Monday, January 31, 2011

French Constitutional Council Shows Good Sense on Counterfeit "Marriage"

French judges are showing more restraint and common sense than many American ones. From Catholic News Agency:

"The French Constitutional Council has ruled that prohibiting same-sex “marriage” in the country does not violate the Constitution.

The council noted that only Parliament can change the law.

Nine judges ruled that according to articles 75 and 144 of the Civil Code, “Marriage is the union between one man and one woman.” They also noted that lawmakers, “acting within their competency, determined that the difference in status between same-sex couples and couples comprised of a man and a woman could justify a difference in treatment with regards to family law.”

“It is not within the competence of the Constitutional Council to substitute its view (for that of the legislature) when taking into account the differences in these situations,” the judges said.

Emphasis added.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Tragically enough, our world does not even know that it is ugly"

What does it mean and why is it that our society can no longer produce an artist like Michelangelo, or even Winslow Homer? That we can no longer produce a musician like Bach, or even Duke Ellington? That we cannot produce a poet like Dante or even T.S. Eliot?

There is a good essay by Fr. Robert J. Brankin "The Cult of Ugliness in America" in America Needs Fatima." Fr. Brankin addresses what the embrace of ugliness really indicates.

"Now you might be thinking: 'My goodness, the world is falling apart and he’s talking about drawings. More than a million babies a year are being sucked out of the wombs of their mothers and he wants to discuss pretty pictures. Seventy per-cent of Catholics don’t even go to church anymore and he’s giving us lessons on the philosophy of art. If we wanted Sister Wendy we could have turned on PBS./

This goes much deeper than aesthetic philosophy. It refers to the way we think about and deal with life itself — all of life, all of nature, all of being. All human activity is meant by means of beauty to provide us with an access to God, Who is All-Beautiful....

This discussion is hardly about pretty pictures. It is about the ever-ancient assault on His beauty — the original affront to His very existence and to the nature and the life that He created. The cult of ugliness in our land is no less than Satan’s rage against God.

It is no less than the gleaming spear-point of the culture of death.

Moreover, the cult of ugliness is so utterly pervasive and thorough in its celebration of the fruitless, the sterile, the weird, and the ugly that it pushes to the margins all other faiths — above all the True Faith.

The subliminal message in every confused and misshapen piece of modern architecture, art, music, or drama is that there is no God. The subliminal message in every deliberate mutilation of natural forms, in every tribute to physical and personal perversion, is that there is no God. The subliminal message in every celebration of the weird and deathly is that there is no God.

U.S. Military Expresses Interest in Pro-Life Marches

This explains a lot. Creative Minority Report has the story.

h/t Tom Peters at Catholic Vote. There's also a great time-lapse sequence of the March for Life in Washington DC at the same post.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

National Day of Prayer


In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a"National Day of Prayer."

In 1988 President Reagan designated the First Thursday in May of each year as the National Day of Prayer.

In June 2007(then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA " was no longer a Christian nation." This year President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House under the ruse Of "not wanting to offend anyone."

BUT... on September 25, 2009 from 4 AM until 7 PM, a National Day of Prayer FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION was Held on Capitol Hill, Beside the White House. There were over 50,000 Muslims in D.C. that day. Again on October 15, 2010 the Muslim prayer day was held on capitol grounds.

HE PRAYS WITH THE MUSLIMS! I guess it Doesn't matter if "Christians" are offended by this event - We obviously don't count as "anyone" anymore.

The direction this country is headed should strike fear in the heart of every Christian, especially knowing that the Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be converted, they should be annihilated.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Catholic Healthcare West Grantee Organization Includes Planned Parenthood

“We can help you get the abortion you need”

On January 6, 2011, Catholic Healthcare West awarded nearly $1.2 million in grants to various nonprofit organizations in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and Nevada counties.

Catholic Healthcare West has been in the news often lately for its undercutting of Church teaching on the issue of abortion. In December, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix stripped one of its member hospitals, St. Joseph’s of Phoenix, of its Catholic designation. The Bishop’s action came in the wake of an abortion carried out at the hospital, followed by an attempted justification of the abortion by hospital staff.

CHW is represented in the Sacramento area by Mercy Hospitals. Among the organizations receiving “Community Grants” from CHW/Mercy was the Capitol Community Health Network. A CHW-Mercy press release describes the Capitol Community Health Network as:

“A member network of nonprofit community clinics and other health services organizations that provide a continuum of cost effective, culturally appropriate, high quality, primary health care services to all people regardless of ability to pay.”

The CCHN’s own webpage gives its background, in part:

“The Capitol Community Health Network (CCHN) started life in 1994, as the Sacramento Community Clinic Association. Initially, it was an advocacy organization for non-profit women’s healthcare clinics whose funding streams were threatened by the implementation of Geographic Managed Care in Sacramento County.”

The CCHN consists of 12 member clinics, all of which are listed on its website. They include Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and Women’s Health Specialists. Members of the CCHN Board of Directors include Shauna Heckert, who is also the Executive Director of Women's Health Specialists and Deborah Ortiz, the Vice-President of Planned Parenthood Monte Mar.

The services provided by Planned Parenthood are well known. Those provided by the Women’s Health Specialists are described on their "services” page:

“We offer all methods of birth control for women including: The Pill, IUD, Depo Provera, Nuvaring, the Patch, Cervical Cap, Diaphragm, Vaginal Film and Condoms and Contraceptive Foam, and information on Fertility Awareness. We also provide referrals for permanent (male and female) sterilizations services.”

The services page also has a “Comprehensive Abortion” section:

“We provide early and later abortion to 18 weeks of pregnancy. If you are early in your pregnancy, you can choose Mifeprex, the "abortion pill”, surgical abortion or abortion with manual vacuum aspiration (MVA). If you are later in your pregnancy, contact us. We can help you get the abortion you need.”

The “Services” page also contains special sections for “Early Suction Abortions,” “Early Medical Abortions (RU-486)” and “Later Abortions.”

Like Planned Parenthood, Women’s Health Specialists are pro-abortion activists. They have a speakers bureau, and they describe its role:

“We provide education and workshops on a variety of women's health issues including: Abortion, Menopause, Birth control, Gynecological Self Help, AIDS, History of the Women’s Health Movement, Women’s Sexuality, Health Care for Lesbians, Civil Rights Issues of Women's Right to Choose, the Anti-Choice Movement and its effects on women reproductive rights.”

