Category Archives: American Life League

Abortion hurts everyone

Sharon Osbourne and Toni Braxton have both recently spoken out about their pain as post abortive women.

She recounted: “I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did . . . I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible. I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three — I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion.</blockquote<

When Mary was going through the miscarriage, I was very stoic for days. She laid in her parents' bed through the process. Her (adult) brothers thought she was "just sick."

As the "tissue" started coming out, we collected the remains to seek some kind of burial (that's another story).

Shortly after the main body came out, I passed through their living room, where my brother-in-law was watching CNN and some pro-abort sicko was talking, and I just started howling. "What's wrong with John?" He asked.

I ran down the hall and picked up the container that held the remains, and I just screamed for I-don't-know-how-long.

The greatest pain is knowing that your baby died, a human life was created and ended-as all must do-and wondering what happened to that young soul (that's another discussion), not being able to really know him or her at all or know if you ever will.

The second greatest pain is knowing that society says "It's just a blob of tissue. You're grieving for a life that was cut short before most people realized there was one there, and while 1 in 6 pregnancies end by natural miscarriage, the grief is secret.

To protect the so-called "right to choose," we suppress parents' right to grieve. That fundamental principle was the original reason for the "Lewis Crusade," originally intended as an Apostolate, not simply a blog.

Personhood Now.

I still cry sometimes.

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The Real Problem

One of the claims that gets floated around in the internecine disputes of the Catholic blogosphere is that So-and-so is attacking “good Catholics” or “good pro-lifers.” Supporters of the American Life League/Human Life International approach argue (as I do) that the incrementalist approach of the National Right to Life Committee is self-defeating, while the NRLC-supporters say that the ALL/HLI types are unrealistic. Those who question certain methodologies (e.g., the infamous example of lying to Planned Parenthood in the name of “exposing the truth” or the question of whether to show graphic images of aborted babies) are accused of “attacking pro-lifers” and serving the enemy. Michael Voris attacks Catholic Answers and EWTN people for “making money off of apologetics,” and they call him a demagogue (and both criticisms arguably have some merit). Both “sides” accuse each other of driving people away from the Church.
The fact remains that the vast majority of Catholics in America do not vote for Democrats because a handful of online Distributists argue against *both* Capitalism and Socialism but because their pastors and the mainstream media tell them the Church supports socialism.
They do not support legalized abortion because a handful of online pro-life Catholics have questioned the methods of certain “pro-life” groups but because their parents or grandparents taught them Catholicism was about “not pushing their morals on other people,” and their pastors constantly teach “Judge not.”
They do not oppose traditional liturgical practices and approaches to catechesis because of what some blogger or apologist has said: for most of them, everyone from EWTN and Catholic Answers to Michael Voris to the Society of St. Pius X are “traditionalists,” and “traditionalist” is defined by their pastors as “Old people who don’t like the changes of Vatican II, and we’re just waiting for them to die off.” For them, Vatican II, defined by their pastors, Nuns on the Bus and the Mainstream Media, is this vast “progressive” overhaul of the Church that rendered all previous teaching and praxis obsolete (the “hermeneutic of rupture”). So while “conservatives” fight among themselves, the majority of Catholics in our country waddle on in indifference and ignorance, welcoming people like John Dominic Crossan and Richard McBrien to speak at their parishes.

Have a Heart: Allie (American Life League Photo Shoot 2)

These are the pictures we took for my article in American Life League’s Celebrate Life magazine on Marfan syndrome, ESCR and IVF.

Hear Allie on _Hide Me In Your Wounds_.

