Author Archives: SPNOPL

Personhood Amendment: Winning the Abortion War Without Exception

Since 1973, many different tactics and approaches have been put forward by the Pro-life movement here in the United States.  I think it can be safely stated, that as far as these approaches and tactics have concerned making abortion illegal in this land, they have all been an unmitigated disaster.  37 years later, we are farther away from making abortion illegal in this country, and the more the years go by, the farther and farther away we go.  Can we really say that the approaches we have taken are even slightly successful, when there is still debate about whether taxpayer money should be used to kill the innocent?  The fact that it is still debateable should be a sign to all of us who deeply care about the unborn, that what we have been doing to accomplish our goal is not working.

So what needs to change you ask?  I think the only approach that will finally and once and for all end the killing is a constitutional amendment granting “personhood” to all from conception to natural death.  However, this idea of a personhood amendment is not new.  In 1974 a New York Senator named James Buckley brought a human life amendment to the Senate, and a quick search on this topic shows that 12 other human life amendments have been presented to Congress from 1973-2003.

The most outspoken proponent for a “Personhood” Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is Jude Brown of the American Life League.  Jude Brown has been at the forefront of the Pro-Life movement since before Roe v. Wade became the desecration and abomination of the land.  Mrs. Brown has on many occasions clearly articulated the reasons why a personhood amendment is the only way to win the abortion war going on in this country.  In this article, Mrs. Brown further states the reasons as why the amendment process is the only way to proceed at this point.  Further, and more to the point, Mrs. Brown discusses the reasons why allowing exceptions to our cause, has doomed us to failure.  We cannot allow “exceptions”, such as the “health and well-being of the mother” or “in cases of rape or incest”, to be used any more in pro-life speak.  Those “exceptions” are not Pro-Life!  We are being hypocrites when we say that abortion is wrong, but it is okay in these instances.  We must now take a firm inventory of ourselves and the pro-life movement and decide what we really want.  Do we want to limit abortion?  Or do we want to end abortion?

As Catholics we are all called to end abortion.  Limiting abortion may sound good in practice and at cocktail parties, but in reality, innocent life is still being murdered, and mothers womb’s are still being ripped apart.  We must do all we can to end the horror.

So, can a personhood amendment achieve the end to abortion?  I believe it is the only way we can win the war.  But, we won’t win with the “exception” mentality.  As mentioned above, Sen. Buckley’s amendment in 1974 was the first human life amendment proposed in the Senate.  The “exceptions” were of course debated at that time.  The cardinal from Boston,Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, made the following statement at the time:

“As for an amendment which would generally prohibit abortion but permit it in certain exceptional circumstances, such as when a woman’s life is considered to be threatened, the Catholic Conference does not endorse such an approach in principle and could not conscientiously support it.”

Interestingly enough, and despite the good Cardinal’s reiteration of Catholic teaching, guess what was in Sen. Buckley’s human life amendment?  You got it, an exception to abortion in the case of the life of the mother!  If you look at the other 12 proposed human life amendments, most, if not all, had language providing “exceptions” to abortion.  Is it any surprise that none of these proposed amendments had any success?

The pro-life movement needs to unite around this personhood amendment strategy in order finally and forever, defeat the culture of death.

I am well aware that the majority of Americans support abortion; either outright, or within one or more of the “exceptions”, but that should not matter when trying to prevent an abhorrent evil.  We cannot compromise with evil, lest we condone evil ourselves.

It is my belief that we are not winning, or even on the verge of winning this war, because too many good people in the pro-life movement have bought into this incrementalist approach that allows exceptions to abortion or worse, abortion itself, because the legislation may limit abortion in some unforeseen way.

These good people also believe that taking the “all or nothing” approach is too extreme and too hard a fight to see any results.  However, what results have we seen with the current approach?  In 37 years there have been over 40 million abortions in this country!  It is plainly obvious we need to reorganize our attack and focus all of our efforts on promoting and passing a Personhood Amendment that would protect all life from beginning to natural end.