Catholic Healthcare West is one of the largest members of the Catholic Health Association. On March 11, 2010 the CHA issued their now famous letter to congress supporting the passage of President Obama’s healthcare bill. The letter completely undercut the position of the Church, which insists that a healthcare bill that does not defend the right to life must be opposed. The responses to the CHA’s letter, on the part of the Catholic bishops were voluminous. That of Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island addressed to Sr. Carol Keehan, Chief Executive of the CHA, is representative:

“Your enthusiastic support of the legislation, in contradiction to the position of the Bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and cause serious scandal for many members of the Church…”

Indeed. While Sacramento's good Bishop Jaime Soto attends the Walk for Life and encourages his pastors to bring their flocks, he gets knifed in his own backyard by a "Catholic" orgaization.

Update: Life News and California Catholic Daily are on the story.

Most Pro-Abortion President We've Ever Had

Bishop Thomas Tobin is bishop of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. Here are some of his comments on the president's State of the Union address:

...I watched Mr. Obama,…and reflected on his speech, I sensed there was something missing; there was something that left me cold, unimpressed and unmoved. And suddenly it became clear. The problem, at least for me, is that President Obama’s persistent and willful promotion of abortion renders his compassionate gestures and soaring rhetoric completely disingenuous. “O come on, Bishop Tobin,” I hear you say. “Abortion’s not the only moral issue in the world.” Correct, I respond. Abortion’s not the only moral issue in the world but it is the most important. And, I confess, abortion policy is the prism through which I view everything this president says and does. Is there any longer any doubt that Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had?

President Obama has enthusiastically supported the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade that has allowed virtually unrestricted access to abortion in our nation and has resulted in approximately 50 million deaths since 1973. President Obama has consistently surrounded himself with pro-abortion advisors, and has appointed pro-abortion politicians to key positions in the federal government, including his two nominees for the Supreme Court.

President Obama has promulgated policies, including the overturn of the Mexico City Policy (within the first few hours of his presidency) that requires taxpayer monies to provide abortions around the world. Similarly he signed an executive order that forces taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research; he signed a bill that overturned the 13-year-long ban of abortion funding in the nation’s capital; and he directed the passage of health care legislation that opens the door to federal funding of abortions and could eventually limit the freedom of religion for individuals and institutions who find abortion morally repugnant.

President Obama has made abortion a key foreign policy issue, pressuring nations to accept abortion policies; he’s supported several pro-abortion initiatives of the United Nations; and he’s appointed Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton has had a consistent pro-abortion record and in her international travels has promoted abortion as a human right.
The full accounting of President Obama’s track record on abortion goes on for eight typed pages, a very sad and discouraging litany. The net effect, though, is that President Obama’s shameful record on abortion leaves his touching tribute and appeal to goodness in Tucson – and other expressions of compassion – sterile and meaningless. As he stood on the stage in Tucson, he was a prophet without credentials; his speech, a song without a soul.

Perhaps the president’s most moving rhetoric was that about Christina Taylor Green, the precious nine-year-old slain in the barrage of bullets. As a father of two beautiful daughters himself, the president’s words were surely personal and sincere. Of this child he said: “In Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic . . . So deserving of our love.”

But I can’t help but ask, respectfully, “Mr. President, why can’t you see our other children – so curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic, and so deserving of our love – in all of the unborn children who didn’t live because of our nation’s embrace of the abortion option?”
And in one of the most dramatic moments of his speech, Mr. Obama announced that the wounded congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, opened her eyes for the first time just after he’d completed his visit to her. “A miracle” some proclaimed, and certainly a welcome sign of recovery at which we all rejoice.

But I can’t help but wonder how many tiny eyes will never open, will never see the light of day, because of this president’s shortsighted and zealous promotion of abortion. It’s truly tragic that our president – for whose safety and well-being we pray all the time and who has demonstrated an impressive ability to inspire other people – is unable to see the deadly consequences of his abortion agenda. Perhaps we need another miracle, to open his eyes, that he might see and understand how wrong abortion is, how sinful it is, how violent it is, and how it’s destroying the life of our nation.

Catholic Herald, R.I.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life versus Death, Love versus Hate

Thomas Aquinas College students at the Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday,
witnesses for life in the face of hatred.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bishop Robert Vasa to Santa Rosa!

Bishop Robert Vasa, 59, has been named co-adjutor bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, immedietely to the north of us. This is good news.

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports:

"Bishop Robert F. Vasa has been named to succeed Bishop Daniel F. Walsh as head of the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Pope Benedict XVI made the appointment, making Vasa, 59, in line to become the sixth bishop of Santa Rosa. Vasa has been the bishop in Baker, Oregon since 2000.

“I am really delighted with the appointment,” Walsh said at a press conference Monday morning at the Santa Rosa chancery."

The diocese of Santa Rosa is geographically enormous--11,711 square miles with 170,000 Catholics. His Excellency is well known as an uncompromising defender of life and the Catholic faith. KTZV in Bend, Oregon reports:

“In more than a decade as spiritual leader of central and eastern Oregon’s Catholics, Bishop Vasa has gained a national following for efforts to uphold Catholic teaching in the face of what he considered threats and laxity from inside and outside the church,” the Sentinel reported.

“He had lay ministers sign an oath of fidelity of Catholic teaching and erased the Catholic identity of a Bend hospital where doctors performed sterilizations,” the newspaper said. “He criticized pro-choice Catholic politicians and once warned against a group of ‘schismatics’ that denied the Second Vatican Council.”

Deacon Keith Fournier writes in Catholic Online:

"He also does not back down from exposing infidelity in Catholic institutions under his Episcopal oversight. Last year he removed sponsorship of St. Charles Medical Center-Bend when the hospital refused to follow Catholic teaching on sterilization. He wrote, 'It is my responsibility to ensure the hospital is following Catholic principles both in name and in fact. It would be misleading for me to allow St. Charles Bend to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while I am certain that some important tenets of the Ethical and Religious Directives are no longer being observed.'"

Jim Graves has a very informative interview with His Excellency in the Catholic World Report.

Very good news on this Pro-Life weekend!

More Walk for Life West News: Young People Speak

Young People at the Walk.
Photo: Ray Dinkha, Walk for Life West Coast Media Team

We have a story in this morning's California Catholic Daily that includes young people sharing their experiences of the walk:

“Saving babies on the streets of San Francisco”
Record-breaking turnout at Walk for Life West Coast
By Gibbons J. Cooney
Special to California Catholic Daily

Under flawless skies and amid warm temperatures, the Seventh Annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco on Saturday, Jan. 22, exceeded even the organizers’ expectations. KTVU television reported that at least 50,000 pro-lifers attended the event, and the San Francisco Police Department confirmed that the 2011 Walk was the largest ever.

