Dallas 40 Days for Life Opening Rally
Last night about 60 people gathered for the opening rally of the 40 Days for Life Dallas Campaign. After the rally we processed to the vigil site where it was blessed and prayed over.

Baby at the rally

Joanne Murray, head of DCAPP (Dallas Coalition against Planned Parenthood) speaks to the gathered participants.

Mom and baby(s) at the rally

Msgr. Mark Seitz, pastor of St. Rita Church, addresses the crowd at the Rally

Candlelight procession to the abortion mill.

Gathered at the vigil site.

Msgr. Seitz prays over and blesses the vigil site with holy water.

Impromptu testimony from a man (holding baby in pink) about the power of prayer.


More John Paul II - The Dignity of America
This week marks the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pastoral visit to America in 1987. During his visit he travelled for 11 days in whirlwind stops to Detroit, New Orleans, San Antonio, Columbia, Los Angeles, Miami, Monterey, CA, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

John Paul II always spoke prophetically when he visited other countries and this trip was no exception. Of particular note is farewell address prior to his departure at the Detroit airport.

Some of the excerpts:

America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness in the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenceless ones.

The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person:

- feeding the poor and welcoming refugees;
- reinforcing the social fabric of this nation;
- promoting the true advancement of women;
- securing the rights of minorities;
- pursuing disarmament, while guaranteeing legitimate defence;

all this will succeed only if respect for life and its protection by the law is granted to every human being from conception until natural death.

Every human person - no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society - is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival-yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenceless ones, those as yet unborn

The Archdiocese of Detroit has neatly put all of his talks while in Detroit in Podcast form on their web site and I encourage you to download them and listen as you can.

Full details about his visit to Detrit.


Obscure document from Pope John Paul II
Some years ago, I read through a short document that John Paul II wrote to the American Bishops in 1999. The Catholic Bishops of America, along with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University held a pro-life leadership convocation that year to explore such issues as biotechnology, abortion, euthanasia, contraception, international family planning, and human sexuality.

John Paul II wrote an introductory letter to the convacation that I am assuming was read to the participants at the opening of this meeting.

This short document, as far as I know, has received almost no attention in any sphere and was never given any intial attention. I have never seen it read or referenced in any pro-life circles. I have no idea what type of impact it made on the Bishops and pro-life leaders who were in attendance.

But the more I read it, the more I come to see this document as one of the most important for the church in America today. In it, the Pope lays out the underlining problems of morality that our civilization suffers from and then he lays out clearly what our response should be.

This is a bold document, one that needs more exposure. It's exactly the kind of thing that all serious pro-lifers, whether Catholic or not, need to read and study in order to more effectively apply the Gospel of Life.

I am reproducing it here in full (with permission from Zenit) but you can also find it on our web site.

To My Venerable Brother
Cardinal William Henry Keeler
Archbishop of Baltimore
Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities

As you gather in Washington with so many individuals and groups dedicated to the defense of human life, I send greetings in the Lord, with the assurance of my prayers for the success of this important meeting jointly organized by the Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

At last year's Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, the Bishops of the continent were unequivocal in their insistence upon the Christian duty to defend and promote human life from the moment of conception to that of natural death, and they abundantly praised those who have generously and courageously undertaken that duty (cf. Ecclesia in America, 63). More recently, the United States Bishops have issued the Statement Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, which splendidly echoes the voice of the Synod and the teaching of my own Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae. Your meeting is another sign that in the United States of America the Gospel of Life has found fertile ground in which to grow and bear fruit, precisely because it sheds light on a matter of critical importance for society, a matter so essential that no one can remain indifferent.

At the end of the twentieth century we are witnessing a strange paradox: the sanctity of human life is being denied by an appeal to freedom, democracy, pluralism, even reason and compassion. As the Bishops' Statement points out, words have become unmoored from their meaning (cf. Living the Gospel of Life, 11), and we are left with a rhetoric in which the language of life is used to promote the culture of death. Freedom is sundered from truth, and democracy from the moral values required for its survival; a faulty notion of pluralism loses sight of the common good; reason often refuses to engage the truths which transcend empiric experience; and a false sense of compassion is incapable of facing the limits and demands of our nature as created and dependent beings. The language of human rights is constantly invoked while the most basic of them - the right to life - is repeatedly disregarded. The Bishops have identified the source of this contradiction in the moral confusion which comes inevitably with "the gradual restructuring of American culture according to ideals of utility, productivity and cost-effectiveness" (Living the Gospel of Life, 3). So great is the confusion at times that for many people the difference between good and evil is determined by the opinion of the majority, and even the time-honored havens of human life -- the family, law and medicine -- are sometimes made to serve the culture of death.

