sexta-feira, 26 de abril de 2013

'Gosnell is a real-life Hannibal Lector': 18 Congressmen expose abortionist from House floor - by John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2013 ( – A group of 18 Congressmen took to the floor of the House of Representatives today, delivering 18 one-minute speeches highlighting the horrors exposed during the trial of Kermit Gosnell, and tying Gosnell to the whole abortion industry in the United States.

“Kermit Gosnell is a real-life Hannibal Lecter,” said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-IN, who spearheaded the speeches. “Gosnell operated an abortion clinic that severed the necks of hundreds of babies and stuffed their bodies into freezers, plastic bags, and cat food tins.”

Stutzman said the case should stimulate Americans to “re-examine our national conscience.” 

“More than 3,000 unborn children die in abortion clinics every day in this country. While none of these deaths attracts the headlines of the Gosnell case, each loss is a tragedy,” he said. “Each of these defenseless babies are just as innocent as Gosnell’s victims, just as human as you and I, and just as precious as our own children.”

“There is no moral distinction between killing a baby five minutes after birth or ending her life five minutes—or even five days—before delivery,” he concluded.

Well-known pro-life champion Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, agreed. “How different, really, is Gosnell’s house of horrors from the abortions that occur in clinics around the country every single day?” he asked. “Not much. Not much at all.”
“Mr. Speaker,” continued Smith, “will Americans ever be told how often abortionists dismember, decapitate, and chemically poison innocent babies?”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN, said that it is difficult for her to even speak about the Gosnell case, pointing out that she has given birth to five children and been a foster mother for 23 more. “It is very hard for me to imagine that a doctor in this country, a doctor that took an oath to ‘do no harm,’ would in fact kill a woman at his abortion clinc, and he would sever the heads of four babies that were born alive, and potentially others, and commit one gruesome act after another.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-KS, pointed to several recent stories of horrific conditions at abortion facilities around the country, similar in some cases to what jurors have heard about Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.”

“That is where the real War on Women…and on children, is occurring,” he said.

This is the second time that a group of congressman have spoken on the House floor about the Gosnell case. Earlier this month a group of 10 congressman spoke, many of them decrying the lack of media coverage being given to the case.

A few days later, a group of 72 congressmen released a letter lambasting the three major networks – ABC, NBC, and CBS – for ignoring the case. In that letter, the congressman had said that they see “no excuse” for the failure to cover the two stories, other than “blatant media bias.”
The following is a list of the congressmen who spoke on the House floor today, with links to videos of their speeches:

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) (@RepStutzman) Rep. Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) (@RepBillJohnson) Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) (@RepDennisRoss) Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) (@RepChrisSmith) Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) (@CongHuelskamp) Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) (@JeffFortenberry) Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) (@KeithRothfus) Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) (@ToddRokita) Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) (@MicheleBachmann) Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) (@RepKerryB) Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) (@RepLankford) Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (@SteveScalise) Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) (@RepGosar) Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) (@RepWalberg) Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) (@DrPhilRoe) Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) (@RepScottPerry)

The Family is the Key to the Future of Faith - by Mary Eberstad

No institution can be counted upon to provide such operatic drama as the Catholic Church. February opened with sinister hints in the Italian media of yet more scandals involving sex and money within the Vatican bureaucracy's higher ranks. Then came the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first such papal exit in some 600 years. This was followed in March by the (also unexpected) election to the papacy of the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, one brimming with its own series of precedents: the first non-European Pope since the 700s, the first from the New World, and the first to choose the spiritually potent name and legacy of St Francis of Assisi as synecdoche for this surprising new pontificate.

For Catholics, their well-wishers in other faiths and perhaps even for some of their adversaries, it has all been an unavoidably diverting set of spectacles. Even so, the pageantry has obscured a rather sobering fact: it is continuity in the Church, rather than change, that is the real order of the day from Pope Francis I on down. In particular, the Church of tomorrow, like that of today, will inevitably find on its agenda a problem even more vexatious than the past decade of sex scandals, because even more intractable. It is a problem that Francis I will no more be able to avoid than was his predecessor — or other occupants of St Peter's Chair in years to come. 

That problem is the conundrum of Western secularisation. Certainly no one was more aware of its centrality than the retiring pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict. That great theologian and prophetic thinker made the re-evangelisation of Europe the cornerstone of his pontificate. This was true starting with his very name. As he explained, St Benedict of Nursia — founder of the Benedictine order that kept Christianity alive in the Dark Ages, and one of the two saints from whom he took his papal title — was chosen specifically because his life evoked "the Christian roots of Europe". 

