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VIEW FROM THE PEW
Vol 6 No. 2
Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For Santa Clara Valley Catholics
Mar/Apr, 1999
Editor - Jane Anderson
Publisher - Marc Crotty


Anti-abortionists not wanted in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

By Jane D. Anderson

Census report, Average Street, California, U.S.A.: 

     501 Average. Single mother and three children living with mother's boyfriend. Father of oldest two children is two years behind in child-support payments. Mother works as cashier at dry cleaning shop. Boyfriend is a truck driver with child-support payments to his own two children whom he never sees. Children attend public schools and after-school day care. Oldest boy, 13, has sold drugs and spent time in Juvenile Hall. Sister, 11, has been accused of stealing at school. Youngest girl, 7, who is not the natural child of the boyfriend, is dyslexic and failing. Religion: None. 
     503 Average. Two gay men. Both carry the HIV virus. One lost his previous partner to AIDS. Both are active in the gay-rights movement. On Friday and Saturday nights they host parties at their house, which has a swimming pool and a hot tub, or they cruise the gay bars and bathhouses. They earn over $200,000 a year together and keep a nice house, two Lexus automobiles and a speedboat. They do a lot of traveling to exotic locations around the world. Religion: one Catholic, one Jewish.
     505 Average. Single career woman, twice divorced. Mid-level manager at a large technology firm; clears over $150,000 a year. Owns a vacation home in the Sierra. Entertains frequently, and male guests sometimes stay overnight. She has had three abortions and practices birth control regularly. Religion: Non-denominational.
     507 Average. Married couple with two children. Both parents work, the mother as a schoolteacher and the father as a junior college administrator. A nanny stays with the children, who are 6 and 4 years old. The husband has been "fixed" because "two children is enough." He is having a discrete affair and has considered divorce, but he doesn't want to risk losing his property or his children. Religion: Unitarian.
     508 Average. Widowed woman, age 67. She has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, and her three children are grown and gone. She volunteers as a candy-striper at a nearby hospital. She lives in fear of illness because she has seen the interaction of family members at the hospital, and she knows her own children wouldn't welcome her as a burden. She is building up a stash of pills for when it's "time to end it all." Religion: Presbyterian.
     509 Average. Recent immigrant family composed of eight working adults, two grannies and three small children. The adults work long days, leaving the children in the care of the two older women, one of whom is the natural grandmother. Only four of the adults speak English fluently enough to navigate in the English world alone. Religion: Buddhist.
In the 600 block of Average Street, there is an abortion clinic. Pro-life sidewalk counselors try to stop women as they make their way hurriedly from the street into the clinic. Also on the sidewalk are "escorts," hired hands or volunteers of the clinic who push and shove the pro-lifers, shout epithets in their faces, try to gross them out with sexual innuendoes and sometimes engage in outright sexual harassment. When the police are called, the "escorts" claim it is they who have been harassed and laugh as the pro-lifers are led away. 

None of the folks in the 500 block care for the activity at the abortion clinic. They can't really tell who is doing what, but the occasional presence of police cars makes them nervous, and the shouts and squabbles of demonstrators are nerve-wracking. The neighbors want "those crazy Christians" to stay away. They tell this to TV and newspaper reporters; consequently news reports make it sound like the pro-lifers are the bad guys.

The imaginary resident at 505 is certainly no friend of pro-life. She has had three abortions, and she would have as many more if necessary. But she worships only one word: RESULTS. She wants those pro-lifers out of the neighborhood. So she approaches them with an offer.

"Hello. My name is Ms. Manager," she says to one of the familiar sidewalk counselors. "I live in the next block. I would like to offer you the services of the marketing expert at my company. Would you agree to a meeting with him? Just to discuss the strategy of your - er - crusade here?"

The sidewalk counselor agrees. A meeting date is set. He and two other pro-lifers are introduced to Bill Pragmatist, the company marketing expert. 

"Well, you folks sure show a lot of guts, I'll say that for you," he says, shaking the hands of the three pro-lifers in his office. "How successful have you been?"

"We feel rewarded when anyone reads our literature and walks away from the abortion mill intact," one of the pro-lifers replies. "A baby saved is a soul saved."

"Right," Bill answers and plops his feet on the desk. "But one baby out of 1.5 million or 150 babies out of 1.5 million isn't exactly getting a touchdown, is it? In business, we would call that a failure of colossal dimensions. In this company, for example, we look for figures that cut losses by half or two-thirds. That would be getting somewhere. Get what I mean?" He waits for the pro-lifers' nods.

