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Archive for December, 2013

Christmas: No Longer Afraid

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Pondering the Gospel narratives from the Annunciation to the Presentation, it is striking how all of the principals in the story were confused, troubled and even gripped by fear. All of them. And from Heaven came the constant, soothing admonishment:

“Do not be afraid.”

Beginning with the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to the priest, Zechariah, in the Temple to announce that Zechariah’s barren wife, Elizabeth, would have a son (John the Baptist). Standing before the Altar of Incense, Gabriel appeared to this righteous priest to announce the favor of the Lord, but Zechariah was filled with fear.

Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…”

When she received her visitation, Mary was troubled at the greeting from Gabriel, prompting him to tell her,

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God…”

Evidently, Joseph had a fairly typical reaction to the news that his betrothed was pregnant with a child not of his issue, and was contemplating putting her away quietly. In a dream came the gentle admonishment,

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

When Heaven opened onto earth in that great Theophany on the night of Jesus’ birth, with a multitude of angels singing God’s praise, the shepherds too were filled with fear, and the Angel of the Lord said to them,

Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people…”

Matthew tells us that when the wise men came to Herod looking to worship the new king of the Jews, “…he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Here there was no angel to admonish or console. Herod and all of Jerusalem (presumably the ruling class) were troubled, but not afraid. Herod and many of the ruling class were corrupt and did not fear God. If anything, as with all tyrants, there was the fear of retribution by the oppressed and the fear of losing status and privilege gained at the expense of the down-trodden. As Mary said to Elizabeth in her great Magnificat,

“His mercy is on those who fear Him, from generation to generation.”

All of those to whom the Angel of the Lord came were in God’s favor. Not so the wicked, such as Herod. As the Heavenly Choir sang that first Christmas,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.”

A far cry and a better translation from the old and inaccurately indiscriminate, “Peace on earth, good will to men.”

For the virtuous principals in the nativity story, they are sought out because of their holiness, because they worked at it. Daily virtue. Because of their response in faith, living their faith, keeping their faith, God seeks them out and asks of them a great responsibility; and because of their faith and fidelity they were afraid.

We’re really no different. We are filled with all sorts of fear. We fear failing at what God has tasked us with, of being inadequate. It is the most common fear among parents.

We fear the trials that come with holiness, knowing that holiness requires emptying ourselves completely. In a materialistic culture with forty flavors of narcissism and hedonism, working at such holiness is a full-time job.

We fear success, knowing that it becomes the new baseline against which future painful growth is measured.

We fear the uncertain future, which causes us to hang on more tightly to the present moment.

While we fear all of these things, and so much more, we need to bear in mind that we are no different in many ways from the principals in today’s story. The good and virtuous Elizabeth and Zechariah feared the judgment of men, the interpretation that her barren womb was a reproach from God. They were delivered from their great fear, from that terrible stigma in their day.

Simeon in the Temple feared death before beholding the Messiah.

Joseph feared the stigma of a wife with a child not of his issue.

Mary feared how things would happen since she knew not man.

Holy people fearing the appearance of unholiness, fearing offending God’s goodness, love, and majesty.

Then, as now, it wasn’t all up to them in some Pelagian sense. God was with them, powerfully and dramatically. For doubting the Angel, Zechariah was struck mute until John was born, and when his tongue was loosed, what issued forth was his powerful Canticle. Mary and Joseph were provided all that they would need to sustain them in Egypt. God used the Wise Men for that.

And then there was the leading of the Holy Spirit.

When all was said and done, there was Easter and the assurance that our most dread fear will be swallowed up in the same loving providence that swallowed all of Mary and Joseph’s cares and woes. Between Christmas and Easter, there was a public ministry where God the Son repeatedly admonished us to not be afraid, to trust the Father’s providence, to trust His plan for our lives.

Simple holiness is all He asks. Daily virtue.

Most of us do it already, but we look too high up and too far away to see it, missing the great goodness that is the daily fabric of our lives. Good people, such as the virtuous principals in today’s story, fear failing at their call to holiness and action.

The Herods among us fear the call to holiness itself. For them, there is no consoling, “Be not afraid.” They need to fear. They ought to fear.

For the rest of us who walk daily with God, we have no reason to fear the newest call.

He is at once with us on the road, and waiting at the end.

Merry Christmas.

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It’s been quite a journey, one that I swore I would never make.

I would never blog, and I would never get involved in the pro-life movement. Having worked with unwed mothers for five years, then with kids with HIV/AIDS for two at Covenant House in New York’s Times Square during the 1980’s (before Disney took over), I had put my social activism behind me as I embarked on a career in science.

