St. John Paul II on the Sacredness of the Human Person

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The sacredness of the human person cannot be obliterated, no matter how often it is devalued and violated, because it has its unshakable foundation in God as Creator and Father. The sacredness of the person always keeps returning, again and again.

-St. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation: On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, December 30, 1988

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Life App, the Pro-Life App Par Excellence

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For a little over a year, the perfect pro-life app has been available for free on Windows, Android, and iPhones. If you don’t have it, you need to fix that. Now. I’ll wait…

lifeapplogo1 <—The logo looks like that, just so you know what you’re looking for.

You need it if you’re a sidewalk counselor. You need it if you’re in a position where you may someday run into a woman in need, or become that woman in need yourself. You need it if you’re participating in 40 Days for Life. If you’re pro-life, you just simply need it to be able to give a ready answer to someone in need.

The app includes videos to help you better understand a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and to answer with compassion and love.

When you open the app, you will see 4 tabs. The first tab is simply the “About” tab explaining how the app works. Swipe over and you’ll see the “How to Respond” tab which leads you to several brief videos mainly of Sisters for Life explaining how to respond to a woman in need with compassion and care. Swipe again and the best map ever will show you where your nearest crisis pregnancy centers are under the heading “Help Centers.” The last tab, titled “Her Perspective,” gives direct answers to some of the most common fears and concerns that you will hear.

Many pro-life apps of this kind are released by individual crisis pregnancy centers and don’t contain nearly this much information. Nor are they as useful anywhere around the country.

Kudos to FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and Sisters of Life for such an awesome app.

If I have to make any complaint, at first glance, someone might be turned off thinking it’s too religious. Heck, most of the videos are of a sister in a habit talking. If you actually listen to what they are saying, however, you don’t have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior to appreciate and use this app. This app speaks to the human condition and how to treat one another with love and respect. These things are the same regardless of religious persuasion.

I can’t praise this app enough. Go and get it. You never know when you’ll need it.

Link to the press release from FOCUS explaining more about the app.

Today is the Birthday of Pro-Life Feminist Warrior, Susan B. Anthony

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One hundred and ninety-five years ago today, suffragist and feminist Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, MA. This most awesome woman was born into a politically active Quaker family. She was still a child when she started work in the anti-slavery movement. She dedicated the majority of her life to fighting for women’s rights including equal pay for equal work, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to sign petitions and speak publicly. Like many women suffragists, she was also active in the temperance movement.

She was the more active half of a famous example of true friendship. Her partner-in-crime, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was married with 7 children, so she mainly stayed home, wrote, edited and womanned the fort while the unmarried, childless Anthony traveled across the US and spoke out for women.

 

Although abortion now is quite different than abortion in 1800’s, her views on the procedure are beyond debate. She refused to advertise abortion providers and abortifacient drugs in her publication The Revolution. The Revolution did publish, however, an anonymous essay containing the following quote:

Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! Thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.

Anthony herself said this in response to a man who complimented her saying she would have made a good mother:

I thank you, sir… but sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.

In speaking about the evils of society perpetuated by men, Anthony lists abortion.

The prosecutions on our courts for breach of promise, divorce, adultery, bigamy, seduction, rape; the newspaper reports every day of every year of scandals and outrages, of wife murders and paramour shooting, of abortions and infanticides, are perpetual reminders of men’s incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society.

We also have found in her diary a couple passages in which she mourns her sister-in-law’s abortion.

While it is unclear whether she would be for criminalizing abortion, she clearly saw it as murder and fought for a better life for both mother and child. If she were alive today, she would speak out against abortion. She would agree with pro-life feminist Sidney Callahan who says, “Women will never climb to equality and social empowerment over mounds of dead fetuses.” (By the way, fetus is just Latin for ‘baby.’)

Best Summary of Pro-Life Feminism Ever!

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This politician was far from being pro-life, but this quote is the perfect summary of Pro-Life Feminism.

We don’t need to earn our equality by our children’s blood. We don’t need to treat our fertility as a disease and kill off our unborn in order to succeed in the world. (Whatever “success” means?) Frankly, that is playing by man’s rules, when what is really needed is a change in the game.

While You Were Freaking Out About the Gay Marriage Decision…

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There isn’t much to say about the gay marriage ruling that hasn’t already been said. Here is my favorite post on the subject: Time to Stop Defending Marriage and Time to Reintroduce It, Says Advocate

The furor over the gay marriage decision has drowned out two anti-life decisions that I think you should know about.

Abortion in Texas

SCOTUS ruled 5-4 to block Texas from enforcing part of their new regulations of abortion clinics. These regulations would have closed over half of the state’s 19 clinics. They included some really common sense measures like requiring abortion clinics to run like surgical centers and for their doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. More than 400 women have died from legal abortions. These kinds of regulations could save at least one of the two lives that walk into the clinic that day.

