The White Lily Blog

Is Pro-Life Winning?

Joe Jensen, the youth outreach activist employed by Chicago’s venerable Pro-Life Action League, has recently written a piece for the Bellarmine Forum in which he discusses the gains the pro-life movement has achieved since 1973.  It’s a lot, according to the report.  Jensen lists these accomplishments:  it has kept abortion and its 55 million victims in American faces on the front pages of hometown newspapers, with graphic photos and sickening details ; because of this steady media attention, more people are becoming pro-life, including most doctors, who now refuse to do abortions, and also, with all the attention to health code violations and numerous abuses, many ‘clinics’ have been shut down.  Even more significant, there is a strongly growing trend in tough legislation protecting the baby at a state level.  Besides all that, help is being offered to women through the many sidewalk counselors, pregnancy resource centers, and counseling initiatives like Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard.

These are real achievements, and the growing anti-abortion trend is so clear that even NPR’s recent segment on abortion reported that the Supreme court has become much more ‘conservative’ and may surprise us and reverse its decades-long promotion of infant death by calling those buffer zones around clinics that limit access to sidewalk counselors to the women entering to abort ‘unconstitutional.’ Yes!

But hold the champagne.  Examined more deeply, there are some elements in all this progress that ought to concern pro-life Americans. For one thing, there has been little abatement in abortion among African-American women. Headlines from New York on the day before the annual pro-life demonstration in Washington disclose the shocking figures that for every 1000 black babies born, 1123 black babies are killed. More than 100%.  This is a fact that ought to have shut the country down in Dr. King Day demonstrations, except that the black community has become so weakened demographically by abortion and contraception, so old and frail, so absent from voting booths and front porches, too, as once vibrant neighborhoods die and schools are closed and homes are boarded up one by one and the wind blows hard and only packs of dogs hear it, so destroyed  are these communities by the racist war called Choice, that it is now shockingly silent on these numbers.  The dream is dead–Dr. King’s dream. Stone dead, killed by abortion, and contraception, and marriage’s failure, and poverty. The civil rights movement, the pro-life movement, let’s just say all America, has failed the African-American woman.

It is not the other way around. You cannot put all the blame entirely on her for these shocking numbers, when her wages are the lowest in the country and her marriage rate has fallen from a one-in-four chance, back when the modern civil rights era began, to the present one-in-seven chance, after all this ‘progress’ that we celebrate.  An African American woman who does not want to raise a child alone must either forego sex (from virtue, or more pragmatically, perhaps, from the failure rate of contraceptives) or become one of those pitiful sex toys going in and out of abortuaries any given Saturday morning across America. Going in scared and coming out crying. The double- down rate of abortion in the African American community ought to concern us more deeply. It ought to concern us really really deeply, it ought to make us stand up and scream. But–let’s take a deep breath– what is meant by ‘more deeply’?

It has to mean that the pro-life movement will abandon its single issue focus and instead develop a political agenda that covers not just abortion, but adds contraception, and goes on to address economics, starting with social policy that favors not only the concept of marriage but writes legislation encouraging universities and colleges to provide housing on every college campus big enough for starting a family, or lose their student loan status (no pressure), and many other practical initiatives from increased tax deduction for children to ways to reduce the cost of education, all simple steps that make abortion not only unpopular but also less financially attractive to the poorest among us.

Mr. Jensen did not,  however, mention progress in building a political platform that fights those social conditions which are known to provoke the abortion choice.  He has a party, on paper, with a platform already. The pro-life movement has been yoked to the Republican party because of, in spite of,  its timid, divided resistance to abortion, and has swallowed a great deal of dubious economic policy in the bargain, with many pro-lifers identifying themselves as Tea Party supporters which arguably includes the absence of provisions for government or private economic help for the poorest (arguable, granted, but we are not arguing it, that is part of the point). But what can pro-lifers do–vote Democrat? So there we are: the unassailable need for a third party and a platform that really fights abortion.

