Sunday, January 31, 2010

The sadness at the heart of Planned Parenthood of Delaware & other putative "choice affirming" groups

Coming Home: Science in the Service of the Pro-Life Movement has a good article about the accusation aimed at pro-lifers that they "only care about the baby when it is in the womb." Of this charge, Dr. Nadal writes:
Pro-lifers informally and institutionally provide cribs, clothes, toys, diapers, food, job training, tutoring, mentoring for single mothers. Add to that child care, baby-sitting, and life-skills training. For those not able to keep their child, we provide adoption services. Catholic hospitals provide free pre-natal and pediatric care to get mothers launched in the right direction. We dig deep into our pockets to help these women and children.
And after 6 years of attempting to interest pro-choice advocates in collaborating with me to help decrease the number of abortions among students with unplanned pregnancies, I find a strong ring of truth to the following:
In the years that I have attended the March and stood at the Supreme Court Steps, I’ve heard literally hundreds of post-abortive women give their testimony.

NOT ONE ever said that an abortion clinic employee ever asked if she was doing this because she felt there were no other options.

NOT ONE reported a clinic employee offering assistance.

NOT ONE reported the presence of a case worker or social worker trying to ensure that the woman knew all of the many services of government and private charity.

NOT ONE reported a clinic worker trying to ascertain if this was truly a CHOICE or the woman being threatened or coerced into an abortion.


What I did hear repeatedly was threats from family and boyfriends, of parents dragging the girl to the abortuary, of loneliness, fear, isolation, shame, guilt, and ignorance of the reality of a baby well along in its development.

No word on pro-choicers actually educating women about their choices, empowering women to choose life by offering access to the means necessary to sustain that life nutritionally, medically and socially.

The most tragic aspect of abortion, to me, is the number of women who support its choice because they lack faith in the power of Goodness, Truth and Beauty. My mother was one such woman. I have close friends who embrace this also. They see these things as abstract, as luxuries that women caught in unwanted pregnancies cannot afford. What a tragic reversal of the real state of affairs at the Heart of Existence. Goodness, truth and beauty are the fire that warms and sustains human lives and relationships. They are not luxuries for the few, but necessities for all. Not by bread alone are we fed - but by every choice we make for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. For life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Me & MLK, we got a thing goin' on, & we both know it's strong, but Planned Parenthood of Delaware just thinks it's wrong

I friended Planned Parenthood of Delaware on Facebook because I was trying to get in touch with one of its staff members to see if we could open a line of communication between myself and other pro-lifers who protest peaceably outside their clinic in Wilmington on a weekly basis.

I accomplished my mission, but meanwhile, I started reading their Facebook Status Updates. A few days ago, this was one such update:

Planned Parenthood of Delaware wrote: This month we honor great words from a great man, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now -- seeing as I am involved in the same kind of social activism that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was involved (challenging the injustices in our society's legal status quo), I responded with some lines from his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," pointing out the similarities between his activism and my own. Within hours, my response had been deleted.
So I followed with another comment in the PP Facebook discussion, as follows:
Rae wrote: Ack! Someone deleted my quotes from MLK Jr's Letter from Birmingham Jail. The irony is precious. Marx dreamed of power of the press in the hands of the people. So how do you use it? To silence the voice of one witnessing to social justice! Very uncool! If you stand for truth, then you should not fear its questioning. If you stand for something else (corporate shilling perhaps), then you show an ignobility that is beneath you.

To their credit, they did not unfriend me. But then the following response appeared:
Yesterday at 1:27am • Planned Parenthood of Delaware wrote: Rae, this is a
moderated board. We have the right to block users, and delete comments when
we feel it is appropriate. If this is not acceptable to you, you have the
right, and ability to create your own Facebook forum.

To which I reply, taking the discussion to my own forum as per PP's suggestion,
where I WILL NOT stifle any pro-choice folks who want to participate:

3 hours ago • Rae Stabosz wrote: I have been writing on electronic bulletins boards since 1979, and I certainly understand and appreciate the motivation of a moderated board. That being said, there is also a certain standard governing how one exercises the power of moderation in a public forum. In those forums in which I exercise such power (and there are several), I allow open disagreement with and discussion of topics I initiate, as long as the rules of civil discourse are followed. I don't allow ad hominem attacks, obscenities directed against persons, and if I sniff a troll I'll delete them from a mile away. Since I'm not a troll, and do engage in civil discourse, I always hope for the same when I comment on a moderated board.

