AUBREY

David Gates of the soft rock group, Bread, wrote and sang this song. When I first heard the song many years ago in the early 70’s, I was drawn to the melancholy lyrics and pure vocals Gates is known for, but I had no idea what it would mean to me years later. Turns out I’m not alone. Search the internet for, Aubrey by Bread, and read how this song arouses powerful emotions in all who hear it. There are several interpretations of the lyrics, but they’re essentially about loss and what could have been.

The lyrics speak to many mothers of children lost to miscarriage. If you’ve never experienced the pain of miscarriage, it can be difficult to comprehend. The medical definition of miscarriage, according to Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, is “the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy”. No matter how early in the pregnancy—it is the death of a loved one—a real person, and you must allow for a grieving process. These babies were members of the family. Their images were captured on ultrasound and their presence was made known. A nursery may have been prepared, names may have been bandied about, and a future envisioned. That child was theirs and now he or she is gone.

Miscarriage is a topic not much discussed as it occurs early in a pregnancy with little to no outward signs that a child existed. There is no preparation for the loss; one day your baby is alive and kicking, the next day he or she is not.  Having others try to minimize it makes it even worse. There are support groups for miscarriage.  However, I wonder how many parents who lose their babies in the 1st trimester attend? Possibly it’s because of the misconceptions of others. An actual “baby” never existed so why would there be anything to be that upset about? That is wrong and far from the truth. As Catholics, we believe life begins at conception. No matter the age of the fetus, he or she is a living human being.

A few years ago I was visiting with an elderly friend and her sister. That particular afternoon, she told me her sister wouldn’t be joining us because it was the anniversary of her miscarriage. She said her sister cried every year on this day. She then asked me how silly I thought it was for her to be depressed over a baby that never was.  I quietly informed her that I lost three children to miscarriage and the hurt is always there. I felt for her sister and wished she would talk to me—someone who understood.

When I experienced my miscarriages I asked if my babies would be baptized and what would happen to them. I can at least take comfort that my miscarriages happened at Catholic hospitals and I was assured they were baptized or prayed over, treated with respect, and buried in a Catholic cemetery. One of my miscarriages happened at home and my mother baptized the baby after consulting our parish priest over the phone. It didn’t seem so at the time, but I was blessed to have seen him. I was not able to have a liturgy or burial for any of my babies. Today you can ask for your child’s remains. There are cemeteries with special sites for miscarried babies. Your priest can also perform a ceremony for you. I would have loved to have something like this. It brings about closure that so many of us never received.

After an announced miscarriage or memorial service, you will hear an abundance of condolences from family and friends. While all are well-meaning, not all are suitable for parents grieving the loss of their child. ‘You’re young, you can always have another baby.’ Or if you already have living children, ‘Well you still have Dick and Jane’. Or ‘This is a blessing in disguise/God’s way to spare you from having a child that’s not quite right’.  Don’t offer any of these “sympathies”. One child can never replace another. Mom and Dad wanted that child. Loss never feels like a godsend and they would give anything to have this child. Some miscarriages have nothing to do with the health of the child and the parents may know this. Many women feel the miscarriage is their fault and live with misplaced guilt, so please, no.

Instead, be the shoulder to cry on and the hand to hold. Let them know how loved that child is—not was. Keep them in your prayers and provide the space for them to mourn. My mother, who lost both a living child as well as one to miscarriage, was a sought-out comforter to other moms in the same position. She provided the right amount of prayer, sympathy, counsel, understanding, and informed them that their child, who may have never lived in this world, was alive with God in His. She would go on to describe the celebration in heaven for the newest saint! How beautiful and uplifting.

Most moms are shocked to learn that their “baby” will be fully-grown in heaven. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, “All will rise in the condition of perfect age, which is thirty-two or thirty-three years. This is because all who were not yet arrived at this age, did not possess this perfect age, and the old had already lost it. Hence, youths and children will be given what they lack, and what the aged once had will be restored to them: “Until we all attain the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of fullness of Christ.”1

How to remember our lost children?  For my miscarried children, I have Masses said for all unborn babies on the anniversary of each miscarriage. I’ve donated to causes in their memory and fight for the repeal of Roe v. Wade in their name. Because I was able to actually see one of my babies—perfectly formed in every way—I know the lie of the clump of cells. I can’t tell you how many pro-abortionists I have silenced with that truth. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

 I cried while writing this as, yes, the pain lessens but it never goes away. The thought of what could have been…the children who would have lived, played, and grown into adulthood with their two living sisters…the love they would have brought to both me and my husband. They would have completed most of their schooling by now, maybe contemplating marriage, or even having children of their own. I look forward to meeting them when we’re reunited in heaven. Will I know them? Yes, instantly, I have no doubt. Until then, I will quietly celebrate them every April and January and know one day, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4.

