Sunday, May 31, 2009

Abortionist Shot and Killed

I just got an email from Operation Rescue that George Tiller, aka Tiller the Killer, was shot and killed while going into his church this morning. Tiller operated an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and was known for his late-term abortions. Now Tiller has met his maker.

I sincerely hope that this was not the work of a pro-life fanatic. But it probably is, someone driven by the lack of justice that he has seen in the case of Tiller. Just recently Tiller was acquitted of 19 charges of illegal practices at his late-term abortion clinic, the jury brought out their verdict in one hour. Justice in this world is one thing; justice in the next may be very different. While it is right to say God be merciful to his soul, I also trust that God is not only merciful but He is just.

One person will be convicted for this crime, but I believe that a large portion of the responsibility for it lies with those who failed to serve justice and continued to allow Tiller to behave as if he was above the law. If that court had brought down a just verdict, Tiller would be alive today; he might have been in jail, but he would be alive and his clinic would have ceased operation before this.

Link to article in The Wichita Eagle

h/t Operation Rescue

The Business of Abortion

If you thought that abortion was just about relieving women of an unwanted pregnancy, this video by Father Frank Pavone should put that idea to rest. Abortion is a money-maker in more ways than one. The abortion doctor makes lots of money, especially in the US. Here in Canada, where we have state-funded medicare, the doctors who do abortions still make money from them, perhaps not as much as their US counterparts, but I heard a doctor say at a pro life conference that one of his colleagues tried to convince him to do abortions because he could make more money.

So, it is not just the doctors who profit from abortion, there is a entire industry built up upon the bodies of these little unwanted persons.

Last fall, one of the women who took part in 40 Days for Life, told me that years ago she was working in a hospital in New Brunswick, working in a lab where a doctor was doing research on the link between aspirin and Reye's syndrome. Perhaps you remember this? I do because my own children were young enough to be affected by this possibility; we were advised not to give aspirin to children under 16 because it had been shown to make them susceptible to, if not to cause, Reye's syndrome which could be fatal.

If this connection intests you, check this link

This woman told me that one part of her job consisted in bringing the body parts from the abortion clinic to this doctor in his lab for his research. She said at the time, she didn't really have a problem with it, because the medical philosophy was that they were helping "living" children. The body parts were there, why not use them for something good? Now, she sees just how convoluted that thinking was. The use of these little murdered bodies for the good of someone else is just another way that we try to rationalise abortion. Once we succumb to thinking like that, there is no end to what we will justify.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Intolerance of Tolerance

Christians are under attack in the western world for so-called "intolerance". Particularly in the area of sexual identity and sexual behaviour. But I beg to differ.

We have seen the advance of the gay agenda in order to protect the rights of those who identify themselves as homosexuals or bi-sexuals or trans-gendered. And under consideration in the US at the moment is hate crime legislation that will include offenses to someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. As Dr. James Dobson predicts: "The broad definition [of sexual orientation] could mean anything including the 30 forms of sexual deviancy that are listed by the American Psychiatric Association." (Focus on the Family Daily : Protecting Our Country's Future (05/14/09))

Christians have always tolerated those who deviate from the standard heterosexual norm; we have not denied that they are entitled to jobs, relationships, housing, etc because of their sexual identity; what we do deny is their assertion that they are entitled to the rights reserved for traditional marriage. We tolerate their rightful demand that they be treated as equals, what we will not do is accept as ideology that their lifestyle is to be considered the norm.

The true liberal position, that it is right and just to tolerate behaviour that deviates from the norm as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, is deemed to be rank prejudice on the grounds that homosexuality is not ‘deviancy’ but normal. ‘Normality’ is thus rendered incoherent and absurd and accordingly destroyed altogether. The agenda is therefore not liberal tolerance but illiberal coercion against mainstream moral values, on the basis that the very idea of having normative moral principles at all is an expression of bigotry. So anyone who speaks out against gay rights is immediately vilified as a ‘homophobe’ and treated as a social and professional pariah.
- Melanie Phillips, The Spectator

What has happened because of this aggressive agenda is that people who disagree are coerced into silence. What we have is the "intolerance of tolerance".

Christian pastors are silenced with life-time gag orders, as in the case of Stephen Boissoin. Christian social service agencies are forced to hire active homosexuals, even though the practice of homosexuality goes against their principles. Christian adoption agencies are forced to give children to homosexual couples, in direct opposition to their principles and the growing body of psychological evidence that children fare best in a home with heterosexual parents.

But what about the unfair treatment of traditional Christians and other faith groups? The doctrine of equality means they have no right at all to uphold their belief that certain types of sexual behaviour are wrong. This is simply trumped by gay rights, which allows them no space at all to uphold their religious beliefs. This is not progressive. It is totalitarian .... Truly, as the joke goes, what was once prohibited has now become compulsory. Once, homosexual practice was outlawed. Now, it appears that Christian practice is to be afforded the same fate. This is a matter of fundamental civil rights.
- Melanie Phillips, The Spectator

We who value traditional marriage and all that goes with it, are being relegated to a "fringe group" that will have to defend our beliefs. This is a complete reversal of what is normal. We are the ones in the majority; however we are now being victimized by a group that has advanced their agenda upon society, even though they make up less than 5% of that society.

.... traditionalists are supposed to accept the fact that, despite clear-cut majorities in election after election and poll after poll, we must accept a new status as a fringe-group minority with special protections – until judges come along to strip away those defenses and to force compliance to the new tyranny of “marriage equality,” regardless of the doctrines of long-standing faith tradition (and secular common sense) that we may continue to uphold.... The prospect threatens not only the future of the institution of marriage (by altering that institution beyond recognition) but the core idea of this Republic--that legal standards and social norms should reflect the preferences (or at least the consent) of the majority of the people.
- Michael Medved

Whereas, previously, homosexuals were accepted by the majority of the population and we did not deny their rights in areas that did not conflict with our own beliefs, now we are the victims of their agenda. But as our governments legislate "gay rights", we will be the ones who will be stripped of our rights. This is an upheaval of justice that is actually being made into law. So the group that demanded that we tolerate them, are now not only completely intolerant of us, but are taking us to court over it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Global Day of Prayer

Global Day of Prayer Sunday, May 31st, 2009

HALIFAX LOCATION: The Halifax Citadel Parade Square on CITADEL HILL

Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm

The Global Day of Prayer began in Capetown, South Africa in 2001. People felt called to pray together in repentance for sin and to call upon God's mercy upon the world. The goal is to have every nation in the world participating by the year 2010.
So far, 240 countries have taken part.

