Category Archives: Human Life International

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.

You’re an evil man, Sean Hannity

I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming:
Sean Hannity is using Fr. Thomas Euteneuer’s crisis to his own advantage, and making uncharitable insinuations about Fr. Euteneuer.

FOX News may be “conservtive,” but it is about as anti-Catholic as MTV or Comedy Central, though I doubt we’ll hear Bill Donohue saying anything about it. Let’s not forget Rod Dreher’s 2002 conversation with a FOX correspondent: Dreher had expected FOX to tell the truth about the priest scandal, yet the FOX correspondent told him they had it from the highest levels of NewsCorp not to say anything about the abusing priests being homosexual. Most recently, the broadcast FOX network gave a daytime talk show to “Fr.” Alberto Cutie.

Here’s my response:

Dear Mr. Hannity,
You are not just a bad Catholic and a heretic, you are a twisted little pervert. You promote contraception and fornication yet call yourself “pro-life.” You promote violence and yet call yourself “pro-life.” You call yourself a Catholic and a conservative yet work for a network that promotes anti-Catholcism left and right (just look at your anti-Catholic colleagues Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter, and FOX’s recent decision to give a talk show to “Father” Alberto Cutie).

How dare you use Fr. Euteneuer’s crisis to justify your own sick positions? Everyone with a brain should realize that contraception is the source of all our society’s problems, as both Popes John XXIII and Paul VI predicted it would be. Any Catholic who has read his Bible should know that contraception is an abomination unto God, and anyone who claims to be pro-life should realize that contraception and abortion are inextricably linked.

You should be ashamed of yourself. Fr. Euteneuer committed a sin. He repented of it, and he realized that his celebrity status was getting to his head, so he stepped down from his position at HLI and out of the public eye.

But rather than looking at his example of humility and repentance as one to follow, you’d rather gloat and celebrate your own heretical views.

Statement from Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Back in August, a couple months after the publication of his book on exorcism, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer abruptly resigned from his position as president of Human Life International. He offered no explanation other than obedience to the bishop of his home diocese. At the time, and since, I took the whole thing as “nothing to see here.” I have given the benefit of the doubt to both Fr. Euteneuer and his bishop, presuming that, as Fr. Euteneuer has increasingly turned to spiritual warfare, he probably felt he was not properly serving the mission of HLI, and he probably wanted to turn to full time exorcism ministry.

Others have engaged in rampant speculation in one direction or the other. Many have suggested that his bishop was trying to “shut him up.” I have responded that, in situations like that (i.e., Fr. Pavone and Cardinal Egan; Fr. Fessio and the Jesuits), the official statement usually gives some indication of that. Others have suggested some ghastly scandal.

A couple weeks ago, a column suggested the “mysterious circumstances” of his disappearance from the public eye and discussed how his book, now out of print, is selling for hundreds of dollars online. This has led to a firestorm of discussion on the Internet, mostly unwholesome speculation of the kind I mentioned above.

Well, today, Fr. Euteneuer has offered an official statement explaining what really happened.

Sadly, the truth is not as pristine as I had hoped, but it is not as horribly scandalous as some have speculated. Fr. Euteneuer admits to having engaged in a sin against chastity with a woman whom he was counseling. This sounds very much like the situation that was used to defame Fr. Haley. He says there was no sex act involved, but there was a violation of chastity. He says that he normally does spiritual counseling and exorcism with a third party helper, but occasionally made exceptions in what he believed were emergency situations. This one incident started to cross a line, and he attributes it to his own arrogance.

Sadly, the speculators are calumniating not only Fr. Euteneuer in some cases, but members of his family, his bishop, HLI and other church officials. It is to protect these people’s reputations that Father has bravely made this public statement. We should all pray for him.

I hate it when I lose thoughts

There was some big story earlier this week that I wanted to comment on, and didn’t, and of course forgot which story and what I was going to say. Hate it when that happens.