If you have suffered the pain of miscarriage, know you are not alone. There are countless parents out there going through the same pain as you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your parish priest. Chances are he knows others within your parish who suffered the same loss and can put you in touch with them.

 

1 The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas – THE ELEVENTH ARTICLE “The Resurrection of the Body.” Qualities Of The Risen Bodies, paragraph (d)

 

 

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ALFIE

This Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick classic shares nothing with this article except the title.  If you get your news from the mainstream media, chances are you may not have heard the story of Alfie Evans, a British toddler, sentenced to death by the UK’s National Health Service. Mainstream media chose to ignore the story as they ignore the Right to Life March every January. Alfie was born on May 9, 2016 to Thomas Evans and his wife, Kate James. After several months the parents complained to doctors that the child was weak, but were assured nothing was wrong.  In December of that year the baby was admitted to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, England after suffering a seizure and eventually lapsing into a coma. The hospital was never able to diagnose what condition Alfie was suffering from.

In June, 2017 the parents were concerned that Alder Hey was considering turning off his life support, even though the child was responsive to them, but were hopeful that a diagnosis would be forthcoming by the same doctor in the US who offered help to Charlie Gard, as well as other doctors in Utah and Italy. However, Alder Hey refused any outside doctors to look at the child or to let Alfie’s parents remove him from the hospital. In February, 2018 a judge from the Liverpool Civil and Family Court heard the case and sided with the hospital that life support must be pulled and the child must die. The Supreme Court in London as well as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France both declined the case. In April of this year Thomas Evans met with Pope Francis, pleading for asylum for his son as the UK “does not want to give disabled children the chance of life and instead the hospitals in the UK are now assisting death in children.”1

On April 23, 2018, ironically the same day Prince Louis was born in London, Alfie was granted Italian citizenship but Alder Hey refused to let the boy go. The Vatican sent a medivac helicopter, complete with doctors and nurses to bring him to a Roman hospital. The government answered this by deploying 30 police officers to stop any outside medical personnel from entering the hospital and the parents from taking the child out.  They also removed the ventilation tube from the child without proper weaning, and stopped all food and liquid. They insisted Alfie wouldn’t live beyond 3 minutes. Alfie began breathing on his own, continued sucking on his pacifier and looking into his parents’ eyes, while the calls for the child to be transferred to the Italian hospital continued.

However, on April 28th, 5 days after removing life support, Alfie passed away. Reports have surfaced that the child died after a nurse gave the child 4 injections after the father had been called away to a meeting with hospital officials and while the mother was sleeping.2 The hospital had previously planned on giving the child a drug cocktail that would end his life.

This is the 2nd such incident in a matter of months that we’ve seen out of England. I’d expect this behavior in North Korea or Iran, but England? The irony of the “disposable life” of Alfie Evans compared to the hoopla surrounding the birth of Prince Louis on the very same day that they removed Alfie’s life support and began starving him, was not lost on anyone. If this had been Kate and William’s child, would the hospital have prevented any life-saving methods or second opinions? We all know the answer.

The UK prides itself on operating the platinum model of socialized medicine as dictated by the government. If this supreme “free” medical care was shown to be inferior for any reason, what would that do to its glowing reputation? So faceless bureaucrats, in an effort to protect, can prioritize who receives care and who lives or dies based on your value to the State.  We are also witnessing the progression from abortion to infanticide. If it’s OK to kill a baby not yet born, what’s the difference if the child is already born AND has a disability? It’s easy to make that jump when you believe a person has no benefit to society, especially one with a set of overburdened government entitlements.

Who has the best interests of any child? Common sense tells us the parents do. No one loves your child like you do. With the continued removal of God from our culture, government becomes all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-giving. The State knows best on every aspect of your life, family, and death. What the government gives, the government can take away.

