Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Archishop Chaput and the Gosnell Trial

An excellent article by our Archbishop -- if you would like to see the comments or add one, you can go to the original article here.

I have not been able to really write about Gosnell, perhaps because I didn't feel I had anything to add to what was already being said, but when I read this piece, it resonated.  Highlights are mine. 

The Gosnell story and its lessons

Some stories, no matter how unsettling, just can’t be ignored — even when some people are determined to look away.
The murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell will soon go to jury. And like every other criminally accused person under the law, Gosnell is innocent until proven guilty. Whatever the verdict though, there’s no ambiguity about the kind of business he ran at his West Philadelphia “Women’s Medical Center” ­— an abortion clinic that critics have likened to a meatpacking plant or a butcher shop, with unborn children delivered into a toilet, and jars of fetal body parts stored around the facility.
Dr. Gosnell was originally charged with one count of infanticide and five counts of “abuse of corpse” for killing fetuses born alive by plunging scissors into their necks. Without explanation, the judge in the case accepted a motion to acquit Gosnell of these charges earlier this week. Gosnell still faces four counts of first-degree and one count of third-degree murder. Eight of his coworkers have already pleaded guilty in the case, including three to third-degree murder.
Or so said The New York Times in a report dated April 23.  The date is important.  Gosnell’s trial began March 18, more than a month ago.  The Times coverage, while modest, is significant.  Why?  The answer is simple.  The Inquirer – Philadelphia’s hometown paper – has done a good job following the trial.  But most prestige national media have seemed remarkably eager to ignore the story until shamed into covering it.
Gosnell is much more than a “local” story. The continuing debate over legalized abortion is a hot-button national issue that drew half a million pro-life demonstrators to Washington in January. The battle over abortion restrictions continues in every state. Forty years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, resistance to permissive abortion remains high. And the vivid details of the Gosnell clinic tragedy have the kind of salacious appeal that few national media would normally avoid — if the issue were anything else. But abortion is too often, and in too many news rooms, exactly the kind of topic that brings on a sudden case of snow blindness.
The real story in the Gosnell trial is bigger than the ugly allegations against Gosnell himself; it includes the failure — the allergic disinterest — of some of our most important national media. A headline in The Atlantic magazine, April 12, states the obvious: “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story: The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy.”
The Atlantic story by Conor Friedersdorf is worth reading. But don’t stop there.  Read this by Kirsten Powers, columnist for The Daily Beast, in USA Today. And these excellent analyses by journalists Terry Mattingly, Mollie Hemingway and George Conger.
The irony is that much of the media’s lethargy in covering the Gosnell case really doesn’t surprise. It’s part of the fabric of a culture that simply will not see what it doesn’t want to see about the realities of abortion. And it leads to the kind of implausible claim made recently by one local commentator that “no sense of guilt is warranted” by the media because “there is no causal connection between coverage of [the Gosnell] case and bias.” It’s hard to imagine a more untenable alibi.
The brutality in abortion is intimate, personal and permanent. It violates women, and it kills a developing human life every time — whether the venue is a “Women’s Medical Center”-style meat factory or a soothing suburban clinic. What makes the Gosnell story unique is that it should distress anyone with its details, pro-choice or pro-life, regardless of religion or politics.
But of course, people need to know about an evil before they can do anything about it.


Well put. The unwillingness to see the realities of abortion, Gosnell-Style or otherwise, has the same overtones as the Holocaust. And there are STILL those that deny that.

I am certain the media and abortion supporters are terrified people will realize that ALL abortion has the same result, no matter how it is carried out. They don't want the collective light bulb to go on. They want it kept in the shadows (to them) where it belongs.

The Gosnell trial is in closing arguments. Apparently he is laughing his way through it. Father Frank Pavone, of  Priests for Life is attempting to talk with Gosnell, once the trial is over. He is also requesting the remains of the babies to give them proper funeral and burial.

Here is a note from Father Frank's newsletter:

please spread the word that this Sunday, May 5, Fox News Channel will air a one-hour documentary about Gosnell at 9pm ET. This is a key opportunity to pull aside the veil from the violence of what goes on in abortion clinics all over the nation.
*FOX has changed the air date to this Friday, May 3 at 9:00pm

We’ve created a Facebook event for this. See Facebook.com/events/564620810244408/.

Lastly, here is a prayer Father Frank is asking us to pray and share:

Prayer in Response to the Gosnell Tragedy

Lord of Life and Mercy,
You love all you have created,
And call us to protect The lives and rights of our brothers and sisters.

You care for the unborn
And you forgive the repentant sinner.

Lord, we turn to you
With astonishment and sorrow
As our nation learns the tragic story
Of abortionist Kermit Gosnell and those he killed.

Have mercy on him
And have mercy on all of us.
Pour out the spirit of repentance on all people,
That we may face the evil that has been done
And cry out against it.

Bless all involved in our legal system,
That they may secure justice under your guidance.
Convert all in the abortion industry
That they may cease their violence against women and children.
Embolden all in public office
That they may take the steps necessary
To protect the public they have promised to serve.