This blog has a recent post discussing one place to start looking for ideas, Jonathan Last’s policy agenda in What To Expect When No One’s Expecting.  He suggests simple non-government-funded steps we can take to make family formation easier in housing, in education (for example, make more on-line cheap alternatives to the present exorbitantly-priced classes at traditional colleges, or another idea, encourage work-from-home employment opportunities, or another, devote more public funding to highway superstructure rather than public transportation or biking, because families need the first option more than the second and third, but our emphasis in spending has been on the latter for very many decades, or another suggestion, revised tax structures that favor families much more than present ones; and there are many other ideas in the book, please read it).  But the pro-life movement does not consistently turn the media’s eyes toward solutions to social problems that contribute to the abortion rate, and limits its focus almost entirely to abortion, to legislation limiting it and eventually eliminating it. They probably think this is a strategy more favorable to success than a more generalized one. Perhaps that is true, if one wishes merely to eliminate legal abortion and call it done. But that may be unwise, at least in terms of the Catholic’s responsibilities toward women. We’re supposed to help them get to heaven.

Pro-lifers should consider this: Stalin, Hitler and Romania’s Ceauşescu favored limiting abortion on purely demographic and eugenic arguments.  Surprised? There are plenty of unsavory reasons to oppose abortion. Consider Hitler’s.  One source writes, “Hitler never appealed to religion, God, or divine revelation to ground his opposition to abortion. Rather he insisted on vigorous enforcement of extant antiabortion laws because he considered German population expansion vital to the improvement of the Aryan race. ”

Or consider communist Romania. In 1966 there were four abortions for every live baby born in Romania. Women were aborting their babies, anecdotes report, because they did not want to bring them into the horrible world of Communism. In that year, Nicolae Ceauşescu (1918–1989) issued Decree No. 770 prohibiting both abortion and artificial contraception. Like Stalin, Ceauşescu was an atheist. He was not motivated by religion or concern for families or unborn children. His anti-abortion policies were strictly utilitarian, an attempt to build his country into a colossus through population growth.

Stalin banned abortion to stimulate the birth rate. In 1936, in a widely resented decree that was dropped after his death, Stalin made it clear as only that killer could that the nation’s couples should produce workers and soldiers as vigorously as new Soviet industries were turning out trucks and steel beams–or else.

Does the pro-life movement think similar thinking is impossible in the United States? Why would they believe that? After all, profits are at stake, and the pro-life movement always knew that, because we know that moral law does not contradict natural law,  that is, if something is a sin morally, it’s going to be bad for society in the long run.  But the elites did not seem to know this when they pushed for abortion.  Or rather, when they initially supported legalizing abortion, the elites were going after increased profits from another angle,  the rise in productivity when women first entered the work place en masse, and also their depressing effect on men’s wages going forward, which effect has been cumulative to the present–here is the MotherJones link to the data.  However, that situation has changed.  Profits have peaked out on productivity and wages and working conditions have fallen to the basement, below which we would be remunerated at about the same rate as third world slaves. And that would blow their cover.

But since profits must continue to grow, year over year, or the whole ponzi scheme of human society collapses, the game plan must change, and suddenly the cost of abortion to the elites–in dollars, not souls, stupid Catholic!–is under scrutiny.  The data that abortion is falling but so is the number of pregnancies, for example,  is not alarming to pro-lifers, at least it didn’t come up in Jensen’s article,  but apparently it is, now, to the elites. The Washington Post moaned that the US birthrate had fallen to a record low not seen since the twenties,  that it was especially high among immigrant women,  upon whom the report said–admitted– we “have been counting. . .to boost our population growth,” and cited the birth dearth of Japan and Italy (who have been unable to reverse their negative trend) as awful, alarming and downright bad examples to avoid at all cost. That Washington Post report was on 2012 data.  The numbers did not improve in 2013, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Demographers like Kenneth Johnson had predicted that the birth rate would improve with the official end of the recession, but that did not happen (just as none of their optimistic predictions of fertility rate improvement have come true, not a single one), and the WSJ wrote, “Low fertility means less growth in a country’s population, barring a pickup in immigration. Fewer people can mean fewer workers to propel the economy and a smaller tax base to draw from to pay the benefits due retired Americans.” All economic reasons to limit abortion having nothing to do with respect for life and  making no commitment to making America a good place to have a child.

Weighing in on the birth crisis are CNBC, US News CNN, CBS,  the Christian Science Monitor, and page after internet page of others. Nor is the coverage limited to the US. The South China Morning Post,  warned its own government, which continues to press forward with its one-child per couple program that includes forced abortion, that “the consequences of these [demographic] changes are striking,” listing among the areas affected “the evolution of family ties, the future of pension provisions and care for the elderly, the evolution of immigration policies, the ethnic and language distributions within societies, the potential for violence within and among different religious and ethnic communities, ” and this last item which bears thought, “the debate of women’s rights.”  One would not wish to see women’s rights fall lower than being hunted down and forcibly aborted, but the author of the article apparently thinks it possible.

