Category Archives: Monthly Newsletter

Helping Women (May, Mother’s Day & the Focus of ProLife) (May 2021 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Mary & Mother’s Day

When we call Mary our own mother it doesn’t belittle or replace our relationship with our biological mother, just as it doesn’t take away from our relationship with Jesus. By devoting ourselves to Mary’s motherly care we are more disposed to see the beauty of every mom’s love. We see just how much moms do & care for us. We see how much joy and peace they bring to our lives. So too does a devotion to Mary help us see how compassionate Jesus is. For Mary’s glory is only a reflection of her son.

And to all mothers reading this, thank you for reflecting the very love of God and Mary! Saint
John Paul II said: “Mary is the sure path to our meeting with Christ. Devotion to the Mother of the Lord, when it is genuine, is always to a life guided by the spirit and values of the Gospel.”

Media Use by Kids

Despite all the evidence showing how media saturation is connected to sleep disorders, aggressive behavior and obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) says children are growing up in a world surrounded by media that are portable and instantly accessible. Parents and pediatricians may find it hard to keep up with the vast amount of content and new features constantly being introduced. Children and adolescents need guidance to make good choices in their media consumption.

The AAP says media use should be discouraged for children under 18 months old, except for video chatting (e.g., Skype or FaceTime). Parents of children 18-24 months who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming and watch it together. For children 2-5 years, media use should be limited to one hour a day to ensure they have enough time to engage in other activities.

For older kids, parents should be wary about providing smart phones too early. And it may not be helpful to have a TV and/or a computer in a child’s bedroom. Studies reveal that media usage by children 8 to 17 is very heavy. Most kids have cell phones and nearly all send text messages. Yet many parents don’t talk to their children about the dangers and long-term repercussions of activities such as sharing photos & pornography. In short, parents need to pay close attention to what the outside world is feeding their kids.

Blood Clots: Covid Vaccine vs. the Pill

The J&J covid vaccine was temporarily halted due to women getting blood clots. According to the CDC, there were 8 blood clot incidents from over 6.8 million vaccine doses. Though worrisome, the incidence of about one in a million is rare. Now for the shocker: according to the National Blood Clot Alliance, for women who take hormonal contraceptives, i.e., The Pill, the equivalent of over 3,000 blood clot events occur for every million.

An Ob-Gyn doctor reports that medical school training is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry that promotes the Pill, and never even mentions NaPro Technology, the main alternative
to chemical contraception. Instead of covering up a woman’s reproductive patterns and possible ob-gyn problems, Natural Procreative Technology allows doctors and patients to understand each woman’s particular fertility, monitor health conditions and develop corrective solutions. “Birth control pills are a band-aid, never solve any health issue, are not 100% effective and pose potential health risks,” says Dr. Monique Ruberu. “We are much too cavalier about women’s well-being in this country. Natural family technology deals directly & naturally with the root of a woman’s health problems.” Visit https://femmhealth.org

“It’s such a beautiful thing to work with your spouse on such an intimate level in planning your family. It actually strengthens one’s marriage. And it is in line with the life-affirming teachings of the Church that strongly counsels against artificial contraception.” [Dr. Monique Ruberu, EWTN Pro-Life
Weekly, 4/22/21]

Book review: Fighting for Life

[interview of Lila Rose by Patti Maguire Armstrong]
As a teen, I read and saw for the first time what abortion does to a baby. In the first trimester, in the humanity of that baby, I saw this beautiful little child, with arms & legs. You could see faces. I saw what a first-trimester abortion does to destroy that developing child. My heart was really touched by that & grieved.

Then I remembered the death toll at that time – 3,000 abortions daily in America – that I had learned about, and I thought, “This is it. This is the cause of the day, the greatest human-rights cause, and I can’t just pretend like it’s not happening. I have to get involved.”

We’ve experienced social media censorship such as having abortionists serve as fact-checkers on our content and being completely banned on Pinterest. Despite the resistance that we have faced over the last 10 years, we’ve built the largest following for the global pro-life movement: over 5 million people strong. What is more powerful than the obstacles is the passion and determination of many pro-life Americans who want to stand up for what’s right.

The mainstream culture sees having sex before marriage as a virtue or something very normalized, but getting pregnant after having sex is seen as a terrible thing. That is so unfair and misleading for young people — instead of saying sex is beautiful and good in a lifelong, sacred relationship — a marriage — and it’s good to bring life into the world.

Our culture calls evil good and often good evil. It’s totally upside down. This confusion costs us dearly; it’s the reason we have a death toll of nearly a million abortions a year. If you don’t know the truth, if you believe the lies, you are going to make the wrong choices, and those bring serious hurt to yourself and others. So we must expose the evil, speak the truth, rehumanize the child, remind people of their dignity, of morality and God and who God is. [National Catholic Register,
www.ncregister.com, 4/21/21]

How you act depends on what you believe about God, the universe, the meaning and value of life, what a human being actually is. Mothers and fathers who trust in God no matter the circumstances, who live out the Golden Rule even at great cost, and who sacrifice time, money, and comfort to give of themselves in service to the Kingdom of God, are living a grand philosophy without perhaps ever even knowing the meaning of words like “metaphysics” and “ethics.”
[Philip Martin, www.crisismagazine.com, 4/22/21]

Helping Women Who’ve Had Abortions

Rachel’s Vineyard weekends are a beautiful opportunity for those struggling with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion. For those considering the need to reconcile their abortion, the retreat is a wonderful gift to yourself to experience the sadness, grief & shame in the company of other women and men feeling very much the same. You will turn pain into hope with the help of nurturing counselors, and are given time to reflect & become open to the healing process. “Through participating in Rachel’s Vineyard, I was finally able to forgive myself. I know that God has given me a peaceful mind, cleansed my heart and has washed away my guilt.” For more information, log onto Rachel’s Vineyard at https://www.rachelsvineyard.org.

Helping Teens is Pro-Life

The majority of pre-teens and teenagers attend public schools where “health” class ignores Christian values and promotes a secular lifestyle. So parents who want their kids to make truly healthy choices need to use other resources. For example, Tan Books provides a comprehensive program called LoveEd: Raising Kids That Are Strong, Smart & Pure (https://tanbooks.com). Organizations like LifeNet provide in-person programs such as Authentic Love & Sexual Integrity; Helping Teens Make Healthy Choices; and Teen Purity (www.lifeneteducation.org).

The chastity/abstinence presentation for teens and young adults covers the risks of sex outside marriage including pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, & emotional and spiritual consequences. For parents, the Helping Teens program helps reduce children’s risk-taking behavior (sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.) and explains why teens need their parents to talk to them often about the meaning of the gift of sex and the importance of saving themselves for marriage.

Another comprehensive source is the Chastity Project (https://chastity.com) that addresses dating, birth control, pornography, STDs, how far is too far, emotional virtue, and other topics of interest to teens. Their team also travels the country giving life presentations, so parents should check their website for current schedules.

The Future of Marriage

(book review excerpt)

In Poland, Justyna believes strongly in Christian marriage, is engaged to be married but is living with her boyfriend for the past two years to save money for a big wedding. She resents her priest’s warning that this is sinful and unwise. Justyna is conflicted. Young Christians all over the world are wrestling with similar challenges, and we get to meet many of them in sociologist Mark Regnerus’s newest book, The Future of Christian Marriage.

Young Christians, like their less religious peers, are marrying later & less frequently, with less disapproval of fornication & cohabitation. Their families are smaller; they largely reject traditional gender roles. They see beauty and wisdom in Christian teachings, but they share the outlook of less devout contemporaries. They ask: How can they avoid a sexual landscape that prioritizes pleasure over long-term fulfillment? What to expect from a potential spouse? How much should a person be willing to sacrifice for marriage? How to establish a secure social & financial foundation for family life? Culture and tradition used to provide more guidance. As marriage-supportive customs erode, the up-front costs & sacrifices increase, while the visible benefits become more elusive. [See Rachel Lu’s full book review at www.nationalreview.com]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has had over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Covid Vaccines, Easter and Life (Apr. 2021 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

COVID-19 Ethics are Complicated

Amidst continuing controversy and differences of opinion, Bishop Thomas Daly (Spokane, WA) summarized three guiding principles of decades-long Church teaching on vaccines:

  1. We may morally receive the currently available Covid-19 vaccines
  2. We’re not morally obliged to take a Covid vaccine
  3. We should advocate for more ethical research & pharmaceutical development

The first principle takes into account that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was produced with tainted aborted fetal cell lines, and that Catholics are encouraged to get a different vaccine. The second principle reflects the concerns that some have about the new vaccines and that one’s conscience must be used in a morally responsible way. The third principle urges all Catholics to communicate their ethical concerns to vaccine producers. For example, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco) plans to launch a letter-writing campaign to urge pharmaceutical giants to produce ethical vaccines. [COVID-19 Vaccine Ethics, National Catholic Register, 3/28/21]

Are Catholics “Hung Up” on Abortion?

[by Timothy Cardinal Dolan]

Actually, we’re obsessed with the dignity of the human person, the sacredness of all human life including the helpless life of the baby in the womb, the death row prisoner, the immigrant, the fragile elderly, the poor & sick. Concern over an abortion culture is not a uniquely Catholic issue but one of human rights. We didn’t learn that abortion was horrible from religion class but in biology and, regarding inalienable rights, in American history.