It seems that these mass prayer meetings, held outdoors for the most part, are a movement of the Holy Spirit for our millenium. The Call, The Cry, 40 Days for Life, they all share the mission of praying together in public, in a spirit of repentance, and to bear witness to God's sovereignty in the world.

Perhaps it is the secularism of our world, the galloping atheism, the return to paganism through New Age, witchcraft, etc, that makes it necessary for us as Christians to do our praying in a public place for all the world to see. I cannot help but think that God is giving us the strength to do this as a united body for Him, and that we gain strength from one another. Lord knows, I could not do this solo. But in a massed gathering, I'm all for it.

So come to Citadel Hill on Sunday night if you can possibly make it. Do not be nervous, there will be plenty of your brothers and sisters there to support you. If you are from Halifax, you know that Citadel Hill is the place where homosexuals meet up with others for anonymous sexual encounters. And it is the site of male prostitution. It is very fitting, therefore, that we pray there, because this is certainly one of the most distressing features of our modern society. And God would have His truth spoken there in the midst of it all. Amen.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Silence on Abortion

There is an election coming in Nova Scotia in early June. And every election, Campaign Life Coalition - the pro-life political entity in Canada - sends a questionnaire to every candidate that is running, asking them for their stand on issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.
This time, despite dozens and dozens of questionnaires being mailed out, only three responses were received back. Two of those simply repeated the line for the party they represent. One response was a phoned response, that indicated the person running was pro-life, but didn't really want to answer all the questions as such. I guess it would really hurt her in the election.

Over the weekend, I sent a comment to the local newspaper; they have a section called The Voice of the People. As expected, they did not print it.
This was what I wrote:

Every year, 2000 abortions are performed in Nova Scotia hospitals at an average cost of $1000 per abortion. The people of Nova Scotia give two million dollars in tax revenue to pay for abortions, over 90% of which are not medically necessary.

However, our population is decreasing, schools are closing, and the majority of the population is becoming increasingly older. Just to maintain the population at the current level, we need 2.1 babies per woman. Our current birth rate is 1.6, far below what is required simply to replace ourselves. Where will the next generation come from? Where are the next group of tax payers to underwrite the health care and other social services that we all take for granted?

I would suggest that the political candidates seriously think about de-funding abortions that are not medically necessary; that tax money could be diverted to other and better causes. The “right of women” to terminate their pregnancies because they are “unwanted” or “inconvenient” is costing our society, not only financially, but that presumed “right” is eliminating the next generation of Canadians.

Now, it would seem to me that if a country was threatened by a virus that was going to kill off 10% of the population, everyone would be running scared. The World Health Organization would be super-vigilant; everyone would be concerned and extremely worried.

However, because abortion is esconced as a "woman's right to reproductive freedom", they won't touch this topic with a ten-foot pole. How incredibly short-sighted.

The present profile of our population shows an ever-growing bulge in the senior category. A healthy population should look like a triangle, with the wide base consisting of the very young, the children; the middle part corresponding to the middle years of the working part of the population, those who are paying the taxes and keeping the economy going; and the narrow part at the top would represent those who are elderly and are now retired, those members of the society who are reaping the majority of the health benefits, pensions, etc.

Our population is in reverse, with the largest bulge appearing at the top end of the middle section of working people, and the bulge is creaping upwards. In other words, we have an unhealthy proportion of elderly people to young. Whereas we require a large number of people to be in the wage-earning, and tax-paying bracket, we are seeing the vast majority becoming those who pay less taxes and are becoming greater burdens to the health care system.

Do our politicians even care about this? Their complete silence on the population profile seems to show that they are either completely ignorant of the problem or they choose to ignore it. But they cannot continue to ignore it, because we will soon be at the point where we are not able to maintain essential services simply because we lack the man power to run them.

And still, they will not address the problem that abortion is contributing to - abortion is eliminating the next generation. Add that to the fact that we have a birth rate that is too low to maintain present population numbers, and I would think that we have a major problem on our horizon.

Still no word from the politicians on this; no word from the media. Are they really so afraid of feminists that they cannot speak of what is coming? Are they willing to let women's claims that they have to have reproductive freedom, which includes killing their own children, take precedence over the future of our very society? Their silence indicates that they are indeed scared stiff of pro-choice women.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Down Syndrome - Cancer Clue?

Photo from

In a conversation with my daughter yesterday, she told me that scientists have made a connection between Down syndrome persons and a resistance to cancer. And, this morning, I checked the blog of ethicist, Wesley Smith, and found he had reported this. That man doesn't miss much!

The original story is posted here in the BBC.

Scientists may have solved the mystery of why people with Down's syndrome seem to have a lower risk of some cancers. The extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes Down's appears to contain a gene that protects from solid cancerous tumours, tests on mice suggest. The gene seems to interfere with signals a tumour relies on to grow. The finding raises hope of new ways to prevent and treat cancer.

The study, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Boston and published in the journal Nature,
showed that having an extra copy of one of the genes located on chromosome 21 - a gene called Dscr1 - is sufficient to slow cancer growth in mice.
The gene seems to work in combination with another gene also found on chromosome 21 to interfere with the signals a tumour relies upon to stimulate growth of its own blood vessels. Without those vessels feeding the tumour with its own supply of blood it cannot thrive.

Dr Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke, a Cancer Research UK scientist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "This finding raises several important questions about the roles of other chromosome 21 genes that might help regulate tumour growth. "The next stage is to think about how we might be able to exploit this research to improve cancer treatments in the future."

Let's hope that the research will not proceed as most present research does - i.e. exploit that group of people in order to benefit others. In a society that doesn't see a problem with embryonic stem cell research, I can't see that researchers will balk at aborting Down syndrome babies in order to reap their chromosomes for the health of others.

I hope I am wrong and that instead this new finding will cause scientists to respect those with this handicap. I recall the words of Gianna Jessen, a survivor of a saline abortion, who has cerebral palsy: "There are things that you will only be able to learn by the weakest among us." - in more ways than one, it would seem.

h/t Wesley J. Smith

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Plan of Attack

Oklahoma just passed legislation that bans sex-selection abortion. I believe this is the first state to have ever done this, and perhaps this is what we should all be doing, those of us who really wish to reduce abortions.

Unfortunately, many women who emigrate to the western world come from countries where boys are the preferred sex of babies. Many of these women are aborting girl babies once they have an ultrasound to determine the sex. It doesn't take much thought to realise how discriminatory this is.