The fact is, the elites are beginning to realize how abortion affects the bottom line in today’s financial times.  Abortion hurts profits, now.  It was different when abortion was legalized.  Abortion was originally legalized because the trained monkeys the elites hire to advise them thought that a big influx of women into the labor markets would depress wages and increase productivity, and it worked, initially, in the US, in Europe, and Asia. But now, to continue the profit-taking, the situation having changed to a shortage both of buyers and producers (thanks to the success of the prior tactic of inducing their mothers out of the nursery and into the office), babies are needed again, to populate what they coyly call the internal markets,  babies as buyers, and as labor, babies as future workers, especially now that migrant labor pools are drying up (our US net immigration last year was negative 11%, for example–we actually lost immigrants). The elites are waking up to the effect of abortion on the new bottom line. It is not due to the pro-life movement alone that twenty two states are presently engaged in a process of severely limiting abortion.

The elites are promoting a new economics now, in their media. “Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands,” says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. “It’s generally true that most people produce more than they consume,” but that interesting factoid was not discussed back in the seventies when abortion was rammed through by court order in Roe v. Wade. Nor did we see quotes such as this one: “Fertility rates have plunged, and that will have an impact on future consumer spending,” (Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economists at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight).  They forgot all about consumer spending back in the seventies–or rather, they expected to increase it with the increase in income working women would take to the store. And so it did. But as the Spanish saying goes, Pan para hoy, hambre para maňana, bread for today, hunger for tomorrow–their policies had a delayed consequence that popped up in 2008, oopsie.

So, they are changing the policy.  You will find this kind of wording now rather than the angry rhetoric of yesteryear. This quote from CBS encourages women to have not only one but two children:  “A rate of a little more than 2 children per woman means each couple is helping keep the population stable. The U.S. rate last year was slightly below 1.9.” Hint hint.

Well, what difference if the elites encourage births and discourage abortions? Isn’t that what we wanted?  There is a small problem: while they may change their policy regarding abortion (perhaps even for contraception, if the fertility rate continues to fall), they probably will not advocate at the same time that women may choose to leave the workplace or reduce their work obligations (because their present productivity rates are based on women working), that marriage be restored, that big family housing be increased and earlier marriage promoted, that the tax deduction per child must be increased, and numerous other proposals to give women back what they used to enjoy that made child-bearing –bearable.  We have fallen below the economic levels that make most of those options affordable, as have Sweden, France, and other countries with even worse birthrates than ours and who began to try to reverse the trend earlier, with no success.

They may still make abortion illegal, of course. Do you know what women will do if abortion is made illegal but nothing else is changed? They will revert to the practice of infanticide, as women always have and which the Church fought for century after century. We have to want more for women than Hitler and Stalin did, simply because if a higher birth rate is the only goal, half-way measures do not work, not that women won’t be tortured all along the way. It is possible that we do not yet understand the brutality of our enemy. We have seen them run women down like prey in China to forcibly abort them, but we have not processed that they will run them down to forcibly inseminate them.

What does avoiding the bad mean we have to do, in practical terms? We have to form and support a third party with a completely pro-life platform. We must leave the Republican party, and the Democratic party as well. We must offer the American people a true option besides a ‘kick in the head and a kick in the stomach.’ That is what we must do if we ‘love them both,’ as a popular pro-life saying goes. That party cannot be secular.

There’s something else wrong with Jensen’s analysis.  He cites as progress the very many outreach programs to help women choose life.  Catholics support these programs in huge majorities, and they believe they are giving to Catholic services. But that is not true.  Women receive only secular services at these post-Vatican II ecumenical centers. When abortion-minded women visit them and decide to carry the pregnancy to term, they are given diapers and strollers and baby clothes and formula–but they are not invited to study the Faith, they are not invited to consider baptism for the baby, they are not invited to give up the often illicit relationships in which they are enmeshed. All those things would make life better for women, but they are not being offered. They get only secular advice along with the  baby clothes. In other words, platitudes in place of sacraments. And we know how well that secular counseling worked for pedophile priests, as replayed this last week in Chicago news.

In some cases, secular advice that plays the victim card, as most do, can actually serve to harden hearts against true contrition, which involves taking responsibility for the sin, not marshaling the list of excuses one initially gave to justify it, as often happens–‘we were too young, we weren’t ready, we should have been more careful,’ etc. The best tools are withheld, confession and the Eucharist, in the  name of ecumenism. Most Catholics do not know this when they write their annual donation checks to their local crisis pregnancy center.