How can we sustain a culture that recoils at violence, exclusion, suicide, racism, injustice and callousness toward those in need, if we applaud, allow, pay for, and promote the destruction of the most helpless, the baby in the womb? As Pope Francis observes: “We defend and promote all legitimate human rights. But what use are they if the right of the baby to be born is violated?”

Yes, we’re still ‘hung up’ about human life and pray that a respect for the sacredness of all life & the dignity of the human person will be revived, and that the sanctuary of the womb will be off-limits to violent invasion.[1/13/21, www.cny.org]

The use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person. Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (65).

Easter Is Life

“Christianity … is peace; it is joy; it is love; it is life that is always renewed, like the secret pulsing of nature at the beginning of spring. The source of this joy is in the Risen Christ, who frees men from the slavery of sin, and invites them to be with him a new creature, waiting for blessed eternity.” (St. John XXIII, 1959)

Easter is the “Feast of feasts” because it is the single greatest feast of the entire liturgical year and “fills the year with its brilliance.” (Catechism of the
Catholic Church, 1168) The 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one great Easter season.

Catechumens receive three sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) as they enter the Church during the Easter vigil, but all the faithful have the opportunity to strengthen their own sacramental life by renewing their baptismal promises during the Easter liturgy.

“In Western history it was the arrival of Christianity that brought the notion of the sacredness of each person into the world. In pre-Christian Rome, if for any reason a newborn baby was rejected by his or her father (this happened much more often with female babies), out the baby went to the forest for a quick end …. The whole crazy notion that each human life has inherent value – that human lives matter – was what inspired early Christians to set up orphanages, hospitals, and other institutions for the needy, the impaired, and the others who had always been treated with contempt by society.” [George McKenna, On Physical and Moral Plagues,
Human Life Review, Winter 2021]

Recommended New Movie

Starting April 2, the movie Roe v. Wade is available for streaming on both Amazon Prime and Apple TV. The film tells the untold conspiracy that led to one of the most famous and controversial court cases in history. Catholic League President Bill Donohue, an associate producer of the
movie, said: “As assaults on the right to life continue to mount across the country, it is important to understand how we got here.” In May, the film will be made available on DVD.

Big Tech Censors Religion

So far this year, religious groups and figures have been silenced by tech companies at a rate of about one a week. In February, the YouTube channel of LifeSiteNews, a popular religious news website, was permanently banned by Google which delisted all of its videos. The tech giant flagged LSN for a video of an American Catholic bishop criticizing vaccines developed with fetal cells. LSN’s editor said “our best guess is that the channel was taken down for our frank and factual discussion of the controversy around abortion-tainted medicines and vaccines.”

In December, Twitter blocked a post from the Daily Citizen, run by Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian non-profit. It suspended its account for a tweet that respectfully challenged the underlying premise of transgenderism. Twitter made a similar move against Catholic World Report, though it later recanted. Ryan T. Anderson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center saw Amazon ban his book criticizing transgenderism, When Harry Became Sally.

Facebook banned Paul Kangor’s anticommunist tract, The Devil and Karl Marx, and Carrie Gress’s book on rescuing the culture from toxic femininity. Facebook also banned ads for Kimberly Cook’s
book, Motherhood Redeemed, that challenges feminism in the modern world.

Religious groups and individuals likely will face mounting threats from tech companies. Their views on marriage, sexuality, life and other moral issues are unpopular with tech elites. Some religious groups have fought back and have been reinstated. Religious groups should refuse to silence themselves or otherwise back down. Censorship is a symptom of a national collapse in civic culture. Curing the deeper disease will take all the courage and conviction we can muster. [Josh Holdenried, VP & Exec. Director, Napa Legal Institute, Wall Street Journal, 3/29/21]

Teen Brains Affected by Drugs &Alcohol

According to Jessica Lahey, author of The Addiction Inoculation, adolescence is the second of two incredible periods of growth and maturation of the brain. From birth to age two and then puberty to the early to mid-20s. [Ed. Note: past issues of this newsletter have highlighted research regarding the benefits of moms staying home with their newborns for the first two years of life.] The environment has for better or worse a really big impact on the brain.

So teen use of stimulants really needs to be delayed. You not only protect their brain, you also lower a kid’s risk that they will develop a lifetime substance-use disorder. Ninety percent of those people report they started using drugs and alcohol before they were 18. Parents who are strict and say “Just say no” end up with healthier kids.

Risk factors that make it more likely that a teen will abuse alcohol or drugs include genetics (50% to 60% of the risk) plus: childhood violence in the home, death of a parent, separation and divorce. These affect a teen’s overall mental and physical health, including academic failure.

Parents are urged to model healthy behaviors themselves. If your 8th-grader says that everybody is drinking, tell them the truth: only 24% of young kids are doing so. But don’t wait for middle school. Have conversations about drugs and alcohol with your young children and repeat as they get older. [Andrea Petersen, Wall Street Journal, 3/23/21]

For Married Couples Facing Difficulties

The Retrouvaille Program is for married couples facing difficult challenges in their relationship. The marriage program helps couples restore their marriage and rebuild a loving relationship. It is a Christian marriage program, Catholic in origin, where couples of all faiths or no faith background are encouraged to attend. Its major focus is to improve communication & help couples reconnect. Presenters are couples sharing their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to rediscover their love. More information is available at its website. [www.helpourmarriage.org]

Treatment of Impaired People

How do we view physically and cognitively challenged individuals? Hitler adopted a forced-sterilization program in the 1930s that morphed into euthanasia. More than 200,000 people deemed mentally & physically unfit to live were systematically murdered. To defend their actions, some Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ statement justifying sterilization, “three generations of imbeciles are enough,” & the American government’s own sterilization programs. So, today, whom do we think is not fit to live? Our religious beliefs should be put forth to answer: everyone has human dignity that should be respected until natural death.

Life is Precious

In 1994 my aunt had unsuccessful brain surgery and became terminally ill. My parents appreciated the compassionate hospice care provided to her by a local hospital. After several months, my aunt slipped into a coma. Our parish assistant pastor told us that because she had an irreversible condition, that she could be allowed to die. [Tim Donovan, letter to Our Sunday Visitor, 3/21/21]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has had over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Silence is Consent (Mar. 2021 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Phooey on the Hype

American voters seem to be able to see through the hype and euphemisms used by pro-abortion advocates and many in the news media. “Despite being vastly outspent by pro-abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List, pro-life candidates in November won by significant margins. There were 58 races in which a candidate supported by National Right to Life was running against a candidate supported by the pro-abortion PAC Emily’s List. Forty-one (or 71%) of the NRLC-supported candidates won.” [NRLC, The State of Abortion in the U.S., Jan. 2021]

Speaking Out Against The So-Called
‘Equality Act’

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops recently said the proposed Equality Act “would discriminate against people of faith.” The Catholic League and many other civil rights and religious organizations have also sounded the alarm. The Act’s two goals are: amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of sex; override the existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act by allowing gay rights to trump religious rights.

The expansion of rights to transgender women, really biological males who identify as female, has come at the expense of rights for biological females. Boys and men would be allowed to compete in sports with girls and women, thus unfairly altering women’s athletics. Females would also lose their privacy rights. These biological males could use the locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities that have always been reserved for females.

This bill would grant men the right to sue if they were denied equal access to women’s private spaces such as showers, bathrooms, and nursing rooms. These men could also have access to women’s prisons and shelters. Mothers would have no say in their child’s healthcare decisions if that child asks for hormone treatments or sex-reassignment surgery. Even a woman choosing a female doctor because of religious or personal preference would be considered discriminatory. None of this has anything to do with why the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. [William Donohue, Catholic League, 2/22/21; and Eagle Forum Engage, 2/22/21]

If the Equality Act were passed, Catholic foster care programs would be shut down. They would either have to agree to allow two men to adopt children—a clear violation of Church teachings—or lose federal funding. Currently, Catholic hospitals can legally refuse to perform abortions. Under the Equality Act, they would either lose federal funding or be forced to get into the abortion business. That is because refusing abortion services would be declared “pregnancy” discrimination.

The “abortion as health care” campaign advanced by the Equality Act effectively defines the unborn child out of existence. It treats the child as merely a “physical condition” of the mother that health professionals are called on to address through corrective treatment. It also defines Americans who object to such taking of innocent human life as bigots who must be forced to comply. The Act does not promote equality: it further demeans vulnerable human beings who already have few rights, and denies the right of pro-life Americans, who make up about half the U.S. population, to live by their fundamental convictions. In no way should its enactment be the goal of a “presidency for all Americans.” [Richard Doerflinger, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Feb. 2021]

Ed. note: Contact your elected representatives if the bill is still under consideration when you read this.

“Disability should never be a ground or justification to end someone’s life directly or indirectly.” United Nations human rights experts’ joint statement, 1/25/21

Lent and Life

During Lent we try to walk with Jesus in prayer, charity to others, and self-denial, just as He did. Thomas a Kempis wrote: “Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross. He finds many companions of His table, but few of His fasting, Many are astonished at His miracles, few follow after the shame of His Cross.”

