Archive for the ‘Pro-Life’ Category

In My Neighborhood

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The Chiaroscuro Foundation recently put up on its website an interactive map that displays the abortion statistics for residents of every zip code in the City of New York.  I recommend that everyone in the City look up their neighborhood — you’ll definitely learn something.

I looked at my own neighborhood.  I’ve lived my whole life in a neighborhood split between Yonkers and the Bronx.  The Bronx part is Woodlawn, which shares the 10470 zip with a small portion of Wakefield.  Woodlawn is considered to be a very good neighborhood — solidly middle class, dominated by Irish immigrants (some of long-standing, some more recently).   Wakefield is a largely African-American and West-Indian neighborhood, but also mainly middle class and blue-collar.

The zip code is two-thirds white, with the remainder being a mixture of African-American, West Indian, and Latino.  Over 75% of adults have a high school education or better, and 20% have at least a bachelor’s degree.  Both neighborhoods have economic problems — unemployment is pretty high thanks to the crash of the construction industry, and the poverty rate is not great (although far better than the rest of the Bronx).  We have four good schools — a Catholic elementary school and high school, a  Lutheran school, and two public elementary schools.

There are lots of vibrant families and children, and lots of churches –  Woodlawn alone has five churches.  We even have a convent of the Sisters of Life.

But the abortion statistics in my neighborhood are horrible.

There were 267 pregnancies in this zip code in 2009, the most recent year reported.  115 of them ended in abortion. That’s a 43% abortion ratio — even worse than the overall number for New York City.

There are lots of reasons for this tragedy.  I am convinced that a great number of abortions happen because a mother in crisis thinks that she won’t be supported by the baby’s father, their families, or the community.  This abortion ratio in my neighborhood is wake-up call to our families, churches, and community.

So what can we do?  Preaching in the churches and teaching in the home are obviously the foundation.  We also need to promote chastity, so that women don’t have unexpected pregnancies, especially out of wedlock.  We need to make sure that every woman knows that she is not alone, that she will have the support of her family and community to make the choice for life, or that she can turn to one of the many pregnancy support centers in our area.  We need to make sure that more women know that help is out there, from Catholic Charities Maternity Bureau, and from the wonderful Visitation Mission of the Sisters of Life.

In the end, it will come down to decisions made by individuals and families.  And for that, much grace is needed.  Mary, Mother of Life, please pray for women contemplating abortion in my neighborhood, and everywhere.  And obtain for me the grace I need to be there for the women in my life and my neighborhood, if they ever are in crisis.

A Major Victory for Life and for Free Speech

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

I have blogged a number of times about Intro 371, the New York City bill that targeted pregnancy centers for unfair and discriminatory regulations, with an aim towards silencing them and putting them out of business.

Pro-lifers from our city, and leaders of national pro-life groups all lobbied very hard to prevent the passage of that bill.  At a public hearing, and in repeated communications with the Council, we warned them that the bill was unconstitutional.  But they didn’t care.  Even when two courts in Maryland struck down similar bills as being unconstitutional, they were undeterred.  Spurred on by the abortion industry and the anti-life ideologues of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Council heedlessly went forward with the bill, and the mayor imprudently signed it into law.

A lawsuit was filed by several pregnancy centers, challenging the law.  And today, just days before the law was to go into effect, the court issued its ruling — a preliminary injunction, barring the implementation of the law.

The case isn’t over — it still has to be fully litigated.  But in the meantime, this iniquitous law will not go into effect.  This is a great victory for the pro-life cause, and for free speech.

The court accepted all the same constitutional arguments that the pro-lifers presented at the public hearing last fall.  It found that the law was an infringement upon the free speech rights of the centers and their staffs, and that it was also so vague that it created a grave risk of being arbitrarily enforced.

Most importantly, the court utterly rejected the City’s arguments that the speech of the pregnancy centers could be regulated as if it was “commercial speech”, a category of speech that can be subjected to fairly broad regulation by the government.  Instead, the court held that the speech of the centers was to be given the highest degree of protection under the Constitution, and that laws infringing upon their speech could only be valid if they pass muster under the extremely stringent “strict scrutiny” standard — which few laws can survive.

