Here is What Men Can Do to Prevent Abortion

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza

Aleteia has an interesting article written by a priest who, as a young man, encouraged his then-girlfriend to have an abortion.

The article is about repentance and forgiveness. It talks about the mercy of the Church. I would like to emphasize that the Church is merely the conduit of the real Mercy, which is the Divine Mercy, the mercy of Christ and Him crucified.

Many years ago, I referred young women for abortions. Then, after my conversion, I worked as a volunteer at Birth Choice, an Oklahoma crisis pregnancy center. Based on my experiences, I would say that the number one determiner of whether or not a young woman seeks an abortion is the father of the baby.

This is not absolute, of course, but in most of the cases I encountered, two things that predicated toward the woman either having an abortion or not was how she felt about the baby’s father and how the baby’s father reacted to the pregnancy. The most pro life thing a young man can do is accept responsibility for his unborn child and love the mother of his child. If men did that, it would reduce the number of abortions by a huge amount.

The priest is Father Stephen Embarrato.

From Aleteia:

I write today as a priest who was guilty of an abortion decades ago. No sooner had I heard about Pope Francis’ letter giving universal faculties to priests to absolve the sin of abortion and lift any excommunication, did I find myself being interviewed on the radio and being asked curious questions about the Pope’s letter.

Is this a new teaching? Is the Church finally forgiving people who have been guilty of an abortion? Later in the day, I was able to read some of the media headlines and I understood why these questions were being asked. A Yahoo headline, “Pope tells priests to pardon women who have had abortions.” MSNBC reported, “Pope says priests can allow this Catholic sin.” The general comments I heard from people on and off social media could be summed up with, “How could the Church be so against abortion that it would refuse mercy to people for this sin.” It is almost as if in one single day we entered an abyss in which the Church was void of mercy when, in reality, the Church is all about mercy…and I am a living example of how the Church, continuing the work of Christ on earth, extends God’s mercy to all who seek His mercy.

In the 1970s, long before I became a priest, I encouraged my girlfriend to have an abortion. Guilt followed almost immediately as did the confession of our sin to a priest. Our healing came much more slowly and we eventually parted ways. Thirty years later, in the seminary, while counseling a young man about his complicity in his girlfriend’s abortion,


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Thousands Protest Outside PP Clinics Nationwide

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy

Thousands of pro life people protested at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. It appears that Congress may have a spot of trouble keeping the lid on this long enough to use it for a campaign issue.

If pro life people — who are a big part of the majority party’s electoral base — continue pushing, Congress might actually have to do something more than hold hearings and speechify.

From the Washington Post:

Thousands of antiabortion activists descended upon Planned Parenthood clinics on Saturday to participate in a nationwide protest aimed at cutting off federal funding for the controversial health-care organization.

The demonstrations unfolded at about 320 clinics around the nation, according to organizers, with some gatherings drawing a few dozen protesters and others drawing hundreds and perhaps thousands more.


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Center for Medical Progress Releases Another Planned Parenthood Video

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff

This is the latest video by Center for Medical Progress.

I found two videos, one edited and another unedited version of a second situation. The second video talks about public reaction and says that “this is the first step in stem cell research,” meaning embryonic stem cell research.

I can tell you from personal experience that the medical establishment has been highly successful in using business interests to shut down legislation banning embryonic stem cell research. Sad to say, Republican leadership and a good bit of pro life advocacy leadership cooperates with them in this by actually killing pro life legislation. This is all done in back rooms, without the public knowing about it. The press never covers it, and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand it.

Living in this environment was one of the most painful things I’ve experienced as a legislator. I’ve experienced more than a bit of that again, with the votes in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. I know too much, and that can be hard to bear.

For that reason, I’m going to take the rest of today for prayer. I need time with God.

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Planned Parenthood Medical Director Filmed Selling Baby Body Parts

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Charlotte Cooper

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Charlotte Cooper

“Laws are open to interpretation.”

That’s how Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr Deborah Nucatola, described the organization’s attitude toward federal law prohibiting partial birth abortion. This 2014 video shows Dr Nucatola engaging in conversation with someone she believed to be a Fetal Tissue Procurement organization.

She goes into grisly detail about the baby body parts that she will provide to buyers, and she names prices. She also explains her attitude — which, given her position, is probably also Planned Parenthood’s position – toward the federal ban on partial birth abortion. Here is what she said:

The Federal (Partial Birth) Abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation. If I say on day one, I do not intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.

In other words, the wording in the statute has a loophole that means it cannot be enforced unless the government can prove that the doctor deliberately intended to violate the law. Intent is a difficult thing to prove, as Dr Nucatola seems to know.

I think this is the portion of the statute that she is referencing. I put the verbiage that I believe Dr Nucatola probably believes supports her reasoning in bold.

Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the enactment.

