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Timothy Cardinal Dolan is my archbishop, an as such he is entitled to my respect and obedience. There have only been a couple of times where I have publicly disagreed with him and written of it. It is not bishop-bashing, but rather the strongly worded disagreement of a faithful and respectful son of the Church. As such, critique must always be balanced by prayer for the Cardinal’s intentions. This novena is that prayer. Please join each night after 8PM EST as we pray for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions. We begin…

St. John Vianney, Greatly Devoted to Our Blessed Mother O holy Priest of Ars, your life was consecrated to the Blessed Mother. You prayed earnestly to her, entrusting your Priesthood to her care. You begged all the faithful to pray the rosary, the favorite prayer of Mary, our Mother. You summed up the reason for your great love of our Lady by saying: We have only to turn to the Blessed Mother to be heard. Her heart is all love.

O great John Vianney, I ask you with all my heart through the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary, the Virgin Mother to make Cardinal Dolan’s life patterned after that of our heavenly Mother, full of love for God and his neighbor. Obtain for him a deeper love for our Lady and a filial confidence in her. She is the person to whom he can turn in times of distress when lonely or upset or in times of temptation. Inspire Cardinal Dolan to consecrate his life to his Mother in heaven. May he know the powerful protection of Mary’s Mantle all the days of his life.

Novena Prayer: O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Cardinal Dolan and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Cardinal Dolan in a special way during this novena.

Amen.

Timothy Dolan

Timothy Cardinal Dolan is my archbishop, an as such he is entitled to my respect and obedience. There have only been a couple of times where I have publicly disagreed with him and written of it. It is not bishop-bashing, but rather the strongly worded disagreement of a faithful and respectful son of the Church. As such, critique must always be balanced by prayer for the Cardinal’s intentions. This novena is that prayer. Please join each night after 8PM EST as we pray for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions. We begin…

St. John Vianney, Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament holy Priest of Ars, you had such an overwhelming love for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that you prayed for hours in His presence. You said that when our Lord sees them coming eagerly to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, He smiles upon them. They come with that simplicity which pleases Him so much.

O Saint of the Eucharist, may your example enkindle in Cardinal Dolan a deeper love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. By your prayers, never let him doubt Christ’s Real Presence, but obtain for him a firm faith rooted in the Eucharist. Help him not to be afraid to defend or preach Christ’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Obtain for him the grace to approach our Lord with simplicity of heart as he lays his soul’s innermost thoughts before Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Keep Cardinal Dolan under your continual protection, that he may be supported by your example and assistance and be faithfully devoted to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. May his life reflect the belief of our Lord’s abiding presence with us. O St. John Vianney, by the power of your intercession, give us Priests devoted to the holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Novena Prayer: O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Cardinal Dolan and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Cardinal Dolan in a special way during this novena.

Amen.

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan is my archbishop, an as such he is entitled to my respect and obedience. There have only been a couple of times where I have publicly disagreed with him and written of it. It is not bishop-bashing, but rather the strongly worded disagreement of a faithful and respectful son of the Church. As such, critique must always be balanced by prayer for the Cardinal’s intentions. This novena is that prayer. Please join each night after 8PM EST as we pray for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions. We begin…

St. John Vianney, Full of Zeal for Souls O holy Priest of Ars, you taught men to pray daily: O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in You. Your life was the very living out of this prayer. The divine life of grace abided in you. Your zeal for the salvation of souls was manifested by your total self-surrender to God, which was expressed in your selfless service to others. You gave of yourself unreservedly in the confessional, at the altar, in the classroom, in fact, in every action you performed.

O great St. John Vianney, obtain for Cardinal Dolan the realization that God also dwells in him when he is free of sin. Remind him that the salvation of his soul is the fulfillment of his existence. Awaken in him a sense of self-giving for the salvation of souls. Obtain for Cardinal Dolan, by your intercession, a zeal for souls like your zeal. May he see that God dwells in him and in his fellow men. Obtain for him from our Lord the grace to lead all men to salvation. Let your prayer be his: If you really love God, you will greatly desire to see Him loved by all the world.