Recently, Andrea Mrozek of interviewed Ezra Levant and asked him advice on how to proceed in the abortion debate in our culture. One of the things that Ezra pointed out was the unfair practise of aborting girl babies, how this goes against everything that feminists stand for. However, it is usually feminists who are pro-abortion, so this fact is rather embarrassing to them. Exposing the use of abortion as sex-selection will show one very nasty side of abortion. Though it will be difficult and actually anti-feminist to support sex-selection abortion, feminists are going to have to do just that on principle.

So that leaves pro-aborts in a dilemma: support abortion as the right of a woman to control her reproductive health (and that will mean supporting a woman's right to abort a girl because it is a girl) or oppose abortion when it discriminates against females, as they are targeted to be aborted far more than males. This is a no-win situation for them.

This approach may well be one way to drive home how mind-boggling abortion really is: the killing of an innocent life, whether it be male or female.

The questions are not only will abortion proponents sue but if so, how will they sue? They're not immune to the public relations angle. How can they argue the right to abort daughters and not sons? They have to figure out if they can frame the debate in such a way as to minimize the PR downside, if challenging this is worth the PR nightmare that will result by endorsing killing girls.
- Dan McConchie of Americans United for Life

In Canada, pro-aborts will be rushing to state that this is not a person; how will they answer the fact that, since it is a girl baby, it must be a person? I think we just might be seeing a very large crack in the fortress surrounding abortion rights.

h/t Jill Stanek

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Just Rhetoric

No need for an explanation here


On CBC news tonight, they announced that the public will get to ask the questions in the upcoming debate between the provincial political parties on June 2. People can submit questions to CBC and they might get asked of the candidates. What a great time to send in this question:

Taxpayers in Nova Scotia contribute $2,000,000 to pay for abortions, even if they disagree with abortion. Given that our current birth rate is 1.6 babies per woman and we need 2.1 to maintain the population, we need those 2000 babies that are being aborted each year. Would your party consider de-funding abortions in order to reduce the number of babies being aborted?

I bet the question will get canned. Amazing how politicians won't talk about abortion even while it is decimating the population.

So Why Can't We Vote?

In my daily emails, I get updates from Town Hall -a website of conservative writers and I always, always read Ann Coulter. I find the woman funny and bold. She writes things that others only dare to think, they would never voice.

Today, the headline is misleading. Notre Dame Holds First Alan Keyes Fund-Raiser - nothing about Alan Keyes in this piece, but plenty of punches that hit home.

She begins outrageously, by suggesting
How about for next year's graduation ceremony Notre Dame have an abortionist perform an abortion live on stage? They could have a partial-birth abortion for the advanced degrees.

The reason for this:
According to liberals, the right to kill babies was enshrined by the Founding Fathers in our Constitution -- and other constitutional rights are celebrated in public....instead of inviting a constitutional lawyer to yammer on about this purported constitutional right, why not show it being practiced?

She suggests George Tiller (aka Tiller the killer) to be the invited abortionist and Obama could be his assistant, given the tight relationship between Tiller and Obama's newly selected Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

This is a "constitutional right" like no other.
Even its supporters are embarrassed by the exercise of this right. They won't practice the right in public -- they won't even call abortion by its name, preferring to use a string of constantly changing euphemisms, such as "reproductive health" and "choice."

Since the ruling Roe v Wade was made law by Supreme Court in 1973, all Americans have had to live with the abortion law that allows almost every abortion for almost every reason throughout the entire pregnancy. Where is the democracy in that? Why, Ann asks, should the entire nation have to live by a law about which they had no say?

To Obama's question "How does each of us remain firm in our principles ... without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?", Ann answers "a good start would be letting us vote."

...abortion on demand is lyingly called a "constitutional right," immutable to the tiniest alteration by the voters.

I echo this sentiment: how about a vote indeed? in Canada as well as the US, put it to the electorate and let the democratic process take its course. Something that pro-abortion liberals would never do, given the fact that the latest Gallup poll shows the majority of Americans are pro-life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hope for the Pro-Life Movement

Anti-Abortion Rally in San Diego

With this past weekend bringing such mixed emotions to die-hard pro-lifers, I want to share a piece of great news. It gives me incredible hope for our movement. In fact, I do believe that the sleeping body of Christ is awakening to the grave social injustice of abortion.

Operation Rescue has posted a story on Sunday's rally in San Diego of 1000 pro-life supporters. But the amazing fact about this rally is who attended -

Speakers included pastors of area "mega-churches" most of which have previously been reluctant to become involved in pro-life activism. Featured were Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church, who helped organize the event, Pastor David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community Church and Host of The Turning Point, Pastor Miles McPherson of the Rock Church, Pastor Mike MacIntosh of Horizon Christian Fellowship, Pastor Shawn Mitchell of New Venture Christian Fellowship, and Pastor Chris Clark of East Clairemont Southern Baptist Church.

Being Canadian, the mega-churches are only things I have heard about. But I do listen to Pastor David Jeremiah quite frequently on CJLU, the Christian radio station here in Nova Scotia. He gives some of the best Bible studies I have ever listened to.

We pro-lifers, who are Catholics, have often wondered why it is that the evangelical churches do not get as involved with pro-life as we expect. I won't go into the reasons that I have heard for this because I believe that would create more division; and when it comes to defending our faith in Christ's teachings, I strongly hold with the more unity, the better.

I am absolutely thrilled to hear about this development and I can't wait to hear more about it, especially from those pastors who attended.

Other speakers included Oakland Pastor Walter Hoye and UCLA student Lila Rose, who has exposed criminal conduct at Planned Parenthoods across the nation with her undercover videos.

I have posted here before about Pastor Hoye, he is the pastor who spent several weeks in jail for trying to offer alternatives to abortion to women entering a clinic in Oakland, CA. Like Linda Gibbons, he trespassed into the "bubble zone" outside the clinic and was arrested. And Lila Rose is an amazing 20 year old student at UCLA, who has been running the Mona Lisa project for the past year, exposing illegal activities at numerous Planned Parenthood clinics across the USA.

"This event was the answer to about 20 years of praying that these men, leaders in the San Diego faith community, would engage the culture and stand in defense of the pre-born. I didn't think I'd live long enough to see this happen," said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who led pro-life activism in the San Diego area for two decades before leaving to work with Operation Rescue at its national headquarters in Kansas.

How marvellous for Cheryl to see the fruit of those years of prayer. I can just imagine the joy and gratitude behind this statement.