To that end, California is in the process of gather petitions to place a Personhood Amendment on the November 2010 ballot.  Please go to this website for further information: http://www.californiahumanrightsamendment.com/

Documentary to examine Blood Money motive in abortion industry

Documentary to examine Blood Money motive in abortion industry

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Planned Parenthood’s Crazy Notion of Women’s Universal Healthcare

The President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, blasts the U.S. Bishops for wanting universal healthcare that does not include abortion.  Why is she surprised by the U.S. Bishops action?  What did she expect them to “okay” abortion in this instance because universal healthcare is so important?

Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards

No.  Ms. Richards is just another anti-Catholic in a long line of anti-Catholics and worse, i.e. Margaret Sanger, who head Planned Parenthood, who attempt to use twisted logic and twisted, macabre examples, to not only bash the Catholic hierarchy, but also to push her sick and bizarre notion of “woman’s healthcare”.  The notion that woman’s healthcare include services and devices that are “harmful” to all women, is something straight out of some wacky sci-fi novel where in the future, citizens are brainwashed into thinking that bad things are good for them, and good things are bad for them, all for the benefit and glory of one illustrious, ego centric dictator.  Sound familiar?

Ms. Richards uses the same old tired rhetoric in attempting to make the U.S. Bishops Conference into hairy armed cavemen when she states, “Their hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe — where women also need universal health care access. The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world — the very women that you would think the bishops would be concerned about.”

It is not enough for Ms. Richards that over 40 million Americans have been legally murdered in America since 1973, nor is it enough that this “healthcare” for women has raped this country of precious souls, that Ms. Richards wants and desires that U.S. taxpayer money go to other lands so the murder and rape can continue in foreign lands.  Who is the true barbarian?

Ms. Richards continues on that over 68,000 women across the world die each year from abortion.  But of course, the Catholic Church is to blame because we do not support artificial contraception.  “The root cause of unsafe abortion is unintended pregnancy, a result of the lack of affordable and accessible contraception for women. The correlation between higher contraceptive use and lower maternal mortality is well established.”

Sorry Ms. Richards.  The root cause of unsafe abortion is:  the ABORTION!  68,000 women die annually because of abortions, not from continuing their pregnancy to full term.  Ms. Richards answer for this is to have more accessible contraception for women.  The facts are that in countries where condoms and  the pill are prevalent, sexual intercourse increases, which increases the risk for pregancy and for sexually transmitted diseases.

The fact of the matter is the U.S. Bishops Conference needs to do more in standing up and supporting the Church’s position on human sexuality.  They need, along with the laity, to speak up that abortion is murder; that artificial contraception is not the answer for women’s healthcare, and that condoms are not an effective, nor desirable means to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The road Ms. Richards wants the U.S. to go down, has been trod before.  It is the road we are currently on since 1973, when abortion was legalized.  It is the road that Pope Paul VI warned about it in 1967 in Humanae Vitae, that abortion and contraception dehumanize women and places them as objects for mens sexual gratification, rather than as a loving partner between a husband and wife who are seeking to express their love for another through the sexual embrace.

It is obvious to anyone who wants to listen that the Catholic Church has been in the forefront of articulating the proper human sexuality (see Pope John Paul II and his Theology of the Body) and what true universal healthcare for everyone is all about.  The U.S. Bishops are on the right track, but much more is needed to be done if we are going to overthrow our current culture of death.

The Tiller Murder is a Blow to the Pro-Life Movement

The murder of the notorious Abortionist, George Tiller, on Sunday, was a horrific and violent event.  The killing of a human being, without justification, is always wrong, regardless of who that person might be, or what that person does for a living.  In my opinion, Dr. George Tiller was a murderer.  However, Dr. Tiller murdered those babies, (some say 60,000 by his hand alone!) within the confines of the law; meaning he acted legally, and therefore he did  not actually commit murder, under the legal definition of murder  in the United States.  Therefore, any violent or forcible act to prevent him from performing more abortions would be unjust and immoral.