"Maybe you're just using the wrong techniques here. Just consider the people in the immediate area of the abortion clinic." He gives a rundown of the neighbors in Ms. Manager's block. "Imagine this block multiplied by millions. What do you have to do to convince these individuals to follow or even listen to your ideas? How would you get these neighbors to vote for a pro-life candidate or even go to the polls? How would you attempt to convince a woman or girl from just one of these families to say no to abortion? 

"These neighbors have no shared experiences, no common ethics. They don't even know one another's names. But they do agree on this: They like their pursuit of happiness. That is, they want to have enough money to buy things, have some fun, achieve a sense of security. You have to convince them that your message is in their own best interest."

"We can't adopt your methods," one pro-lifer offers. "This is morality we're talking about here. God's Word. We can't talk in terms of numbers."

"I see," Bill smiles. "In other words, if a handful of Jews had been saved from Hitler's ovens, and Hitler had conquered the world, you would call that success? God's will?" He waits for his words to sink in. "As a matter of fact, what saved the Jews probably WAS God's will. It was Japan's insane decision to bomb Pearl Harbor. The United States jumped whole-hog into the war, and Hitler was finished. Perhaps you are waiting for a similar catastrophe to strike in this case?"

"God does work in mysterious ways."

"You got that right. And you might not be waiting long because economic security is what speaks to Americans, and economic security is looking dim with a future Social Security ratio of 1 to 4, with one person working and four people receiving Social Security checks. That future might spell the end to Roe vs. Wade. Perhaps that's a point you should push."

"We will not tell young women to do God's will because it makes economic sense. We tell them to do God's will because it's God's will. Because it is a grave sin to murder babies."Bill takes his feet off the desk and pulls himself closer to the pro-lifers. "Look, doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that you are not supposed to search after miracles for faith?"

"Yes, it does. Matt. 12:39."

"Yet Jesus worked miracles to get people to believe his message, didn't he?"  The pro-lifers nod.

"Well, this is a case where you have to work with your masses. People who listen to MTV and watch simulated sex acts on the boob tube are not going to watch you pray or read your literature. They just think you're nuts. You have to hire lawyers, sue the opposition. You have to get a good PR man, advertise the consequences. What are the consequences of abortion?"

"The young woman feels a grievous sense of guilt and . . ."

Bill interrupts. "That's wishful thinking, mister. I know women who have had abortions, and they haven't spent a second on remorse. It's like getting a cavity filled. And I haven't yet met one of those women who failed to get pregnant when she wanted to get pregnant, so the figures you dangle about secondary infertility aren't very impressive either. The fact is that out here in the real world where women talk to each other, they know things usually work out O.K. And they don't have your sense of respect for pregnancy, so they don't get all pushed out of shape about ending one. So you have to think of consequences that matter to society as a whole, not what SHOULD matter to particular young women. Now I'm not saying that individuals don't matter here. I am merely saying that if your purpose is to stem the tide of abortions, you can't do it by emphasizing isolated cases. You have to emphasize the effects on society and then show these effects will disrupt the lives of these people on Average Street. There ARE effects on society?"

"Of course, there are," the second pro-lifer says. 

"The crime rate, the divorce rate, the suicide rate among teens, the rate of teen pregnancy all go up in a society where there is no respect for life. If life in the womb is not protected, then life outside the womb becomes expendable. The next group to suffer the ax will be old people through euthanasia. But the spiritual ax will be felt by much larger groups long before that the latchkey children, the drug and alcohol abuse, the homeless people discarded by their families, AIDS, all of it."

Bill replies, "Interesting. I think we're getting somewhere here. If you're right, and you can show the figures and you can relate the figures to the abortion rate, you can claim that Roe vs. Wade costs the government, and therefore taxpayers, millions and millions of dollars just to keep the country out of chaos. And the alternative is respect for life, which means respect for God first, then children, wives, husbands, grandparents. Your slogan could be 'Had enough? Vote for life!' "

"Well, what about Jesus putting his own life on the line?" one pro-lifer protests. "That was effective. And that's what we're doing."

