Tag Archives: pro-life

Hidden wound in marriage can heal

Next to the protection of life itself, the protection of marriage, as made by God, is one of the key concerns of Christians today. The attacks on marriage are manifest, and intensifying. But not all the factors that threaten and weaken marriage are immediately evident.

Fr. Frank Pavone

Among such threats is the impact that a past abortion has on a couple’s relationship. If either the man or the woman has been involved in an abortion in the past — either with one another or with others — the wounds of that act impact their relationship. And that impact can be mitigated to the extent that they discuss it openly with one another during marriage preparation and seek the help that is available.

Abortion creates a relational and spiritual wound. As our Priests for Life pastoral associates Dr. Theresa and Kevin Burke (cofounders of Rachel’s Vineyard) write,

“A healthy marital relationship is marked by a deep bonding between husband and wife with a foundational trust that leads to vibrant and satisfying emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy. Abortion is a traumatic death experience that is closely associated to relational/sexual intimacy creating a profound fracture of trust striking at the heart of the marital foundation (this holds true whether the event preceded a marriage, or was experienced by only one spouse). Partners experience unresolved, unspoken grief and shame as they struggle with depression, anxiety, and other painnumbing symptoms of trauma that can negatively impact marriage and family life. Extramarital affairs are not uncommon for persons with abortion in their history.”

Women who have had abortions frequently settle for relationships that do not meet their needs for love and nurturing, and in varying degrees are abusive and violent. In our healing programs, women report staying in abusive relationships as a form of self-punishment. They feel on some level, “this is what I deserve for what I did to my baby.”

Couples having marital problems may not understand that those problems are rooted in a previous abortion as they struggle with intimacy, trust, communication, sexuality and parenting issues. One who has participated in an abortion can struggle to feel worthy of the love of another person. Without healing, couples can experience serious dysfunction, and even divorce. The past abortion is like a ticking time bomb in the marriage relationship.

These wounds, furthermore, affect the living children they have. Dysfunctional marriages can lead children to seek love and attention outside the home. They may seek this attention and consolation in ways that are self-destructive.

The good news is that healing is possible. It requires, first of all, breaking the silence. There is no such thing as a “private abortion.” This is made clear in a new book by Legatus member Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More. Called Shockwaves: Abortion’s Wider Circle of Victims, this book traces the multifaceted relational wounds of abortion on a person’s family and beyond (see www.ShockwavesTheBook.com).

Marriage preparation programs need to open the door to talking about past abortions, and resources like Rachel’s Vineyard (a ministry of Priests for Life) are ready to lead couples through the healing needed to strengthen their marriage. In short, a key to strengthening marriage is promoting awareness of the wounds of abortion and the healing that can follow.

FR. FRANK PAVONE is National Director for Priests for Life – the largest ministry in the Catholic Church focused exclusively on ending abortion. Learn more at www.ProLifeCentral.com.

Making ‘Room at the Inn’

Side-by-side on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana, two buildings are in a life and death standoff. In the brick Planned Parenthood building, patient services center around impairing a woman’s reproductive system. Six recovery rooms remain vacant awaiting a license to perform abortions. “We definitely built this so we can provide abortions,” CEO of the abortion giant, Cecile Richards, announced last year.

Immediately beside it to the east, standing taller and brighter is the shiny glass building, Hope Woman’s Clinic, offering a full range of health care for the entirety of the woman, mind, body and soul. And in the heart of the building is the St. Clare Blessed Sacrament Chapel where daily Mass is offered and the power of Jesus Christ emanates to the staff to treat women of any faith and to build a culture of life.

Planned Parenthood opened for business last May, over a year later than projected, thanks to construction delays that Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans helped create. He had warned that any person or business helping with the Planned Parenthood building would not work for the Archdiocese. “We cannot cooperate with evil,” he stated.

Prime Location – Beside Planned Parenthood

The Hope Woman’s Clinic opened directly next door in October of this year. They do not want to just steal customers; they want to care for women in a way to prevent them from ever turning to Planned Parenthood.

According to the chief executive officer and attorney Angie Thomas, “The Hope Woman’s Clinic is unique in that we have paired together a full-service women’s clinic with an outreach to women in unplanned pregnancies.”

She explained that it is an extension of the Woman’s New Life Center (WNLC), which has expanded and flourished in large part due to the support of many Legates. “We can’t do this work without their help,” she said. “We don’t get half a billion dollars in government funding, and this is not a lucrative business.”

Helping Women and Children Thrive – A Brief History

In 2001, WNLC opened in New Orleans around the corner from an abortion facility, offering counseling and resources to women in unplanned pregnancies. When Hurricane Katrina shut down the abortion business in 2005, WNLC relocated right next to another abortion business in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

The new center proved that location, location, location, is key. Many babies survived because their abortion-minded mothers took a detour after seeing signs for counseling and information, or they were handed brochures explaining the truth. That same formula for success continued when a second WNLC opened in Baton Rouge immediately next to another abortion provider.

