Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The numbers that won't be talked about

An item on Talk Radio today

Nova Scotia's Population is Up

As of July 1st, 2010, the provincial population was up by about 11 hundred people from the previous quarter, 900 of whom are from net immigration migration....
Nova Scotia also boasts the second oldest population in Canada (behind Newfoundland and Labrador), the most people over the age of 65 and the fewest people under the age of 14.

Meanwhile, Stats Canada's numbers for abortions in the year 2009 are 2074.

Now why aren't those numbers ever mentioned on Talk Radio? This number means that 40 babies per week are aborted, which is about two classrooms. With declining enrolment, school closures, an aging population, an over-burdened health care system with fewer tax-payers to support it, why is no one connecting the dots?

Comment policy: No comments will be published without a name; if you choose to be anonymous, then your comment will be deleted. Because you are a coward.

That Question of Personhood

Pro-choice supporters often resort to the statement that the unborn is not a person in their argument to support legalized abortion. The following is a newsletter from Human Life International which explains clearly the problem with that position.

Politics and the American Person

After having lived in the U.S. and then in Rome for many years, I must say that American politics intrigue me a great deal. I follow the debates and races closely, because I realize that the decisions of American voters affect not only Americans; indeed, they affect the entire world.

For example, almost two years ago a majority of American voters elected a man because he breezily promised "Hope" and "Change", and too few thought to ask such basic questions as: Hope in whom? Or Change to what, precisely, and from what? A religious fervor seemed to overtake masses of people for whom actual religion has obviously become an afterthought, and they suspended all critical thought in order to float away on a sea of make believe hope and liberal change.

Yet such seas can be much rockier than the salesman leads us to believe. This man elected by Americans seems to be on an economic kamikaze mission, he acts as if he is embarrassed to represent your nation abroad, he spurns historical American allies while indicating to the scoundrels of the world that they belong among the elite, he does not attend services on Sunday, then seems surprised that some question his commitment to his faith... truly one could go on and on about the many problems that this man presents to the nation that elected him.

But the most troubling thing one notices when paying close attention to the president's actions is his utter disregard for the human person. It appears that every initiative he is enthusiastic about is designed to diminish the person, and increase his dependency on government to live his life for him.

That is, for those persons who are actually allowed to live their lives. We already know the staggering toll taken by legalized abortion, and we know that the current president has without qualification supported every expansion of the murderous procedure he has ever had the opportunity to support. Not that he would agree that killing these tiny human beings is murder: Like many, he thinks that some human beings are persons worthy of life, and some human beings are not persons, and thus may be destroyed for any reason whatsoever.

The historical, philosophical and moral problems are ones that the president, and most other proponents of abortion refuse to confront, at least openly. If we agree that all persons should be protected and allowed to live until their natural death, then to make abortion and euthanasia legal, we have to find ways to deny the personhood of those who are not wanted.

The problem for those who buy into this bifurcation between humanity and personhood is first historical: this is exactly the formula employed by every mass murderer in history. It is the semantic of oppression, a procedure through which the groups that are targeted to be destroyed or exploited are described with traits that go from having human deficiencies to even denying their humanity. Once this semantic takes hold, those in power go about destroying the newly-depersonalized. (my bolds)

The second problem is philosophical: What exactly determines why this human being should live, and this other one should not? Those who claim that the difference is one of an ability to demonstrate conscience and will or some other more or less measurable trait always ignore the fact that such traits are often transitory. I can be sentient one minute, non-sentient the next, then back to my old self. A baby starts life with very limited conscience and will and all of us run the risk of ending our lives with a diminished state of consciousness. These criteria are also notoriously subjective and subject to revision.

The undeniable fact is that those who defend the destruction of innocent human life in the form of abortion and euthanasia cannot confront the moral issues, nor can they confront the history that proves beyond a doubt the similarity between their reasoning and that of the most heinous murderers of history.

Either every human being is a person, regardless of his or her ability to demonstrate a particular trait or demonstrate their utility and convenience; or we can destroy any one at any time for any reason. One only needs time to come up with this reason and a story that will convince others to cooperate in or endorse the destruction.

