UNBORN WORD of the day

Pope Benedict: “The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself.”
April 15, 2008, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI, Pro-life

Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit U.N. headquarters on Friday to meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to address the General Assembly. Archbishop Celestine Migliore, the Holy See’s U.N. observer, said the pope is coming to the U.N. as “a pilgrim of peace” to promote cultural and religious dialogue based on fundamental human rights that are non-negotiable.

In an Address given last September in Hofburg Germany Benedict said this:

“The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right – it is the very opposite. It is “a deep wound in society”, as the late Cardinal Franz König never tired of repeating.

In stating this, I am not expressing a specifically ecclesial concern. Rather, I wish to act as an advocate for a profoundly human need, speaking out on behalf of those unborn children who have no voice. In doing so, I do not close my eyes to the difficulties and the conflicts which many women are experiencing, and I realize that the credibility of what we say also depends on what the Church herself is doing to help women in trouble.

In this context, then, I appeal to political leaders not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness…”

Joseph Ratzinger had a cousin born with Down Syndrome
April 14, 2008, 10:25 am
Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI, Pro-life

Joseph Ratzinger, far left, is seen with his family,father Josef, sister Maria, mother Maria, brother Georg. 1938 (AP Photo / German Catholic News Agency KNA)

LifeNews had an interesting biographical note about Pope Benedict this week:

“An author writing a new biography on Pope Benedict XVI says genocide during the Nazi regime in World War II played a key role in shaping the pro-life views of the Catholic leader. Author Brennan Pursell relates the story in his upcoming book Benedict of Bavaria.

Pursell learned of the tragic story while compiling material for the book. He found out that, as a 14-year-old boy, Joseph Ratzinger had a cousin born with Down Syndrome who was just a couple years younger. In 1941, German “therapists” arrived at the boy’s home and took him away — possibly telling his parents of the new governmental regulation against mentally disabled children living at home. Despite pleas from the boy’s family, German officials took him away and he very likely became a victim of the genocide that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives during the war.

“This was Joseph Ratzinger’s first experience of a murderous philosophy that asserts that some people are disposable,” Pursell explains. Because of the terrible incident, Pope Benedict presents a consistently pro-life world view that opposes abortion as well as euthanasia and assisted suicide. Full story at LifeNews.com.”

Here is a quote from Pope Benedict that relates to this subject:

Life, which is a work of God, should not be denied to anyone, even the tiniest and most defenseless unborn child, and far less to a child with serious disabilities. At the same time, echoing the Pastors of the Church in Italy, I advise you not to fall into the deceptive trap of thinking that life can be disposed of, to the point of ‘legitimizing its interruption with euthanasia, even if it is masked by a veil of human compassion’

Benedict XVI, Angelus

St Peter’s Square
Sunday, 4 February 2007

“Just as Mary bore Him in her womb – a defenseless little Child…”
April 13, 2008, 8:17 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus


At the conclusion of Mass, Pope Benedict went out into the adjoining square where he climbed a podium to pray the Angelus. Before the Marian prayer he said:

“Just as Mary bore Him in her womb – a defenseless little Child, totally dependent on the love of His Mother – so Jesus Christ, under the species of bread, has entrusted Himself to you, dear brothers and sisters.

Love Him as Mary loved Him! Bring Him to others, just as Mary brought Him to Elizabeth as the source of joyful exultation! The Virgin gave the Word of God a human body, and thus enabled Him to come into the world as a man.

Give your own bodies to the Lord, and let them become ever more fully instruments of God’s love, temples of the Holy Spirit! Bring Sunday, and its immense gift, into the world!”

Pope Benedict XVI, ANGELUS

Stephansplatz, Vienna
Sunday, 9 September 2007

The Holy Father needs our prayers as he brings the message of Christ to the United States this week.

“Yes, Christ is the face of God present among us.”
April 11, 2008, 9:18 am
Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI, Pro-life

Pope Benedict will be visiting America in a few days. The above quote is taken from the Message of The Holy Father Benedict XVI to Catholics and People of the United States of America on the Occasion of the Upcoming Apostolic Journey.