"I think the analogy is a good one," Bill answers. "But you are not gods. And only your own small group even notices your sacrifice in the way you intend, that is. Of course, you could get someone to murder a few of you in some terrible fashion. That would catch the eye of the media and anger some people. But I suspect that most of the voting public out there would just look at the situation and say you didn't belong there. Their hearts have been hardened, as you would say."

The meeting lasted a few more minutes and drew to an amicable conclusion with thank you's all around and no definite solutions. 

"Think they'll get out of my neighborhood, Bill?" Ms. Manager asked wistfully.

"No chance. There's a whole cottage industry of volunteers out there. The more anger they see, the more they think they're doing God's work. We don't like their message or their methods and they don't like ours."

"So how do I get them out of my face?" Ms. Manager sighs.

"Who is our common enemy? China? Ghadafi? Call them on the phone and see if they're willing to bomb Pearl Harbor."
 
 

Physician-assisted suicide, an equal-opportunity option

Worry no more! If you're poor and can't afford to be killed, Oregon will come to your rescue. The state will help you kill yourself at taxpayer expense.

In a copyrighted article from the Washington Post, writer Nat Hentoff reported in February that Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, now has decided to provide this "service" to 270,000 low-income residents.

Starting Dec. 1, the Oregon health plan will provide state funds for diagnostic and counseling sessions and then pay for the lethal drugs to fulfill a poor patient's suicide wish. The funds will be segregated from federal Medicaid money because the federal government does not permit death to be subsidized under Medicaid – yet.

Naturally, there were some angry voices raised against this act of "compassion." Ric Burger, a diabetic in a wheelchair, pointed out that the state of Oregon won't pay for a personal attendant for totally disabled people but now will pay for them to die. "This amounts to nothing less than cultural genocide."

The Physicians for Compassionate Care pointed out that Oregon won't pay for antidepressant drugs for vulnerable members of the population but will pay for the same population to die.

Oregon's health plan refuses to pay for the final stages of AIDS, but now it will fund their suicides.

So far, Oregon is the only state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide. The issue was defeated in Michigan, and New York did a full-scale study of the assisted-suicide issue in 1994. The conclusion of the task force that did the study was this: "In light of the pervasive failure of our health care system Assisted suicide: Doctors to treat pain and diagnose and treat depression, legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would be profoundly dangerous for many individuals who are ill and vulnerable."

The task force also said: "Racism, ageism, bigotry against disabled people and issues of class and economic status would materially affect killing decisions."

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to declare physician-assisted suicide a constitutional right in 1997. Chief Justice William Rehnquist said the terminally ill, elderly and disabled must be valued the same as the young and healthy. But Rehnquist left the door open by suggesting that the states should explore ways of dealing with the issue.

In a second dissenting opinion, Justice David Souter said the move to assisted suicide would be one step closer to euthanasia where the lethal drug is administered by the physician, potentially without the consent of the patient. Souter also mentioned the financial incentives to health organizations. 

Advances in medicine and technology have made it possible for average people to live into their 80s and 90s. The same advances have raised the costs for living to astronomical levels. Hospitals and insurance companies are looking for a way out. Their enemy is us! 

Fulfilling the Divine Law

Somehow or other, and with the best intentions, we have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and rather ill-natured bore and this in the Name of One who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty-three years during which he passed through this world like a flame.

Let us, in Heaven's name, drag out the Divine Drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction . . .

Dorothy L. Sayers

Build a stronger Church and they will come

By Jane Anderson

Recently the United States bishops decided they should make an all-out effort to curb abortion. 

Well, excuse us for not clapping. Roe vs. Wade has been with us over 25 years! Where have the bishops been? Flying around to "important" meetings discussing inclusive language and whether or not to disagree with the Pope on women priests and the seamless garment.

If society hopes to recapture any sense of normalcy, spirituality, or even quality of life, the bishops have to remember what called them to ministry and then resolve to follow the rules of the Church as laid down by the Pope and Magisterium. If bishops don't follow the Pope, why should we follow the Pope? If bishops don't keep the law, why should we follow the bishops?If these bishops were the middle managers in a corporation, they would be fired for carping and sniping at the CEO, displaying no loyalty and even attempting to sell another company's product. 

Integrity is tough. It means staying in touch with what's going on in the diocese and squashing priests and lay people who decide to do their own brand of religion. It means putting up with groups of priests and "lay administrators" who threaten to walk out. Let 'em walk. It's better to say Mass in the park for three priestless parishes than to allow dissidents to turn the Church into a social club.
 