Most of us in the pro-life movement, understand this; we would never commit a violent act upon anyone to achieve our goals of ending abortions by making them illegal, and unwanted.  We know and understand that the only way to stop abortions is to ask God for forgiveness and mercy, and pray in the name of Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother Mary, to change the hearts of those seeking and performing abortions.  We understand that our goal to end abortions in the world will not be accomplished by anything we do, but will be accomplished by God in His mercy.

The murder of Dr. Tiller, I believe, is a tragic blow to the pro-life movement as a whole.  Just by watching the news the last few days, once again, the pro-life movement is now categorized as a lunatic, terrorist group, whose modus operandi is to commit violent acts and murder.  This at a time in the pro-life movement, when after the 2008 election we were at our lowest point, and more recently when the most prestigious Catholic university in America, Notre Dame, honored the most pro-abortion President ever in Barrack Obama, this murder takes us further away from our goal than we have ever been.  Although a recent poll showed that people identifying themselves as pro-life to be the majority for the first time since polls were taken in this area, a closer inspection of the polls does not support this finding.  51% of those polled identified themselves as pro-life, yet 76% stated that abortion should be legal either in all or limited circumstances.  That does not sound pro-life to me.  So with this backdrop, this murder may only further dilute our message of respecting life at all stages.

And not surprisingly, the media is now bent on showing Dr. Tiller as the martyred saint for the pro-choice crowd.  Dr. Tiller, far from being a saint, was an opportunist at best, and a murderer at worst.  But now, with his murder, the “high ground” that had been ours for years (at least the last 10 years), is now with the pro-abort gangs, because of the murder of their fallen hero.

To make matters worse, the media is also attempting to connect statements made by pro-life leaders, such as the Catholic Bishops, and conservative television hosts, like Bill O’Reilly, to place blame for the murder of George Tiller at their feet because they had the gall to speak out and say that what George Tiller was doing was murder.  Never mind the fact that none of these people ever abdicated violence or suggested in any way that violent acts be committed to stop the abortions. But that doesn’t matter to a media whose pro-abort views are clearly seen in their reporting of stories and in their editorial comments.

So where does that leave the Pro-Life movement?  First, we should speak loudly and forcefully that we do not condone any violent acts to achieve our goals; that violence is exactly what we are attempting to stop.  Second, we must continue to be vigilant in exposing the “falseness” of the “pro-choice” movement, by standing up for the truth, that all life is sacred from its beginning to its natural end.  And third, we must pray…and pray…and pray…

JUNO; Accidentally Pro-Life?

juno_l200712201428The film, Juno, is a movie I have been wanting to see since it hit the theatres in late 2007.  At that time it received all the Oscar buzz associated with much larger budgeted films.  I waited to watch the film because it had received so much attention from the pro-life world, that I wanted to watch it when all the furor had died down.  Well, I probably waited longer than I should have, but I did finally get around to watching it last night, and I was sure glad I did.

Briefly, Juno is a sixteen year old girl living in a Minnesota suburb with her father and step-mother (her mother abandoned her and moved to Hawaii and started a new family there) and five year old half sister.  Her best friend Leah, is a cheerleader, although it becomes obvious that the two of them are definitely not in the “in” crowd at school.  Her other best friend, is a boy in her class who also is a “track and field enthusiast”.  Paulie Bleeker (Bleeker)  is a long distance runner, and is probably best categorized as a “geek”, but Juno sees something in him that she is unsure about, but by the end of the film, she realizes that what she sees in him is love.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  The film starts with Juno and Bleeker having a very awkward and quick, sexual encounter, in a chair.  Shortly, we learn that Juno is pregnant.  Juno decides, after series of encounters, not to have an abortion, but to have her child and to give the child up for adoption.  Juno, with the help of Leah, find a couple looking to adopt in the PennySaver.  Juno and her father meet the couple, along with their lawyer, in perhaps one of the funniest scenes of the movie.  By  the end of the film, Juno not only gives birth to her child, but she also learns a lot about relationships and love.  