We know that there is no way we can outdo God’s generosity; the least we can do during this Lenten season is to give to the One who gave everything for us. There is so much suffering and injustice in the world. Let’s try to make a difference where we live.

One way of doing your share in Lent is to participate a few hours a week in the 40 Days for Life project. This international campaign with 567 locations offers us the opportunity to sacrifice some of our time in reparation for the sin of abortion, by praying outside an abortion mill in our own area. Go to www.40DaysforLife.com and click on “Find a Vigil” which takes you to the locations and contact information near you.

Ed. Note: Your editor & his wife devote two hours weekly to our local vigil where we pray the rosary & hold Love Life signs in front of a Planned Parenthood facility. It’s not much, but it is something. We encourage readers to do your share.

“Silence is Consent”

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s new book, The Black Church, argues that religious appeals gave slaves “the moral authority to turn the mirror of religion back on their masters and to indict the nation for its original sin of allowing their enslavement….”

Pro-lifers believe that our contemporary concern for human rights can serve the same purpose in indicting our nation’s support of abortion and a culture of death.

Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry told Gates: “The teachings of Jesus are just as clear that Christian folk and Christian leaders cannot abide or countenance anybody’s supremacy over anybody else, white or anything, and cannot remain silent. Silence is consent.” We would hope that the Bishop would speak out against abortion’s legal supremacy over unborn black and white babies.

Just as the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision was rightly condemned in the 19th century for not recognizing a class of human beings, black people, so we condemn the Roe v Wade decision of the 20th century for not recognizing a class of human beings, unborn developing people. We continue to speak out and pray for changed hearts in our country.

Costco Chickens? How About Humans?

Recently, Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times (The Ugly Secrets Behind the Costco Chicken, 2/7/21) about the terrible treatment of chickens that Costco buys for their delicious rotisserie chickens. “Future generations will look back at our mistreatment of livestock and poultry with pain and bafflement. They will wonder how we in the early 21st century could have been so oblivious to the cruelties….”

Has Kristof ever said how future generations will look at us and our horrific treatment of preborn developing human beings who have been killed? He says he agrees with Jeremy Bentham’s 1789 statement on the treatment of animals: “The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” Mr. Kristof, many preborn babies feel pain during an abortion. Are you sympathetic to them, too? If so, we want to hear about it from you.

Policy Debate on Family Support

Should parents be provided direct financial support for raising children? Or should parents be given child-care vouchers so they can go out and work? Or should Congress expand the Child Tax Credit? How will all of these benefits be funded? The debate was started recently by the introduction of Senator Mitt Romney’s family plan that would include monthly payments to families of up to $350 per child. Your editor encourages a close watch on these developments, and looks forward to Christian commentary on the matter.

“Catholic View for Women” Program

Though Covid delayed taping, co-hosts of this EWTN program recently kicked off the show’s 13th season. Viewers have gotten used to the show tackling hot-button issues and this new season is no exception. The hosts will address the dangers to women of the resurgent Equal Rights Amendment, gender dysphoria and the transgender craze, the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting, so-called same-sex marriage, how social media harms teens, domestic violence, and the dangers of in vitro fertilization. The shows should begin airing in late spring 2021.

“Not only is the number of Christians rapidly declining in this country, the number of ‘religiously unaffiliated’ is on the rise. This abandonment of Christ has led to a free-fall from objective truth to the point where we can no longer agree even that humans are either biologically male or female. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly dangerous simply to write those words, lest we be accused of hate speech.” [Editorial, Our Sunday Visitor, 2/14/21]

Your Taxpayer Funds for Abortion

The new administration in Washington DC recently canceled the “Protect Life Rule” that banned taxpayer funds from being used to promote or provide abortion in family planning programs. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, responded: “By rescinding this rule, the administration will be forcing abortion into a pre-pregnancy program specifically designed to exclude abortion, a move which is immoral, impractical and may also be unlawful.” Days earlier, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, president of the USCCB, wrote that while he looked forward to working with our new president, “he has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity.” [Our Sunday Visitor, 2/7 & 2/14/21]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of
churches as a bulletin insert, and has had over
30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox,
email Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

“We Have Not Nor Will We Ever Give Up” (Feb. 2021 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Full-Page Display in Wall Street Journ.

Under a sonogram photo of a developing baby, on Jan. 22nd National Right to Life wrote:

“We don’t see a potential life….
We see a life with potential”

The full-page display was placed by the group because: “An unborn baby’s heart is beating until she dies from abortion. Her brain waves can be recorded as early as six weeks. If you believe a life with the potential to laugh, to love, and to do great things is worth saving, please join with us.” [www.facts.nrlc.org]

Guess the Leadership’s Religion

1. Force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptives & abortifacients to their employees
2. Have taxpayer money fund abortion in the U.S. and in our foreign aid to other nations
3. Promote euthanasia & physician-assisted suicide
4. Eliminate federal regulations that protect the conscience rights of Catholic doctors, nurses and health-care workers

In other words, deliberately facilitate what the Gospel & the Church teach are grave moral evils & injustices. [George Weigel, The Beacon, 1/21/21]

Until Every Unborn Child is Protected

On the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision, we recall the late great Fr. Richard John
Neuhaus. “We shall not weary, we shall not rest,” he declared at the 2008 National Right to Life Convention, “until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life.”

We are called to be faithful to this mission, no matter how daunting. And, though Roe still reigns, the cause for the unborn has nevertheless made & continues to make great strides saving precious lives every day. Forty-eight years into this, there are millions of good people working at every level to protect the unborn, from the dedicated volunteers at pregnancy centers to pro-life educators, journalists, clergy, lawyers, & legislators, including 18 pro-life women who were elected to Congress in Nov. We have not nor will we ever give up.

A recent article features a fresh look at the Roe travesty. “A Case for the Revocation of Roe v. Wade,” says Editor Anne Conlon, is by Lyle Strathman, an 85-year-old retired electronics engineer. His multi-faceted argument, that legalized abortion under the guise of Roe is an aberration of human reason, of biological science, of philosophical analysis, & the U.S. Constitution, is presented with the kind of elegant economy and interlocking logic even Steve Jobs could have admired.”[https://humanlifereview.com/issue/fall-2020/]

Who Are the Sisters of Life & Why Did
Eight More Young Women Just Join?

The Catholic religious order is one of the fastest growing orders in the U.S. The photo shows the most recent group of young women who joined as postulants. Here is the order’s mission statement: “Like other Catholic religious Sisters, we’vemade a decision to leave behind what the world offers to give our whole lives to God by professing vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. What does that mean? It means we don’t personally own anything – Jesus is our treasure. We don’t get married – Jesus is our one love. And we freely surrender to lives of obedience – Jesus is our one will.

This sets us free to love in a universal way, and commit wholeheartedly to the mission Jesus entrusts as we live in community with one another.

And, as Sisters in love with life, we’ve also made another decision: We vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life. Why? Because we want to uphold the dignity and worth of each person, created from and for God’s great love. Entrusting ourselves completely to the Lord of Life, we commit our lives to the protection of human life and to the promotion of new life in Christ, acknowledging the goodness of every person, and sharing the gift of God’s abundant mercy with all those we meet. In this way, we seek to help reveal to each person their own innate goodness, the particular love God has for them, and invite them to something greater: a life of truth, joy, and hope.” [https://SistersofLife.org]

Are You a Man or a Woman?

According to a new federal order, school restrooms, locker rooms, & sports can now no longer be organized on the basis of sex—or “sex-based stereotypes,” to use the current administration’s favored terminology. There has been an understandable outcry about the consequences of this, most obviously for women’s sports, where physical differences exert rather a significant influence. For example, women’s running, from the 100m to the marathon, will easily be dominated by men who identify as female. Worryingly, contact sports such
as women’s rugby will become very dangerous.

I am the faculty advisor to the women’s rugby team at Grove City College. Will it become illegal for me to refuse to allow the women to play opposite a team containing biological males who have rejected “sex-based stereotypes”? Whatever might be the legal case, I would consider it criminally irresponsible to allow such a match to take place.

What constitutes a person is now apparently nothing more than your feelings, your psychology. You feel you are a woman, despite what your body tells you? Then understand that your body has no authority here; go with your gut. Transgenderism is really just the latest, most radical expression of the notion that humans are just matter, the biology of which has no moral significance. The body has no intrinsic purpose, for it can be manipulated to serve those feelings in which we have come to invest decisive authority.

Any form of social organization that denies or challenges the identity of transgender people is by definition discriminating against them. It is not just women’s sports. It is anything that can be categorized as oppressive—be they religious organizations, traditional moral convictions, or previously unexceptionable pronouns.

Traditionally, the legitimate and the illegitimate could be distinguished on the basis of agreed-upon human ends, which all humans share and which transcend the individual. Once those ends have been abandoned in favor of personalized forms of individual happiness, an odd thing happens. With no consensus on what human beings are for, someone still has to make choices about which identities are legitimate and which are not. And thus the freedom of radical individualism ironically requires the authoritarianism of governmental decrees, with appropriate penalties
attached. [Carl R. Trueman, First Things, 1/26/21]

UN Reneges on Key Principles

The UN Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “all members of the human family” have “inherent dignity.” The UN also claims in Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security
of person.” In 1959 the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and in 1989 reaffirmed it at its Convention on the Rights of the Child, declaring: “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.