Novena Prayer: O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Cardinal Dolan and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Cardinal Dolan in a special way during this novena.

Amen.

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Last week the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee in New York City decided to allow an openly homosexual group to March under their own banner, and Cardinal Dolan (Next year’s Grand Marshall) embraced the decision openly, warmly, and uncritically. These events created an outcry among Catholic writers, myself included. Among the rather strongly worded opinions was that of Msgr. Charles Pope, whose blog post on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website lasted about as long as a pint of Guinness at the parade before it was taken down. Lifesite News has archived it here. The article is as potent as it is brief, and it merits a thoughtful reply.

In abstract, Msgr. Pope points out how events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner have become shells of their former selves, “farcical,” to use his description.

Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.

In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.

On the Al Smith Dinner,

Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.

But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.

His recommendation,

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.

End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.

It’s hard to argue with a priest of Msgr. Pope’s caliber. In so many ways he’s right. What has gone out from the Church in large measure is holiness. But then, that’s nothing new. Look at Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). In medieval Europe, the day before Ash Wednesday was an occasion of binge eating of meats and cheeses, old flour before the severe fast for Lent. All manner of perversion crept into the occasion until we arrived at what exists today. Hardly an evening of examination of conscience. The same for what has happened to All Hallows Eve (Halloween).

There can be no doubt that the Church is besieged on all fronts, and we are witnessing the development of a siege mentality. Abroad we hear of Hindus killing Christians in India, Muslims slaughtering Christians across the Middle East and in Africa, and the threatening of the Pope’s life by these savages.

At home we are witnessing the decay of democracy and the rise of a totalitarian state. The bishops, Cardinal Dolan in particular, have been played for fools by President Obama, and the cardinal speaks of “being disappointed,” by the betrayal of Obama’s promises on contraceptive and abortion mandates. Religious liberties are being eroded by a president who doesn’t see the beheadings of Americans as a declaration of war by an enemy who has promised to fly their flag from the White House; but that same president claims that opponents of his HHS Mandate are waging a war on women. So the Little Sisters of the Poor are at war with us, but ISIS is not.

Gay marriage has taken deep root, while traditional marriage is being opted out of at frightful rates. And now out and proud gays being led along Fifth Avenue in parade by a cardinal who has expressed no opposition whatsoever. The same cardinal welcomed President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner (where his predecessors actually prevented some nasty politicians from attending) with equally warm and uncritical embrace as he has the gay contingent he’ll lead along Fifth Avenue past his own cathedral.

It’s easy to see where Msgr. Pope wants to pull out of the Al Smith Dinner and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Respectfully, I must disagree.

This is New York City, and as the world knows we’re fighters here. We don’t lie down and die, and we don’t take no for an answer. Retreat and surrender are not in our DNA. That’s why this is all so visible. But many in the church are in headlong retreat, abandoning the high ground to the adversary. Consider how many dioceses have closed their adoption agencies rather than comply with new laws mandating that they work with gays and lesbians to place children for adoption. Why?

Why close down? Are these children not worth fighting for? Why go down without a fight? Why die with a whimper, when being forcibly shut down by armed police would make a better demonstration of the thuggishness of Obama’s ilk, of the erosion of religious liberty?

Several bishops have spoken of having to shut down other vital operations rather than comply with the HHS Mandate. Again, why?

Retreat emboldens the enemy, and increases the bloodlust with which they pursue us. In the end, the very churches that Msgr. Pope recommends we retreat to will have their tax-exempt status taken away. Then what? What happens in the face of increasingly punitive and crippling taxes by an adversary dedicated to our demise in the public sphere?

No. The answer is no.

The Al Smith Dinner raises a great deal of money for Catholic Charities. We don’t need to invite the most rabidly pro-abortion politicians, but we can use the sharp satire of the evening to skewer them on the important issues. Who suffers if we retreat from this event, whose tone is set by New York’s archbishop? We all do, and the poor most especially.