 Juno is definitely a film that finally promotes a pro-life position, but the film itself is not necessarily pro-life.  I loved Juno, and not just because Juno didn’t choose to have an abortion.  I loved the film because it was funny and serious, it is weird and realistic, and it has a fantastic soundtrack.  Juno is a beautiful, quirky film, with tremendous acting and fantastic writing.  While in the film, God is never mentioned, nor is any religious theme introduced into any of the characters, the fact that Juno decides to carry her baby full term and to “give up” her baby for adoption, is the kind of self-less, loving act that we need to see more of in film and in the written word.  Whatever the political, or religious views of the writer or director, Juno comes out strong in showing that having a child is more than just “me” and that  killing that life is just not an option.  I highly recommend Juno to all.

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion:  three words I would have never expected to be used in the same sentence, yet the past month, numerous articles, blogs, and news reports have uttered those three words together.  How it came to be that so many people used those three words together is the question of the day:  Why did University of Notre Dame, the most preeminent Catholic university in the United States, invite the most pro-abortion President of the United States we have ever had, to not only speak at the graduation ceremony, but also to receive an honorary law degree?

The President of the University, Rev. Jenkins, has given his “reasons” for the invitation, all of which on its face, sound well and dandy, with the exception that, Mr. Obama, as President of the United States, has the unique position to demonstrably and effectively make decisions on the life and or death, of millions of unborn children throughout the world.  As an example, in just two quick movements of his pen, within weeks of taking office, President Obama “overturned” the Mexico City policy, which now will allow U.S. taxpayer money to go to countries to be used to specifically abort/murder children.  President Obama next changed the policy on Embryonic Stem Cell research:  now hundreds of thousands frozen embryos can be used and killed in the name of science, a science that has achieved no actual results yet, even though billions of dollars has been given to this research over the last ten years.

So President Obama, in just his short time in office, has changed the fortunes of millions due to his view that abortion is not murder, and that life begins, well….he doesn’t know when life actually begins, but it is okay to kill unused and unwanted life in the name of science.  That is Mr. Obama’s view, and I may add, the view of many Americans.

But getting back to Notre Dame, why, in light of these views, could Notre Dame invite this kind of President of the United States to speak and give an hononary degree to?  The only legitimate and honest answer is that  by extending this invitiation, Rev. Jenkins failed his University, his students, his country, and most importantly, his faith.  

President Obama, in his speech at Notre Dame, said that the pro-life and pro-abort/death/murder camps can reach common ground on these issues.  Really?  What common ground can there be when the other side believes that persons who are walking and talking on this earth, are “superior” to those who are in their initial stages of  of life.  What common ground can there be with people who believe that puncturing the skull of a full term 9 month old, and then sucking the brain out of the skull so the head can collapse in order to remove it from the womb and then the mother, is a “privacy right” to the mother?  Or what common ground can there be with people who believe that killing the smallest humans is okay because science may be able to learn to save others from their deaths?  There is no common ground between the pro-life and pro-death groups.  I think in order to move forward, we need to be honest and at least admit that there is no common ground.

 By making this statement of false “hope”, President Obama missed the mark and continues to sound like just another “pol”, rather than a statesmen he believes he is destined to be.

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion?  Let’s hope Notre Dame and other Catholic institutions have learned a lesson that they will never repeat again, so those three words will never be in the same sentence in the future again.

Father Bart’s Trip to Cuba: Part I

 

Father Bart de la Torre

Father Bart de la Torre

 

 

Dear Fellow Dominicans, This is part one of four on my recent trip to Cuba. Were I to send it altogether, you may be discouraged from reading it all. With much love and prayers,Fr. Bart, O.P.

To Cuba and Back, 2009, Part I: Indecent Exposure Shocks Nun

Thank you very much for your prayers. My March 9 – April 3 loop through the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Habana, Santiago de Cuba and Cobre (also Cuba), and then back to Mexico City and Mexicali, was one big miracle. There was no way all the good things that happened could have come about without many praying together. “If two or three of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven.” (Mt. 18:19) There were those of you who received my request for prayers by personal contact, and when I got back parishioners told me that our pastor, Fr. David Bello, O.P., included my trip in the Prayer of the Faithful of every Mass.

