Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snippets from the Sidewalk - 40 Days for Life Spring 2013

Snippets from the Sidewalk

40 Days for Life is going strong in Wilmington and Dover right now, from Feb. 13 and to Mar. 24. One baby has been saved already in Dover! One life – a whole world!

In Wilmington, 6-10 stalwarts come out every day-- rain, snow or frigid wind. We feel a camaraderie that comes from shared prayer and shivering. We are in constant conversation with the women and men who pass by. We also speak quite a bit to Planned Parenthood of Delaware's own clients. Our interactions are all over the map:

•“God bless you.”  “Keep up the good work.”  “I believe in what you are doing.”   The comments from the cars and passers-by have been uniformly positive so far this campaign. We don’t know how long the positive streak will last, but it’s great to be thus far spared the ugly words and anger that sometimes come our way.

•“Say a prayer for me.”  One gentleman shouted this from across the street. Another prayed with us right there on the sidewalk, disclosing a difficulty in his family life from an abortion done years ago. He wept. A different man spoke of his homelessness and his desire to find work. We keep resource information for the homeless, the jobless, and the hungry right there with our info on pregnancy help. It came in handy here.

“Are you the 40 Days for Life people?” The unexpected newcomer is always a treat. This campaign’s “newbies” include a woman who found healing herself during the Fall 40 DFL campaign and a pro-lifer who moved recently to Delaware and is involved with Delaware House of Prayer, a ministry to bring denominations together for a revival of faith in our state.

Fridays are surgical abortions days at PP, and Saturdays seem to be busy with overflow business of the same. The good news is that those of you who work during the week are stopping by in greater numbers. Thank you! We hope you are as blessed to be there as we are to have you. Come on down if you haven’t yet!

•We are still looking for songs and hymns that are easy to sing.  40 Days needs an anthem! Want to write one? I might just look at some music that is in the public domain and create some lyrics to go with it. We love to sing “Amazing Grace” but need some good voices.

•The rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet are the go-to prayers for our Catholic vigilers, and so far most participants are comfortable with those classic modes of formal prayer. Informal prayer is offered also, but we’d love to see more non-Catholic sisters and brothers on the sidewalk. You excel at such spontaneous prayer.

•We witnessed a woman being taken out of Planned Parenthood on a stretcher and sent by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital. This is the third such event we have seen since 2010. Just how safe IS abortion? We need researchers to compare estimates of medical emergencies at abortion clinics vs. other health care clinics. Care to help? The recent tragic death of a mother undergoing a late-term abortion on a 35-week gestational baby in Maryland strikes close to home. You can see what our 40 DFL vigilers witnessed a few days ago, at

Friday is just two days from now. We will be on the sidewalks praying from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. We’d love to see you there!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sex, sex, sex on my mind, the Catholic take on it of course

I was listening to Seize the Day this morning on the Catholic channel on Sirius. Guy Lloyd had Christopher West on talking about his new book, Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing. This reminded me that along with my pro-life activism, I need to go back to studying and writing about sexuality. I need to follow the sexual wars just like I follow the abortion wars. As Peter Kreeft says, if the stork brought babies, there would be no abortion. Abortion is a by-product of our culture's upside down understanding of human sexuality. Fix sex, you fix abortion. I am not speaking in an absolute way. Human beings are free creatures who have a longing for intimacy and touch. Sex is a powerful way of filling that need; we will always miss the mark with sex, we will always have sexual sin. It's neither the worst nor the most harmless of our failings. But because we'll always have babies conceived by folks who do not want them, we'll always have abortion. Perhaps if we can understand that the sexual revolution didn't give us the sexual freedom it promised, we can lessen the conceiving of children outside of marriage. The current popular wisdom is that birth control will do this, but that continues to be an abject failure at preventing both conception and abortion. As long as Planned Parenthood and their ilk teach our young folks that sexual pleasure is a basic human entitlement, "with or without a partner" as they so elegantly put it, we'll have babies conceived where they are not wanted.

Here's what Peter Kreeft says about the sexual revolution and dissent in the Catholic Church:

“Every single issue on which there is dissent in the Church today is about sex. Feminism, inclusive language, homosexuality, sexuality, contraception , abortion, fornication, divorce and remarriage -- all dissent is about sexual morality. Every argument that I have ever had with moral relativists has always come down to this issue in the last resort. But no society of moral relativists has ever survived. ... And the origin of moral relativism in our society is the sexual revolution.

“What is the answer to the sexual revolution? God has provided it just as He provides new insights and new creeds for every heresy in history. It is the Theology of the Body of John Paul the Great.

“Reading JPII's theology of the body today is like reading St Augustine in the 5th century or St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th… It is the big picture , the heavenly truth about sex.”

So, time for me to once again start studying the Theology of the Body (TOTB)

To begin the effort: some basic resources:
General Audiences, John Paul II's Theology of the Body - yes, there are books, but it looks like this EWTN site gives you the translated text of each audience as Blessed John Paul gave them. These talks were what eventually were collected and edited into what's now called his Theology of the Body.

Theology of the Body for Beginners: A Basic Introduction to Pope John Paul II's Sexual Revolution, Revised Edition - this is Christopher West's now-classic introduction to TOTB

Theology of the Body in Six Lessons, Taught at the Street Level - mixed media, I haven't tried it yet, from Fr. Samuel Medley, SOLT

Alice Von Hildebrand and Christopher West - Dawn Eden's was the first critique I heard of Christopher West's work, but when Alice Von Hildebrand got into the discussion it turned into a full-fledged debate. Some background on what West meant by comparing JP II to Hugh Hefner, and TOTB to the sexual revolution, and the discussion his Nightline appearance sparked.
Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing - Christopher West's most recent book, published after some time away from the public eye in what I presume was an analysis and response to the critiquing of his approach.

I once told people that I wanted to become a canonized saint who was named to be Patron Saint of Sex.  So I have a heart for what Christopher West is doing and the edge of the razor from which he does it. My husband told me that people were misunderstanding what I meant, and asked me to stop saying I wanted to be patron saint of sex lest it cause scandal. I get it. I also get why I wanted to do it. I have a bunch of new ideas along that line, but I'm working out the kinks at the moment...