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Archive for October, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

UPDATE 11/3/12: I’ve set up a mechanism for donations to a parish food pantry near the affected areas on Staten Island, where EVERY PENNY donated (Tax-deductable!) will be used by Sr. Margaret Mary to purchase food for the victims. Click here to get the details.

We live just two blocks from New York City’s Evacuation Zone A, 1/4 mile from the ocean’s edge, and atop a steep hill. For Regina, the children and me, there was no fear of flood waters, but there was for several friends who live in the evacuation zone around the Knights of Columbus Council where I first entered the order, Manresa Council.

It’s all gone now. The Council, which faced the beach, filled to within six inches from the ceiling with water from the 14-foot tidal surge. As the floodwaters receded, the outer wall of the building burst open, the heavy steel gate over the front door twisted like tin foil.

The homes of those in the neighborhood were simply battered to rubble.

A mother seeking to escape the rising waters put her two babies in the car and drove off, only to be checked in her escape by the rapidly rising waters. She tragically opened the car and stepped out to survey an escape route when a swell swept her away. She was rescued. Her babies, swept away, have yet to be found. It’s beyond heartbreaking.

So many who died had so very much advance warning. As Paul Simon wrote over twenty years ago, “This is the age of miracles and wonders, this is the long distance call…” With satellites, radio, TV, cable, the internet…

Simon was quite right. Thanks to the miracles and wonder of technology, we all saw this coming. Most heeded the warnings. Then, tragically, there were those who did not.

As we sat with the winds blowing and prayed the rosary as a family, we prayed for those in harm’s way. In my heart, I prayed for those who didn’t heed the call to leave; who through obstinance, or hubris, or the denial that comes with overwhelming fear, would die that night.

I suppose it’s all a modern day parable; like the foolish virgins who knew the master was returning, but did not get oil for their lamps. I also suppose that those of us in the pro-life cause feel much like those political leaders, police and firefighters who begged people to see the reports for themselves and save themselves while they could.

How maddeningly frustrating it is to have outright denial hurled back by those who face certain peril.

How heartbreaking to see our words go unheeded and the resultant loss of life, men and women maimed through disease or abortion.

Are there behavioral parallels from those who would not flee Sandy, parallels from which we might glean useful knowledge?

It’s academic for now. We have thousands whose homes were totaled, just in my community. Many are brother knights, brothers in the Holy Name Society. They need immediate help as well as assistance for the long term. Many couldn’t get flood insurance, and have been completely wiped out. It’s fundraising season now. The holidays are bearing down on us as so very, very many have been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Please pray for them. Please pray for all who have been ravaged by this storm, and please give whatever support you can. This is as pro-life as it gets.

Praise God for all the lives that were spared, for those brave men and women who stand in harm’s way to save life! And we commend to him those who perished.

God Bless.

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Note: There seems to be two different protocols that have been reported on this, as Melissa points out in the combox below. I’ll track down the correct one and adjust accordingly.

News today from AP that a research team at Oregon Health and Sciences University has replicated work done a few years ago in Britain, constructing a human embryo by using the eggs of two mothers and a father’s sperm.

Read it at FoxNews

The goal here is to prevent diseases that arise from genetic defects within the energy-producing organelle of the cell known as the mitochondrion. These so-called mitochondrial diseases are very real and quite varied. As the article states:

About 1 in every 5,000 children inherits a disease caused by defective mitochondrial genes. The defects can cause many rare diseases with a host of symptoms, including strokes, epilepsy, dementia, blindness, deafness, kidney failure and heart disease.

So the diseases and the frequencies are significant. The ethics are a forgone conclusion. We’ll debate the ethics of taking the healthy nucleus from Jane’s egg and putting it into the egg of Lisa (which has had its nucleus removed), and then fertilizing that hybrid with Jane’s husband’s sperm. In this way, they will have children with 99% DNA from Jane and hubby, and only 1% DNA residing in the mitochondrion.

What effect will this have on the offspring, and will there be complications? We won’t know until we manufacture these babies and await the results not only over the course of the manufactured baby’s life, but in the lives of the descendants.

It won’t stop there.

The next step will be the genetic engineering of nuclear DNA by either replacing entire chromosomes, or at the least, defective nuclear genes. The guiding ethical principle?

Suffering is bad, and the noble end of preventing suffering justifies the means.