Since then the UN has reneged on these basic principles. “Worldwide, there were 73.3 million abortions each year between 2015-2019 according to [a] Lancet study. The injustice is beyond words! In our nation, there are 862,230 precious children—with what the UN once called “inherent dignity”—that are killed by the social injustice of abortion annually.” [Ryan Bomberger, Remember When the UN Declared Unborn Babies Should be Protected?, LifeNews.com, 11/20/20]

“The right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture, is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” Saint John Paul II, Christi Laici #38

Studies Show Girls Prefer Dolls

The toys provided by parents deliver some of the earliest gender-based messages by encouraging children to engage in activities associated with, for example, dolls and trucks.

In the current study, we measured the influence of parental socialization by assessing 5-month-old and 12 1⁄2-month-old infants’ exposure to dolls and trucks and by experimentally manipulating parents’ encouragement to play with these toys. We found that infants displayed gender-typical toy preferences at 12 1⁄2 but not 5 months, a pattern characteristic of previous studies. Further, encouragement by a parent to play with toys from each category was ineffective in altering infants’ preferences. [John L.
Boe, Rebecca J. Woods, Parents’ Influence on Infants’ Gender-Typed Toy Preferences, Springer Science-Bus. Media, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0858-4]

“I’ve Been Kicked Out of My Home”

[Ed.’s Note: There are literally tens of thousands of support agencies and homes to help pregnant women who have been rejected by their families. This is a brief report on one of them.]

Kelly, pregnant and 19, was abandoned by the father of her child & her entire family. She searched online for “homeless programs New York New Jersey” & Good Counsel Homes popped up. That evening she was in one of its four homes, welcomed by the manager with open arms and a warm smile.

“Good Counsel, homes for mothers and babies, started by the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, and me back in 1985, is here to help any pregnant and parenting mothers ‘take the next good step’ as Fr. Benedict would say. That usually means going back to school or working or both. Good Counsel offers free babysitting for a mom during the year she is in the home in order for her to take those next good steps.”

“Good Counsel has served more than 7,800 mothers and children. Last year 30 babies were born from moms living in our homes as we kept the doors open in spite of the lockdowns.” [Christopher Bell,
www.GoodCounselHomes.org]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has had over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Getting Accurate Information Is Crucial (Jan. 2021 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Pastors: “Shocking, Callous” Proposal

The pro-abortion governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker has vetoed a radical pro-abortion bill after the legislature rejected his amendments.  Without them, the “ROE Act” bill would allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth, end parental consent for young girls seeking abortions, weaken the state anti-infant side law, & allow non-doctors to abort the unborn.

The Mass. legislature has indicated an intent to override the veto. Doing so requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the state House and Senate.  Recently, more than 400 pastors across the state wrote to Baker slamming the bill as a “shocking and callous disregard for human life and the importance of parental involvement in the lives of children.” Another pro-abortion bill narrowly failed in New Mexico because of strong public opposition. But similar legislation did pass in New York, Illinois, Vermont and Rhode Island last year, prompting massive outrage.

A recent poll by Susan B. Anthony List found that 62% of Mass. voters oppose late-term abortions, including 49% of Democrat & 66% of independent voters. The same number, 62%, also supports the current state law requiring parental consent before a girl under 18 has an abortion. [S. Ertelt, M. Bilger, LifeNews.com, 12/23/20]

Ed.’s Note: New Jersey’s governor and legislators are hoping to push through a similar shocking bill. State residents are urged to contact their elected representatives to vote against it. 

Film: “CHOICE: Who Decides?

Inspired by the courageous efforts of people on both sides of the reproductive justice movement committed to advancing the rights of women and the unborn, this timely film explores the convictions of people fighting for reproductive freedom versus the right to life, which exposes the fears and struggles that divide our nation.

CHOICE aims to educate & inspire viewers to explore women’s rights & how our society, medical science, culture, religion & politics are shaping that conversation. No matter where you stand on the position of reproductive rights, we can all agree it is THE issue at the forefront of our emotional divide. How did we get here? What does our future of challenges look like?

Film-makers spoke to hundreds of individuals who shared their personal, professional & eye opening stories, many for the first time, making the film an unexpected investigative journey.  [https://www.choicethedocumentary.com]

Male-Female Differences 

A 2017 review reported that women outperformed men in memory and learning, while men performed better in spatial & motor tasks. Women were more likely to have a higher rate of cerebral blood flow, a higher percent of gray matter, and more connections between left and right brain hemispheres; men had a higher percentage of white matter and more connections within the left brain hemisphere. [Marri: Faith & Family, www.marripedia.org]

“We may add that it is an act of foolish injustice to pretend the sexes are the same. Justice is exercised in respectfully providing for the due needs of each.” J. Budziszewski, Prof., Univ. of Texas at Austin, author of What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide.

Super Bowl Champ Slams Abortion

Former NFL star Ben Watson criticized Georgia senate candidate Raphael Warnock last week for describing the killing of unborn babies in abortions as “reproductive justice.” Watson, a former New England Patriots tight end & Super Bowl champion, told pastor Warnock that there is nothing just about killing a son or daughter in an abortion: “JUSTICE is the equitable distribution of punishment AND protection. JUSTICE is rooted in the dignity of every human endowed by their Creator.”

Watson and his wife, Kirsten, parents of seven & passionate advocates for life, recently produced a film, “Divided Hearts of America,” to “challenge and also educate America when it comes to the issue of abortion.” They run the nonprofit One More Foundation that focuses on hunger, poverty, prison reform & other matters. [M. Bilger, www.LifeNews.com, 11/23/20]

Doctors said: “Institutionalize her”

Karen Killilea was born 3 months premature. Her parents later discovered she had cerebral palsy.  They finally found a doctor who saw that she was aware of her surroundings. With tireless medication, her family spent at least two hours every day for the next 10 years helping Karen move her limbs. By her early teens, she was walking with crutches, swimming, typing and going to school.  And she lived to be 80, dying in October 2020.

Marie Killilea told the world about her daughter in two best-selling books, which were among the first to detail the challenges of living with a severe physical disability and were an inspiration to many families in similar circumstances. Karen worked for four decades as the receptionist at the Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont NY & traveled to Italy twice, meeting semi-privately both times with Pope Paul VI. She never considered herself “handicapped” but called herself “permanently inconvenienced.”

After the books appeared, Karen & her mother answered at least 15,000 letters from around the world. Some were addressed simply to “Karen, USA” & still arrived. Many wrote to thank the family for telling their story & to say it had inspired them to become nurses, physical or occupational therapists.  Her parents began lobbying for the rights of the disabled, meeting many other parents of children with disabilities. This led to the formation of what is now Cerebral Palsy of Westchester, and eventually led to the founding of the United Cerebral Palsy Association. All this as a result of rejecting doctors’ advice to institutionalize her. [NY Times, D/20/20]

Decline a Covid Vaccine? 

Relying on cell lines from abortions to manu facture a COVID-19 vaccine provokes strong moral objections, so some will refuse the vaccines. The Church, for her part, does not require us to decline it when there is a serious reason such as an elderly person or someone with multiple health issues who faces significant risks if they were to contract the disease.

Any time we decide to receive an unethically produced vaccine, we should push back. We can do our part to apply pressure on the manufacturer, perhaps by sending an email objecting to its methods, and requesting that it reformulate the vaccine using alternative, non-abortion-related cell sources. We could write a letter to our local paper pointing out the injustice of being morally coerced to rely on these cell sources.

The chart compares different vaccine candi dates that are or may become available in the U.S., collated by the Charlotte Lozier Institute. [Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, The Beacon, 12/17/20]

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child, what is left for you and me but to kill each other?” St. Theresa of Calcutta

Euthanasia for Children? 

Legalizing euthanasia transforms healers into killers. The expansion of euthanasia laws to permit killing sick children by lethal injection is yet another symptom of the culture of death’s profound influence on law & medicine throughout the world.

Belgium extended euthanasia to children by eliminating the age limit for lethal injection. In the Netherlands, in October the Dutch government approved euthanasia for terminally ill children aged 1 to 12. Currently it is legal for babies up to a year old to be killed with parental consent.

The culture of death is spreading rapidly. Could killing people, even children, by lethal injection be legalized in the USA? When will people of every nation raise their voices and demand, “Stop! Enough!”? [Nov. 2020, https://halovoice.org]

Just for Girls/Just for Guys 2020-21

A new edition of HLA’s teen abstinence magazine completely transitions its style to engage Gen Z’rs. New articles share a positive approach to Sexual Risk Avoidance strategies that focus on how waiting to have sex fits into a successful, healthy life. Teens will read both sides of this 16-page appealing flip-magazine! Send for a copy. [https://humanlifealliance.org]

Rally for Life: Friday, January 29th

Although the Exposition of vendors is cancelled because of the pandemic, March for Life organizers are going ahead with the annual Rally & March in Washington DC, the largest pro-life event in the world. A number of well-known guest speakers have been scheduled.

As in past years, many will participate in their local state rallies. For example, the St. Augustine March is scheduled for Jan. 16th. If you live in Florida or southern Georgia, you are encouraged to take a stand for life in the nation’s oldest city.