A pro-active pro-life party would make sure they had an independent Catholic political position, neither Democrat nor Republican, and would in addition offer the true, complete Faith both as spiritual help and as political grounding. This pro-life movement does none of that, and in reality, secularism, with its fangs out, will be just as happy to reap babies for the profit-machine as it was to kill them.

It is said by liberal critics that we Catholic pro-lifers do not vote for or stir ourselves over the needs of the child once it is born, especially if any proposal involves government responsibility.  And we seem to care not even for the soul of the child, to see it is baptized. Those are two heavy charges to bear when we stand before Christ our Judge. He was so fussy about those sheep.

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I have come to the conclusion that the comments I read in blogs are regional. I do not know where you are located, and I found your blog through the Traditional Catholic Priest, wherever he is located, but I am located in Northeastern Ohio, and I disagree with much you have said regarding the Pro-life movement.

I have just returned from a 2 day, 5th Annual Bringing America Back to Life Symposium & Exhibition, by Cleveland Right to Life who is PAVE-ing the way to life (Pray Act Vote Educate). The magnificent work that I have witnessed by these who care so deeply mirrors Blessed Mother Teresa. She was told to serve. She served. I do not see these witnesses of Christ leading others away from our Lord, but toward Him.

I believe it is folly to say that the ground gained through state legislation with regard to abortion, abortion mills, doctors, etc., is as a result of secular news alerting our country to the drop of birthrate below population being sustained. It is through prayer and action on behalf of these dedicated to life individuals/groups that have brought change…and they continue to bring to light the heinous crime of abortion.

I would also, sadly, have to disagree about a Catholic political party. Not having time to totally think this through, I would just bring up the one obvious fact that far too many Catholics are not faithful to the Truth/teachings of our Faith (i.e., contraception) . If we had Bishops and the Faithful proclaiming Truth…even just 55% of them, then we may be able to go forth with such an idea. Until then, it is flushable money.

I suggest you check out the 5 years of educational talks on the Cleveland Right to Life website with nationally renowned and local speakers: Archbishop Charles Chaput, Hugh Hewitt, Star Parker, Immaculee Ilibigaza, Raymond Arroyo, Dinesh D’Souza, Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Alveda King, Bobby Schindler, Lila Rose, Judy Brown, Michael Hichborn, David Barton, Reggie Littlehorn (I believe is her name), and Rebecca K. (conceived by rape)…the list goes on and on.

This year, the documentary that was brought to participants was MAAFA21. I was made aware of this at least a year ago. It brings to light much. If you have not yet seen it, I suggest you watch it. I would recommend not making any statements regarding Hitler, Stalin, or any other mass murderer and their stance on abortion…we should never hold evildoers as an example for any good that may have been done by them for it was probably done only for purposes of evil.

Finally, a much more disturbing evil was brought to light this year by Dan Becker, President of Georgia Right to Life. The evil being done with embryos…3 parents (or more), ninety something percent human and a single digit percent animal for harvesting organs. Reprehensible actions occuring at universities here, in England, and around the world need to be stopped and criminalized.

God bless!

Comment by Mariann

I do appreciate the comment and your work, but you have not addressed any of my points regarding baptism, offering the Faith to abortion-seeking or post-abortion women, or a Catholic identity in counseling. You have denied that new anti-abortion sentiment could possibly stem from mere secular concerns about profits, yet fail to explain why some of history’s worst anti-Catholic demons were also anti-abortion. And you say we might need a third Catholic party but that there aren’t enough faithful Catholics to support it, without being willing to take up that cause and that cross, conversion. So you seem like an authentic spokesperson for the pro-life movement as presently constituted, and my arguments against that position still stand. I wish you had been in the waiting room the day the pro-life women’s center where I volunteered had two pregnant women seeking material help, a women and also her daughter, both pregnant from sexual encounters with multiple partners, and the kicker was that we had ‘saved’ the daughter sixteen years before from being aborted, but had never offered her mother–never offered, not offered and was refused, but completely failed to offer–the opportunity to study the Faith with the intent of obtaining baptism for her child nor the opportunity to turn her life around. We volunteers were sad to the point of tears that day, but it was a revelation to me because as the receptionist I had not known until tha day that the Faith was not offered behind the closed doors of the counseling office. No, sir, it is not a regional difference (you didn’t even try to prove that point by showing how, in your region, the Faith is promoted along with the ultrasound), this characteristic of the pro-life movement as practised by the Church today is world-wide, and it does not serve women in any waywhatsoever. They need Christ more than diapers. They need Christ. How many ways are there to say it?