Although Catholic in origin, the Walk attracts members of many religious denominations, as well as pro-life non-believers

The most striking aspect of the Walk continues to be the incredible number of young people and families from all over the West in attendance. Catholic churches and high schools, including Notre Dame des Victoires, Archbishop Riordan High School, Saints Peter and Paul Church, and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption opened their doors so that visitors would have places to stay.

Cody Stowe, a junior at the University of New Mexico, came with a group of 11 teens and young adults led by Brenda Sais from San Clemente parish in Los Lunes, New Mexico. This was Stowe’s first Walk. “What drew me the walk is the opportunity to be a voice for the unborn, and to spend time in community, praying for those who are killed, but also for the mothers, fathers, and families of the babies,” he said....

Read the whole thing.

Be sure to visit the Walk for Life West Coast Media Blog for much more about Saturday's fantastic event.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

50,000 at 2011 Walk for Life West Coast!

So reports KTVU Television. What a Day!

Here's my favorite video (so far!) of the Walk:

And here is one that really gives a feeling for the size of the crowd:

For full coverage of the Walk, go here:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Abortion Federation did not Report Philadelphia Slaughterhouse

More from LifeSiteNews:

Top pro-abort group knew about violations in ‘house of horrors’ clinic, but did nothing.

"Upon entering the building, investigators were hit by the stench of cat urine and the sight of drugged and moaning women lying on blood-stained blankets. Flea-ridden cats defecated freely on the bloodied floors.

The abortion equipment itself was broken, dirty, and rusty; downstairs, the dismembered remains of newborn and nearly-born children were stuffed into jars, bags, milk jugs, and cat food containers. Others shared space in a refrigerator-freezer with employees’ lunches.

This, according to a description by the Philadelphia Inquirer this week, was the scene that met Philadelphia police investigators last February when raiding abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s late-term abortion clinic – dubbed the 'House of Horrors.' Upon returning, the investigators wore hazmat suits.

But just two months before, according to a Grand Jury report released this week, an inspector for the National Abortion Federation (NAF) walked into the same clinic to vet the facility for inclusion in the federation. While clinic workers testified that Gosnell cleaned up for the inspection, the NAF representative nonetheless recalled being appalled by the vastly inadequate treatment provided there.

But despite witnessing numerous violations of basic standards of care, the inspector never reported Gosnell – who was arrested this week and charged with 8 murders - to authorities....
The jurors expressed shock that these observations would not have prompted the NAF inspector to take more drastic measures.

'We have to question why an evaluator from NAF, whose stated mission is to ensure safe, legal, and acceptable abortion care, and to promote health and justice for women, did not report Gosnell to authorities,' they wrote."

More good news from the new Congress

From LifeSiteNews:

Two pro-life House bills seek to ban abortion in fed programs, health care law

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 20, 2011 ( - Two major bipartisan pieces of pro-life legislation were unveiled on Capitol Hill today that would eliminate abortion funding from all federal programs and prevent the new health care reform law from subsidizing abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood is alarmed and “ready for a very serious fight”.

At a morning press conference, US Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), co-chairs of the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, along with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.), Chairman of the Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, unveiled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and the “Protect Life Act.”

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (HR 3) would establish a permanent government-wide ban on federal funding of abortion, replacing the need for annual funding prohibitions or “riders” like the Hyde Amendment, which are always one Congress away from expiring. The bill also codifies the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause, which prohibits hospitals and health care workers from being forced to perform abortions, but gives its enforcement more teeth.

“Our new bill is designed to permanently end any US government financial support for abortion whether it be direct funding or by tax credits or any other subsidy,” Smith said in his remarks....

Stand Up 4Life! March Tomorrow, in Oakland

The 4th Annual Stand Up 4Life march will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 21 at 12 noon.

The March, founded by our friend, the great pro-life hero Reverend Walter Hoye, begins at Oakland City Hall, One Frank Ogawa Place in Oakland. This is a great event, full of cameraderie, and is a chance to stand with that ethnic group most ravaged by abortion, Black America.

From the Issues4Life webpage:

"All of our events strongly adhere to and enforce the "Nonviolent" philosophy embraced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you cannot remain nonviolent, please do not attend our events.

We walk because abortion in the Black community is a form of genocide, it is the Darfur of America. We walk because abortion in Black America is the civil rights issue of our day. We walk because abortion does violence, both physically and emotionally, to men and women, to their children, and to their families.

Walk with us and help us change the perceptions of a culture that thinks aborting children is an option."

This year's event features the dynamic pastor and radio personality Dion Evans, CEO of RMG Radio; activist, author, mentor, and business professional Kevin McGrary; and Denise and Brian Walker of Everlasting Light Ministries. You can read their moving story here.

You can download a flyer for the event here, and for full details, go here.

Pope Protests Murder, Muslim Scholars Insulted

From Catholic Culture:

"Egypt’s Al Azhar University, the world’s leading center of Sunni Islamic thought, has suspended talks with the Vatican in protest over the 'insulting remarks' by Pope Benedict XVI—a reference to the Pope’s statement that Egypt should protect Coptic Christians from mob violence.

The Pope’s protest against a massacre in Alexandria was 'unacceptable interference' in Egypt’s affairs, a spokesman for Al Azhar said. At a January 20 meeting, the spokesman said, the scholars of Al Azhar decided to break off all talks with the Vatican 'indefinitely.'”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Good News: House Votes to Repeal Obamacare

A promise kept.

All Republicans and three Democrats voted for the repeal.

Sad News and Great News

Planned Parenthood, which had closed its San Francisco franchise in the midst of a financial scandal, has reopened. The new business will be on Valencia Street, in the heart of San Francisco's overwhelmingly Hispanic Mission District.

More for us to struggle against in San Francisco--but we are used to it.

On the other hand, here is some great news from the Catholic News Agency:

Mexican actor pledges to build largest pro-life women's clinic in US

"Mexican producer and actor Eduardo Verastegui has announced that his organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, is planning to build the largest pro-life women's clinic in the United States.

Verastegui's announcement came during the first-ever gala held by Mantle of Guadalupe and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

The gala took place Jan. 15 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and brought together 300 noted guests, including Philip Rivers from the San Diego Chargers, Mexican actor Karyme Lozano, actor Sean Astin from “The Lord of the Rings,” violinist Roddy Chong and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic.

Vujicic also received an award for his courageous testimony in defense of human life.