And give us all the grace to proclaim, celebrate and serve
The Gospel of Life,
Which is your Son, Jesus Christ,
Who is Lord forever and ever. Amen

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sin, Steely Dan, and Bad People

I have been turning this post over in my mind for quite a while now, maybe even since I began this blog. It is not easy to write about, and also difficult to organize into coherency, but I am going to give it my best shot.

If you are a reader here, you may know some of my history, which includes abortion, abuse, divorce, bad choices and bad relationships.  Oooh, I sound like a real peach! (If you wish to get more background, you can do a keyword search on the sidebar). Thanks be to God, He rescued me from those things,  and each day brings another step towards healing.

about sin~

As much as I know I am a new person, there remain the consequences of my sins, scars, and the deeper roots that helped feed those sins. I think all of our lives contain a combination of response to our own (original) sin and response to the sins that the world and other people have visited upon us. Most times, we are not aware of all of this. Raising kids forces me to revisit my youth, and realize how clueless I was about the effects my choices would have on the rest of my life, and the people in it.  I know I have mentioned this before, but sometimes, I can trace the outcomes of a single action and see how it branches out in several directions, affecting people in major ways. Some of those actions reach right into the present, and demand that I tend to their effects.

There is no action, good or bad, that doesn't do this. Everything matters, and nothing we do is in a vacuum. There is no "victimless" sin.

The fact is, we all are sinners. We are hard wired to be that way. We also are all children of God. He created us, formed us in our mother's womb and knows every hair on our head. He knows and cares about every single minute of our lives. He offers the grace of His redemptive life, death and resurrection, so that we don't have to be slaves to that vein of sin that lives in us. In one sense, we do not have to feel ashamed that we are sinners, nor be shocked when we sin. We just have to keep acknowledging when we fall, and humbly go to Him in confession, and the grace will be there for us. Of course, the more we expose ourselves to Jesus, the more He fills us, and the less we want to sin, or do anything that does not return the love He gives us. We will not ever be completely sinless while living in this world, but we can stay in the shadow of His wings and allow Him to keep on forming us in His image. It is simple, but it is not easy.  The camel through the eye of the needle, etc.

Here's my little story about my own experience of being a Bad Person:

My early life consisted of a series of events, mixed with my own predilections, that resulted in getting myself in to those places where abortion, abuse and divorce took their toll. On me, and my kids. But I had lived in that poison atmosphere for so long, that  once I started climbing out, I was so broken, I just went in whatever direction seemed safest at the time.  Apparently, my choice-making apparatus got broken along the way. I take responsibility for everything I have done, but I also recognize that I was impaired. I try really hard to remember that when other people do things that are destructive.

 But back then, I couldn't see the forest for the trees. At the dissolution of a 13 year marriage, I felt as though I was falling off a cliff, so I reached for what felt like a safety line. I went directly to another relationship. The circumstances were extremely messy. The church I belonged to at that time was ready to help me with the separation, but once it became clear I was not going to listen to them in regards to this new relationship, it was all over folks. Not only that, but I was basically shunned, to borrow a term from the Amish. Or -- to borrow a term from Dwight on The Office.

 And, yeah, I can understand that, they even came to my house (yes, three of them) to confront me, citing this scripture:

Matthew 18:15
If your brother sins go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as Gentile and a tax collector.

After some fifteen years now,  to many from that church and another one we belonged to previously, I am still a tax collector.  I will not list out the sins of my ex from that time, but suffice it to say -- there were some. One might even say, they were grave, and that, in part, those grave sins had a part to play in my own struggles from that point forward. That is all between him and God. But somehow, he did not get the tax collector treatment, at least not from them. I do not feel sorry for myself, I am blessed with a wonderful family and wonderful friends, a beautiful faith that I would not trade for anything.

"Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten --" Joel 2:25

But at that time, before my conversion to Catholicism, this action by everyone who I had called my friends, everybody that knew about what I had been going through, and the church leaders I had looked up to -- felt as though God himself was shunning me. If this action was supposed to help me see the error of my ways, in my case, it just made me even more unsure God loved me. How could He not understand?  The result was that I turned to other sources of (what I thought was) comfort and safety. Reminds me of the lyrics of a Steely Dan song:

If I had my way
I would move to another lifetime
I'd quit my job
Ride the train through the misty nighttime
I'll be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
And if the folks will have me
Then they'll have me
Any world that I'm welcome to
Is better than the one I come from

Again, this experience helps me understand those that retreat to places where people are nice to them, and treat them like human beings. Not problems that need to be fixed before they are worthy to be acknowledged.

An aside -- one of the pitfalls of the non-Catholic Christian churches, is that they tend to micromanage the lives of the followers, asserting and inserting themselves into a situation with the authority of God, often mishandling and worse, misrepresenting Him. Not all, of course, but this was my experience in a number of evangelical churches. When I crawled into the Catholic church, I was not asked about the "sin in my life" -- only welcomed and allowed to present my mess  before the Real Presence of the Lord, who took me and did the straightening out in a way that actually stuck.

Ironically, guess what follows that scripture verse used for disciplining sinners?