Even before his election as Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had revealed a deep preoccupation with reclaiming Europe for God. Most notably, he engaged the grand old man of the German intellectual Left, Jürgen Habermas, in a debate on faith and reason that demonstrated their symbiosis and appeared as a book, The Dialectics of Secularisation. In 2010, on the feast day of St Wilfrid, who helped to re-evangelise the British Isles, Pope Benedict XVI further tried to institutionalise the battle against secularisation by creating the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation — a body specifically charged with countering what he called "a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church", and "an eclipse of the sense of God".

No issue, in sum, appears to have been dearer to Pope Benedict's heart. All of which raises a question entirely overlooked in all the global media attention lately focused on the Vatican: did he succeed in his mission? The answer, so far anyway, can only be: no. But the reason why deserves more illumination than it has received so far. It is hardly the Pope Emeritus's fault that the Church has not yet figured out what to make of secularisation. Modern sociology hasn't got it right, either.

The Catholic mission against Western secularisation has sputtered in part because the West, religious and non-religious, has laboured for many years now under what is at best an imperfect understanding of what "secularisation" really is. Until now, the Church has passively let secular thinkers tell the tale of how and why people stop believing in God — all of which would be fine if secular thinkers had succeeded in connecting those dots correctly. But the trouble is that they haven't, as is evident from several insurmountable logical problems that could not have been foreseen when Friedrich Nietzsche's madman first prophesied the death of God.

For one, consider the historical timeline. Secularisation has been understood by most great modern thinkers — and by plenty of mediocre ones — as a linear process in which religion slowly but surely vanishes from the earth — or at least from its more sophisticated precincts. As people become more educated and more prosperous, the collective story goes, those same people come to find themselves both more sceptical of religion's premises and less needful of its ostensible consolations. Hence, somewhere in the long run — Nietzsche himself predicted it would take "hundreds and hundreds" of years for the news to reach everyone — religion, or more specifically the Christianity once dominant on the European continent, will die out. 

Exactly which feature of modernity would put the final nail in the coffin has been unclear, but a representative list would include technology, education, material progress, urbanisation, science, feminism and rationalism, among the usual suspects. Once again, this process has been supposed by many to be inexorable. Like candles on a birthday cake the religious faithful, too, will sooner or later flicker out, one by one. 

The trouble with this widely accepted storyline is that it does not describe the historical reality of Christianity's persistence. The American sociologist of religion Rodney Stark, who is a contrarian in these matters, opened a classic 1999 essay called "Secularisation RIP" with an entertaining review of predictions of the demise of Christian faith dating back to 1660 and continuing to the present day — including such secular soothsayers as Frederick the Great, Thomas Jefferson, Auguste Comte, Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, the anthropologist Anthony F.C. Wallace, the sociologist Bryan Wilson and other notables. As Stark wryly implies, none seems to have grasped the ironic fact that their own obituaries would be written long before the rest of the world stopped believing in God. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge suggest in their 2009 book God is Back, the Almighty has not expired on the timeline predicted by his would-be obituarists.

What secularisation theory has missed is this crucial historical fact: Christianity has not operated in a linear fashion at all. It has instead been cyclical — prospering in some places and declining in others according to a pattern that secular thinkers have neglected to explore. This includes periods of prosperity in this and the last century.

The Second World War was followed by a religious boom in every Western country. In an essay reviewing the role of religion in the British, American, and Canadian armies the British historian Michael Snape concludes that the soldiers of all three nations "were exposed to an institutional process of rechristianisation during the Second World War, a process that was widely reinforced by a deepening of religious faith at a personal level". This experience, he concludes, further reinforced "a religious revival that was stirring in the war years and which was to mark all three societies until the religious ferment of the 1960s". 

The British historian Callum G. Brown agrees. As he has put it, summarising evidence of a religious boomlet across the West in the mid-20th century, "Between 1945 and 1958 there were surges of British church membership, Sunday school enrolment, Church of England Easter Day communicants, baptisms and religious solemnisation of marriage, accompanied by immense popularity for evangelical ‘revivalist' crusades." That trend also held elsewhere in the Western world — in Australia, West Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. 