During the gala, Verastegui, who is the founder of Mantle of Guadalupe, reiterated his commitment to defend life and announced that the organization’s new goal is the construction of 'the largest women’s clinic in the United States.'

'I will not use my talents except to elevate my Christian, pro-life and Hispanic values,' Verastegui promised the guests."

What a man! Read the whole thing.

I did not know Philip Rivers, the fine quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, and the famous actor Sean Astin were pro-life. Good to hear!

Do pro-lifers care about life after birth?

One of the most frequently repeated canards of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”

This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support—and often actual opposition—from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice.

In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.

Religious groups also provide crucial services to needy mothers and infants. John Cardinal O’Connor, the late Archbishop of New York, famously pledged to assist any woman from anywhere experiencing a crisis pregnancy, and the current Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, recently renewed Cardinal O’Connor’s pledge. The Catholic Church—perhaps the single most influential pro-life institution in the United States—makes the largest financial, institutional and personnel commitments to charitable causes of any private source in the United States. These include AIDS ministry, health care, education, housing services, and care for the elderly, disabled, and immigrants. In 2004 alone, 562 Catholic hospitals treated over 85 million patients; Catholic elementary and high schools educated over 2 million students; Catholic colleges educated nearly 800,000 students; Catholic Charities served over eight-and-a-half million different individuals. In 2007, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded nine million dollars in grants to reduce poverty. And in 2009, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network spent nearly five million dollars in services for impoverished immigrants.

The Catholic Church is far from the only pro-life religious group that assists the needy. At the Manhattan Bible Church, a pro-life church in New York since 1973, Pastor Bill Devlin and his congregation run a soup kitchen that has served over a million people and a K-8 school that has educated 90,000 needy students. Pastor Devlin and other church families have adopted scores of babies, and taken in scores of pregnant women, including some who were both drug-addicted and HIV positive. The church runs a one-hundred-and-fifty bed residential drug rehabilitation center and a prison ministry at Rikers Island. All told, the church runs some forty ministries, and all without a government dime.

No major pro-abortion group or institution has taken on a comparable commitment to vulnerable Americans. Pregnancy resource centers devote significant resources to supporting women who have already decided to have an abortion, but abortion advocates offer no similar support to women who wish to continue their pregnancies. Indeed, they often devote their resources to shutting down the services provided by pro-lifers. NARAL Pro-Choice America reports spending twenty thousand dollars on “crisis pregnancy centers” in Maryland in order to “investigate” and publicly smear such centers for demonstrating a bias for life. (One might point out that the same bias once motivated the entire medical profession.)

If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable—work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection—why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time. Still, the pro-life movement is not unsophisticated about the relationship between abortion rates and government policies in areas such as education, marriage, employment, housing, and taxation. The Catholic Church, for example, works with particular vigor to ensure that its social justice agenda integrates advocacy for various born, vulnerable groups, with incentives to choose life over abortion.

One of the significant ironies of accusing pro-lifers of being “anti-vulnerable,” “anti-women,” and “anti-poor” is that poor women tend to be more pro-life than their more privileged counterparts. It is especially important, therefore, to offer them options that do not simply appeal to their economic interest or personal autonomy narrowly understood, but rather that accord with their moral outlook and overall wellbeing.

Abortion advocates, however, continually argue that one public policy in particular—further increases in government-supplied birth control—can become a panacea for high abortion rates. However, there is more than a little doubt about the claimed relationship between contraception programs and abortion rates. Rather, in the altered sex and marriage markets made possible by contraception and legal abortion, more and more women engage in non-marital sex without any “shotgun marriage” guarantee in the event of pregnancy. This leads (ironically) to more non-marital pregnancies, more non-marital births, more sexually transmitted diseases, and (irony of ironies) more abortions. Figures out just in the past few weeks show that this contraception-related increase in abortion is not limited to the United States. In Spain, legal availability of birth control and abortion has drastically increased, with some 60% more women reporting that they used contraception in 2007 than in 1997. Over the same period, researchers found abortion rates more than doubled. The results of government policies promoting widespread contraception are clear: more of every outcome that birth control and abortion were promised to curb, including non-marital pregnancies, births, and abortions. Not to mention sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment; is it any coincidence that Planned Parenthood serves roughly the same percentage of clients for STIs (31%) as it does for contraception (36%)?
No one doubts that birth control used in a particular instance of sexual intimacy increases a woman’s chances of avoiding pregnancy. But the social policy of widely available birth control has been accompanied by an increase of out-of-wedlock births and abortions. In New York City some 41% of all viable pregnancies ended in abortion in 2009 despite the fact that the city distributed 40 million free condoms during the same year.

The insistence that pro-lifers make birth control the centerpiece of a pro-life strategy has reaped a three-fold reward for abortion advocates. First, its surface logic (“birth control equals no baby”) has blinded onlookers to the historical results of birth control as a social policy. Second, pro-lifers are easily tagged as “religious zealots,” ignoring the most obvious solution to abortion for irrational, theological reasons. Third, abortion advocates can claim to be women’s best friend—by increasing sexual autonomy—despite the dubious effects of their proposed solution.
In sum then, the charge should be laid to rest once and for all that the pro-life movement is not active on behalf of women, children, and vulnerable persons generally. Those bringing the charge—the same groups that do very little personally to help women and children—should be held to account, both for their lack of real charity and for their refusal to acknowledge that their entire strategy—state supplied birth control and unlimited abortion—has backfired upon the very groups they promised to help.

While the pro-life cause has always been animated by the conviction that life begins at conception, it has never forgotten that it continues after birth. The pro-life movement’s message has been vindicated by 40 years of legalized abortion: the personal dignity, happiness, and prosperity of women, children, men, and the nation is advanced when life is cherished both before and after birth.
by Helen Alvaré associate professor at George Mason University School of Law and a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, and by Greg Pfundstein who is the executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation and Ryan T. Anderson who is the editor of Public Discourse

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brian Fairchild on Wikileaks

Our friend the counterterrorism expert Brian Fairchild has an interesting article today at Pajamas Media on the Wikileaks debacle. Mr. Fairchild points out that bad as the Wikileaks were, U.S. Government policy may be making the problem worse. He starts with an obvious point:

"I will guarantee that in the near future you will see some of these secret cables prominently referred to on al-Qaeda videos and displayed in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s new Inspire magazine, and they will be exploited by Salafi-Jihadi mosques and organizations throughout the world for some time to come."

But then he points out that the release neccesitates a new approach by our intelligence agencies:

"In an ironic twist, these publicly available classified cables, once considered compartmented information that could only be shared with other American officials on a strict “need to know” basis, must now be considered a key American counterterrorism resource.

