VIEW FROM THE PEW
Vol 5 No. 1- Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For
Santa Clara Valley Catholics
Editor - Jane Anderson
Publisher - Marc Crotty
O Come O Come! Quetzacoatl! And ransom
captive San Jose.
||If it is
true we receive the fruits of our labor, then the Cathedral Basilica
of St. Joseph’s Season of Hope from Dec. 8-Dec. 23, last, would
closely resemble Fruit of the Loom: comfortable, but nothing you’d
wear in public.|
The program we saw was the Tlaloc Chalchiuhtlicue
on Dec. 12, Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The celebration honors(?)
Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared before the peasant Aztec, Juan Diego.
And so it came to pass that this program was presented to us: Honoring
of the Four Direction; Tonantzin, Dance of the Mother Earth/Virgin de
Guadalupe, Mayahuel, Dance for the Goddess of the Mague; Apache,
Honoring Dance for the Apache Tribe North and South; Tezkatli-poka, Lord
of the Night Sky and Smoking Mirror; Honoring of the Four
The Danzantes Tlaloc Chalchiuthlicue, a San
Jose-based dance group is steeped in the Aztec traditions which we know
are pagan, what with believing in many gods, human sacrifices by cutting
out the heart of a living person and all.
If this program were presented in a Catholic
Church, we might have thought it sacrilegious, but it was presented at
St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is trying to be a museum. It is a
beautiful edifice, St. Joseph’s. It has stately grey, granite columns of
Greek architecture. When entering the church one’s eyes tend to go from
ceiling down: Beautiful paintings of angels and saints seem to hover
above while statuary strengthens the eyes of the beholder until they
rest on the center of the church.There is no center to this church.
Remodeled in the round, it is like a spiritual doughnut: nothing in the
middle. It is the "site of communal worship." It has as much
spirituality as the sound of one hand clapping. A highly polished wooden
table sits in the middle surrounded by chairs of the same mode. No
It was in this atmosphere that Danzanates Tlaloc
Chalochiuhtlicue presented their program. It was announced that in some
circles, the Virgin de Guadalupe is considered a goddess, Mother Earth
as it were. And so we had a dance celebrating the fact. (Juan Diego, do
not turn over gently in your grave.) The costumes were vividly beautiful
and masterfully done, accentated by gracefully placed headdresses. The
young ladies and gentlemen with the beat of tom-toms gave us their
rendition of Mother Earth, sweeping arms, earth to sky, earth to
Outside and across the street where there is no
room for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the City of Saint Joseph held its
annual Christmas in the Park.
After the beat of the tom-toms subsided in our
head, we thought how nice it would be to have a huge manger scene on the
steps of the Cathedral. It would be like telling the City of Saint
Joseph, "We’re Catholic: Live with it!"
But first of all, we’d have to be
And Mother Earth wouldn’t like that!
Ann committee tries to retain chapel
the heels of the recent sale of St. Aloysius Church to the Ananda
Church of Self Realization, the Diocese of San Jose is now planning
to dispose of St. Ann Chapel and the adjoining Norris House.|
But all is not lost – yet. The St. Ann
Development Committee, a group of long-time parishioners chaired by
Richard G. Placone and William P. Mahrt, the Gregorian choir director,
has been negotiating with the diocese to prevent the sale to
distinterested parties. Mahrt reports that talks are going well, two
possible donors are in the wings, and the chapel might be separated from
the sale of the Norris House to lower the sale price.
The chapel at Tasso and Melville streets in Palo
Alto was built in 1951 by writer and diplomat Clare Booth Luce as a
memorial to her daughter, Ann Brokaw, who was killed in an auto accident
while a student at Stanford in 1944.
In the 1950s, denominational services were not
permitted at Stanford Memorial Church, and the chapel and Norris House
attracted many Catholic students. The house was originally the home of
Kathleen Norris, the novelist, and then was used as the student Newman
Center. It is currently the residence of several priests and the meeting
place for a number of church-related activities, including the Gregorian
choir, which sings each Sunday at the 11:30 a.m. Mass.