The Oakland, CA, StandUp4Life rally will be held on Friday, Jan. 22nd. “We walk because abortion in the Black community is a form of genocide, the Civil Rights issue of our day. We walk because abortion does violence, both physically & emotionally, to men and women, to their children, and to their families.”

For Texans, “Join thousands at the Texas Rally for Life on Saturday, January 23, at the Capitol in Austin, starting at 1 pm.”

Perhaps the most unusual & ambitious event is being held throughout January by the March for Life Chicago. “This year, we know many of you can’t travel to Chicago by bus. So we’re bringing it to you in five lead-up events in a city near you!”

Information about all rallies and marches for life may be found at https://marchforlife.org.

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has had over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email ed. Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Progress Even in a Covid World (Dec. 2020 Newsletter)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

The Rise of Pro-life Women 

Thus far the number of newly elected pro-life women in Congress is up to 16. Seven of these candidates flipped seats held by pro-abortionists. The group includes the first Iranian American elected to Congress, a member of the Cherokee nation, a daughter of Cuban exiles, & a first-gene ration Korean American, showing that the life issue brings a diverse coalition together. Including incumbents, the tally of pro-life women in the House is now 27. In the Senate, the ranks of pro-life women continue to grow. Joni Ernst and Cindy Hyde-Smith won competitive reelection races, & Cynthia Lummis will be the first woman to represent Wyoming in the Senate.

This is breathtaking progress with three out standing justices on the Supreme Court, including the court’s first pro-life woman Amy Coney Barrett, and more than 200 new federal judges who will serve for life, providing the best chance in half a century to mount a serious, successful challenge to the status quo under Roe v. Wade

Whatever else happens, the American people have spoken. No “mandate” exists to enact deeply unpopular policies expanding abortion-on-demand through the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers, or to drastically remake the brilliant system of checks and balances that has existed from the founding of our nation. 

The rise of pro-life women leaves me more convinced than ever that momentum is on our side, and the battle to save unborn children and their mothers is one we can – and will – win. [Marjorie Dannenfelser, Pres. of Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group that fights the well-funded abortion lobby. www.LifeNews.com, 11/20/20] Ed. Note: Famed rock & roller Dion DiMucci objected to being connected to a Catholic Voter Guide in Our October issue, saying the Italian Tribune took it out of context. We extend our apologies. 

Voters Reject Abortion Rights

Although Coloradans rejected a moderate measure to prohibit abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, when many unborn children are able to survive if delivered premature. Louisiana voters backed an amendment declaring that the state constitution does not protect a right to abortion or abortion funding. It is the fourth state to pass such an amendment, intended to preempt post-Roe v. Wade courts from discovering a right to abortion in state constitutions. If the Supreme Court overturns or even scales back its invented abortion right, expect to see many more such votes across the country. We hope voters take their cues from Louisiana. [National Review, 11/30/20] 

Non-Essential Religious Services?

On Thanksgiving eve, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting occupancy in houses of worship could not stand, saying that “even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.” It was a win for the Diocese of Brooklyn & Agudath Israel of America, who argued that declaring religious services to be “non-essential,” while labeling pet stores, hardware stores and other secular entities “essential,” was a serious First Amendment infringement on their religious liberty.

We would expect secular militants to be angry, and they were. No organization has exerted more time, money, and energy using Covid-19 as a pretext to abridge religious liberties than Americans United for Separation of Church & State, founded by anti-Catholics after World War II; to this day it remains hostile to Catholics and to other religious affiliations, and filed an amicus brief in this case.

Liberal religious publications and organizations were in a jam: if they approved of the Supreme Court ruling, it would put them on the side of religi ous conservatives; if they disapproved, it would link them to secular militants. So, they said nothing!

America and Commonweal, liberal Catholic media outlets, said not a word. The National Catholic Reporter, a dissident media source that rejects many Church teachings, also said nothing. Sojourners, a liberal Protestant publication, and Religion News Service, which hosts a variety of liberal religion writers, also went mute. 

Religious media outlets should be expected to affirm a special place in constitutional law for religious institutions—that is what the First Amendment ordains! Their failure to do so is telling. [Bill Donohue, Catholic League, 11/30/20]

Child Book “When You Became You”

Teaching little children when life begins is not only vital to helping them understand the morality of life issues, it’s also fundamental in fighting progressive ideology taught to children in schools, authors Brooke Stanton & Christiane West said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.  “Having a book that starts them off correctly and hopefully keeps them protected against false infor mation later is part of the goal of this book as well.”  Stanton & West co-founded Contend Projects, a “secular, nonpartisan, science education nonprofit for spreading accurate information and awareness about the biological science of human embryology and when a human being begins to exist.” Most pro-life advocates argue that life begins at fertilization. Pro-abortion advocates have various definitions of when life begins, or when unborn babies should be considered human: some argue that life begins with a viable heartbeat, while others argue that life does not begin until birth.

“Your humanity— the fact that your nature is a human nature— is what you have in common with all human beings,” page 1 of the book reads. “It does not matter what you look like, where you are from, how old you are, how young you are, if you can talk, if you can walk, if you can dance, or even if you aren’t born yet. You are a human being.” 

“There are countless children’s books that teach children to care about the environment, but children also want to learn about their own science stories. This is actually the real science,” Stanton told the DCNF. [Mary Margaret Olohan, www.LifeNews.com, 11/20/20] 

Banned for Being Pro-Life – But Victorious

A British midwife student won a legal victory against the University of Nottingham after it threatened to expel her because of her pro-life beliefs. Julia Rynkiewicz, 25, received an apology and won a settlement from the university this fall. She is just one of many pro-life medical workers who are facing discrimination simply for believing that unborn babies are patients who deserve care, too

Earlier this year, Rynkiewicz said she was banned temporarily from finishing her hospital training after her instructors questioned her “fitness to practice.” Their reason was her pro-life Catholic beliefs and her leadership as pres. of the Nottingham Students for Life. She said she filed the lawsuit so that no other student would be unfairly punished for their beliefs. “The settlement demonstrates that the university’s treatment of me was wrong. I hope this means that no other student will have to experience what I have.” She said she had to delay her studies and postpone graduation as a result of the investigation, and did not qualify for financial aid while she was temporarily banned from completing her hospital training.

In a statement, the university said it is considering how to better respond to such situations in the future. It also emphasized that it supports killing of unborn babies in abortions.  Pro-life medical professionals in the USA, UK and other parts of the world are increasingly con cerned about conscience protection rights. 

Dr. Regina Frost, a New York OB-GYN, recently wrote a column for The Federalist describing how her state leaders, Planned Parenthood and others are fighting against her religious freedom via a lawsuit challenging a federal government rule that protects medical professionals’ conscience rights.  Last year, a Vermont nurse said her employer forced her to help abort an unborn baby even though it knew she objected. In South Africa, a medical student was prohibited from practicing medicine for two years while he was prosecuted for ‘unprofessional conduct’ for telling a pregnant woman that an unborn baby is a living human being and an abortion kills a human life. A medical board finally dropped the charges this fall. 

These events demonstrate the importance of conscience protection laws. Without them, medical students can be prevented from practicing, medical workers can lose their jobs and, worse, be prosecuted just for telling the truth. [Micaiah Bilger, www.LifeNews.com, 11/25/20] 

Pope Francis: Fair to Hire a Hitman?

Pope Francis, answering the pleas of Argentine women who are fighting for the rights of unborn babies, wrote a public letter to his home country this week urging its leaders not to legalize abortions.  Their letter and the pope’s response both appeared in the newspaper La Nacion. “Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it fair to hire a hitman to solve a problem?” the pope wrote, adding that the pro-life women “know what life is.”

Argentina is facing renewed pressure to aban don its protections for unborn babies. Widespread public opposition stopped a similar bill from passing in 2018. Pro-life advocates hope to do so again.  One survey that the women conducted found that 80 percent of Argentines oppose abortion.

“The country is proud to have such women,” the Pope wrote. “Please tell them for me that I admire their work and their testimony; that I thank them from the bottom of my heart for what they do, and that they keep going.” 

Currently, Argentina protects unborn babies from being killed in abortions, with a few exceptions. Most countries in Central & South America protect unborn babies from abortion. Pro-abortion groups often overestimate the number of illegal and unsafe abortions that occur in countries across the world, & some have admitted to lying about the numbers. Growing research also indicates that access to basic health care, not abortion, is what really helps improve women’s lives. [www.LifeNews.com, 11/25/20] 

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email editor Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Cultural Conflicts Continue

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Violent Pro-abortion Protests

Pope Francis encouraged Christians in Poland to keep standing strong for life as riots continued across the country. “I ask God to inspire in the hearts of all, respect for the life of our brothers, especially of the most fragile & defenseless, and to give strength to those who welcome it, even when it requires heroic love,” Pope Francis said.

Riots have been occurring since the nation’s high court issued a ruling that protects unborn babies with disabilities from abortions. Authorities have arrested at least 76 people for disrupting church services and vandalizing church buildings, the AP reports. On Oct. 22, Poland’s constitutional court struck down one of the few exceptions allowed in its 1993 abortion law – abortions on unborn babies with disabilities, saying that the exception violates the constitution because it discriminates against humans with disabilities.  Mikolaj Pawlak, Poland’s commissioner for child rights, said: “The decision of the Constitutional Court declaring eugenic abortion incompatible with the constitution is a victory of life over death. It is a restoration of equal rights for every human being, including those who have not yet been born.”