In fact, the court rebuked the City for its position, saying:

Defendant’s second argument — that Plaintiffs engage in commercial speech because they are provided an audience to whom they can espouse their beliefs — is particularly offense to free speech principles… that proposition would permit the Government to inject its own message into virtually all speech designed to advocate a message to more than a single individual and thereby eviscerate the First Amendment’s protections.

Even better, the court called out the New York Civil Liberties Union for their failure to defend the free speech rights of the centers. The court said,

Given the New York Civil Liberties Union’s (“NYCLU’s) usual concern for First Amendment rights, its amicus brief supporting Defendants’ expansive view of the commercial speech doctrine is puzzling.

True, one might expect the NYCLU to be unyielding in the defense of anyone’s First Amendment rights.  But they are in the grips of such an uncompromising pro-abortion ideology that they cannot conceive that the speech of pro-lifers deserves protection.  This is not the first time that their hypocrisy has been put on display, but it may be one of the first times a court took the trouble to note it.

Pro-lifers espouse a counter-cultural message that is sternly disapproved by the elites who deign to govern and advise us (e.g, the editorial board of the New York Times).  Legislatures and courts across the nation have expressed this disapproval by restricting the rights of pro-lifers to speak to women outside of abortion clinics, to give prayerful witness outside those clinics, and to offer alternatives to abortion.  It is a constant battle to defend our rights against these forces.

For once at least — and in New York City of all places! — a court got it right, and has recognized that pro-lifers have the same constitutional rights as any other citizen.

Congratulations to those who fought this bill before the Council, to the fine attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Center for Law and Justice who pursued the lawsuit so ably, and to the pregnancy centers that kept up the fight.

I have a friend who likes to recall the story of Gideon from the Book of Judges.  Hopelessly outnumbered by a mighty foe, he trusted the Lord and was victorious.   Yes, indeed, all praise and glory to Him who never fails to comes to the aid of his people in need.

Mary and Her Knights

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the annual Knights of Columbus Prayer Rally in Albany.   Knights, their families and friends came from around the state to give public witness to our Catholic faith, and to call on our elected officials to defend life and the family.

Many groups come to Albany during the legislative session to lobby their Assembly and Senate representatives.  Virtually every day, you can see people from a wide variety of organizations and interest groups, patrolling the halls of the Capitol, and speaking to the elected officials.  That’s the regular course of business in Albany.

The Knights’ rally, though, is fundamentally different.

Yes, it’s about public policy.  We heard speeches about issues of grave concern to Catholics and to the common good, particularly about abortion and same-sex “marriage”.  I even said a few words to the crowd about the dangers to religious liberty that would come from redefining marriage. A number of Assembly representatives and Senators spoke, and the crowd responded enthusiastically.  Again, that’s pretty typical for Albany.

What makes this rally stand out though, is the most important item on the agenda for the day — prayer.  The entire rally was centered on the public communal recitation of the Rosary.  Yes, public prayer, not just public advocacy.  That makes all the difference.

Mary holds a special place in the heart of a Knight.  We truly look upon her as Our Lady.  Much as the knights of old were invested with their war gear, in a similar way we look upon Mary’s Rosary as our weapon of spiritual warfare.  Ask a Knight of Columbus, and chances are pretty good that he’s armed with a Rosary in his pocket, and he knows how to use it.

My favorite part of the rally is the devout hush that descend on the assembly when the time for speeches has ended and the time for prayer has come.  Further conversations are halted, or are muted.  Passersby stare in curiosity, perhaps in disbelief, but with respect.  All those present have lifted their hearts and minds to God, through the intercession of our Mother.  The fervent prayers echo in the cavern created by the surrounding state office buildings — giving witness to our faith, and, in a sense, sanctifying the halls of secular authority.

