Friday, December 13, 2013

I was invited to reflect on the last 20 years of pro-life activity in Waco, Texas. I had intended to share the day and festivities with you, but life gets in the way often, eh

Although, my sons and I moved to Coppell in 2000, Waco and the work of the Gospel of Life has never left my heart.  You are remembered in my daily prayers and 
as I lead the Dallas diocese pro-life prayers each month at Planned Parenthood in Dallas, you are remembered in our prayers always.
I am always reminded of my roots in Waco-Waco is truly a good place to be from.

In 1992 when Planned Parenthood announced they were going to begin doing abortions in Waco-it shocked me, as many of you, to our cores.  Up to that time I of course considered myself very pro-life and made sure I preached a pro-life sermon the week of January 22nd to remember Roe v Wade.  Not much else. Up to 1992 I had only really talked to one person in a crisis pregnancy, so the whole abortion issue seemed so out of sight, out of mind.  Within a day my family set up shop with a prayer candle and Bibles to stand and silently pray that God would keep this horror from our community.
Within a month the ladies of my church did a very effective phone campaign to call every OB/GYN in Waco asking if they would do or refer a woman for abortions.  It was effective-the OB/GYN doctors on the board of the local Planned Parenthood made hasty retreats and later we joined with efforts to bring in Miss Carol Everett and started a Say No to Planned Parenthood campaign that had over 10,000 simple copied signs and then later an effective bumper sticker campaign.  The prayers continued there on Columbus Avenue, and we as a city kept them from performing a single abortion for two years. Thanks God.

Then in 1994 it Began-Please God-was the fervent prayer we began again across the city-that He would stop this horror from our city streets.  As a local pastor, I was privileged to invite and host first Rusty Thomas, and then later Operation Rescue National, Paul Vaughan, and many other heroes of the Rescue Movement to come to Waco and continuous Street prayers and even activism began in earnest in the streets of Waco, Texas. 

Miss Carol Everett
Miss Norma McCorvey
Jim Sedlak from STOPP and American Life League
Human Life International
Priests for Life
the CPLC and the White Rose from Dallas
the Liberty Bell and Dave and Phylis Hall---so many wonderful Heroes--so many more that a 5 minute clock does not allow to fully remember....

Some quick remembrances:
The Waco Project-seeing Chef Giovanni and his monthly meatballs and wonderful meetings grow out of this
The 100 Days of Waco--100 days of daily White Crosses placed on a different street corner throughout Waco each Summer from 1994-1999
The Tuesday Night Rosary-started by a simple Evangelical pastor who saw great value in established prayers at such places of Darkness
The live Baby Showers and the Baby Summer Wadding Pools--which brought such sharp contrast to why we were there and to what was happening inside
The founding of Bears for Life and a consistent pro-life presence at Baylor
Being the Kick off speaker at St Mary's in Bryan when they began their fight--seeing David Bereit and his good works grow out of that
The two windows broken out of my cars and the conversations they produced with the wrecking yard guy who fixed them for me
The all night vigils with the Liberty Bell
Seeing the actual children I have been introduced to who were actually saved from abortion-- grow up into such wonderful people-Thanks God
Knowing that Waco still had some who prayed, who cried, who tried to STAND JUST-who groaned and sighed against Injustice

Like St Athanasius who stood against the whole world-Contra Mondo-you STAND for the Gospel of Life against the Culture of DEATH.  Thank you dear wonderful Christians who gather in Waco and do what the hands and feet of Jesus have done in every place and every time-you are Running Well-continue to Run the Race with confidence that HE who has begun these good works in you will continue to the END.

I remain blessed and humbled by all your many good works and deeds, and that your zeal for the Lord and His House has consumed you.  I remember standing so many days alone in the sun during those 100 Days of Waco with those 33 White Crosses-wondering When God-when will you rise up your army of Life in this place, among these people?  You have answered so well and for so long now-Well done my friends, and May our Blessed Lord Jesus continue to lead you the next two decades as you answer each and every onslaught that is thrown at your dear town and continue to STAND JUST.

For Life,

Daniel Vinzant

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Pope and Syria: let us raise a strong cry for peace

Pope Francis General Audience September 5, 2013 1:40 length

Dear Daniel,

Brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter's Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God's great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

- Pope Francis

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Conversation at St Ann of Coppell Knights on August 1. 2013 from two articles from this week in the news