In the city of Poznan, dozens of pro-abortion protesters broke into a church service, shouting, “We’ve had enough!” and “Barbarians!” as they held signs up in front of the altar, the Daily Mail reported. [Pope Francis Condemns Abortion…, LifeNews.com, 10/29/20] [Ed. note: Poland’s govt. has delayed implementation due to protests.] 

New York Threatens Adoption Agency

New Hope Family Services, a faith based adoption agency based in Syracuse, won a victory for religious freedom last month when a U.S. District Court judge granted a temporary injunction, saying the state had shown evidence of hostility toward New Hope’s religious beliefs.

Over the last 50 years, the agency has placed 1,000 children for adoption, but in 2018, the NY office of Children and Family Services ordered New Hope to place children with unmarried or same-sex couples – or face closure. This month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case involving an adoption agency supported by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We pray that these organizations will be able to continue their mission without having to compromise their First Amendment rights. [Our Sunday Visitor, 10/25/20] 

Did Catholics Vote as Catholics?

Catholics who take citizenship seriously paid attention to the US Bishops’ voting guide called Faithful Citizenship, to help form our consciences by looking at the following goals or issues and acting accordingly. The first three goals are:

  1. Sanctity of life from conception to natural death
    The preeminent requirement to protect the weakest, innocent unborn children, by restricting and bringing to an end their destruction through abortion, & providing women in crisis pregnancies the supports they need to make a decision for life.
  2. Not to resort to violence to resolve issues
    Support policies that stop: a million abortions each year, euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with the burdens of illness & disability, the destruction of human embryos in the name of research, the use of the death penalty to combat crime, and imprudent resort to war to address international disputes.
  3. Sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman
    Protect the fundamental understanding of marriage as the life-long and faithful union of one man and one woman and as the central institution of society; promote the complementarity of the sexes and reject false “gender” ideologies.

Ardent Feminist Becomes Supreme Court Justice

The confirmation process is a grueling examination of a nominee’s life. Yet, we saw a role model for women, someone who rose to the top in school and in her career while choosing to have the husband, family, and spiritual life she dreamed of. “I never let the law define my identity or crowd out the rest of my life.”  

 We witnessed newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a devoted mother whose family was the first thing she talked about at her confirmation hearing. She and her husband have five biological children and two adopted children. One of her children was detected with Downs Syndrome while she was pregnant but the couple refused abortion. Justice Barrett is the oldest of seven children, and attended Catholic grammar and high schools. She graduated at the top of her Notre Dame Law School class.

During the hearings, her opponents distorted her record, launched bad-faith attacks against her religious views, and even attacked her family and her decision to adopt children from Haiti. We saw her compassion as she recounted struggling through the death of George Floyd with her black daughter. We also got a glimpse of Justice Barrett the mentor, who went out of her way to take care of her students and help them launch impressive careers of their own. During her three years on the Seventh Circuit bench, Judge Barrett authored approximately 100 opinions that bolstered her reputation as a textualist and originalist in the mold of her mentor, Justice Anton Scalia. 

“If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.” Amy Coney Barrett 

Bishop Michael Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, wrote an opinion piece in the local paper about the prejudicial treatment given to the nomination of Barrett. “Faithful Catholics help many and harm no one; anti-Catholic bigots harm everyone. It is unimaginable that the senators’ harassment be applied to any other religious group. Why is this tolerated? When will it end?”

Barrett is the only mother of young children ever to serve on the high court. She is the only Midwesterner on the court, and the only member of the court who did not graduate law school from either Harvard or Yale. [GianCarlo Canaparo, The Heritage Foundation] 

A new postage stamp for Christmas shows detail from a gorgeous Peruvian painting of Our Lady of Guapulo from the 1700s. Use it as a Christian witness. 

College Pro-Life Group Called “Hate Group”

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins applauded the decision released today from the University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook to allow a pro-life club on campus after student organizations blocked the effort by saying that fellow students wanted to start a “hate group.” 

“Viewpoint discrimination is both unconstitutional and undemocratic. The free marketplace of ideas is designed to allow for citizens to share their views. For the Pro-Life Generation, a conversation on the human rights issue of our day – abortion – is demanded of all those who care about how our society has devalued life based on location,” said Hawkins. 

Student leader Sophia Schuster had been advocating for a Students for Life club this school year and, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, appealed the NISG’s decision to the school’s Supreme Court, which ruled against the pro-life students. Said Schuster: ‘They have overstepped their role and tried to use their power to silence us just because they disagree. This is a direct attack on free speech & due process of law, an example of abandoning standards that they claim to hold.” [LifeNews.com, 10/29/20] 

Gene Editing: Big Mistakes in Human Embryos

Scientists using the Crispr gene-editing technology in human embryos to try to repair a gene that causes hereditary blindness found it made unintended and unwanted changes, frequently eliminating an entire chromosome or large sections of it. This is a very adverse outcome. 

In September, an international commission sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K.’s Royal Society issued a report stating that the gene-editing technology isn’t ready for such a use because scientists don’t understand how to make precise fixes without also introducing potentially dangerous changes. 

Two separate papers published earlier this month indicate that the ethical debate continues over whether and under what circumstances creating genetically modified children could be permissible. Crispr germ-line editing, which involves making changes to eggs, sperm and embryos, is controversial because any changes can be passed to future generations. In her comments on the report, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jennifer Doudna said the commission’s recommendations reflect consensus in the field that the technology shouldn’t be used for embryo editing in the clinic at this time.

The researchers found 96 of the countries already had gene-editing policy documents, such as legislation, regulations or international treaties; 75 of these countries bar the use of genetically modified embryos for the purpose of starting a pregnancy, an indication that it might be possible to create an international consensus on the issue, the researchers said. [Amy Dockser Marcus, Wall Street Journal, 10/29/20] 

33 Countries Declare “There is No Right to Abortion” 

 The USA and 32 other nations recently signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family, declaring “’there is no international right to abortion” and that the family is “fundamental” to society. The Declaration was co-sponsored by the USA, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia & Uganda, & signed by countries representing more than 1.6 billion people.  Geneva Consensus Declaration further strengthens a coalition to achieve four pillars: (1) better health for women, (2) the preservation of human life, (3) strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and (4) protecting every nation’s national sovereignty in global politics.  The signers of the declaration agree to “reaffirm the inherent dignity and worth of the human person,” that “every human being has the inherent right to life.” [www.LifeNews.com, 11/2/20]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email editor Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu 

Pro-Lifers Hopeful… and Determined in Public Policy

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

In the Culture

1. Many programs are expanding. For example, 40 Days for Life is now active in hundreds of U.S. cities and is going on right now through Nov. 1st.  People stand vigil, praying outside of abortion clinics. Also, the nationwide one-day Life Chain brings out thousands of people to give silent witness to our concern for a culture of life. And for those who have taken part in an abortion, the Church offers hope through Rachel’s Vineyard, a program of forgiveness and healing. 

Another example: the Archdiocese of Miami’s Respect Life Ministry has been offering a monthly webinar as part of the U.S. Bishops theme of “Walking with Moms: A Year of Service.” September’s webinar was How to Be a Pregnancy Center Volunteer. A number of churches have been installing Love Life and other lawn banners. And other churches have erected memorial plaques for the unborn such as this one from Holy Family Church, Florham Park, NJ. 

2. More people are becoming informed. The fast growing Relevant Radio network is also available anytime through its app, and folks who like to read are accessing papers like the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor, not to mention worthy websites such as www.lifesitenews.com, www.lifenews.com and www.priestsforlife.org.

3. Inroads made by culture of death policies have  re-invigorated culture of life proponents. More Christians are getting involved and taking action.  For example, in recent years the Knights of Columbus have funded thousands of sonogram machines used by pregnancy centers to help pregnant moms see that they are carrying a growing, developing person, not just a “blob of tissue.” Also, one of the fastest growing order of nuns is the Sisters of Life who work in inner cities helping pregnant girls deal with their crisis, and to help promote a true culture of love and life. More dramatically, one organization changes minds by visiting college campuses with a Jumbatron projector that shows actual grisly abortion procedures. (www.CreatedEqual.org)

In Public Policy

1. Political party platforms are focusing more than ever on life issues. The Libertarian platform states life and abortion issues are strictly private matters.  The Democrat platform says “every woman should have access to … safe and legal abortion.” The Republican platform states: “we assert the sanctity of human life and …the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”

Respect life groups such as Priests for Life, & the Susan B. Anthony List and others are seeking election volunteers to get out the vote. Log onto their websites if you might like to help. 

On Sept. 20th a full page ad in the NYTimes was signed by hundreds of Democrat leaders urging the party to soften its stance towards abortion.

2. Even after 47 years of Roe v Wade, life issues like abortion are far from settled. U.S. Catholic Bishops have stated that the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives it destroys.  

