Vol 6 No. 2
Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For Santa Clara Valley Catholics
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.:
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.
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?
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.
Approved for public and private recital by His Holiness Pope Pius X, March 18, 1909:
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:
V. Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.