"Many of the pastors involved have national influence and have the ability to spark a revival that could sweep the nation. With pro-life sentiment rapidly gaining momentum, the Church may be finally be on the verge of awakening to its responsibility to stop the shedding of innocent blood. We are excited and encouraged by what we are seeing in San Diego."
- Cheryl Sullenger, spokesperson for Operation Rescue

Two years ago, I heard a Baptist pastor from Boston say that, when the blacks and Hispanics of the States join to fight abortion, then we will win this battle. The reason for that is those two groups are being targeted disproportionately by Planned Parenthood and their women have abortions at a much greater rate than any other race. This means that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, is getting her wish - to eliminate the races that she thought to be inferior. Well, the blacks are rising up and I believe that their seizing this issue is going to see legal abortion overturned within my lifetime!

Pastor Shawn Mitchell, senior pastor of New Venture Christian Fellowship in Oceanside, CA

Now that is what I call The Audacity of Hope.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notre Dame Commencement News

This photo was taken by Jill Stanek, pro-life activist and blogger; she was at Notre Dame University yesterday to report on the commencement exercises at which President Obama was the guest speaker. The streets from the interstate to the campus were lined with pro life protestors with large signs, depicting aborted babies. A plane flew overhead for three hours (it had been flying daily for several hours for the past few weeks) carrying a banner that shows an aborted fetus of ten weeks gestation. Being a small plane, it is noisy and hard to ignore.

It is absolutely incredible that some pro-choice supporters still think they can claim this is not a baby, or it is not a person. They stand resolutely denying the scientific evidence which is in absolute abundance, that this is indeed a human being, i.e. person, from the very beginning. By the time most abortions are performed, this little person has all systems working - circulatory, muscular, digestive, and skeletal. By day 46, the female embryo has 600,000 ova ready for her own reproductive lifetime. In fact, there was a scandal a few years ago when a woman reaped the ova of her aborted baby to give to her infertile daughter for in-vitro fertilization. The daughter would then become the mother of her mother's grandchild. It is all too weird.

What can one say when truth is denied so vehemently? These pro-choice people must be absolutely desperate to keep abortion as their right, to the point that they will not acknowledge what is blatantly obvious. What would we say to someone who denied the existence of the galaxy that astronomers can see and study? What do we call someone who will not admit the facts? yup - a "denier" - so I think we should call the pro-abortion movement, the "human-deniers".

There are many more photos and a video posted at Jill's site. They are worth viewing. Thirty-nine people were arrested at Notre Dame, because they went off the public sidewalk and stepped onto university grounds, carrying signs that were pro-life.

Jill Stanek's site

I think it is also worth noting that this event, that occurred in the United States, has been noticed across the world. I have read several bloggers in UK who have been writing about it. One, Damian Thompson, posted a video of the elderly priest, Father Devlin, being arrested on Saturday. He wrote no remarks, but left it wide open to comments. And there were 158 comments, positive and negative.

My husband said that we should thank those Americans for raising the issue so loudly and clearly that people in places far away are taking note. The protests at Notre Dame have sparked discussion on abortion in many other places than just the US. And that is remarkable. I really do think that the world owes a lot to the American people for holding fast to their Christian beliefs and for daring to speak them to the world. There may be many deaf ears out there, but there are also some who are listening and there are some who are hungering for the truth. God bless those who speak it.

Follow up by Ralph McInerny - a good article on the reversal of Catholic teaching
A House Divided

h/t American Papist

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama at Notre Dame

The full text of Obama's speech to the graduates of Notre Dame University is here

Obama's speech at Notre Dame - full text

There is no doubt this man is an orator and his speeches rouse great emotions and probably raise some goose-bumps on flesh. But on the issue of abortion, he simply does not "get it".

He speaks of finding "common ground" between those who are on both sides of the debate; he doesn't realise that there is no "common ground" for Catholics who are anti-abortion; we are anti-abortion, which means precisely that there is no "common ground". We cannot reconcile our beliefs with those who are pro-choice and find some kind of middle ground, where we can both be content. That is tantamount to saying you can be opposed to abortion, yet live with it in society. This is the very same argument that sounds completely ridiculous when stated as "if you don't agree with slavery, don't have one". We can all see through that statement, but somehow when it is reworded for abortion, it gets muddied.

I was struck by his use of the phrase "the strong too often dominate the weak" - this phrase is used frequently by pro-lifers when stating the pro-life position. I am surprised that he would use that loaded phrase in his speech, albeit with reference to justice in the world (he was not speaking of abortion in that paragraph). Pro-lifers will be taking that phrase to task over the next while, I am sure.

Obama gives an example of a pro-life doctor who wrote to him, saying that he might not be able to vote for him in the presidential election because he (Obama) was not speaking about the opposing view in "fair-minded words". Reducing the abortion controversy to simply a philosophy of using "fair-minded words" is making light of what is really at stake here. Pro-life people believe that lives are being taken, innocent lives are being taken. Using "fair-minded words" is not the solution to killing; is society only concerned with "fair-minded words" when meting out a sentence to the criminal who has killed other human beings? Surely the concern is in giving "fair justice", not "fair-minded words".

The pro-life stand will not be appeased by "fair-minded words". What we are asking for is justice for the unborn. And that goes far beyond mere words.

Obama has shown once again that he is a man of words; words that he uses to try and defuse issues, words that he uses to win over people, words that work up emotions in the listeners who then adulate the man even further. Where is the real substance? where is the real man behind these words? I fear that he uses words to take the focus off what is really going on. America is divided and divided deeply on the issue of the sanctity of life. No number of "fair minded words" are going to solve that divide. Only true justice for all human beings will do that.

March for Life Halifax 2009

I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to upload video coverage of our prayer vigil here on May 13 and the March for Life rally on May 14. The files are huge and I only managed to upload one. I think they will have to be split up before I can get them up for viewing.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the striking down of abortion law in Canada. Since that time, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made abortion legal if approved by a three-member hospital board, there have been over 3 million deaths of innocent babies in this country. Given that our population is just a little over 30 million, this means that 1/10th of the population has been decimated. If a plague were to strike our country and threaten the lives of 10% of the people, it would be considered a national disaster. But this is abortion and a woman's right to decide the fate of her child trumps any other consideration.

We held a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 13 at the Victoria General Hospital. This is the same place that we hold 40 Days for Life. We had a good turnout of about 100 people and the event was peaceful. We had no pro-choice protestors this year; last year, we were harrassed by them because of the threat of Bill C-484, a bill to make it a crime to harm or kill the unborn, when violence is used against the mother. This was seen to be a back door to bringing the issue of the unborn's personhood back into the public discussion, so pro-choicers were fighting that mightily. This year, no bill - no opposition to pro-life. We are not seen as a threat this year.