 Matthew 18:16-22
 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
  “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

I don't know the Catholic official teaching on this entire passage, but I do intend to look it up. I have a feeling the place it is embedded has a little something to do with it's meaning, and that in all likelihood, it is not meant to be taken as a stand-alone mandate.

Here is another Steely Dan song that illustrates (to me) the journey through the tough, crazy times, to the safety of the Church and the Blessed Mother. Being 'tied to the mast' reminds me of clinging to His cross. 

I know this super highway
This bright familiar sun
I guess that I'm the lucky one
Who wrote that tired sea song
Set on this peaceful shore
You think you've heard this one before

Well the danger on the rocks is surely past
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it be that I have found my home at last
Home at last

She serves the smooth retsina
She keeps me safe and warm
It's just the calm before the storm
Call in my reservation
So long hey thanks my friend
I guess I'll try my luck again

Well the danger on the rocks is surely past
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it be that I have found my home at last
Home at last

Pope Francis -- he may not be Benedict 2.0, but not as different as you may think.

From this post over at Fr. Z's; "quick" translation of a weekday homily by Pope Francis.

In his brief sermon, the Pope commented on the readings for Saturday of the Octave of Easter: the first finds Peter and John bearing witness with courage to the faith before the Jewish heads despite threats, while in the Gospel the risen Jesus reprimands the incredulity of the Apostles who don’t believe those who state that they have seen Him alive.
The Pontiff asked this question: “How’s our faith?  Is it strong? Or is it sometimes a bit superficial? (all’acqua di rose – “like rose water”, meaning banal, an insufficient substitute, shallow, inadequate)” When difficulties come, “are we courageous like Peter or a little lukewarm?” Peter – he pointed out– didn’t stay silent about the Faith, he didn’t descend to compromises, because “the Faith isn’t negotiable.” “There has been, throughout history of the people, this temptation: to chop a piece off the Faith”, the temptation to be a bit “like everyone else does”, the temptation “not to be so very rigid”. “But when we start to cut down the Faith, to negotiate Faith, a little like selling it to the highest bidder”, he stressed, “we take the path of apostasy, of disloyalty to the Lord.”
Pope Francis emphasized that in its history the Church has had many martyrs, down to this day, “because to find martyrs it isn’t necessary to go down to the catacombs or to the Colosseum: martyrs are alive now, in many countries.” “Christians”, Pope Francis stated, “are persecuted for the Faith. In some countries they can’t wear a cross: if they do so they are punished. Today, in the 21st century, our Church is a Church of martyrs.”

Just in case anyone is getting the idea our new Pope is going to make sweeping changes, or is wildly different than Papa Bene was. Nah.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

slipped under the radar!

My MIL was watching an old episode of Mother Angelica's show on EWTN today. Lo and behold, who do you think her guest was? Yup. Father Corapi!

I have never understood how, on EWTN,  people get erased as though they never lived, once there was trouble. It is as if their sins tainted all their past good works. Personally, I think having reruns of them when they were still faithful would be a good reminder. To us, that anyone can fall, and to them, if they ever saw it, that there is grace for those who repent.

Recently, I got a comment on an old post about Fr. Corapi. People are still curious as to his whereabouts, (gated community in Montana is all I have heard), and that post gets a lot of hits, still.

Here is the comment. By my old friend, Unknown:

It seems the millions he got for the coronary law suit turned him back to the dark side, silly man.

While that may contain truth, I didn't like the tone, so I replied, :

I would not normally post comments from people calling themselves "Unknown" -- but I did this time and so will respond.

I posted this very soon after Father Corapi's Ash Wednesday announcement. Since then most information has indeed pointed to his guilt.

One thing I still afford him is my gratitude and my prayers. He was a good teacher and preacher, and taught me well. Whatever his story, he was a good priest, and also a human being. One does not have to be a "silly man" to fall into sin, it could happen to you or to me at any time. But for the grace of God.

I frequently pray for him, as much as I remember all the good teaching I received, which is all the time.

God Bless you.

Oh, and let's not forget, even if you have given your whole life to God and done loads of good for Him and for EWTN, if you get old and express yourself inartfully, you will also cease to exist.

 Here is a good article about Fr. Groeschel.

I really do like EWTN. But this I don't understand or agree with. 

All of these men are in my prayers, always.  

But by God's grace I am what I am; and his grace, which was towards me, has not been vain; but I have laboured more abundantly than they all, but not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

1 Corinthians 15:10


Monday, April 15, 2013

I can't think of a better time for this to come along

This  appeared on Sunday Night Prime last night, featuring Monsignor Reilly, Craig and Wenqi Glantz.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have been saying this EXACT THING for years. We NEED to be taught! I have children in my CCD class that don't know they are Catholic! They have never heard that word. Which tells us that there are lots of parents that were not well taught, passing this on to the next generation.

We want to know our faith, and many of us don't. Bob and I have basically chased down sources of good teaching in order to learn more about what we profess to believe, and learn how to better live it out.

If you support this endeavor, please go to the 'Our Voices' link on the above linked page and add your signature and comment.

So, Kudos, Monsignor, Craig and Wenqi!