However, Mahrt said the Norris House has been
under-utilized in the past few years, and the buyer of the chapel could
build a small hall behind the chapel for Church-related
According to Mahrt, "the diocese alleges the Luce
Foundation does not care if this plan (to sell the chapel) is carried
out, as long as the windows and stations of the cross are located in
some other suitable place." But the Development Committee sees it
differently. They believe the suitable place for the windows and
stations is St. Ann Chapel.
The diocese had set June 1998 as the deadline for
selling the property. The asking price was in the neighborhood of $4
million for both the chapel and the Norris House. The diocese wants to
sell the property because the diocese could use the money in other
places and St. Ann no longer attracts a student population or even a
large neighborhood population. But the parish population is large enough
to put up a fight.
In 1986, five parishes in Palo Alto were
consolidated into one parish, called St. Thomas Aquinas. Other active
parishes are Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Albert the Great. St. Thomas
assumed responsibility for the Stanford students’ ministry through St.
Ann and during the past 10 years has spent approximately $1 million to
support the campus program.
In July 1997, the diocese took over financial
responsibility for the Stanford ministry and agreed to the establishment
of a new parish on campus, called St. Dominic’s. The new parish is
staffed by members of the Dominican Order, with Fr. Patrick Labelle as
To meet the obligation to support St. Dominic’s,
the diocese has established the option of selling St. Ann Chapel and the
Norris House and to make the sale more attractive, the diocese agreed to
allow the chapel to be demolished by the new buyer. Proceeds of the sale
would establish an endowment, the earnings of which would be given over
to St. Dominic’s.
Parishioners at St. Ann were not consulted about
the plan and formed the Development Committee to thwart it. But Mahrt
said discussions with the diocese have been upbeat.
Those who would like to see St. Ann Chapel
preserved as a Catholic Church should write letters to Bishop
Pierre DuMaine, St. Thomas’ Fr. Barry Freyne and Fr. LeBelle at St.
Ann’s Choir has busy 1998 schedule
The St. Ann Chapel Choir, under the
direction of Prof. William Mahrt, will sing for Candlemas, Feb. 2, at
the Stanford Memorial Church at 8 p.m. There will be a procession of
candles and Sung Mass in Latin, featuring Claudio Monteverdi’s, Messa
The Stanford Early Music Singers
will perform the Vespers of St. Valentine, with the late Venetian music
of Claudio Monteverdi from the Selva Morale on Friday, Feb. 13 at
8 p.m., at Stanford Memorial Church on the Stanford University
A one-day seminar centered on
Salisbury Cathedral with lectures in art history, music and liturgy,
sociology and ecclesiastical history will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Braun Music Center on the Stanford campus. The
course fee is $95. Call 650-857-9515 for more
St. Ann Chapel
Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m.,
sung Mass in Latin [New Rite] with distribution of ashes. Gregorian
chant with Renaissance motets.
Sundays, Mass in English and Latin
sung by choir and congregation, at 11:30 a.m.
Sunday Vespers in Gregorian chant,
refuses Sunday Traditional Masses
Pierre DuMaine has refused to increase the number of Tridentine
Masses said in the San Jose Diocese from the one a month said on
first Saturdays at Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara.|
He is the bishop, and we must abide by his
decision.But we respectfully disagree with it.
On July 2, 1988, Pope John Paul II issued an
Apostolic letter called Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, which said: "To all
those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical
and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition, I wish to manifest my
will to facilitate their ecclesial communion . . . In this matter, I ask
for the support of the bishops . . . (with) a wide and generous
application of the directives already issued some time ago by the
Apostolic See, for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical
edition of 1962."
Later, Cardinal Mayer, who was the first prefect
of the Ecclesia Dei commission, said the directive means "all
Catholic faithful" and not just former adherents of Archbishop
Lefebvre, who founded the Society of Saint Pius X.
Once a month hardly seems a "wide and generous
We strongly disagree with Bishop DuMaine’s
interpretation that the Holy Father’s intent was solely to console older
Catholics and to exclude the younger generation. Since the Holy Father
has given explicit confirmation to such new Traditional Mass societies
of priests, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, both of which offer ONLY
the Latin Mass, it is hardly accurate to characterize the celebrations
of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Latin form as "forms now
The Holy Father has also given explicit approval
of monasteries that offer only the Traditional rite.
