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Another memory

posted by awelborn

In 1984, I was in graduate school at Vanderbilt. At some point, there was some sort of informal gathering to discuss politics and religion.  I want to say it was held in conjunction with the anniversary of some civil rights breakthrough associated with Vanderbilt, as well, but I might be getting things mixed up on that score. Quite likely. (I do remember going to another event definitely associated with the latter – it was a panel discussion, and Roy Blount, Jr., who’d been a student at Vanderbilt at the time, was on the panel, to his great bemusement. He admitted, abashedly, as I recall, that he really didn’t think he had any good reason to be on the panel since he really hadn’t actually done anything in relationship to the event in question. He’d just been around.)
Anyway, we were in this lounge at the Divinity School, talking about civil rights, religion and politics, and of course, abortion came up. The professor who was facilitating was a liberal Presbyterian who peddled Sandista-grown coffee beans and wore a Rainbow Coalition button.
Many of the students were engaging in ritual pro-lifer-bashing when the professor stopped them.
He said, quietly, but firmly, that he admired the pro-life movement. He didn’t agree with them, believing that abortion should be legal, but he admired pro-lifers, saw their work as profoundly moral and praiseworthy.
“They believe it’s a baby,” he mused, “And they don’t want you to forget that. And maybe we shouldn’t.”
I must say, flash-forwarding ahead to the present day, that this is something I don’t hear from Catholics supportive of abortion rights in the present political moment.
(For that is what is being declared – a support for abortion rights, no matter if you call yourself “pro-life” or not. )
I hear no appreciation for the work of pro-lifers. Oh, perhaps you do not want to laud the political efforts, but what about the rest of it – most of it? I hear nothing positive about the pro-life movement or the Church’s attempts to help pregnant women and girls, to (yes) reduce the numbers of abortions in this very direct way.
No credit, no acknowledgment – even as declarations are made that what we really need to do is work, no matter what the law is, to make the choice for abortion less attractive through offering concrete support – that there are people doing this right now, maybe even down the street from where you’re sitting.
Common Ground?
Hard to see, even with a map.



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Randy

posted October 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm


Basically the respect for the other side has been missing for a while. You can blame Clinton or Bush. I think they are both at fault. Still the hatred we see between liberals and conservatives is much worse than it was in the 80′s. It has nothing to do with abortion. It has nothing to do with Catholic. People just demonize eachother. They don’t listen to the same news. They don’t visit the same blogs. There is a political apartheid and it breeds contempt.
People trash the other side and nobody says anything even when they know the statements are untrue. Can’t attack you own kind and defend the enemy. Truth and decency are less important than winning a short term politcal battle. Nobody disrespects public figures for the most vile behaviour if it was done as a part of the culture war.
Thank you, Randy, but I am saying something very specific. People who claim to be “pro-life” who have nothing good to say – if they have anything to say at all – about the pro-life movement. Which, like anything else in life, is not beyond criticism. But look back to the story I told. That’s the point of the post.



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Nora

posted October 21, 2008 at 2:13 pm


Well, the squeaky wheel gets the oil and — unfortunately — the efforts of the squeakiest wheels among the pro-life movement often represent the least admirable tactics of the movement.
Thank you, Nora. It seems to me that those who would comment on abortion and public and civic life would be familiar with the pro-life movement. I have lived in many cities, been involved in the pro-life movement to some extent in all of them, and in every location the “squeakiest wheels” are those who run Crisis Pregnancy Centers and seek to assist pregnant women, as well as those who seek to educate and pray – for example, we are in the midst of the 40 Days for Life right now, in which a special emphasis is being given, among religious pro-lifers, to prayer, fasting, loving presence and education. This is being done all over the country. If a person involved in politics is heavily into discussing the future tacticts of the prolife movement, he or she, if serious and genuine about the issue, cannot be unaware of these things. And might even be involved themselves, even if they have disavowed the legal angle. But you do not get a sense of that from any of the pro-life pro-abortion-rights Catholics currently penning op-eds and articles and making their voices heard.