But if, as we believe, every human being is a person with the right to live the life he already enjoys, up until the point of natural death, then we owe it to the weakest of our brothers and sisters to defend them, including, and perhaps especially, in law. Guaranteeing the personhood of every human being in law is crucial if we are to get beyond the back and forth of activist judges or politicians who must worry about their own position as much as they must the life of an elderly woman, or a disabled child.

In America, as in the rest of the world, politics is the art of the possible, with the goal of achieving the common good. And there are certainly some courageous politicians fighting for life. But if there is a chance to put and an end to the whole debate with constitutional language that would bind the enemies of life - even a slight chance - that is a chance that those who love life should be willing to take.

In the beautiful state of Colorado, I have learned that voters have a chance to affect such a change, to put language defining and defending every human person into the state constitution, up above the heads of judges and politicians: language that will force these leaders to either obey law respecting the life of the human person or to openly declare their hostility not only to life, but to the rule of law.

Many of us are watching with great anticipation. May the Lord of Life and His Blessed Mother guide the citizens of Colorado in truth and wisdom, and may American persons continue to move in the direction of embracing and defending the life of every human person.


Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula,
Interim President, Human Life International

Noteworthy Quotes

Ann Coulter came through strong at a recent fundraiser for GOProud. There were many concerns a few weeks ago when she accepted an invitation to address a meeting of conservative homosexuals in NYC. Stories were flying about how Ann had sold out and was seeking "common ground" with the people she had previously disparaged.

Some great lines during her speech, check out the story here

Ann Coulter Rocks HomoCon

My personal favourite is when Coulter told the HomoCon audience that they ought to support the pro-life movement, since “as soon as they find the gay gene, you know who's getting aborted."

Another quote I like is one from Michael Coren, in his recent article in The Interim on John Wesley, the great religious reformer in England three hundred years ago. Michael praises Wesley for his religious convictions that translated into action that pressured the ruling classes to make sweeping reforms to correct social injustices, particularly the injustice of slavery. The article is a good read, as are most Michael Coren articles, and I love Michael's answer to those who criticize him for not being sufficiently ecumenical.

If people calling themselves Christian embrace the killing of the unborn, the aged and the ill and then declare war on marriage, it would be sinful to say nothing. Ecumenism has nothing to do with it but truth certainly does. - The Interim, September 2010

Just a week ago, a student reporter from the Dalhousie Gazette called me to ask some questions about 40 Days for Life. Her final question to me was "what do you say to Christians who are pro-choice?" My reply:

You can't be pro-choice and Christian, that is a contradiction. The heart of the Christian religion is the mystery of the Incarnation in which God became man in the womb of a woman; Jesus was born just the same way as all the rest of the human race, with His own DNA, growing and developing in his mother's womb, and being born just as we are. God has told us exactly what He thinks of abortion at the Annunciation.

So if you are attending a church that is waffling on the life issues of abortion and euthanasia and does not support the Biblical principle of one-man-one-woman marriage, then you had better check out and find another church that does. That is, if you claim to be a Christian.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bothering people about abortion

.... effective social reform requires forcing the message on an unwilling audience. It means confronting the culture with what it does not want to hear. - Father Frank Pavone, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It

Vigil sign at 40 Days for Life Halifax

This is why we go public with praying for an end to abortion. One pastor asked me why do we pray publicly? I wanted to say "well are you praying in your church for this?" but bit my tongue. I already knew the answer and resisted the urge to back him into a corner. I replied that praying publicly gets results, that would not happen if we were not in public. Such as having a baby saved, because the pregnant girl decided against having an abortion after seeing people praying for her and others like her. Such as having hospital staff come out and talk to us about how difficult they find it to work in an environment where abortion is accepted and promoted, when their consciences scream against it.

But, to me, the most significant effect of praying publicly is the effect it has on the passersby who see us. I remember clearly the couple who saw our signs, stopped and got into an argument. We couldn't hear what they were saying, but within five minutes, they parted company and went in different directions. It was clear that one agreed with abortion and the other did not, something any couple should discuss in a relationship before they are tempted to resort to this drastic measure.