In his response, Bishop DuMaine said the Holy
Father had conversations with the bishops of this region on the subject
of the Tridentine Mass. It might have been helpful to tell us what the
Holy Father said. But since we can only be guided by the public
pronouncements of the Holy Father on any subject, we cannot imagine that
in private he could contradict what he has said publicly to the whole
The Bishop seems to take a rosy view that the
norms prescribed for the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass are not
being widely disregarded. There is so much documentation to refute this
that there is no need for further comment.
Recently, Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote an introduction to a
book by the eminent liturgist Klaus Gamber, called The Reform of the
Roman Liturgy," Ratzinger said:
"What happened after the (Second Vatican) Council
was something else (than reform) entirely: In place of development came
fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth
and development over the centuries . . . and replaced it, as in a
manufacturing process, with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot
On a positive note, perhaps Bishop DuMaine should
inspect the diocese of Scranton, Pa., where Bishop James Timlin, has
invited the Priestly Society of St. Peter to open a seminary and conduct
Traditional Masses. There are so many seminarians applying now, they do
not have room for them all. When asked why he allowed the
Traditionalists, Bishop Timlin said: "I had no reason not to give them
permission. The Holy Father has asked us to be generous.
The bishops of Lacrosse, Wis., and Rockford,
Ill., have invited the Institute of Christ the King into their dioceses.
In Chicago, the parish of St. John Cantius was resurrected from
inner-city closure by offering the Latin Mass. St. Margaret Mary in
Oakland was about to suffer closure, too, and now this church is alive
and well because of the Tridentine rite. At least 80 bishops have
approved Traditional Latin Masses every week, on Sunday. In some of
these dioceses, a daily Latin Mass is authorized.
So – in the words of the Ecclesia Dei Society in
Australia: "We Traditional Catholics are preoccupied . . . with thoughts
of the future. When we ask for the Traditional Mass to be reinstated, it
is not a matter of ‘turning back the clock.’ It is all about turning it
(*& ’Round the Dioceses (*&
Clouding of priest, laity duties
confuses the faithful
||The Catholic Answer, edited by Fr. Peter Stravinskas
and published by Our Sunday Visitor, is always a great source
of news to keep Catholics from getting complacent. in the Nov./Dec.
issue, for example, "M.K." from Tennessee writes that she is
uncomfortable with lay people "performing" a blessing along with the
priest at Mass "events."|
She’s not the only
Fr. Stravinskas’ answer to this
parishioner’s problem: "Your pastor is creating much confusion by his
procedure, as people are led to believe – at the sign level – that
clergy and laity can confer a kind of concelebrated blessing, which is
not true . . . As the Second Vatican Council reminded us, the
ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful differ not
only in degree but in essence – and this needs to be apparent in our
How about this one, name and
address withheld: "A good friend of mine was not married in the Church,
but receives Communion often. In fact, she is even an extraordinary
minister of the Eucharist! Two priests have told me it’s none of my
business, and they advised that I not disturb my friend’s
Fr. Stravinskas responds: "I
find it hard to believe that she is unaware of the truth. The priests
who cautioned you to keep out of it gave very poor pastoral advice. If
the woman does not cease receiving and distributing Holy Communion and
her pastor does nothing about it, your bishop needs to be
J. S. from California writes: "I am
concerned about our pastoral administrator’s writing the following in
our Sunday bulletin: ‘The Holy Spirit is alive and well and knows what
SHE is doing.’ . . . I don’t feel comfortable with many of these recent
Fr. Stravinskas replies: "Very
much to the point is that the recently released norms from the Holy See
on ‘inclusive language’ categorically forbid the use of either a neuter
or feminine pronoun for the Holy Spirit."
On ecumenism, T.C. from New Mexico,
writes: On Ascension Day, my parish hosted the neighborhood Episcopal
and Lutheran parishes for the ecumenical Eucharist . . . the other
clergy served as truly extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, and it
seemed that everyone present went forward to receive
Fr. Stravinskas replies: "to
have Protestant clergy distribute Holy Communion during a Catholic Mass
is off-base . . . if for no other reason than the fact that our own Code
of Canon Law indicates that an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion
must be a Catholic in good standing."
(If you haven’t read The
Catholic Answer lately, write to 200 Noll Plaza, Hunting, IN 46750.