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elmo

posted October 21, 2008 at 2:55 pm


A close friend who is a life-long, pro-life causes supporting, weekly Mass-going Catholic is completely sold on Obama. I told her about his record on the Born Alive Act, and what that means for babies who survive abortions. She looked at me as if I was uncivil for mentioning this. A few days later, she come back with an attack on Sarah Palin’s pro-life stance, saying if she were truly pro-life, she wouldn’t be lauding her daughter’s choice to keep her baby. Instead, Palin would have “forced” her to go through with the pregnancy. I pointed out that under the law the choice to continue the pregnancy would be the daughter’s. “Exactly,” my friend said as if I conceded a crucial point in Obama’s favor to Palin’s detriment.
Huh???
I pointed out that there is no contradiction in acknowledging somebody’s right under the law, and at the same time believing that same law is unjust and should be overturned. But it made no difference. The friend is completely deaf to any criticism of Obama.
There is a spiritual deception taking place, and spiritual warfare is what’s needed. This is what 40 Days for Life is all about and seeing people of the Church going for Obama the way my friend has is part of the reason that for the first time in my life I am participating in an organized pro-life effort .



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Ben

posted October 21, 2008 at 3:24 pm


You know, it could be selection bias, with only the extremists getting worked up enough to talk. I think the focus on overturning Roe is a big mistake, but have supported (i.e. donated to) the Church’s pregnancy services in our diocese. But I don’t spend much time debating abortion online.



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Little Gidding

posted October 21, 2008 at 3:34 pm


I fear that the reason why the rest of the pro-life work is not being mentioned is that the center of gravity of the culture has shifted and therefore the discussion is being fought out on different territory now. I think I remember coming to this conclusion listening to the “arguments” regarding Terry Schiavo while that extraordinarily sad business was unfolding. The trio of “safe, legal, and rare,” often held up in the past, has now been truncated to just “safe and legal.” “Rare” now seems to many people to be an admission of weakness–a “gimme” that no longer has to be given. The pro-abort side is evidently strong enough now that it doesn’t feel a need to admit that abortion is a bad thing. Or that families or marriage or making or raising children are a good thing. It has shifted the lines of engagement, practically to the edge of the abyss–as a result, pro-lifers, Catholic or otherwise, are now forced to fight against just the sharpened point of the attack on life, which at the moment is abortion, but will soon also include euthansia.



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Nora

posted October 21, 2008 at 3:44 pm


To me, the “squeaky wheels” are those who are loud in a bad way, usually creating all kinds of division and negativity and taking attention away from the more positive side of pro-life work.
I know there are very, very hard-working people in the pro-life movement who work tirelessly assisting women facing crisis pregnancies. Those people should be praised publicly by, well, everyone. They tend not to be quite as “loud” as the more negative members of the pro-life movement even though they work harder and more selflessly, which is why I don’t classify them as “squeaky wheels”.
It’s just that because of the squeaky wheels (as I define them), it’s unlikely a Catholic (or anyone) who is personally opposed to abortion but believes in keeping abortion legal will praise the pro-life movement in general.
The squeaky wheels may even be, in fact, WHY Catholics who are personally against abortion support keeping abortion legalized.



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Nora

posted October 21, 2008 at 4:07 pm


To add:
I hear nothing positive about the pro-life movement or the Church’s attempts to help pregnant women and girls
Please remember that some of us from the generation before yours don’t exactly recall these attempts to help pregnant women and girls on the part of “the Church”.
This, also, may be part of the problem.
I’m old enough to remember what happened to women and, more particularly, girls who got pregnant out of wedlock pre-Roe days. “Pro-life” may well have very negative connotations even for those who are personally pro-life but would not see abortion criminalized, hence the hesitancy to openly support any faction of the movement. You say crisis pregnancy center and there are those for whom that phrase conjures up all kinds of horrors.



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Kate

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:49 am


Why would people who are personally opposed to abortion but think that it should be legal not be willing to acknowledge the good work of those who disagree with them? Maybe because they have fallen into a defensive “us” vs. “them” way of thinking.
There is the potential in all of our human natures to be drawn, in the expression of our views, toward the
“extremist” side of the spectrum, where we begin to see everything in stark terms of “us” vs. “them” and to grow defensive and therefore often less reasonable about our own positions.
But are we taking as a “given” that “personally opposed”
people always don’t acknowledge the good work of those with different views? Which “personally opposed” people are we speaking of, exactly?
Clearly, the job of reducing abortions can best be addressed
through a common and sincere effort by all those who don’t like abortion, whether they nevertheless think it should be legal or not.
A reduction in the “us” vs. “them” sort of thinking, which up to now has seemed more divisive than clarifying, though some politicians may have considered it an apt political tool toward their personal goals, is what many of us hope for.