(If only they knew ... pro-life is getting stronger and stronger, as people are becoming more aware of Obama's pro-abortion policies and this is filtering through even to our own country)

On Thursday, May 14, we staged a rally at Province House, the provincial legislature and had a turnout of around 140. This was much better than last year, when we had about 60 come out. Halifax has nowhere near the response of other cities, however; Victoria, BC had 2000 people come out, Edmonton and Winnipeg had over 500. And the national march in Ottawa had 12,000 come out to march; this was 50% more than last year. The national march got one short write-up in the Ottawa Citizen. But a scathing review of the media's coverage in the National Post by Michael Coren.

Shhh ... It's the March for Life. Pretend You Didn't Notice by Michael Coren

Here in Halifax, Global News did come out and they did a good report on the 11:30 pm news that evening. I didn't stay up for it, but my friend Ellen Chesal said it was fair and accurate and the reporter had good photos of our posters and signs. This was the first time we have had good coverage from the mainstream media, for which we are grateful.

The rally featured three presentations by Jeff Lutes, owner of Christian radio station CJLU, Anita Durette - a woman from Silent No More in Fredericton, NB, and myself representing 40 Days for Life.

I hope to be able to post the videos later this week. First they will have to be split up into several smaller segments and then I can load them. Meanwhile, I am keeping my computer open to the news from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana where President Obama will be giving the commencement address to this year's graduation class this afternoon. Already 19 pro-life protesters have been arrested and placed in jail, including Randall Terry, Alan Keyes, Norma McCorvey (Jane Doe of the infamous Roe v Wade decree) and an 80-year old priest, Father Norman Weslin. As Alan Keyes stated earlier this week, they plan on filling the South Bend jails with pro-life protesters if that is what is required to make people notice the scandal created by Obama being honoured with a law degree by a Catholic university. A law degree! when this man does not recognize that the unborn should be protected by law! he should never be honoured with a degree in the area in which he has failed so miserably.

For those who think that Obama is not as anti-life as we make him out to be, bear in mind that he voted four times against the Infant Protection Act that would give medical help to infants who survived abortion. And Obama stated that his one biggest regret in life was voting to keep Terry Schiavo alive. These acts are unconscionable - there is no other description for them.

A very good article on why Notre Dame should not be honouring Obama with a doctor of laws is in yesterday's National Post.

Prestige over Truth, by Father Raymond J. de Souza

Latest updates on Notre Dame are available on Jill Stanek's site
Jill Stanek
Jill is at Notre Dame and she is taking photos, "twittering" and relaying information as quickly as she can.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Where is Stephen Boissoin?

Pastor Stephen Boissoin is an evangelical pastor in Red Deer, Alberta.

Reverend Stephen Boissoin isn't the sort of fellow who comes to mind when you think of a pastor. He's young, and he's a bodybuilder with biceps the size of hams. He has tattoos, remnants of a tough life on the streets that he left behind when he found religion - in his case, a socially conservative brand of Christianity.
- Ezra Levant, from his book Shakedown

In 2003, Pastor Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in which he condemned homosexuality and in which he warned that:

Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.
- Stephen Boissoin, in his letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate

Darren Lund, a teacher in Red Deer, objected to Pastor Boissoin's letter and, instead of writing a rebuttal, he filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. claiming that Boissoin was guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals.

The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission carried out a five year investigation of the case and in 2008, they issued their ruling that Boissoin was guilty. (section 13 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) Lori Andreachuk, the commissioner for the case, ordered Boissoin to pay Lund $5000 for damages and another $2000 for Lund's witness. Keep in mind that Lund is not a homosexual and he has never been personally damaged by anything that Pastor Boissoin said or wrote. He simply takes objection to Pastor Boissoin's voicing his beliefs publicly and his purpose was to make Stephen shut up.

As well, Andreachuk ordered Boissoin to:

... cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.

Andreachuk also ordered Boissoin to:

... provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate that was the subject of this complaint.

Levant has some vitriolic comments on this last order:

A government bureaucrat ordered a Canadian pastor, in essence, to publicly renounce his religious views as part of a state-enforced human-rights creed. What country are we in? North Korea? Iran?

To their credit, the gay advocacy group Egale took a stand in favour of Reverend Boissoin's freedom of conscience. Executive director of Egale, Gilles Marchildon, wrote:

...while it is difficult to support Boissoin's right to spew his misguided and vitriolic thoughts, support his right, we must. If Boissoin was no longer able to share his views, then who might be next in also having their freedom of expression limited. Traditionally, the (gay) community's freedom has been repressed by society and its laws.

If Egale can see the necessity of freedom of speech for Boissoin, why can't the Human Rights Commission?

This amounts to complete and blanket censorship. For a Christian pastor to be told NEVER to speak or write again (for life) any "disparaging" comments about gays and homosexuals is to forbid him to do his work as a Christian pastor. A major teaching of the Christian church is that homosexual behaviour is sinful. The Christian church does not condemn homosexuals but it does not condone participating in homosexual activity, just as it does not approve of heterosexual relations outside of marriage. The Church's teaching is that sex belongs solely within the marriage of a man and a woman. Now how is Pastor Boissoin to simply cease preaching about this in his church? This is his life, this is his work; to tell him he cannot speak against what is considered a great evil is to force him to abandon his belief. Where is Pastor Boissoin's freedom of religion, that is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights?

This morning, I decided to check out Pastor Boissoin's website; he used to have one, I visited it about two months ago. And he was not remaining silent on this issue; in fact, he even had a place for donations as he is personally indebted for all the legal costs that five years of pseudo-litigation have cost him.

Well, his website is not there. What you get is an advertisement for a web-hosting service, and the words "This account has been suspended" are printed in the middle of the page in bold. So who removed Boissoin's webpage - the Alberta Human Rights Commission?

I believe that this is outright censorship. How can a commission which does not have the authority of a court of law, do this to someone who has not committed a crime? Lund, the accuser of Boissoin, suffered no damages because of the letter to the editor, but he has been rewarded for taking offense to it. Yet Pastor Boissoin, who simply dared to print what we all know is true (that our public schools have a homosexual agenda to make homosexuality accepted by all the young generation) is made to suffer for stating his beliefs.

