Most of our 8th graders attended a conference this morning given by Pam Stenzel about the Catholic virtue of chastity. A timely and necessary topic for any age, but especially now when so many of our values are disregarded by so many. Some of our students are shown after the conference asking the presenter questions and giving feedback.
The conference was hosted by the Diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
After what seemed like progress for Pro-Life forces in gaining respect for developing human life in the womb by restricting abortions to the early stages of pregnancy, the assault on the dignity of the the unborn has been broadened in ways seen unimaginable only months ago.
Not only the unborn, but being-born and already-born infants who are not wanted by their mothers are at risk under terrible legislation already signed into law in New York State with similar bills introduced in other states like the bill in Virginia.
Archbishop Naumann, the chair of the Pro-Life Activities of the USCCB has called such legislation "pure evil." Read his full statement below:
“Abortion has always been built on a lie. Today, the lie is switching from 'abortion is a choice' to 'abortion is healthcare.' A law recently passed in New York not only legalizes abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy but removes any protection for children born alive after abortion. A similar bill was proposed in Virginia along with several other states, all in the name of women’s health.
This legislation is evil, pure and simple. And it shocks the conscience to see such evil legislation greeted with raucous cheers and standing ovations. Most grieving to our Lord of Life is that those who advocate for abortion put their eternal souls in jeopardy.
It is sickeningly dishonest to claim that women’s lives or health depend on intentionally killing their children. This is especially true for late-term abortion, which always involves the purposeful destruction of a child which could have been born alive, with much less risk to the mother, had they both received real healthcare.
Now is the time for all Catholics—bishops, priests, and laity—to fight for the unborn with renewed vigor. We must educate family, friends, legislators, and fellow citizens about how it is never necessary to intentionally kill unborn children in order to save their mothers. Local action is especially important. Though ending Roe v. Wade is a central goal of the pro-life movement, if the decision were overturned, only eleven states would immediately ban abortion; the other thirty-nine states would still allow it.
I urge Catholics, and thoughtful Americans of all religions or none at all to advocate for local change. Sign up for your State Catholic Conference or diocesan pro-life advocacy network, which can help you communicate to elected officials. Or seek out state and local pro-life groups, including parish respect life groups, that are making a difference at the state level.
Though we live in very dark days, we know that the Lord has already triumphed over death. But we must use this time on earth to be His hands and feet. This means each of us rededicating ourselves to prayer, and fighting for the most vulnerable among us, especially unborn children and their mothers.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo often cites his Catholic faith and called us to stand with Pope Francis against the death penalty, but not six weeks later signed and applauded the Reproductive Health Act in New York State.
Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger penned an open letter to Governor Cuomo, which about says it all:
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Although in your recent State of the State address you cited your Catholic faith and said we should “stand with Pope Francis,” your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church. Once truth is separated from fiction and people come to realize the impact of the bill, they will be shocked to their core. By that time, however, it may be too late to save the countless lives that will be lost or spare countless women lifelong regret.
The so-called Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will expand abortion under the pretenses of choice and progress, which, in fact, it will do little to enhance. At the same time, this legislation threatens to rupture the communion between the Catholic faith and those who support the RHA even while professing to follow the Church, something that troubles me greatly as a pastor.
Contrary to what its proponents say, the RHA goes far beyond Roe vs. Wade in its aggressive extremism. Granting non-doctors permission to perform abortions does nothing to advance the security and health of women. Condoning coerced or involuntary abortions by repealing criminal sanctions even in cases where a perpetrator seeks to make his partner “un-pregnant” through an act of physical violence does not represent any kind of progress in the choice, safety or health of women. Removing protection for an infant accidentally born alive during an abortion is abject cruelty, something most people of conscience would deem inhumane for even a dog or cat. Finally, allowing late-term abortions is nothing less than a license to kill a pre-born child at will.
It is very difficult to understand how you can align yourself with Pope Francis and so vehemently advocate such profoundly destructive legislation.
I find myself wondering how it can be viewed as “progress” to have gone from a society working to make abortion “rare” to one that urges women to “shout your abortion” as some advocates of this bill boldly announce.
How is it progress to ignore the harm that this will do, not only to innocent infants, born and unborn, but to their mothers? Does the heartache of so many New York women who have been pained by their abortion decisions matter? Is anyone listening to them? How is it really “pro-choice” when a law, which claims to guarantee choice, moves to expand only one option for women?
If abortion is deemed a fundamental right in New York State, will the State then still be able to issue licenses to pro-life nurses or physicians? Will health facilities which do not provide abortions be certified? Will the law allow that even one dollar be given to maternity services without offering women the “choice” of abortion? These are unanswered questions, but I shudder to think of the consequences this law will wreak. You have already uttered harsh threats about the welcome you think pro-lifers are not entitled to in our state. Now you are demonstrating that you mean to write your warning into law. Will being pro-life one day be a hate crime in the State of New York?
Our young people especially, who have seen their sonograms and who follow the discoveries the sciences have made, know the lies and the despair that proponents of such dangerous and death-dealing legislation are promulgating, even if blindly or unwittingly.
Giving up on life is no excuse for us as a responsible and compassionate people. In so doing, we evade the challenge of accompanying women and the families they are trying to nurture on the long journey. They deserve our courageous and ongoing support in creating conditions under which they will be free to bear and provide for their children.
As a society, we can and must do better. The teaching and intuition of our common faith readies us to help. It is an essential part of our mission to support the lives of all, especially the voiceless, the most vulnerable and marginalized, as Pope Francis always reminds us to do.