Here is the background. Mother Teresa of Calcutta for many years had Fr. Emmerich Vogt, a priest of the Western Dominican Province, to which I belong, go to India to give her and the Sisters of the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, their annual spiritual retreat. After she died in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity continued inviting Fr. Emmerich. However, in Jan. of 2007, Fr. Emmerich was elected the Prior Provincial, i.e., was put in charge of the Western Dominican Province. He continues to be invited but sends someone else in his stead. This year he sent me, and it was to the annual seminar and retreat for the Missionaries of Charity in Cuba from March 18 to 31.

Thanks to the generous permission of the aforementioned Fr. David, I flew from Mexicali on Mon., March 9, to Guadalajara, Mexico. There my relatives had a family get-together so I could visit many at one time, and it was a very happy occasion. They are a cheerful lot, and because are all degreed in their various careers they are doing well despite the economic recession.

On Thurs., March 12, I flew to Mexico City, where the Missionaries of Charity met me at the airport and drove me to their convent where I was given a warm welcome, a nice, private room, and delicious meals. They are very well organized, and had asked me if I had a special diet. I told them that because of cholesterol I avoided red meat and shell fish, but could eat the white meat of chicken and turkey and fish. From the first day, I was given every part of the chicken cooked in many ingenious ways, but after some 10 days, I was pretty tired of chicken, and they were feeding me the dark meat of the chicken anyway. I even got chicken on Fri., March 13, and reminded Sister it was a Friday in Lent; they didn’t repeat that mistake.

The convent’s guestroom, in which I stayed, was next to the nursery for abandoned children. One mentally ill 6 y/o girl yelled all night, so I hardly slept.

On Fri., March 13, a lady friend of the Sisters drove me to the Basilica of O.L. of Guadalupe, where I prayed the Rosary before the 477 y/o tilma of St. Juan Diego (1474-1548). During my prayer, 24 priests in black cassock, white surplice and purple stole had a Liturgy of the Word and then processed down into the church and began hearing confessions. All 24 were still busy when my guide and I left the basilica (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica, andhttp://www.google.com/search?q=basilica+de+guadalupe&rlz=1I7GGLJ_en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7). She then gave me a tour of all the other holy sites in the Guadalupe compound. Though I had visited Our Lady of Guadalupe twice before, there was no way my heart could let me be in Mexico City and not visit the country’s most important religious and civic site. Kneeling before the artistic masterpiece painted by heaven to represent Mary as a Latin American mestiza, a race that did not yet exist, I prayed for all of you. Then we went to a pharmacy where I bought earplugs so that the poor little girl’s wails would not keep me awake this night.

The next morning, one of the Sister Rita, the guest mistress, wanted me to meet the child, so she called out to her. The little girl came out through the curtain stark naked. The shocked Sister tried to get her to go back, but the innocent orphan was so fascinated by the priest-visitor that she did not want to leave. Eventually Sister Rita’s remonstrances intimidated the 9 y/o to disappear back through the curtain.

On Sat., March 14, I visited relatives in Mexico City, and we met at the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies because it is near the home of my 84 y/o first cousin on my father’s side, Dolores Ruiz Esparza. This large and very popular shrine houses a small image of Mary from Spain, brought over to invoke Mary’s protection by a captain in Hernán Cortez’s army of conquest. In the June 30, 1520, in the battle of the Noche Triste (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Noche_Triste), as he fled with Cortez’s army, the captain hid the image on a hillock in a small Aztec shrine. The image was found 20 years later, and the present church (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalavinka/3264710514/) was finished in 1575 to house the statue, which has turned out to be miraculous.

Happy Feast Day of O.L. of Fatima and of Bl. Imelda, O.P.

Fr. Bartholomew de la Torre, O.P.

Western Dominican Mission, Mexicali, B.C., Mexico

First Post

Okay, here we go.  

 

Stephen