It’s a great little magazine to keep your head straight and your hope
strong. Even if you have a comfy, orthodox church niche – you need to
know all is not well out there. There’s more to being a good Catholic
than saving yourself.)
More church heresies, this time
from the Catholic Replies column in the Wanderer Catholic
newspaper (201 Ohio Street, St. Paul, NM 55107):M.A.P. of Illinois
writes: "I thought only an ordained priest could consecrate bread and
wine." The questionable section in M.A.P.’s church bulletin reads:
‘Beginning today and for the rest of the liturgical year, the
Eucharistic prayer will be enhanced musically . . . Most often it seems
the Eucharistic prayer is the priest’s monologue, giving the impression
the priest does the consecration. But actually, it is the prayer of
thanksgiving of all the Church.’"
James Drummey answers: Hold it!
without the priest there would be no offering and no consecration. In
Pastore Dabo Vobis, Pope John Paul II said: "for priests, as ministers
of sacred things, are first and foremost ministers of the Sacrifice of
the Mass: The role is utterly irreplaceable because without the priest
there can be no Eucharistic offering." So, the priest’s ‘monologue’ is
A.F. of Georgia writes: "Recently
my 2-year-old niece was baptized in Northern California, and I am the
Godmother by proxy. She was baptized in a Catholic Church, but a priest
did not officiate and was not present. A visiting professor from a local
college, who is not a Catholic, administered the sacrament . . . Was
this a licit baptism?"
Drummy answers: Canon 861 of the
Code of Canon Law says that "the ordinary minister of Baptism is a
bishop presbyter (priest) or deacon . . . If the ordinary minister is
absent or impeded, a catechist or other person deputed for this function
by the local ordinary confers Baptism licitly as does any person with
the right intention in case of necessity."
So – the professor would not be
licit because he is not Catholic and because there did not appear to be
any emergency. Drummy goes on to suggest a letter to the pastor in
charge and ask why the niece was not baptized according to the norms of
Parents with high school-age
children, be advised that Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y.,
requested ex-priest Daniel Maguire to deliver the annual theology
lecture. The twice-married professor of ethics at Milwaukee’s Marquette
University is noted for his anti-Catholic views on abortion, euthanasia
and homosexual marriages. Molloy president, Dr. Martin D. Snyder,
defended his appearance on the ground of academic
Academic freedom is the new
religion at most Catholic colleges – free to think and do whatever you
want. Beware of Molloy and Marquette!
Now for the good news: Call to
Action failed to get the 1 million signatures it expected on the We Are
Catholic petitions. You may recall that the petitions were presented in
October to the Pope as part of Call to Action’s mission to change the
Church – to the left.
The reaction petition handlers got
was: "Oh, I couldn’t sign that! Don’t let anybody see you in here with
that!" Only 37,000 signed.
Apparently there is paranoia on the
right and the left. Both conservatives and liberals think they have to
hide in the closet. It could all be fixed by following the Pope and
Magisterium.If you have items to contribute to this column, please
send them to View from the Pew, attn:’Round the Dioceses.
Particularly appropriate would be your experiences as a visitor to other
dioceses. What’s going on out
are critics afraid of the Latin liturgy?
James R. Lothian
The Latin liturgy is not usually a
matter of public controversy in the United States in either the secular or
the Catholic press. lately, however, it has been and therein lies a most
The initial salvo was fired rather
inadvertently by, of all newspapers, the Wall Street Journal in a
lead story lauding a new exhibit of Byzantine art at the Metropolitan
Museum in New York. The offending statement was the Journal
writer’s suggestion that "the belief in the power of beauty to fire the
imagination" of one 12th century patron of such art, Abbot Suger of St.
Denis, "would appeal particularly to Catholics who miss the days of the
mystical Latin Mass, whose transcendent glow lifted one up out of everyday
"Arrogant nonsense" answered the Rev.
M. Andrew Greeley. "Eighty seven per cent of American Catholics prefer the
English Mass to the Latin Mass. The latter," said Greeley, was "mostly . .
. just simply boring. Obscurity," he pronounced "is not the same thing as
"Grr, bow wow," countered six
Journal letter writers in short order, including one from View
from the Pew.
Hardly had the dust settled when a
new autobiographical work by Cardinal Ratzinger received attention.