We gathered together in a place of power to give courageous witness to the power of faith, and to proclaim that all public activism by Christians must be rooted in prayer.  We came to do what the Lord commanded us, through the prophet Micah:

“Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.” (Mic 6:1)

Heeding that command, Mary’s Knights came to Albany, offered our prayers to God through her never-failing intercession, and were confident that our prayers were heard.

Varia

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Two lawsuits have now been filed challenging NYC’s crisis pregnancy center law:  here and here.
  • Pro-lifers continue to make progress in state legislaturesSouth Dakota enacts a 72-hour waiting period that also requires a woman to receive counseling about alternatives, and Arizona moves forward on a ban on sex- and race-selection abortions.  New York, clueless as always, continues to mire in the Culture of Death.
  • A UN report shows that changing sexual attitudes and behavior — particularly reducing promiscuity and adultery — actually does reduce HIV transmission, as evidenced by the experience of Zimbabwe.  Apologies to the Holy Father (who was pilloried in the press for pointing this out) will no doubt be forthcoming.
  • The real (i.e., eugenic) effects of pre-natal testing can be found in the abortion rate for handicapped children.
  • When Illinois’ civil unions bill was being considered, Cardinal George warned that it would threaten Catholic programs, and was derided for it. Well, what do you know — he was right, and Catholic Charities will probably be forced out of the foster care field: .
  • Bishop Tobin of Providence calls for an end to “Catholic apathy” on the defense of marriage, and strongly denounces efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage”.
  • The Vatican is investing in a company that specializes in adult stem cell research.
  • There are substantial concerns about the new Irish coalition government, and its policies on life and marriage.
  • Scholars crunch the numbers and find that Christians who attend church actually divorce less often than those who don’t.
  • A very nice profile of Maria McFadden Maffucci, editor of the indispensable Human Life Review. She denies it, but she really is a pro-life “hero”.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Why “Make Abortion Rare”?

    Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

    On March 8, Catholics from around the state traveled to Albany for the annual “Catholics at the Capitol” day, sponsored by the State Bishops’ Conference.  The purpose of the day is to offer Catholics an opportunity to stand together on the broad range of issues of concern to us — protecting life, strengthening our schools, caring for the poor and sick — and to speak to our state legislators.

    One of the issue papers distributed by the Conference was entitled “Making Abortion Rare”.  This document explained our Church’s opposition to the radical Reproductive Health Act, a bill that would lead to an increase in abortion, by placing it beyond any reasonable regulation.  A second issue was our opposition to the Governor’s elimination of all funding for the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation.  That foundation supports local initiatives and organizations that offer alternatives to abortions, and have helped thousands of women have their babies.

    These positions are a practical response to the challenge issued by Archbishop Dolan at his press conference in January about the appalling abortion rate in New York City: “I invite all to come together to make abortion rare, a goal even those who work to expand the abortion license tell us they share.”

    Some of our pro-life supporters have expressed discomfort with saying that we wish to “make abortion rare”.  They are worried that this might imply that we are conceding the legality of abortion, and that we have given up our ultimate goal of defending every human life.

    This concern is understandable, because people rightly can’t be satisfied with anything short of full protection for the unborn.  I understand this concern, but I believe it is unfounded.

    Our ultimate goals in this struggle have never changed.  Nobody has any doubt about the position of the Catholic Church on abortion.  We are absolutely, unalterably, irrevocably opposed to legal abortion, and will never accept the legitimacy of laws that permit it.  We hold steadfastly to building a culture of life in which every life is valued in our society and its laws.

    But while we pursue those ultimate goals, we have to take into account the political and cultural situation in which we find ourselves.  Then, relying on the virtue of prudence, we have to mitigate the harm that is being done by legalized abortion, and try to achieve realistically attainable results to advance the culture of life.

