Is MSM Awareness of Gosnell a Wave in Tide of God’s Mercy? UPDATE

It has been, as Ed Driscoll notes a slow awakening for the mainstream media, but now that they are reading the Grand Jury reports on Kermit Gosnell and the testimony at his trial, some members of the press are saying yes, this story deserves covering and in fact demands it from many angles. Perhaps no one has touched on the crux of the thing like Seth Mandel at Commentary:

The media should be ashamed beyond description for this behavior. The American left should come to terms with what it means to talk about a human life as if it were a parasite, or merely a clump of cells. And they should most certainly stop lecturing the rest of us on compassion, on pity, on social obligation, on morality.

[Kirsten] Powers is right when she says the alleged revelations about Gosnell “should shock anyone with a heart.” Which is precisely what the press is avoiding.

As Ed Morrissey writes, here, not all of the press have figured it out yet (some outlets still feel safer focusing on dog killings) but ABC’s Terry Moran, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper are all promising broadcast coverage, tonight or in the future.

This is a good thing. Despite Sam Rocha’s utter despairing upon reading the reports (“Only God can save us now, I hope we forgot to kill him properly.”) and perhaps because I came to the story pretty early, I see not a glass half-empty, but one half-full and filling. Perhaps I am only an optimist, and a naive one, but I feel like this is a break in the tide; a moment that can perhaps turn America from its myriad and mostly empty distractions, and get her asking important questions about who we are, what we have been enabling, who we want to be and what serving “the least among us” really means.

Coming, as it does, during a honeymoon phase of a popular new pope who embodies the idea of Godly tenderness and forcefully demonstrates his awareness that poverty, marginalization and “least-ness” comes in many forms, this almost seems like a moment handed to us by God.

As such, we Christians need to respect it; we need to respect the moment and the opportunity, and the fact that this is a possible gift. If this is a small break in the tide, it’s one we have to fill with patience and mercy; it is going to call on Christians to be as Christlike with our stunned and (hopefully) open-to-re-thinking brothers and sisters. We can’t haul off on them, but must teach with love. With firmness and truth, but also with some of that tenderness we’re called to; with an acknowledgement that Justice belongs to God while mercy is ours. It goes back, a little to what I wrote yesterday, about balance.

Without balance, Christ Jesus and his teachings cannot be understood, because he is All Mercy, All Truth, All Wisdom and All Justice. When we overweigh any one aspect of those four we underweigh the other three; our perspective becomes unbalanced and our understanding disoriented. More importantly, we run the risk of pulling down the cross, altogether.

Embracing this moment with a Christlike heart and mind means no hateful postings on Facebook. No hashtags on twitter meant to insult, demean or cast down. Try #pro-abortion instead of #pro-murder.

Let me put it another way: if you’re a Christian who hates abortion and you see a sliver of light in this 40 years of darkness — which is exactly what this hushed admission from the press might be — and you repel the light with your anger instead of widening it (and its pathway) by taking a gentler, more merciful tone, then you will have to answer to the God of Justice about it. You’ll have to tell God why you thought it was more important to beat his wounded sheep rather than heal; you’ll have to explain why you thought your immediate “justice”, which can never be as informed as God’s, was preferable to waiting for his, which (for others) might come well after some years of regret, and contrition and penance and (for others) may be wholly beyond our comprehension.

We may be in a moment of grace, standing at the advent of a great gift. It’s not time to put a nail through a bat and start swinging.

UPDATE: I understand this piece got a shout-out from Tammy Bruce on her show last night. Thanks!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Joe Odegaard

    Let us hope this is a turning point. “…May God complete the holy realm in your lifetime, in your own days, and in the days of all the house of Israel, speedily and soon, amen.”

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  • Kathy

    I pray you are correct that this is an awakening. I sincerely doubt it though. Years ago I thought, “If people only understood that what they are aborting is a baby, they’d finally understand and be against it.” Now I know people know it is a baby, but they still think its acceptable to abort. For years I have followed the comments on a portion related articles in the WSJ and NYT. The comments are horrifying and get worse. God help us.