Which leads to this question. What happened to Queen Elizabeth? She is the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Is it now OK to execute disabled children under the Christian Anglican Church? As a Catholic, I was much appalled by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, who stated the courts and hospital were acting “with integrity and for Alfie’s good” in deciding that removing life-support is in the baby’s “best interest.” 3 They said this just after Alfie’s father met with the Pope in Rome. They even had the audacity to say that the parents and child were not Catholic. To top this off, a priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool refused to give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to Alfie, a baptized Catholic, saying and I quote, “it is not my job”. Fortunately, an Italian priest, Father Gabriele, who happens to live in London, traveled 4 hours to the hospital to administer the sacrament to the baby. 4

 Is this what Mother Church is now?  Remember those wristbands that were all the rage some 10 or 15 years ago? WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Is this what He would have said to the parents of a sick, disabled child asking for healing or blessing? It’s not my job? The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, pledged his support to Alfie and his parents. Yet the Archbishops of Liverpool and Wales chose not to obey God’s Commandment or even the Pope, but the State.

Abortion opened the door to the culture of death that permeates our society. How many abortions are performed on babies with disabilities? What is to say the Alfie Evans story could not happen here in the US? We have seen shades of it already. If you’re not familiar with the Justine Pelletier case in Boston, research it. Even more frightening, with the absence of religion and history in US classrooms, many US citizens are calling for socialism here, and along with it, single-payer, government-run health care, just like the UK model, because they believe it’s “free”.  Once you accept something from the government, they own you. Would you trust your life to government agencies because they’re run so efficiently and without corruption? If you’re not sure, ask a veteran who has to rely on the VA or see how many times children entrusted to Children & Family Services are abused or die while in their care.

Welcome to the wonderful world of eugenics! If you’re not clear on what this is, open up a history book and read about 20th century Progressives and eugenics in the United States, and the right to kill “mental defectives” and “incurables”, forced sterilization, and forcible segregation, and how it inspired Hitler.5 Yes, you read that right. Americans pushed back on eugenics after Hitler, but with the eradication of God, evil rushes in to fill the void. If we can’t even protect the most innocent, a child, just think how easy it will be to exterminate the elderly and the undesirable. If we don’t start standing, with our clergy at the lead, there will be hundreds of thousands of Alfies whose lives will be sacrificed on the altars of indifference, convenience, and the common good.

 

1 Timeline based on of ECHO News Agency, Liverpool News, www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/Liverpool-news/Alfie-evans-timeline-legal-battle-14312017

2 LifeSite News, Bioethics, Dorothy Cummings McLean, May 1, 2018

3 LifeSite News, Bioethics, Dorothy Cummings McLean, April 18, 2018

4 Thomas and Alfie Evans were both baptized Catholic and mother, Kate James, was baptized Protestant. LifeSite New, A Plea For Mercy: Thomas Evans asks Pope Francis to Save Little Alfie, Bioethics, Diane Montagna, April 16, 2018

5 War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, Edwin Black

I Can’t Get Next To You

The Temptations were once called the “kings of R&B” and ruled the airwaves from the ‘60s to the ‘90s. It’s unfortunate that most Millennials, both Generations Y and definitely Z, probably never heard of them or of Motown Records. The song is about a man who can do anything, except get close to a particular person he likes. The same can be true about the Catholic Church and Millennials. It’s not just the Catholic Church but all organized religions. Millennials, my children included, are all about technology, independence, and truth.  They are the largest demographic in the US and therefore wield an enormous amount of leverage in several markets.

As a Baby Boomer, working in a university setting, I deal with Millennials all day, every day.  I can tell you they do not think in the same traditional way that you or I do. Contrary to what is being put out there about them, they are creative, smart, and opinionated. They can be open to everything and closed to everything at the same time. They hold no loyalties, they trust no one, are in debt, but generally optimistic. They hold off on marriage, yet lead in out-of-wedlock births, while firmly believing children raised in 1-parent homes are bad for society. A recent Pew Study shows the divide.  Where 70% of past generations absolutely believed in God, only 58% of Millennials do with only 36% self-identifying as religious.1

Organized religion is low on their priority list. Many experienced “religion” from the church services they were forced to attend by their parents. They don’t like phonies and if Millennials aren’t learning or doing something constructive they are disengaged. The one truth they have embraced is Pro-Life. They are the catalyst driving the movement. Just tune in to the March For Life every January and look at the ages of those involved.

If we want Millennials to return to the Church we have to engage them. Millennials are desperate for truths and if you don’t give it to them straight, you’re out. They don’t want wishy-washy sayings or flip-flop beliefs; they want the history and the proof of who you are, what you believe in, and why. They want the blood and guts, the nuts and bolts, botta bing—botta boom.  Who was Jesus, what did He say, and what did He do?  Who are the saints, what did they say, and what did they do. Why do we have these sacraments? What do these symbols mean? Why do you do what you do?  You must be prepared with answers and fully engage them. They are interested and they will challenge you so be prepared.