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

But that is my point…the Catholics in the room last night were at least 85% of the sell-out crowd. Check out Michael Voris’ talk last year about the pro-life movement going nowhere without accepting the evil of contraception and its backup – abortion.

If 20 people are standing and praying the rosary in front of an abortion mill, those who come up see Catholicism. Again, I don’t know where you are located, since I don’t believe you said, but if you are on west or east coast, your Catholicism may be much more hidden.

I don’t disagree that they need Christ. We all need Christ. My sharing focused on the life-giving love of these generous volunteers. I was a fallen away Catholic, and what brought me back to our Faith … my Dad’s prayers for me and the example of one man who had something (a joy, a peace) that I didn’t know what it was but I sure knew I wanted it. So, I asked, and he told me…our Faith…go, make a general confession of your life, receive absolution and grace to live. I did and I do.

I have not been very active in the pro-life movement, so my defense of these generous volunteers is my defense of them and each way they SERVE WOMEN…you seem quite angry about my response so those are my words written loudly. My pro-life activity is limited to loving and serving my 2 (of 4) autistic children, which our family is approached just about weekly as to what a witness we are … this is not bragging, but rather gratitude that we draw others (those in and those out of the Faith) closer to Christ.

I am sorry you had such an experience as you relate. But that doesn’t necessarily negate all that you or others have and are doing in the pro-life movement. I believe many are brought to the Faith by their love and service. I also do not see why people wouldn’t be offering the Faith, Catholicism (hence Baptism) to people seeking an abortion, or being saved from an abortion. There are people converting, but you cannot beat them over the head and drag them in.

As for Hitler, I suggested you watch MAAFA21. He didn’t need abortion so much. He gassed them or shot them…those he wanted to be rid of. I cannot recall if he was one of the proponents of sterilization of the Black population. It may be stated in MAAFA21.

I dream of a 3rd party (since the 2 we have little worth). Catholicism has the Truth, but too many Catholics do not embrace the Truth. That is why they will not embrace a 3rd party. Our Church is still so tied up with Alinsky and unions (watch Michael Voris). Our Bishops are not teaching, our parishioners are cafeteria Catholics, our Faith is suffering some huge losses of souls. How I wish we were ready, but we are not. Must run.

Comment by Mariann

Saving lives and saving souls are not the same thing, Mariann, and there is far more to being pro-life than simply being anti-abortion. I am angry, it is true, about the subtraction of Catholic identity from the pro-life movement, and I find it troubling that you are not, that you do not even want it to be known that the likes of Hitler and Stalin were exactly as pro-life, no more and no less, as those praying outside abortuaries now, if we are speaking of concrete social policy. You named a number of pro-life ‘renowned’ speakers–but none of them offer Catholicism to abortion-seeking or post-abortion women, none of them. That is a deal with the devil, Vatican II’s convenient ‘adjustment’ to a tee, and a trick to separate sincere Catholics from their donations, whether the name of the speaker is Stalin or Chaput, to keep us under the illusion that we do not need a Catholic state, that Pius XI was wrong to say that Christ must be at the center of nations, that poor women are somehow served by material goods and vague secular platitudes in the absence of conversion and in the absence of the protection they would enjoy from a state that at the very least recognizes a creator. I am glad you are fighting abortion, but surely you must know deep down that the job does not end there. You would not have had your Faith to return to if earlier generations of Catholics had not taken on a much bigger fight than mere life. You and I must offer this Faith now, or the little stalins and hitlers of this world (like Obama) will reap our nation’s babies in life and the devil will reap them in death.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

You are really angry. I’m sorry I ever read your blog but I still think you continue to miss my point.

First, you sound as if you think pro-lifers should quit since they do not act as you believe they should act. Let the infanticide continue?

You keep shouting about the soul over the body…but there is a body inside the mom and it has a soul too. So you believe unless we save the soul of the woman walking into the abortuary that we should allow her to pay someone to murder her baby?

You still haven’t stated where you live. I don’t know which pro-life movement to which you refer. I know that National RTL booted Cleveland RTL because of the change in our mission statement…expanding it to reflect the protection of marriage being between one man and one woman.

