In the video below Fr. Robert Barron ponders the passing of Edward Kennedy. He recalls a time, in an era far different from our own that Ted Kennedy was pro-life and that he gave one of the finer defenses for the rights of the unborn child that has been articulated. Here is that quote and then follows the video.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, [D-Mass.], in a letter to a constituent, August 3, 1971
“While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grown old.
“I share the confidence of those who feel that America is working to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society’s problems — an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.
“When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.”
For the record, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton and Richard Gephardt were all in the pro-life camp once upon a time in a galaxy far far away. You can read some pro-life quotes from them HERE
In the article just below, Susan Timoney has called to our attention that latest notion of the “culture of death.” What is the “culture of death” you might ask. Essentially what it amounts to is that the “solution” to problems seems (increasingly) to be the death(or non-existence) of a human being, or of human beings in general. If a baby is inconvenient or has birthdefects or is in somehow not preferred, abort (kill) the baby. If a prisoner has committed serious crimes, kill him. If a person is in the final stages of life and has difficulties that minimize the quality of life, kill the patient, or let him kill himself. Even our entertainment is deadly in nature. The typical adventure movie begins by some injustice or act of violence. Then our hero steps on the scene and, after about an hour and a half of killing people, breaking things, crashing cars, blowing up stuff etc., justice is restored and our hero walks off the scene with the girl in his arms. What was the solution to injustice? Why of course, death.
Save the Planet by Dying! And now, in order to save the planet what is the solution? Our old friend, death, or in this case, the premeditated non existence of people through contraception. You see we have to minimize our “carbon footprint” as a species so to “save the planet” we should block the existence of new human beings. (Ever notice how, only people who are already alive suggest that others should not exist?) OK, so lets all agree that a clean planet with well managed resources is a good thing. But not if no one is around to enjoy it. The secular worldview sees the planet as an end in it itself. The Judeo/Christian worldview sees the earth has having been made for the human race and given to us by God (cf Gen. 1:28) who told us to be fruitful and multiply.
Malthus was Wrong – For well over a century now the alarmists have told us we would run out of food and other resources. We have not. We have gotten smarter. We farm more efficiently and manage our resources better. There is plenty of food to go around. It is corruption and injustice that keeps some of the poor from being well fed, not a lack of resources. But the culture of death insists on death and non-existence as a solution. Most of this kind of talk comes from the affluent West and western-style cultures.
Getting What We Want? – Well, perhaps the affluent West is about to get what it wants to dole out to others: increasing non-existence. It seems we are slowing going out of business. With birthrates plummeting throughout Europe and other Western democracies the writing is on the wall as never before: non-existence is looming ever larger. In France the birthrate is 1.8 children per family, well below the replacement level of 2.1 Ah! Good News! says the culture of death crowd. Not so fast. There is another birthrate in France that is quite different. Muslim families in France have a birthrate of 8.1 children per family. Europeans who have lost their love for life are simply being replaced by others who do love life. Europe as we know it today is going out of existence. Everywhere, in Germany, Italy, England and Spain, Japan too and other western style democracies too are being replaced.
Committing Suicide – And What of the Church? Last year the Roman Catholic Church was displaced as the largest religion in the world by Muslim believers who have taken the top spot. Not only is Western Culture committing a kind of suicide but so are the Catholics and other Christians there. The Catholic Church has warned of the dangers of contraception for years and the world, even many Catholics, have laughed at this “archaic” teaching. Well, it is time to wake up. We are committing suicide, we are going out of existence. It is almost as if the judgement of God is upon us, saying, “If you do not love life, you will be replaced by those who do.” God often strengthened Israel’s opponents in the Old Testament in order to punish and purify Israel. I wonder if something similar isn’ t happening here. The Christian West has cast aside its love of life and kicked faith to the curb. The Muslims who DO love life and have NOT kicked faith(though not our faith) to the curb are thriving. Pay attention.