Let’s not bequeath to our children a culture of death, but together build a more humane society for the lives of all of our fellow citizens.
Mr. Cuomo, do not build this Death Star.
Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany
Bishop Scharfenberger is to be commended for his clear and concise letter, a repetition of church teaching on the matter of grave moral evil and abortion. The bishop's letter makes clear the governor does not teach Catholic doctrine and had better curb his language when embracing his Catholic faith and immoral legislation under the pope's name.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo signs The Reproductive Health Bill , codifying the decisions of Roe v. Wade into New York law. Its provisions allow unrestricted access to abortion until 24 weeks of age and after that in cases of non-viability of the fetus, or to protect the life/health of the mother. Partial birth abortions would seem allowed under the provisions of the law, since the "life/health" of the mother has been broadly interpreted to include psychological distress over carrying even a healthy baby.
The bill was passed by a newly controlling Democratic majority in the state senate and fueled by fears that a conservative leaning Supreme Court bench could reverse provisions of Roe v. Wade. Happily, many states are restricting access to abortion, permitting abortion only in the early stages of pregnancy. Polls show that most Americans support such restrictive measures, regardless of religious affiliation.
Given the devastating impact abortion has had on racial minorities, especially in New York City, the photo taken at the bill signing is ironic.
An intrepid contingent of pilgrims left by bus from Holy Cross to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today. The weather always presents a challenge, especially these days when forecasters seem so prone to maximize the potential of every flake of snow into a major blizzard.
The experience of being part of so many people who are pro-life is one not to be missed! We should have some photos later in the day.
Conscience Protection Act
We call on all the faithful to pray and to act by emailing and calling Congress in the coming week especially on Monday, March 12 with the message that enacting the Conscience Protection Act is urgently needed to protect Americans from being forced to violate their deeply held convictions about respect for human life. Your calls and emails to your Members of Congress really do make a difference, so please act now to protect conscience rights!"
Members of Congress can be reached by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected with your representative or senator.
Or you can email and call your Members of Congress quickly and easily at Notify Congress.
For additional information and videos featuring nurses who were forced by their employers to choose between their jobs and participating in abortions go to www.usccb.org/conscience.
Our Novena for Life, "Nine Days for Life," concludes with prayer after tomorrow morning's 9 AM mass. Praying each intention aloud and quietly reading the reflection gave us much to think about and an appreciation of the breadth of the Church's teachings on the dignity of human life without veering too far from the traditional groupings of concerns under this category of Church teachings.
We prayed Mass with our parish community this morning and were joined by the Holy Cross School students to mark this Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Immediately following mass we prayed Day Five of the Nine Day Novena For Life. Today's intention was "May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope & healing in Christ."
confusing women's right with the right to an abortion
producing a child as a right, not a gift
unethical human experimentation
promoting euthanasia as a human dignity.
November 15, 2014
Conference of Italian Catholic Physicians
This should finally allow the Little Sisters of the Poor and other groups who have been challenging the regulations to come to reconciliation.
The USCCB's statement regarding the broadening of the exemption read in part:
"Such an exemption is no innovation, but instead a return to common sense, long-standing federal practice, and peaceful coexistence between church and state. It corrects an anomalous failure by federal regulators that should never have occurred and should never be repeated.
"These regulations are good news for the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are challenging the HHS mandate in court. We urge the government to take the next logical step and promptly resolve the litigation that the Supreme Court has urged the parties to settle.
"The regulations are also good news for all Americans. A government mandate that coerces people to make an impossible choice between obeying their consciences and obeying the call to serve the poor is harmful not only to Catholics but to the common good. Religious freedom is a fundamental right for all, so when it is threatened for some, it is threatened for all. We welcome the news that this particular threat to religious freedom has been lifted...."
The US Bishops have re-issued a call to American Catholics to pray and fast on Fridays for the protection of all human life, religious liberty and the dignity of marriage and the sacrament of matrimony.
One suggestion is to abstain from eating meat on Fridays (just like the olden days).
Holy Hours, rosaries and specific times for family prayer, e.g. around the shared table are other worthy suggestions.
Visit their website for other suggestions:
Vice-President Mike Pence, the highest ranking administration official ever to address the March for Life in its forty-four year history, stirred hearts with his hopeful words today.
In a far-ranging, 10 minute speech, the Vice-President confided that President Trump had asked him to attend today's march and that the President also extends his welcome to the marchers in Washington.
Pence highlighted two of the president's efforts for life so far: 1) his re-institution of the "Mexico City Policy" which prohibits the use of federal dollars for international organizations which promote or provide abortion; 2) he assured the crowd that next week, Trump would nominate a justice for the Supreme Court who stands for life, lamenting that the Supreme Court had turned away from life with its decision on Roe v Wade.
"Life is Winning in America" is a phrase the Vice-President used several times in his address, thanking the crowd for supporting life, but especially for their compassion toward mothers and their unborn children in crisis. He reminded listeners that when it comes to matters of the heart, gentleness is the strongest virtue of all.
He quoted both the Declaration of Independence and the words of Thomas Jefferson to assert that the right to life comes from God. Importantly, he pledged that the administration would work to bring about an end to tax payer support for abortion and for those who provide them. (emphasis mine)
The vice-president longed for a time in America when compassion is greater than confrontation and hope defeats despair. He urged that Pro-Lifers continue to use love and compassion as their message, not confrontation or anger.
Quite a speech, really - especially coming from the White House.