I haven’t witnessed this lack of Catholic identity…as I said, most attending were Catholic and I don’t see how you can say that NO ONE is offering Catholicism to woman, either abortion seeking or post-abortive. Have you spoken with a priest, for your tone is quite harsh? Again, I am sorry for you and what you’ve experienced. I honor all who are giving their lives for the lives of the babies (created in the image and likeness of God) hence their souls. I will check with someone that I found out is connected with Rachel’s vineyard in some way (which is founded by Priests for Life…sounds Catholic) to learn more of what I thought was a healing experience…sounds as though they call upon our Lord’s healing, so they are experiencing our Faith, are they not? Maybe I am really ignorant in this area, but I’ve heard a few marvelous witnesses from women who have converted once healed.

And this dealing with the devil and donations and Stalin…you’ve totally lost me. And I never said we do not need a Catholic state…I said, this country is not ready for what you are thinking needs to be done. This country just voted in the most pro-abortion president it could find…2 times! Where do you think we would get the votes for what you believe is necessary NOW. We are steeped in sin.

I also thank all who have gone before me in the Faith, and I share every opportunity I get. Again, I am totally lost with your accusations. I said, I am pro-life. I know there is so much more to it than abortions. To me, returning to the Faith has been a challenging but magnificent journey. I am learning so much about the depth of the Truths taught in our Faith. I am grateful. That is why the Symposium is so helpful for it is very educational.

I must end…time to shower and attend the low Latin Mass at St. Rocco’s. One of my daughter’s needed to get to the Pittsburgh airport to get back to New England for college (profoundly Catholic liberal arts college faithful to the magisterium).

Please calm down if you you want to help me see your point(s). God bless.