Emanating from this nobility comes the evil of intolerance of those who suffer, and who afflict us with their suffering. Consider the following from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in his infamous majority opinion in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case which upheld the forced sterilization of the developmentally delayed:

Carrie Buck is a feeble minded white woman who was committed to the State Colony above mentioned in due form. She is the daughter of a feeble minded mother in the same institution, and the mother of an illegitimate feeble minded child…

An Act of Virginia, approved March 20, 1924, recites that the health of the patient and the welfare of society may be promoted in certain cases by the sterilization of mental defectives, under careful safeguard, &c.; that the sterilization may be effected in males by vasectomy and in females by salpingectomy, without serious pain or substantial danger to life; that the Commonwealth is supporting in various institutions many defective persons who, if now discharged, would become [p206] a menace, but, if incapable of procreating, might be discharged with safety and become self-supporting with benefit to themselves and to society…

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

There’s nothing new in our age.

When suffering is to be avoided at all costs, the question becomes, “WHOSE suffering?”

The answer to that question then determines the lengths to which we will go to prevent that suffering.

The next step will be designer babies, and on what grounds could parents possibly be stopped? That it’s unethical to manufacture human beings in a lab? Are they humans in that Petri dish? If yes, why do we discard so many during normal IVF? Is that not murder? If the answer is no, then what harm is there? Isn’t genetic engineering for traits just a cleaner and more precise version of picking up a blonde-haired, blue-eyed stud in a bar, or picking out an Ivy-League sperm donor?

What is being lost in the process that now gives people pause?

That’s the only question whose answer matters.

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Obama, Life, Exhaustion

A rare rant here at Coming Home.

Shoveling against the tide. That’s been the pro-life reality under President Barak Hussein Obama. It’s difficult to advance a Culture of Life behind the iron curtain of the Culture of Death.

It’s draining. Exhausting.

The corruption of the scientific and medical communities by abortion and its allies has hampered the advancement of the healing arts by dimensions that are staggeringly incalculable. The waste of precious dollars on abortion, and cleaning up its mess, on cleaning up the mess left behind by the sexual promiscuity promoted by Planned Parenthood (STD’s, AIDS) is similarly staggering. The direct costs are easily well above $1 Trillion. Consider the cost of:

55 Million abortions since Roe v. Wade
Treating hundreds of millions of STD’s since the late 1960′s
The research costs around AIDS (largely an STD)
The hospitalization costs and medication costs of AIDS {$36.4 Billion per year}

Then there was the solid economic impact study conducted by Dennis M. Howard, founder of Movement for a Better America

“We found that the 50.5 million surgical abortions since 1970 have cost the U.S. an astonishing $35 trillion dollars,” in lost Gross Domestic Product, he told LifeNews.com. “However, if you include all the babies lost to IUDs, RU-486, sterilization, and abortifacients, the number climbs to $70 trillion.”

$70 Trillion

Drink that in. We’re in a panic over Obama’s staggering debt load of $16 Tillion, yet the lifestyle advocated by BO and his fellow travelers, in both parties, has cost us $70 Trillion and counting.

The lost opportunities for curing diseases and treating disorders. The lost lives who might well have prevented wars or invented new technologies.

Read the rest at Howard’s site.

So what have we been reduced to by all of this?

We have Obama’s healthcare replete with death panels, with a rationing czar who came here for 2 1/2 years to set up a rationing program for healthcare because the same government that has sponsored this civilizational suicide has now established itself as the arbiters of who among the survivors will die first in order to assure a better quality of life for the remainder.

It’s filthy and grubby, but to be honest, it’s who and what we have become as a people. We voted them in. We tolerated the evil, even participated in it. We let it happen.

The lost money, the lost time and talent of all who work at shoveling against this tide of sewage, the lost opportunities to work for healing surgeries and therapies that would ameliorate the coldest of eugenic hearts…

What have we done to ourselves?

There is one more good chance to elect a president who will overturn Obamacare. Just one more.

But to be certain, the change of hearts will continue to consume the time and creative energies of some of the best and brightest among us for decades to come. More lost opportunities for advancing what was once the greatest civilization in the history of the world; but what else can we do?

Still, there is the hope that people have begun to see what we have collectively wrought-and now wish to change.

Maybe.

Hopefully.

