sin, to refer a patient to an abortionist if you’re a doctor or a nurse, to supply contraceptives if you’re a believing pharmacist, it’s the same violation of fundamental freedom of religion and belief.

What should the faithful do?

How can we fight against the intolerant demons of the left: feminism gone wrong, academics without principles,  politicians prostituting themselves for power,  intolerance in the name of diversity?  I can think of some ways, and I hope you, the reader can supply others.

We have to demonstrate: The March for Life is a fine example.   Although it was under-reported by MSM, there were enough local reports to make up for this.   Politicians have to know that there are many speaking for life.

We have to fight politically.   It is hard to understand why “Catholics” (in name only?) in the Congress who continually vote for and advocate  anti-life policies (I think of Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, in particular) get the support of Catholic voters.

We have to support pro-life organizations financially and by activities.  (Do a web search to find out about such–here’s one for Pennsylvania.)

We have to support organizations like Judicial Watch and FIRE, that advocate for freedom of speech and expression in government and academic life.

And, most importantly, we have to pray for those who are trying to force us into sin.

6

The Young People Will Never Give In – Never Doubt The Miracle

 

For some years now I have been standing and praying for an end to the murders;  and praying for an end to the bloody money trail from abortion businesses to office holders, to (mostly democrat) candidates for office,  to the government coffers at all levels, city, county, state, nation; then the tax dollars flowing back to abortion businesses and on and on and on, in a deathly, seemingly eternal, cash-for- death/cash-for-politicians/death-for-cash cycle.

But, there is a glow, a glimmer at the end of this ghastly, deathly, dark tunnel; and there is a sparkling, effervescing, coruscating, vibrant, alive, shining, spectacular, hope-filled, joy-full  explosion of energy, goodness and light which will dispel this darkness, permanently.

There are some poignant lines from the end of the play and movie, Camelot , when King Arthur, before battle, tells a young boy to let the world know about “one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot”:

Arthur: Run boy! Through the lines!

Pellinore: Who is that, Arthur?

Arthur: One of what we all are, Pelly. Less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. But it seem some of the drops sparkle, Pelly. Some of them do sparkle! Run, boy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziTgoseyWoU

The boy runs off, quickly, courageoulsly, and does not turn back.

The young people fighting for the unborn do sparkle; and it is they, with God’s sparkling light,  who will conquer this evil .

Go to any organized prolife  event, meeting, march, conference, seminar, or gathering . Go to many college or university service days; go to any sidewallk outside an abortion business, well almost any, and, as I have, you will see young people, many of them proclaiming Hey I Am PostRoe And I Made It Out Of the Womb Alive!  They say “I am here to be a voice for those whose voices cannot be heard”.

You cannot warn them off, deflate them, or deter them. You cannot tell them they will fail.

I truly believe that it is the young people (and that is a whole lot of folks younger than my seven decades) who are the lifeblood of the prolife cause and who will make real, for a prolife America, both the words of Wm. Barrett Travis from the Alamo – “I shall never surrender, victory or death” – and the words of Winston Churchill after the disaster of Dunquerqe, spoken in defiance of the prodeath evil engulfing Europe and threatening the entire world, the evil proclaiming some human beings as subhuman – “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

After Dunquerque, the British fought and won the air Battle Of Britain, against overwhelming odds, practically without the support of any other nation.

In Fall 1941 Churchill went to his high school, Harrow, and spoke to the young students there, knowing that in months, if not weeks, many of these teenagers would be laying down their lives for their fellow Englishmen.  His words ring true again for the young prolife already-born brothers and already-born sisters of America:

“But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period  . . .  surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. . . . We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated. Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.”

At the foot of the Cross as Christ hung there in anguish, dying, there were no Sons of Thunder present, no apostle Peter brandishing a sword and saving Our Lord, no brave apostles – but one, the teenager John. Today’s young prolife apostles are now with Jesus on His Cross. They were not born around12 B.C. (or, if you choose, B.C.E., Before the Christ Era) so they could pray for the Holy Innocents killed at Bethlehem. They were not born around 1842 A.D. so they could tell the world that Dred Scott, his wife and their unborn child were not subhuman property. They were not born around 1922 so they could peacefully stand and pray outside Auschwitz and the other camps as subhuman Jews, non-master-race priests, blobs-of-cells children, handicapped persons, and mothers were tortured, experimented on to death, and gassed. No, God wanted these young pray-ers  here now. They are His soldiers, His army, navy, air force and, semper fi, His marines. They are also His special beloved. As David slew Goliath, they will be victorious.

The courageous young prolifers, all over this country and around the world,  do not flinch, and they will conquer, because they truly believe. They will never give in to the apparent might  of the power of evil. This is their declaration:

“We shall defend our preborn sisters and unborn brothers,  all of them, always, whatever the cost may be, on the streets, outside the abortion businesses in the minority neighborhoods, before the many silent pastors and priests, in the classrooms, in reply to mute theologians,  in the face of the rulers of this present darkness, in the legislatures, in courtrooms, in city halls, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. We shall overcome. We shall never, never, never, never, never surrender.”

Guy McClung,  Texas