As for the United States, the same postwar religiosity appears in retrospect as the high-water mark of Christianity in America. So pronounced was public religiosity and so vibrant were the churches that Will Herberg, perhaps the foremost sociologist of religion in America during the mid-20th century, could observe in his classic book Protestant-Catholic-Jew: "The village atheist is a vanishing figure . . . Indeed, their kind of anti-religion is virtually meaningless to most Americans today . . . This was not always the case; that it is the case today there can be no reasonable doubt. The pervasiveness of religious identification may safely be put down as a significant feature of the America that has emerged in the past quarter of a century [emphasis added]." In the gap between his assessment of the religiosity of his day and our assessment of its decline less than 60 years later, we see once more that Christianity ebbs and flows even in the modern world, in ways more mysterious than first understood and that point away from the conclusion that decline is inevitable.

Nor has secularisation been synonymous with material progress, as a great many other people have supposed. Consider the significant variables of social class and education. Christianity, in the minds of many sophisticated secular people, is Marx's famous "opium of the masses" — a consolation prize for the poor and backward. Everyone "knows" that the better-off have less use for God than poor people, and that educated people have less use for religion, frankly, than do duller heads. Certainly that is a stereotype to which many people would assent — one rather flagrantly displayed in a notorious piece in the Washington Post in 1993 that described the followers of leading American evangelicals as "largely poor, uneducated and easy to command".
Everyone "knows" these things — yet few people, especially those who use stereotypes like these to explain the weakening of Western Christianity, seem to know the empirical truth. Once again, if the conventional account of secularisation was sound — if it correctly predicted who was religious, and why — then we would reasonably expect that the poorer and less educated people were, the more religious they would be. So the fact that these stereotypes are not correct, and that the opposite has been the case in some significant instances, would appear to falsify conventional accounts of what happened to the prevalence of Christian belief.

The British historian Hugh McLeod's painstaking work on London between the 1870s and 1914, Class and Religion in the Late Victorian City, found that among Anglicans in London, "the number of . . . worshippers rises at first gradually and then steeply with each step up the social ladder." Put differently, "the poorest districts thus tended to have the lowest rates of [Church] attendance, [and] those with large upper-middle-class and upper-class populations the highest." In other words — and in contrast to the Dickensian image of the pious poor morally and otherwise outshining a debauched and irreligious upper class — reality among the populace seems to have been the opposite in Victorian London. "Only a small proportion of working-class adults," he observes, "attended the main Sunday church services" (Irish Catholics being the sole exception). Callum Brown, another expert on the numbers, makes the same point about religiosity in Britain during those years: contrary to conventional wisdom, "the working classes were irreligious, and the middle classes were the churchgoing bastions of civil morality." Much the same pattern can be found in the United States today — and it is one more pattern subversive of the idea that economic and intellectual sophistication are somehow the natural enemies of Christian faith, or that personal enlightenment and sophistication explain the current condition of Christian practice. 

A widely praised book by the political scientists Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, similarly refutes the notion that religiosity in the United States is a lower-class phenomenon. During the first half of the 20th century, the authors observe, the college-educated participated more in churches than did those with less education. This pattern changed during the 1960s, which saw church attendance fall off most among the educated. But following that "shock" there emerged another pattern, according to which attendance tended again to rise faster among the educated than it did among the less educated (or depending on how one looks at it, the drop in attendance then became more dramatic among the less educated than it was among those with college degrees). As Putnam and Campbell observe, "this trend is clearly contrary to any idea that religion is nowadays providing solace to the disinherited and dispossessed, or that higher education subverts religion."

In another wide-ranging recent book on American social class, Coming Apart: The State of White America, the political scientist Charles Murray analysed recent data on churchgoing, marriage, and related statistics to conclude that "America is coming apart at the seams. Not the seams of race or ethnicity, but of class." Most interesting of his proxies for our purposes was religion. The upper 20 per cent of the American population, data from the General Social Survey show, are considerably more likely than the lower 30 per cent to believe in God and to go to church. Among the working class, 61 per cent — a clear majority — either say they do not go to church or believe in God, or both; among the upper class, it is 42 per cent. "Despite the common belief that the white working class is the most religious group in white American society", Murray explains, "the drift from religiosity was far greater in Fishtown [his imaginary working-class community] than in Belmont [a better-off suburb]." As a headline on once pithily summarised research by the American sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox and Andrew Cherlin, "Who is Going to Church? Not Who You Think."