If you find this situation upsetting, I would strongly suggest that you read Ezra Levant's book Shake Down, and that you take to heart what Mark Steyn says in his introduction:

Ezra Levant has born his ordeal (Ezra himself has been victimized by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the famous Mohammed cartoons and has forked over $100,000 in legal costs) with great good humor, and has used it to open Canadians' eyes to the abuses of justice committed in the name of pseudo-"human rights" that have less and less to do with the genuine article. He is a true Canadian hero. Read this book, and demand that your politicians act upon it.
- Mark Steyn, foreword to Shake Down

While Boissoin's website has been removed, a blog remains with the original letter to the Red Deer Advocate in its entirety. However note the date on the last entry, Wednesday Sept 21, 2005.

Pastor Boissoin's blog

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Loss of Siblings

Yesterday, I read about Piper, a 2 1/2 year old little girl, who lost her twin sister Tuesday. Tuesday died on Jan 30 after losing her battle with cancer. Her mother was driving with Piper in the car and the song Fire and Rain by James Taylor came on the radio. The lyrics are:

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to...

When they were about to stop, the song was only half done. Piper asked her mom to keep it on; when mom asked why, Piper simply said "Tuesday".

I have to confess I began to cry, actually weep, when I read this. How a little girl feels the loss of her sister, and we probably do not understand the depth of her loss. She has lost the person closest to her in the entire world, even closer than her mother.

I wondered about those who have lost siblings to abortion. Some know about it, many don't. But I wonder if they feel that loss and if that loss could be a contributing factor to the amount of anger that we see in our society.

Dr. Philip Ney is a child psychiatrist who has ventured into the area of post-abortion counseling. This came about because of many patients who revealed that abortion was one of the reasons why they feel distress and sought his help. He spoke with mothers who could not bond with children; he spoke with children who felt, as he puts it, like Holocaust survivors. They were experiencing guilt because they got to live, whereas their brother or sister didn't.

Now, I know that some will say this is speculation and can't be corroborated by actual evidence, since the aborted child isn't there to give any first hand evidence. And Dr. Ney is surmising that his patients' turmoils are arising from trauma inflicted by abortion. But I do not think we should discount this. Just because an area is new to research, I think we are going to be seeing more and more of these psychological analyses as the results of 40 years of unfettered abortion become apparent.

Interview with Dr. Philip Ney

h/t Jill Stanek

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should There Be a Law?

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has no law on abortion. All restrictions to abortion-on-demand were struck down in 1988, when Henry Morgentaler (I refuse to call him doctor) challenged the existing law that required every abortion be approved by a three-person board in a hospital. That was deemed to violate a woman's access to abortion and the law was struck down. Nothing was put in its place, although the Senate requested that the ruling government come up with something. But nothing has ever been presented.

So Canadian abortion law is a vacuum. A recent article in The Interim published a chart of the numbers of abortions in Canada since 1970 to 2004. Unfortunately, I am not able to link to that graph, but I can link to a PDF on abortion stats.

Abortion rates from 1974-2005

Much as I like the site ProWomanProLife, I don't agree with their statement that Canada should be abortion free by choice. Rebecca Walberg referred to this on Saturday in her talk and it was the one statement that I strongly disagreed with. Rebecca said that laws will not change people (which is true) and that our goal should be to change people so that they will not choose abortion to solve their problems.

I think this shows an optimism about human beings that is not evidenced by facts. Would we advocate for a country that didn't have laws against murder or robbery, because it would be preferable to convert people so that they didn't commit those crimes? I believe the same is true for abortion. If abortion is not illegal, people will make use of that freedom. I just don't think people are that good.

A look at the stats, in the May Interim article, The Costs and Consequences of Abortion by Paul Tuns, shows that the abortion count in 1970 was a little under 15,000. This was one year after abortion was made legal, but required the approval of the hospital board. The following year, the number had already risen to just over 40,000. In 1988, the year that all restrictions were struck down, the number of abortions was around 70,000 and in the following nine years, it rose to 100,000, an increase of 57%.

I think a brief look at the graph reveals that the law really does make a difference. When it is illegal to do something, a lot less people do it.

Bernard Nathanson recalls the flood of abortions that hit his clinic in New York City when abortion law was overturned in that state. Since it was still illegal in other states, they were deluged with women traveling to NYC to have their abortions.

It was evident to all but the invincibly obtuse that when the law took effect on July 1, the city would become .... the "Abortion Capital" of the nation. As soon as the bill passed I publicly predicted that an avalanche of abortion-seekers would descend on the city on the order of 250,000 to 500,000 in the first year. ... the first-year total was remarkably close to 250,000. ... If the major hospitals were to admit abortion patients to their beds, there would simply be no room there for any other medical business. The entire medical machinery of the city would choke over the abortion glut.
- Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson,M.D.

This "glut" brought about the creation of numerous private clinics, and it led to the fast-tracked development of the suction abortion method. It is hard to absorb these facts and remain cognizant that each and every abortion mentioned is another human person discarded.

With the vacurette, the operator quickly pulls the conceptus from the wall of the uterus. If this is done after about ten weeks, one can see identifiable parts of the fetus's body dismembered and trapped in the gauze bag, which caused stony reaction from nurses in the early years.(italics mine) The later one gets in the "first trimester" the more likely the suction must be alternated with the hand-operated forceps to dismember the fetal body in the womb and extract pieces, working blindly in that large, soft chamber.
- Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson, M.D.

Desensitization of the medical staff must be a key factor in this mass-scale abortion phenomena. In fact, Joyce Arthur quotes a person who worked in an abortion clinic as saying that the graphic photos of aborted fetuses are false, because she never saw that kind of thing where she worked. She must have been working with her eyes blindfolded because body parts are definitely noticed during abortions.
Dr. Sheryl Alger, a practising gynaecologist in British Columbia,

has experience doing “D and Es”—dilatation and evacuation after miscarriages. This is the same medical process used after an abortion to remove the fetus from the woman. “When doing a D and E, you have to use very big graspers to get the head, and all the parts coming out. It is little feet and little hands that get me,” she says. “These are mini people.”
- ProWomanProLife

Human beings do require legislation to do the right thing; the facts clearly show that, when abortion is illegal, there are way fewer abortions being done. Even if there are more "back-alley" abortions, there still is not anywhere near the number that are done when the state sanctions the killing of the unborn.

It is undisputable that legalized abortion makes it possible for every child to be unwanted and therefore makes every conceived child disposable.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Unborn Considered Parasites

14 weeks gestation

From the site, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, these words by Joyce Arthur:

A fetus is not "innocent" as anti-choice people claim. Although an unwanted fetus has no ill intent, it is co-opting the woman's body and endangering her life and health against her will. Bringing a pregnancy to term is far riskier than having an abortion, and any pregnancy has a profound effect on a woman's whole being, mentally and physically. Therefore, a woman has the right to defend herself with an abortion.
A woman with a born child is under no obligation to donate a kidney or blood to save her child's life, so how can a fetus have even more rights over the woman than her born child? It can't. Even if a fetus has a right to life, a pregnant woman cannot be required to save it by loaning out her body for nine months against her will. Once a woman is pregnant, she must give her consent for the pregnancy to continue.