In 2015, WNLC expanded their health care services to open Hope Woman’s Clinic in the Metairie location. The expanded services included routine wellness exams and reproductive health solutions, even teaching natural family planning. When the Metairie abortion business closed and Planned Parenthood began building in New Orleans, the Hope Woman’s Clinic followed close behind. The land adjacent to Planned Parenthood was donated for the Hope Woman’s Clinic 5,800-square-foot building, and $2.2 million was raised through a fundraising campaign.

Better Care Promotes Total Well-Being

“By meeting women where they are at and becoming their medical provider, we help them to understand their bodies and to flourish,” Thomas said. “Everything we do is in line with the Church. She explained that the clinic’s doctor, Susan Caldwell, is a primary care physician trained in NaPro Technology which stands for Natural Procreative Technology, a new way to diagnose and treat reproductive and gynecological health that is effective, scientific and moral.

Caldwell previously worked for 10 years in an outpatient clinic. Once she learned that hormonal contraception–whether prescribed for birth control or a physical problem— was bad medicine, she became committed to helping women find a better way. “NaPro gives us a way to read a women’s signs to design a diagnostic strategy to bring healing for things like polycystic ovarian disease and endometriosis,” Caldwell said.

She explained that women are cared for beyond their reproductive cycles to include the whole person—from cholesterol and blood pressure to anxiety or depression. “We are focused on showing other doctors and patients that this is better care,” she said. “It can be done.”

There are certainly challenges to thinking, such as when mothers bring their teenage daughters in for birth control, women needing treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, or the case of an exotic dancer worried about her health since she had relationships with multiple partners but with no pregnancies. “We invite the women to think differently about themselves and about sex,” Caldwell said. “We give them the message: ‘You can make a better choice. You can better understand your body and your dignity and decide not to let someone hurt you with an STD or unplanned pregnancy.’” She also helps women to understand that sex and babies go together and that the well-being of the baby is important.

Spiritual Compassion

Father Joseph Doyle is the rector of the Josephite seminary in Washington, D.C. but had served as one of three chaplains for the New Orleans Legatus Chapter for 15 years, was the principal of the all-black St. Augustine High School, and also volunteered with WNLC and
Hope Woman’s Clinic.

“Often women came to see us instead of going into the abortion clinic and then came back later with their babies,” Father Doyle said. He recalled a woman who came out of the abortion facility in tears because they would not accept her credit card. “A prayer warrior asked her why she was crying and invited her to our clinic,” Father Doyle said. “She ended up keeping her baby.”

Legate Advocacy and Support

Father Doyle described abortion as the defining issue of our time and credited Legatus as being an organization with a passion for life offering important support. Many from the New Orleans chapter have been involved.

David Lukinovich, president of the Baton Rouge Chapter and owner and president of Lukinovich Law (APLC), a law firm specializing in wealth conservation planning, said that he and his wife Kim first listened to Susan Mire, the founder of the WNLC, at a Legatus chapter meeting. “She talked about how entrepreneurship is part of the Gospel message,” he said. “She also shared her vision for crisis pregnancy centers.”

Lukinovich explained that things quickly fell into place from the start. “For instance, Susan prayed to the Blessed Mother for a phone system and the next day, Legate Steven Hubbell offered her a phone system that he no longer needed.” Lukinovich helped set up the WNLC as a 501(c)3 and was instrumental in land and building purchases.

Legates Jack and Anne Dardis have opened their home to a woman who comes to train natural family planning instructors and they had a group of medical professionals from Costa Rica stay with them during their training. According to Jack, advocating for life is a core value. “If we get a change there, we will have more people and more opportunity for money and help going to social justice causes.”

Gordon and Ann Stevens were involved with WNLC from the very beginning. Ann, a former Right to Life president of New Orleans, met Susan Mire while WNLC was still just an idea.

“This is a grassroots movement,” Ann explained. “There are so many people committed to life in New Orleans because the Catholic faith is strong here, although it crosses to other faiths.”

To her, a sign that God is supporting their pro-life efforts is that despite the expense and scarcity of land in the areas where the abortion businesses have located, they have been able to move right next door. “God knows this problem is far greater than we can solve, but he wants us to be there to represent hope,” Ann said. “It’s His plan; we just have to show up.”

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG is a Legatus contributing writer.

Moral magnanimity is legendary

Because of their affection for St. Aphonsus Liguori, a certain Pennsylvania couple, devout in their Catholic faith, named their son after him. And the young Alphonsus Liguori Casey (1893-1956) learned about hardship and poverty at an early age. He was orphaned when he was 11. To support his brothers and sisters, he worked as a mule boy in the anthracite coal mines of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He labored during the day and studied at night. Alphonsus never forgot the lessons he learned in his youth. He graduated from high school and in his 30s earned a law degree and set up a law practice representing miners in their claims against the company.