(b) As used in this section—

(1) the term “partial-birth abortion” means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion—

(A) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and
(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus; and
(2) the term “physician” means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the State in which the doctor performs such activity, or any other individual legally authorized by the State to perform abortions: Provided, however, That any individual who is not a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the State to perform abortions, but who nevertheless directly performs a partial-birth abortion, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

It will be interesting to see if Dr Nucatola and Planned Parenthood will be prosecuted under this statute, given that it sounds as if Dr Nucatola has confessed on this video to deliberately violating it for profit. It will also be interesting to see if federal and state monies continue to go to Planned Parenthood in light of this video.

I’ve said before and I will continue to say that there is no reason why this money needs to go to Planned Parenthood to provide the services that the American public wants to continue. Many other organizations could provide pap smears and contraception. We also need to remember that Planned Parenthood teaches their philosophy to our children in our public schools under the guise of sex education. They receive large amounts of federal and state monies to indoctrinate our children in their death-dealing attitudes about human life.

I would also like to make the point that college-aged women who are targeted by egg harvesters are not protected by any law. These unethical doctors run ads in college newspapers to induce young women to undergo dangerous and damaging medical procedures so the doctors can harvest their eggs. The doctors to sell these eggs to researchers who use them to create embryos which are then killed and experimented on, or the doctors use the eggs to create babies that they then also sell. No doctor should be allowed to pay people to undergo unnecessary and dangerous medical procedures that are not in the patient’s best interests in order for the doctor to make money.

The barbarity of doctors making well people sick in order to harvest their bodies so the doctors can make money is one issue. It could easily be settled by simply making it illegal to pay women to undergo egg harvesting. All it would take would be to add egg harvesting to the statute prohibiting the sale of human body parts. The major reason this is not done is the lobbying efforts of the medical associations.

The issues surrounding the human rights violations inherent in using these eggs to create embryos for medical research or to create babies that are then sold on the open market like heads of lettuce should also be addressed. These baby-creating-selling clinics should be shut down and their operators put in prison. No doctor who makes well patients sick to make money for themselves should be allowed to practice medicine. No one should be allowed to buy and sell people.

Egg harvesters, abortionists and doctors who practice euthanasia are the ethical and moral twins of the doctor in Michigan who told well people they had cancer and then subjected them to cancer treatment in order to make money. I would also add the doctors who perform the procedure known as gender reassignment surgery on people who are mentally ill to this list.

The videos below were released by the Center for Medical Progress. I think their web site has been hacked. I was able to access it earlier today, but now I can’t. According to First Things,

The investigation was carried out by the Center for Medical Progress. According to their website, the “Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.”

The video is the first by The Center for Medical Progress in its “Human Capital” series, a nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts. Project Lead David Daleiden notes: “Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization. Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”

I’m posting two videos. The first one is an edited version of Dr Nucatola’s conversation with what she thought were representatives of an organization seeking to buy baby body parts from Planned Parenthood. The second is the entire conversation, without editing.

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For Planned Parenthood’s reply, go here.

For other reactions to this video, read Simcha Fisher and Katrina Fernandez.

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Cancer Doc Who Gave Healthy People Chemo Gets 45 Years.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Nicki Dugan Pogue

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Nicki Dugan Pogue

What happens when you cannot trust your doctor?

Dr Farid Fata is an example.

Dr Fata lied to patients who were not sick and told them they had cancer. Then, he subjected them to the horrors of cancer therapy. He also gave patients who actually did have cancer many more chemotherapy treatments than they should have had. All of his patients were subjected to the terror of cancer and were harmed by these treatments. Dr Fata also murdered some of these people, since they died from his unnecessary treatments.

Dr Fata was backed up by other doctors and by the hospital where he practiced. I would imagine that he also was aided in getting away with this crime by the abject terror with which people greet a diagnosis of cancer.

There are several things we can take away from this situation.

First, get a second opinion. Doctors often fight you on this. I’ve experienced this medical resistance to patients seeking second opinions myself, as have friends of mine. If you want to avoid being Dr Fata-d, you might also consider getting this second opinion in a different medical circle than the doctor who originally gave you the diagnosis. By that I mean go to a different state. If you’re in Oklahoma, go to MD Anderson. If you’re in Texas, go to UCLA. But do not go for a second opinion from a doctor who is either enthralled with your original doc or who is in debt to him or her.

Second, current medical practice gives us many reasons to mistrust our doctors. Commercial medicine is predatory by its nature. Consider doctors who make designer babies and sell them on the internet. Consider doctors who harvest the bodies of healthy women for eggs that they sell on the internet. These women are not sick, but the doctors pay them money to undergo dangerous amounts to hormones and unnecessary surgery which punctures their ovaries repeatedly in order for the docs to make money in the manufacture and sale of human beings. These procedures endanger women’s lives, health and future fertility, but they are marketed to callow college girls as safe.

Consider the trendy new medical barbarity of gender reassignment surgery. This ghastly procedure mutilates people who are suffering a mental illness. It also subjects them to massive, life-long dosages of unnecessary hormones that further mutilate them and endanger their health. The push right now is to extend this procedure to minor children, even without parental consent.

Third, consider the barbaric practices of euthanasia and abortion. When we give doctors a legal right to kill at will, do we seriously expect that they will not become junior Mengeles who murder babies who survive abortions and euthanize people for no reason and without their consent?