There are countless people who walk by who are distinctly uncomfortable when they read our signs; many women get steely faces as they pass and one can sense their unspoken anger. Others giggle in an attempt to slough off this issue; others fall silent and don't begin to chat until they are out of earshot and then we see them talking and it is clear that they are talking about what they just read on our signs. I think that many conversations are stimulated by our presence on the public sidewalk praying for an end to abortion and it is important that those conversations happen. People need to talk about abortion; they need to get this out in the open, because we need to know where each other stands on the terminating of unborn life.

Only then can the real discussion begin, when the lid is taken off this issue that is kept silent and hidden from view. When it is brought out into the open, perhaps we will then see the number of women who are suffering from their abortion choices and their brokenness and pain will make the rest of us realise what a suffering we have been complicit to. And perhaps people will begin to get some idea of just how vast this social injustice is, and they may begin to see just how many lives have been snuffed out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Abortion is not just about the women

Pro-choicers these days know that they can't argue about the humanity of the unborn - I mean, really, does anyone seriously think that the babe in the womb is not human? and to say it is not a person is playing semantics. We don't argue about any other species that way: bald eagles' eggs have more protection than the unborn human child; seals get more sympathy from Green Peacers than do humans; you are fined hugely for destroying the egg of a particular turtle - but you never hear anyone objecting that they aren't that species quite yet.

Not so the poor unfortunate fetus, who has absolutely no protection except its mother's expressed desire to let him/her live.

So what do pro-choicers say these days? They talk solely about the woman who wants the abortion. Her rights, her need to have her life, her need for equality with men, her needs, her rights, her everything....

They cite the stats from the UN on the estimated number of deaths of women from unsafe abortions (something that the UN had to rescind as they were wrong - see as if citing stats from the Third World justifies an abortion in the western world.

They they quote the ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that states:

Forcing a woman by threat of criminal sanction to carry a fetus to term ... is a profound interference with a woman's body and thus a violation of her security of person. -as chalked on the sidewalk in Halifax

The need to cite a ruling from a group of seven (male)judges that you have a right to terminate your pregnancy (legal speak for "kill")is an evasion of responsibility for your own actions and a convoluted way to avoid guilt.

Let's be honest, women, "choice" is a loaded word that is used to avoid the consequences of that "choice". The "choice" was made when you had sexual relations with a man; pregnancy is a natural consequence of sexual activity; trying to avoid the result is a dishonest attempt to escape life's consequences.

We expect people to accept the consequences of their actions all the time; if you drive drunk, you get your license taken away and possibly thrown in jail or fined. If you rob someone and get caught, you go to court and serve time for that. If you kill your neighbour's pet, you will get the law thrown at you plus all the enmity of animal-lovers. But get pregnant, and everyone lets you off the hook because sexual activity is the one area that no one is permitted to criticize.

The result of this abdication of responsibility for one's sexual behaviour is a culture of people who think they can do whatever they please with their own bodies. The sad result of this moral evasion is that millions of unborn human beings pay for their parents' irresponsibility. We have a society of people who have been allowed, nay encouraged, to grow up and get sexually active, but are, at the same time, allowed to behave like children with no responsibility. Time to grow up. Sadly, some of us never get that opportunity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pope Benedict and 40 Days for Life

Just this last week, we got a letter from the Vatican saying that Pope Benedict will be praying for the 40 Days for Life campaign in London, England when he visits that country this week. The leadership of clergy is so crucial for the pro-life movement...

40 Days for Life

Scroll down to the video from the show Life on the Rock, taped last week at EWTN. Fast forward to the 44:24 minute mark to hear Shawn Carney tell of the Pope's letter to 40 Days for Life headquarters.