Conversation at St Ann Knights of Columbus, August 1, 2013 from this weeks news

Humanae Vitae at 45: An Epic War
Posted 7/30/13 at 12:56 PM

When Joseph Ratzinger stepped out on the balcony and became Pope Benedict XVI, I fell in love with him immediately. I actually felt a bit like
an unfaithful spouse: I had loved Pope John Paul II so much, how could I so quickly transfer my allegiance? I didn’t love Pope Francis
immediately, but I have come to do so quickly. Pope Francis is just the pope we need at this time. He never ceases
exhorting us to grow close to Christ and to take his message out to the world. He wants us to build the civilization of love so beautifully
described by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Sadly, for the last 45 years, there has been so much division within the Church that we have not been able to present a united front to the
world. That division began with the rejection by many of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), following its release in July 1968, 45 years
ago. It is scandalous but true that priests were trained not to teach the truths of Humanae Vitae. Since dissent spread to virtually every other teaching, Catholics have
been woefully ignorant of the teachings of their own Church. The internal battle is certainly not over, but orthodoxy has the energy of the
youth, a large number of bishops and most of the young priests on its side. There is also a plethora of theological and catechetical material, plus media resources and more and more educational institutions that train people well to take the battle beyond the borders of the Church. (A really good example of an innovative effort in that regard is the website

That is very good news — since we are engaged in a war of epic proportions. (Yet how much better equipped we would be to fight it, had we maintained a united front over all these decades.) Some of us saw long ago the connection between the use of contraception and the debilitating scourge of unwed pregnancy in our culture,
which is the source of the “need” for abortion, of the ubiquitous practice of promiscuous sex and of cohabitation. More are seeing the connection between single parenthood and the terrible cycle of poverty besetting a frightening portion of our population. More are even seeing the terrible health effects and environmentally bad
effects of contraception. These are a whole set of bad consequences that have been accumulating for decades. But, in a way, even
worse ones have sprung up in the last year or so. 

John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), famously called contraception a lie that falsifies the language of the body. The sexual act by its very nature “speaks” of the connection between sexual intercourse and the bringing forth of new life. The Father of Lies has exploited that
lie to advance a host of other vicious lies. The mainstreaming of same-sex relationships has been under way for two decades or so. The American voting
public has resisted the legalization of same-sex “marriages,” but the “gay agenda” received a huge boost from the recent Supreme Court decision that dictated that states have the “right” to recognize same-sex “marriages.” 

Healthy people in healthy cultures have a natural revulsion to the thought of same-sex sexual acts, but that natural revulsion has been eroded by the fact that, for decades, our culture has made contracepted sex the norm. Contracepted sex, by removing the baby-making possibility from the sexual act, has led our culture to
embrace the idea that sex is just for recreation between individuals who are attracted to each other. No openness to children, no love or commitment is expected.
Currently, we hold that sex should be between only two relatively adult persons (of either sex), but soon logic will demand that we accept polygamous marriages and sex between adults and minors: If sex is just a physical pleasure and if marriage is whatever we say it is, we can’t say “No” to any sexual relationships or any
legal arrangements. Contracepted sex is itself deviant sex and thus paves the way for acceptance of other deviant sexual practices. Since we buy the lie that sexual relations are necessary to happiness, despite the overwhelming evidence that that is a lie, we don’t want to deny happiness to those who experience same-sex attraction — to our siblings, our children, our friends and co-workers. We love them and want the best for them. Yet the fact is that sexual relationships not rooted in indissoluble, faithful, heterosexual marriages welcoming to children generally result in heartbreak and misery.

Acts opposed to the natural law and revealed law offer only an allusion of happiness. But already many of our schools are teaching that same-sex relationships are equal to heterosexual ones and that people who oppose same-sex “marriages” are motivated by hate — the lie concocted by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Supreme
Court’s June 26 overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. It is telling that the battle for religious liberty in this country is being fought over a government mandate that
religious employers pay for contraception. Contraception, which cures no physical maladies and promotes individual sexual irresponsibility and societal ruin, is now considered so essential to our well-being that it is the only “health” care measure provided for free!

Our bishops have courageously and energetically fought the HHS mandate, but their task is made much more difficult by the fact that most Catholics have used contraception and do not understand or accept the Church’s condemnation of it. Pope Francis is tireless in his exhortations that we must live and preach the truth and also be aware that the devil will make every attempt he can to thwart our efforts. Again, among the worst evils of our day are the breakdown of the family, poverty, the acceptance of homosexual relationships and the growing hatred and suppression of religious belief. The rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception contributes mightily to the growing presence of these evils. Forty-five years after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, we must make teaching the truths of Paul VI’s
encyclical a priority of the New Evangelization. I pray that the day will come when the world at large realizes how lost it is concerning wisdom about sexual
morality. The Church really does possess the truth about sexual morality. Its members must be prepared to share that wisdom with the world.

Janet E. Smith, Ph.D., holds the
Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics
at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit

Ireland’s abortion bill the result of 40 years of bad moral theology: priest/professor

by Hilary White
Mon Jul 29 4:43 PM EST

DUBLIN, July 26, 2013 ( – The success of the Fine Gael/Labour Party abortion bill is due to the failure of the Catholic Church in Ireland to coherently and robustly present its teachings, a leading Irish moral theologian has said. According to Fr. Vincent Twomey, abortion has been all but legalised in Ireland because in the last 50 years, the Church has failed to articulate a moral and philosophical alternative to the left/liberal political and social agenda.