Dr Fata was, due to the courage of a whistle-blowing employee, exposed and brought to judgement in our courts. He did not get the sentence he should have gotten, and he was not charged with the crime he committed, which was torture and murder. But hopefully, he will never walk free again.

However, if what he had been doing was legal, how difficult would it have been to mount a prosecution against him in court? Egg harvesting doctors who exploit young women are often respected members of their communities. They are, like the original Mengele, considered scientists and physicians. They are highly educated, smooth, and wealthy. They can easily schmooze their way past a tearful coed who has been harmed, or her distraught family when she dies.

Doctors who murder outright through abortion and euthanasia have a whole socio-political movement behind them which lionizes them and characterizes them as heroes of compassion. The same goes for doctors who practice the quackery of gender reassignment surgery.

Dr Fata’s crimes will probably lead to more government regulation and oversight of medical practice. The same thing will eventually happen with each of these legal crimes of euthanasia, egg harvesting, abortion on demand, the quackery of “gender reassignment” surgery, and creating and selling human beings.

Government intrusion into anything is always heavy-handed and destructive. In medicine, it creates timid doctors who put compliance with regulations created by hand-picked committees of bureaucrats with agendas ahead of the needs of their patients. It makes doctors reluctant to prescribe and act on what their training and experience has taught them is their patients’ best interest.

The irony is that no amount of regulation can control the legal practice of medical barbarity and make it into something other than the barbarity it is. There are no laws that will ensure controlled killing and exploitation of innocents once other laws have made such things acceptable. You can’t kill, mutilate and exploit people for a living and, as Himmler said of the SS, “remain decent.” Himmler was self-deluded in this pretense, just as those who histrionically jump up and down and defend these barbarities today are self-deluded.

The only way to stop medical exploitation of patients and the barbarities that come with it is to make such things illegal in the first place. Certain medical practices, among them elective abortion, and the commercial harvesting and selling of human body parts to the detriment of living patients, as well as the creation and selling of human beings, should be illegal.

At the very least, doctors who pay women to harvest their bodies, who sell babies, who murder their patients, either born or unborn, should lose their license to practice medicine and be subject to civil suit. It would be preferable if they went to prison for these crimes against humanity, but given that the medical associations support these practices, that is impracticable right now.

I think increased government regulation and oversight of medical practice will harm patients, as well as doctors. But when the medical profession throws its weight behind exploitative practices such as egg harvesting, creating and selling babies and what is nothing more than trendy, politically-correct abuse of the mentally ill, it makes the case that medicine cannot police its own house. The failure to stop Dr Fata just puts the cherry on top.

It is ironic that the political power of the medical associations, which has always been used to protect medical practice from government intrusion, will end up being the cause of greater government regulation and surveillance of medicine. If the medical associations continue down this path of defending barbarity, their behavior will inevitably lead to heavy-handed government intrusion into medical practice. It will also lead to the loss of public trust and faith in doctors.

Dr Fata is, in many ways, the tip of the iceberg of true medical malpractice in this post-Christian world of ours. The difference between him and his brothers in blood is that he fell over the tripwire of illegality, while they are protected by nihilistic trendiness that pushes the poisonous philosophy of social deconstruction at all costs, including, sadly, human life.

From The Detroit News:

Detroit — The notorious oncologist who gave chemotherapy to cancer-free patients, and overmedicated others, as part of an expansive insurance fraud scheme cried and apologized Friday before being sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Dr. Farid Fata will be behind bars until he’s 95, but tearful, grief-stricken victims and their family members who attended the sentencing — many wearing yellow to symbolize their hopes for healing and closure — insisted that’s not long enough. They and prosecutors hoped Fata would get up to 175 years.

… Fata’s conspiracy ensnared several hundred patients across Metro Detroit. He was accused of giving cancer patients overly aggressive doses of chemotherapy while treating others with the powerful drug for cancers they did not have.

The once sought-after oncologist was silent during sentencing hearings this week, refusing to glance at his victims as they recounted how he deceived them and left them with chronic pain and suffering. Friday, his stoicism crumbled as he pleaded, with tears in his eyes, for leniency.

“I stand before you ashamed of my actions … it all went wrong,” Fata said. “I cannot bring back the past. My quest for power is self-destructive.

“I pray for redemption … I ask the court for mercy,” Fata said. “They (patients) came to me seeking compassion and care … I failed them.”


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Was St Maria Goretti’s Purity in Her Body? Let’s Ask St Augustine.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Purity is a virtue of the soul … not even when the body is violated is it lost. St Augustine

St Augustine had a lot to say about rape.

His teaching on this subject is the historic Christian attitude toward rape victims. It speaks comfort to the victims of ISIS and sex slavery today, as well as rape victims all over the world and throughout history.

St Augustine also discusses at length the practice — which is certainly still practiced in certain cultures today — of women who have been raped killing themselves from shame. He speaks forcefully against this.