When I think about our Holy Father’s words ‘Christ is the face of God present among us’, I think of how Christ was conceived, lived nine months in the womb, was born and lived an ordinary life for 30 years, as a baby, toddler, young boy, teenager and adult. He had a mother, an adoptive father – he went to school, synagogue, had friends and worked as a laborer. St. Francis of Assisi once said “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words”. Christ first showed us the face of God by being present among us in ordinary life. He showed us that each stage of life is precious – precious enough for God to participate in each of these stages.

Then he preached and taught in the most wonderful way. He showed us his love in his actions and words.

On April 5 at a conference in Rome Benedict XVI spoke these words about how the Church should approach those who have participated in abortion:

“The Church has the primary duty to approach these people with love and delicacy, with kindness and maternal concern, in order to announce the merciful closeness of God and Jesus Christ. … Yes, the gospel of love and of life is also always the gospel of mercy.”

The Holy Father asks us to pray for his visit. He and the Bishops have picked as the theme of this visit, ‘Christ Our Hope”. Let us pray that Pope Benedict is able to help reveal the ‘face of Christ’ to our nation. Let us pray to Christ our hope that the Gospel of Life which Benedict referred to as the Gospel of Mercy will touch our nation this April. Pope Benedict reminds us: “I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavours would achieve very little.”

In 1999 – at the age of 78, John Paul II wrote a special letter…
April 8, 2008, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, John Paul II, Pro-life

In 1999, at the age of 78, John Paul II wrote a fascinating letter. Fascinating, because as a senior citizen he wrote a Letter to the Elderly.

John Paul reminds us that: “In the past, great respect was shown to the elderly.” But today “among some peoples old age is esteemed and valued, while among others this is much less the case….”

He goes on to point out: “It has come to the point where euthanasia is increasingly put forward as a solution for difficult situations”.

There are many inspiring words of wisdom and counsel in this letter to the elderly but what I found interesting is that he points out the many prominent Biblical figures who in the later years of their lives did great things for God.

He gives 10 examples:

1. “Abraham, in whom the privilege of old age is stressed, this favour takes the form of a promise: ‘I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great. I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you I will curse; in you all the families of the earth will be blessed’ (Gen 12:2-3)”

2. “Sarah, a woman who sees her body growing old, yet experiences within the limitations of her aging flesh the power of God who makes good every human shortcoming.”

3. “Moses too was an old man when God entrusted him with the mission of leading the Chosen People out of Egypt. It was not in his youth but in his old age that, at the Lord’s command, he did mighty deeds on behalf of Israel.”

4. “Tobit, who humbly and courageously resolved to keep God’s Law, to help the needy and to endure blindness patiently, until the angel of God intervened to set his situation aright (cf. Tob 3:16-17).”

5. “Eleazar, whose martyrdom bore witness to an exceptional generosity and strength (cf. 2 Macc 6:18-31).”

6. “The Gospel of Luke begins by introducing a married couple ‘advanced in years’ (1:7): Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. The Lord’s mercy reaches out to them (cf. Lk 1:5-25, 39-79)”

7. “…the aged Simeon, who had long awaited the Messiah. Taking the child in his arms, Simeon blesses God and proclaims the Nunc Dimittis: ‘Lord, now let your servant depart in peace’ (Lk 2:29).”

8. “Anna, a widow of eighty-four, a frequent visitor to the Temple, who now has the joy of seeing Jesus. The Evangelist tells us that ‘she began to praise God and spoke of the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem’ (Lk 2:38).”

9. “Nicodemus too, a highly-regarded member of the Sanhedrin, was an elderly man. He visited Jesus by night in order not to be seen. To him the Divine Teacher reveals that he is the Son of God who has come to save the world (cf. Jn 3:1-21). Nicodemus appears again at the burial of Jesus, when, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, he overcomes his fear and shows himself a disciple of the Crucified Lord (cf. Jn 19:38-40).”

10. “And what shall we say of Peter in his old age, called to bear witness to his faith by martyrdom? Jesus had once said to him: ‘When you were young you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go’ (Jn 21:18).”