And in a discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his social activism, I think my remarks were particularly relevant. Just because you represent "The Man" on this particular issue - ie., you represent the status quo, while I represent the committed social justice activist battling an unjust status quo -- shouldn't blind you to what the Reverend King himself would do. If you want to honor a great man, but then fall back on your "right" to block the kind of public discourse he strove to promote, you are not really honoring his legacy.

Just something you should think about.

You know, there are folks there at PP I really personally enjoy interacting with, even as antagonists. But I cannot tell you how weary I am of pro-choice folks simply not wanting to engage in a discussion of the important topic of where a pregnant woman's rights end and her unborn offspring's rights begin.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Looking forward to the Tim Tebow Superbowl ad

More power to Tim Tebow and his mother for telling the story of Mom's close encounter with abortion when her son was in the womb. Like Mary of Nazareth, Mrs. Tebow valued the growing life in her womb over the dramatic changes to her life that a problem pregnancy would bring. Both women knew about and opened themselves up to the grace given to them. They trusted in the God they knew and loved to back them in choosing life over the fear or misplaced pragmatism that leads so many women to choose wrongly. Among other causes for the scourge of abortion, we should not discount the terrible legacy of two generations of abysmal catechesis about the nature and goodness of God.

The ad will tell a story of real-life people. Narrative often grabs us more than philosophy. In the abortion discussion, a well-reasoned argument based on sound moral principles is often trumped by heartfelt narratives that dramatize the very real plight of pregnant women in extremity. I welcome the opportunity to hear a similarly compelling story from the pro-life point of view.

You might want to call CBS to thank them for airing a pro-life ad. True, the ad revenue is astronomical, but in the past they have always refused to accept pro-life advertisement during the Superbowl.

The number for CBS is (212) 975-4321.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Into the streets & universities- transforming our world like the mendicants did to the 13th century.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his general audience this morning, reflected on how the Dominicans and Franciscans brought a transforming example of gospel lifestyle to the intellectual hubs of 13th century society. He had some advice for us 21st century disciples also:

"Today too, though we live in a society in which 'having' often prevails over 'being', we are still receptive to examples of poverty and solidarity", Pope Benedict observed, and he recalled how Paul VI had affirmed that "the world is willing to listen to teachers when they are also witnesses. There is a lesson that must never be forgotten in the work of spreading the Gospel: we must ourselves live what we announce, be mirrors of divine charity".

The mendicant orders responded to the widespread need for religious instruction felt at the time, preaching and "dealing with topics close to people's lives, especially the practice of the theological and moral virtues, using concrete and easily understood arguments".

Because of the importance of the mendicant orders, lay institutions such as the guilds and civil authorities often consulted them. Thus Franciscans and Dominicans became "the spiritual animators of mediaeval cities, ... putting into effect a pastoral strategy that was adapted to the transformations of society".

At a time in which the cities were expanding they built their monasteries in urban areas and travelled from place to place "abandoning the principle of stability which had characterised monastic life for many centuries". To this end they adopted a new form of organisation, "giving greater importance to the order per se and to the superior general" as opposed to the autonomy which individual monasteries had enjoyed until then. "Thus they were better prepared to meet the needs of the universal Church".

Another great challenge of the age were the "cultural transformations", which gave rise to lively debate in universities. The friars did not hesitate "to enter the universities themselves, as students and teachers, erecting study centres" of their own "and profoundly influencing the development of thought".

The Holy Father concluded:
"Today too there is a 'charity of and in truth', an 'intellectual charity' that must be brought into play in order to illuminate minds and associate faith with culture. The commitment shown by Franciscans and Dominicans in mediaeval universities is an invitation to us to remain present in the places where knowledge is produced in order to throw the light of the Gospel, with respect and with conviction, on the fundamental questions that concern man, his divinity and his eternal destiny".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 09, 2010

There is at least one race of Immortals in the universe, and guess who it is?