Similarly, why retreat from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade? The parade was never on par with the sort of Eucharistic procession now advocated by Msgr. Pope. While it certainly honored Ireland’s patron saint it was at least as much a projection of political power by the minority Catholic population in New York and the other cities, a message to the protestant ruling class that here they were not protected by a monarch. Here the Irish had an equal voice, and their growing numbers demanded a different reality than what they suffered in the old country.

New York’s archbishops, from the building of the cathedral post-Civil War, have lived in a stately mansion on Madison Avenue. A faith-filled Irish populace led by our Irish bishops were a force to be reckoned with, and politicians came to that mansion with hat in hand. That is no longer the reality in New York.

Catholics’ faith and fervor have been watered down through a combination of poor catechesis, extinct evangelization, and socioeconomic upward mobility that leads to less reliance on God for survival and celebrates self-initiative. It doesn’t help when our bishops and clergy don’t fight back. Waving the white flag has become habitual and has set a tone for the laity. Would that the USCCB organize boycotts of all the parade sponsors who forced the inclusion of openly gay contingents. Would that our clergy and laity get on board. Would that we have a segment in every bulletin listing the corporate lepers who wage war on us.

Big Gay has seized control of the corporate world, threatening them with crippling PR campaigns if they don’t comply. That’s how Big Gay made an end run around a US Supreme Court ruling protecting the right of the Boy Scouts to determine membership criteria. It’s how they have leveraged the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee when Big Gay lost every court challenge against the parade organizers.

Big Gay (who are only 1.6% of the population) does not back down, while for over a decade we have been in headlong retreat. We are more than big enough to win a boycott battle against these same corporations, especially if we partner with like-minded protestants and other religious groups.

No, Msgr. Pope. We can do both. We can yet again become the holy people you call for us to be, AND stand our ground. That’s OUR dinner, not Obama’s. That’s OUR saint, OUR parade, not Big Gay’s. Those are OUR children in orphanages, whose care has been entrusted to US, not Big Gay.

A church that will not fight for orphans will not fight for itself. If it will not fight for itself, if it will not become holy once again, that parade will become our funeral procession.
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Tonight is Night Two of our Novena for Priests right here at Coming Home. We are praying this Novena for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions.

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan is my archbishop, an as such he is entitled to my respect and obedience. There have only been a couple of times where I have publicly disagreed with him and written of it. It is not bishop-bashing, but rather the strongly worded disagreement of a faithful and respectful son of the Church. As such, critique must always be balanced by prayer for the Cardinal’s intentions. This novena is that prayer. Please join each night after 8PM EST as we pray for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions. We begin…

Jesus, Good Shepherd,
You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church
and lead her faithful to You through the ministry of Your priests.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grant to Your priests
wisdom in leading,
faithfulness in teaching,
and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.

As they cry out with all the faithful, “Abba, Father!”
may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You
in Your divine Sonship
and offer their own lives with You, the one saving Victim.

Make them helpful brothers of one another,
and understanding fathers of all Your people.

On this first day, renew in Your priests deeper faith,
greater trust in You,
childlike reliance on our Mother Mary,
and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father and his bishops.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Vianney, pray for them.

Amen.

To St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney, Who Accepted the Cross, O holy priest of Ars, as a young seminarian you encountered many obstacles on the road to the Priesthood, but you realized that to suffer was to suffer with Christ on Calvary, and so, if following our Lord meant taking up His cross, you lovingly embraced it. Your motto in life became loving while suffering and suffering in order to love. You did not get discouraged, but your strong faith united you closer to Jesus every day of your life.

Oh great St. John Vianney, you know what is needed for Cardinal Dolan’s salvation —a strong faith able to accept the will of God in all things. To serve Christ, he too must take up his cross and follow Him. By your prayers, obtain for him a heart full of courage and strength. Obtain for Cardinal Dolan that same courage and strength to follow Jesus wholeheartedly even if it means following Him to Calvary. Intercede for him before the Lord that he may do the will of God, obey the commandments, and loyally love the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Novena Prayer: O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Cardinal Dolan and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Cardinal Dolan in a special way during this novena.

Amen.