    This approach was outlined in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, The Gospel of Life:

    The Church well knows that it is difficult to mount an effective legal defense of life in pluralistic democracies, because of the presence of strong cultural currents with differing outlooks. At the same time, certain that moral truth cannot fail to make its presence deeply felt in every conscience, the Church encourages political leaders, starting with those who are Christians, not to give in, but to make those choices which, taking into account what is realistically attainable, will lead to the re- establishment of a just order in the defense and promotion of the value of life. (90)

    The challenge to “make abortion rare” is just such an initiative.  It takes into account the political and cultural fact that a complete abrogation of abortion laws is not attainable in our current cultural and legal climate.  It is directed not to people who are already committed to the cause of life.  Instead, it is an appeal to those who consider themselves “pro-choice”, but are uncomfortable with abortion and may be open to work with us on practical measures to reduce it.

    In other words, it is an effort to change hearts, to rebuild the foundation for a true culture of life.  As hearts change, laws will follow.

    Our vision and our goals will always remain the same.   As the United States Bishops said in their statement, Living the Gospel of Life:

    The Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times. The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well. Laws that permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust, and we should work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and change them. Because they are unjust they cannot bind citizens in conscience, be supported, acquiesced in, or recognized as valid. Our nation cannot countenance the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights. (33)

    A Witness to Hope

    Friday, February 25th, 2011

    Earlier this week, Dr. Bernard Nathanson passed away and entered into eternal life.  Archbishop Dolan will celebrate his funeral Mass on Monday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    In the earlier part of his life, Dr. Nathanson was a leader of the movement to legalize and normalize abortion in American life.  He crafted public arguments — which he later admitted were rooted in falsehood — to justify the changing of laws and morals on abortion.  And he personally performed thousands of abortions himself.

    If that were all we could say about his life, it would be odd indeed to be celebrating a funeral Mass for him at our Cathedral.   But that was not all.

    Soon after he had accomplished his aims — the legalization of abortion in America — Dr. Nathanson began a remarkable personal and spiritual journey, which he recounted in his autobiography, The Hand of God.

    Confronted by the images he saw on fetal sonograms, he became convinced of the humanity of the unborn child and rejected the practice and ideology of abortion.  He became an outspoken pro-life advocate — a most famous and powerful convert to the cause of human life.  He tirelessly denounced the deceptions at the heart of the abortion business, and deeply regretted his role in advancing it. He himself said, “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.”  He was deeply oppressed by his complicity in the great evil of abortion, and steered close to despair from the burden of his sins.  Despite this, he continued to resist turning to God for help.

    Attending pro-life protests in the late 1980′s, Dr. Nathanson was confronted with something he did not expect.  As he described in his autobiography, he was stunned by the sense of love exhibited by the pro-life protestors.  They sang hymns and offered prayers for the unborn children, the mothers, and the clinic workers, their faces filled with joy.  Their witness of selfless love touched Dr. Nathanson at his core, and he began a new stage of his journey.

    He “began to entertain seriously the notion of God — a god who problematically had led me through the proverbial circles of hell, only to show me the way to redemption and mercy through His grace”.  These thoughts about God, “held out a shimmering sliver of Hope to me, in the growing belief that Someone had died for my sins and my evil two millennia ago.”

    This was the true turning point of his life — the beginning of his genuine conversion.

    Eventually, he was baptized by Cardinal O’Connor in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, surrounded by pro-life co-workers and friends.  All his sins were washed away in the water of life, and he was re-born anew in the Holy Spirit.  Strengthened by that grace, he continued his ardent pro-life advocacy for the remainder of his life.  He was a leader of the movement, and a mentor and friend to many.  He will be deeply missed.

    But, in a larger sense, Dr. Nathanson is an important witness to something that all of us must hold close to our hearts — the virtue of hope.  It would have been easy for an outside observer to give up on him when he was still active in the abortion business, and to despair of any chance of his conversion.  We in the pro-life movement frequently feel this way about others among us — like health professionals who perform or assist in abortions, and public figures who support it.

    But we must never give up, because God never gives up on anyone — His grace is indefatigable.  Dr. Bernard Nathanson is a shining example of our hope in the great and inexhaustible mercy of God.

    In the famous story of the Prodigal Son, Our Lord told us of the loving, merciful father, who never fails to forgive those who return to him.  When his wastrel son finally came to his senses, rejected his sins, and returned to ask for forgiveness, “his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Lk 15:20).