At such a time, Christians must act. This is a fundamental demand not only of discipleship but also of democracy, which flourishes when "people of conviction struggle vigorously to advance their beliefs by every ethical and legal means at their disposal" (Living the Gospel of Life, 24). This is not easy in a situation where there is at times deliberate falsification of the Church's teaching and scorn for those who promote it. Yet none of this can be allowed to blur your vision or diminish your energies.

Your action needs to be both educational and political. There must be a thorough catechesis on the Gospel of Life at all levels of the Catholic community. Catholics imbibe much of their surrounding culture, and therefore this catechesis needs to challenge the prevailing culture at those points where human dignity and rights are threatened. Such a catechesis has as its goal that shift of perception and change of heart which accompany true conversion (cf. Eph 4:23). The call to conversion must ring out in your homes, in your parishes and in your schools, with complete confidence that the Church's teaching about the inviolability of life is deeply in tune with both right reason and the deepest longings of the human heart. This educational effort will increasingly open the way for Catholics to exercise a positive public influence as citizens of their country, without false appeals to the separation of Church and State in a way that consigns the Christian vision of human dignity to the realm of private belief. The choice in favor of life is not a private option but a basic demand of a just and moral society.

The pro-life concern must be present in every aspect of the Church's pastoral activity. It is my fervent hope that your meeting will signal the commitment of the whole Catholic community to implementing the teaching of Living the Gospel of Life, that it will help to coordinate better the activities of the various groups involved, and that it will strengthen the resolve of many people to continue their generous and tireless efforts. Commending all gathered at the Washington meeting to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer who is the Way and the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, February 20, 1999


From the Office of Common Sense
Have you ever seen those crazy instructions written on various items you buy at the grocery store or at Wal-Mart? You know, things like "Do Not Iron Clothes on Body" when purchasing an iron or being told "Do Not Use in Mouth" when buying firecrackers? The only reason those types of instructions exist is because someone, somewhere did those dumb things and tried to sue the company making the product.

That's what I thought of when I read the latest instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the use of artifical hydration and nutrition in certain circumstances.

Like a father instructing his young child not to stick his fingers in the electrical outlet for the 10th time, the Congregation slowly and painstakingly goes through the very obvious reasons why artificial hydration and nutrition should be the norm in most circumstances and they lay out clearly what the rare, small exceptions are.

Reading through it is almost tiring. I mean, this has been explained over and over so many times that I wonder why in the world it has to be repeated so often.

Here's what I mean:

"Is the administration of food and water to a patient in a 'vegetative state' morally obligatory except when they cannot be assimilated by the patient's body or cannot be administered to the patient without causing significant physical discomfort?"

The answer to this question should be obvious to anyone who reads it, but here it is:

"Yes. The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented."

Isn't it sad to see otherwise highly competent and intelligent men who have to lower themselves to become an Office of Common Sense? They not only have to tell you that certain behaviours are wrong, but why they are wrong in the first place. A first-grader could understand this.

I'm not complaining about the CDF here. I am saying that it's sad that men with years of theological and philosophical training find themselves compelled to repeat over and over that you cannot and should not starve and dehydrate innocent human beings but yet, people keep doing it anyways.

The comparison is like writing this in an instruction manual for a hand gun: "When putting the gun to your head, refrain from pulling the trigger, in this way death is avoided." Or how about this for a drivers manual: "When driving down the highway at a high speed, refrain from striking the concrete divider, in this way a gruesome accident with needless death is avoided."

This would make just as much sense and is probably just as necessary. Welcome to the Office of Common Sense.


Just the facts, Maam..
Sean Tipton of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine is tired of the same old nonsense when it comes to politics and stem cell research and wants people to quit thinking about what works and instead wants them to support what does not work. Here he blathers to the TimesOnline in UK about how people don't understand that fantasy is reality and vice versa:

"This is based on scientific nonsense about what constitutes a ‘naturally dead’ stem cell. It’s another example of people trying to shape the science to fit their policy goals. I think Americans are tired of decisions based on fantasy. They want decisions based on fact.”