Fr. Twomey told LifeSiteNews that the result of the abortion debate in Parliament was due to a new kind of moral theology, taught in Irish seminaries since the close of the Second Vatican Council, which is “radically at variance with church teaching.” It is a moral theology that “denies there are any moral actions, even abortion, that are intrinsically wrong.” 

In a recent op-ed in the Irish Times, Fr. Twomey had written that this new kind of moral theology has placed individual conscience above the moral law, “allowing Catholic politicians to put political expedience above their ‘private’ moral convictions.” 

In his 2002 book, “The End of Irish Catholicism?” the theologian posed the question of why the Catholic Church in Ireland has been “unable to meet the challenges of the modern age… the onslaught of secularisation, the onslaught of relativism, etc.” 

“I said it was because we have no tradition of serious, reflective theological study. The faith had become something you picked up as a child; you took it for granted. That encouraged conformism. And what we’ve done now is simply to exchange one form of conformism for another,” he told LSN.  

He closely followed the passage of both the government’s gay “marriage” and abortion bills, and pointed to the same cause ultimate for both. It has been a decades-long work by the liberal faction in the Church, in conjunction with outside elements in the media and the political sphere, “to undermine the moral life of the people.” 

“They’ve been working on this for the last 40 years at least,” he said. 

“People would never be outright pro-abortion,” he said, but without clear moral teaching, “they’re left not quite sure what they’re against or how to make effective arguments against it.” This has been encouraged by trends among “priests, bishops and moral theologians, to say ‘these are just private issues; they shouldn’t impinge on the public domain.’” 

This has come at the same time as a deliberate rejection of the Church as a leading force in society. “What I think has happened in Ireland over the last thirty years, has been an adolescence, a rejecting of the domination of the Church and an attempt to ‘do it our own way’ and to catch up with what all the so-called progressive nations of the world are doing.” 

People were worn down by a strategy that started by portraying their moral convictions as “antiquated, outdated, not modern, not progressive.” But most significantly, the push started at the same time as the failure of the Church to vigorously respond to the claims of secular “liberalism,” leaving the people, including politicians, without intellectual defences. 

“If you are being constantly barraged with this pro-liberal agenda, it has to affect you eventually,” he said. 

This project has been greatly aided by the media that “adopted that agenda at least 35 years ago, and have been pushing through all these issues, divorce, contraception, euthanasia and ultimately same-sex ‘marriage’.” 

The easy passage of abortion legislation, he said, was achieved politically by a combination of factors, including the power of “obfuscation, ambiguity and deception”. “The bill’s wording was very ambiguous and cleverly designed. The word ‘child’ was never mentioned, nor was the word ‘abortion,’ but only ‘termination of pregnancy,’ which could mean direct abortion or indirect. The title of the bill was ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy’… it was all very Orwellian.” 

The confusion all this created allowed the government to convince skeptical TDs that direct abortion was not being legalised. “Representatives of the lower house, whose anti-abortion views were well known, were targeted by the abortion campaigners to convince them that there was no change in the law.” 

To this confusion and obfuscation was added the all-important factor of the dominant media consciously campaigning for legalisation. In particular, he said, they used the “tragic case of a beautiful Indian woman,” Savita Halappanavar, who died in a Galway hospital of sepsis while miscarrying. An inquest had found that an abortion would not have saved her life – and indeed that the law already provided for all the medical intervention she could have needed it. 

The entire process, Fr. Twomey said, was a “superbly orchestrated ploy to get the bill through,” a “manipulation of politics to achieve a certain end, and totally undemocratic, in my opinion.” 

He also laid part of the blame on the failings of the national character, saying that the Irish are “essentially a very pragmatic people.” With their long history of tragedy, famine, foreign domination and extreme poverty, he said, that “when the crunch comes, it is the economic element,” not moral issues, that will take hold of the public’s attention. 

“The Irish, because of their history of being browbeaten for centuries by the English… are tolerant even of intolerance. We’re a beaten people, quite frankly. If you bully us sufficiently we give in.” 

“People won’t like me saying this but I’m afraid it’s true.” 

But he also pointed to strong signs of hope, particularly in the action of the small group of Fine Gael TDs who defied enormous pressure from the party to oppose the abortion bill, “and suffered for it.” At least one of these, he added, has contacted him asking for a public discussion on the role of conscience in political life. 

He noted that one of the problems faced by the Irish hoping to turn the tide has been the failure of their Church to establish a “more vibrant” conservative moral alternative to the “dominant” liberal moral theology. This conservative subculture has grown in the US, bolstered by the papacy of Pope John Paul II and his successor, throughout the period following the 1960s social revolutions, but it failed to cross the Atlantic. It is only growing now in an Irish society just beginning to wake up to the consequences of unrestrained “progressivism.” 

“We haven’t got that far in Ireland yet, but that will come.” 