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Dave Hartline

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:51 am


My friends for 35 years faithful Catholics have been trying to explain why the unborn are alive. We for the most part of been civil about it. We tried to imagine that perhaps many from the other side didn’t understand that this “fetus” was a living human being. Then the 1980s & 1990s came with all the medical technology to show us precisely that this “fetus” was a real human being. Sadly, many on the othe side still didn’t get it, not because they couldn’t, but because they wouldn’t. We are told that evil is a mystery and there can be no better example when the most innocent among us still face death, despite all of the evidence that they are truly alive. After we have done all we can do in educating people, I think all we can do is tell people that you reap what you sow. Like those folks who lived the high life, even though they acquired their money in questionable ways and ended up causing a financial meltdown, they eventually had to face the music, and what a judgement it was. So it will be for those who ignore the cry of the unborn.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:26 pm


One would need to separate “40 days for life” stuff from the “direct services” arm to clarify and “grade” the approaches.
The direct services (Crisis Pregnancy Centers etc) are enormously helpful and tremendously appreciated aspects of the pro-life movement. For varied reasons, they are rarely praised. Unfortunately, the lead conservative writers (who get the credit for being the majority of the pro-life writers) had an awful lot of political baggage about the relationship of these same groups to welfare state kind of stuff, etc. So they didn’t comment on it-and National Catholic Reporter in the 1990′s will show a comparatively large number of articles noting these groups compared to conservative magazines. “Coverage” and acknowledgement of these activities involves a strange mix of politics. Today, conservative writers and thinkers are more likely to note these groups in their writing and in praise, despite the associations of these Centers with social workers (who got a lot of derision from these folks over the years-ending probably only around 2005, when the conservative meme: “the $100,000-a-year social worker” finally died out). Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been a blessing to pro-lifism, and has had a very mixed public support by pro-lifism’s most vocal supporters over the years. As well as its vocal nay-sayers. (Kind of trying to differentiate between pro-abortion folks, and those who didn’t buy into the political direction of prolifism.)
The “40 days of life” activism is excellent activism, with fasting and prayer as its core. Tremendous. Its association with the election is obvious. And while the whole pro-lifism activist stuff is going to be evaluated as a whole, some of the smear will fall to these acts of fasting around the election. But its separation routinely from specific electoral notions is good, and should there be a shake up in pro-lifism’s actions and activities in the future, this particular event should remain a centerpiece of the movement.
One comment about your comment:
“Which, like anything else in life, is not beyond criticism.”
Haven’t really seen many conservatives of note publically evaluate this movement in terms of operational success. Only nobodies like me. Or future nobodies like Kmiec.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm


On note about my note:
“Haven’t really seen many conservatives of note publically evaluate this movement in terms of operational success. ”
The only evaluation I read kind of goes like this: “I don’t know what could be meant by “failure.” This has been nothing but a huge success.”
Which suggests a “more of Plan A” approach in the future. Which bodes ill.
Daniel: I am really unsure of what you are talking about here. First of all, the pro-life movement, like any other social movement, has a degree of division within it. ALL and NRLC are not best buddies. There is a great deal of internal self-criticism about tactics and so on. Secondly, I don’t know a soul within the movement who would characterize what has happened over the past 35 years as a “success.” First, if you are involved in it, you learn very quickly, not to try to measure “success” except in terms of one life saved – that’s “success.” If you were involved in the movement and knew people who were working you would see that it is very hard to keep hope going in the face of the pain and sorrow you work with every day and the resistance you find among people who should be on your side, but who are either indifferent, diminish your efforts or try to sabotage them.
In regard to a point on your previous comment: your characterization of the relationship betweeen CPC-type activity and social work could be much more nuanced. For example, when you speak of Catholic -rooted effort, they are, on the ground, often coming from the same source, with a network committed to helping women and children and then working with families and individuals in different types of crisis as well.
And one more thing – I really question the automatic association of “conservatives” with “pro-lifers” and looking to “conservatives” as accurate bellwethers for evaluating the pro-life movement. I would guess that a great many public “conservatives” both in political life and in punditry are not pro-life. That’s pretty obvious.