In their book, The Millennials, Thom and Jess Rainer state that those Millennials who do strongly believe and identify with God “are passionate about their faith”. They want to be “radically” rooted in community, know Scripture, and love their neighbor.2 This could account for the uptick in young people returning to traditional Catholic churches.  Teach them the traditions of the church. Most Millennials have never heard of the Tridentine/Extraordinary Form/Latin Mass, Gregorian chant/Medieval sacred music/polyphonic music, and many are drawn to it.

You can’t expect Millennials to just wander into your church. You have to seek them out. They love an invitation. They are not shy about talking to older people—they like being mentored. You will have to come out of your comfort zone, though. You must make yourself available to them. If they know what you’re saying is truth they’ll return and listen for more. They are thirsty for knowledge. Be that fount.

I’m not saying all of them will listen. There are several who, like some of us, are jaded or firmly held in their beliefs and not open to other opinions. Many were raised in a secular home. As one Millennial put it, “I pray all the time but who am I praying to?” They are hungry for answers. Others are taught religion is a bad thing—guilt laden, judgmental, and close minded.  We need to show them that’s not so.

Don’t expect Millennials to come running to a “young adult” group meeting at the church. The first thing you should do is avoid the young adult moniker—they hate it. Go to them on their territory. Remember Theology on Tap? Why not host a short, engaging, lecture at the local coffee shop or art center? After the lecture open the floor to discussion.  Keep it fast-paced and make sure the topics are rooted in Scripture and relatable to today’s society. Explain what we can do together for others in our neighborhood.

Millennials want to change the world and make it a better place. Ask for their help organizing church/community events, teaching the youngsters and the oldsters the fundamentals of computers and safely navigating the Web, hosting a Millennial Bible Study, coordinating a food pantry day, neighborhood cleanup, or painting or remodeling for a neighbor in need, anything where they can lead the way and make a difference in their community—all in the name of being a good Christian. Include them in church services as lectors or ushers. Millennials are the most educated generation…utilize their skills and include them in parish councils. Millennials love social media.  You want to reach them, make sure your website is up to par and you must have an active Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. And who best to be in charge of your church’s social media?  A Millennial of course.

Lastly and most importantly, when they see a parish community actually living their faith, knowledgeable in its teachings, knowing God and His Law, and loving each other, you will capture their hearts and souls. Who doesn’t enjoy being with people of all backgrounds and ages who love their Lord and their neighbor?  Isn’t that what living Catholic is all about? To get Millennials to the Catholic Church we need to change I Can’t Get Next To You to Come Together.

 

1 Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends, Millennials in Adulthood, March 7, 2014 www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/

2 The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Thom S. Rainier and Jess Rainer

 

Me Too?

The song by the same title, sung by Meghan Trainor, is about a woman who respects herself.  Toby Keith also sings a song by the same title about a man who loves his wife.  Both have powerful messages about love and respect for one’s self as well as for a loved one.

The Me Too that comes to mind in 2018 is the “new” Hollywood revelation about the sexual abuse of women by influential men in the industry. Everyone has heard stories of “casting couches” throughout history.  It’s only now that the women of Hollywood have decided to shed light on what should have been exposed years ago.  The stories of their “bravery” include Twitter hashtags and donning designer gowns that costs more than you or I earn in a year. Some members of this movement decided a long time ago to keep quiet even though they knew fellow actresses were being raped and abused.  Their choice silenced victims, thereby enabling predators, in the name of furthering their own careers. The hashtag that should be trending is #Shame.

True bravery is not found on Twitter or in designer showrooms.  It’s found where everyday men, women, and children deal with evil, have systematically called out bias and abuse, and are met with threats, name-calling, blackballing, jail, and even death—but  have never given up the fight.  Two groups were on display the 3rd week of January who claim to do all the above.  We saw the March for Life followed the next day by the Women’s March. The March for Life consists of diverse groups who have been protesting abortion for over 40 years. In fact, their walk is the largest human rights march in the world but goes unnoticed every year with little to no recognition or media coverage.  The Women’s March, on the other hand, is in its second year and is made up of mainly President Trump protestors and promoters of abortion on demand.  This march was covered on every television channel and news outlet for days.