Can’t Happen?? “Well”, you say, “It cannot happen. The Cathedrals of Europe will not become Mosques.” Think again. Ephesus was once the thriving center of a large Christian community in Asia Minor. This great city had some superstar Bishops. Paul had been there three years, possibly Peter, Then John the Beloved Apostle became its Bishop and Mother Mary according to tradition lived there in John’s household. But the Lord warned Ephesus: Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:4-5). Today the Church in Ephesus is gone, the city lies in ruins. The other six Churches are also gone. Modern Day Turkey, though officially secular is predominately Muslim. North Africa was once a thriving Catholic area. There were over 500 bishops, among them the great Augustine and Cyprian. Many Church Fathers too: Athanasius, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Cyril. Today the ruins of the north African Church lie buried under the sand now trod by a population that is almost 100% Muslim. At least these ancient parts of the Church had the “dignity” of being conquered. We, it seems, at least in the Christian West, have prefered the more cowardly way of suicide instead of courageously living our Catholic Faith and insisting on its truth in the midst of ridicule and opposition.
A Very Different Future is on the Doorstep – Ah, but some may say, Msgr. Pope is bigoted in suggesting that there is anything wrong with Muslims replacing Christians. Well, I have nothing personally against the Muslims. I have just praised their zeal for their faith and zest for life. But the fact is, they do not, as a group, share our most basic beliefs and values. The Muslim World and faith are not known for accepting pluralistic societies. Religious tolerance is not a widespread concept among them. It could get very difficult for Christians and other religious traditions in the future. We just have to be sober about this. Western style democracy and Islam have had a troubled co-existence. It is not an unknown pair but it is rarer. Sharia law will likely replace many western notions of Law. And frankly, I wonder how much the cultures that replace the West will really care about environmental issues. I hope to be wrong about all of this but the world of the future is going to be very very different. And the future isn’t that far away. In less than 40 years France and most of Europe will be majority Muslim. The fact is I do love my Christian and Western Culture and DO want to preserve it. This does not make me a bigot. We have something worth saving, something different and to my mind much better than Islam. Western culture is ailing to be sure but if we can return to our Judeo/Christian roots there is something great to be saved and preserved. We ought to be alarmed to see our way of life so sick. We ought to seek healing from our God and hope to preserve the best of what we have achieved by God’s Grace.
Shame on Us – And we Christians collectively have brought most of this on ourselves. This has happened on our watch in a culture where Christians are the vast majority. We have ignored our own Christian tradition that forbids contraception and embraced the culture of death. It looks like we are getting just what we want: death and non-existence. The Church has warned us but we have rejected her teaching and, at least collectively in the West, seem bent on contracepting and aborting our selves right out of existence. Shame on us.
The Remnant – If you are reading this you may be an exception. There ARE Christians who still love life. My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their 6th child. My other other brother and his wife have three. Both famlies practice their faith. Perhaps you who read this are doing your part too. But too many Christians, too many Catholics have allowed themselves to be deceived, to prefer death to life.
The following video depicts the demographic implosion at work in Europe and other Western cultures. It presents some very sobering truth. Watch it if you dare. Share it if you care.
One of the most beautiful psalms in the Bible is Psalm 139 which speaks of God’s absolute and sovereignty over our lives. God made us, fashioned us, sees into the depth of our very being and knows every one of our days long before he ever made us.
The Psalm is clear that none of us are an accident or a mistake. Each of us is known to God, willed by God, loved by God unconditionally. God knew every good thing we would ever do, before we were made. He also knew every bad, sorrowful and hurtful thing we’d ever do but loves us anyway and made us despite this.
There is something intrinsically good about every human person, even the most troubling, we are willed and loved by God. God does not make us as an “experiment” as though he set us in motion and then stepped back to see the results. Rather, he made us, knowing everything in advance. We tend to sort people out and value them based on accomplishments or deficits. God just loves. Even the souls in Hell, those who choose something other than God, remain in his care. He still sustains them. God never destroys or annihilates any human person he has made. The souls in hell have chosen something other than heaven and God, they would rather reign in Hell than serve and worship in the Kingdom. God respects that choice but never withdraws his love.
Psalm 139 is also essential to the Pro-life movement for it states clearly that God knits us together in our mother’s womb. We are willed by God before one of our days ever existed. He calls us into being forms, “knits us” in our mother’s womb. We are wonderfully, fearfully made. Our dignity is not in our utility to others or the state. It is not in our convenience or abilities. It is not that others want us or do not want us. Our dignity is that we are willed and loved by God.
Here are excerpts from psalm 139. And then a beautiful video I stitched together from several sources showing astonishing ultrasound images of our development in the womb along with a beautiful song: “Psalm 139” by Pro Sound. The song is available at iTunes.