Titans of sociology such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber understood in their own ways what most thinkers today, including the new atheists, do not — why religion might, from a secular perspective, exist in the first place. But neither they nor their contemporary heirs gave satisfactory attention to this other question: what causes it to come and go? In all likelihood, most of them did not believe it could wax as well as wane. Yet the evidence suggests that Christianity has done just that.

So if the conventional accounts have been wrong about what drives some people away from church — money, education, personal enlightenment — why are the churches of Europe as empty as they are? Why do increasing numbers of young people in the West identify themselves as "none of the above"? What is the real causal force turning a civilisation that once widely feared God into a civilisation that in some places now widely jeers at him?

The answer, I believe, has to do with a variable so seemingly humble as to have been overlooked by the titans of sociology no less than by their many descendants. That variable is the human family — more specifically, the relationship between the health of the family and the health of Christianity. 

Consider once again the remarkable vibrancy of Christian practice across the West in the years following the Second World War — the religious boomlet much remarked upon by sociologists of the time, and still within living memory of some today. That boomlet was pan-Western in scope. It applied to the vanquished as well as the victorious, the neutral as well as everyone else, the economically devastated as well as the prosperous. So what explains it?

To study the timeline is to see that the years of postwar religiosity coincided precisely with another much-studied phenomenon of those years: the baby boom. Across the Western world, the war was followed by an increase in marriage and babies. Is it not just common sense to think that the baby boom and the religious boom went hand in hand — indeed, that each trend powered and reinforced the other in a way highly suggestive of this overlooked aspect of what makes Christianity tick?

In brief, the idea is that something about families (and in all likelihood, more than one "something") increases the likelihood that people will go to church, for all sorts of reasons: because they will seek out a like-minded moral community in which to situate their children; because the experience of birth, of simply being mothers and fathers, transports some into a religious frame of mind; because the idea of loving someone enough to die for him arguably comes more easily to the parents of the world than to mortals who do not know that primal bond. In these ways as in others, one can argue, communal life within the family might incline people toward religion generally, and specifically toward Christianity — a religion that begins, after all, with a baby and a Holy Family, and whose revolutionary notion that a valid marriage requires consent of both parties remains one of the most family-friendly human rights innovations of all time.

From the point of view of the new occupant of the Papal Apartments, as well as to his well-wishers in a time of flickering Western faith, there are two ways of looking at this new understanding of secularisation. On the one hand, the family is in parlous shape across the West. More people are being raised in broken homes; more are living alone; many are openly hostile to traditional Christian sexual morality, and legal norms not only in the West but across the world increasingly reflect that fact. All of these and related facts about the shattered hearth put up new barriers to religious belief. (To offer just one potent example, how does one explain the idea of God as infinitely loving father to someone whose own father has abandoned the home, and whose experience of other paternal figures is a series of Mom's abusive boyfriends?)

On the other hand, this new way of dissecting secularisation brings the heartening news that most secular thinking on the subject has got rather a big thing wrong: there is nothing inexorable about Christian decline after all. Family, like faith, fluctuates throughout the historical timeline. And surely the pragmatic, interlocked relationship between the two gives prospective New Evangelists something meatier to go on, perhaps, than they have had before. 

Specifically, because the churches need vibrant families — including families that reproduce themselves, as secular people tend not to do — they must also understand that strengthening the natural family is the first order of business in bringing people back to God. As has been amply documented by the British political scientist Eric Kaufmann in Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? and the American author Jonathan Last in What to Expect When No One's Expecting, believers have many more children than do non-believers. In an increasingly secular and childless age, the churches need to make that job easier.

This is not an abstract call to rhetorical arms, but rather one to grassroots efforts, one parish at a time, dedicated to all manner of things that might make family life easier or more attractive to secular people. More babysitting, support groups, marriage counselling, meal drop-offs, healthcare volunteering, car pools, prayer groups that double as social hours, free tutoring, and other seemingly humdrum but systematic efforts might do more to re-evangelise Western culture than all the pontifical councils in Rome.

Put differently, the welfare state has been an ineffective and hideously expensive substitute for the fractured Western family. If the churches are to succeed, they must compete successfully against it. 