Dr. Donald DeMarco

His son Robert achieved enough distinction in his life to justify writing an autobiography (Fighting for Life) in which he recalls his earliest memories of the scarred hands of his father. He revered the legacy that Alphonsus brought to him from the mines of Scranton that included a visceral identification with the weak and the endangered. Abortion, he would say, is not a question of when life begins. It is a question of when love begins. “No insignificant person was ever born,” he stated, “and no insignificant person ever dies.” He asserted that his Democratic Party’s position on abortion “is inconsistent with our national character,” and that it can “never prosper if it does not protect the powerless—before and after birth.”

After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1953, he received a law degree from George Washington University three years later. He became governor of the state of Pennsylvania in 1986. Four years later, he was re-elected, defeating a pro-choice Republican by more than a million votes while carrying 66 of 67 counties. It the largest margin of victory in Pennsylvania gubernatorial history. While governor, he did as much as he could to protect the unborn given the tight restrictions of Roe v. Wade. “In this country, the greatest country in the world,” he stated, “every child deserves to be born.” Planned Parenthood sued over his state’s Abortion Control Act and the case was heard by the United States Supreme Court (Planned Parenthood v. Casey). The 1992 decision, which Casey called “a victory for the unborn child,” affirmed the legality of a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion, informed consent about health risks for women seeking abortion, parental consent for minors seeking abortion, and detailed record keeping on the abortion industry.

Casey was shunned by his own Democratic Party. At the 1992 Democratic convention in New York, he was kept from the podium by the Clinton-Gore ticket. After being rejected as a speaker at the 1986 Chicago convention, Casey demanded that “those who believe in the right to life be accorded the right to speak.” The ill treatment given to him by his own party embarrasses and contradicts its alleged commitment to fairness, democracy and social justice issues.

Casey aspired to run for the presidency in 1996, but his health was waning. He had bypass surgery in 1989. Four years later he underwent a rare heart-liver transplant. In the aftermath of a remarkable recovery, which extended his life and his trials by seven years, The New York Times dubbed him a “folk hero” for his courage and determination. His autobiography won the 1997 Christopher Award.

On May 30, 2000 Robert Casey passed from this world. Princeton University’s Robert George lamented the loss, stating that “the pro-life movement has lost a champion, the Democratic Party its conscience, and American politics a model of principled statesmanship.” He was survived by his wife, four sons, four daughters, and 20 grandchildren.

It takes a man of humility to be a man of magnanimity. This is the central irony of the moral law. The man of pride can neither see straight nor love right. There is a moral line that flows from a St. Alphonsus Liguori to a young Scranton coal miner and his numerous descendants that offers us the hope that humility will one day save the world.

DR. DONALD DEMARCO is a senior fellow of Human Life International, professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University (Waterloo, Ontario) adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College (Cromwell, CT), and regular columnist for St. Austin Review. His books, including How to Remain Sane in a World That Is Going Mad, are available through Amazon.com.

 

Discerning Bio-advances with a Catholic Lens

At no time in history has the line separating good and evil been so blurred. It is especially so in the fields of science and medicine where the lines are vanishing while the right to conscience is being legislated away.

When evil poses as ‘care’

Discovery, relieving suffering, finding cures…these were once understood as absolute goods. However, when ending suffering means ending lives on both ends, and curing diseases happens through experimentation on embryos and designer genes, and when discovery means playing God, then evil masquerades as good.

“The Catholic Church has a vitally important role in helping people distinguish between morally appropriate and inappropriate uses of biotechnology and medicine,” Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, explained in an interview with Legatus. He noted that many people are grateful for the way the Church articulates well-defined positions on moral questions.

Church guidance at forefront

Although the Church may reflect for some time to identify important considerations and guiding principles in the biosciences, Fr. Pacholczyk said that even with this slow and deliberative process, the Church stays well ahead of the curve. “For example, by the time of the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1996,” he said, “the Catholic Church had already been reflecting on the question of human cloning for many years, and concluded, nine years prior to Dolly, that human cloning would be morally unacceptable in an important document called Donum Vitae (On the Gift of Life).”

When the first test tube baby was born in 1978, the serious moral concerns raised by the procedure had already been spelled out 22 years earlier, by Pope Pius XII, in his 1956 Allocution to the Second World Congress on Fertility and Human Sterility. The Pope concluded: “As regards experiments of human artificial fecundation ‘in vitro,’ let it be sufficient to observe that they must be rejected as immoral and absolutely unlawful.” The Church’s stance was explained in greater detail later in Donum Vitae, as well as in various other statements and addresses, according to Fr. Pacholczyk.

“The Church is one of the last remaining voices in our culture to remind us of the most basic truths about sexuality, how new human life must be procreated in the warmth of the marital embrace and in the protective hearth of the maternal womb, not in the icy, impersonal world of the research laboratory, or the manipulative setting of a Petri dish,” he said.