St Augustine’s words on this subject separated Christianity from the world around it, and continues to do so today. It is a powerful affirmation of women’s rights as full human beings and, more importantly, as co-heirs of eternal life.

Augustine states clearly that rape does not defile the person who is raped. He says without equivocation that purity does not reside in the body, but in the soul of the person. He even goes so far as to say that the purity of soul of women who has been raped keeps their bodies pure, as well.

This is an enormous advance in the moral thinking of the world.

Christianity began in a world where baby girls were murdered for no other reason than that they were baby girls. It was a world in which women who committed suicide after being raped were thought admirable for having killed themselves; that they are “reclaimed” their honor by their suicide.

This carries over into our world today in many guises, including the gendercide of baby girls and demands from whole communities that women who have been raped commit suicide. In some countries women are actually sentenced to be raped for the crimes of their menfolk and then are expected to commit suicide afterwards to clear the family of the shame of having a woman who has been dirtied in this fashion in its midst.

Christianity, with its powerful affirmation of the eternal value of every human life, changed this. It stand as a sign of contradiction to it now, as if always has.

Christianity affirm the human rights of all people of every stage of their lives in a dramatic and powerful fashion. We do not offer our children to the Baals. We do not bend our knee to Moloch by murdering our children, our disabled, our elderly and our mentally disturbed.

We also do not condemn women who have been raped to the living death of life-long shame.

Or, at least, we shouldn’t.

The story of St Maria Goretti, as it has been told and is presented, is a reversion to the pre-Christian notion that women should commit suicide if they have been raped. Only with this story, the suicide comes before the rape.

I have a tremendous sense of oneness with Maria Goretti, this little girl who died at the hands of a murdering pedophile. But her death was a wanton murder by a grown man who wanted to rape a child. The miracle is that she forgave this man and converted him from the grave.

A few Public Catholic readers seem focused on whether or not there was “penetration” of Maria Goretti’s body by her murderer. I have trouble following their logic, and, to be honest, I find the whole line of reasoning disturbing.

St Augustine taught what has become the constant Christian teaching that purity resides in the soul. Nothing that is done to the body can defile a pure soul. In other words, if Maria Goretti’s murderer had raped her, her purity would still be intact. If it wasn’t for the misogynist character of the discussion, that would be a clear point.

If, say, we were talking about a man who had been drawn and quartered for his faith, no one would be debating whether or not the knife had “penetrated” his abdomen or if the rope had crushed his larynx. Everyone would understand that his body could not be defiled against his will, that the blood, gore, stink and filth of having his intestines yanked out and emptied around him could not touch the purity of his soul.

It is only women, only rape victims, who are subjected to the indignity of this kind of discussion.

The power of this shame is so strong that it multiplies when the victims of rape are men and boys. They feel the shame of having been raped and the additional shame of misogyny, once removed.

I’ve encountered a number of male rape victims, both in rape counseling situations and in my work as a legislator. I’ve actually passed new laws because of my encounters with adolescent boys who were violently assaulted.

The misogynist attitude toward women that informs much of our attitude about rape increases male victims’ shame. Part of their horror is that they have been used as if they were women. They feel debased and degraded in a unique way.

Rape is an attack on the humanity of another person. It is an attempt to deny and destroy that humanity. Because of its sexual nature, it is a powerful attack on the sexual identity and sexual pride of the victim. It is an attack on the life-force itself.

Because of the underpinning of misogyny that seeks to deflect victim’s rightful and righteous anger at what has been done to them, rape is also a kind of cultural warfare. This unspoken social construct of rape as a terrorizing thing men do to women which shames women and puts the in their place makes the shame and self-loathing of men who have been raped even greater.

The quotes below are the City of God, by St Augustine. They have been explicit Christian teaching for almost 2,000 years. St Augustine wrote at a time when an old world — the Roman Empire — was ending. He wrote in the midst of terrible persecution of Christians.

We live in just such a time today.

I copied this from the book itself, which I’ve read and have on my Kindle, so I don’t have a link. You can find a low cost (mine was free) Kindle copy of The City of God on Amazon.

The Violation of the Consecrated and Other Christian Virgins to Which They Were Subjected in Captivity and to Which Their Own Will Gave No Consent; and Whether This Contaminated Their Souls.

But they fancy they bring a conclusive charge against Christianity, when they aggravate the horror of captivity by adding that not only wives and unmarried maidens but even consecrated virgins were violated.

But truly, with respect to this, it is not Christian faith nor piety, nor the virtue of chastity which is hemmed into any difficulty; the only difficulty is so to treat the subject as to satisfy at once modesty and reason.

… It is, in the first place, laid down as an unassailable position, that the virtue which makes the life good has its throne in the soul, and thence rules the members of the body, which becomes holy in virtue of the holiness of the will; and that while the will remains firm and unshaken, nothing that another person does with the body or upon the body is any fault of the person who suffers it … But as not only pain may be inflicted, but lust gratified on the body of another … shame invades even a thoroughly pure spirit.