Overall, the debate on the bill has had some good effects in serving as “a wake-up call” on issues of conscience, he said. “The whole question of a free vote, which is very rare in Ireland, is related to the conscience issue – though they don’t use the term ‘conscience’. Quite a number of highly respected secular commentators have questioned the validity of a party whip on life and death issues, such as abortion,” he said. 

Among the hopeful signs in the Church, he said, is the appointment of “half a dozen new bishops in recent months” with a more orthodox approach, as well as strong signs of a genuine renewal in the religious life at the local parish level. These include “new youth movements beginning to spring up, who are enthusiastic about the faith,” “young orthodox theologians,” both clerical and lay, and the admittedly “very few” but “good vocations,” of young men for the priesthood who are aware that they are “swimming against the tide” and who will be “much more effective in the future.” 

“So, I’m full of hope for the future. I do believe that despite everything we have a very deep substratum of the faith in Ireland.” 

One of his greatest interests, he said, is to try to establish “a dialogue between those who believe and those who are searching for faith.” He described a renewal of interest and openness among those who have never been exposed to religious ideas or whose parents may have rejected their faith. 

“There’s a generation coming up now of people who have had no experience of the negative side of the Church. Who have been raised by parents who have lost the faith, who are much more open to truth and faith issues than their parents,” he said. 

“In time, once we recover our spiritual heritage, the spiritual richness of the Irish tradition, then we’ll have the future. But there’s a huge amount of work to be done.” 

Thursday, August 01, 2013
If you do not read anything else I write all year—Read this NOW-Please--the Indulgence given directly from Jesus to St Francis--you have till Sundown on the 2nd. And the first Sunday in August. (reprint from 8/01/08)

August 1, 2013


The Portiuncula indulgence, which we can gain every year on the first Sunday of August, we owe to the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Portiuncula or Portiuncula (in Latin) simply means small portion in Italian and refers to the wonderful Little Church of the Benedictines right outside of Assisi, Italy.
During the time of St. Francis it had fallen into terrible disuse and it was here while prostate before the Crucifix that Francis first heard the voice of his Beloved—“Build my Church, stone by stone, build it Stronger…” It was here that Francis first had his first of many experiences with Christ and Our Lady. It was here he received his first followers, were he received the Lady Clare as his first spiritual daughter and founder of the Poor Clares, were he received his wounds adoring Christ in the San Damiano Cross, and here where he died still ever before Our Lord.
The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to Lady Poverty, Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio river. Of all the many beautiful devotions that he gave to us or helped restore to the Church—his commendation of this place to his brothers was paramount.

During the night in July, 1216, Francis was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula devoured by love for God and a thirst to save souls. He prayed for the forgiveness of sins of mankind. Suddenly a brilliant light shone all around. In great splendor Jesus and Mary appeared in the midst of a dazzling cloud surrounded by a multitude of radiant angels. Out of fear and reverence, St. Francis adored Our Lord prostrate upon the ground. Then Jesus said to him: “Francis you are very zealous for the good of souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation.” St. Francis was rapt in ecstasy before Jesus.

When he regained his courage he said:"Lord, I a miserable sinner beg You to concede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, your Mother, intercessor of man that she intercedes on behalf of this grace." Our Lady at once began to beseech her son on behalf of Francis.”

"It is a very great thing that which you ask Me; but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to my Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on my behalf for this indulgence."

With one of his companions, Francis hastened to Pope Honorius III and prostrate implored him to proclaim that every one visiting the church and confessing their sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism. Honorius was astonished at this strange petition, and hesitated to grant it. But Francis said: "What I ask, I do not ask of myself; our Lord Jesus Christ sends me to you and commands me to make this request." The Pope having been convinced of the truth of his speech granted his petition and ordered that the little church should be solemnly consecrated and the indulgence proclaimed for the second day of August.
From that time pilgrims from all parts of the world flocked to the Portiuncula church in order to gain the indulgence, and numberless were the conversions which occurred at that shrine of grace. In order to make this indulgence more accessible to the faithful, the Popes subsequently extended it to all the churches of the Franciscans. Afterwards it was extended to all parish churches, and the first Sunday of August was appointed as the day for gaining it.

The date was set from vespers of the first of August until sundown on the second of August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. It is said that St. Francis was given this day by Our Lord because the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter celebrated on August first is the day Peter was released from prison and his chains removed. This is an extraordinary demonstration of God’s mercy in removing the chains of sin from those who devoutly and faithfully seek to gain the indulgence by completing its requirements.

The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi is (for oneself or for a departed soul) as follows:
-- Sacramental Confession to be in God’s grace (during eight days before or after.)
-- Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist
-- Recitation of The Apostles Creed, Our Father and a prayer for the Pope’s Intention.

The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to miss not only for yourself but for the many suffering souls in Purgatory.

Mark your calendar for the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels beginning on the First of August to August 2. Tell everyone of the magnitude of this gift. Once again, we see the unfathomable Divine Mercy of God. In the words of St. Francis: O my Brothers and Sisters, I want you all to go to Heaven!