Science often unheeded

Charles LiMandri, a Legate with the San Diego Chapter, is the President and Chief Counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, (FCDF) a nonprofit law firm that defends constitutional liberties, conscience rights and the sanctity of human life. He and his wife Barbara are also the parents of five children. According to him, the culture has gotten extremely aggressive, pushing a liberal agenda in which science is often ignored in the case of gender issues, or used in immoral ways such as with experimentation on embryos.

“A lack of respect for the sanctity of life and separating the procreative from unitive aspect of sexuality has fueled many unethical practices,” LiMandri said. “Once it is just about pleasure rather than cooperating with God’s natural law, it really is a slippery slope.”

Courts bully Catholics

According to LiMandri, the far left uses the courts as the least representative form of government to take away the right of Catholics to follow Catholic teaching. “Many of these appointed judges can use the force of law to make Catholics, Christians and other individuals follow their liberal agenda, with the threat of serious repercussions,” he said. “The opposition will stop at nothing to force the Christian community to accept their agenda carte blanche.”

LiMandri writes about many of these issues at Alumni for Catholic USD, a page he started to promote the truth after his Catholic alma mater, the University of San Diego held a drag queen contest.

Inspired into bioethics, genetics by JPII

Marilyn E. Coors, Ph.D., a Legate in the Denver Chapter, is an associate professor of ethics in genetics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. When she and her husband Peter sent the youngest of their 6 children to school, Coors returned to school also, receiving a masters in cytogenetics and another in ethics and religion, a Ph.D. in bioethics and a post-doctoral fellowship in bioethics and human medical genetics.

“It was a quote from JPII, that we should infiltrate the bastions of science with the word of God, that became my inspiration while I was going to school,” Coors said. According to her, the field of bioethics is changing quickly and posing many challenges.

“Genetic science and technology have advanced tremendously from the first decoding of the human genome in 2001 to 17 years later being able to edit it in specific ways,” Coors said. “The Church, through teachings of JPII and Pope Benedict, endorses the use of genetics to treat and cure disease, but editing genes has significant concerns for both science and religion.”

Mushrooming bio-quandaries

Everything from bioterrorism that could impact the environment, to gene editing in order to hardwire babies for desirable traits, has serious moral implications, according to Coors. She also pointed out that for humans, editing genes at the embryonic level, which involves fertilizing eggs in test tubes, is illicit.

Experimentation on human gene editing is just beginning. This past July, experiments were done on embryos to edit out the fatal gene for cardiomyopathy, then they were destroyed. Coors pointed out that a potential risk with this kind of technology is that insurance companies will refuse to cover conditions that could have been edited out.

Have a personal advocate

Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, became involved in bioethics and defending personal rights after witnessing firsthand the harm that judges, political figures and bioethicists can have on vulnerable people like his sister Terri who had her lifesustaining nutrition removed by a judge. “I realized that my vocation was advocating for medically vulnerable persons,” he said. “Before that, I assumed that physicians would want to care for disabled people like my sister rather than fatally starve and dehydrate them. It opened my eyes.”

Schindler is in the second year of a masters program in bioethics at the University of Mary to expand on years of practical experience advocating for his sister and more than 2,500 medically vulnerable patients and their families. “Ethics committees and the courts are imposing their values and medical determinations on whether a patient receives medical treatment, rather than the directives of family members,” he said.

Medical decisions are often made based on cost, Schindler said.

“Simply put, the heath provider is making medical decisions with their best interest in mind—which is cost containment dictated with the accountants more in mind than God— rather than the patient’s best interest,” he said. According to him, the physician’s principle to “do no harm” has come to be re-interpreted as to hasten death for patients.

“Ultimately, there’s no silver-bullet solution to the bioethical challenges we face,” he said. “The best protection for each and every one of us is to have heroic advocates in our lives who will fight for our basic care.”

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG, who wrote the newly published book, Legatus @ 30, is an award-winning author and Catholic journalist, TV and radio commentator, and mother of 10.

Catholic Bioethics Resources

Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 5th edition
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2009)

Dignitas personae (Instruction on Certain Bioethical Questions)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (June 20, 2008)

Address to an International Conference on Organ Donation
Pope John Paul II (August, 2009)

Fides et ratio (Faith and Reason)
Pope John Paul II (September 14, 1998)

Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life)
Pope John Paul II (March 25, 1995)

Veritatis splendor (The Splendor of Truth)
Pope John Paul II (August 6, 1993)

Donum vitae (The Gift of Life)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (February 22, 1987)

Declaration on Euthanasia
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (May 5, 1980)

Redemptor hominis (The Redeemer of Man)
Pope John Paul II (March 4, 1979)

Humanae vitae (Of Human Life)
Pope Paul VI (July 25, 1968)

Address to the First International Congress on the Histopathology of the Nervous System
Pope Pius XII (September 13, 1952)

IronMan runs world-epic for kids’ mental wellness

Seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Jonathan Terrell believes he is up to the challenge.

