Great Organizations: Consecrated People Stopping Human Trafficking

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While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.   – Mark 5:35-43

Named after this particularly touching story in the Gospels, this international association of religious orders works to stop human trafficking by raising awareness, advocating for change, and helping individuals who are victims of trafficking. Talitha Kum helps particularly for these orders to network and connect in order to better combat such a huge international injustice as human trafficking.

talithakumThis international group includes orders that work undercover, dressing as the prostitutes they seek to rescue. They befriend them and give them a way out by offering food, shelter, and training in a safer, legal, marketable skill. People who are trafficked, understandably, have a hard time trusting others especially men or anyone in authority. So these humble women dressed as they are are best equipped to help the victims out.There is estimated around 1,100 women religious worldwide who work undercover to free the enslaved.

These orders also actively pay for children who are sold into slavery so that they can be free. They provide the children shelter, food and an education.

How courageously awesome are these women!

Let us now pray for them and the human trafficking victims:

O God, when we hear of children and adults deceived and taken to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and organ ‘harvesting’ our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.

We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with St. Bakhita for it to end. Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good. Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to your children. Amen

-Prayer from Talitha Kum

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Theology of the Body Thursday #26: Cool Organizations: Stop Surrogacy Now

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What is wrong with surrogacy? If a couple wants a child and a woman agrees to be a surrogate, what’s wrong with it?

This is what is wrong:

  1. Women are not incubators. We are not machines. People are meant to be loved and things are meant to be used, not the other way around. Regardless of pay, a woman’s most intimate parts are not tools.
  2. Children are not commodities. There is no “right” to a child. The idea that a couple has a “right” to a child is a very dangerous one indeed. This opens the door to all sorts of abuses in the name of “having a child.” The idea of children has commodities, as things, once gave the blank check to anyone who wanted child labor. Let surrogacy have the same fate that child labor once did in this country.
  3. A child, on the other hand, as a human being has rights, and one of those rights, as listed by the UN, is the right to his or her biological parents.

What can you do about it?

From the Center of Bioethics and Culture:

Stop Surrogacy Now brings together a worldwide, ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse group opposed to the exploitation of women and the human trafficking of children through surrogacy.

 

With support from 16 organizations and more than 100 individuals from 18 countries, Stop Surrogacy Now demands recognition that surrogacy exploits women (in many cases poor and marginalized) who are paid to bear children. Often these women are subject to coercion, restrictive or substandard living conditions, and poor health care. In addition, surrogacy carries many severe, short- and long-term health risks. Many surrogates live as indentured persons with 24 hour monitoring of the “property” within their wombs.

 

Stop Surrogacy Now demands recognition that children conceived for surrogacy are quality-controlled: subject to sex-selection or abandonment for disability or simple change-of-mind. Children produced through surrogacy are objects of contract as well as products of inequitable bargaining power and unregulated markets. Most often, these commercially produced children experience the sudden and complete severance of the natural bond between mother and child and are intentionally deprived of contact with and knowledge of one or both biological parents in direct violation of the U.N.’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

 

Signatories to Stop Surrogacy Now demand a complete stop to surrogacy in order to protect women and children worldwide and to end efforts that would seek to legitimize and normalize trafficking children.

Please sign the petition found at: Stop Surrogacy Now

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I did talk about surrogacy in a previous TOB Thursday. You can read it here.

 

Cool Organizations: Cosmo Harms Minors

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I feel like I’m personally attacking people. I know two of my closest friends read the magazine, although one glance at the cover turns me off. (Kinda ironic since most of their article titles are some variation on “how to turn somebody on.”)

Cosmo is one of (admittedly) many magazines to shove unrealistic body images down girls throats. It “celebrates” sexuality to a point that it makes sex a woman’s prime goal in life and turns women in to sex objects. It glamorizes some dangerous sex practices. Above all, it has in recent months glorified abortion and perpetuated all of the bad stereotypes out there about pro-lifers.

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Note that two of the most prominent stories on the cover are sex-related.

 

And that isn’t unusual.

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There are several groups out there fighting against this. One in particular, Cosmo Harms Women made headlines since it is founded by the granddaughter of the founder of Hearst Corporation, the largest publisher of magazines. On their website, they give a number of action steps that people can take to confront this. I highly recommend a trip to their site.

Also, if you are on Twitter, I recently found an account No Cosmo for Minors. I don’t know who runs the account, but they post good stuff. They are the ones that woke me up to this entire issue.

Cool Organizations: He Knows Your Name

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It’s been forever since I’ve profiled a really cool organization. Today, I want to introduce you to He Knows Your Name.

This is a ministry that helps those who have lost babies in any way shape or form and, most importantly, the children they lost. They don’t ask how the child died, their purpose is to give that child dignity with a name and a dignified burial. Regardless of if the child was killed in abortion or from abuse or was a stillbirth, all children deserve respect and dignity as children of God. As it says on their about page:

He Knows Your Name was birthed in October of 2009 when the body of a newborn baby, dressed only in a diaper, was discovered in downtown Indianapolis. Three thoughts rang through my head:

 

A dumpster is NOT a grave!

 

A diaper is NOT a burial gown!