The ruling blocks the enforcement of these regulations at least until they decide in Fall whether or not they will hear the case. Insiders think that it is very likely that they will hear the case as it gives them a chance to define a term used in their Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision back in 1992. There, the court ruled that states generally can regulate abortion unless doing so places “an undue burden” on a woman’s right to get an abortion. This would give them an opportunity to define “undue burden.” Apparently the death of the baby doesn’t even come to the judges’ minds.

Please add this court case to your prayers this summer.

Death Penalty Drugs

In yet another 5-4 decision, SCOTUS upheld the use of an extremely dangerous and painful drug in executions. Not only that, but they delivered a lethal blow to the anti-death penalty movement by effectively asking the activists to suggest a better way to do executions. As Judge Alito said in the opinion:

Our decisions in this area have been animated in part by the recognition that because it is settled that capital punishment is constitutional, “[i]t necessarily follows that there must be a [constitutional] means of carrying it out.” And because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution, we have held that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain. After all, while most humans wish to die a painless death, many do not have that good fortune. [Emphasis mine]

The drug in question has a proven track record of making executions longer and apparently more painful. It was used in two high-profile botched executions last year.

This court clearly doesn’t care about life: that of the unborn, the convict, or any one in between. God help us all.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Anniversary of Evangelium Vitae

Twenty years ago today, St. Pope John Paul II published one of his best known encyclicals, Evangelium Vitae (or “Gospel of Life”). In it, he unflinchingly defended the dignity of human life particularly against the evils of abortion and euthanasia, although those were far from the only evils he addressed.

In Rome, they are making this into quite a big deal. Yesterday, the Pontifical Council for the Family organized prayer vigils all over the world. There were special masses and special prayers, paying particular attention to Mary, as the intercessor in the cause for Life.

If you, like me, missed all of the hubbub yesterday, do not fear. Here are my suggestions on how to celebrate today:

Read the Encyclical

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At 90 pages, it isn’t the shortest encyclical, nor is it the longest. It isn’t the most intellectually dense either, so don’t feel like you have to be some sort of genius to get it. And no one says you have to finish it today, but if you are a pro-life Catholic, I highly recommend that you pick it up.

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Donate your time, talent or treasure to a pro-life cause

Ideas:

  • Help your nearest crisis pregnancy center. Just google “crisis pregnancy center” to find one or check out Lifecall.org.
  • On the other end of the life-cycle, help your nearest hospice or other organization that helps people facing life-threatening illnesses (only major danger is donating money to groups that promote embryonic stem-cell research, the American Life League keeps track of stuff like that here).
  • Help with a soup kitchen, food pantry, or homeless shelter.
  • Just be wherever there is suffering and do what you can to help alleviate it and give dignity to those who are victims.

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Pray the rosary

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The Rosary was John Paul II’s favorite prayer. His entire life, he has a major devotion to our Lady. You see even in the end of his encyclicals such as the one celebrated today as you will see below.

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Go to Eucharistic Adoration

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If that image doesn’t inspire you to go, I don’t know what will. To find a chapel, look here although I’m not sure how up-to-date their info is. They would be a good place to start and then double-check the info you find there.

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Pray to Mary using the Prayer found at the end of the Encyclical

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I don’t know who is the artist behind this work. Please let me know if you know so I can attribute it correctly!

O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life. – St. John Paul II

Vote! Your voice matters!

This is just a friendly reminder that today is election day and you should vote! 

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It’s also St. Charles Borromeo’s feast day. He would want you to vote, too. This Catholic Reformation saint would want you to pray and vote what is right, not what is popular. He struggled against the grain the entire time he served as Bishop and made plenty of enemies. But only one Person’s opinion counts, God’s!

Women’s Equality?

I do want to make a quick comment about the ballot. Governor Cuomo and some other Democrats made the “Women’s Equality” party here in New York. They did it so that their names would appear on the ballot a few more times and to falsely advertise their views.

I want to make it clear that I am not supporting or putting down any particular major party. Neither of the two biggest parties in the US (Democrat or Republican) truly works in line with the priorities and values of the Catholic Church.

This “Women’s Equality” party however, is just one big lie. Cuomo’s ten point plan is full of good and valuable things like support for victims of domestic violence and tougher penalties for discrimination against women. It has one big issue however: It does strengthen and expand abortion. Already, more black children are aborted than born in New York City. This tells me that the answer is not expanding abortion but asking “why are so many dark-skinned women drawn to it? How are we failing them?” The first nine points would have passed and become law a year ago, but the “Women’s Equality” party demanded all-or-nothing. They don’t care about “Women’s Equality”! All they care about is the pro-abortion lobby!

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Bethanie Ryan writing here as an individual, not as a representative of JPII Center: Personally, I’m not going to vote for anyone who claims to be part of the so-called “Women’s Equality” party. This is kinda painful for me as a self-identified pro-life Democrat. But abortion does not make women equal. Abortion is a sign that our society is failing women and their children.

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