Bishops should tell their priests to give sermons on the evils of contraception and abortion. 
Priests should be warned that "wishy-washy" counseling about "following your own conscience" will not be tolerated.
Comprehensive Natural Family Planning programs should be subsidized by the diocese and required of all marriage candidates.
Youth-group leaders should be "straight arrow" and express the teaching of the Church: that sex is reserved for marriage (between people of opposite sex), and that chastity is a positive virtue.
CCD programs should be revamped. Make-nice talk that stresses how much God loves you leaves kids without an understanding of the demands that God makes on His people. When all the world is falling apart, Catholics should be standing firm – with their bishops  on the 10 Commandments and the Precepts of the Church.
Sex education programs of any type should not be allowed in parochial schools. Sex education is a responsibility of the parents and is best handled in a one-on-one situation.
Bishops should take every opportunity to inject the Truth into public discourse, for example, appearing at council meetings to debate an ordinance, writing a letter to the editor to debunk an immoral article, holding press conferences to make public the Catholic position. 
Diocesan newsletters should be more than miserable opportunities to show ribbon cuttings. They should stress the problems besetting a wayward Church and present clear-cut solutions.
Bishops should not allow career-minded lay personnel to run "the show." There is only one Truth here, and the Catholic Church is not a company or a career path. To this end, bishops might consider cutting their salaried staffs to the bone maybe even consider the revolutionary idea of using religious who live in communities to do administrative jobs (nuns in habits only need apply.)
Bishops should recruit, recruit, recruit new priests in the only way possible by example. Young men need to be called by a way of life that is prestigious, special and blessed. Enough of this "I am one of you" talk. If priests were one of us, we'd consecrate our own Eucharist!
Bishops should use the ability to excommunicate serious sinners who do not repent. It matters not how influential the person: If a senator votes for abortion, he or she should be "fired" as a Catholic. 


What about the bottom line? Money. It takes money to buy candles, pay for landscapers, help the poor. Mother Teresa said: "Don't worry. God has lots of money." Build a strong Church and they will come.


Statistics to die for

The federal government recently released a series of reports showing a drop in the rates of pregnancy, abortions and births among teens in this decade.The media and the public health community were quick to attribute the decline to the use of contraception and to sex education in the schools. Planned parenthood especially, and its Guttmacher Institute, were quick to seize on these reports to claim credit for the apparent success of its programs.

Donna Shalala, Health and Human Services Secretary, agreed.

However, an independent group of 2,000 physicians questioned these claims, contending that the decline in the birth rate among all teens is primarily caused by the increase in teens who have never had sex or are currently celibate.

"While the birth rate among all teens has declined in the 1990s, the out-of-wedlock birth rate to sexually experienced teens rose 29 percent from 1985 to 1995," the doctors said.


What price ecumenism?
Art Brew

For the millions of Catholics around the world who have venerated the Blessed Mother through the ages and will continue to regard her as the Mediatrix of all graces, a new book by Gerard Morrissey, For the Love of Mary, will come as something of an eye opener.

It details the arguments of those who oppose the church's emphasis on Mary, described as "anti-Marianism," which the author asserts is more widespread than is commonly believed. 

Even some bishops see devotion to our Blessed Mother as a threat to the primacy of Christ and a bar to ecumenism. This interesting book also provides a specific program of prayer and action that can preserve the orthodox faith of individual Catholics and bring graces to the entire Church.

It sells for only $6.95 (postage and handling paid) and can be ordered from Americans United for the Pope, PO Box 1102, Massapequa, N.Y. 11758.

Litany of St. Joseph

Approved for public and private recital by His Holiness Pope Pius X, March 18, 1909:


Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us:
God, the Father of Heaven Have Mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. Have Mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit Have Mercy on us.,
Holy Trinity, one God, Have Mercy on us.
Holy Mary Pray for us.
Holy Joseph, Pray for us.
Noble scion of David, Pray for us..
Spouse of the Mother of God, Pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, Pray for us.
Foster-father of the son of God, Pray for us.
Sedulous Defender of Christ, Pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family Pray for us.,
Joseph Most just, Pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, Pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, Pray for us.
Joseph most valiant, Pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, Pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, Pray for us.
Mirror of patience, Pray for us.
Lover of poverty, Pray for us.
Model of laborers (or Model of artisans). Pray for us.
Ornament of domestic life, Pray for us.
Protector of virgins, Pray for us.
Pillar of families, Pray for us.
Consolation of the afflicted, Pray for us.
Hope of the sick, Pray for us.
Patron of the dying, Pray for us.
Terror of the demons, Pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world . . . . . .Spare us O, Lord
Lamb of God, who takest away the wins of the world Graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world Have mercy on us, O Lord!