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TerryC

posted October 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm


I believe that it is often overlooked that individuals in the fight against abortion often concentrate on different aspects of the battle. Just as St. Paul tells us in the First Letter to the Corinthians that we each play a different part in the Body of Christ so to do we, who are actively striving against the abomination of abortion have different roles. All are on the front lines, but on different front lines.
While I’ve prayed outside Planned Parenthood death mills, and raised funds for charities which help abused woman (some of who have been pushed to abortion or are dealing with having a child alone in depressed economic circumstances) my role has been primarily in working with teens in Rock for Life and Life Teen.
Often the only light I see is that despite my failure to always convince teens to practice chastity I have, I hope, been instrumental in helping them to not follow one mistake with another, the murder of their unplanned child.
I am also, no doubt, a rather strong advocate of the pro-life position both in person and online.
As for our opponents in the pro-choice camp I have found that they fall into two categories. The majority of American pro-choice supporters are in denial. They refuse to believe the evidence, not of theology, but of science, which shows that after conception it is a baby. It is very hard to get people to face denial. Some small group is of the Nietzscheian sort who have no problem with big people killing little people, because they can. These people we will never convince. They have no moral compass in common with us.
My personal belief is that Obama is of this sort. I won’t go into the rabbit hole of why I believe that here. Sufficient to say I don’t think whether it is a baby or not matters to him.



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 22, 2008 at 1:57 pm


“Secondly, I don’t know a soul within the movement who would characterize what has happened over the past 35 years as a “success.””
And, yet, Amy, “the movement” continues using the same tactics that haven’t really been successful! If you always do what you have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten. I, for one, am tired. I started asking the question “Why is the abortion rate so high in American compared to other industrialized countries? What are they doing right that we aren’t?” When I began to look into it, the solutions are there, but not morally acceptable or politically acceptable for most pro-lifers. So, the pro-life movement in America, with the exception of Feminists for Life, is willing to have 1 million babies die a year rather than change their political beliefs to decrease the abortion rate.
But, RCM, the pro-life movement is not primarily political, although it has political dimensions. The “success” of which I spoke was more than legal. You might have been thinking that way, but I was not. The pro-lifer’s aversion to the word “success” is due to the day-in and day-out frustrations of dealing with the realities of abortion in the US – as long as one baby dies, especially the baby of a girl you just saw in your office and who walked away, positive pregnancy test in hand, never to be seen again…the categories of “success” as the world sees them don’t apply.
And I think your last statement is ridiculous and unfair and simply wrong. That’s a pretty harsh accusation against the folks in the trenches who are, right this minute, holding hands with a pregnant girl or woman as she tries to figure out what to do next. Please.
When taking into account other industrialized nations’ abortion rates, one can’t ignore the fact, of course, that the US has the most liberal abortion laws of them all. And most of them incorporate some elements of informed consent, waiting period and so on. All restrictions against which the abortion lobby and its political allies fight tooth and nail. You can’t ignore that. Read Mary Ann Glendon.



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 22, 2008 at 2:21 pm


“When taking into account other industrialized nations’ abortion rates, one can’t ignore the fact, of course, that the US has the most liberal abortion laws of them all. And most of them incorporate some elements of informed consent, waiting period and so on. All restrictions against which the abortion lobby and its political allies fight tooth and nail. You can’t ignore that. Read Mary Ann Glendon.”
I have read Glendon. Absolutely. I don’t deny it and am very aware that the laws HAVE to change. I am also aware that the abortion lobby refuses to budge. But I have been in this movement for 19 years and know that a huge amount of energy goes into fixing the political situation with very very little success (I define “success” as significant drops in the abortion rate, under a million abortions would be great! zero even better!).
It isn’t just law, though, Amy. Most Europeans use multiple forms of birth control per couple and the use of it is widespread. They also have huge family supports (day care help, health care for babies and moms–even after birth!, etc). If you look at the pregnancy rates in Europe, they are not having babies! Their babies are mostly planned babies because of widespread contraception. This is the extreme end of the culture of death. To not even be open to life, yet at least they are not killing life!
As a Catholic and one who supports Church teaching on human sexuality, I know the end can never justify the means if the means are immoral. I know contraception is immoral, but for me, it is a huge temptation to know that with multiple uses of birth control the abortion rate could plunge. It is something I have to pray about and continue reading about.



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Bernardo

posted October 22, 2008 at 4:32 pm


TerryC, I like the analysis of “denial” and “will-to-power” camps among the pro-choicers.
I think Catholics making the arguments for Obama fall squarely in the denial camp. That’s why they don’t mention the pro-life work on the ground. It’s a lot easier to sleep when you’ve convinced yourself that “pro-life” is a word only and has no deeds.
You can then persuade yourself that the man who will make the most liberal abortion laws in the world even more radical will reduce abortions.
Archbishop Chaput put it best: “I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they’ll be required to.”