Mid-lifer takes on world in a week

“People have done it before, so I know it’s not impossible,” said Terrell, 55, a charter member of Legatus’ Washington, D.C. Chapter.

This coming January, Terrell will be competing in the World Marathon Challenge. In one week, participants run seven marathons on all seven continents, beginning at Novo Base in Antarctica, located in the Antarctic Circle.

Assuming there are no injuries or setbacks during training or the actual competition, Terrell will then run a combined 157.2 miles over six days in South Africa, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Colombia and Miami. Terrell’s week will consist of running and catching chartered flights.

“When he told me, I was like, ‘Are you crazy? That doesn’t even make sense,’” said Christine Terrell, Jonathan’s wife.

Parallels of endurance, spiritual strength

From late September to early December, Jonathan will run a marathon every week to prepare himself.

“I’ve put this out there, so it would be too embarrassing not to finish,” he said. “Even if I have to crawl the last one, I’ll finish it.”

Terrell is running in the World Marathon Challenge to raise awareness and funds for children’s mental health services at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., a cause dear to his heart. Terrell said he figured he could generate more media attention than running a simple 5K or regular marathon.

“There is still a tremendous prejudice and discomfort in society about talking about mental health issues,” Terrell said. “As a result, even though 1 in 5 children will have some kind of mental illness, they don’t get treated until many years after the symptoms start manifesting themselves.”

As a devout Catholic, Terrell also sees strong parallels between endurance running and the spiritual life. He quotes St. Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians how athletes train and deny themselves. Terrell also notes how the Apostle encouraged the faithful to run in such a way as to win the prize of eternal life.

“This kind of endurance activity is very much a metaphor for the spiritual life,” Terrell said.

“As we know it, in the spiritual life we constantly fall down, we set ourselves up to fail, but we get back up and we go to confession, we go to Mass, and we keep at it.”

Those spiritual insights have come as Terrell, who grew up in England in the Anglican Church, has matured in the faith he embraced when he entered the Catholic Church 20 years ago. The depth of his spirituality has developed through lessons he learned from attaining the disciplines needed to finish long-distance races.

“Just as the spiritual life is a process and a daily practice, not a one-time event, so it is with endurance sports,” he said. “It’s daily training, preparing for the races. There is a lot of discipline and delayed gratification, but also tremendous rewards that come from all that.”

The first time he ran a marathon, Terrell recounted the deep satisfaction he felt when he neared the finish line to applause, uplifting music, a cheering crowd and the announcer calling out his name.

“I had this flash like, ‘Is this what’s it’s like when you get to Heaven?’ From there, I was hooked.”

Day of awakening reprioritized everything

Terrell began running almost seven years ago. He remembered waking up one morning in January 2011 and finding himself to be in the worst shape of his life. As happens with many adults, the daily demands of being a married father with two young sons and running a consulting firm over time led Terrell to stop taking care of himself.

And he noticed that not tending to his physical health affected other areas of his life, even his spirituality and his mental state.

“I was the fattest I’ve ever been. I felt disgusting, and I felt miserable,” said Terrell, who around that time had read in his diocesan newspaper about an upcoming marathon for vocations and to support seminarians.

He decided to run in a half-marathon and trained for five months. He didn’t tell anyone until right before the race. He then signed up for his first marathon as a member of the diocesan vocations team and trained for another five months.

“I enjoyed being part of that team,” Terrell said. “I enjoyed going to Mass with them and running the race in that way.” The next day, he signed up for the London Marathon as a member of a Catholic Charities team.

“So very early on, this is connected to my faith,” he said. “I started using marathon running as a spiritual exercise.”

At his fifth or sixth marathon, Terrell dedicated the whole race to his pastor, who was ill at the time. Throughout all 26.2 miles, he said the rosary and prayed to a particular saint at every mile marker.

“I offered the whole thing up, that I might through my suffering, for at least a few hours, take away my pastors’ suffering,” Terrell said.

“Jonathan’s faith is very important to him,” his wife, Christine, said. “He lives his life and runs his firm based on his faith and the beliefs that come from our Catholic faith. He derives a lot of strength from his spirituality.”

Taking Catholic leap for life

Terrell decided to become Catholic when he was still a practicing Episcopalian in New York City. Also a talented musician, he sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and described being moved by the homilies given by Cardinal John O’Connor, the late archbishop of New York who was staunchly pro-life.

Since he was a child, and even during his teen and young adult years when he considered himself an atheist, Terrell believed deeply in the pro-life movement. He could never understand the arguments against the unborn child’s humanity. And when he learned that his Episcopal Church had a pro-choice position on the issue, Terrell said he could no longer in good conscience continue on in that church.