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Tonight we conclude our Divine Mercy Novena for Theodore Shulman and those affected by his actions. We do so on the Feast of Saint Gerard Majella, my patron saint, who is the Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers. It was through Gerard’s powerful intercession that I was born, and for him that I was named. We invoke Gerard’s mighty intercession tonight, on this last day of the Divine Mercy Novena, for Theodore’s conversion

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all who have participated in this spiritual exercise of compassion and mercy. God Bless you all.

The link to the Divine Mercy Chaplet follows the prayer.

We Pray.

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Day 9
Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM,* and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.

On this final day of the Novena for Theodore Shulman, let us pray for him and those who have failed him in charity. Let us pray for those in the pro-life movement who may be indifferent to his suffering. Finally, let us pray for all of those lukewarm souls who know neither the fire of love for God, nor the icy cold of rebellion, but who are merely lukewarm and indifferent.

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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We continue our Divine Mercy Novena today.

We Pray

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Day 7
Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ESPECIALLY VENERATE AND GLORIFY MY MERCY,* and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Let us pray for the penitent soul that through the mercy of God and through the Blood of the Lamb, has been reconciled to God. That by this gift of reconciliation may be an example of how merciful our loving God is and lead others to seek that same mercy. We pray too for Theodore and his mother, that they may come to know in an ever more personal way the love and mercy of God.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

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We continue our Divine Mercy Novena today.

We Pray

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Day 6

Today bring to Me THE MEEK AND HUMBLE SOULS AND THE SOULS OF LITTLE CHILDREN, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is capable of receiving My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Let us pray for the gift of humility to pray for the poor sinner as they seek refuge in Christ’s Ocean of Mercy. In their humility may they find reconciliation and a renewed sense of mission to spread hope through Christ’s bountiful mercy.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family continues to lift up in love and prayer Theodore Shulman, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for healing whatever bitterness that resides in the hearts of people on either side of this issue. Mr. Shulman is a truly gifted scientist whose skills are desperately needed in research to cure human affliction. In the next nine days, we’ll pray for his inner-healing and for his heart and mind to be guided by love of humanity.

Some Notes: First, for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, novenas are nine days of intercessory prayer. We welcome you to join us in the novena prayers, or to pray along with us each night at 8 PM EST in any manner of prayer that you prefer. I have also linked to the chaplet at the end of the prayers.

We Pray

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Day 5

Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SEPARATED THEMSELVES FROM MY CHURCH,* and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you Theodore, his mother, and all who have separated themselves from your body, the larger church of faithful believers from Judaism and other faiths who place their belief in the God of Abraham. Send your irresistible Holy Spirit into their lives and light in them the fire of your love. We pray too for those who claim to be pro-life whose hearts are similarly far from you.

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family continues to lift up in love and prayer Theodore Shulman, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for healing whatever bitterness that resides in the hearts of people on either side of this issue. Mr. Shulman is a truly gifted scientist whose skills are desperately needed in research to cure human affliction. In the next nine days, we’ll pray for his inner-healing and for his heart and mind to be guided by love of humanity.

Some Notes: First, for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, novenas are nine days of intercessory prayer. We welcome you to join us in the novena prayers, or to pray along with us each night at 8 PM EST in any manner of prayer that you prefer. I have also linked to the chaplet at the end of the prayers.

We Pray
✞ ✞ ✞

Day 4

Today bring to Me THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD* AND THOSE WHO DO NOT YET KNOW ME. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

<em>Lord Jesus, we lift up to you Theodore Shulman whose heart is far from you, and yet so very near. Heal in him whatever wounds there are that bind his heart and cause him to see himself as less than worthy of your love. Bind up those hearts as well, who claim to be pro-life and yet would do violence to other humans

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family continues to lift up in love and prayer Theodore Shulman, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for healing whatever bitterness that resides in the hearts of people on either side of this issue. Mr. Shulman is a truly gifted scientist whose skills are desperately needed in research to cure human affliction. In the next nine days, we’ll pray for his inner-healing and for his heart and mind to be guided by love of humanity.

Some Notes: First, for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, novenas are nine days of intercessory prayer. We welcome you to join us in the novena prayers, or to pray along with us each night at 8 PM EST in any manner of prayer that you prefer. I have also linked to the chaplet at the end of the prayers.