Take a few deep breaths before you click on the link below. The perspective is far from the everyday hustle and flow of busy 21st century lives. Oh, and be sure to watch the video in full screen mode.

Maybe it's because I was browsing around looking for something to cleanse my palate from an overdose of Hollywood news (yes, I do follow the Industry), but I was blown away by this post titled Immortal from Intentional Disciples. Its video is from the American Museum of Natural History, its text is from Sherry Weddell sampling C.S. Lewis and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Conversion to Christianity: violation of separation of church and television?

Is it obligatory for every blogger to write something about Tiger Woods?

My first thought on hearing of his fall from grace was, "I'm glad my mom's not around to see this." She was a big Tiger Woods fan. Thought it was wonderful to see a black man take the "rich white man's" sport and turn it upside down with the cool beauty of his strokes. My mom was a dyed in the wool Democrat and populist her whole life, one who was appalled when my husband started voting Republican, telling him it was a crying shame that someone who came from immigrant grandparents should be voting that way. She thought Tiger Woods was showing the Republicans what for.

It's not Tiger Wood's situation I want to write about, but the kerfluffle surrounding Brit Hume advising Tiger to turn to Christianity for forgiveness and to put his life back in order. My husband is a big Ann Coulter fan, and he pointed me to her recent article on the brouhaha of criticism (she, in usual Coulter style, calls it "howls of rage and blinking comprehension") that has followed in the wake of Hume's suggestion.

Punditry is not really my thing. But I recognize its place in human affairs. G.K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw exchanged barbs in print for years, although I don't think they were as nasty as folks get these days. And privately, they were friends.

That's an aside, mostly to make it clear that I don't really subscribe to Coulter's views about raging liberals. But I do enjoy her column when I read it. Here's the latest. And my favorite part:

On MSNBC, David Shuster invoked the "separation of
church and television" (a phrase that also doesn't appear in the Constitution),
bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity "out-of-the-blue" on
"a political talk show."

Why on earth would Hume mention religion while
discussing a public figure who had fallen from grace and was in need of
redemption and forgiveness? Boy, talk about coming out of left field!

What religion -- what topic -- induces this sort of babbling idiocy? (If
liberals really want to keep people from hearing about God, they should give Him
his own show on MSNBC.)

Most perplexing was columnist Dan Savage's
indignant accusation that Hume was claiming that Christianity "offers the best
deal -- it gives you the get-out-of-adultery-free card that other religions just

In fact, that's exactly what Christianity does. It's the best
deal in the universe.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Walkin' & prayin' in Our Lady's Garden

I just now went off to pray the rosary for the child of a friend of my fellow Pauline Cooperator, Easter Almuena. I wanted to ask Blessed Alberione to pray with me. I picked up a book on my desk, The Layman and His Conscience: A Retreat by Ronald Knox, which is in my pile of books to list for sale. I opened up to a selection on a chapter on the rosary. It inspired me to go into to visit the Lord online, and then put up next to the Adoration-cam a Google image of a garden peopled with photoshopped in Jesii. Then I pretended I was a little kid again, playing in my own backyard with the garden of my imagination as I did so often.

World-building during rosary is way cool. Imagination, yes!

Here's what the Fr. Knox quote says:

Let us think of [Our Lady] as our mother, & ourselves as
children. She is teaching us a game centered on 15 rose trees - the difficult
& exciting game we call life. She has to explain it over & over again,
& that's why it seems often monotonous. Forgive me if I ask you to think of
yourselves as children. But it's a curious thing, that the older you get, the
more content you are to think of our Lady as your mother, understanding you
& yet not taken in by your pretences, knowing better than you what is good
for you... And the game -- oh, the game is full of excitement. But at every turn
of it, her shadow falls across the picture.

She has played it, &
played it so well!

My beloved Daughters of St. Paul are being sued by Church of Scientology!

Read about the lawsuit, which originates in Italy where the Pauline Family was founded by Blessed James Alberione:

Is it serendipitous or ironic that just this morning I finished a novena to the Holy Spirit that included, among its intentions, that Tom Cruise would return to the practice of Catholicism?