Cardinal Ratzinger, according to the press reports had described Paul VI’s
ban on the old missal as "a development" that "had never been seen in the
history of the liturgy," as an action that produced "extremely serious
damage." It gave the "impression that the liturgy is something
"manufactured," that it is not something which preceded us, something
"given" but that it "depends on our decisions."Crisis of
"The cardinal frets too much,"
countered Ed Wilkinson; the editor of The Brooklyn Tablet, in the
same issue in which the article of Cardinal Ratzinger’s book appeared. "At
least here in America, Catholics have embraced the new liturgy,"
Wilksinson said. "The crisis in the Church today is not a matter of the
liturgy looking different than it did 30 years ago. . . . It’s a crisis of
relativism about which Cardinal Ratzinger has written so eloquently in the
Now why am I relating these two
stories? There are several reasons, not the least of which is the
combination of edginess and hubris that characterized both reactions. What
Fr. Greeley responded to was one sentence from an article that, as already
stated, had little to do with liturgy per se. Wilkinson for his part took
protesting too much to even greater heights. Not even waiting to have the
book in hand, he panned the press release, in the process inventing an
entirely new literary genre.
A more serious reason, however, is
what the two gentlemen’s protestations reveal about a mind-set that is not
all too common in Catholic circles. Wilkinson summarized some of it quite
nicely, albeit rather unwittingly, with his oblique suggestion that
Cardinal Ratzinger might more usefully devote his time to combatting the
relativism of today’s world.
This however, is to see the trees but
miss the forest. Catholics, the litgurgist reformers told us, needed to
have a form of worship that was more relevant to them as people of the
modern world. What was fine yesterday is outmoded today and will be
equally, if not more so, tomorrow. But this is simply relativism in
another guise – historicism – and it suffers from the same basic
metaphysical problem as its intellectual sire. Both reduce man’s essence
to a set of characteristics that have nothing permanent about
Indeed, folks who adopt this
position, whether they realize it or not, become enemies of what Russell
Kirk has called "the permanent things." If all is change and ought to be,
then man quite naturally assumes the role of the changer. He can change
anything that strikes his fancy: a man, a plan, a new liturgy, a new
No one person or small group of
persons at one particular point in time creates institutions out of whole
cloth. They are, to borrow another phrase, this time from Friedrich Hayek,
the Nobelist economist, "the result of human action but not of human
That, I believe, was the principle
point that Cardinal Ratzinger was making with regard to the liturgy and
that Wilkinson had such great difficulty fathoming. Most certainly it was
the point that he was making when he wrote the introduction to Mgr. Klaus
Gamber’s fine little book, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy.
"What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place
of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living
process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in
a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal -on-the-spot
product," Cardinal Ratzinger said, echoing Gamber
While Hayek used the dichotomy to
argue against socialist planning and in favor of a market economy, it is,
I believe, even more appropriate in the context of the liturgy. The roots
of the Roman Rite extend to the sixth century. It was modified slightly
from time to time thereafter, and formalized at the Council of Trent, but
never was the existing rite replaced by something entirely
What happened post-Vatican II was a
departure. The experts met and with all the aplomb of a typical committee
changed everything around – take a little bit from here, chop off some
from there, add something from a Patristic source or the Eastern Church
and voila: a new liturgy.
Are Americans as blissfully happy
with the end result as Greeley and Wilkinson make out? One indicator that
they are not is the response from readers that their two statements
generated. Both got taken to task and in Wilkinson's case by a diocesan
priest whom Wilkinson,to his credit, asked to write a guest article for
the Tablet. Fr. Greeley’s 87 per cent are evidently a rather silent
majority. But that is not surprising, since other figures show that on any
given Sunday, close to 80 per cent of Catholics in the New York City
diocese do not make their way to Mass. And that just proves Cardinal Ratzinger and
Mgr. Gamber’s point. Replace a liturgy that is spiritually uplifting with
something that evokes little such reaction and the result will be erosion
Cardinal to celebrate Tridentine Mass marking 10th Anniversary of
Ecclesia Dei Afflicta
Cardinal Felici, President of the
Pontifical Commission Eccleisa Dei announced at the recent meeting of Una
Voce International in Rome, that he would celebrate a Tridentine Latin
Mass, either in St. Peter’s Basilica, or in St. John Lateran in Rome for
the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of the document Eccleisa Dei
Afflicta and the founding of the Priestly Fraternity of St.