Arthur is basically comparing the fetus to a parasite, since a parasite resides on a host and takes from the host without giving anything in return. There is a slew of evidence to prove this wrong. I will perhaps write about that another day. Suffice it to say that pregnancy is actually something that is perfectly healthy and there are plenty of studies that show that women who have babies are healthier than those who never do. Carrying a baby to term is the very best protection against breast cancer, for instance. I wonder why Ms Arthur does not read these studies.

Re: the parasite argument, in that the woman is forced to loan her body to the fetus so that it can develop. The other day, I received a newsletter from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. This is headed up by Stephanie Gray, a marvellous young woman who can argue pro-life apologetics like no one else I have heard.

From their newsletter, I give Stephanie's words as a rebuttal to Ms Arthur's argument:

At the end of February, I debated a philosophy professor at the University of Ottawa. He argued that even if the unborn are human persons equal to the born, that they may be aborted because they do not have a right to use their mothers' bodies. He argued that just as a child, if dying, may not demand his mother's kidney if that is what's needed for his survival, nor can an unborn child demand his mother's uterus even if that's needed for his survival.
I responded by pointing out a critical difference: the kidney exists for the health and proper functioning of the body of whomever it belongs to, but each month the uterus gets ready for someone else's body. So, while one does not have a right to another's kidney, the unborn do have a right to the uterus which exists for them.
I subsequently received this encouraging report from a pro-lifer: "The professor told his class that week that the argument that the womb was created for the child was literally keeping him up all night!"


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The World is Changing

If you have thought seriously about the declining birth rate of the Western world, you already know the alarming statistics. But the video above certainly packs them in for quick viewing. Mark Steyn, author of America Alone, has been warning about the Muslim takeover for at least a decade; is anyone listening?

This photo is of a mosque that is being built just a couple of blocks from our house. With no community meeting to inform the residents of what was being built, this rather large mosque was put up, sandwiched between the Maritime Conservatory of Music and a neighbouring house. It encroaches on the soccer field behind that used to be used by the local school for physical education. I doubt they go there now.

When I approached our alderwoman about this building and asked what permits had been requested for it, I was informed that none were necessary. The property is owned by the Muslim Maritime Academy and they are free to build any institution, either academic or religious, without requesting permission of the city. Those bylaws seem wide open to me. So the land was first acquired under the name Maritime Muslim Academy, and now the Muslim community is building a very large mosque in an area where the neighbours thought there would only be a school. I doubt that any other religious denomination would get away with such a move. The local residents would be sure to voice their complaints and loudly.

I decided to send the photos to the local newspaper and ask if they knew anything about this. I was informed that no one had made any inquiry or stated any complaint and why was I bothered by it? When I replied that they had not heard any complaint because people are too afraid to speak up, because of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, I received no further communication. I suggested that perhaps Bruce MacKinnon could draw a cartoon showing the very large mosque stuck between the adjacent buildings with almost no space between, but I was not taken up on the offer. Guess the Chronicle Herald is afraid of the Human Rights Commissions too.

In an interview with feminist Andrea Calver on the Michael Coren show, Ezra Levant argued with Andrea when she accused him of vilifying Muslims by publishing the now-famous Mohammed cartoons in his magazine, the Western Standard. No other publication was brave enough to print that news, and for his act, Ezra has spent the better part of the last year and over $100,000 in legal fees arguing his case for freedom of speech (in this case, freedom to print) against the Canadian Human Rights Commission. I love Ezra's quip to Andrea, "I hope your burqa rests lightly on your shoulders", when she told him that we have to be tolerant of diversity in Canadian culture. The trouble with some diversity is that it could lead to our own oppression.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More on Notre Dame

I have always felt an affinity for Notre Dame University. Granted, being a Catholic, I can relate to a Catholic college, but my attachment began with the novels of Ralph McInerny, who still is a philosophy professor at Notre Dame. He heads up the Jacques Mauritain Center and has been teaching for 54 years as well as writing copious books. McInerny wrote the Father Dowling mystery series, something he began early in his teaching career to supplement his income as his family kept growing. He has six children and sixteen grandchildren.

Ralph McInerny's writings include about 67 books as well as numerous articles in Catholic magazines, and he's received a number of honorary degrees from Catholic colleges as well as the St. Thomas Aquinas medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Foundation. His first book was published in 1967, and his fictional writings include the now famous Father Dowling series, as well as the Andrew Broome mysteries. Father Dowling was made into a series on TV. Ralph McInerny has received the Achievement Award for his work from Boucheron of America.

67 books! and I thought I had read most of Ralph's novels. I have exhausted our local library's supply which actually was quite extensive. They are not easy to find in regular bookstores as McInerny sets his novels in a Catholic genre, and if you are not familiar with that, you will feel a little dislocated. One of his early novels, The Priest, is one of my favourites. Written in 1973, in the wake of the changes wrought upon the Church by Vatican II, I found it to be an extremely realistic portrayal of what life was like in the church then. I had been a teenager in the 60's, when Vatican II was going on, and I became awake to my faith in 1967, just when it was in full upheaval. I remember the altars being turned to face the congregation, the Mass now said in English not in Latin, the lack of emphasis on receiving the Sacraments, especially the sacrament of Confession, and the general death of reverence in the church. It was the era of folk masses, of the kiss of peace, of having masses in homes with baked bread rather than the conventional hosts. Something terribly important was being lost during that time, and I could feel it.

In its place was the warm fuzzies, kind of like having New Age in the Catholic Church. So many people became confused, not knowing the difference between right and wrong, being told that "love covered a multitude of sins", and from that extrapolating that love meant sexual relationships. Everyone around me was jumping into bed with each other, and seeing no problem with that and keeping a moral code. The restrictions flew out the window.

Some of my friends did penetrate deeper into their faith at that time, but many simply fell by the wayside, for lack of good counsel. The priests were confused and unable to give direction to anyone, as they were drifting away from the essentials themselves.

McInerny's book The Priest captures the spirit of the age, and what a sad age it was. I would not wish to live through that again and I would never wish it upon anyone else. In it, McInerny touches the sadness that was pervading people's lives as their moral compass was being removed; the young priest in the book seems to grasp both sides of the problem, but in the end he too is won over by the spirit of the age. We are left with some glimmer of hope that he redeems himself however.