When I told an evangelical friend this last night, he understood just how big this is for us Catholics and, with his usual dry humour, he responded "well you got to start somewhere!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My alcohol consumption increased almost 1000 fold in the year following the abortion ... sometimes all it take is one person speaking truthfully to give other people the freedom to do the same thing. I think about my baby every day...

h/t Unmasking Choice

Abortion is discrimination

Abortion is simply discriminating against people because they are small.
If any of these aborted babies were larger, as in the babies we see in strollers, etc., abortion would not be allowed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

134 to one

When you hear supporters of Planned Parenthood say that they object to being called pro-abortion and prefer to be called pro-choice, tell them the stats.

For every one adoption referral by Planned Parenthood US, they perform 134 abortions.

Too Funny Not to Watch

He claims to be the only comedian from Iran - "don't laugh, that's three more than Germany."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Abortion is the Hot Issue

No other issue gets the reaction that abortion does. Speak out about abortion, even mention the A-word, and you can expect a quick and often fierce reaction.

In Halifax, Veritas Catholic bookstore has been the subject of recent vandalism, notably aimed at pro-life posters, natural family planning, and post-abortion healing.

Vandalised Catholic Bookstore Ups Pro-Life Efforts

With the third 40 Days for Life vigil set to start in just over a week, I guess we can expect to see some reaction this time around. Last year, we got some flack from protestors about half-way through the vigil. It coincided with the very night that a young woman came to Halifax for an abortion, and the next morning she left, having cancelled the appointment. And, at the end of the vigil, we had a handful of protestors come out, singing about 365 Days for Choice. They were rather confused though to find that we were closing up and leaving just as they arrived. They had mistakenly thought we were continuing until 5 pm, when we actually ended at 4 pm. Was that planned? You betcha. We expected to get something of this nature; hence the early closure. We knew from the previous year that something would happen, since we had been water-ballooned at the end of the very first vigil.

Lucien, who operates the Veritas bookstore, is a man of faith. And I pray that he and his staff will be safe in the days to come.

When vandals rip off posters, smear windows with paste and try to glue the lock of the door inoperable, you know you have touched a nerve. Which is all the more reason to keep going. The Word of God is a two-edge sword, cutting between soul and spirit. And that Word exposes the deeds of darkness to the light.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections on the past

All that driving today gave me lots of time to reflect upon something that happened yesterday. It was rather awesome.

Elena and I went to Madonna House yesterday morning. Madonna House is a community of lay people who live under vows, who live in poverty and simplicity; the main focus of this community is to be a haven of prayer in this crazy world. They have many houses around the world, houses of prayer, but they all started at this little place in Combermere, Ontario. The foundress was Catherine de Hueck Doherty, a Russian refugee who escaped from Russia after the 1917 revolution and found her way to Toronto and NYC where she worked with the poor in the inner city.

She and her husband, Eddie, decided to retire in 1948 to a rural idyllic location, but soon found that people sought them out and desired to learn from Catherine how to live a radical but simple Christian life. The result: a lay apostolate of men, women and priests.

This community became my second family in 1967 when I spent a summer there. I grew very attached to Madonna House and visited for several years and, in 1971, I asked to join them. I spent the next 6 months living at Madonna House as an applicant, but left in March of 1972 when it was discerned that this was not my vocation. Madonna House is where my Catholic faith became real, it was the start of my Christian journey when I discovered that Jesus Christ was my saviour too.

I met many wonderful people while visiting and living at Madonna House. One woman was Raandi; she was a visitor like myself and then we had contact in Toronto where we were both working. Raandi later returned to Madonna House and joined and has been there ever since.

Raandi came to our wedding 37 years ago; it is no coincidence that yesterday was our 37th wedding anniversary; whom should I meet on the path outside the gift shop but Raandi? We had not seen each other for about 35 years; the last time I recall seeing Raandi was when she came to our apartment in Ottawa for dinner; I recall trying to chop carrots while carrying Rebecca on my hip, so that had to be 35 years ago. What are the chances of our meeting on that particular day? Why were Elena and I at the gift shop at the exact moment that Raandi walked down the road after visiting a very ill priest?