O Lord, You search me and You know me; you know when I sit and when I stand, you understand my thoughts from afar….behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me….You formed my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you that I wonderfully and fearfully made….even my bones were not hidden from you as I made and fashioned in secret….Your eyes foresaw all my actions and all my days were written in your book before one of them ever came to be. (Psalm 139)
Enjoy this beautiful video depicting the handiwork of God as he fashions us in the womb.
Spread the Word. Deep inside we all know that this is a baby and that abortion is wrong. Deep inside, beneath all the rationalizations, everyone knows. Behold in this video the miarcle of life.
A stunning new technology all the conversion of ultra-sound images to life-size models. Read More here: Parents can hold life size models of their Unborn Child
You Oh Lord have formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Already you knew my soul, my bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret….I praise you that I am wonderfully fearfully made. (Psalm 139:13-15)
Development of the Unborn Baby.
- Day 1: fertilization: all human chromosomes are present; unique human life begins.
- Day 6: embryo begins implantation in the uterus.
- Day 22: heart begins to beat with the child’s own blood, often a different type than the mothers’.
- Week 3: By the end of third week the child’s backbone spinal column and nervous system are forming. The liver, kidneys and intestines begin to take shape.
- Week 4: By the end of week four the child is ten thousand times larger than the fertilized egg.
- Week 5: Eyes, legs, and hands begin to develop.
- Week 6: Brain waves are detectable; mouth and lips are present; fingernails are forming.
- Week 7: Eyelids, and toes form, nose distinct. The baby is kicking and swimming.
- Week 8: Every organ is in place, bones begin to replace cartilage, and fingerprints begin to form. By the 8th week the baby can begin to hear.
- Weeks 9 and 10: Teeth begin to form, fingernails develop. The baby can turn his head, and frown. The baby can hiccup.
- Weeks 10 and 11: The baby can “breathe” amniotic fluid.
- Week 11 the baby can grasp objects placed in its hand; all organ systems are functioning. The baby has a skeletal structure, nerves, and circulation.
- Week 12: The baby has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. Vocal cords are complete. The baby can suck its thumb.
- Week 14: At this age, the heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day.
- Week 15: The baby has an adult’s taste buds. Month 4: Bone Marrow is now beginning to form. The heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day. By the end of month 4 the baby will be 8-10 inches in length and will weigh up to half a pound.
- Week 17: The baby can have dream (REM) sleep.
- Week 19: Babies can routinely be saved at 21 to 22 weeks after fertilization, and sometimes they can be saved even younger.
- Week 20: The earliest stage at which Partial birth abortions are performed. At 20 weeks the baby recognizes its’ mothers voice.
- Months 5 and 6: The baby practices breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid into its developing lungs. The baby will grasp at the umbilical cord when it feels it. Most mothers feel an increase in movement, kicking, and hiccups from the baby. Oil and sweat glands are now functioning. The baby is now twelve inches long or more, and weighs up to one and a half pounds.
- Months 7 through 9: Eyeteeth are present. The baby opens and closes his eyes. The baby is using four of the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, and touch.) He knows the difference between waking and sleeping, and can relate to the moods of the mother. The baby’s skin begins to thicken, and a layer of fat is produced and stored beneath the skin. Antibodies are built up, and the baby’s heart begins to pump 300 gallons of blood per day.
- Approximately one week before the birth the baby stops growing, and “drops” usually head down into the pelvic cavity.
Sources Used: Bergel, Gary (Produced by NRLC) “When You Were Formed in Secret.” 1998. Flanagan, Geraldine Lux. Beginning Life. The Marvelous Journey from Conception to Birth. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 1996. Hopson, Janet L. Fetal Psychology. Oct. 1998. 07 Jan 2003.
In this issue are some items related to the aftermath of the President’s Speech at Notre Dame. It looks like the former President of Trinity University here in Washington is rather upset with critics of the Honorary Degree Awarded to President Obama. At Commencement exercises she refers to these critics (which include a fairly large number of Bishops) as “Catholic Vigilantes.” Another interesting bit of news about the protests at Notre Dame is that among the “vigilantes” 🙂 present at the protest was Norma McCorvey (who was the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade). Most of you know that she converted to Catholicism in 1998 and has worked actively in the pro-life movement for many years now. It is a great and healing thought that she is now among us as a fellow Catholic and a pro-life advocate. God is good, very good.
Also in this edition of Gloria TV News is a strange and sad story about a Catholic school boy who wants to be a girl. There are also some reflections from Former Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland about the Abuse Scandal.