V. He made him master of his house:

R. And ruler of all his possessions Pray for us.

Let us pray:

O God, who didst deign to elect Blessed Joseph spouse of Thy most Holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may have him whom we venerate as our protector on earth as our intercessor in Heaven. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


(indulgence 300 days, once a day, also applicable to the souls in purgatory)






The Rosary of the Holy Wounds

Repeat any one of the following ejaculations five times in honor of the Five Holy Wounds of Our Lord:
 

Jesus, Savior of the world, have mercy on me. You to Whom nothing is impossible, bestow mercy to the wretched.
O Christ, who by Your Cross has redeemed the world, hear us.
Hail, Jesus, my loving Spouse. I salute You in the ineffable joys of Your divinity; I embrace You with the affection of all creatures and I kiss the sacred wound of Your Love.
The Lord is my strength and my glory; He is my salvation.


Promise: Our Lord made known to St. Gertrude that if any one of these ejaculations is repeated five times in honor of the Five Wounds of the Lord, spiritually kissing the wounds devoutly, adding some prayers or good works, and offering them through the Heart of Jesus, they will be as acceptable to God as the most arduous devotion.
 

On the crucifix and first three beads: O Jesus, Divine Redeemer, be merciful to us and to the whole world. Amen.
Strong God, holy God, immortal God, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.Grace and mercy, O my Jesus, during present dangers; cover us with Your Precious Blood. Amen.
Eternal Father, grant us mercy through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Your only Son; grant us mercy, we beseech You. Amen. Amen. Amen.


The following prayers, composed by Our Lord, are to be said using the rosary beads:
 

V. Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

R. To heal the wounds of our souls.

On the small beads:

V. My Jesus, pardon and mercy.

R. Through the merits of Your Holy Wounds.


History: This devotion to the Holy Wounds and its promises were revealed by Our Lord to Sr. Mary Martha Chambon (1841-1907), of the Monastery of the Visitation of Chambery. The cause for her beatification was introduced in 1937.


March and April are the months reserved for devotions of St. Joseph and the Holy Spirit. The Litany of St. Joseph can be recited in March and the Rosary of Five Holy Wounds can be recited in April .

The special virtue for March is mortification; for April, patience. The special gem traditionally assigned to March is the hyacinth for moral beauty and moral goodness. The gem assigned to April is the diamond, for purity and fortitude.

"Do what is right because it is right. Have the moral courage to stand up for your convictions."

L Dim Views L

Bellarmine gets with it

San Jose's Bellarmine College Prep has hired a layman to run the daily operations of the Jesuit school for the first time in its nearly150 years. Mark Pierotti, associate headmaster at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md., will take over the post on July 1, making Bellarmine the last Catholic high school in Santa Clara county to make the switch from religious to lay administrator.

It seems like bad news until one considers that Bellarmine was among the first to switch from religious to secular teaching. Among those "in the know," the school has been one of the ones to avoid for parents who want to keep their children in the Faith. Bellarmine looks good on the resume, it's a great place for networking, but it's not Catholic.

What a pill!

Yet another study has concluded that women suffer no lasting ill effects from taking the birth control pill. This study, the largest ever, according to its promoters, say that 10 years after stopping the Pill, a woman's risk of cancer, stroke or other side effects is no greater than women who have never taken it.

Now wait a minute . . . a woman still has a greater risk of cervical cancer, breast cancer, stroke and other diseases of the circulatory system while taking the Pill, but once she stops, after 10 years, her risk is the same.

Reassuring, isn't it? On this subject, the Pill promoters truly try to make a sow's ear look like a diamond-studded silk purse.


Call for help

Gerardo Huseby, a former member of the St. Ann Choir while a graduate student at Stanford University, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor in his native Argentina. The surgery is not covered by national medical insurance. Friends in Argentina and in the United States are trying to help with donations.

Prof. William Mahrt, who was Huseby's choir directior and also his musical advisor, asks that checks be made out to "St. Ann Choir" and sent to William Mahrt, 67 Peter Coutts Circle, Stanford, CA 94305.