… is there a fear that even another’s lust may pollute the violated? It will not pollute, if it be another’s …

… purity is a virtue of the soul, and has for its companion virtue the fortitude which will endure all ills … and since no one, however magnanimous and pure, has always the disposal of his own body, but can only control the consent and refusal of his will, what sane man can suppose that, if his body be seized and forcibly made use of to satisfy the lusts of another, he thereby loses his purity?

For if purity can thus be destroyed, then assuredly purity is no virtue of the soul … If on the other hand, it belongs to the soul, then not even when the body is violated is it lost. Nay, the virtue of holy continence … sanctifies even the body and therefore when this continence remains unsubdued, even the sanctity of the body is preserved because the will to use it holily remains.

For the sanctity of the body does not consist in the integrity of its members, nor in their exemption from all touch … so long as the soul keeps this firmness of purpose which sanctifies even the body, the violence does by another’s lust makes no impression on this bodily sanctity, which is preserved intact by one’s own persistent continence.

… We maintain that when a woman is violated while her soul admits no consent to the iniquity, but remains inviolably chaste, the sin is not hers, but his who violates her.


For another take on our modern world and rape, check out Simcha Fisher. 

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Many Rape Victims Have a Bit of Trouble with St Maria Goretti. Here’s Why

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Elvert Barnes

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Elvert Barnes

I’ve spent a fair amount of my adult life, trying to help rape victims.

I was one of the six original founders of the YWCA Rape Crisis Center here in Oklahoma, the first such center in the state. I have passed a ton of legislation to help end the scourge of violence against women, including more than a few laws to help rape victims. I spent a number of years on the board of an organization that rescued women who were victims of sex trafficking.

I know that many women, including most rape victims, are affronted by the story of St Maria Goretti. This one story becomes for them a symbol of what they believe is the Church’s utter blindness to the reality of rape and what it means to women. The way St Maria Goretti has been presented to them is certainly why.

A few years back, I was making a speech on the subject of violence against women and I said, “This is for those who lie in the field, the lake, the dump and the shallow grave. It is for the ones whose bodies will never be found, whose names will go unrecorded; for the forgotten, unidentified, unfound women who died at the hands of their attackers.” I say that again now.

Rape is a crime of extreme violence and dehumanization. It is so ubiquitous that fear of it forces half the human race to live in constant vigilance, in a sort of war zone mentality.

St Maria Goretti disturbed rather than comforted every rape victim I have dealt with who knew about her. The reason lies in the dual impressions taken from her story that (1) The Church is teaching that is better to die than suffer rape and live, and, (2) The Church is teaching that if a woman really wants to, she can avoid being raped.

Both these ideas are cruel and misogynist to the core. Rape is a crime of extreme violence. It is committed by bigger and stronger people against physically weaker people because the weaker person cannot successfully defend themselves.

The purpose of rape is to reduce another human being to an object, to destroy their humanity and lower them to the level of meat. Gang rape also has the effect of bonding the guys together as part of their sadistic recreation.

I’ve read the blog posts of my two colleagues Michelle Arnold and Simcha Fisher. Both of their discussions of Maria Goretti’s short life and death are couched in language and a manner that reflects the fact that they understand and are sensitive to the feelings of women.

Many rape victims find St Maria Goretti, or at least the way she has been shown to them, to be a further affront to and attack on their dignity and value as human beings. This alienates them from the Church.

The crux of the problem with this saint is that misogynists have gotten control of her story. They have depicted her as girl of no real value in herself who became a saint because she chose to die rather than forfeit her hymen, and who then forgave her attacker who — get this — was so moved by her piety that he became a priest. (Actually, he became a gardener at a Franciscan friary or monetary, but that is not how the story is told to young girls.)

This manner of discussing Maria Goretti is right up there with the old story about the woman who stayed with her husband who beat her and suffered his battering prayerfully and piously right up to and including when he beat her to death. The murdering hubby was then so impressed by her piety that he — you know it’s coming — became a priest.

I’ve actually heard this latter story being told to young girls and women since I converted.

That’s sick stuff folks. It defames Christ to pin this misogyny on Him. Women’s lives matter more than any part of their anatomy. Their human dignity is real human dignity. It cannot be fluffed off with instructional tales of women who die to save their virginity and who sacrifice their lives by letting their husbands beat them to death.

This nonsense places the blame for the batterer and rapist’s behavior squarely on the shoulders of the battered and the raped. Somehow, women are, according to these stories, responsible for avoiding rape and converting their batterer by submitting to beatings.

If they fail in this, then, the implication is that they didn’t fight hard enough, resist long enough, pray hard enough, or submit piously enough. Not only that, but they are responsible for converting their rapists and batterers by how they die.

This notion of martyrdom is not martyrdom at all. It is a method and a means of enforcing and justifying social injustice against half the human race by the other half.

That is the rape victim’s perception of St Maria Goretti as she has been presented to them. That is the view of far too many women when it comes to the Church and what they can expect from it if they are themselves raped or battered.

I’ll leave the apologetics about St Goretti to Michelle and Simcha. They did a fine job.