  • Adam

    I think on that note, we should remember to pray for Kermit Gosnell, his cohorts, and his enablers. What he and they did is awful, awful, awful and screams out for vengeance….BUT, they’re still human souls in desperate need of repentance, forgiveness, and healing. Always remember the Fatima prayer: “Lead ALL souls into heaven, ESPECIALLY those most in need of thy mercy.”

    [Very good -admin]

  • Tanya A. Goodman

    As the story unfolded, it became too horrific to contemplate. Yet, I continued to watch the report on Dr. Kermit Gosnell on “The Lead With Jake Tapper” this afternoon on CNN. Unfamiliar with the story, I wondered how it could have escaped my attention? How could the residents of that West Philadelphia neighborhood not have been aware and outraged? The degradation of women and dismissal of the poor pulsate throughout this story. We live in a throw-away society. God help us. I pray for all the lost and wrecked lives at the hand of Dr. Gosnell.

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  • doughboy

    excellent post, anchoress.

  • Cheryl

    Thanks. Your words tempered mine.

  • Manny

    I think I called you naive already once this week…LOL. I felt bad afterwards. When I read my comment back, I thought it came across as harsh. My apologies.

    On this I hope you’re right and this is an inflection point, but unfortunately I have my doubts. It will shift the number of hearts a percent or possibly a small few in our favor but it’s not going to be a revolutionary moment. Abortion opinion is ingrained in a way that does not move with shock. Sexual freedom is at stake and people who care about that won’t let a few infant deaths change their minds. What is needed is for people to love Christ more than they love sexual freedom. If we had masses of people open their hearts to Christ, then their hearts will open up to the innocent and powerless. To really change the dynamics of the abortion debate you need the first before the second, and unfortunately we are losing the first.

  • Dolores

    Thank you so much for this post and the comments. After reading about Gosnell, I was feeling angry and disturbed beyond words. Your post reminds me that despair is not an option.

  • YouGoAnchoress

    Sorry to say I’m not as optimistic as you are about a tidal change in media awareness, but this post–and the beautiful Chagall painting–cheered me up immensely. Thank you.

  • Crystal Hoey

    I think not by coincidence, I was sent just this week, as this Gosnell story finally starts coming to light, the testimony of Gloria Polo. She gives such a moving witness of her reversion and to the subject of abortion. I have personally seen the lives of loved ones stop and change, running into completely different directions after abortion, leading to antidepressants, suicidal attempts, and isolation. It is heartbreaking to watch, especially as a new convert, so passionate about the truth that our Faith reveals to us. I think if more people could read this testimony of Gloria Polo, the war against this intrinsic evil would be better armored with this precise kind of outlook: one of compassion, better understanding and one that can embrace the bigger picture in all of this. This was a wonderful post, Elizabeth.

  • Bill M.

    “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”

    - Charles Peguy, 1905

  • Terry

    I’ve been looking hard for bright spots to pull us out of the darkness. This effort to move the media will hopefully be one, and Pope Francis continues to be a ray of hope for all.

  • ahem

    One reason this hasn’t been covered–in addition to the obvious black eye it gives the left—is that it dispels the myth the left pushes: the phoney notion that abortion is safe.

    Mostly legal—check; rare–not so much, when you really think about the 55 million who have perished; safe—obviously not. It also throws a hot spotlight on the fact that most aborted children are black, that nobody seems to care–not even a black physician—that nobody is mentoring these women to improve their behavior, that politicians are asleep at the wheel or corrupt or cynical or all three, and that the state does not diligently inspect abortion facilities much less prosecute doctors who perform illegal late-term abortions. Dr. Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg. There’s probably a Gosnell in most major cities.

    Thank God the dam is bursting.

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  • FW Ken

    I hope you are correct, but it sure has taken some shaming from the folks at GetReligion, with some help from Twitter.

  • ahem

    Kristen Powers, an Orthodox Christian, has also helped break the logjam.