This brings us to the fact that there are other forces at work that might also contribute inadvertently to religious revival. Will the almost certain collapse of some of the West's now untenable welfare states launch a massive return to the hearth? Will people tired of shrinking pensions and record unemployment rates and other factors that show the welfare state to be an inefficient substitute for the family make different familial decisions from those of their parents? In America during the years immediately following the 2008 crash, to offer small but intriguing suggestive evidence, divorce declined slightly, and young people moved back home rather than into the atomised life so characteristic of the generations of young adults before them. Could wider economic catastrophe itself spark a revival of the family — and with it, a revival of the Christianity that has for so long protected and nurtured the family even as it benefited from it? Those are the questions looming not only over St Peter's Square, but the entire Western world.

quarta-feira, 24 de abril de 2013

‘This is so hard. Oh, God, it’s so hard!’: nurses tell of aborted babies born alive - by Sarah Terzo

April 23, 2013 ( - Often when a baby is born alive during an abortion procedure, the child is kept in the abortion clinic until he or she dies. In rare cases, the abortionist himself takes action to kill the baby. But sometimes the baby is transferred to a hospital, where he can be given medical care. Unfortunately, it is the policy of many hospitals simply to allow these babies to die.

Nurse Kathleen Malloy, from Jacksonville, Florida, witnessed the death of one baby who was born after a saline abortion and transferred to her hospital. Melanie Green of Last Days Ministries quoted Malloy in her pamphlet “Children: Things We Throw Away?“ Malloy tells her story:

  • I worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, and when we weren’t busy, I’d go out to help with the newborns. One night I saw a bassinet outside the nursery. There was a baby in this bassinet – a crying, perfectly formed baby – but there was a difference in this child. She had been scalded. She was the child of a saline abortion.

  • This little girl looked as if she had been put in a pot of boiling water. No doctor, no nurse, no parent, to comfort this hurt, burned child. She was left alone to die in pain. They wouldn’t let her in the nursery – they didn’t even bother to cover her.

  • I was ashamed of my profession that night! It’s hard to believe this can happen in our modern hospitals, but it does. It happens all the time. I thought a hospital was a place to heal the sick – not a place to kill.
  • I asked a nurse at another hospital what they do with their babies that are aborted by saline. Unlike my hospital, where the baby was left alone struggling for breath, their hospital puts the infant in a bucket and puts the lid on. Suffocation! Death by suffocation!

A saline abortion is performed by injecting the caustic saline solution into the amniotic fluid that surrounds an unborn baby in the second trimester. The baby breathes in the fluid, which burns her lungs and scorches her skin, causing her to die within several hours. The mother then goes through labor to give birth to the dead baby. This type of abortion is seldom performed today because it led to so many live births and because it was dangerous to women; it had the potential to cause severe damage to the woman’s body if the saline was injected into her bloodstream. A similar procedure where poison is injected into the baby’s heart, or, in some cases, the amniotic fluid, still takes place today and is used in the late second and third trimesters.