3. With an opening to be filled on the Supreme Court, a pro-life nominee could make the difference in pending court cases on religious freedom and abortion, even challenging the legitimacy of Roe v Wade

Respect Life Month 

Each October the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, & protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, & every point in between. During the month of October, the Church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life. (https://www.respectlife.org/)

“This year the Church celebrates the 25th anniversary of the landmark pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Pope St. John Paul II’s prophetic document passionately reaffirms the Church’s constant teaching on the value and sacredness of every human life. It remains a foundational text for all our efforts to ensure that the life of every human person is protected & cherished.” Bishop Joseph F. Naumann

Archbishop Charles Chaput: “Nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful. Our actions touch other lives, move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand. Don’t ever underestimate the beauty and power of the witness you give in your pro-life work.”

Marriage: Pursue Your Spouse

So many times the busyness of life can cause couples to lose their special connection and seem more like roommates than soulmates. Many couples say they find themselves in a place of schedules, finances and household management without real connection. You have to be intentional about pursuing those deeper places, the heart connections. This just doesn’t happen, you have to pursue each other. People feel this distancing due to busyness, exhaustion, neglect, living separate lives, sexless marriage, feeling unsafe, and not feeling a spiritual oneness. So, make time for each other, even a small amount without interruption, e.g., having a cup of coffee together, watching a show together, or reading the Bible together. Also, have conversations occasionally that don’t include the kids or the household. Talk about your wishes, passions and visions. And show a real interest in what is important to your spouse. (Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley, www.FocusOnTheFamily.com) 

We proclaim that human life is a precious gift from God; that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self and others; and that society, through its laws and social institutions, must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence. (USCCB Pro-Life Committee) 

Rock ‘N’ Roller Dion: A Voter Guide

(Ed. Note: Dion was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989: “With one foot in the Fifties and one in the future, Dion blended R&B with doo-wop and helped ring in the age of rock and roll.” The excerpts here are taken from an Op-Ed piece he published in the Italian Tribune, 9/17/20.) 

“Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good. Vote in a conscientious manner. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops identified five current issues that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted: 

  1. Abortion
  2. Euthanasia
  3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
  4. Human Cloning  
  5. Homosexual “Marriage” 

 It can be a serious sin to deliberately endorse a candidate who supports and endorses evil actions. A well-formed conscience will never contradict Catholic moral teaching. If you are unsure of where your conscience is leading, read the unwavering Church teachings found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church & vote in accordance with God’s law. May God Guide Your Voting. God Bless America.”

New Jersey Bishop Speaks Out

A year after NJ’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act took effect, Metuchen Bishop James F. Checchio reminded Catholics in the diocese that it is their shared responsibility to respect & defend all human life. During the first five months after the law passed on Aug. 1, 2019, 12 NJ residents ended their lives under its provisions. The law allows those with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of 6 months or less to seek permission from two doctors to end their lives with lethal medicine. Our efforts to save lives amid the corona virus pandemic, Bishop Checchio said, are inconsis tent with this law. “Young or old, healthy or sick, all human life is precious.”(Our Sunday Visitor, 8/30/20)

Why the Hang-Up About Abortion?

Those who support pro-abortion candidates often point to the importance of other issues to justify that support. Some reference the “seamless garment” approach, which looks at a basket of issues that affect human life, and then argue that abortion is just one of those important issues. For example, sometimes Catholics will point to the resumption of the federal death penalty by the current administration as a sort of equivalence.

In the United States in 2020, moral equivalence  just does not hold up. For many years, the Catholic Church has increasingly condemned the death penalty. There were five federal convicts executed in 2020. In the same span, nearly 1 million children will be aborted. Immigration, hunger, poverty are all important, too, but none of them will result in any where near the loss of human life that abortion does. Little wonder the U.S. bishops have listed abortion as “our preeminent priority” on human life, and it should be treated as such when we vote.  Abortion is qualitatively different from other issues because it results in the death of the innocent. Blameless children are wiped out just for being conceived. Abortion denies their inherent, God-given dignity as human beings, and it brings violence & death into the family. It is quantitatively different, too, because of the staggering numbers of lives lost. And, it is completely preventable.

Perhaps a large segment of the population can look the other way because the unborn are so small and invisible. But there is something deeply wrong with us as a society if we look away from the nearly 1 million uniquely vulnerable lives taken in abortion each year, and do not vote for pro-life politicians and legislation as a peaceful way to bring this atrocity to an end. Catholic voters should understand the gravity of the situation and act accordingly when they vote — in races local and national. (Michael Warsaw, Nat. Cath. Register, 9/27/20)

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email editor Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Powerful Weapons: Prayer & Prayerful Planning

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Remembering Aborted Babies

On Saturday, Sept. 12th, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life & Pro-Life Action League will co-sponsor the 8th annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, calling on pro-life Americans to hofnor the grave sites of our aborted brothers and sisters. Solemn prayer vigils will be conducted at 54 such grave sites as well as at dozens of other sites dedicated in memory of aborted children.

Tens of thousands of these children have been retrieved & buried at grave sites across our nation. The stories of how they were killed, how they were found, and how they were buried, along with the pictures and videos that document those events, are powerful tools to awaken the consciences of our fellow citizens. But while a funeral and burial for an aborted baby may be a relatively rare event, the opportunity to visit the burial places and recall how those children got there shouldn’t be.

The first National Day of Remembrance was held in Sept. 2013 on the 25th anniversary of the solemn burial of the earthly remains of some 1,500 abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Videos from past Day of Remembrance memorial services can be found on the National Day of Remembrance Facebook page.

Pro-lifers are also encouraged to carry on the spiritual mission of the Day of Remembrance throughout the year by visiting a grave site of aborted children or other memorial site to offer prayers of mourning for the victims of abortion. You could pray one of the suggested prayers (found at its website): Prayer at a Gravesite or Memorial Site; Prayer of Mourning for Victims of Abortion; Prayer for Those Who Have Lost a Child to Abortion.

“A nation that kills its children in the womb has lost its soul.” Saint Mother Teresa

U.S. Catholic Bishops Speak Out

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have stated: that the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, because of the number of lives it destroys. Despite all of the other issues we face in this nation, we are urged to pray specifically to end abortion in our country, and for the protection of human life from the moment of conception to natural death. 

A Better Way to Plan Your Family

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the most effective, natural, healthy & inexpensive system for couples trying to achieve pregnancy, couples having fertility concerns or couples planning to postpone pregnancy – all by observing natural signs of fertility.

Research shows NFP is as effective as the birth control pill (but has no hormonal side-effects), can help monitor your reproductive health, and can help strengthen the couple’s relationship. These methods successfully address: delaying or achieving pregnancy; hormonal imbalance; infertility; menstrual cycle abnormalities; endometriosis; PMS; and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

The two most popular & effective methods are the Creighton Method and the Marquette Method. Creighton relies upon the standardized observation & charting of biological markers that are essential to a woman’s health and fertility. The bio-markers also indicate abnormalities in a woman’s health. It is the only family planning system which has net- worked family planning with gynecologic and procreative healthcare, and health maintenance. Many physicians have been trained to incorporate the Creighton Method into their medical practice. It is great for those with normal or abnormal cycles or those struggling with infertility.

What sets the Marquette Method apart from most other methods is its incorporation of hormone monitoring as well as simplifying sometimes unclear signs of fertility. A woman can track her hormone levels through her cycle using the Clearblue Fertility Monitor together with the Marquette Method to identify her fertile window. This method provides clear and objective hormone readings taking much of the guesswork out of natural family planning. It is great for those with normal or abnormal cycles or postpartum.

For all NFP methods, couples need to be diligent and have plenty of self-control. They have to follow instructions completely to be successful.

To sign up for an NFP intro class, or reach trained medical providers in the NYC metro area, contact the Office of Family Life, Diocese of Paterson, NJ. [https://insidethewalls.org/nfp] 

College and Dorm Life

Students typically spend only 15 hours per week in the classroom. Unfortunately, binge drinking, drug use and hook-up culture are common on most college campuses. College students report high rates of STDs, pregnancies, abortions and sexual assaults.

“That’s no way to grow in faith and maturity” says the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). It has identified faithful Catholic colleges where “chastity and clean living are encouraged. Most of them provide single-sex dorms, which most other colleges have abandoned. Even more helpful, some preserve the privacy of bedrooms, forbid- ding opposite-sex visitors at all times of the day. We think this is ideal–a common-sense, traditional practice that protects privacy, chastity and safety” and reduces the likelihood of sexual assault against female students. At a truly faithful Catholic college, “you’ll find a culture that respects chastity, charity and virtue. And you’ll make good friends who share your priorities and values–the sort of friendships that can last a lifetime!”

CNS also sponsors a $5,000 essay contest for high school seniors. [www.newmansociety.org]

Learning or a “College Experience”?

Schools across America are fiercely competing to offer the best buildings and recreation centers, the most things to do around campus, all tied together with the biggest scholarships package. We have stopped emphasizing the bachelor’s degree and now emphasize the “college experience.” Yet professors determined to undermine even the most rooted Christians lurk on campuses far and wide. Biases exist in almost all subject areas, many of them propelled by an anti-Christian agenda.