This is true because a standing counterintelligence requirement in the ongoing analysis of al-Qaeda is to understand what it knows about us and how that knowledge might enable it to protect itself from our operations, support its ideological narrative, and help it choose targets.

As unpleasant as it is, these cables, while still officially classified, are now completely and utterly in the public domain and are being studied by our key adversaries. As a result, it is vital that our own counterterrorism institutions and officers conduct a robust damage assessment by reviewing these cables through the enemy’s eyes, if only to be forewarned about what our enemies know about us and how they might utilize this knowledge to their advantage."

And he says that this reality is not being accepted, at least publicly, by our government:

"Unfortunately, just the opposite appears to be true. On December 4, the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memo to all federal agencies prohibiting them from accessing the Wikileaks material, and the Defense Department issued a similar statement to its contractors and employees.

The OMB memo stated:

Except as authorized by their agencies and pursuant to agency procedures, federal employees or contractors shall not, while using computers or other devices (such as Blackberries or Smart Phones) that access the web on non-classified government systems, access documents that are marked classified (including classified documents publicly available on the WikiLeaks and other websites)…

This prohibition not only takes all federal counterterrorism personnel out of the loop, but, by extension, all state and local police counterterrorism personnel too...."

You can learn more at the Intrepid Group website, and you can listen to Mr. Fairchild's interview "Salafism: Understanding a Strain of Radical Islam" on "Reclaiming the Culture."

"If God has to shame them into it, so be it."

That's Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Cardinal Newman society gives the background:

"If you haven't heard yet, a federal agency decided that (Catholic) Manhattan College could not prevent faculty from unionizing on the basis that it is a religious institution. Despite acknowledging that the College is recognized as Catholic by the New York Archdiocese, the National Labor Relations Board reviewed College statements and course content, finding 'that the purpose of the College is secular and not the 'propagation of a religious faith'."

The Monsignor writes:

"The fact is that the Church is to be a light to the world, but it sometimes happens that we fall short and God must allow the world itself to rebuke us. The Christian community is supposed to be self-correcting. It is an embarrassing truth that it sometimes takes Caesar to tell us to give to God what is God's, to be more serious about our Christian walk, and to be true in our claims to be Catholic."

"But the moral lesson in these cases seems to be that we had better get our own house in order. Certain 'Catholic' Colleges may go on for a while gleefully dissenting and ignoring Church mandates, but in the end they are going to be called to account by Caesar who will say, 'Either give God what God is due, or stop pretending and pay the taxes that every other secular organization pays and observe the requirements every other secular entity does.' In other words, decide what you really are and do so quickly."

"For the state to respect the rights of Catholics, Catholicism has to be intelligible. Hence these dissenters also endanger the religious freedoms of those who are faithful. Yes, we need to get our house in order."

h/t Cardinal Newman Society.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Walk for Life Updates

It's this Saturday.

Here's the latest news from the Walk for Life West Coast Media Blog:

Attn: Walk for Life Videographers!

Throughout the history of the Walk for Life West Coast, we have been blessed by the number of great videos made by talented people who have attended. This year, the Manhattan Declaration is hosting a Pro-Life Video Contest.

You can learn more, and submit your videos, here:


Walk For Life's Eva Muntean Interviewed on KSFO Radio

She was joined yesterday on the Barbara Simpson Show by Unplanned author Abby Johnson and Kathleen Eaton, founder of Birth Choice Health Clinics.

The interview begins about 15 minutes into the show. You can listen here:


Youth Rally Following the Walk
Our wonderful young people are staging a youth rally at Ft. Mason, right after the Walk. Check out their video:

God bless them! For more info, visit their website:

They've also posted a nice letter from our good Archbishop George Niederauer encouraging and inviting high school students to join him in the Walk and Rally.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Our Beloved John Paul II to Be Beatified

What a day! From Catholic World News:

Pope John Paul II will be beatified on May 1.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has released a decree, formally approved by Pope Benedict XVI, confirming the authenticity of a miracle through the intercession of the late Polish Pontiff. The approval of that miracle fulfilled the final requirement for his beatification.

The Vatican immediately announced that the beatification ceremony will be held on May 1, the feast of Divine Mercy, in Rome. The ceremony is expected to draw a huge throng to St. Peter’s Square.

The beatification will take place just a bit more than 6 years after the death of John Paul II. Ordinarily the Vatican imposes a 5-year waiting period after death before even opening the investigation that can lead to beatification. But Pope Benedict XVI waived that requirement for his predecessor. During the funeral of John Paul II in April 2005, thousands of people in the congregation had joined in the chant: 'Santo subito!' calling for quick action to raise the beloved Pontiff to the altars...."

And as always, the young people over at have much more.

And Fr. Z addresses the question of the rapidity of JP2's beatification:

Observations about the speed of some causes for beatification

Walk for Life Coverage in "California Catholic Daily"

From this morning's California Catholic Daily:

“Growing on the Streets of San Francisco”
Planned Parenthood gone, but city’s pro-life march larger than ever

By Gibbons J. Cooney

"On Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011, the seventh annual Walk for Life West Coast will take place in San Francisco. The Walk was founded in 2005 by a group led by two San Francisco women, Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean. The event quickly became the largest annual gathering of Catholics in San Francisco and perhaps on the West Coast. The 2010 Walk drew an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 pro-life marchers, led by eight Catholic bishops.

Past speakers have included Mrs. Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Romero, Archbishop (now Cardinal) William Levada, pro-life hero the Rev. Walter Hoye, Georgette Forney of Silent No More, the Rev. Clenard Childress, and Lila Rose of Live Action.

The same spirit that attracted the presence of Catholic bishops and pro-life heroes also attracted significant opposition from the San Francisco establishment. Prior to the first Walk in 2005, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors issued Resolution 050019, which recognized 'January 22, 2005 as ‘Stand Up For Choice Day.’ The resolution went further. It supported '…the local Pro-Choice community demonstrating in San Francisco,' which, in practice, meant supporting those who attempted to block the pro-life walk from taking place.

The resolution passed unanimously. The supervisors were joined by the then-president of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, Dian Harrison, who said, 'We couldn't believe that they had the nerve to come to San Francisco. They've been so emboldened that they believe that their message would be tolerated here. Sure, they can come here, but San Francisco will be ready to show them that they don't believe in their message.'

Harrison’s prediction has proved false. Six years later the Walk for Life West Coast is larger than ever, while Planned Parenthood no longer has a franchise in San Francisco. Harrison, who was fired in the midst of a financial scandal at the organization, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with her former employers.