I didn't even recognize her, it took Elena to say yes it is Raandi, since she knew her from more recent times than I. Raandi was happy to see Elena, but then Elena said it's my mom. We were frozen in time, and we just stared at each other, until we both began to cry. There were few words spoken, what do you say to someone you knew well so long ago but haven't seen in all those years? What do you say to someone whom you know has been walking with the Lord through more than three decades? The story of that journey is written on her beautiful face. All I could do was cry bittersweet tears, knowing that we were both still on the same journey and were being given a rare moment to meet once again.

All day today, when I think of that chance encounter, I am overwhelmed by the wonder of it. To reconnect with someone who gave Nick and I prayer figurines as a wedding gift, someone who offered to pray with me for inner healing of memories, someone whose own pain has made her so attentive to other people's sufferings.

And I wonder what does it all look like from God's vantage point? All of humanity is connected in His vision; it is only at rare moments like yesterday that we are given a tiny glimpse into His incredible plan for us all. I am still in awe. God bless you Raandi. Thank you, Jesus, for making our paths cross again.

Driving through Quebec or trying to

Today, I left my daughter and her family and began the long drive back home to Halifax. The trip here was taken through the US, but the return trip will be through Canada in order to be quicker. This means the facing of Montreal.

Driving through Montreal fills me with foreboding. In fact, that is probably the real reason I drove all the way through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York states - just to avoid Montreal. You see Montreal is built on an island in the St. Lawrence River and you can't avoid it when driving through the province of Quebec, unless you take some slow circuitous route. I have driven this many times but always with someone else, usually my husband who tackles the Montreal part of the trip without getting too upset by it.

My problem driving is that I tend to take in too much of the scenery and this interferes with reading road signs. My daughter Rebecca once told me, "just read the green signs and be sure you take them in, the others aren't important". I try to remember that and it does work.

So today, I arrived on the outskirts of Montreal shortly after 1 pm, which is a great time to drive through Montreal. The only better time would be early morning or afternoon on Saturday or Sunday, provided there is no big sports event going on in the city. Amazingly, I got through Montreal without a glitch, keeping my eyes focused on the signs for 40 East. It was a piece of cake, but I did find it odd that I didn't have to drive through the tunnel. Instead the roads took me over a bridge; I thought that they must have made a detour this summer and now the highway goes over the river instead of under it.

All proceeded nicely, with some intermittent rain, until I saw signs for Quebec City. The road didn't look the same as usual and I wondered why I wasn't seeing the farms of the Eastern Townships as usual. It wasn't until I got lost in Quebec City, that I realised I should have been looking for Hwy 73 south in order to cross the river and get on Hwy 20 towards New Brunswick. Wait, hadn't I already crossed the river in Montreal? Obviously not, since I had to find my way across it in Quebec. Of course, this coincided with rush hour since I got there at 5:30 pm.

A moment of panic, then I realised that no one was waiting for me, I didn't have the dog in the car; the only problem would be if I had to go to the bathroom (fortunately I didn't). So I said a quick prayer to St. Anthony, patron of lost objects; in this case, the lost object was me. Now, I have to say that Quebec leaves something to be desired in the way of signs, it isn't just my stupidity or lack of awareness. Plus they don't put the signs in English, so I actually confused "ouest" for "est" at one point and was going back to Montreal. The thought occurred to me that, if the Last Judgment was like this traffic jam with all the billions of people, there was a very good chance I would take the wrong turn.

I finally emerged from Quebec City at about 6:15 and headed east once again. The rain got heavier and I had another hour to drive to reach La Pocatiere, which is our traditional stopping point as it is exactly half way between Elena's house and ours. The low gas light went on, just as I hit a particularly deserted strip of the road, no gas stations to be found, so I had to hope that I had enough vapours to get me to La Pocatiere. I didn't look forward to walking there, buying gas in a can and walking back to the car (no cell phone, as that went home with Nick two weeks ago).

All's well that ends well, whatever that saying means. And I crashed at the Cap Martin Motel. Went into the restaurant for dinner, and couldn't eat half of it since I was too tired. But I am safely tucked into a nice clean room with a comfy bed, and a glass of white wine. Thank God for these small pleasures.