His dedication to the pro-life movement is an asset to Live Action, a pro-life organization where Terrell serves on the governing board. Lila Rose, the founder and president of Live Action, said Terrell inspires her.

“I think Jonathan brings an intense focus on the things that matter most,” Rose said. “He often asks me, ‘Lila, what’s the next big thing? What’s the number-one thing we need to accomplish?’ That very intense focus is something he brings to Live Action, to his business and to his incredible workout routine.

“I like to say I’ve learned a lot of business tips from Jonathan. I can’t say I’ve picked up his workout routine,” Rose said. “I’m embarrassed when I can tell him I ran a couple of miles and he just ran 20 that morning.”

IronMan for God

To date, Terrell has run in 19 marathons, multiple triathlons and two full IronMan competitions, where participants run a full marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and a 112-mile bicycle ride.

“It’s something to run a marathon, but imagine running a marathon after doing all that?” said Christine, who added that she and the couple’s sons, ages 12 and 14, have planned family vacations around marathons and have accompanied Jonathan to races in Paris, Rome and England.

Terrell, who trains between 20 to 25 hours a week, said he tries to involve his family as much as possible, adding that the support system is vitally important. Running may seem like a solitary sport, but he said it takes a team to be successful. “I feel physically healthy which makes me feel more spiritual healthy, and as I’ve become more spiritually healthy, I feel even more physically healthy,” Terrell said. “It’s all kind of a virtuous cycle.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755)

Patron of Expectant Mothers
Feast Day: October 16
Canonization: December 11, 1904

St. Gerard Majella, the patron of expectant mothers, was born in 1726 in Muro Lucano, Italy. He grew up in poverty, with a great respect for the poor. At 23, Gerard joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and three years later became a professed Redemptorist lay brother.

Gerard was esteemed for his great piety and wisdom, and for his mystical gifts of reading consciences, levitation and bilocation.

Shortly before his death, he encountered a young girl bringing him a handkerchief he had dropped. He said, “Keep it – you may need it someday.” Years later, the girl married, became pregnant and was on the verge of losing her child in labor when the handkerchief was placed upon her, immediately abating her pain and enabling a healthy birth.

Gerard also kept silent when an unmarried woman accused him of being her child’s father. His example led her to feel remorse and recant the accusation.

Dying from tuberculosis at 29, his last will consisted of a small note on his cell door that read, “Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.”

Systematically exterminating the disabled

Back in the dark days of the 1930s and 1940s an evil regime, inspired by the relativist ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, sought to breed a master race, practicing eugenics to eliminate those it considered subhuman (untermenschen), including the weak and the disabled. Today, many countries have resurrected the dark days of the past, using eugenics to exterminate “unfit” human beings in the womb.

Joseph Pearce

In Iceland, according to a report on CBS in August, a final solution to the problem of children with Down Syndrome has been found. In that country, which has clearly slipped back into the dark ages of eugenic barbarism, all children with Downs are systematically exterminated in the womb. About 85 percent of expectant mothers undergo prenatal testing, and close to 100 percent of those women choose to abort if their child is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Only two children with Down Syndrome are born in Iceland each year. What are we to make of a culture in which almost every mother chooses to kill her own baby if the child in the womb is disabled?

Although Iceland might be the worst, things aren’t much better elsewhere. In Europe as a whole, 92% of mothers choose to “terminate” their child with Down Syndrome, while in the United Kingdom the figure is 90%. Things are marginally better in the United States where more than twothirds of women choose to give their child death instead of life, though some studies indicate that as many as 90% of American women make this dark choice.

In France, a pro-life video was banned by the government because it shows children and adults with Down Syndrome speaking cheerfully of the happy lives they’re living. The sight of smiling children was deemed offensive because it might “disturb the conscience” of those who chose to exterminate their own child with Downs. Again, what are we to make of a culture in which the government encourages women to kill their own “unfit” children but won’t allow anything to “disturb their consciences”?

In truth, and now it’s confession time, this whole issue is very close to home for me and my family because our own son, Leo, has Down Syndrome. He is the happiest and most carefree member of the family – and a veritable joy at the very heart of our home. I have many photographs of him smiling sweetly, which I would presumably be banned from publishing in France. He is happy and we are happy because we have chosen to love him and accept him. He is a gift, not in any trite sense of the word, but in the real sense that we have been given something very special which has changed all our lives for the better.

Leo is a pearl of great price because he is a pearl of wisdom, not his own wisdom, which his disability prevents him from having, but in the wisdom that he has bestowed upon us by being who he is.

I am reminded of the words of someone who told me that most of us are here to learn but some of us are here to teach. Those with Down Syndrome are here to teach. We have learned so much from our son about the meaning of love, and the blessings that come from the sacrifices that love demands. Without him we would be so much the poorer because we would not have the riches of wisdom that he has given us.