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The decision by the organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to allow a group of gays from NBC to march openly under their own banner, “OUT@NBCUniversal,” was nothing short of a betrayal of all that was best in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who have resisted this for more than two decades. That New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan welcomed the move, saying the organizers have his, “confidence and support,” is a scandal of epic proportion.

Lest any read these words and interpret them as unwelcoming of LGBT persons in the Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to the world’s bishops in 1986 instructing them on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. Read it here.

Those of us who are horrified at the specter of New York’s Archbishop leading the parade as Grand Marshal, leading a banner announcing a contingent of out and proud gays past our beloved Cathedral (named for St. Patrick), will undoubtedly be called haters. As with all evil, listen to the epithets hurled at the faithful and then you have the identity of those doing the hurling.

Haters.

Catholics who love God, love His Church, love His order of creation are called haters for not supporting those whose lifestyle spits in the face of all that is holy. Is it really hateful to proclaim that children need both a mother and a father living under the same roof, and that this is part of God’s wise design?

Is it hateful to observe that mothers and fathers bring very different gifts and skill sets to the table, and that children need both?

Is it really hateful to suggest that God created a complementarity between the sexes and that humans are completed in their formation within a milieu that nurtures this dynamic complementarity?

Is it really hateful to suggest that the needs of children are the starting point of all consideration and not the needs or predilections of the adults?

If one is a supporter of the gay agenda, then the answer to all of the above is a resounding YES!

But who are the real haters? What do we say of those who say that a mother is an optional accessory in the life of a child, that motherhood itself is entirely unnecessary?

What do we say of those who say that a father is an optional accessory in the life of a child, that fatherhood itself is entirely unnecessary?

What do we say of those who rent women’s bodies as nothing more than incubators (and this includes many heterosexuals), who reduce women to the level of livestock: broodmares and bitches, all because of their own sterility?

What do we say of those who patronize an industry where women are artificially inseminated like so many cattle?

Who is at war with whom here?

What do we say of those people?

Here is what we DON’T say: We don’t cast them out of the Church. We don’t suppose that our sinfulness is more pleasing and acceptable to God than theirs. We don’t arrogantly assume that we will be heading to Paradise and that they will not.

We say to those people: Welcome brother. Welcome sister.

We accept them as individuals, but not as a militant class with an agenda that flies in the face of the Magisterium. No out and proud banners and, in fact, this is how the Ancient Order of Hibernians has dealt with this for 22 years. All are welcome to march, but not under a gay pride banner. They have their own parade for that. And what a parade it is. Filled with naked men in nothing but thongs. Until the parade route was shortened, the Gay Pride parade marched past St. Patrick’s Cathedral where men mooned the cathedral, gave it the finger, and chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at it, and the faithful, by extension.

How the Cardinal can see this as an occasion of unity beggars the imagination. He has alienated his most faithful in exchange for… what?

If the openly gay group were the Courage ministry who struggle to lead chaste lives in accordance with God’s plan as articulated by the Magisterium, that’s a win-win. But that is not what happened here. He has alienated his most faithful by not standing against the AOH members of the committee and their change in direction to welcome the rebellion itself, to LEAD them along Fifth Avenue. Does he suppose that having paraded under their own banner they will abandon their lifestyle and flock to Courage, flock to confession?

This decision comes within the context of not waging an aggressive campaign against gay marriage in New York State, not speaking out against the move to admit openly gay scouts in Boy Scouting, welcoming the most anti-Catholic, anti-life president in history to the Al Smith Dinner, his enthusiastic comments about Michael Sam; not crossing swords with Governor Cuomo when he attempted to legalize abortion in New York for all 9 months, reduce penalties for botched abortions, etc.

Cardinal Dolan could take a page from Cardinal O’Connor. O’Connor didn’t budge an inch against the gates of hell that were turned loose on him by the gay community. He stood them down with the fortitude of a lion. At the same time he volunteered weekly at an AIDS hospice he created and insisted on being called, “Father John,” while dressed simply as a parish priest. He cleaned bedpans and wiped bottoms.

Humility and Fortitude in seamless union.