“The Catholic faithful may gain a plenary indulgence on 2 August (the Portiuncula) or on such other day as designated by the local ordinary for the advantage of the faithful, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), by devoutly visiting the parish church, and there reciting at least the Lord's Prayer and the Creed. The Indulgence applies to the cathedral church of the diocese, and to the co-cathedral church (if there is one), even if they are not parochial, and also to quasi-parochial churches. To gain this, as any plenary indulgence, the faithful must be free from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. Where this entire detachment is wanting, the indulgence is partial.”

The Portiuncula indulgence is the first plenary indulgence that was ever granted in the Church. There were indeed indulgences at all times, but they were only partial, and only a partial remission of the temporal punishments could be obtained by them. But, as already remarked, he who gains the Portiuncula indulgence is freed from all temporal punishments and becomes as pure as after holy baptism. This was also the reason why Pope Honorius was astonished when St. Francis petitioned for the confirmation of this indulgence, for such an indulgence, up to that time, had been entirely unknown. It was only after he had come to the conviction that Jesus Christ himself wished it, that he granted the petition of the saint and confirmed the indulgence.

This indulgence is granted for all time to come, i. e., until the consummation of the world. In the primitive ages of Christianity it was not customary to grant indulgences for ever, they could be gained only during a certain period. It was with them as it is with our jubilee indulgences, which are limited to a certain time, and which, after the lapse of that space of time, cannot be gained. When St. Francis preached in the Portiuncula church in the presence of several bishops, and solemnly announced to the assembled people the indulgence granted by Christ and confirmed by his vicar on earth, the Pope, and added that this indulgence could be gained on the second day of August for all time to come, the bishops were shocked at this addition and would have it only for ten years. They therefore raised their voice and were going to say, only for ten years, but miraculously guided by God, they unanimously cried out, for all time to come! The Portiuncula, indulgence, which has already continued for more than six hundred years, will continue till the end of the world, and even shortly before the coming of Christ to judgment this indulgence could still be gained.

Finally, what distinguishes the Portiuncula, indulgence especially from all others is, that on the day on which it is granted, it can be gained not only once, but oftener. You can gain other indulgences only once on the same day, but the Portiuncula indulgence you can gain on the first Sunday of August, and that, too, as often as on that day you visit a church of the Franciscans, or the parish church, and there pray for some time according to the intention of the Holy Father. The Congregation of the Council has twice so decided, on the 17th of July, 1700, and again on the 4th of December, 1723. In fact, when doubts were submitted to the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences as to whether the faithful who visit a church of the Franciscans on the second Sunday of August can obtain the indulgence as often as the visit is repeated, the answer was in the affirmative, February 22nd, 1847, and it was declared at the same time that it is not necessary to receive Communion in any of the churches of the Franciscans. Pope Pius IX. confirmed these decisions by a decree of the same Congregation, dated July 12th, 1849.

It is indeed true that on one day we can gain a plenary indulgence for ourselves only once, but this does not interfere with the doctrine that the Portiuncula indulgence can be gained more than once on the same day, for we may apply it to the souls in purgatory, if we gain it the second and the third time, etc.

The Portiuncula indulgence then is a great grace of which we should avail ourselves every year. Try to gain it. See above all, that you make a humble, contrite and sincere confession, for a good confession is the first and most necessary requisite for the forgiveness of sins and the gaining of the indulgence.

Receive Holy Communion with the most profound humility and adoration.

Say the prayers for an indulgence with devotion and sentiments of repentance, according to the intention of the Holy Father, and relying on the merits of Jesus Christ, on the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis, and the other saints, beseech God with confidence to impart to you the indulgence and to deliver you from all temporal punishments.

Promise to be thankful to him for this grace all the days of your life by carefully keeping your conscience free from even small faults.

Visit the church several times and after repeating the prayers for an indulgence apply it to the poor souls that they may partake of the grace thereof. Thus the Portiuncula will be to you a key with which you will open heaven, both for yourselves and for many poor souls. Amen.

You and yours remain in my heart and in my prayers as we enter this lovely month of August. We will get through the heat of Summer and Septembers song will be here soon.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fear transformed becomes perfume by Fr Stefan

Fear is Dark Oil
At the Bottom of a pit
Fear can give you quite a fit
This oil is not just a boil
But the fuel
Fuel for what you say?
I will not keep you at bay
The greater the oil
You need not toil
This oil is the fuel
Fuel for what you say?
A spark of fire
Falls into the mire
A fire goes up
The oil burns burns burns
The spark of fire leaves its mark on the mire
The fire transforms the oil without much toil
Into a sweet perfume
A perfume that goes up to God with the scent of a rose
Fear is the oil
The fuel
That becomes the perfume that goes up to God

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Naming the 45 Babies Retrieved From the Gosnell Abortion Clinic--Please God-save a people for yourself, save a people from themselves

The trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is about much more than the man himself. In a painful way, it brings
America face to face with abortion, which, as the defense argued, is “bloody” and “real.”
For those who have had abortions, it brings them again in touch with a pain that is never really far away,
and it brings them in touch yet again with their need for healing. This is especially true when we see what
the Gosnell case has confronted us with: bodies of babies in bags and cartons in the freezer, severed feet
in jars, some 45 babies retrieved in a raid on the clinic and entrusted to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner.
As Pastoral Director of the world’s largest ministry for
healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, as well as of the
largest mobilization of those who speak out about their
abortions, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, I
have accompanied countless mothers and fathers on their
journeys of healing. And I have presided over the burials
of many aborted babies.
One of the key moments of that journey of healing after
abortion is when the parents name their child. The moment
is powerful and freeing. Up until then, the child was a victim
of de-humanization. Before we can kill, we have to
dehumanize. “This is not a child,” we lie to ourselves; or we
say, “This is not a child for whom I am responsible right
now.” In these or a thousand other ways, a veil of
dehumanization covers the child; a chasm is introduced between that child’s humanity and our awareness
of our need to respond to it with an unconditional acknowledgement and acceptance. But the time is not
right, the burden too great, and so we keep any semblance of the child’s humanity as far away from our
consciousness as we can.
And that is where the power of the name comes in.
People have names. One of the first things we do when coming into the presence of another person — or
even learning about their existence when apart from their presence — is to inquire as to their name. The
name expresses the person, it invites the presence of the person, it both calls and welcomes the person, it
acknowledges that there is something in common between the person and ourselves, and hence in
receiving their name we offer our own.

In the case of Dr. Gosnell, we have heard of the 45 babies retrieved from the clinic. And we have read the
Grand Jury Report and heard the witnesses speak of “Baby Boy A,” “Baby Boy B,” Baby C, D, E, F and G.
But now it’s time, in our collective journey through this nightmare, to connect with these children more
directly. It’s time to name the children. We have no evidence that anyone else has given them a name or
was interested in giving them a name. In fact, these babies were brought to an abortion facility to be killed
and then thrown away. The fact that their parents abandoned them does not give us permission to do so.
“Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me,” Scripture tells us (Psalm 27:10). “I have
called you by name, you are mine,” the Lord says (Isaiah 43:1). As Pope John Paul II wrote, “God … has
entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters” (Evangelium
Vitae, 76). From the point of view, then, that we are one human family called into being by God, these
children are also ours. And that’s why we can name them when nobody else has.
This is what Priests for Life has done. On Ascension Thursday, May 9, 2013, a simple ceremony was held
in the chapel at the headquarters of Priests for Life in Staten Island, NY. We heard the Word of God,
prayed for these babies, their families, and those who participated in their deaths. And we then named
them. I chose the name “Adam” for “Baby Boy A,” simply as a reminder that Adam, the first man ever
created, reminds us that in each man — and in each child — all humanity is somehow represented, and
that our response to that one person, whether acceptance or rejection, shapes our response to every
person. I named “Baby Boy B” Michael, to remind us of the struggle between good and evil that rages in our
culture and in our own mind and heart as we choose how we will respond to each person.
Most of the other names are gender-neutral, since we do not have information on the genders of most of
the babies.  
Moreover, the naming ceremony took place on this Feast of the Ascension, for on that day, the humanity
that the Lord Jesus took to the heights of heaven is the same human nature shared by all of us — rich and
poor, healthy and sick, born and unborn — and by all these babies. We remembered all the babies killed by
Dr. Gosnell, well beyond those found in his clinic, as well as the over 50 million children killed across
America since Roe vs. Wade declared they were not persons.
The names we gave to the 45 babies follow. We invite you to pray for them and their families, and for Dr.
Gosnell and his staff. We look forward, once receiving permission of the Medical Examiner, to give these
children a proper funeral and burial.

Names of the Gosnell Babies
From the Grand Jury Report: “The Philadelphia medical examiner analyzed the remains of 45 fetuses
seized from the clinic. Of these, 16 were first-trimester; 25 were second-trimester, ranging from 12 to 21
weeks; 2 were 22 weeks; 1 was 26 weeks; and 1 was 28 weeks.”
Baby Adam (Baby Boy A, aborted at seven and a half months, six pounds weight)
Baby Michael (Baby Boy B, killed at 28 weeks)
Baby Alex (Baby C, breathed for 20 minutes after delivery.)
Baby Chris (Baby D — Was delivered into the toilet and was seen swimming there.)
Baby Andy (Baby E — This baby was heard to whine.)
Baby Lou (Baby F — This baby’s leg jerked and moved after being delivered.)
Baby Pat (Baby G)
Baby Joshua
Baby David
Baby Ashley
Baby Sal
Baby Terry
Baby Sam
Baby Val
Baby Tony
Baby Ronnie
Baby Sarah
Baby Melanie
Baby Sandy
Baby Corey
Baby Drew
Baby Ryan
Baby Toby
Baby Sean
Baby Kelly
Baby Carroll
Baby Joseph
Baby Benjamin
Baby Stacey
Baby Gabriel
Baby Brett
Baby Julian
Baby Taylor
Baby Courtney
Baby Danny
Baby Kim
Baby Mandy
Baby Robin
Baby Austin
Baby Abel
Baby Michelle
Baby Lisa
Baby Shannon
Baby Nevin
Baby Connor