The baby Malloy watched die never had a name and never had a chance to live. In a similar situation, Gianna Jessen, who was also aborted by the saline method, was given medical care and survived. She is now a pro-life activist, and her website can be found here.
A 2002 article in The Journal of Clinical Nursing seems to indicate that nurses encounter babies born alive after abortions with some frequency. According to the article:
In the case of late termination, the death of the fetus before delivery, though usual, is not inevitable except in rare cases of extreme physical abnormality[.] … At times the fetus will actually attempt to breathe or move its limbs, which makes the experience extremely distressing for nurses. Also, whereas the woman will probably go through this process once in her lifetime, nurses may go through it several times a year or even in the same week. (1)
The article quotes author and lecturer Annette D. Huntington, BN, Ph.D. saying that abortion live births are a “regular occurrence.”
Another nurse who found herself in the terrible position of caring for an aborted baby told her story in the newsletter of Friendship Pregnancy Center (now called Women’s First Choice Center) in Morristown, New Jersey. Her story, which can be read in its entirety here, is heartbreaking. On the night the aborted baby came in, three premature babies from a nearby hospital were being taken care of. Two of the three were in danger of dying, and doctors struggled to save their lives. While the doctors were engaged in the struggle to help these two wanted babies, the aborted baby was brought in:
The nurse from Labor and Delivery walked into our unit carrying a blanket and stating “This is a prostaglandin abortion. He has a heartbeat so we brought him over.” The baby was placed under a radiant warmer and I was told the rest of the facts. The gestational age of the baby was given to be 23 weeks by ultrasound. The mother had cancer and had received chemotherapy treatments before discovering that she was pregnant. The parents had been told that their baby would be horribly deformed because of the chemotherapy.
I looked at the baby boy lying before me, and saw that from all appearances he was perfect. He had a good strong heartbeat. I could tell this without using a stethoscope because I could see his chest moving in sync with his heart rate. With a stethoscope I heard a heart pumping strongly. I look at his size and his skin — he definitely looked more mature than 23 weeks. He was weighed and I discovered that he was 900 grams, almost two pounds. This was almost twice the weight of some babies we have been able to save. A doctor was summoned. When she arrived the baby started moving his tiny arms and legs flailing. He started trying to gasp, but was unable to get air into his lungs. His whole body shuddered with his efforts to breathe. We were joined by a neonatalist and I pleaded with both doctors saying, “The baby is viable — look at his size, look at his skin — he looks much older than 23 weeks.”
It was a horrible moment as each of us wrestled with our own ethical standards. I argued that we should make an attempt to resuscitate him, to get him breathing. The resident doctor told me, “This is an abortion. We have no right to interfere.” The specialist, who had the responsibility for the decision, was wringing his hands and quietly saying, “This is so hard. Oh, God, it’s so hard when it’s this close.” In the end, I lost. We were not going to try to resuscitate this baby. So, I did the only thing I could do. Dipping my index finger into sterile water and placing it on his head, I baptized the child. Then I wrapped him in blankets to keep him warm, and held him. These were the only measures I could take comfort the baby under the circumstances, no matter how much I wanted to do more. I held this little boy, who was still gasping for breath, trying to stay alive on his own. As the tears flowed down my face, I pray to God that he would take this child into his care, and that he would forgive me for my own part in his death. After a while, he stopped gasping. His heart continued to beat, but the beating became slower and weaker until it finally stopped. He was gone.
Ironically, all the while the nurse was holding the dying aborted child, doctors were struggling to save the life of another premature (but wanted) child in the very same room, less than five feet away. Sadly, this baby died as well – but she was given every possible medical treatment, while the aborted baby was completely ignored.
Another nurse, Joan S. Smith, told the following story:
It was a night I’ll never forget. It was 11 pm and my colleague Karen and I “scrubbed in” at the beginning of our shift in the Special Care Nursery of a large teaching hospital….Without warning, a harried nurse rushed into the doorway.
Her white uniform seemed out of place in the area of the hospital where only surgical scrubs are worn.
“Here, take this,” she said, thrusting into my hands a small silver specimen pan covered with a paper towel.
“What is it?” I asked, realizing by the look on her face that something was very wrong.
“It’s an abortion at 22 weeks gestation, delivered on our floor. But it’s alive,” she explained, then turned on her heel and was gone. I removed the paper towel to see the perfectly formed body of a baby boy curled up in the cold metal pan….Karen came over to help. “This happens every so often,” she explained sadly. She had trained at the hospital and worked there for over 15 years.
[After a doctor Joan called simply told her to do nothing but fill in the time of death for the baby] Stoking his tiny arm, I tried to sort out my jumble of emotions. I felt powerless, angry, and overwhelmed by sadness. How could our medical system be so full of ironies? Here I was surrounded by medical technology, which was of no avail to this tiny child. I wondered if the parents even were told that their son had been admitted to the hospital as a live birth with footprints taken, and identification number and band given, a physician notified of his birth- yet all of this merely an unpredicted complication of a routine abortion. It took nearly four hours until that tiny heart slowed to a stop. With tears in my eyes, I wrapped his body for the morgue. This was all of a life this child would ever know. He would never know the warmth of a mother’s embrace. No one would ever celebrate his birth. He would never even be given a name.
It is not unheard of for a baby born at 22-23 weeks to survive with medical treatment. Little Amillia Taylor was born at just 21 weeks and six days and weighed less than 10 ounces. She survived and is a healthy toddler today. Amillia’s mother actually had to lie to get the doctors to treat her baby – they had a policy of not treating children born before 23 weeks.
A German baby born at 21 weeks and five days also survived. Her story can be found here. The article also cites the example of a Canadian baby who was born before 22 weeks and survived.

Cases of late-term abortions blur the line between abortion and infanticide. Clearly, when a baby can survive on its own, even for short while, it becomes obvious that abortion is the killing of a human being. In reality, life is a continuum from conception to natural death – although babies aborted at later stages of development are more fully developed, abortion is murder from the very beginning. But stories of babies born alive and then denied medical care are heart-wrenching and a terrible indictment of our society, which permits such atrocities.