Even if a Catholic Newman Center on a campus is active, college is hard enough without having your beliefs challenged at every turn. Unfortunately, while many colleges claim to be Catholic, few adhere to Church teaching in the classroom and on campus. [Elizabeth O’Donnell, College: a Choice of Life or Death, Ave Maria Magazine, Summer 2020]

U.S. Birthrate Hits New Low

“American women had babies at record-low rates last year and pushed U.S. births down to their smallest total in 35 years, according to federal figures. The total fertility rate, i.e., the average number of babies a woman would have over her lifetime, ticked down to 1.7 in 2019. Almost every year since 1971, that rate has been below 2.1, which is the level needed for the population to replace itself, without accounting for immigration.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/20/20] 

Preparing for October

Each year the month of October is designated as Respect Life Month. Some of the activities that will be available to us include prayerful participation in the one-day National Life Chain, “baby showers” that solicit donations of clothing for pregnant moms, and sign-ups for the March of Life (in January). Some parishes may host guest speakers or discuss films. In addition, the 40 Days for Life campaign for picketing Planned Parenthood will be in full swing during the month, having started on September 23rd.

Jesus, Son of an Unwed Mom

“As Christians we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born 9 months later in the poverty of the cave. It’s no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said wasn’t politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ we are called to stand up for life. Against the politically correct or fashionable of today we must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb. The laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves, what are we saying when we go into a room and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life?”

So said soldier, surgeon and religious sister Deirdre Byrne. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Byrne has done missionary work with the poor and sick across the globe, including in countries like Haiti, Sudan and Kenya. During her time in the military, she discerned a religious vocation, and sought a religious order that would not require her to give up her work in the medical field. Her discernment led Byrne to her order, an Italian pontifical institute founded in the late 19th century with the primary apostolates of teaching and medical care, and present in Washington DC since 1954.

“The largest marginalized group in the world can be found in the U.S. They are the unborn,” she said. “As a physician I can say without hesitation, life begins at conception.”

At his party’s convention, the U.S. President said: “On September 11, 2001, the sister raced to Ground Zero, through smoke and debris, she administered first aid and comfort to all. Today Sister Byrne runs a medical clinic serving the poor in our nation’s capital. Sister, thank you for your lifetime of service. Thank you.” [www.LifeNews.com, 8/27/20] 

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and has over 30,000 readers. To receive a copy in your inbox, email editor Frank Tinari, Ph.D. at tinarifr@shu.edu

Pro-Life Legal Victories … and Defeats

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Supreme Court: No Discrimination Against Religious Schools!

In a 5-4 ruling upholding a Montana program to provide student scholarships for use at religious schools, the U.S. Supreme Court also in effect repudiated a 19th-century monument to anti- Catholic bigotry known as the Blaine Amendment.

The ruling reversed a 2018 Montana Court decision based on the state constitution’s Blaine provision barring aid to any school “controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect or denomination.” That provision is named for Senator James Blaine who in the 1870s argued for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to bar use of public funds at religious schools. Coming at a time when immigration was rapidly increasing the Catholic population and Catholic parochial schools were growing in number, the proposal was widely seen as a reflection of Protestant anxieties about rising Catholic numbers and influence. While Blaine never did become part of the federal Constitution, 37 states eventually adopted their own versions.

In a statement following the decision, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, said: “This decision means that religious persons & organizations can, like everyone else, participate in government programs that are open to all. This is good news, not only for people of faith, but for our country. A strong civil society needs the full participation of religious institutions. By ensuring the rights of faith-based organizations’ freedom to serve, the court also promotes the common good.”

In his majority opinion, Roberts relied heavily on a 2017 Supreme Court decision (Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer) that held that a Lutheran church in Missouri that operated a day school was entitled to receive funds from a state program for upgrading playgrounds as a safety measure. That decision, Roberts said, held that “disqualifying otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit ‘solely because of their religious character’ imposes a penalty” on religious free exercise. Thus Montana’s denial of scholarships for use at a religious school did not pass muster. [Russell Shaw, Our Sunday Visitor, 6/30/20]

Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

The Court struck down the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their practice. The opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo is quite fractured and legally technical. It does not bring the pro-life movement any closer to overthrowing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; but it does not likely move us further away from that end either. More litigation to that end is still required.

The narrow 5-to-4 ruling agreed that the burdens it imposed upon women were greater than its claimed health benefits. Yet Justice Gorsuch wrote of the dangers that abortionists in Louisiana pose to their patients. He noted the extraordinarily lax reviews the clinics conduct prior to hiring abortionists, reporting that abortion clinics had previously allowed ophthalmologists & radiologists to perform abortions! He also pointed to the many ethical and safety violations that Louisiana abortion clinics had committed in the past.

Employing detailed geographic & doctor-specific details (and even maps, printed in the opinion), the Court concluded that the vast majority of doctors and clinics would go out of business were the admitting-privileges law to stand, leaving many women without a sufficiently-close-by abortionist. But Gorsuch noted that one Louisiana doctor already had such privileges, that one hospital was already changing its admitting-privileges rules in order to make it easier for abortionists to succeed, and that privileges requirements applied to other types of ambulatory surgical centers (for example, colonoscopies, Lasik eye treatments) had not diminished the number of those centers able to continue operating. Also, Gorsuch highlighted the testimony of women abandoned by their abortionists to seek follow-up care, after the doctors had botched their abortion procedures.

Finally, only Justice Thomas took direct aim at Roe and Casey. In memorable language, he referred to the reading of the Constitution on which it is based as “legal fiction” and the “putative right to abortion [as] a creation that should be undone.” He wrote that it is “farcical” to imagine that the legislators who created the 14th Amendment’s “due process” language intended it to protect a procedure nearly completely banned in every state and territory in the U.S. at the time it was passed. He called Roe a “demonstrably erroneous” decision. [Helen Alvaré, Commentary, National Catholic Register, 6/29/20]

Risks of High-Tech Birth Control

In the 1960s, when birth control devices and chemicals became prominent, the only common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were syphilis and gonorrhea. Today, at least 25 STDs are known, some which are incurable, and at least eight new pathogens have been identified since 1980, including HIV. Many of these STDs, such as chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV), greatly increase a woman’s risk of cancer. None of the “contraceptives” listed in this brochure prevent or protect against STDs or AIDS. Yet organizations like International Planned Parent- hood Federation thrust these methods upon trusting teenage girls, much to the detriment of their future health. [Concerned Women for America brochure, compiled by Catherine Hurlburt cwfa.org]

National NFP Awareness Week

July 19-25, 2020, the dates of National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25), which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, married love and responsible parenthood. Very helpful information about the benefits of NFP, how it works and its effectiveness, is available at the www.usccb.org website.

Gerber Baby Photo Contest Winner

The original “Gerber baby” was Ann Turner Cook, now 93. A charcoal sketch of her cherubic face became the company’s official trademark. Since 2010, Gerber has held a photo contest to select a new baby brand ambassador each year. In 2018, the first Gerber baby with Down Syndrome was chosen.

This year, the contest winner is an adopted baby, another first. Magnolia Earl, age 1, charmed the judges “with her joyful expression, playful smile and warm, engaging gaze.” Her mother, Courtney, confirmed in a statement that Magnolia brings “joy to everyone she meets” and recalled speaking on the phone a year earlier with Magnolia’s birth mother, who was in labor. “The real heroes in this story are Magnolia’s birth parents,” she told the Today Show. “They chose her life and they sent her on an incredible journey.” It’s a story, and a photo, worth sharing – kudos for Gerber for recognizing it as much. [National Review, 6/1/20]

Rapper West Upsets Secularists

Kanye West announced last October that he has turned a corner in his life, converting to Christianity. In May GQ magazine interviewed him. “When you’re not in service to God, you can end up being in service to everything else,” he said. That is certainly true of many in the entertainment world. Tinseltown is known for alcoholism, drugs, promiscuity, and high rates of depression and suicide. Responding to a question that religion is a system of control, West said: “I see opportunity for creativity inside our faith.” Christianity may be restrictive, but it is a healthy tonic. It is not restraint that levels people–it is the abandonment of it.

Cultural elites who once embraced West are uneasy with his conversion. Some seem to have liked him better when he was offending people. The secular kings & queens who comprise the entertainment industry prefer raunch to the sacred. Kanye West should be welcomed, not disparaged, for going against the grain of the dominant culture. Given his huge following among young people, maybe he can help to transform it. [Catholic League, The Catalyst, 6/20]

Why Prolifers Resist “Legal” Abortion

A just law is a code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. One has a moral responsi- bility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Aug- ustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” [Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., 4/16/1963]

Brief Clips

[Our Sunday Visitor, 5/17/20]

  • The number of new marriages is 6.5 to every 1,000 people in the U.S., the lowest in recent years, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics
  • “Modern society is in the process of formulating an anti-Christian creed, and resisting this creed is punished by social excommunication.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, quoted in a new biography published in German on May 4.
  • Only 20% of Christian congregations in the U.S. hear sermons that mention abortion, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey that analyzed sermons shared online, April 7 to June 1, 2019.

HALO Helps Disabled & Elderly

The Healthcare Advocacy & Leadership Organiza- tion promotes, protects and advocates for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient & family interactions, community education programs, & development of concrete “life-affirming health- care” alternatives for those facing healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide. [halovoice.org]