It is strongly urged that every
person who is devoted to the Tridentine Latin Mass make every effort to be
in Rome for this Mass in October 1998 (the exact date will be
The Holy Father, Pope John Paull II,
will be present in Rome for this Mass, and a strong show of support will
help encourage him, and also be a sign of thanks for his permission for a
wider access to the Tridentine Rite.
William Basile,Una Voce
School sponsors Feb. 28 Home Schooling Conference
The Catholic Family and Home
Schooling Conference, sponsored by Seton Home Study School
and Our Lady of Peace Catholic Homeschool Support Group, will be held on
Saturday, Feb. 28, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Lawrence the Martyr
Parish, 1971 St. Lawrence Drive, Santa Clara.
Speakers will include Fr. Robert
Hermley, current Chaplain of Seton Home Study School; Dr. Mary Kay Clark,
Director of Seton Home Study School; Dr. Thomas J. Susanka Jr., director
of admissions and financial aid at Thomas Aquinas College; Fr.
Joseph D. Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press and publisher
of The Catholic World Report; Ginny Seuffert, a homeschooling mother of 12
children; and Dr. William Marra, former professor of philosophy at Fordham
Speakers will be available throughout
the day for individual consultation. Afternoon confessions will be
scheduled, and materials from Seton and other vendors will be available to
inspect and purchase.Convention admission is $20 per person pre-registered
or $25 per couple pre-registered, and $25 person or $30 per couple at the
door. Register over the phone by calling Seton School at 1-540-636-9990
(Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards accepted). The fax line is
1-540-1602. E-mail is email@example.com. The
postal address is Seton School, 1350 Progress Drive, Front Royal, VA
22630.For more information, call Mary Claire Robinson locally at
408-274-5714.(St. Ann Chapel is located at Melville and Tasso streets in
Palo Alto. Take the Oregon Expressway West exit from Highway 101; turn
north off Oregon onto Middlefield Road, then west on
J Bright Views J
About 5 percent of the 20,000
Catholic parishes in the United States now offer the devotion known as
perpetual adoration, according to the Rev. Victor Warkulwiz of Bensalem,
Pa., a missionary of the Blessed Sacrament who travels the country helping
churches start the vigils.
Many of these parishes have limited
versions, usually during daytime hours, for three or four-day periods or
once a month. Often the call for the devotion comes from the
Michael Farris, a founder of the Home
School Legal Defense Association and author of several homeschooling
books, has started an apprenticeship program for homeschoolers. The first
program will be in journalism and will mix on-the-job experience with home
study. Farris intends to launch either a news service or a newspaper to
meet this goal and hire seasoned journalists to become mentors for the
A second program will be started for
homeschoolers who want to become congressional aides. Future plans will
involve the careers of law and business. The journalism and
legislative-aide programs should be up and running before the year 2000.
For more information, write HSLDA Apprenticeship Program, P.O. Box 3000,
Purcellville, VA 20134. See the HSLDA Web site at http://www.hslda.org/.
L Dim views L
New technique strikes at the
In the latest of a series of new
techniques that blur the line between contraception and abortion, a
growing number of abortion clinics nationwide are offering abortions to
women as early as eight to 10 days after conception, before they have
missed a menstrual period.
The new technique, pioneered by Dr.
Jerry Edwards, the medical director at Planned Parenthood in Houston, is
not available everywhere, but it has been offered in San Jose Planned
Parenthood clinics since summer.
"With some of the ultrasensitive
pregnancy tests now on the market, women can pick up a pregnancy even
before they’ve missed their period," said Dr. Michael Burnhill, vice
president for medical affairs at the Planned Parenthood Federation of
America. "For most women, the sooner they know they’re pregnant, and the
sooner they decide what they’re going to do, the better. With these very
early abortions, we’re talking about a whole gestational sac that’s the
size of a matchstick head. It’s nobody’s picture of little baby sucking
The National Right to Life committee
says there is no moral difference between a baby sucking its thumb and a
sac the size of a matchstick because a human being begins to develop the
moment an egg is fertilized, and anything meant to stop that development