“Have a Heart”: Allie (American Life League Shoot) 1

My parents’ book is better (2/8/2005)

February is the NMF’s “Have a Heart for Marfan” month (don’t ask me why everybody has to choose February as their awareness month; the fact that it’s heart disease month would lead me to put Marfan someplace else, anyway). . . .
So the NMF has added an online shopping cart system to their website. Previously, to order materials, you had to just print out the form or call.
In 1984, my parents wrote a book called How John Was Unique, a children’s story to help springboard families’ discussions of the hard facts of Marfan syndrome: the pros and the cons, etc. It was published by the NMF (US) as a coloring book, both to save money and to make it more interactive.
Well, somewhere along the line, the Canadian Marfan Foundation as put out a book called A Very Special Mouse.
Last week, among other items, I ordered a copy of the mouse book and “my book” (also 2 t-shirts and some informational materials to give to people).
They came on Saturday, and, without bias, I can say that my parents’ book is much better.
The mouse book basically says, “There once was a family of mice. One mouse was taller and slower than his brothers and sisters. He couldn’t see very well, either. One day he went to the doctor, and the doctor said he had something called Marfan syndrome. That’s why he was so tired all the time, so tall and he had to wear glasses. We’ll tell you more when you’re older.”
It’s almost like they wanted an alternative to my parents’ book for those parents who like to stick their heads in the sand.

Why not talk to your kids honestly and openly. My parents tell the story of when I was something like 5 or 6 and I demanded total honesty about my health issues, because “It’s my life.”

So I sat down with my little hyperactive 3-year-old and tried to read her the book. She was about as impressed as possible, for a child of the computer and video camera era, that there was this little book written by Nana & Papa about daddy, and that the drawing of the boy in the book was daddy.
But when I got to the core parts, about the hospitals and tests and glasses and such, I was able to say, “Remember when you had this test done?”
And she said, “Yeah.”
And I said, “Well, this is about when I had it done when I was little.”
“Oh!” she said with a smile.

Now, if only I could get her to wear her glasses. . . . .

Discovery Gunman: Left Wing Terrorist

To those who watch cable’s 24 hour news cycle:
So, for the past week, the headlines have been flooded with information on the radical Al Gore, Thomas Malthus, Ted Turner following Eco-terrorist who held the Discovery Channel offices hostage last week because he believed people are parasites, right?

The media are bending over themselves to say that this act of violence is typical of the entire environmental movement, right?

Primetime writers are scrambling to put together the next script about a radical environmental activist who goes around shooting people, right?

People are demanding apologies from Al Gore, Ralph Nader, all the Organic Food stores, Amnesty International, GreenPeace, the EPA, Jimmy Carter, and Planned Parenthood for their rhetoric that led to this violence, right?

Anybody?

As someone who follows internet news about 16 hours a day, I haven’t seen anything like that.

Weird.

When the gunman’s motives first came out, Yahoo’s headline read something to the effect of, “Man holds Discovery Offices hostage because he objects to environmental programming”–making it sound, to the millions of people who’d just look and move on, that the guy was anti-environmentalist.

The last article my wife saw on the subject even tried to paint the guy as some kind of eco-martyr!!

Or how about this one?

Have the mainstream media reported that, during protests in DC for The Kill Pills Day on June 9, 2009, the Discovery Gunman came up to pro-lifers with a camera and began arguing with them about abortion and population control? Have they talked about this guy’s radical pro-abortion politics and his desire to exterminate humanity? Have they painted these views as a condemnation of the entire “pro-choice” movement??? Well, American Life League has come forward not only with the story but with proof in the guy’s own YouTube videos, which they reported to the authorities.

Here’s the video:

Seen that on CNN, (P)MSNBC or FOX?

The Problem with “Movements”

Since 2004, there has been a discussion of so called “non-negotiables” in Catholic public life, often tied with the term “intrinsic evils.” I have problems with the usage of both terms as they have their ambiguous elements.

However, they have been introduced into Catholic political discourse to emphasize that the Church is unequivocal on some issues.

Almost all teachings of the Church regarding public life have some level of nuance to them. Usually, the Church teaches a totally different way of looking at politics or economics (notably subsidiarity and distributism) that, despite more than a century and a quarter since _Rerum Novarum_, still don’t quite fit into established secular political movements. Part of this is due to the fact that people have listened to the social encyclicals only reflexively by rejection (“Mater si, Magistra No”) or by intentionally misinterpreting (“If you’d only read the social encyclicals, you’d vote Democrat”).

With almost every issue, there’s some nuance. The Church almost always advises more on which principles to consider in regard to an issue rather than prescribing a particular course of action.

War: Just War Doctrine
Death Penalty: Equivalent strict standards of application
Economics: distributism; right to property, but the right to property is not absolute, etc.
Environment: Care for God’s resources; be good stewards; don’t blindly destroy nature; yet don’t put nature above humanity
Immigration: Have generous immigration laws; respect human dignity; keep families together; secure borders; don’t allow illegal immigration.
Even with the War in Iraq, there is some level of nuance in the Church’s teachings. Indeed, the War in Iraq was going on in 2004 when then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote his now infamous letter to Cardinal McCarrick saying specifically that war does not carry the same weight as abortion, since the Church teaches that some wars are just, and we can’t always be 100% sure of the justice or injustice of a cause. Yet Popes Benedict and John Paul have made comments against the Iraq War. Yet again, before the war, John Paul appealed not to the US but to Saddam Hussein to do what was right, since he was the one being uncooperative with the UN. And yet again, when B16 came here in April 2007, he praised our troops for fighting for the cause of freedom.

There’s always *something*. There’s always a level of room for adaptation of the general principles to one’s own perspective and situation, and the Popes acknowledge this.

However, there are issues for which there is no nuance. Abortion is wrong, period. The Church has always taught that and makes no exceptions.

Two equal and opposite problems arise from this.

The first problem involves voting. Since parties are coalitions, voting involves some kind of compromise. In theory, people “tally” votes, where, in reality, they vote on their pet issues. I’ve often heard it said, “The Democrats are in line with Catholic teaching on more issues than the Republicans,” though I’ve never been able to figure out which ones. Another justification Catholics will use for voting Democrat is trying to apply to abortion the level of nuance that other issues have, making up arguments about ensoulment and so forth, or else just saying that the Church is “hypocritical.”

And that, right there, gets to the problem of “movements.” I will grant that politics is one thing, and sometimes holding one’s nose and voting for the least evil of the candidates is what one must do.

However, most “movements” become so focused on their issue that they lose sight of the Church. It’s one thing when this happens in terms of political alliances. It’s quite another when the movement turns to criticizing the Church.

So, for example, with the “Peace Movement.” Peace is a good thing. However, I have a hard time maintaining dialogue with peace activists, with whom I largely agree, because they are so adamant about pacifism as such. I may not approve of the war, but I approve of the existence of the military, and I believe in the possibility of a Just war that is defensive or one that liberates one country from another’s attack.

However, that mere distinction is too much for many peace activists. Indeed, they’ll say that “Just War” theory itself is wrong and “goes against the teachings of Jesus.” To show how it goes against the teachings of Jesus, they’ll quote Dorothy Day, or Eileen Egan, or the Berrigans, Sr. Joan Chittister, or one of several dubious bishops. Challenge them with actual writings of Popes and Saints, and they’ll shut you out.

I have no problem with conscientious objection. Indeed, I support it. I have no problem with criticizing a war if one sincerely believes it is wrong. I have no objection to a person living a pacifist life, save for the question of protecting a loved one from assault. However, I *do* have a problem when someone’s zeal for peace takes the form of criticizing the Church and saying that Just War Doctrine itself is wrong.

Similarly, the Holy Father recently gave a speech about environmental concerns, which has spurred the usual debates on that topic. Again, the Church teaches that the environment must be honored and safeguarded, but the needs of humanity must come first. Radical Environmentalists conveniently ignore the latter qualification and use the Church to promote their agenda. Their opponents will ignore the first part and focus on the latter.

Again, it’s one thing to make an unhappy allegiance for voting purposes; it is quite another to call the Church’s teaching on a subject “wrong,” whether that subject is “peace” or divorce or economics or contraception.

So as much as I sympathize with their causes, I can’t get behind the “Peace” Movement or the “Environmental” Movement because they involve too much criticism of the Church and too many sketchy interpretations of Church teaching. The pro-life movement may compromise itself sometimes in its political allegiances, but the movement itself does not go around saying the Church is wrong on matters of dogma.