1. “Working with Women Experiencing Mid-Trimester Termination of Pregnancy, the Integration of Nursing and Feminist Knowledge in the G

Admirável entrevista do Cardeal Burke - Vatican Cardinal: ‘Individual bishops’, not just conferences must fight culture of death (exclusive) - by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, April 23, 2013 ( – The bishops of the world must, as individuals, take the lead in combating the Culture of Death, and not wait for the national conferences, Cardinal Raymond Burke told in an interview yesterday.

“It should be emphasized that the individual bishop has a responsibility in this matter. Sometimes what happens is the individual bishops are unwilling to do anything because they wait for the national bishops’ conference to take the lead.”

Warning against some of the bureaucratic trends of “truth by committee” in the Church’s organisation, Cardinal Burke said, “Simply by the way these conferences work, it can be years before some kind of effective direction is given, and then oftentimes because this direction is discussed and debated, it can get very watered down.” 

He emphasized that the involvement of the bishops should be constant, and not merely a matter of issuing a statement once. “We’re not writing term papers here where you make reference to an earlier document and that’s sufficient.” In public life, he said, the message has to be stated and re-stated and kept up to date.

And statements, he said, are only one part of it. “Its another thing to encourage people to actively manifest their desire that the moral law be respected,” he said. Even in a “pluralistic” society the moral law is universal and can and must be expressed in law, he explained. 

The head of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s supreme court, spoke with LSN in the lead-up to the Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Nazionale in Rome, set for May 12th in Rome. The Cardinal is known around the world as one of the strongest voices in the Vatican’s Curia for the Church’s teaching on the sacredness of human life at all its stages. He said that the growth of the marches for life, starting in the US, is indicating a shift in opinion on abortion in many countries of the western world, particularly among younger people. 

Cardinal Burke said that abortion is the premier social justice issue, even if some in the hierarchy, even in the Vatican, don’t seem to act that way. The lack of enthusiasm for combating abortion as a priority among some of the upper echelons of the Church administration, he said, “is something that needs to be addressed”.

He said that overall, “there is a concern” about abortion among the cardinals. “How they see it practically being witnessed is another thing, however.”

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“I think in some places there’s a great hesitation among prelates to be involved in public manifestations. Many see it as some kind of political activity that isn’t proper for a cleric.” 

But Burke said he does not hesitate to participate, “because to me, it’s a question of the common good. Giving witness for the common good. It’s not a political rally in the sense that they’re rallying for this or that candidate, it’s not partisan, it’s a good across the  board.”

Citing the encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate, he said that abortion, as well as the widespread use of artificial contraception, must be made priorities: “It seems to me it’s the first issue of social justice, the right to life.” 

Remarking on the marches springing up in ultra-liberal European centres like Brussels and Paris, as well as the leap for the Italian national march from 1000 to 15,000 participants in one year, the cardinal said, “I think especially among the younger people there’s a great interest. People realise that the culture is really bankrupt and they’re trying their best to respond to the situation.” 

He said that there is a visible increase in interest by bishops, particularly at the March in Washington. He also said that the media blackout has been unable to stop the personal witness of the marches. “I believe it has a great impact,” he said. 

He urged the upcoming generation of younger pro-life leaders to bring the life issues up with their clergy.

“I think the lay faithful in the parishes and in the dioceses need to go to their bishops and priests and urge them to give that pastoral leadership that they’re called to give on this very critical issue. Yes the laity have their part, a very significant part in all the various areas of public life to give witness to the Gospel but they depend upon their priests and bishops to give that teaching and example, how to confront the situation.” 

“They need leadership. That’s what it’s all about.”  

The marches in Italy are only three years old, and have already grown from a small gathering in an out-of-the-way town in the north, to 15,000 last year in the capital. Organisers are hoping to jumpstart a public debate which has not occurred since Italy’s abortion law was passed in 1978.

While it is true that the Italian abortion rate is relatively low and few doctors are willing to participate in abortion – with overall about 70 per cent in the country refusing and as many as 86 per cent in Lazio, the region of Rome – the abortion rate has numbered in the millions since legalisation. The latest statistics available estimate that about 115,517 abortions in 2010 out of a total Italian population of 60.77 million and a national rate of 8.5 abortions per 1000 women between 18 and 49. 

In 2009, the notorious abortion drug regimen, RU-486, was approved for use in early pregnancies. Italian ambivalence about abortion was demonstrated in 1981 when a national referendum to repeal the law was rejected by nearly 68 per cent of voters and another, that would have removed legal restrictions was rejected by 88.4 per cent.