If you watched the March for Life in Washington, DC or even one of the smaller marches held in cities across the US, you were struck by first, the young age of the participants, their contagious enthusiasm, happiness, smiles, and inspiring signs. The Women’s March was spiked with anger, hate, vile signs, hats, and costumes—not by all, but by too many.

I have a question for those members of the #Me Too/Women’s March.  If you can make a stand for equal pay, against sexual assault, and all abuses and injustices against women, why can’t you stand against the slaughter of future women in the womb?  Why?  Or should I ask #Why?

I’d also like to ask that question to most of the Democrats in the US Senate1 and the two female Republican Senators2 who voted down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act held January 30, 2018.  Doctors and scientists have confirmed that infants in the womb can feel pain at the 20 week mark and probably earlier, yet these fellow humans still want to murder babies up to and including the moment before birth. This bill excluded cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother so why didn’t they vote for it?  Why? #Why?

A Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll3 published in January of 2018 concluded that more than six in ten Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; this includes 56% of Pro-Choice Americans, 56% of Democrats, 74% Pro-Life Americans, 73% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents.  Those numbers are staggering.  So why did they vote against it?  We need to demand an answer.  However, our request will be met with the same disdain and silence as they bestow upon the peaceful protestors who attend the March for Life.

Question: Why does the modern feminist movement only relate to certain women?  Shouldn’t it relate to all women—even those who have had abortions and have suffered greatly because of it?  What about the millions of aborted baby girls?  Who would they have become?  Does it even cross the average Women’s March protestor’s mind that one of those aborted girls could have been their wife, sister, best friend, co-worker, teacher, supervisor, scientist, inventor, or even the organizer of a women’s march? I wonder how many Women’s Marchers even know Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leading suffragettes were vehemently against abortion.  Instead they idolize Margaret Sanger, eugenicist, Nazi sympathizer, and racist.

Anger at the indifference for human life is not just targeted at politicians and protestors.  Days before the March For Life a story broke by the Lepanto Institute4, and confirmed by Dutch radio that Lilianne Ploumen was honored by, of all people, Pope Francis, with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. Ms. Ploumen is responsible for She Decides, an organization that funded over $300 million dollars to international agencies for the sole reason of performing or promoting abortions worldwide.  Ms. Ploumen was also the Director of Programs and on the Board of Directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.4

This action has infuriated and confused many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Not only does it baffle the faithful who have been praying and peacefully protesting for an end to abortion, it’s also a direct slap in the face to those millions of marchers who come from all over the world for 40+ years to participate in the March for Life. Not to mention the priests, nuns, and laypeople who have dedicated their lives to end this culture of death and minister to young mothers and babies as well as their parish congregations.

 History will judge us.  More importantly, God will judge us—all of us.  If you haven’t already, it’s time you stand on the side of good, the side of truth.  On that note, I’d like to ask the members of the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March, are you sure your Twitter key phrase is #MeToo, or is it really #Me-NotYou?

 

1 Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Democrats who voted in favor of Act

2 Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Republicans who voted against Act

3 Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll, January, 2018.  To view all results or to view or print a pdf version of the Poll click here: www.kofc.org/en/news/polls.html#/

4 www.lepantoinstitute.org/pope-francis/pope-francis-awards-architect-safe-abortion-fund-potifical-honor/

DAUGHTER

The song by the same name was performed by Pearl Jam and is about a child with a disability.  Usually my articles and the titles of the songs by the same name have nothing in common, but this one… If you follow the news like me you may be aware of the Bonnie Liltz story.  Actually, the real victim of this story is not Bonnie but her late daughter, Courtney. You see Courtney was adopted by Bonnie at the age of 2.  Courtney had cerebral palsy and had to have 24-hour care.  However, the young woman was thriving. Speaking, when doctors said she wouldn’t, feeding herself, and using a computer. According to Bonnie Liltz, “she was a happy girl”1.

On May 27, 2015, after twenty plus years of caring for Courtney, Bonnie decided Courtney’s life must end.  She came to this conclusion because she, Bonnie, was battling cancer and other health issues.  Courtney had no say-so in the matter.  Bonnie mixed a cocktail of several drugs and fed it to her daughter, Courtney. She then attempted to take her own life, but was unsuccessful.