    Let us all pray in hope that Dr. Bernard Nathanson, having now returned home, will be received with compassion and enfolded in the loving embrace and kiss of his merciful Father.

    Varia

    Sunday, February 20th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Robert George weighs in on the Live Action debate.
  • Philosopher Christopher Tollefsen responds to those who disagreed with his moral critique of Live Action’s tactics.  Other response here and herePeter Kreeft defends Live Action,  as does Hadley Arkes.
  • As a charter member of the Kathryn Jean Lopez Fan Club, I give you three of her pieces: on the power of pro-life witness, the suffering of women, and the culture of death; an interview with Maggie Gallagher on the current status of the defense of marriage; and an interview of Brad Wilcox on the overall health  of marriage.
  • The forces of “tolerance” refuse to brook any dissent.  Now the “gay rights” crowd is going after the iPhone app that helps people prepare for Confession, because it has the audacity to state that homosexual acts are sinful.  Note the chilling term they use — “anti-gay spiritual abuse”.  In 1984, Orwell used the term “thoughtcrime”.
  • An amendment to the federal budget will cut funding from abortionists.  Also, the Protect Life Act, which will remove abortion funding from the health care law, has been approved by committee and sent to the full House for consideration.  The Democrats in Congress, however, continue to rally behind Planned Parenthood and resist measures to defund them.
  • A positive initiative in Kansas to support pregnant women.  Here in New York, of course, our Governor cut all funding for the pro-life Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, while continuing unlimited Medicaid funding for abortion and tons of money for Planned Parenthood.  Red states, blue states.
  • Wesley Smith explains how to fight against the evil thoughts of Peter Singer, the Princeton philosopher who justifies infanticide.  Smith warns that we must oppose this now, lest infanticide become as accepted as abortion is now.
  • Why is our government funding an international program that is making it easier to carry on the exploitation of “sex workers”, including minors?
  • The Brave New World, Northern Chapter — a Canadian court will permit doctors to remove life support from a gravely ill baby, against her parent’s wishes; the court rejected the parents’ request to bring her home so she can die among her family.
  • The fight to keep Ireland pro-life continues.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Varia

    Sunday, February 13th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Live Action visited the Bronx Planned Parenthood clinic, and again the undercover video shows the clinic workers to be indifferent to sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors.  (Please note that I have significant qualms about the morality of the practice of shooting these undercover videos.)
  • The claim is being made by Planned Parenthood and their media sock puppets that Live Action doctored the videos. Remember, this will be the theme you will hear forever in the objective media: “Live Action, which has been accused of doctoring videos…” Here’s Live Action’s crushing response.
  • If they did nothing wrong, then why is Planned Parenthood is re-training staff on how to report child sexual abuse?
  • Senate Democrats are rallying around the one cause in which they never, ever waver from their principles: retaining federal funding for abortion. And the Catholic former Speaker of the House is leading the fight to keep money flowing to the abortion industry.
  • The religious sister in charge of the Catholic Health Association, despite recently writing to the USCCB and acknowledging that the local bishop is the ultimate and definitive authority on moral medical ethics, but still says that she continues to disagree with Bishop Olmstead’s decision in the case of the Phoenix hospital. I always thought the phrase was, “Roma locuta, causa finita”.
  • A Catholic hospital in Chicago is offering help to women who in the midst of a multi-day second-trimester abortion — they’ll work to reverse the abortion. This is precisely why authentic Catholic health care is so important.
  • None of our “leaders” in Albany seem willing to defend marriage.  Our Governor says he will push to legalize same-sex “marriage”, and the leader of the allegedly pro-family party says that they’ll allow a vote in the State Senate.
  • The President announces a glitzy new educational initiative, a “Race to the Top” initiative. But Catholic schools aren’t allowed to enter the competition. Maybe it’s because they’d win, hands down.
  • Very sad to read how many parents discourage their daughters from a religious vocation.
  • Msgr. Charles Pope on diversity and unity in the Church. They call us “catholic” for a reason.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Varia