He ends this list with a quote from the Psalms:

“The just will flourish like the palm-tree, and grow like a Lebanon cedar…, still bearing fruit when they are old, still full of sap, still green, to proclaim that the Lord is just” Psalm 92 (vv. 13, 15-16).

John Paul lived this fruitfulness in his own life – for after this letter – even in his old age he continued strong writing one more Encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003) and 12 Apostolic letters. He also proclaimed a Jubilee year (2000) and met with the Youth in Canada in 2002. He wrote numerous letters and preached the Angelus message regularly till March 20, 2005 just a couple of weeks before his death.

Especially impressive were the 18 Pilgrimages (to 24 countries) that he made after 1999, which are listed here:

In 2000 (Fatima, Jubilee Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the Jubilee Pilgrimage to Mount Sinai) – in 2001 Kazakhstan, Armenia, Ukraine, and the Jubilee Pilgrimage “in the footsteps of Saint Paul the Apostle”: Greece, Syria, Malta) – in 2002 (Poland, Toronto, Ciudad de Guatemala and Ciudad de México, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Ischia) -in 2003 (Pompei (Italy), Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Spain) – in 2004 (Loreto (Italy), Lourdes (France) and Bern (Switzerland) ).

John Paul II certainly lived what he preached in this letter!

A great man whom I once met – Eddie Doherty – had been a writer when he was younger and received a special dispensation to become a priest at the age of 78. When I met Father Eddie he was even older – I will always remember a wonderful thing he said to me one day:

“I’m going to get older and older and then I am going to die and get younger and younger…”

Here’s a 20th century pro-life G.E.M. you may not have heard about
April 5, 2008, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians

Elizabeth Anscombe

Robert George begins his obituary on G. E. M. Anscombe (born Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe) this way:

.E.M. (“Elizabeth”) Anscombe, who died at the age of 81 was a titan in the world of philosophy, and one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women.

Elizabeth Anscombe was a convert to the Catholic Church and considered one of the great women philosophers of the 20th century. She was well-known for her work with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and her groundbreaking tome entitled Intentions.

She was also known for a debate that she had in 1948 with C. S. Lewis on one of the chapters in his book Miracles. She won the debate and as a “result of the weaknesses pointed out in the contest, Lewis substantially rewrote the chapter for future editions of the book. Admirers of Lewis have made much of this event – some associates (primarily George Sayer and Derek Brewer) remarked that this loss was so humiliating for Lewis that he abandoned theological argument and turned entirely to devotional writing and children’s literature.” She thought these youthful admirers greatly exaggerated the negative impact on Lewis and admired him for making the changes to the chapter.

She fully supported Pope Paul VI when he came out with his encyclical letter Humane Vitae and was an ardent pro-lifer. As a full professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University she shocked her colleagues by twice participating in, and being arrested at, peaceful pro-life protests in England adopting the ‘Operation Rescue’ approach. Two of her daughters were also arrested with her at these events.

In 1977 she came out with an incredible defense of the Catholic Church’s position against contraception entitled Contraception and Chastity. I just recently discovered this gem and would recommend that anyone interested in this topic read this article. It is a unique take on this subject and really gets to the heart of the matter. She provides historical context which is fascinating and her line of argumentation shows why the world we live in has changed so sadly and drastically since contraception came into widespread use.

Elizabeth married fellow convert and philosopher Peter Geach with whom she had 7 children.

Medievalist discovers 500 year old devotion to Mary and Unborn Jesus
April 2, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Mary, Unborn Jesus

In 1996, Medievalist, Markus Bauer visited the Cistercian convent, St. Marienstern, in Panschwitz-Kuckau — a small village with a population of 2400 and located in the Sachsen part of the Lausitz area in search of material for an historical exhibit.

The historian found three sculptures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, each with an opening in the stomach,where the viewer could see a miniature carving of the unborn Christ Child. Such sculptures were highly valued devotional objects in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 19th century, this type of devotional image no longer spoke to the souls of the sisters in the same way, so they hung a cloth over the stomach opening, or they nailed the opening closed. Since the covering for one of these Marian figures was missing, it was put away in a remote cell, where it stayed to the present time.