Comment by Mariann

Okay, Mariann, I’ll calm down and slow down. First, I’m in Chicago-I thought I put it. Second, I do know many pro-life centers, insofar as I have volunteered for many years, in the US and in Mexico, and because I have an expertise in training, I was involved in several ‘articulation’ efforts (what they call it when workers in different locations or levels in an industry talk to each other–that’s how just about everyone trains these days and how you get the same script from the same workers whether you call Dell in Panama or Dell in New York–pro-life centers do the same thing, they train their volunteers and they ‘articulate’ with other centers in the effort). So I do know an awful lot about what goes on, and Chicago–I will not name the center–is typical, alas. I have also been, thank God, a successful sidewalk counselor, and perhaps you will not be so unhappy with your experience on my little blog if you scroll down and read ‘Another Ordinary Day,’ which except for the fictionalized thoughts of the woman, are step by step and word for word what really happened and you will appreciate it, you love these women, too. And you are right, completely right, that no one should trade bringing up religion in order to perhaps save the soul of the mother when you might make her even more determined to kill her child, and yes, that could happen. That’s why no one does that, or hardly ever does (you will see that this is a very real and pressing dynamic in Another Ordinary Day, just as it is outside every abortion mill every day). But after a woman has committed to keeping her child, she typically continues to come to the Woman’s Center to get material help–you know, diapers, formula, cribs, strollers, car seats) four to six more times. These women are in the minority. And there is another kind of woman much more typical to pro-life work who comes to the center but who never thought of aborting, who come for the material aid, because their friend told them about it. They all come to the center multiple times. In addition to visits for aid, they may come for a Christmas party (go check, you will find your local pro-life women’s center has it or something similar) and for parenting discussion groups. But never, ever is the Faith offered to them. This is not accidental, or curiously widespread forgetfulness, or perhaps lack of courage. This is the script. This is because of a change in the teaching, just a tiny change it seemed, that ‘freedom of conscience’ came to mean that every attempt to convince someone of the superiority of the Faith is coercion, every attempt, but most especially in any circumstance where Catholic charity is involved and the outreach might be interpreted as trading the Faith for the material help. That was at Vatican II, a part of this discussion. I hope you’ll pursue it, but meanwhile can you and I agree that even though the very moment when an abortion-minded woman is walking up to the door at the mill may not be the best time to suggest she study Catholicism, there are other opportunities? Because I agree with you on the timing! But will you not agree with me that at least one time in all the subsequent contacts, the nuts and bolts of the study of the Catholic faith could be explained? Just one time? Could we not put a holy card among the cans of formula? Invite her to eucharistic adoration? Invite her to a small discussion group about what our Faith teaches regarding human sexual expression? Because that never happens, Mariann! And it is the same in all the ‘vineyards,’ you know, Rachel’s and the others. Just go read them in detail, Mariann, you will find what I found in attempting to locate help for post-abortion women. You will not find holy communion mentioned as an excellent remedy for depression–you’ll find yoga, and transcendental meditation, and snips from Christianity and snips from buddhism, but no mention of confession as a remedy, never any suggestion that the woman abandon an illicit relationship, or any kind of conversion. Just go look, yourself, Mariann. I wish I were wrong, I wish it were not like that, I’d give anything if you’d come back here and say, look, in Cleveland women are always invited to study the Catholic faith when they come for their visits there. But you won’t find that (although you will find that the ‘back of the house’ where the staff work is so full of statues you can’t walk straight, but don’t be fooled by that). And then you have to come to some kind of terms with it. Our Faith is either the most wonderful cure for the ills of the world, or Christ was wrong, and died for nothing. Mariann, the poor need Christ more than diapers. Don’t throw something if I say it again. I don’t want to get personal, but I know, because I am the fatherless child of an alcoholic, heroin-addicted half-Indian woman who civilly married an equally alcoholic Irish cop who insisted at least that her two kids go to Catholic school. That school arranged that I be baptized, they gave me spiritual food along with the little treats they slipped in, they taught me about Christ, and they patiently taught me both the catechism and math, the works of mercy and history. Of all, it has been the spiritual education that has been the most valuable to me in life– they gave me the eucharist, a poor kid’s constant friend, and that’s what it has been to me. I cannot bear it that the poor no longer receive this courtesy. Please, look into it–just call up and ask your women’s center, ‘When do you introduce your clients to the Catholic Faith?’ The answer will be ‘Never,’ although they might spin it over several paragraphs and you may have to listen hard. And it is the same with the ‘renowned speakers’ you mentioned. In their private capacity, they are Catholic. In their pro-life work, although they may be very energetic, Catholic they are not, if that means doing what Christ said to do, get people to follow Him, only Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Light. And you might delve further. You might ask more questions at your daughter’s college, where you may find out that ‘loyal to the magisterium’ has a different definition than you expected. Notre Dame’s does. Scores more, the news is full of it every day. Again, I wish with all my heart that it is not like that, but it is so often that I am not going to hold my breath. And your Latin mass? I wish that were all a person needed, and I used to think it might be, but do you not know that all those consecrated men who came to the Council celebrated the Latin mass? And yet some came to trash Catholic tradition (some came with their girlfriends!), and they succeeded. Even the Latin mass alone is not sufficient inoculation against the sickness of liberalism, ecumenism, religious freedom. That’s another topic, of course, we were discussing whether the pro-life movement was right to focus so tightly on abortion alone, that is, once the immediate life of the child is no longer in danger, and letting go the whole teaching which of course involves the nature of marriage and human sexuality, contraception, divorce, conversion. It is wrong to leave out the Faith. I hope we agree on this. If we don’t, that’s where the discussion begins, and you and I both should be clear that that is the real issue, the only issue, not where one lives, not how ‘calm’ or ‘angry’ or indeed, ‘peaceful’ and ‘happy’ one is. Are we bringing Christ to these poor, or not? Our salvation depends on that, as well as theirs. Now listen–let’s shake hands. I am happy that saving those little bodies means so much to you. I mean that. It means much to me as well, I promise you. But there’s more to it, more they need, and I think you’ll see it someday. I cried all the way home the day I finally added it all up and left the women’s center for good, but that’s not the measure of the truth. (I do, by the way, continue to do pro-life work outside the mills. Another counselor and I wrote a Catholic post-abortion pamphlet-I have it on the blog if you scroll down– that really does invite women to the Faith, and I also take Catholic books, not to the mills because you and I agree that’s not the time or place, but to bus stops and parks. I am trying to get to women before they make that fatal bad decision. I have a little wicker tray like cigarette girls used to have, full of TAN books, which are light and cheap and traditional. That is, they say, ‘the Faith is great, come study it!’ If you’re ever in Chicago, contact me here and come with me. I’m really not at all angry! I’m really not! I just maybe write that way! But only because it matters so very much!

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for opening up to me. I’m in tears…you are so beautiful…I have to re-read in the a.m. since in the evening I’m worn out. Thanks so much, I will do my homework and get back with you.
May God bless you with an abundance of His divine grace this day and always.

Comment by Mariann

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