Yes, indeed. So here are the facts:

To date, more than 73 types of ailments or diseases have been cured using adult stem cells. There have been no (as in zero) cures from the use of immoral, unethical embryonic stem-cell experimentation.

If you read the TimeOnline UK article, the first person to comment on the article asked a very good question: Why are we having this dicussion?


New term for you
A few months ago, the US Supreme Court banned the medical procedure known as partial-birth abortion. Or at least, we thought they did.

You see, according to NARAL, what the Court really did was institute a "Federal Abortion Ban." Where does this authoritative-sounding legal term come from? Why from the web site http://www.federalabortionban.com/ sponsored by Planned Parenthood, NAF, the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

We have heard over and over in the past 10 years how Partial-Birth Abortion is not a medical term. Well, behold, it is indeed a medical term and you can see this easily by going here and here . (Hat tip, Jill)

The term that is not medical or legal in nature but in fact is ideological in nature is "Federal Abortion Ban."

They falsely accuse us of making up medical terms, how about them making up legal terms?

Continuing to promote false ideology and the inablility to deal with reality is a great sign you are losing. Please keep it up.


Pro-Lifers and adoption
A past letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News has a letter from Mary Ann Morrow from Bedford, TX who laments that pro-lifers "who were protesting (at abortion clinics) should be standing there with an attorney prepared to sign papers accepting the financial responsibility of care of mother during the pregnancy, costs of delivery and immediate adoption."

There are many people in the pro-life movement who are very willing to take a child into their home, no questions asked. You can call our office and we will be glad to put you in touch with some of them.

But many women who go to the abortion mills are not necessarily broke as much as they need someone to talk to and help them through their pregnancies.

What would Ms. Morrow say to a woman who comes to the clinic in a nice SUV or Lexus, as they frequently do?

Having said that, even if we were not willing to adopt a child in such a way, does that make the mothers decision to abort her child the correct one? And how are we to know what assistance she needs unless we are there to talk to her before she has the abortion?

The Catholic Church here in Dallas has made a huge effort to raise awareness about the possibility of adoption to young mothers who are contemplating abortion. The Catholic Pro-Life Committee recently hired an adoption counselor to work with the White Rose and other local agencies to raise awareness and to facilitate adoptions when women decide to place their child.

Adoption is a compassionate solution to a tough problem but it is not the only one. Many times we find that women only need support and encouragement to help them through their pregnancies and this consists of a great part of the work of the Project Gabriel Ministry of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee. Trained "Gabriel Angels" support and mentor the women who are in difficult pregnancies and can give them, or find for them, the help that they need.

Are you aware of these efforts, Ms. Morrow?


A Necessary Work
Earlier this week, the staff of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Farrell and tell him of the work we are doing.

Bishop Farrell is a strong supporter of our work and expressed his hope that he could become more involved and work more closely with us.

There are two things he said in particular that need to be mentioned. The first is that when he talked to us about how important our work was, he told us that this was not something that we did "out of the kindness of our hearts" like other charities. Instead pro-life work is something that is a part of our baptismal call, something that is so fundamental to who we are as Catholics, and as human beings, that it is a necessary work.

After all, the opening lines of the Gospel of Life tells us that "the Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus's message."

The second thing the Bishop mentioned is that we will not be popular and that we will most likely not be accepted by our culture when we do pro-life work. This comment was proven true the very next day by Planned Parenthood when they published an ad in the Aurora Beacon about pro-lifers protesting their deceitfulness in building a new abortion mill. The ad clearly paints pro-lifers as violent extremists that regularly blow up abortion clinics and is a classic piece of propoganda. It's only purpose is to smear those who oppose them.

And yet, the truth will not cease to be exposed. As we speak, there are more than 90 cities around America that are planning a 40 day vigil of fasting and prayer for an end to abortion. We will be participating here in Dallas and need all people of good will to come out and pray in front of our local Planned Parenthood, even if it's not the popular thing to do.

It is a necessary thing to do. It is part of your baptismal call.


Required viewing
Planned Parenthood in Aurora, IL has lied to city planners about the abortion mill they are building which has resulted in a huge amount of outrage amongst the citizens of the town.

Below is the story that Sean Hannity did on the controversy. This should be required viewing for everyone.

Jill Stanek is following the story closely with a new article put up today.

Generations for Life is helping with the protests and planning for he 40 Days for Life.

Joe Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League heads up the efforts in Aurora.