 

And Doe is NOT a name!

 

Sadly it is a fact that, even with the Safe Haven law, babies are still abandoned, buried in nameless graves, with no headstone to mark either their deaths or – more importantly – their lives.

 

He Knows Your Name Ministry strives to ensure that every child receives a name in life and dignity and honor in death.

What a mission! Learn more on their site.

Humanae Vitae Study just around the corner!

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LIGHT SHINES ON CRUCIFIX IN VESTIBULE OF BASILICA

Starting in just a week, we’ll be hosting an ENDOW study of Humanae Vitae. It’s never too late to join. Visit here to sign up and buy your book. ENDOW has recently lowered their prices substantially. For only $20, you can learn why the church teaches what it does about birth control and marriage so you can better appreciate the awesome power which is WOMAN!

Hobby Lobby Won! What Does It Mean To Me? 3 Things!

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AP Photo borrowed from Politico. I love this pic in particular because a bunch of the religious rights activists look like they’re my age.

If you haven’t heard the news, Hobby Lobby won their Supreme Court case against the federal government about providing birth control coverage for their employees. Hobby Lobby is owned by evangelical Christians who did not want to cooperate with sin by providing their employees with four specific kinds of birth control. These four drugs are widely recognized to be abortifacient, meaning, you guessed it, they directly cause the abortion of the newly conceived person. (Mind you, the FDA has approved 16 other kinds of birth control that Hobby Lobby does cover for their employees.)

And you ask, “What does it mean to me?” Here are a few answers for you:

1. It sets a precedent for over 100 other cases.

There are employers all over the United States fighting in the courts for their religious freedom rights. These employers range from the Little Sisters of the Poor to Eden Foods to numerous manufacturing and insurance companies. This sets a hopeful tone for those cases, although not foolproof. As I said, it only covers 4 drugs. It also only covers “closely-held” companies which are defined as companies owned by 5 or fewer people. But, as one blogger said:

“It puts a couple of teeth back into what has rapidly been becoming a toothless concept of religious liberty in this country.”

 

2. This case highlights the chasm that exists between religious people and the rest of the culture.

The fact that this case is even a thing says a lot about the reality of being a religious person right now in America. I’ve run into it myself reading posts written by other young women on the internet. Sometimes it’s as if we are speaking two different languages. It is a bad sign when we are all talking past each other rather than to each other. This, I believe, is where John Paul II’s Theology of the Body will come in handy. It’s all in the name, folks! It takes a very human, very concrete look at reality and through it reaches to spiritual Truth.

Believe it or not, we are all human. We all love, we all hate, we all fear. We all care deeply about other people. We all share fundamental human needs and experiences: acceptance, rejection, security, insecurity, birth, death…we are all embodied souls. And this is where we can all meet. Clearly, religion isn’t a meeting ground anymore. Morality can’t be a meeting ground when so many people question it. But one thing has always remained the same: our shared humanity. Resist the urge to dehumanize “the enemy.”

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Edited for language. Source (which retains original language).

3. How should you respond?

In addition to recognizing that we are all human, there are two more things you can do:

  1. Pray for our leaders. – That is actually specifically mentioned in Scripture as something we should all be doing anyway (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
  2. Be missionaries. – Learn about what the Church teaches and why it says it. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

I have to admit, this last point did come from an article in Christianity Today which is worth a read.

Speaking of reading, for more information, here is the actual Supreme Court opinion.

HobbyLobbyVictoryPS: A friend of mine noted something interesting. On this day 182 years ago, the first Miraculous Medal was struck. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!

 

#whatwomenneed

Right now, Women Speak for Themselves have a great idea.

Earlier this week, the president of Planned Parenthood tweeted a video

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As you can see, she lists all of the things she thinks women need for Valentine’s Day, including birth control and “safe and legal abortion.”

Women Speak for Themselves is an organization for women who are tired of people like Cecile Richards claiming to speak for all women. They stared back in 2012 when issues surrounding Obamacare and the HHS Mandate really started heating up. Their main push is an open letter to President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary for Health and Human Services stating that:

Those currently invoking “women’s health” in an attempt to shout down anyone who disagrees with forcing religious institutions or individuals to violate deeply held beliefs are more than a little mistaken, and more than a little dishonest. Even setting aside their simplistic equation of “costless” birth control with “equality,” note that they have never responded to the large body of scholarly research indicating that many forms of contraception have serious side effects, or that some forms act at some times to destroy embryos, or that government contraceptive programs inevitably change the sex, dating and marriage markets in ways that lead to more empty sex, more non-marital births and more abortions. It is women who suffer disproportionately when these things happen. 

You can sign the letter and get involved here.

Their newest idea, however, is for pro-life women all over the internet to take pictures of themselves holding signs saying what women really need.

This is a sample taken from their Facebook page.

They ask that we post our pictures on their Facebook page or e-mail it to Helen@chiaroscuroInstitute.org. Please share it on your own website, Facebook page, or blog. Tweet it and please use their handle @womenspeak2012. 

Here are mine:

Attempt #1
Attempt #2
Attempt #3
Attempt #4 (The one I think I’m going to post on Facebook and Twitter)


Tell me which attempt you think I should use.