I’m going to use my internet space to do a bit of apologetics for rape victims. Personally, my heroines are the ones who smash the guy’s nose and run for it. My heroines are the ones who crawl out of the dump where they were left for dead and rebuild themselves into productive and full human beings.

I’ve said a lot in opposition to divorce, but men who beat their families don’t deserve families. I think every battered woman should dump the dude. Every. Single. One.

My heroine is the woman who says you can’t treat me like that and gets the bleep out of Dodge. My heroines are the women who assert their own right to life and humanity in the face of those who would deny it.

I never want to see any young girl die for her virginity. Her virginity is not a physical thing. It’s a matter of spiritual purity, and the rapist, with his beer breath and disgustingly filthy heart, cannot touch that.

My advice to women who are confronted with the savage violence of the rapist is simple: Do what you have to do to survive. If submitting will get your out alive, submit. If you have to kill him to survive, do what you must. Fight, if you can. But if you can’t, don’t let the jerks of this world make you feel bad about it later.

Women’s lives are real lives. Their humanity is real humanity. Survival in the face of bestial behavior is not a sin. It is a virtue. It is also a God-given mandate.



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10 Things You can Do to Save Your Family and Change the World

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Lars Ploughman

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Lars Ploughman

I’m going to launch into the political ramifications of the Supreme Court Decision destroying marriage as a legal construct in a day or so.

But before I do, I want to make a simple point: Conversion of the culture does not begin at the ballot box or changes in the law. It ends there.

Conversion of the culture does not even begin with bringing your family and friends to Christ. That’s a mid-point.

Conversion of the culture begins with yielding your own self and your life to Christ in an absolute way. That is the beginning. Everything else – everything else — flows from that.

St Paul did not jump off his mule and start preaching. He was knocked off and into the dirt and left blind. He had to come face to face with Christ and his own sinfulness before he became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

We will not convert this culture by excoriating and condemning sinners, for the obvious reason that we are all sinners. Many of the people who are condemning gay marriage have trashed their own marriages and dumped their own children.

If they are divorced, they don’t spend time with their children, or they spitefully try to keep their children away from their former spouse. They don’t pay child support and they spend their days going over and over how they were wronged.

If they are married, they sleep around, or talk to their families like they were dirt under their feet. They harangue their children and spouses, or worse yet, they are physically violent with them. How many of the people who loudly proclaim the sanctity of marriage commit adultery? How many of them sit in front of the tv and ignore their families? How many of them ignore or even abuse their elderly parents? How many of them do not show up for school plays or be a trusted best friend when their spouse is in distress?

If we want to convert the culture, we have to begin with ourselves. It’s that simple.

Here are 10 things you can do to save your family in this family-despising, family-attacking culture of ours:

1. Go into marriage with the idea that this is your only spouse. If remarriage is off the table, divorce is not going to be such an easy option.

I know that there are times when divorce has to happen. If somebody’s beating up on somebody, if there is adultery or chemical abuse with a refusal to get help, then divorce may very well be the only door open. But divorce is a civil solution to a moral problem. What God has joined together, man can not put asunder.

Go into marriage with the knowledge that this person is your life’s partner, the only one who will walk with you through your days. That viewpoint will immediately raise your spouse’s value in your eyes. Keep that viewpoint in front of you, and remember: This person’s happiness and your happiness are bound with a life-long cord.

Hurting your spouse is hurting yourself. Never forget that.

2. Put Jesus Christ on the throne of your life and your marriage. Do not do this lightly. Prayerfully consider the option of a formal enthronement of Christ as the Head of your home. I have not done this, but my husband and I are talking about it. I have friends who have done it, and I’ve seen the fruits of it in their lives. For more information, go here.

3. Get on your knees and pray together every night before bed. My wonderful Aunt Tid and Uncle Ozzie did this every day of their married lives. They had a list of people and problems that they lifted up to the Lord together before they went to bed each night. This is true communion of spirits between a man and a wife. It is a powerful uniting of life and soul. Everyone I know who does this has a marriage that is filled with mutual devotion, love and happiness.

4. Do not harangue your family members who have fallen short of your Christian ideal, even those who have fallen far short of it. Love them, continue to be family to them, and pray, pray, pray.

Remember also the things you’ve done. I worry about my kids — a lot. But I know that they are much more together than I was at the same age.

My parents never stopped loving me and they never pushed me away. Love them. Love them. And pray. And remember St Monica. And pray some more. Then, trust Jesus.

If the Holy Spirit wants you to speak up, He will open the door. I’ve had this happen, and when I speak in His time and with the words He gives me, it never fails to be the right thing. Just … trust Him.

5. Go to mass. If you can, go to daily mass. But at least go to mass every Sunday. Every time you take communion, Christ heals you. I feel it, and so will you. I need it, and so do you.

6. Be loyal to the pope. Don’t follow internet popes who attack the Holy Father. Do not be so foolish as to make a little pope out of yourself.