And there have been a lot of big stories, so I thought I’d just give a run down of opinions:

1. The Arizona shooting:
a. the whole thing is a huge win for Obama.
b. If Giffords was so concerned about safety, why didn’t she use better security? She didn’t use basic security protocols at these events, and she put people’s lives in danger.
c. Everyone keeps trying to claim the shooter for the other side, but he really just exemplifies what I’ve been warning about since 2006: a generation of people who’ve been raised on MTV and Comedy Central, Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, who don’t necessarily have a coherent political philosophy other than anger at “the establishment.”
d. Sarah Palin is evil because she used a “targeting” metaphor (and I agree the way she did it was in bad taste, especially for a pro-lifer, and especially someone who has been a victim of some equally vicious rhetoric). But let’s not forget 8 years of “kill Bush”, Alec Baldwin’s tirade about Henry Hyde, and all the hateful things that the liberals have said and are saying about Palin. They are such hypocrites.

2. The arrest of Abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania. Yet another example of the kind of depraved monsters who engage in this “medical practice.”

3. Rick Santorum says it’s hypocritical for Barack Obama, an African American, to suggest we can define who is and isn’t human, and the liberals say that Santorum should apologize for making such an “offensive” comment. HUH?

4. EWTN is acquiring the National Catholic Register. Good to get the Register out of the hands of the Legion of Christ, but is it a wise move for EWTN, which is in perpetual financial trouble, to buy a newspaper, when print news is a rapidly dying medium? And, as one of my Facebook friends pointed out, they should have bought the National Catholic Reporter and then fired everyone who works for it.

5. John Paul II’s speedy canonization will proceed with a beatification on May 1. So much for the photos showing JPII standing with Maciel and Maciel’s illegitimate family. So much for concerns that too many of JPII’s “friends” were speaking out of turn. They won’t beatify Pius XII because of calumnies that are spread against him which have no basis in fact and scandalize non-believers, yet John Paul II, who did so much to scandalize faithful Catholics, is getting fast-tracked. I don’t even necessarily question his sainthood, but I get tired of the attitude that we are supposed to just ignore the Koran Kissing, the pagan sacrifices at the Assisi Conference, his association with Maciel, and other damaging facts. These need to be *explained*. The explanations are there. I often use some them myself. Some things I’m still waiting for better clarity on. But if they’re going to beatify him, and they’re *not* going to beatify Pius XII, then they need to do some explaining.

6. Monday our country honored the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who said we should judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. King was himself an adulterer, and one of his closest associates, Bayard Rustin, was a Communist and a homosexual. Forty years after his death, Americans elected Barack Obama, a man of no discernible character, due to the color of his skin.

7. A secular news story has tried to make a stink about the disappearance of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer from public eye. Most notably, Euteneuer’s book on exorcism which came out last summer is out of print and is selling for hundreds of dollars online. HLI says that the book merely sold out, and they opted not to reprint it, since Fr. Euteneuer left HLI.

When Fr. Euteneuer announced his resignation from HLI, I said at the time I didn’t think this was any conspiracy or “smack down.” There are ways things are phrased. When the Jesuits tried to use obedience to silence Fr. Fessio a while back, his public statements honored obedience while making it clear he didn’t agree with their decision. When Cardinal Egan recalled Fr. Pavone from Priests for Life, Fr. Pavone said he was complying but looking for options (and did).

Fr. Euteneuer’s statement expressed full compliance. I think he requested to be recalled by his bishop. Exorcists are supposed to be generally out of the spotlight, for a variety of reasons (avoiding sensationalism, maintaining personal humility, etc.) I think that he has chosen this change in direction of his life, and we should honor that.

8. As if Ellen Degenerate wasn’t bad enough, that strange looking creature they hired to replace Simon on American Idol is just too disturbing to look at, even on advertisements.
That brings up the point that one of the effects of my dissection is that I’ve narrowed down a lot of my viewing even more. I’m trying to avoid anything that will unnecessarily raise my blood pressure, and trying to avoid anything that might possibly be an occasion of sin.

Still feel like there’s another big news story of the week I wanted to comment on, but that covers most of ’em.

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.

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