I thank God for the gift of our son, Leo Patrick Pearce, a gift that my wife and I don’t deserve. Domine, non sum dignus . Lord, I am not worthy that you should have bestowed such a wonderful gift on me, a sinner. Might I praise you every day for your goodness to me, my wife and our daughter in giving us such a blessing.

JOSEPH PEARCE is senior editor at the Augustine Institute and editor of the St. Austin Review. His latest book is Heroes of the Catholic Reformation (Our Sunday Visitor).

Fiat to the gift of life

October, dedicated at Legatus magazine as our pro-life issue, finds Legatus having just returned from a pilgrimage with 55 legates to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There is such beauty and symbolism in the tilma of Juan Diego. Through historians of the Church and ancient Indian culture, we learn that this is not an ordinary depiction of Mary, the mother of God. Rather, this is the reflection of Mary, pregnant with the baby Jesus. The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is incredibly moving and one to which, I believe, we can all relate.

Stephen Henley

Proudly, I have been a part of this movement since before I was born. In grade school, I was entered into a letter writing competition on behalf of my grade school because of my pro-life story that I happened to write about in school. We all have a pro-life story that we must share. It is through powerful personal testimonies that we convert, teach, and provide inspiration and support to our fellow comrades. I’d like to share mine with you here.

I am the youngest of seven. Number six in my family was stillborn: the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and suffocated him. Despite my mother’s instinct, the doctor insisted there were no problems and she had just had “a lot” of babies and could not feel the kicking as well. Despite her instincts and insistence with the doctor, she trusted her doctor. As it turned out, she was right and Thomas was stillborn. Early on in her pregnancy with me, she again felt something was wrong. She went to the doctor, who identified cervical cancer. Unfortunately, the doctor’s recommendation, as it is so often in situations such as these, was abortion.

My mom, as one of 12 in her own family and already having given birth to six children herself, replied with an emphatic “no.” The doctor insisted that her life would be severely at risk if she kept the child — me. My mom’s outlook, however, was that this baby was a “gift” because had she not been pregnant, the cancer would have spread and who knows when it would have been identified. When I was born, she chose Matthew as my middle name, which comes from the Greek, meaning “gift.”

We all have stories and we need to share them. In the 2015 Respect Life Statement from Cardinal Sean O’Malley, he wrote: “Absolutely nothing can diminish our God-given dignity, and therefore, nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives. Others may fail to respect that dignity — may even try to undermine it — but in doing so, they only distance themselves from God’s loving embrace. Human dignity is forever.” I’m humbled and proud not only of my own mother’s respect for the dignity of human life, but to be associated with so many others who so fiercely believe the same. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

 

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director. 

New law to protect preborn from abortive pain

During the Presidential Campaign of 2016, candidate Donald Trump wrote to me and several other national prolife leaders asking us to be part of a “Pro-life Advisory Coalition” that the campaign was forming to assist Mr. Trump and his team to formulate policy priorities for the Pro-life cause.

Fr. Frank Pavone

That coalition now advises the president and his team.

His letter outlines several very specific commitments which represent key priorities for the pro-life movement. He has been following through on every one of them, such as putting a pro-life Justice on the Supreme Court.

Among those commitments was also to sign a piece of legislation that represents the next significant step in ending abortion. It is a measure which has already been enacted in various states and indeed already introduced in Congress. Crafted by our friends at National Right to Life, it is called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and it would protect the lives of children in the womb from 20 weeks of development and beyond, because of their ability to feel pain.

A few important points to keep in mind about this legislation:

First, this is a measure that enjoys the support of a majority of Americans and their legislators. According to a January 2017 Marist poll, six in ten Americans support banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This includes even most people who call themselves “pro-choice!”

Second, the fact that the legislation does not protect every child in the womb does not mean we approve of earlier abortions, and neither does it absolve us of our responsibility to protect those whom our legislators are not willing to protect now. Every abortion is equally wrong and we are committed to protect every child. And when it comes to lateterm abortion, our legislators at the state and federal level are in fact willing to do so now – and so must we be.

Third, educationally, we always proceed from the more obvious to the less obvious. The name of this bill starts with the word “pain,” which everyone understands from experience. The pain of others evokes our compassion, and helps us identify with their humanity. This bill focuses on what abortion does to the unborn baby, and rather than simply regulating or de-funding abortion, it actually protects the babies from it.

The time is now for a measure like this to receive our full, enthusiastic support. As influential members of our local communities, we need to encourage our state and federal lawmakers to pass this particular measure. Remind them that our current abortion policy in America – allowing the killing of children throughout pregnancy — is among the most extreme in the world, and has never had majority support. As influential members of your parishes, urge your priests and lay leaders to educate the congregation about the pain children feel in abortion and the opportunity we have now to protect them.