To be certain, the parade was losing the major corporate sponsorships that make the parade possible. Equally certain is that Cardinal Dolan could have led a boycott against those companies who dared to profane the parade in honor of his diocese’s patron saint. He could have rallied his brother bishops in this and sought the aid of wealthy Catholics to make up the shortfall until these businesses came around. He could have boldly proclaimed the instruction from the CDF linked above. He could have shown disgust and indignation at the allegation that any who are faithful to God’s wise design are haters. He could have stood for the dignity of women and condemned homosexual marriage and the use of women by gay men as broodmares. He could have stood for the dignity of lesbians and condemned artificial insemination as beneath their dignity.

But he didn’t.

There are some Catholic writers and commenters who criticize the actions of the bishops at every turn. That has seldom happened here. But there seems to be a blind spot when it comes to the gay agenda here in New York. It is dangerously seductive to think that one’s adversaries applauding us is somehow a triumph for unity.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He reminded the Apostles that if they find the world hates them, to remember that it hated Him first.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He said not to worry about what we will say when put on trial, that the Holy Spirit will give us the words.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He reminded us that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Jesus did all He could to instruct us that there would be great strife and divisions, all in His name. He never, EVER said that there would be unity, though He prayed that all would be one as He and the Father are one. But that oneness does not come at the expense of the truth, otherwise the Cardinal’s pulpit becomes as hollow as the parade that the AOH committee members just defiled.
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Beginning tomorrow night, September 6 at 8 PM , Coming Home will have the Novena for Priests for the intentions of Cardinal Dolan. He needs the prayers, and I need the practice. Let’s all join in.

Update: A draft copy was inadvertently published a few moments ago identifying the AOH as having made the recent decision to allow gays in the parade. This has been corrected to show that it is AOH members on the parade committee. The AOH stepped back from direct involvement a few years ago.

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Recently Richard Dawkins created a stir with some thoughtless tweets about aborting people with Down Syndrome, and Live Action has a column about the motives of some who abort their babies with Down Syndrome. With respect to author Sarah Terzo, it is an untempered treatment of deep complexities not at all explicated in the article, nor even hinted at. In the interest of truth and justice for many post-abortive mothers, here is a deeper exploration. It comes by way of my own experiences as the father of a special needs child.

When Regina became pregnant with Joseph (our first) it was pure magic. This child we feared might never be conceived after four years of prayers and disappointments, our first baby, was on the way. Early on we were offered the AFP, which tests for fetal anomalies and has many false-positive results.

We refused.

Why chance a positive result which would require amniocentesis to confirm, especially when amniocentesis kills one in every two hundred babies on which it is performed? There was no way that we would abort our baby, no matter what. “Besides,” I added to our bewildered Ob, “If God has X number of handicapped babies He needs to send into the world, we’ll take one. Children with needs require more love, not less.”

I never really thought He would take me up on that little bit of bravado.

It just didn’t make sense to have tests, to eat our hearts out if there were some potential anomaly that couldn’t be fixed. (Fetal surgery was just getting going at the time.)

Freeze frame. That’s an incredibly vulnerable time in every way for a woman. Physically she is immunocompromised, and increasingly uncomfortable toward the end. There’s the exhaustion of the first and third trimesters. There’s all sorts of concerns. At precisely the moment that a woman needs all the support she can get, when standing by her means everything for the father, for family and friends, she is hit with a devastating diagnosis.

Joseph was turning five when after years of misdiagnoses he was finally correctly diagnosed by some of the best minds in the field:

Autism, moderately profound.
ADHD
Mixed Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder (half of all tests he didn’t respond enough to establish a basal score)
Speech equivalent of 2.1 years
IQ tests: half very low average, half borderline.
Static Encephalopathy.
Cerebellar Defect.
Sensory Integration Disorder.

Shattering doesn’t begin to describe the pitch blackness I found myself in. It was a blackness so black that I couldn’t even see my wife’s pain and bewilderment. The upshot of it all was “What happens to Joseph when we’re gone?”

For the first time in my life I knew not only fear, but panic. So, I can relate to the parents who get the news when their baby is still in utero, when they are in a far more vulnerable state than we were. They also have an additional burden that I didn’t. I had Joseph for nearly five years. We had developed a relationship: I fed, bathed, changed, played with him. I dressed him, and took him everywhere I went. These parents know their child less concretely, more abstractly.