  • Cheryl

    This morning I watched Anderson Cooper’s video re: Gosnell and noticed that Frank Weathers quoted this article, which yesterday prompted me to delete a frustrated tweet that I sent to Anderson asking why it took so long for him to cover this story. Thank you for your words which have since reminded me to use my words with caution on this heated issue.

  • Jen

    You are very naive if you think that the media will let you instrumentalize those crimes to go after legal abortions. And this might also be the reason they were so reluctant to cover the thing in the first place. Because people like you are using the misery of the poor people involved in this case to campaign against women having the choice.

  • Jen


    Abortions are safe. Not sure where you imagined up that 55 million but death from abortion is almost nonexistent while much more women die during child birth.

    You know what makes abortions unsafe? Illegal procedures, unqualified “docs”, badly regulated facilities. Which are the result of anti-choicers trying to make abortions as hard to get as possible or even make them illegal. And at no point in history this has ever stopped women from getting an abortion anyway or even killing the baby after it was born. The only thing that leads to is women seeking out monsters like Gosnell who mess up or perform illegal procedures.

    You people need to face and accept reality. The need for abortions is never going to go away. Nor can you ban porn (which would also make the situation much worse by pushing porn production underground) or teens from having sex. You can only improve reality by making things save for everyone involved, provide good healthcare and education and thus encourage responsible behavior.

    You know, in Europe the teen pregnancy and abortion rates are much lower than in the US. Even though Europeans have a much more natural and relaxed attitude towards sex and have atheist majorities in many countries. That’s because they have good healthcare, mandatory sex ed and acknowlege human nature, work with it instead of ignoring it and making things bad for everyone.

  • James Stephens

    If we are outraged at the horrors so evident in this case, do we not also have to be outraged at the President’s position on born-alive infants when he was a state senator in Illinois? Perhaps this s part of the reason the Gosnell trial has received so little coverage.

    [I am tired of the daily outrage. I am more interested in the mystery of mercy -admin]

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  • Renee

    I don’t want to hijack this thread, but this nonsense about the horrors that happened in PA being prolifers fault needs to be responded to. I’m seeing it everywhere. Obvious talking points that must not be allowed to go unanswered.

    [I love that, "I don't want to hijack this thread, but I'm now going to attempt to hijack the thread AND tell the bloghost what she should be writing about." Heh. But I am not interested in those stupid talking points and believe that to address them is to give them credence when I reject their whole framing. Plus, I'm sure others will take that particular subject up. I blog about what interests me; crazyily-framed talking points almost never do. -admin]

  • Clare Krishan

    oops URL heavy = held for moderation (pls consider transmitting ‘radiation of fatherhood’ TOB-memed reflection)

  • Jim M.

    My thoughts are along the same lines – we have been given a much needed time out; an opportunity. But I believe this opportunity was granted to us to allow us to reverse the tide – to cease this affront to God which is the modern day equivalent of child sacrifices to Baal or Baalum. The Bible teaches us that God has infinite mercy, but not unlimited patience. He granted the civilizations of the Old Testament “second chances”. The opportunity to turn back to God rather than further away. When they heeded the warnings and turned back, they were spared from His judgment, as was the case with the City Jonah was sent o warn. When they ignored the chance or failed to change, things did not bode well for that City or Nation.

    We need to take this opportunity to open peoples’ eyes and hearts. To recognize that the artificial Supreme Court definition of viability is nothing more than a convenient legal fiction. A fiction to justify what was a desired result some 40 years ago.

    May God have Mercy on us if we do not take this chance he has given to us. We may not get another “second chance”. There are few coincidences in life. Those that cling to that notion are those of whom Jesus spoke – those that have eyes but do not see, and those that have ears but do not hear. Let us accept God’s grace with this opportunity, and strive to reverse this unspeakable wrong.

    Thank you for writing and posting this!

  • ahem


    If you’ve read anything at all about Gosnell’s, you’lll see that, evidently, all abortions are not safe. 55 million infants—not mothers—have died since Roe v. Wade. (I know they don’t matter to you, but still.) No, the mother lives on to abort another day.