And if the legislators who represent you embrace a pro-abortion position, challenge them publicly with a simple question: “Do you believe that healthy children carried by healthy mothers should be protected, in the latest stages of pregnancy, from painful dismemberment?” If a public official cannot answer that question with a clear “yes,” he or she does not belong in public office, and we need to say so.

Priests for Life is ready to assist you and your local chapters in pursuing this next crucial step in the protection of the unborn. To keep up on the latest developments and action alerts, and to help us make this a major campaign issue in the 2018 elections, sign up at www. StopAbortionNow.org.

FR. FRANK PAVONE, one of the most prominent prolife leaders in the world, has led the Priests for Life movement and its family of ministries since 1993. See PriestsForLife.org for more information.

Abortion and Addressing the Trauma of Sexual Assault

I recall once hearing a story about a philosopher who visited with a group of junior-high students at a private school in the Midwest. He had a discussion with them about ethics, and offered a few arguments to suggest that direct abortion was always unethical and unjust. A 14-year-old girl put up her hand and asked him if he would make an exception for rape in his position against abortion. He put the ball back into her court by asking her to carry out a kind of “thought experiment.” He asked her to consider the hypothetical case that her own father became a rapist: “If your dad goes out and rapes somebody, and we convict him of that rape in a court of law, do you think it would be right for us to then say, ‘OK, because your dad is guilty of that rape, we’re going to kill you, his 14-year old daughter?’” The girl and her classmates unanimously replied, “No.” He pursued the same line of logic a bit further, asking if it would be acceptable if, instead of 14 years old, she were only 2 years old, or 2 months old. Again, they said, “No.” Finally, he asked, “So how could I say that I’m going to let abortion happen because of rape? If I permit abortion because of rape, I am killing a child in the womb for a crime committed by his or her dad. Is that right?” His coherent and dispassionate approach helped the students appreciate the need to scrutinize their own assumptions and move beyond emotionalism when thinking about important ethical or bioethical issues.

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

Rape is an unconscionable crime and a tragedy of enormous proportions. If a woman becomes pregnant following sexual assault, abortion is sometimes offered as a path to “fixing” the rape. But the decision to encourage a second trauma after the first trauma of sexual assault represents, ultimately, a misguided response to a situation that needs to be handled with much greater sensitivity and compassion. When offering abortion to pregnant rape victims, there is often the idea in the back of people’s minds that a woman can “go back” to things as they were before the pregnancy. Yet one cannot “go back:” A new situation has arisen, where the woman is now a mother, and such a reality cannot be undone. It is also the case that a sexual assault has occurred, and that also cannot be reversed by having an abortion.

A kind of unexamined emotionalism and anger can arise in these situations, directed towards the child, even though the child conceived in rape is an innocent bystander, and a victim of the same awful set of circumstances as his or her mother. The child clearly ought not be treated as some kind of surrogate for the rapist. The real malefactor and culprit is always the rapist and never the child. The perpetrator of the crime needs to be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law.

We have a real obligation to reach out in love and acceptance to the woman who has been victimized, and when a child is conceived, she and her child need our loving assistance all the more. Sometimes an apparently compassionate solution may be offered which is, in fact, profoundly unethical. In tragic situations like sexual assault, it can be difficult to perceive the right lines, and to think with reason rather than emotions.

Oftentimes we may be tempted to imagine that a child conceived by rape would only serve as a reminder to the mother of the original traumatic event she had suffered, and that she would be “better off” without that reminder. Interestingly, however, in a study published in March of 2000, that conclusion was found to be invalid. David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie sifted through nine years’ worth of testimonies gathered by the Elliot Institute and Fortress International to get a true picture of the effects of abortion on a woman who had suffered from the trauma of rape, concluding: “The vast majority of the women (and their children) who responded advanced the view that abortion is NOT a good solution to sexual assault pregnancies and that it often leads to further physical and emotional trauma for the women. Conversely, none of the women who carried to term expressed regret that they had chosen to give birth or a wish that they had chosen abortion instead.”

In the final analysis, rape is unable to ever justify abortion, even though in every one of the more than 55 countries that now have abortion on demand, the initial step taken was intense lobbying for the availability of abortion in so-called “hard cases” — especially rape and incest. Of all abortions performed, 99.96% occur for reasons unrelated to rape, so the very rare exception has been carefully employed to provide cover for all other cases.

Playing the emotional card has been hugely successful in the public arena, reminding us of the urgent need for a more level-headed and dispassionate discussion of the real goods that are at stake. By respecting the life of the vulnerable and innocent child, we steer clear of the grave error in reasoning that tries to suggest that evil can justify further evil. Instead, the victims of sexual assault, both mother and child, deserve our unconditional love, acceptance, and support, rather than short-circuiting their challenging situation in favor of easy and inauthentic “solutions.”

REV. TADEUSZ PACHOLCZYK, PH.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did postdoctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the director of education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.