No one suggested that Regina and I kill our child. But it isn’t that way with poor prenatal diagnoses. I’ve met scores of women who were beset by the medical geneticists and their Ob’s to abort the baby. Far too many have recounted how they were burdened with blame:

“What do you mean you want to keep it? Why would you make your baby suffer that way?”

Lovely. Were that not bad enough, such news often comes when women have only one or two weeks left before they can no longer have an abortion (Statutory regulation).

Worse still are the fathers who pressure the mothers to abort, threatening financial, emotional and physical abandonment. “You’ll raise that freak on your own!” What a betrayal of trust and love, of all those little promises whispered when making love and begetting the baby.

More tragic still is the pressure from family and friends, and all too often, there stands the frightened, unsupported and completely besieged mother at precisely her most vulnerable moment.

So much for respecting women, for love and fidelity, for choice, for patient autonomy, for informed consent: Especially informed consent.

Parents are frequently not told of the surgeries, the therapies (medical, occupational, physical, speech, educational) that are available. They aren’t told of the Early Intervention program, of the advances made by those with Down Syndrome, of how many are now attending and graduating from college.

In other words, they are deprived of hope.

Comments made when they show up at an abortion center need to be evaluated in that light. In psychology the comments quoted by Terzo can be a good example of the defense mechanism called, “Reaction Formation,” which is the tendency to express the opposite of what one is feeling and threatened by, but cannot face.

So, how do we proceed?

Three years ago when I was National Director of Medical Students for Life, I approached some like-minded folks and with them brought to fruition a medical conference I had long envisioned as a means of enlightening the medical community. So, on January 21, 2012 at Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, DC, we held the first conference on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions. It was live-cast and recorded and the entire conference can be viewed here. There will be more such conferences in the near future.

The purpose of the conference was to enlighten not only the medical community, but the rest of society; to give hope to those whose fear begets some of the ugly quotes in the Terzo article.

Regina and I were blessed with many beautiful and wonderful people who came into our lives and helped teach Joseph, most especially Mr. Robert Marinello who is one of the finest and most gifted speech therapists in the field. He got Joseph communicating in very short order, and gave me back my son. In the eleven years since we received the shattering diagnoses, Joseph has come into his own. He is poised to become an Eagle Scout in October at the age of fifteen, scored in the 98th percentile on his end of year testing this year, and is an accomplished athlete and dancer.

It took years, several years, to relax and trust that all would be well, to realize:

That God’s definition of well is not my own.

That God’s plans and dreams for Joseph are quite different from what I had envisioned when Regina gave birth.

That God was right beside me all of those sleepless nights I sat in the rocking chair beside Joseph’s bed, contemplating his future.

That God has an army of healers who do as a matter of routine what required the laying on of hands by Jesus two thousand years ago.

That God will use our fear and turn it into sacrificial love’s engine.

That God will then use special parents as the evangelists of this Gospel of Love.

In retrospect, what most made for the experience of being shattered was the fear of a loveless world and what it would do to our son. But God is faithful and He has shown us through our son an army of people who offer love, and hope, and opportunity.

Joseph is in good company among his peers with his particular style of learning and being in the world. The many therapists and professionals with whom he has worked have brought him and his peers not only into the realm of functionality, but of competitiveness with peers who are neurotypical. The same may be said of those with Down Syndrome.

News reports of parents seeking abortions for their special needs babies rightly anger and disgust us, but they don’t accurately portray all who receive these diagnoses. They also don’t delve into that pitch blackness in which I found myself, and in which these parents find themselves. The difference between us?

In my heart I knew that God would be faithful and what I was despairing of most of all was my own sense of smallness and inadequacy regarding the task before me. It was God’s fidelity as my father that empowered me.

I don’t judge these people quoted by Terzo. I agonize for them in their helplessness and hopelessness.

Take some time and watch the entire conference linked here. Then share this good news far and wide.

For many, all they need is the light of truth to begin to embrace their babies, to embrace their parenthood.

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