Marcia per la Vita, Roma organizers have asked for help with advertising expenses. In a media release today, organizers explained that radio spots, posters and newspaper ads have cost a total of around 10,000 Euros. “We ask you to help us according to your abilities, to give our event the biggest impact possible,” they said. 

“The life of a human being is priceless and we will be in the streets to join our voices in defense of innocent human life that is suppressed every day, every minute, in the world and also in Italy!” 

Visit the Marcia per la Vita website for more details on how to donate.

Mamom - por Nuno Serras Pereira

24. 04. 2013

Depois da minha Ordenação Sacerdotal, em 1986, fui enviado para Coimbra com a finalidade de exercer o ministério, principalmente, na nossa Igrejinha. Aí homiliei, sobretudo nas Missas Dominicais, durante quatro anos. Um assunto que me perturbava, desde uns anos antes, tinha a ver com o impressionante fascínio sedutor, senão mesmo hipnótico, que as pregações dos políticos e os pronunciamentos de boa parte de membros da Igreja, exercia sobre as almas. Tudo aquilo estava nimbado de uma nova religiosidade: Os fautores da união eram novéis Moiséses, melhor, definitivos salvadores, que nos conduziam à nova terra prometida, ao paraíso neste mundo, o único existente. Daí escorria leite e mel, isto é, dinheiro a jorros, garantindo-nos uma abundancia tal que infundiria em todos uma felicidade perfeita. A generalidade dos cidadãos, e não poucos prelados, indiferentes aos princípios inegociáveis, aos absolutos morais, aos valores essenciais e à sua justa jerarquia, votavam com a carteira, com o multibanco, em busca da riqueza sonhada, não obstante os insistentes avisos e exortações homiléticas de um resto, mínimo, que por ter a Graça de ver e escutar os sinais dos tempos se recusava, por virtude do Espírito Santo, a emudecer. Era preciso ser cego e surdo, ou estar magnetizado, para não perceber a inversão perversa e enganadora da Fé verdadeira. O diabo, esse grande invertido, macaqueia, com sofisticado requinte, a obra de Deus, mas deixa sempre um fedor a enxofre, que deixa nauseados aqueles que não vivem na imundície.

A cobiça, essa deusa de beleza luciferina, subtilmente enganadora, dominava soberana e implacável. Para alcançar e gozar do “tudo isto te darei” (Mt 4, 9) era imprescindível dar provas iniciais da maturidade de uma democracia relativista e, portanto, meramente formal, instituindo o divórcio, impregnando a mentalidade contraceptiva, aprovando, como brecha primeira, a legalização do aborto provocado. Deste modo, uma substancial tirania se implantou e consolidou em nome, precisamente, da sobredita democracia. Tudo isso foi feito sem sobressaltos de maior.

Transformados efusivamente em orgiásticos adoradores do deus Mamom (dinheiro) entregámo-nos ebrifestivamente a uma vertiginosa avidez insaciável com o consequente fúnebre cortejo de crueldades que sempre o acompanham: deseducação sexual nas escolas, liberalização do aborto, reprodução artificial, experimentação letal em pessoas no seu estado embrionário, asfixia da liberdade religiosa, pseudocasamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo, com concomitante adopção pela figura do apadrinhamento, divórcio expresso sem culpa. Mamom sempre foi desapiedado, desconhecendo em absoluto a Misericórdia.

Inclementes e desalmados para com os inocentes e os mais vulneráveis, imploramos agora socorro, compaixão e beneficência para com as nossas aflições monetárias… A verdade é que se não nos convertermos pereceremos todos igualmente (cf Lc 13, 1-3); e, pior ainda, seremos julgados sem misericórdia (cf Tg 2, 13). Mas a misericórdia triunfa sobre o juízo! Enquanto não chega a morte corporal, que tantas vezes é súbita e imprevista, estamos sempre - e este sempre significa agora, já que logo pode ser tarde -, a tempo, assim Deus conceda a Sua Graça, que a ninguém a recusa, de nos arrependermos e a Ele, Infinitamente Misericordioso, nos convertermos (Mt 25, 31-46).

NOTA BENE: Este texto não cuida de análises políticas (no significado ordinário que é dado a este vocábulo) nem económico-financeiras, matérias que não são da minha competência. Reflexiono, tão só, naquilo que diz respeito ao meu ministério.