5/9/13 Naming the45Babies RetrievedFromtheGosnell AbortionClinic | 4/4 Note: Father Frank Pavone is the national director for Priests for Life.
by Father Frank Pavone | | 5/9/13 10:25 AM

  • The Wall Street Journal

Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial

Eminent bioethicist Leon Kass on the dangers of a world increasingly indifferent to matters of human dignity.


The trial of Kermit Gosnell—a Philadelphia doctor charged in January 2011 with, among other things, murdering seven infants who survived abortions he performed—has been under way for a month. But it was only last week that the case was thrust into the national spotlight. Thanks to intense pressure from conservative critics of the media's apparent lack of interest in the case, the rest of the country has now glimpsed some of what went on for years in Gosnell's benignly named Women's Medical Society.
Investigators who raided the clinic in 2010 saw "blood on the floor" and smelled "urine in the air," according to the grand jury that indicted Gosnell. They also found "fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic—in bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers." Members of Gosnell's staff testified that the abortionist would deliver babies who had been gestating for as long as 30 weeks, far longer than the 24-week limit imposed by Pennsylvania law. Gosnell or staff members would gouge the infant's neck with scissors to sever the spinal cord, according to the grand jury report. Gosnell referred to the method as "snipping."

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These and other appalling details of the Gosnell trial elicit reactions that might be called revulsion or disgust or horror. The word that eminent bioethicist and physician Leon Kass prefers is "repugnance." This intense human reaction reflects a sort of deep moral intuition, he says, and it is one that deserves much more serious consideration than our too-sophisticated culture allows.
"As pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul," Dr. Kass says as we sit down for an interview in his book-lined office at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is the Madden-Jewett Scholar. "So too with anger and compassion. Repugnance is some kind of wake-up call that there is something untoward going on and attention must be paid. These passions are not simply irrational. They contain within them the germ of insight. You cannot give proper verbal account of the horror of evil, yet a culture that couldn't be absolutely horrified by such things is dead."
The observation may not sound controversial, yet Dr. Kass, who was the chairman of President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005, has often found himself in a minority among bioethicists when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic research, cloning and other right-to-life questions. Dr. Kass's emphasis on what he calls "the wisdom of repugnance," for example, has been assailed by liberal thinkers. The philosopher Martha Nussbaum, for instance, said in a 2004 critique of Dr. Kass's work that repugnance has been used in the past "as a powerful weapon in social efforts to exclude certain groups and persons."
Dr. Kass says his critics misunderstand the role of repugnance in his thinking. "It's not that repugnance is always right," he says. "There was once repugnance at interracial marriage, and there have been other repugnancies that turned out to be mere prejudice. But you wouldn't want to live in a society where people feel no guilt or shame just because guilt and shame are sometimes disruptive—or in a society that doesn't feel righteous indignation at the sight of injustice."
Degradation and its opposite, human dignity, are central elements of Dr. Kass's philosophy, and he fears that American society risks becoming disrespectful of dignity and indifferent to degradation.
Consider abortion. After years of calling for abortions that are "safe, legal and rare," the Democratic Party in its 2012 platform dropped such language altogether in an attempt to appeal to its feminist base. But viewing childbearing solely as a matter of personal reproductive choice, Dr. Kass says, "means we no longer see a child as a gift but as a product of our will to be had by choice only. That makes human choice the basis of all value"—at the price of the child, for "he or she comes from the hands of nature."
Zina Saunders
"Nascent life prior to birth," Dr. Kass says, "does not yet display any of the grand and glorious things for which we applaud humanity in its flowering. And yet it is the dignity of human possibility to be found in nascent life that should lead us treat it not less well than it deserves." He admits to being "agnostic" on the question of whether the embryo "is a human being equal to your grandchildren." Even so, Dr. Kass says, "in the face of our ignorance about its status, the embryo does have a certain claim on us. It is the bearer of human possibility, and we owe it not to mistreat it."
Despite his deep respect for the antiabortion movement—"the people who respect the dignity of nascent life have going for them not just 'Thou shalt not kill' but also a certain regard for the continuity of the generations and the renewal of human possibility"—Dr. Kass sometimes finds himself at odds with its advocates. The movement's narrow focus on nascent life, he worries, blinds it to the fact that "abortion is connected to lots of other things that are threats to human dignity in its fullness."
"Pursuing perfect babies, ageless bodies and happy souls with the aid of cloning, genetic engineering and psychopharmacology," he thinks, are among the most significant of those threats.