This year’s Walk will be led by 10 Catholic bishops: Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Bishop Tod Brown of Orange, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Bishop Rutilio del Riego of San Bernardino, Bishops William Justice, Robert McElroy and Ignatius Wang of San Francisco, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, and Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa. Guest speakers include former Planned Parenthood clinic manager turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson, Mary Poirer of "Prayerbreaks," who will share abortion testimony, Denise and Brian Walker, founders of Everlasting Ministries, and Kathleen Eaton, the founder of Birth Choice Health Clinics.

Kelly Connelly, a co-founder and member of the Walk’s planning committee, told California Catholic Daily, 'We started with the Marriage Rally at Sts. Peter and Paul… the idea of the Walk for Life came about at one of our planning meetings to bring the idea of how abortion does such damage to women. San Francisco was becoming a place of radical legislation and social exploitation. Most of us live here in San Francisco, and we did not like what our politicians were doing to our city. Why not have a public walk to show Gavin Newsom and other anti-life and anti-family leaders that there is a huge number of locals who fiercely disagree with what they are doing? We decided to have a Walk for Life to speak for women and others who are hurt by the choice of abortion. We had no idea that so many would show up, not only from San Francisco, but from all over the state and the West Coast…'

'It is gratifying to see the work of parish and church leaders, pastors, bishops, youth group leaders, high school groups, clubs, religious organizations and individuals of all ethnicities -- all working for many months to get their people to San Francisco,' Connelly continued. 'We are grateful to them. They are why we are growing each year on the streets of San Francisco.'

Asked what pleased her most about last year’s Walk, co-founder Eva Muntean said it was the presence of so many young people. 'If you had told me five years ago that there would be a professional hip-hop video celebrating women who refuse the ‘choice’ of abortion, and that it was going to be filmed at the Walk for Life, I would have said you were crazy,' she said. 'And five years ago, if you had told me we would have 35,000 pro-lifers walking in San Francisco, I would have said you were crazy too! Now I look out at the thousands of young people who eagerly listen to our message every year and I see real and concrete hope for the future of our country.'

The Walk for Life West Coast begins at 11 a.m. with a rally, and the Walk itself begins at noon, at Justin Herman Plaza. The Walk will be followed by a Youth Rally at Fort Mason."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Pre-"Walk for Life" Press Coverage

From this mornings Catholic San Francisco newspaper:

"Tens of thousands expected for Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco "

"Tens of thousands of people are expected to join the seventh annual Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 22, gathering at an 11 a.m. rally at Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco and then walking more than two miles to Marina Green.

“The Walk for Life is now a tradition in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, who will attend along with nine other California bishops, including Auxiliary Bishop William Justice, Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy and retired Bishop Ignatius Wang of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“It has become an increasingly important event here in a very brief few years,” Archbishop Niederauer said. “I believe that the walk is inspired by the Holy Spirit who accomplishes it through women and men who listen to his call.”

The walk was founded in 2005 by a small group of San Francisco and Bay Area residents with about 7,000 joining the first grassroots event. In 2010, more than 35,000 walked along the city’s Embarcadero.

“Abortion hurts not just babies, but all women and men, because violence against any is violence against all of us,” said Dolores Meehan, co-founder of the Walk for Life West Coast and a fourth-generation San Franciscan. “As our mission statement says, our goal is to shed light on all issues of life, but particularly to change hearts hurt by the violence of abortion.”

This year the walk falls on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Abby Johnson, former manager of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, will speak about her conversion to pro-life advocacy through her experience assisting with an abortion performed using ultrasound in 2009. Johnson also will talk about her relationship with 40 Days for Life, a national prayer ministry that had conducted six 40 Days vigils outside the clinic where she worked.

Other speakers will include Mary Poirer, who had an abortion; Denise and Brian Walker, founders of Everlasting Ministries; and Kathleen Eaton, founder of Birth Choice Health Clinics.

The day will begin with 8 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Niederauer and concelebrated by brother bishops, said Vicki Evans, Respect Life coordinator for the archdiocese. Joining to concelebrate will be Priests for Life founder Father Frank Pavone; Ignatius Press founder Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio; and University of San Francisco President Jesuit Father Stephen Privett.

A youth rally will be held at 3 p.m. at Fort Mason.

The 24th Annual Interfaith Memorial Service for the Victims of Abortion will be held at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at the cathedral. Speakers will include Orthodox Abbess Mother Melania of Holy Assumption Monastery in Calistoga; 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit; and Father Pavone.

EWTN will broadcast live from the Walk for Life beginning at 10 a.m. in Justin Herman Plaza. A rebroadcast will air Jan. 23 at 6:30 a.m.

For more information on the youth rally,; on the walk,


And here's more from the Walk for Life West Coast Media blog:

Walk for Life co-founder Eva Muntean was interviewed on Teresa Tomeo's "The Catholic Connection" show today on Ave Maria radio.

You can listen here:

Here's Eva (in the white scarf) at the 2010 Walk:

And with co-founders Dolores Meehan and Karen Hodel and Pastor Jim Garlow at the 2010 rally:

Her segment begins about 1/3 into the show.


"Speaking of inteviews, here's Walk for Life West Coast committee member Lisa Hamrick interviewed on the Craig Roberts "Life!Line" show on KFAX radio. Lisa's segment is found in the January 6 link, and begins at about 1:20 into the show.

This is Lisa (in red) with a familiar face when he visited San Francisco some years back:

Lisa will also be interviewed later today on Immaculate Heart Radio. We'll link it as soon as it is live."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

21,000+ Hear Abby Johnson's Webcast; DOS Attack on Ignatius Press Servers

Good news: Abby Johnson's webcast drew in more than 21,000 viewers last night. Less good: Shawn Carney told Steve Ertelt at LifeNews that denial of service attacks were made on the Ignatius Press servers during and after the webcast:

Last night 21,613 people jammed onto the “Unplanned” webcast to hear former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson reveal what she experienced inside the abortion business — and why she resigned her job and joined the pro-life movement,” he said. ”The positive comments are still pouring in.”

"He said the number of people wanting to order the book, combined with some pro-abortion attacks on the Ignatius Press web site, is making it hard for some people to order.

“Unfortunately, the flood of orders — combined with what appears to be a vicious, orchestrated “denial of service” attack by those who don’t want you reading Abby’s book — caused the Ignatius web server to crash during our webcast, and many people could not get their copies of “Unplanned,” he explained. “Ignatius Press worked late into the night fortifying their web servers — and now they’re ready.”

It must be a powerful book if people think it necessary to launch DOS attacks to stop you from buying it. You can go here to order a copy:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Abby Johnson Webcast Monday Night

On Tuesday, January 11, former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director (and Walk for Life West Coast guest speaker) Abby Johnson's new book "Unplanned" will be released.

The release will be preceded by a webcast on Monday, January 10 at 9:00 PM East Coast time.

The webcast is free, and you can go here to register:

From the "Unplanned" webcast site:

"After winning the legal battle against a massive Planned Parenthood lawsuit and restraining order – which was intended to silence her – former abortion clinic director Abby Johnson is finally ready to blow the whistle on her former employer and tell the shocking truth about everything she saw inside the abortion industry — and why she resigned her job to join the pro-life movement.

Abby’s entire story has never been revealed publicly … UNTIL NOW!

On Tuesday, January 11, Abby’s story will be released to the world in her landmark book, Unplanned, published jointly by Tyndale House, Focus on the Family, and Ignatius Press.

One night before — on Monday, January 10, at 9 PM Eastern (8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific) – YOU are invited to join Abby for a live webcast “sneak preview” of the no-holds-barred revelations which fill the pages of her book."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Walk for Life in San Francisco; Marche Pour le Respect de la Vie in Paris

From the Walk for Life West Coast Media Blog:

One of the very best things at last year's Walk for Life West Coast was the decaration of San Francisco and Paris as pro-life "Sister Cities" united in the protection of the unborn. Our brothers and sisters in Paris will host their Seventh annual Marche Pour Le Respect de la Vie on Sunday, January 23. God bless them!

Last year, Walk for Life West Coast co-founder Dolores Meehan attended the Marche. Here she is speaking (en Francais) at the Marche:

And Paul Genoux-Defermont--God bless him!--one of the organizers of the Marche came to San Francisco and spoke at the Walk:

Here's a video announcing the 2011 Marche, and one from the 2010 Marche.

To learn more, visit

Mother and Father too Discriminatory for U.S. Passports

From Fox News:

"The words 'mother' and 'father' will be removed from U.S. passport applications and replaced with gender neutral terminology, the State Department says.

'The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father,’” said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services. 'They are now ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two.’....

One guess who is behind it:

"Gay rights groups are applauding the decision.

'Changing the term mother and father to the more global term of parent allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport for their child without feeling like the government doesn’t recognize their family,' said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council.

Her organization lobbied the government for several years to remove the words from passport applications."

h/t Lawrence Auster, who writes:

"When a supporter of homosexual 'marriage' smugly says to you, 'How does it hurt me, how does it hurt you, how does it hurt society, if two men or two women are allowed to marry each other and express their love for each other?', one answer you can give him is this: 'It will result in the official elimination of the concepts of mother and father. Does that bother you? Or are you fine with that?' If your interlocutor is brought up short by your answer, he will have to admit that homosexual marriage is not just about benignly including same-sex couples in the institution of marriage, but about effecting an extremely radical transformation of human society. And if he's not brought up short, then he is exposed as someone who supports that extremely radical transformation."

Emphasis in original.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

R. R. Reno, John C. Zmirak Skewer World of Make-Believe

Lots of good writing around the web about the ideology underlying counterfeit "marriage." Back in 2009, good Bishop Wenski of Miami:

"...characterized the 'culture wars' as a conflict about 'the understanding of man and his relationship to truth and reality.'

One side, which, he argued, includes homosexual marriage advocates, 'holds that anyone can essentially create his or her own reality. This side holds for a radical autonomy by which truth is determined not by the nature of things but by one's own individual will.'

This position, in the bishop’s view, is a 'recipe for tyranny.'

Today, R.R. Reno has a good article in First Things "Marriage and the Liberal Empire", expanding on this. Excerpt:

"Whatever one thinks of the morality of homosexual acts or the role of same-sex relationships in society, this contrast strikes me as telling. Most who defend traditional marriage hold that our body of law should recognize the reality of marriage, while liberals tend to take the view that our legal system creates the institution of marriage, and therefore can reshape and recreate it as the democratic majority (or in this case a judicially empowered minority) sees fit.

In this distinction between recognizing and creating we can see the fundamental metaphysical question at stake in the same-sex marriage debate. Are there any stable and authoritative social realities—such as marriage—prior to or more fundamental than the legal artifacts created by the modern liberal state? Or is the Leviathan of the modern state the singular source of social reality?...

Creating and never recognizing—it’s a vision of political life that fills me with foreboding. After all, the human person, like the institution of marriage, is (thank God) pre-political, to be respected not remolded, recognized rather than subjected to redefinition.

But just as liberal theory so easily takes up and refashions marriage, I fear that an imperial liberalism will soon be underwriting a redefinition of parenthood and reproduction—the very origins of the human person and thus the inner fabric of our humanity. Not a happy future."

John C. Zmirak, writing over at Inside Catholic in an article called, "Frog-Marching us into Sodom" notes how far this has gone:

"You think you're a woman trapped in the body of a man? Instead of trying to cure what is clearly a delusion, we will have a team of surgeons remake your flesh to fit your fantasy. I've also read of a man who thought he was "really" a tiger, who found plastic surgeons and tattoo artists willing to undo nature's "mistake."

Bishop Cordileone: Perfect Man for the Job

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland has been appointed chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.

His Excellency was quoted in CNA:

'Marriage and the family are the essential coordinates for society. How well we as a society protect and promote marriage and the family is the measure of how well we stand for the inviolable dignity and good of every individual in our society, without exception'....

During his time as the Bishop of Oakland he has worked to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. His work has been high profile because of the adoption of Proposition 8—the successful ballot initiative that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman—and subsequent legal efforts to overturn it.

'The consequences for our future – especially that of our nation’s children – cannot be greater and must not be ignored.'”

What a great shepherd! Here is His Excellency in the "Marriage Matters to Kids" video:

Follow this link to see His Excellency's extended video discussion of marriage at Marriage Matters to Kids, go here:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reinhardt's Recusal Memo: "An utterly unpersuasive exercise in obfuscation and gimmickry"

So writes Ed Whelan.