We Pray:

✞ ✞ ✞

Today bring to Me ALL DEVOUT AND FAITHFUL SOULS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Lord Jesus, we lift up Theodore Shulman to you along with the devout souls of the pro-life community. We ask that you do not consider the hatred in his heart, but the pain and agony that have engendered such hatred. We pray that he submits his will to you and becomes one of those devout souls.

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family continues to lift up in love and prayer Theodore Shulman, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for healing whatever bitterness that resides in the hearts of people on either side of this issue. Mr. Shulman is a truly gifted scientist whose skills are desperately needed in research to cure human affliction. In the next nine days, we’ll pray for his inner-healing and for his heart and mind to be guided by love of humanity.

Some Notes: First, for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, novenas are nine days of intercessory prayer. We welcome you to join us in the novena prayers, or to pray along with us each night at 8 PM EST in any manner of prayer that you prefer. I have also linked to the chaplet at the end of the prayers.

We Pray:

✞ ✞ ✞

Today bring to Me THE SOULS OF PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you all of our priests and religious. We join to all of their masses, prayers and good works the needs of Theodore for healing in mind and spirit, that through the graces wrought by their good works our brother may be joined in heart to the objects of their pastoral love and ministry, including the unborn

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard—upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family lifts up in love and prayer Theodore Shulman, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for healing whatever bitterness that resides in the hearts of people on either side of this issue. Mr. Shulman is a truly gifted scientist whose skills are desperately needed in research to cure human affliction. In the next nine days, we’ll pray for his inner-healing and for his heart and mind to be guided by love of humanity. Tonight, we begin with prayers for the healing of those in the pro-life community, such as Scott Roeder, whose passions have led them to violence, and whose murderous actions have clearly excited people such as Mr. Shulman to hateful revenge.

Some Notes: First, for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, novenas are nine days of intercessory prayer. We welcome you to join us in the novena prayers, or to pray along with us each night at 8 PM EST in any manner of prayer that you prefer. I have also linked to the chaplet at the end of the prayers.

✞ ✞ ✞

Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Let us pray for those in the pro-life community whose zeal has led them to acts of violence, including murder. We pray, too, for ourselves, that God will keep us humble and mindful of the first principle of morality, that we must always employ just means toward a just end; that we remain ever-mindful that above all else our sin is no less hateful to God.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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Theodore Shulman’s Poison

This past week word reached the Pro-life Community of Theodore Shulman’s sentencing for issuing death threats to pro-lifers, including Jill Stanek and myself. Read the U.S. Attorney’s statement here.

Shulman was found to be in possession of cyanide, castor beans and rosary peas at the time of his arrest. Most people know of cyanide, but the other two are less well known.

Castor beans come from a common plant used as a decoration and may be grown at home. They produce the highly toxic compound called ricin which is highly lethal to humans, with a lethal dose being as small as a few grains of salt. There is no antidote or cure. Ricin has been rejected as a military grade weapon by every civilized nation of the world for over a century.

Rosary peas likewise produce a highly toxic and deadly compound with similarly small doses as cyanide and ricin. This chemical when ingested produces similar gastrointestinal symptoms as clostridial bacteria. Physicians will treat with antibiotics, thinking clostridial disease until it’s too late.

Shulman and I are the same age and have doctoral level training in biology. I presume that he is also a Ph.D., but that has never been established. What is for certain is that he is in possession of a brilliant mind, and under different circumstances would regard him as an esteemed peer. He’s better than good at science. He’s truly brilliant, and no one can ever take that away from him.

It’s not enough to be brilliant, however. Shulman and I have been entrusted with scientific training that can be used to great good or great evil. There is an awesome responsibility that comes with the knowledge and skill. Tragically, the world is tilting Shulman’s way, though many physicians kill with a license. So where does it come from, the murderous and blackened heart?

I think at some level it comes from having been devalued and brutalized as a human being. Love of others begins with an authentic love of self. Did the fact that Shulman’s mother had two abortions before him and two after him have anything to do with it? I don’t know, but I couldn’t imagine being raised by such a woman. What evil.

All that can be done is for all of us to pray. This profoundly gifted and profoundly troubled man is a fellow scientist and a child of God, for whom Jesus died as assuredly as He died for my sins as well. Beginning on Monday night, October 8, I’m having the Divine Mercy Novena here at Coming Home. I’ll be praying for Shulman, and ask that the entire pro-life community joins in as well. 8 PM EST. Let’s pray for our brother’s conversion, that God will reach into the depth of his pain and restore Theodore to life and health in mind and body. Life is long and Shulman has much to contribute.