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Jeff

posted October 22, 2008 at 5:57 pm


I have had many conversations with pro-choice people and almost every time they are unaware of the efforts of he pro life movement to help the mothers and the babies in every way. They are unaware of abortion and adoption statistics, suicide rates etc.
Most have not seen pictures or video of an abortion, and think it’s disgusting that I suggest that they do. I am genuinely surprised each time this happens. I think wehave an ignorance problem. Prayer and witness are very powerful in this fight.
Also, I have stopped accepting the accusation that I am a one issue voter. I think a leader who is truly pro-life would be fighting for the poor, the environment, health care for all and would be less likely to kill innocents abroad because the right to life is the most basic of rights.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:31 pm


1) “I would guess that a great many public “conservatives” both in political life and in punditry are not pro-life. That’s pretty obvious.”
Many, but not all, and certainly most are pro-life, and at least give voice to anti-abortionism. This is good news and bad news for pro-lifism, in that, really, conservatives get the credit for keeping the flame alive. But they huddled with it and shared it poorly. I think that many a political conservative, but again not all, or most, gives more lip service to pro-lifism than they’d be willing to admit, but will also
I think its fair to identify pro-lifism with political conservatives, and a credit to them, but its must be understood this identification of the brand with these folks is also a hindrance, as is a prelate who shows up in webcasts on NRO, or with Weigel bragging about how his connections got him his book deal.
The pro-life flavor is very conservative.
2) Internal debates are different than public faces, and after failure, sometimes identifying publically with the problem and suggesting new directions is important.
3) Many blog commentators and others such as Rick Garnett and Deal Hudson characterize the efforts of the pro-life political arms as successful, and do so defensively in response to criticism that the Republicans have done “nothing” for the pro-life effort. This is a new talking point I think. While I get that one would not describe the results as grand, this is a new defensive line, and the goal is to put out the impression “See, look at all of our successes.”



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:17 pm


This sentence didn’t get completed:
“I think that many a political conservative, but again not all, or most, gives more lip service to pro-lifism than they’d be willing to admit, but will also support anti-abortionism as long as it didn’t interfere with their many other priorities. As a consequence, they get credit.” Its not the political conservative I critique mainly, its the leaders of the pro-life movement. They gave the movement to the political conservatives.



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Peter Nixon

posted October 23, 2008 at 1:04 am


I’ll share a story too. I offer it not to support or refute any of the points that have been made, but perhaps as another view of the problem.
Many years ago I was attending a parish council meeting at one of the parishes I attended back East. One of the agenda items was an effort to reinvigorate the respect life committee in the parish. The new RL chairwoman was present at the meeting to talk about the kinds of things she wanted to do.
After her presentation, there was a moment or two of silence. Then one of the council members, a woman, spoke up. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked. “After all, this parish is pretty progressive.”
The discussion then moved to one of the ideas the new RL chairwoman was supporting, which was a training program to help priests preach pro-life homilies. The pastor–perhaps not surprisingly–reacted a little defensively to the suggestion that he was inadequately prepared in this area.
Without warning, the RL chairwoman burst into a tirade. “Don’t you realize that Satan is laughing at us?” was one of the more memorable lines. One of the other women on the committee–someone who had herself been involved in RL ministry in the parish in the past–did a masterful job of bringing the discussion back on track and shepherding it to a conclusion. But I think the damage had been done.
I remember leaving that meeting very depressed. I was upset that a parish council member was more worried about seeming insufficiently “progressive” than with standing up for the unborn. I was also upset that the new RL chair had come across like a complete flake. No “common ground” here either, alas.
I feel blessed that in my current parish the couple that leads the RL work are “happy warriors,” and that spirit infuses most of the people I’ve encountered who are involved in the ministry. As Amy said, most of the work involves concrete support to mothers in need. The political/legislative dimension is there, but it’s not the central focus that most people think it is.
I think that the pro-life movement has actually had a lot more “success” than people give it credit for. Against enormously powerful political and cultural forces that have attempted to normalize the practice of abortion, the movement has continued to prick the public conscience, to raise the question of what kind of people we are if we remain indifferent to the widespread taking of innocent human life.
As a follow up to Amy’s points, one might ask this question of the movement’s critics: what kind of nation (or Church) would we be if we didn’t have a pro-life movement? What would be lost? What would it say about us?



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Jennifer Evancho

posted October 23, 2008 at 10:35 am


I would like to add something a little different. Of course abortion is a sin. The main effect of any sin (besides the obvious) is the separation of the individual from God and abortion being a huge big rift. So I am not surprised with the findings you have observed Amy. When you obstinately stay there (in the pro-choice circle) there really is no discussion that can move someone away. Keep the voice out there of course! Because you never know when the Lord will have moved that soul.
Now, sin causes a rift in the relationship with God and the capacity for true reason is clouded. What I mean is the Pro-life flakes. I want to argue that there is sin – a very dangerous ideological kind that also clouds ones capacity to see all that is good and just in a situation. (I’m wondering if this wasn’t the case with the above mentioned RL person and the interesting angry response) I’ve seen it in my own experience and some that suffer still. You can think you are doing right, but in the end you are the rich man that turns away. You still do all the right things but what really counts you can’t do.
SO what to be done? Anything you can in your power to give yourself up to God on a continuos basis, recognize Him really present now and THEN enter with joy the struggle to advance the culture of life. All else, all results really belongs to Him and the joy we can bring in belonging whole heartedly to Another is infectious to anyone and is the only method, the one of an event/ encounter with the Lord.
Everything then is right ordered so to speak.
FWIW
yours
Jennifer in CA



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Maureen

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:32 am


This reminds me of a mystery book I read. It was by a writer who did good work in science fiction and fantasy, who generally wrote even her villains with good depth of character, and made much play with creating very different cultures for her worlds. The contemporary mystery series she was starting was supposed to examine her small town fictionally with an affectionate eye, and it seemed to be doing well. (Though I really doubted the affectionate. Everybody who wasn’t a yuppie who’d just moved into town seemed to be portrayed as a total idiot, albeit a colorful one. Strange from her, but I figured it was just showing that her detective had a lot to learn.)
Then it turned out that her first mystery book was all about an evil anti-abortion activist. What he was, was evil. The detective never found anyone who had a good word to say about him, and never bothered to interview anyone on his side of the movement. All people in abortion clinics were incredibly sweet and skilled people, and there were never any regrets. Oh, and there wasn’t really any mystery, either. No hidden motives, no twists such as the writer would normally deploy, not even the good old crazy serial killer. Nothing but this burst of incomprehensible writer nastiness.
And she was shocked that the mystery houses didn’t buy it, so that she had to self-publish.
I’ll admit that I didn’t react well in my letter of criticism, but I was really shocked and distressed! Political and moral opinions are one thing, with someone not raised to understand; but betraying the art of writing? Being unprofessional? Depriving the reader of a puzzle?
I still don’t get it. I really don’t.



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm


“I think that the pro-life movement has actually had a lot more “success” than people give it credit for. ”
The problem I have with this mentality is that we still have one of the highest abortion rates in the industrialized world 35 years later! I know many babies who HAVE been saved thanks to the hard work and dedication of pro-lifers. But how can we pat ourselves on the back when we still have 1 million kids a year dying?
If only people wouldn’t have pre-marital sex.
If only people when they do get pregnant wouldn’t kill their kids.
If only .
Something has to give.
I’ve been a sidewalk counselor. I have done the protesting. I have served on the Boards. I have done the praying (continue doing that). And I am not satisfied. I want results. I want the abortion rate to fall under 1 million babies/annually.



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Peter Nixon

posted October 23, 2008 at 3:58 pm


RCM:
I don’t think we disagree.
I just want to make one quantitative point that may be relevant to the discussion.
There is a difference between the absolute number of abortions (currently around 1.3 million a year) and the abortion rate, which is expressed as a number per a given population (Guttmacher gives it as abortions per woman aged 15-44.
Owing to growth in the total size of this population, it is possible for the abortion rate to fall while the actual number of abortions continues to rise . The abortion rate has been falling for some time and now stands at where it stood in the mid-1970s. Last time I checked, the absolute number of abortions per year had also fallen from a peak of about 1.5 million a year to its current level of around 1.3 million.



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Jay Anderson

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:09 pm


What some are apparently unwilling to acknowledge is that both the number and rate of abortions have fallen due, in some part, to (as my own Bishop
puts it) “the passage of hundreds of modest but effective pro-life laws such as public funding bans, informed consent laws, laws requiring parental involvement when minors seek abortions, and so on.”
Bishop Blair continues:
“Tragically, some lawmakers would reverse these gains and boost the abortion rate by invalidating all such laws, through extreme measures such as the proposed “Freedom of Choice Act” in Congress. Despite its deceptive title, it would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry, and would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. No one supporting such legislation can claim in good faith to be working to reduce abortions.”
So, yes, the real battle to end abortion goes on in the efforts of people in crisis pregnancy centers, as sidewalk counselors, and in praying for an end to this scourge.
But if you’re interested in seeing a real decrease in the number of abortions, that’s NOT going to come about by electing someone who has promised to undo what progress has been made.



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Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




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