Vol 5 No. 1- Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For Santa Clara Valley Catholics
Jan/Feb, 1998
Editor - Jane Anderson
Publisher - Marc Crotty

O Come O Come! Quetzacoatl! And ransom captive San Jose

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 Directions. 

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 kneelers. 

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 sky. 

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 Catholics. 

And Mother Earth wouldn’t like that!

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.

St. Ann committee tries to retain chapel 

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 activities. 

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 pastor. 

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. Dominic’s.

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 da Cappella. 

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 campus. 

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 information. 

St. Ann Chapel Activities 

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, 6:15 p.m. 

Close on 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.

Bishop refuses Sunday Traditional Masses 

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 application." 

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 disallowed." 

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 Church. 

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 product." 

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 forward."

Bishop 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.

(*& ’Round the Dioceses (*& 

Clouding of priest, laity duties confuses the faithful 

She’s not the only one. 

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 symbol system." 

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 conscience." 

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 informed." 

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 changes." 

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 Communion." 

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 not dispensable. 

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 the church. 

Good luck! 

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 freedom. 

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 there?

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."

Why 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 interesting tale. 

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 life." 

"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 mystery." 

"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 relativism 

"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 past." 

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. 

Missing the forest 

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 them. 

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 whatever. 

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 design." 

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 himself. 

A fabricated liturgy 

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 different. 

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 of faith. 


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. Peter. 

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 forthcoming). 

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 America 



Seton 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 University. 

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 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 Melville.) 


J Bright Views J 

Perpetual adoration grows 

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 laity. 

Homeschool apprenticeships 

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 apprentices. 

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 

L Dim views L 

New technique strikes at the heart 
of abortion-contraception debate 

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 its thumb." 

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 is an abortion.