"Let’s begin with the fact that Reinhardt, rather than squarely presenting to the trusting reader the facts and arguments that Prop 8 proponents made in their motion, misrepresents and omits inconvenient points. From their motion (pp. 6-7), here’s a succinct statement (citations omitted; emphasis in original) by Prop 8 proponents of their case for disqualification:

'The facts of this case would plainly lead a reasonable person to conclude that Judge Reinhardt’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. His wife and the organization she leads have not only been active in seeking to redefine marriage in California and active in opposition to Proposition 8, but they have been active participants in this very lawsuit: Plaintiffs’ attorneys consulted with Ms. Ripston before filing suit; ACLU/SC represented amici and proposed intervenors in the court below urging the court to decide the case in favor of Plaintiffs; Ms. Ripston, as Executive Director of ACLU/SC, 'is responsible for all phases of the organization’s programs, including litigation,'and Ms. Ripston publicly 'rejoice[d]' over the district court decision that is before this Court for review, praise that was tempered only by the concern that 'it’s a long road ahead until final victory.' That “road” obviously passes through this Court, and Ms. Ripston’s colleague emphasized the importance of working 'to give this case the best possible chance of success as it moves through the appeals courts.'”

Whelan continues:

Two initial observations:

1. Here is how Reinhardt mischaracterizes the recusal motion in his lead paragraph of discussion:
The chief basis for the recusal motion appears to be my wife’s beliefs, as expressed in her public statements and actions, both individually and in her capacity as Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. [Emphasis added.]

Continuing his subtle but telling distortion, Reinhardt states that his 'wife’s views, public or private … are of no consequence,' and he asserts that proponents’ supposed 'contention that I should recuse myself due to my wife’s opinions is based upon an outmoded conception of the relationship between spouses.'

Prop 8 proponents’ motion was not based on Ramona Ripston’s subjective 'beliefs' or her 'private' views. It was based entirely and directly on her 'public statements and actions”—especially her involvement in this very case—and the motion would be exactly the same whether or not those public statements and actions reflect her actual beliefs. In other words, Ripston’s actual beliefs are irrelevant to proponents’ motion."

Mr. Whelan concludes with what we have always considered to be the significant issue, that his wife consulted with the plaintiffs about whether or not to bring the suit. Emphasis ours:

"Similarly, Reinhardt dismisses the fact that plaintiffs’ counsel met with Ripston and her legal director in May 2009 for confidential discussions about whether the lawsuit should be filed. Reinhardt states: 'At that meeting the ACLU/SC was asked to support the lawsuit and vigorously declined. Surely, that provides no cause for my recusal.' But declaring 'Surely' does not amount to an argument. Why wouldn’t a reasonable person assessing whether Reinhardt’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned find it significant that plaintiffs’ counsel consulted with Ripston about filing this very case?"

Mr. Whelan says further analysis is to come.

The Unborn Paradox

The American entertainment industry has never been comfortable with the act of abortion. Film or television characters might consider the procedure, but even on the most libertine programs (a “Mad Men,” a “Sex and the City”), they’re more likely to have a change of heart than actually go through with it. Reality TV thrives on shocking scenes and subjects — extreme pregnancies and surgeries, suburban polygamists and the gay housewives of New York — but abortion remains a little too controversial, and a little bit too real.

MTV being MTV, the special’s attitude was resolutely pro-choice. But it was a heartbreaking spectacle, whatever your perspective. Durham and her boyfriend are the kind of young people our culture sets adrift — working-class and undereducated, with weak support networks, few authority figures, and no script for sexual maturity beyond the easily neglected admonition to always use a condom. Their televised agony was a case study in how abortion can simultaneously seem like a moral wrong and the only possible solution — because it promised to keep them out of poverty, and to let them give their first daughter opportunities they never had.

The show was particularly wrenching, though, when juxtaposed with two recent dispatches from the world of midlife, upper-middle-class infertility. Last month there was Vanessa Grigoriadis’s provocative New York Magazine story “
Waking Up From the Pill,” which suggested that a lifetime on chemical birth control has encouraged women “to forget about the biological realities of being female ... inadvertently, indirectly, infertility has become the Pill’s primary side effect.” Then on Sunday, The Times Magazine provided a more intimate look at the same issue, in which a midlife parent, the journalist Melanie Thernstrom, chronicled what it took to bring her children into the world: six failed in vitro cycles, an egg donor and two surrogate mothers, and an untold fortune in expenses.

In every era, there’s been a tragic contrast between the burden of unwanted pregnancies and the burden of infertility. But this gap used to be bridged by adoption far more frequently than it is today. Prior to 1973, 20 percent of births to white, unmarried women (and 9 percent of unwed births over all) led to an adoption. Today, just 1 percent of babies born to unwed mothers are adopted, and would-be adoptive parents face a waiting list that has lengthened beyond reason.
Some of this shift reflects the growing acceptance of single parenting. But some of it reflects the impact of Roe v. Wade. Since 1973, countless lives that might have been welcomed into families like Thernstrom’s — which looked into adoption, and gave it up as hopeless — have been cut short in utero instead.

And lives are what they are. On the MTV special, the people around Durham swaddle abortion in euphemism. The being inside her is just “pregnancy tissue.” After the abortion, she recalls being warned not to humanize it: “If you think of it like [a person], you’re going to make yourself depressed.” Instead, “think of it as what it is: nothing but a little ball of cells.”
It’s left to Durham herself to cut through the evasion. Sitting with her boyfriend afterward, she begins to cry when he calls the embryo a “thing.” Gesturing to their infant daughter, she says, “A ‘thing’ can turn out like that. That’s what I remember ... ‘Nothing but a bunch of cells’ can be her.”

When we want to know this, we know this. Last week’s New Yorker carried a poem by Kevin Young about expectant parents, early in pregnancy, probing the mother’s womb for a heartbeat:
The doctor trying again to find you, fragile,
fern, snowflake. Nothing.
After, my wife will say, in fear,
impatient, she went beyond her body,
this tiny room, into the ether—
... And there
it is: faint, an echo, faster and further
away than mother’s, all beat box
and fuzzy feedback. ...

This is the paradox of America’s unborn. No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed.
Published: January 2, 2011
Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Light in the Darkness

To our great joy, the official news agency of the Holy See has announced that Cardinal Burke, well known for his orthodox views, was named by the Holy Father on Dec. 29 as a member of three important congregations of the Roman Curia.

They include the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

The addition of Cardinal Burke to the Congregation for Bishops could be significant for the Church’s future. The Congregation is the curial office responsible for assisting the pope in the selection of new bishops. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is responsible for overseeing the Church’s liturgical practices. The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts’ chief responsibility is interpretation of Church law.

Looking to the selection of more “traditional” bishops, curtailment of liturgical abuses, and clear interpretation of Canon Law, we find in Cardinal Burke a light in the darkness!

Thanks be to God! A great gift for 2011.