Bonnie Liltz, who is still ill, and very much alive is upset because the Illinois courts think she should—I don’t know—go to jail for murdering her daughter.2 You see Bonnie doesn’t want to go to jail.  She is now asking for “mercy” from Bruce Rauner, the governor of Illinois.  It also appears that because Bonnie is so ill the state jail just can’t seem to take good care of her.  Hmmm. Now let’s think back.  Isn’t it ironic that it was for this same reason that Bonnie decided to kill Courtney? Yes, you read that right. Bonnie worried that she couldn’t care for Courtney if she was too ill and she didn’t want to subject Courtney to state care because it wasn’t adequate—so, she killed her out of “mercy and love”. That’s amazing.

Also amazing is how many times Bonnie Liltz refers to God and the “gift” she received from Him when she adopted Courtney, and how “all life is precious”.  Really, wow!  So being Courtney was a gift from God how does Bonnie reconcile that she, not God, would decide to snuff out that gift?  And now that she is the ill one who cannot receive individualized care, it becomes a whole different story?

Bonnie, who is currently out on bond, didn’t like state sponsored jail life and is now asking for clemency to spare her from the horrors of it.  The Illinois Department of Corrections (state) just can’t provide the (individual) healthcare that Bonnie is accustomed to. You know, eating what she wants, taking her medications, and good quality physical and mental care.  She lost 14 pounds in jail! This is the same argument she made for taking Courtney’s life.  The state could not take care of her in the same manner that she, an individual citizen, could.

So far the courts are having none of it. She was sentenced to 4 years for involuntary manslaughter, which is a far lighter sentence then the one she bestowed upon her daughter.  It’s becoming the norm for judges to sentence killers of the innocent to lesser stints in jail and it’s wrong.  There is that slippery slope that pro-life advocates keep spotlighting. If abortion is legal, why stop at the fetus just before it’s born? Why not after birth and maybe up to say, 2 years old or older? And what about the disabled? That leads to the elderly. We’ve already started legalizing suicide for the sick, so why stop there?  You know, all in the name of “compassion”.

Thanks to abortion (the proverbial foot in the door), we are seeing this happen all too frequently. Mothers who no longer want to care for their child will kill them, out of mercy of course, and judges pass on lenient sentences. The child doesn’t have to be ill, just inconvenient. Some cases are more heinous than others, yet it’s difficult for Americans to wrap their heads around a mother who can kill her own child. This must stop or it will end with infanticide and worse.

Christians are taught that all life is precious from womb to the tomb. We are against capital punishment as well. It’s a hard sell when you look at some of these horrific serial offenders.  God teaches us that everyone can change. We must forgive.  St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs only with God.  However, God never said there should be no justice for the innocent and oppressed.  In fact that very thing is mentioned quite often in the Bible.  Jesus summed it all up in one sentence: love your neighbor as yourself. If you follow that golden rule you’ll never go wrong.

Back to Bonnie Liltz.  I’m sure Bonnie was a selfless mother at one time.  She cared for her disabled daughter for over 20 years. Being a mom is a thankless job on a good day. One may have looked at her and thought her a saint at one time. I agree with her thinking that the state could never take care of Courtney like she did. She was worried about her daughter and what would become of her once she was too ill or dead.  However, her end game was all wrong.

It’s very easy to feel compassion for a mother with a very ill child. How can that be murder? The mother thought the best place for her daughter was with God in Heaven. She didn’t stab or shoot her. She just went to sleep and never woke up. There was no pain1. Tell that to the millions of mothers who have and still are caring for their sick children.

Answer me this, would you feel comfortable with another person making the decision to end your life? What happens when you’re too old or too sick to take care of you? If this becomes the norm it will eventually make its way mainstream and come for all of us.  Eugenics is making a comeback.  It seems that the more we forget our history the more it just keeps circling back.

Bonnie Liltz references God so often that I wonder if she belonged to a church or a support group. If she did, she could have talked to her pastor or friends who could have reached out and got her the help she so desperately needed. She was overwhelmed, distraught, ill, and confused. Someone could have counseled her and this tragedy would never have happened.

If Governor Rauner has an ounce of sense, and I’m not sure that he does since he lied to his constituents and just made Illinois the most abortion friendly state in the union, he will uphold the Illinois courts and keep Bonnie Liltz in jail.

 

1 Suburban Mom Who Killed Disabled Daughter in Botched Murder-Suicide Speaks Publicly for 1st Time; Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5 Carol Marin Reports, August 31, 2016.

2 Bonnie Liltz initially was charged with murder but plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

BE NOT AFRAID

This is the official theme for Respect Life Sunday1, which is always celebrated on the first Sunday in October.  In fact, October is Respect Life Month. If your church isn’t celebrating life this month…find another church.

I never thought here in the United States of America that any citizen would be afraid to take a stand for life.  It’s the first inalienable right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and we, as Americans and Christians, have the right and the obligation to defend it. If we do not, it could be taken from us.  We are living in a time where the 1st Amendment2 is under attack along with common sense, civility, morality, basic science, and possessing a spine. Why are we so quiet when we should be up-in-arms?

Abortion is murder.  There is no way around it.  It brings about death—period.  A fetus in the womb is a little human. What would happen if someone had the audacity to destroy a field of cocoons before the mature butterflies could emerge?  We all know what would happen.  Social media would light up, celebrities would be outraged, and news outlets would interview lepidopterists to tell you how butterflies impact the planet.  Death threats on the fiends and their families would ensue, and Jimmy Kimmel would be crying on his talk show.  I just used the example of butterflies but I could have substituted any animal3.

The most vocal among us are the hundreds of thousands of mainly young people who march through the streets of Washington, DC each January, braving the cold, snowy, or rainy conditions, to participate in the March For Life, the largest pro-life event in the world.  Although huge, it’s rarely if ever covered by any mainstream media outlet in the 40+ years of its existence.  Why?  Because they don’t want you to see it, hear it, or even know about it. And thinking about what abortion is and does makes everyone uncomfortable.  Well it should.  Murdering babies for the sake of convenience is the real inconvenient truth.  These pro-life advocates are fervently trying to shine a light on the millions of murdered innocents who can’t speak for themselves.

Remember the parable of the lamp in Mark 4:21-25? “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.  Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear! Take notice of what you are hearing. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” How do you think Jesus delivered this story?  Did he sit with his head down, muttering quietly about truth, light, and a visible Church?  I doubt that.  I’m positive he stood, raised his voice, and was physically expressive.  He wanted his message to be heard, understood, and spread. There were no microphones, TV, radio, or the internet. Jesus was not timid and quiet.  Jesus was a revolutionary.  He upset the olive cart.  He rocked the boat. Get that image of the get-along, go-along, hippie Jesus out of your head. He had to be a mesmerizing and energetic speaker.

Yet, here we sit silent, except for a few, while Planned Parenthood profits off the murder of and selling of babies and their body parts.  Those self-taught investigative journalists who exposed PP are facing jail time and God bless them—they don’t care. And we should be just as fearless.  Nothing changes unless we demand and enact the change.  We’ve all heard the excuses: “I don’t want to upset so-in-so. She’ll start a war with me on Facebook.” “Nobody is going to listen to me, I’m just one person.” “You say it for me.” Stop it.  The time has come for every person to stand up and speak out. The more we remain docile lambs, the easier it is for them to keep chipping away at our rights.

It’s already happening.  Can someone give me the definition of “hate” speech?  The First Amendment protects all speech, not some, all and especially speech which makes you uncomfortable. Do you think speaking out against abortion isn’t provocative?  Go to any college campus and just walk around with pro-life literature. I won’t even suggest that you engage in debate because you’ll never get that far. There is a good chance you will be assaulted, physically and definitely verbally, and tossed off the campus. If you’re a student, you’ll be sent to the Dean of Students and be given a lecture on misogyny, and when and if you can go to a “free speech zone”, along with being publicly shamed and shunned. Ask your kids if you don’t believe me.

Think of all those Christians—men, women, and children—who have been and still are being martyred for their faith.  We, in the United States, are not subject to anything remotely like this.  However, many of our brothers and sisters are being denied a seat at the table because they practice their faith, which is in violation of the 1st Amendment. One needs look no further than Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Barrett, who is a nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was drilled on her faith and how it would impede her judgement should she serve on the bench.  Senator Diane Feinstein (D) California stated, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Big issue=abortion. Senator Dick Durbin (D) Illinois was blunt and asked, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”4  I guess the good senators never heard about the unconstitutionality of religious tests as spelled out in Article 6 Section 3.

The science against abortion is staggering. Fetuses, by 8 weeks after fertilization react to touch and by 20 weeks can feel pain5, yet the abortions continue and in some states, babies can be aborted just before delivery.  Will “abortion” after birth be next? Iceland aborts 100% of babies born with Down syndrome6.  Here in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  report a decrease in children born with Down, even though survival rates are up from 10 years old to about 47 in 20077.  Sympathetic judges are sentencing parents who murder their disabled children to ridiculously low sentences. Where do we draw the line?

Oh, that the dogma should live loudly in us all.

 

1 For more information and resources visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm

2 https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

3 The Lion Sleeps Tonight https://lifelinesbylucie.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-lion-sleeps-tonight/

4 Chicago Tribune Editorial: Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges September 11, 2017

5 Doctors on Fetal Pain www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/fetal-pain-the-evidence/

6 CBS News on Assignment “What kind of society to you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. Julian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka August 14, 2017

7 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome/data.html

Mamma

There are numerous songs written for mothers, but it just sounds better when it’s sung in Italian.  I’m just sayin’.  The month of May goes hand-in-hand with moms.  Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May in the US.  If you celebrated your First Communion, chances are it was on or near Mother’s Day.  May is also the month for proms and school graduations.  When I think May, I think planting flowers and gardens.  May is also the month of Mary.  It’s just a beautiful month.

As a mom, I can say there is no greater calling than being a mother.  It is the most gratifying and frustrating job on the planet.  I’ve accomplished much in my life, but the greatest achievement is my children.  It’s the ultimate gift God gave to women.  It’s a universal fact that the pains of childbirth are instantly forgotten when you hold your child in your arms for the very first time.  Little hands can make a big mess, but who wouldn’t give to hold that hand in yours?  Our children bring boundless joy into our lives, as well as anxiety sometimes—but who remembers that?  Your love for them is unconditional.

You will only have one mother.  It’s true.  And when she’s gone it leaves a hole in your heart that never mends.  It doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose your mother.  A good friend, who is well over 65, is going through terrible loss this week.  Her dad passed away last week and her mom is not expected to live through this week.  She told me this morning that she got through her dad’s funeral just fine, but is dreading the call that her mom is gone.  It’s different when it’s your mother.

It’s not like Dad is less important.  His responsibilities and relationship to his children are just different than Mom’s. I grieved when my father died, but it was a different sense of loss when I lost my mother.  She is the one who is always there…no matter your age.  She gave birth to you, she fed you, she cared for your every want and need.  She was the one who bandaged your scraped knee, fretted over you when you had the chicken pox or flu, wiped your runny nose, held you when you cried and was there for every disappointment and achievement—large and small.  Dad may have you walked you down the aisle, but it was Mom who was there when you chose your dress and she probably planned the wedding with you.  If you’re lucky, she is your best friend.  After your husband, she was the first one you told when you were pregnant.  She was the first one at the hospital, and the first person outside of you and your husband, to hold her grandchild.

For those of you blessed to still have your mother with you, make sure you tell her how much you love her and appreciate everything she does for you.  Take her out to eat this Sunday or better yet—you cook a great meal for her.  You don’t have to buy anything that costs mega dollars.  Just get her something that makes her think of you.  Actually, the best gift you can give to her…is you.  All she wants to do is see and talk to you as frequently as possible.

It’s good to remember our heavenly mother as well.  Sometimes we forget that Mary was a human woman.  She laughed and she cried.  She celebrated and she grieved.  I’m sure she went through the same emotions every mother does when her son spoke his first word and took his first step.  I’m sure the child, Jesus, made his mother gifts and I bet she prized every one of them. We know how upset both Mary and Joseph were when they discovered that a 12-year-old Jesus was not with the rest of the family, returning from a feast in Jerusalem.  It took them three full days to find him!  Think how you or I feel when we turn our heads for just an instant and our child is not in vision.  I can’t even imagine the agony she went through when she witnessed her son tortured and crucified, or the elation when she was told of his resurrection.  Although she knew she’d be with him again in heaven, you know she longed for him when he returned to the Father.

The first miracle ever performed by Jesus was at Mary’s request.  She knew who He was and what He could do.  They were attending a friend’s wedding reception when the wine ran out. Mary told Jesus and he responded with something along the lines of, I’m not ready.  What do you want me to do?  Mary was undeterred.  She told a server to do whatever Jesus told him to do.  Because she knew he was going to do it.  And although it may not have been his hour, he turned the water into wine because his mother said so.  There is no greater bond between that of a mother and child.

This Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Like I said above, all mom really wants is to spend time with you.  Don’t forget that Mary would love a moment of your time as well.  It won’t cost you a cent to say a prayer for all mothers, or to say the Rosary, a request made by Our Lady to the children at Fatima.  In fact, she identified herself to them as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make your mamma happy.  It’s true because every mother in the word said so!

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