He’s as alone as he is brilliant.

Let’s change that.

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News this week that is as personal to me as anything that will ever happen in the pro-life movement: the largest abortuary in New York City shut down because of 22 years of pro-life witness at its doors by Msgr. Phillip Reilly and his associates of Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Read the incredible story in the New York Daily News here.

Why so personal?

This behemoth, the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Brooklyn opened right down the street, a mere 70 yards, from the Church (pictured above) in Brooklyn where I grew up, where I received all of my Sacraments of Initiation, where my grandparents lived and died, where all of my parent’s generation on both sides of the family were born, raised and were wed. This villainy happened in the shadow of Saint Michael’s Church. The juxtapositions were gut-wrenching.

My mother was born in the apartment buildings twenty yards away from the site where it is estimated a quarter of a million babies would later be slaughtered. She would later move three blocks away to the same street where my dad was born, where they would grow up together, get married, and where I would be born and spend the first thirteen years of my life, in an tenement building where my grandmother, two aunts, and three cousins also lived, which was next to the tenement building where my other grandparents, aunt and uncle lived.

It was a classic New York story of immigrants and their children living in poverty, in an industrial neighborhood in the Great Depression and somehow managing to get through, of children of different ethnicities bound by their Catholicism marrying and eventually moving to better homes in the 1970′s.

That abortuary was built in the epicenter of the land where three generations of my family and neighbors lived their faith. The stories from the Great Depression being too numerous to recount in one telling:

Nana giving dad and his siblings each a penny to put in the poor box in church, as they trod in shoes with cardboard placed inside to cover the holes in the soles.

Crusty old Msgr. Cherry always having vouchers to local shoe stores, and odd jobs for men who were unemployed and desperately poor.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph who staffed the school picking the kids (like dad) who often went hungry and showed signs of malnourishment to bring their sheets to the laundry, and upon their return telling them that three of the sisters were ill that day and couldn’t eat lunch, asking dad if he would help them not to waste the food by eating it.

Nana’s brother, Uncle Eddie, who would give my father, his brother and sister his nickel for the trolley car so they could buy candy (a bagful for the nickel in those days) and then walk the two miles to work.

Mom’s mother saving her pennies and buying a steak for my grandfather to eat when he came home from 16 hours of work (when the five children and she had oatmeal for dinner), and my grandfather cutting that small piece of meat into seven equal pieces for everyone while my grandmother protested that a hard-working man needed the meat more.

In truth, I could fill a book with hundreds more such anecdotes of the goodness and shared sacrifice of these great people of Saint Michael’s Church. As we gentrified and moved on, a large influx of hispanics moved in behind us on the socioeconomic ladder and became the new face of Saint Michael’s.

But something changed, radically.

While being poor, their poverty was not the grinding poverty of the Great Depression, and they had social safety nets, unlike my parents and grandparents generation. Forty years ago in the same year we moved out a new remedy for poverty was held out: Abortion.

Some thirty-five percent of the 88,000+ ANNUAL abortions in New York City are hispanic babies. The 2008 Vital Statistics data set reveals that blacks and Hispanics have a combined 79 percent of all abortions in New York City, a number that is remarkably consistent over the dozen or so years for which numbers by race and ethnicity have been recorded. NYC’s annual number of abortions has been hovering between 88,000 and 92,000 for years.

In numbers of abortions per 1,000 live births, whites had 512, Hispanics had 867, and blacks had 1,260.

The love, the shared sacrifices, the enduring vision of hope for better times that would take my family decades and three generations to realize was supplanted on that same land, in the shadow of that same church, by a vision of infanticidal despair and hopelessness, of quick-fixes and moral shortcuts that took the lives of a quarter-million babies.

This abortuary was always a personal one for me. It stained the hallowed ground where generations perfected themselves through grinding sacrifice and gritty faith. Towering triumphantly over the ruins stands mighty Saint Michael’s Church, a reminder to me that the love of God, as witnessed so powerfully by my parent’s and grandparent’s generations, will always prevail over darkness and despair. Msgr. Reilly and his helpers have shown us what the gritty denizens of that industrial class neighborhood showed for decades:

Loving persistence conquers all.

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