I hate to say this, but the bishops are all over the map on a lot of things. The same politician will be told during election years (It always seems to be during election years.) that he or she may not take communion, in, say, Sioux City, but can take communion in, say, Dodge City. It’s the same politician; the same sin. But a different bishop.

What are those of us in the pews to make of this? Does it confuse you? It certainly confuses me.

We need the pope. The pope is the only world leader of his type. He alone speaks for over a billion people who live under every government, in every clime. His voice reaches from pole to pole; dateline to dateline.

That is why the press goes ga-ga over his every utterance. It is why politicians of every persuasion alternately revile and pander to him.

But it is not why we should be loyal to him. His temporal reach has nothing to do with our call to loyalty to the pope. We must be loyal to the pope because he stands in the shoes of the fisherman. He is Peter. And Jesus Christ said that on Peter He would build His Church.

Be loyal to the pope.

7. Pray the Rosary. Pray the Rosary in a meditative way, thinking about the Scriptures the decades represent and what they mean to you. Take your fears and problems, rejoicings and griefs to Our Lady and pray with her to Jesus. If praying with your spouse binds you to one another, think how praying with Jesus’ own mother will bind you to Him.

8. Ask God to show you your sins. We are all blind to our own faults. Everyone of us is capable of the intellectual sophistry which allows us to proclaim our sins a virtue and condemn those of the person next to us. That is the nature of our nature. It is a manifestation of our fallen state. It is us, listening to the devil without the slightest awareness that this is what we are doing.

The Holy Spirit is a loving guide to our own hearts. He will reveal your self to you to the extent that you are capable of comprehending and reacting with grace to this painful truth. Trust Him. He will not dump all your sins on you like an acid bath that destroys you. He will show you what you can take at the time. And then He will be with you as you face it and convert away from it.

The Holy Spirit is a great teacher of willing souls. But you must be willing. Ask God to show you your sins, then accept and repent of the sins He shows you. Realize that this is a life-long process. Be grateful for it. He is fitting you for heaven.

9. Forgive others. This is often the toughest one of all. It’s easy enough to forgive those you love and who love you. It’s not too tough to forgive anyone who sincerely admits they hurt you and asks for forgiveness.

It gets more difficult when you are dealing with a person who has hurt you and who continues to hurt you and who claims that you deserve the hurt. It is impossible under your own power to forgive certain violations of your humanity such as violent rape or torture.

In these areas, forgiveness is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it does not come cheaply. The cost is letting go of the great defense of anger that has freed you from victimhood.

Too often, people practice a phony forgiveness, a premature rush to proclaim forgiveness, which does not allow them the dignity of proclaiming their own worth and value in the face of what has been done to them. This is particularly true when they have suffered soul-destroying attacks on their humanity that can actually cause a kind of psychological death such as violent rape, torture, slavery or child sexual abuse.

Before we forgive, we must first know and believe to our depths that we were wronged, that we are not the receptacles for other people’s trash they these people have reduced us to. This is difficult if the world around us will not affirm this with us.

Anyone who faces this should read the book of Job. I don’t think the book of Job is, as is usually claimed, about suffering. I don’t think it is about suffering at all. I think it is about victim-blaming.

That’s what Job’s “friends” did to him. It’s what happens to any victim who is among those the culture proclaims may have “asked for” the evil that was done to them.

Forgiveness in the face of this is only possible when it comes from God. God alone can give us the certainty of our own humanity and worth that is so rock solid and absolute that we are free to lay down the defense of our humiliated rage and forgive from the heart.

This circles back to earlier points. Scripture tells us that if we “seek the Lord, He will draw near to you.” Everything I’ve listed above, including #1 is a way of seeking the Lord.

10. Accept God’s forgiveness. I’ve had a real tussle with this one and more than once. The most dramatic and public of these situations was after God showed me the full horror of what I had done by being pro choice.

I was plunged into grief, shame, remorse that went beyond the graces of confession. Long story short, after a long period of intense grief, I finally realized (this was probably from the Holy Spirit) that I had to have the humility to accept God’s forgiveness.

It is a kind of narcissism to think that your sins are bigger than God’s mercy. Nothing we can do is beyond the mercy of God.

There are times when it takes humility and trust to accept God’s forgiveness. But those moments plunge us into what He told St Faustina was the “ocean of my mercy.”

No matter what you have done, confess your sins and accept His forgiveness.

These are 10 things that you can do to save your family. Notice that not one of them is political. Not one of them involves any of the solutions that are usually recommended for marriages and families in trouble.

Every single thing I’ve mentioned is about you and your spouse, getting right with God and trusting Him.

That is how Christians change the world. We do it by giving ourselves without reservation to the One Who made us and loves us and who will be with us the end of time.

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ISIS Offers “Beautiful Young Girls” as Sex Slaves to Winners of Koran Memorization Contest

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matt Lemmon

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matt Lemmon

Evidently, ISIS is sponsoring a Koran Memorization contest in honor of Ramadan in which “beautiful young girls,” said to be as young as 12 years of age, go to the winners.

The contest announcement, which was posted on Twitter, is below.