    “Anti-choicer’s” are not anti-choice; they are pro-choice. They are people who would like humanity to make better decisions—decisions that do not include coldly murdering the most innocent of society’s citizens. We are very much in favor of women choosing to think about the ramifications of their actions, in choosing to be chaste or to marry or, if not, in choosing to allow their child to be adopted instead of immediately choosing to murder them. We’re all very pro-choice in that sense.

    While abortion will probably never disappear—my own brother was aborted—it is best to limit it to the most necessary and unavoidable of circumstances. Waiting until the very last minute is not a necessary or unavoidable circumstance. Aborting a child close to birth, or soon after birth—God help us—is very clearly murder. At that point, a line has been crossed. You do not understand that if the baby’s life is worthless, then so is your own? At what point do you stop “aborting” people? (Judge, my 17 year-old son is giving me a lot of trouble—I’d like to abort him.)

    Routine murder of society’s inconvenient at the hands of the state is not an “improvement in reality,” but you are obviously too young to realize that. Most of what you have been taught has advocated only one side of the issue–they taught me that in college, too—which is not information, but indoctrination. The issue is much more complicated and involved than pro-abortion advocates imagine, or if imagining, admit. Yes, abortion has existed since time immemorial, but it has always been considered a barbarity by more enlightened societies. In anay event, it has always been associated with shame.

    Our young men and women are so relaxed about sex that they are virtually wild dogs roaming the alleys. How much more relaxed do you want to get?

    God has designed us to be higher forms of life, to represent Him on earth. Does that idea not resonate with you?

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  • Manny

    Jen’s stock dribble above proves my point exactly. These people worship at the god os sex and anything that contradicts their pathetic world view shocks them into opposing action. Notice she even justifies porn as a need. Pathetic.

  • Strife

    @Renee, I understand your concerns and frustrations. The instantaneous deceptive talking-points from the Progressives is never-ending. They must have a specialized propaganda unit that is dedicated to “verbal engineering”.

    I do agree with the Anchoress, this is the time for God’s Mercy. Nothing else will break through this endless cycle where both sides have been shouting past each other for so long.

    I think fear is the thing that motivates most people on both sides. Fear of relinquishing control of our lives, fear of the unknown, fear of the naked-truth deep within ourselves that convicts us.

    But you see, here is where all who try to follow Christ have a tremendous advantage: Our daily conversion already requires that we surrender our fears and anxieties to His unfathomable Mercy and Forgiveness. And we hamper our ability to receive His Mercy when we resist His intrinsic demand on us to extend His Mercy to others. It’s simply how The Author Of All Things designed our very hearts and souls.

    In the end, we must remember that He sees what we don’t see: the broken souls of others. And often, WE are His answer to that brokenness. The one thing that can overcome the darkness in others is His Merciful Loving Light in us. When their hatred is answered by His unconditional Love and Merciful Understanding through us; hearts of stone melt, anger turns to tears of sorrow, fears are met with an inconceivable Mercy that drives lost souls to their knees and surrounds the wayward child with a Peaceful Love that transcends all understanding.

    The ultimate thing any of us can do (on either side) is to simply surrender to this something – This Someone – Who makes sense of all this madness is some beautifully mysterious way beyond all our expectations. It’s all so crazy in the most sane an wonderful way.

    Peace Renee.

  • Sarah

    Although this article has some great points, the idea of appeasing evil or sitting by quietly or “patiently” as babies are slaughtered seems to directly contradict caring and protecting the weak, poor, and down trodden. Ask the people of Germany about appeasing evil or about waiting “patiently” for others to come around and realize burning humans in ovens is wrong. Or try to explain how people said nothing as KKK members beat up and hung their neighbors and fellow Christians…”Evil abounds when good men do nothing”

    [You would be correct if anything in this piece was about appeasing evil. It's about teaching TRUTH but with love, which is how Christ Jesus said we should do. It doesn't say "do nothing" in the face of evil. It says address the people who have been shaken up with these revelations (and are perhaps willing to rethink their positions) with patience and love as you serve truth. Serving truth with a hammer won't do it. Jesus said, "overcome evil with good..." -admin]