If you enjoy a good story, and most of them are mysteries, plus you like your fiction with a dose of moral deliberation, give them a try. There are so many to choose from. But you may have to purchase them used from Amazon, as many are not in print any longer, and regular bookstores won't have McInerny on their popular author lists.

In light of the upcoming commencement exercises at Notre Dame, at which pro-abortion President Obama is the invited speaker, it is worth reading what a long-time faculty has to say about it. I, for one, value everything that Ralph McInerny has to say.

Is Obama Worth a Mass? by Ralph McInerny

Bernie Madoff has declined an honorary doctorate in economics from the University of Notre Dame, but all is not lost. Barack Hussein Obama, enabler in chief of abortion, has agreed to speak at the 2009 commencement and to receive an honorary doctorate of law. That abortion and its advocacy violate a primary precept of natural law reinforced by the Catholic Church’s explicit doctrine is a mere bagatelle. Wackos of all kinds will kick up a fuss, of course, but their protest will go unnoticed in South Bend. The pell-mell pursuit of warm and fuzzy Catholicism will continue. How better to defend the faith than to celebrate a man who advocates polishing off babies even after they are born? The newly created Herod Award will be added to the university’s recognition of the chief magistrate. Administrators are hugging themselves with delight at this massive publicity coup. The national championship in football has eluded Notre Dame for many years, but when the president dribbles onto the stage at the great event, the hall will erupt in ecstatic applause; the president, Father Jenkins, will wring his hand; and a final nail will be driven into the coffin of a once-great Catholic university. No one will note nor long remember what Barack Obama says on the occasion. Who listens to commencement addresses? But the Lady atop the golden dome, recalling the flight into Egypt, will exhibit one of her many titles: She who weeps.
-Ralph McInerny

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rabbi Yehuda Levin Warns

Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin is outspoken on many issues that are current in modern society. I can't help but think he may be right with this one.

Now, I don't like to give in to dire predictions and Lord knows, there are many around who are giving them. But you know, some of this stuff really rings true. About six months ago, I read a blog that predicted economic collapse in the US economy because of the refusal of Americans to vote for a pro life presidential candidate. You may scoff, but perhaps that blogger was right. Perhaps choosing a leader for reasons that are based more on the economy than on life issues really does bring about God's wrath.

If we believe in a God who has an interest in this world and in what human beings are doing, then at some point, we have to admit He might actually be causing some of the stuff that is happening.

I like Rabbi Levin's cautious comment at the end of the video, that we need to heed the warnings and return to moral values. You know, it really is common sense.

So whether we like it or not, let's get back to standards of decency and morality, that God-willing we will be able to weather the floods, the storms, the devastations, the economic hardships, the swine flu, the AIDS and many other things as we return to the good graces of the good God.

h/t Patrick B. Craine

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Losing the Next Generation

Today was First Holy Communion at our church of St. Thomas Aquinas in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As in previous years, lots of people arrived to share the occasion with the families of the first communicants, people we have never seen in church before. In fact, few of the families of the first communicants were familiar. Perhaps they attend other masses, I hope so.

One young lad arrived five minutes late with his dad. They were friends of a family in the front row. So they hurriedly made their way across the front to join their friends. The dad genuflected, a sure sign that he was a Catholic, but his son who was about 10 years old, did not. As I was sitting just two rows behind them and slightly to the right, I couldn't help but notice the boy's behaviour during Mass. His dad had moved to the other end of the row, leaving the boy sitting beside a lady whom I presumed was his grandmother. It soon became obvious that this lad didn't have a clue what was going on. But he wanted to fit in. When the deacon went to the pulpit to read the Gospel, we all made the familiar three crosses on our foreheads, lips, and heart. This poor lad was aware that people were doing something, but he didn't know what and I watched with empathy as he tried to mimic what was being done without knowing what it was. He made an ineffectual swipe at his head and then his lips, keeping his eye on the people to his right and taking his cues from them. What struck me as particularly sad, was that none of the people he was with seemed to be the slightest bit aware of him. Even his dad had not sat beside him.

He was a very good looking boy with sandy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, emphasized by his blue shirt. He was definitely going to be a handsome man, and in a few years, I could see that he would be a teen whose charms would beguile the girls. And I thought with great sadness, that he was being left on the world's doorstep by the adults in his life, to be blown by every cultural wind that swept around him.

Of course, I could be totally wrong, but if I am wrong about him, I don't believe I am wrong about so many others. Often so many children, having been baptised as infants, are no longer brought to church, and not given any spiritual food on which to grow. What lies in store for these kids? Nothing except what the culture offers, which is anathema to the soul.

It used to be, twenty or thirty years ago, that the majority of families went to church and brought their children there to learn about the Commandments and the teachings of the Bible. Here they learned the basic moral code of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". And here they learned the parameters of moral behaviour that helped to keep traditional marriage intact, that instructed youth that sexual relationships were reserved for those who gave themselves to each other in marriage, that families were the cornerstone of society and that it was the family that protected and nurtured the young so that they could grow into responsible adults who would, in turn, become the parents of the next generation.

But with the decline in church attendance, what do we see? Broken families is one of the first things we see. And so often we see the children become the casualties of those breaks. Then remove those kids from any influence of the church and what have they got? Only the moral relativism and tolerance for everything that is preached as the new religion of our society. But it isn't just the broken families; most families are not attending church in my city now, so all those children are being denied their spiritual heritage.

Sports have replaced Sunday church for many families of young children; hockey and swimming lessons are deemed more important for their children's development than religious and moral values. People think that moral values, that are ultimately the most important in life, will somehow be transmitted to their children in some way but they take no concrete steps to ensure that will happen.

When one person stops attending church, it doesn't just affect them; it affects everyone else around them. When one couple stops going to church, then their children also stop going, and then they don't bring their children, and so on and so on. So one person's decision to step away from the spiritual world breeds a whole line of people who receive absolutely no benefits of that world either.

So often, I hear people say that they don't need to go to church in order to be spiritual. To which I say balderdash. If we go to the grocery store to buy food and we cook meals for our families, why would we not stock up on spiritual food? And the sources of spiritual food do not lie within ourselves; they are available in the communal gatherings that we call the Church. This is why Christ founded the church; precisely because people need each other to grow and survive in their faith. It is the rare holy hermit who is called to live a solitary spiritual life.

As Jesus said, faith is like a mustard seed. Plant that small seed and you get a large tree in which a multitude of birds can land. I think parents need to realise that the birds in the tree will often be their own descendants, provided that they plant and nurture the growth.