From The Jewish Press:

‘Soldiers of the Islamic State, Commanders and Troops, Greetings and salutations upon the advent of Ramadan, May it be the will of Allah to accept our fasts and prayers May Allah protect us all from the fires of hell.

Da’wa institutions and mosques hereby declare the opening of the Qur’an memorization competition, To include the following traditions (chapters):

Surat Al-Anfal (Surah prey), (Surah a-Ta’uvah) Surat Muhmad, and Surat Patikha (Surat opening). The competition will be held from 1 Ramadan 1436 to 21 Ramadan 1437.

Those who wish to participate may register at the following mosques: Mosque of Abu Bakr, Mosque of Osama Bin Laden, Mosque of Abu Musab a-Zarqawi (senior Al Qaeda official, the founder of ISIS assassinated in Iraq in 2006), and the Al Taqwa Mosque.

Allah willing, winners will be chosen between 21 Ramadan 1436 and 27 Ramadan 1437.

Competition Prizes:
Grand Prize Winner: ‘Sabia’ (a young girl)
Second Prize: Teenage girl
Third Prize: Teenage girl
Fourth place: 100,000 Syrian pounds ($530)
Fifth place: 90,000 Syrian pounds ($477)
Sixth place: 80,000 Syrian pounds ($424)
Seventh place: 70,000 Syrian pounds ($370)
Eighth place: 60,000 Syrian pounds ($317)
Ninth place: 50,000 Syrian pounds ($265)
Tenth place: 50,000 Syrian pounds ($265)

We ask Allah the Great to ease and help you on your way in serving Him as He desires.
Da’wa Institutions and Mosques



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Pope Francis: Gender Theory is a Threat to Marriage

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann

Getting rid of gender difference is the problem, not the solution …  We must do much more in favor of women if we want to give more strength to the reciprocity between mean and women. It’s necessary, in fact, not only that women be heard more, but that their voices have real weight, an authority recognized in society and in the Church. 

Pope Francis, speaking on Gender Theory.

Pope Francis, spoke to the bishops of the Caribbean, and he did what popes must do. He spoke out against a destructive ideology that attacks the dignity and value of human beings. The ideology in question is the trendiest of them all right now: Gender Theory.

“The sacrament of marriage … must be defended,” the Pope said. He urged the bishops to “emphasize family pastoral ministry.”

The Holy Father encouraged the bishops to avoid “wasting energy in divisions and clashes” … and to also avoid wasting their “real passion for the Kingdom of God” on these things.

He emphasized that “the Church is not tied to any political system so that it may always safeguard the transcendence of the human person.”

This is not the first time Pope Francis has made these points. I doubt that it will be the last.

Just the same, I think it’s important to emphasize these teachings, for the simple reason that they are being so successfully challenged in today’s world.

Pope Francis said that gender theory is a problem because it attacks human dignity and human value.

He also said — and this is something I have written about a lot — that the Church is not (or should not be) tied to any political system. I think that applies to people and their political parties as well. I see the political heresy as a serious problem for Christian witness and authenticity here in America.

In addition, he emphasized the dignity of women and the need for women’s voices to be heard in the Church. All I can say to that is Amen.

There is nothing new in Pope Francis’ statements. He’s made all of them before, and I trust that, given the world in which we live, he will have to make them many times again.

The question for bishops everywhere is how they will lead their priests in teaching, preaching and living out what the Pope is giving them. The work of the Church is to empower the laity so that the laity can convert the world, one person at a time.

There is a rubber meets the road point between parish priests and their parishioners that has to work if the Church is going to be the Church. It is a function of the trickle-down teaching that goes Pope, to bishop, to priest, to us; and from us to the world.

Only the laity lives in the world and intersects with the heart of the world at 2 billion points of light.

The Holy Spirit has sent us a holy Pope for these times. I pray for an army of holy bishops and holy priests to follow through on what he is teaching them by teaching us in turn.

From Vatican News:

The sacrament of marriage is one of the Latin American people’s most important treasures, the Pope says, and it must be defended. He urges them to emphasize family pastoral ministry in order to counter “serious social problems” such as “the difficult economic situation, migration, domestic violence” and  “unemployment, drug trafficking and corruption.”

No to gender ideology, protecting the complementarity between men and women

The complementarity between a man and a woman is being questioned by the so-called gender ideology in the name of a freer and more just society, the Pope observes. In fact, he warns, the differences between men and women are not a question of “opposition or subordination but rather of communion and generation… always in the image and likeness of God.” Without mutual giving- he adds – neither can have an in-depth understanding of the other.

Bishops are united to face the country’s problems

The Pope invites the Church leaders not simply to pray but also to reach out in friendship and “fraternal aid” to address the many serious problems facing Puerto Rico. And, he warns them against “wasting energy in divisions and clashes.” “The more intense the communion…the more it favors the mission,” he says.

Pope Francis encourages the bishops to distance themselves from any ideologies or political trends that can “waste their time and a real passion for the Kingdom of God.” Because of its mission, he points out, the Church is not tied to any political system so that it may always safeguard the transcendence of the human person.


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