    Sunday, January 30th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Try to imagine a world without abortion, and what it would be like.  Can we go there please?
  • Our 100% pro-abortion President lauds the anniversary of the iniquitous legal usurpation that permitted the destruction of an entire class of human beings.
  • Meanwhile, the Catholic pro-life Speaker of the House has a different perspective on the anniversary, and has plans to do something about it.
  • The Newsletter of the Cult of Moloch, er, I mean the Times, publishes a snide opinion piece about the abortion rate in NYC that winds up with a sympathetic look at a late-term abortionist.  All the callous indifference of the Culture of Death that’s fit to print.
  • Anti-euthanasia hero Wesley Smith warns us of the looming threat of health care rationing.
  • Kathryn Jean Lopez suggests a nice target for the Tea Party — cutting abortion funding in the federal budget.  Proving her point, an obscure change in the Medicaid rules will produce greater “access” (i.e., government spending) for contraceptives, which will inevitably lead to more abortions.
  • Sobering summary of the true costs of egg donation on women and on the human beings in embryonic stage who are lost in the process.
  • This is how it is in modern Ireland — Franciscans of the Renewal friars pray outside of a “family planning” center, are vilified on the radio as a result.  How does that go, “Blessed are those who are persecuted…”?
  • It’s pretty well established that divorce is bad for kids. Yet another study shows that it’s worse for boys than girls.  So what does our state do? That’s right — it passes a “no-fault” divorce law last year, which makes divorce easier, with no regard to the best interests of children.
  • This is really neat — a time-lapsed video of the March for Life.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Why Do We Do This?

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

    When you think about it from the world’s perspective, the pro-life movement makes little sense.

    The Supreme Court has ruled against us, repeatedly, and there’s no change in sight. Congress can’t do anything about it, even if they wanted to.  When they do act on abortion, they spend millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for it. We currently have the most pro-abortion President in history, and even when we had a pro-life President the essential law went unchanged. Nominees for the Supreme Court give homage to this state of the law, referring to it as “settled law” and “binding precedent”.

    In 1992, in the Casey decision, the Supreme Court called on us to stop arguing, stop marching, and just obey:

    “Where, in the performance of its judicial duties, the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe . . . , its decision has a dimension that the resolution of the normal case does not carry. It is the dimension present whenever the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    The premiere elements of our popular culture are dead-set against us.  All the major newspapers routinely extol the right to destroy unborn children, as to virtually all of the broadcast networks.  Few leading commentators mention the issue on a regular basis.

    The statistics continue to be appalling.  Well over a million reported abortions each year.  Untold numbers of abortions caused by “emergency contraception” or hormonal contraceptives.

    So, why do we do this?  Why don’t we just give up, as our culture would prefer?

    The answer can be found, every year, at the March for Life.

    In a sense, it can’t be called a March any more, now that the authorities in Washington have shortened the route — more of a “Stand and Then Stroll for Life”, the way it works out.

    It really should be re-named as the “Celebration of Life”.  That’s because the atmosphere at the March is such a rejoicing in the wonderful gift of life, and there’s such a positive, uplifting spirit in the crowd.  For an event that is motivated by such an evil issue, it’s a remarkably joy-filled day.

    This joy, of course, does not come from any sense of self-satisfaction.  Rather, it comes from a deeper, more profound source.  Whenever we do the will of God, whenever we freely choose to conform our will to His, we experience this joy.  It’s like when I found that special someone and convinced her to marry me.  Or when a priest, deacon or religious embraces their vocation. Or when we drop our selfish objections and set out on a cause that we know is pleasing to God and demands a serious self-sacrifice.

    There is, ultimately, only one reason to be pro-life, to ride the cramped bus for hours, to stand and walk in the cold, to witness outside an abortion clinic, to write our legislators, to mentor a scared expectant mom, to have hard discussions over the kitchen table with our relatives.

    God is pro-life, and He loves this cause.  That’s why we do it.