"Killing the creature made in God's image is an old story," he says. "I deplore it. But the new threat is the ability to transform that creature into images of our own choosing, without regard to whether the new creature is going to be an improvement, or whether these so-called improvements are going to sap all of the energies of the soul that make for human aspirations, art, science and care for the less fortunate. All of these things have wellsprings in the human soul, and they are at risk in efforts to redesign us and move us to the posthuman future."
Leon Kass was born in Chicago in 1939 to a family of Jewish immigrants. His childhood home was "Yiddish-speaking, nonreligious, lower middle class." At age 15, he was admitted to the University of Chicago where, he recalls, "I did very well on my science placement tests so my adviser made me a science major."
He entered University of Chicago's School of Medicine upon graduation, but not before "acquiring a prejudice in favor of reading old books slowly, a certain taste for philosophical questions, and a keen interest in liberal education."
While he was a medical student, he met and married his wife of nearly 52 years, the classics scholar Amy Kass. The couple went on to Boston, where he completed an internal-medicine internship and earned a biochemistry Ph.D. at Harvard.
"A funny thing happened to me in graduate school," he recalls. "My wife and I spent part of the summer of 1965 in Mississippi doing civil-rights work." The couple lived with a black farmer in Mount Olive, Miss., in a home that had no toilet or indoor plumbing. "I came back from this place with this conundrum: Why was there more honor, goodness and decency in these unschooled black farmers than I found in my fellow graduate students at Harvard, whose enlightened and liberal opinions I shared?"
The answer, he eventually concluded, was that his black hosts displayed "the dignity of honest work and religion"—things he didn't often find among his highly educated peers, most of whom "were only looking out for Number One." Around the same time, Dr. Kass's reading of Rousseau, C.S. Lewis's "The Abolition of Man" (1943) and Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel "Brave New World" (1931)—the latter remains a constant reference in his writings—led him to see that as science advances, morals don't necessarily improve; that the opposite might well be the case.
"And then it dawned on me that you didn't have to go Mississippi to find moral questions," he says. "There were big moral questions right at my feet in the biomedical profession."
After a number of teaching and research stints, in 1976 he returned to the University of Chicago as a professor in the college, later teaching in the graduate program called the Committee on Social Thought. (Dr. Kass retired from teaching in 2010, and he and his wife have in recent years worked together to create "What So Proudly We Hail," an anthology and e-learning project that promotes civic literacy and patriotic attachment through speeches, stories and songs.)
"Unlike questions of segregation and, before it, slavery, where evil was clear and the only question was how to deal with it," Dr. Kass says, "the evils that I saw close to my own area of work were ones that were embedded in very high-minded pursuits: better health, peace of mind and the conquest of nature. Yet they contained within them the seeds of our own degradation."
The trouble wasn't so much with science itself, he thought, as with "scientism," by which he means "a quasi-religious faith that scientific knowledge is the only knowledge worthy of the name; that scientific knowledge gives you an exhaustive account of the way things are; and that science will transcend all the limitations of our human condition, all of our miseries." Scientism's primary goal, Dr. Kass says, "is to put the final nail in the rule of revealed religion." But scientism "also hits traditional, humanistic understandings of the special place of the human being, of the importance of soul, of inwardness and purposiveness."
The idea that materialism "can cure men of the fear of God and the fear of death," as Dr. Kass puts it, is at least as old as ancient Greece. But today it has become especially potent thanks to "the new genetics, which bore more deeply than ever before into the molecular basis of living processes." Then there is the rise of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, which purport to explain "absolutely everything about human life" in materialistic terms.
Take the concept of human dignity. In a 2008 essay highly critical of Dr. Kass's work on the Bush bioethics council, the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker questioned the value of dignity as a moral guide. "Dignity is a phenomenon of human perception," Mr. Pinker wrote. "Certain signals in the world trigger an attribution in the perceiver." The perception of human dignity, Mr. Pinker went on, is no different from how "converging lines in a drawing are a cue for the perception of depth."
That such an outlook is both blinkered and dangerous, Dr. Kass thinks, should be obvious to anyone who has ever been in love or felt other great emotions. "There's no doubt that the human experience of love," he says, is mirrored by "events that are measurable in the brain. But anybody who has ever fallen in love knows that love is not just an elevated level of some peptide in the hypothalamus."
Nor are degradation and dignity. The Gosnell trial and the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon have degradation written all over them. As for dignity, Dr. Kass says, "You see it in the way nurses treat people who come in for chemotherapy. You see it in the way a great hostess treats a handicapped guest, helping him without causing him embarrassment. You see it in the way people come close to where there is human suffering and are not put off by the horror but do what is humanly necessary."
His voice lowered almost to a whisper, he adds: "You saw it in Boston. Some people fled to safety—others rushed to the danger."
Mr. Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Journal.
A version of this article appeared April 20, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial.