Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders
I’m not sure how many people in my neighborhood know anything about Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, but this morning I looked out my front window after hearing the news of his death yesterday and I wished I could make a dignified statement to my community about the life of this great man – flying the nation’s flag at half-mast.
To millions of us he carried the pro-life ball for decades, looking downfield – and struggling – towards the ever elusive touchdown line. Perhaps those who are new to the pro-life movement don’t realize what he accomplished in those earlier decades but those who were involved in it all back in the seventies and eighties remember it too well. It was bleak. There were almost no victories, the leaders who should have led did not, and many who we expected to care didn’t.
Enter the freshman congressman from Illinois. He introduced an amendment to ban the use of Medicaid funding for abortion – now called the Hyde Amendment – which passed, and still stands today as one of the few great victories of the movement that suffers onward, much maligned as was he, towards a more child-friendly day in the not too distant future.
I was living in Canada from 1973 to 1982. Once the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976, Hyde was a household name in Canada too – that is, in Pro-Life households. After 1976, he championed on – as so many other lesser-knowns – so his struggle on the political stage was embraced by the rest of us on our own mundane – but still important – stages.
I met Henry Hyde in the late eighties when I was the Director of Education for the Right to Life League of Southern California and he was a keynote speaker at our annual conference. Two of us met him at the airport and we quickly realized that he was a dignified down-to-earth guy. Even his political rivals saw this in him.
Today, the online National Review called the Hyde Amendment “the most important piece of pro – life legislation ever to pass congress”. One reason – but not the main reason – is that after the 1973 Roe v. Wade Decision, the national conscience was sort of shell shocked and the national moral will was sapped. Those who cared sensed a long hard bitter battle ahead to restore what had been lost. The passage of the Hyde Amendment was that “rockets’ red glare” showing pro-lifers “that our flag was still there”! And still worth fighting for. At some point, I’m not sure when, the tide began to turn.
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders
“California was one of the first states to legalize abortion and Ronald Reagan was involved in the situation in 1967. Anthony Bielensen authored a bill in California that allowed abortion in cases of rape, incest and health of the mother. The original bill also included deformity of the child as a reason to justify abortion. The governor of California at that time was Ronald Reagan who refused to sign it if it included handicapped babies. This particular clause was deleted and the bill went to the Governor’s desk.
The day that Governor Reagan signed the bill he was visited by two pro-life people. Doctor Bill Walsh from Camarillo and Libby Goodwin, a social worker from Los Angeles.
According to Libby, Dr. Walsh had succeeded in getting a 15 minute interview with the governor who was due to sign the abortion bill that day. The 15-minute interview turned into an hour and a half talk, with his staff continually reminding him that he had to leave immediately for a meeting in San Francisco.
They explained fetal development and that this was a human being. They discussed how this mentality would eventually lead to euthanasia. Dr. Walsh, who graduated from Standford University told the Governor about the fetal experimentation that was already going on there.
Reagan told them he had never thought of this. He promised the then powerful Democrat Jesse Unruh that he would sign this bill in exchange for the passage of the budget. He felt he had to sign it but he said, “I will never sign another such thing in my life. I will never support another abortion bill.” And he never did! Although he signed the abortion bill that day, still that historic meeting changed the course of history. He later became a President who resisted all further legalization of abortion worldwide. It is interesting to note the power of ordinary people to change the course of history.”
* Sister Paula Vandegaer, president and executive director of International Life Services, “has been involved in the pro-life movement since 1967, when abortion was legalized in California.” Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan (R.), who had not yet really studied the abortion issue, signed a bill that was part of a national trend toward liberalizing abortion laws that led up to the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalizing abortion on demand in Roe v. Wade (1973).
Filed under: Christmas
It seems that the Grinch is truly stealing Christmas – one school at a time – Here are a few examples:
And this week when my mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary Peate, read this in her own paper in Vermont: Naughty or nice? She decided enough was enough!
Here is the mock letter she sent to her local paper purporting to be from a school board chairman and addressed to Mary and Joseph:
Dear Mary and Joseph,
We regret to have to inform you that your son has been expelled from school. Someone has decided that He should not show His face or darken our doors again. Great concern has been expressed that songs sung about Him might promote the novel and somewhat quaint notion of peace on earth, good will towards men and a warm generous feeling sometimes referred to as the Christmas spirit. Oh dear, we can’t have any of that.
It is permissible, however, for latent Valley girls to utter, when quite surprised an “O my g_d!” in schools; and in the streets while walking to school and in shops when buying Christmas (oops!) presents for their teachers.
It’s just policy!
It all started when some ‘correct’ person came up with the politically correct observation that it wasn’t quite nice or polite to keep referring to Christmas in this season since we don’t celebrate Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa that much. Therefore don’t mention it at all. To heck with tradition who needs it?
The Chairman of the School Board
P.S. As chairman I haven’t had much time to deal with your son’s school problems having been busy with all the lawsuits and investigations resulting from the guns that children have been shooting in school since your son was dismissed (by some weird coincidence).
I also want to thank all the parents for their dumb support for each new philosophy we introduce to the school system. We’re grateful for their monetary donations and sheep-like acquiescence to any crazy scheme we think up. “Just lay it out on the table” I tell the board, the parents will buy anything. If there is any fuss I’ll call my attorney. I’m assuming that this year the schools will stay open and there will be no Christmas holiday. Won’t bother your son though, will it? Ha Ha Ha!
The Virgin as the Woman of the Apocalypse
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
I found this really interesting and unusual – it was taken from section #104 of the Gospel of Life:
‘And the dragon stood before the woman … that he might devour her child when she brought it forth’ (Rev 12:4): life menaced by the forces of evil
In the Book of Revelation, the “great portent” of the “woman” (12:1) is accompanied by ‘another portent which appeared in heaven’: ‘a great red dragon’ (Rev 12:3), which represents Satan, the personal power of evil, as well as all the powers of evil at work in history and opposing the Church’s mission.
Here too Mary sheds light on the Community of Believers. The hostility of the powers of evil is, in fact, an insidious opposition which, before affecting the disciples of Jesus, is directed against his mother. To save the life of her Son from those who fear him as a dangerous threat, Mary has to flee with Joseph and the Child into Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-15).
Mary thus helps the Church to realize that life is always at the center of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. The dragon wishes to devour ‘the child brought forth’ (cf. Rev 12:4), a figure of Christ, whom Mary brought forth ‘in the fullness of time’ (Gal 4:4) and whom the Church must unceasingly offer to people in every age.
But in a way that child is also a figure of every person, every child, especially every helpless baby whose life is threatened, because-as the Council reminds us-‘by his Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person‘.140
It is precisely in the “flesh” of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ.
This is the fascinating but also demanding truth which Christ reveals to us and which his Church continues untiringly to proclaim: ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me’ (Mt 18:5); ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Mt 25:40).”
Today, Sunday, November 25th, is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the feast day of Christ the King!
“You cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus told His disciples. (“No one can have two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”) Mt 6:24 This is not spiritual rocket science. We make a simple choice.
When Jesus first started preaching His Gospel it was that “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:14). Later He explained that people should “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33). And with what spiritual disposition do we do this? “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mt 10:15) So early on Jesus set before us the “childlike attitude” as being exemplary.
In our own time, John Paul II has written his prophetic encyclical The Gospel of Life and placed, once again, the choice before us: a Culture of Life or a culture of death.
The right choice is clear: God, the Kingdom of God, the City of God, the Culture of Life!
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae
There are many proofs for the existence of God. One way to discover God is in the mystery and beauty of the human person. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it states in section II. Ways of Coming to Know God:
“The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the ‘seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material’ can have its origin only in God.” 33
By proclaiming the Gospel of Life – standing up for the dignity of every human life – we also bring others closer to God. Here are some beautiful quotes from section #84 in Evangelium vitae .
“Indeed, ‘despite its hardships, its hidden mysteries, its suffering and its inevitable frailty, this mortal life is a most beautiful thing, a marvel ever new and moving, an event worthy of being exalted in joy and glory‘.”
“Moreover, man and his life appear to us not only as one of the greatest marvels of creation: for God has granted to man a dignity which is near to divine (Ps 8:5-6).”
“In every child which is born and in every person who lives or dies we see the image of God’s glory. We celebrate this glory in every human being, a sign of the living God, an icon of Jesus Christ.”
Today, November 21, is the feast day of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first reading at Mass today is from Zechariah 2:14-17.
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.”
This makes me think of something John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae:
“The first part of the Hail Mary, drawn from the words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and by Saint Elizabeth, is a contemplation in adoration of the mystery accomplished in the Virgin of Nazareth.
These words express, so to speak, the wonder of heaven and earth; they could be said to give us a glimpse of God’s own wonderment as he contemplates his “masterpiece” – the Incarnation of the Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary. If we recall how, in the Book of Genesis, God “saw all that he had made” (Gen 1:31), we can find here an echo of that “pathos with which God, at the dawn of creation, looked upon the work of his hands”.
The repetition of the Hail Mary in the Rosary gives us a share in God’s own wonder and pleasure: in jubilant amazement we acknowledge the greatest miracle of history. Mary’s prophecy here finds its fulfillment: ‘Henceforth all generations will call me blessed’ (Lk 1:48).” #33.