God, evidently, had other plans.

Not appreciating the power of the medium, nor of the maturity and sophistication of the pro-life movement, I was stuck in the typical academic mindset of refereed journals and academic conferences. But the truth be told, while there is still the great need for peer-reviewed research, there are precious few peers left in academia who hold to traditional morality and ethics. The American academy has been thoroughly infiltrated by leftist hacks who know only radicalized autonomy. It says something when Princeton’s Peter Singer has to stay awake at night trying to invent ways of staying ahead of the extremist curve.

No, the real intellectual mavericks have gone back to the future. The wedding of traditional Hippocratic medicine and Catholic Healthcare with contemporary medicine, technology, and law. They are not so present in the colleges as they are in the think tanks, the laws firms, the pro-life organizations on the right. The real heavy-lifting is being done on blogs and in the other social media, while the left have marched straight into Auschwitz and Dachau and set up shop.

In four years, I have tried to chronicle the descent of medicine into hell, the expansion of abortion within hospitals as clinics continue to close, of the increase in euthanasia, of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing eugenics program aimed at blacks and other people of color, of Obamacare’s thorough malignancy, and of the corruption of the scientific leadership in the nation.

Along the way, we’ve seen the fall of pro-life titans in the clergy, and the continued rise of an ever-younger and more vocal generation who have had enough of the culture of death.

I have met and had the privilege of working with hundreds of the finest people God ever made, and have become involved in some excellent research endeavors, as well as traveling the nation to teach the fundamental truth of medical science, showing how it all lines up on our side of the fence.

It’s been anything but boring, and for so many blessings I am truly grateful.

I am grateful to all who stop in and read, who comment, who challenge and argue, who affirm, who offer sage counsel, and their own priceless experiences.

I am grateful to know that so many others travel the same road, and have allowed me the privilege of walking that road with them.

I am grateful to God for all of that, and most especially for a wife and children who walk this road, too; who are so understanding when daddy needs to travel to so many cities and states, and who support me with their love, their prayers, and their patience.

There are times when I miss the solitude and the zen of lab work, but they are few and far between. In truth, I never realized how necessary this work is, how many physicians and scientists are needed out here in the virtual town square. I never realized how challenging and rewarding it would all be as we all join to save what is left of a Judeo-Christian civilization.

For as challenging as it all is, I sincerely believe the toughest fights are still before us.

I have no illusions about seeing the end of abortion in my lifetime. It won’t happen.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe in miracles, I’m just not sure that a miracle is what is necessary for the big picture.

God desires our hearts first. Our legislation ought to flow from hearts overflowing with love of God and neighbor. In the broader economy of salvation, it’s more important that we rebuild a civilization rooted in an understanding of who we are, of our great dignity, and of our resultant duties.

There is simply no room in such a civilization for abortion, eugenics, euthanasia, gay marriage, and all the rest.

My children aren’t perfect, but they’re wonderful. They radiate an inner beauty that comes from knowing who they are, knowing how unconditionally they are loved, how perfectly they are valued. Because they know how perfectly they are loved by their parents, they can believe they are loved even better by God. That security gives them the room to grow into the sort of citizens God expects both on earth and in Heaven. What we have here in microcosm is what is needed in macrocosm.

We’ll never end abortion, nor any of the other ills, until that day comes.

Along the way, we have much work to do in rebuilding Western Civilization from the ground up. It’s a blessing to have the company, the prayers and encouragement, of so may extraordinary people along the way.

As Coming Home embarks on its fifth year, we need to double our efforts at prayer for the bishops of the Church, the priests and religious, as well as all clergy of the other faiths. We will never build a civilization of love without them.

Once again, thanks to all who have welcomed me into the movement, and who have sustained me with your kind words, prayers, and good humor. It’s appreciated more than you know.

God Bless.

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Tonight we conclude our Divine Mercy Novena for Dr. Joseph Booker and all abortionists, living and dead. May the mercy requested by all who prayed with us be returned a hundred-fold.

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 Dr. Joseph Booker, we ask God’s most merciful judgment of him, for complete forgiveness of all his many, many sins in life, and for an end to his purgation, knowing that the beatific vision is the greatest healing of all.

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 8
Today bring to Me THE SOULS WHO ARE DETAINED IN PURGATORY, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Lord Jesus, we take the pain of our doubts and confusion, of disappointment and despair including those of Dr. Booker and offer them to you to be washed clean by the waters of your love and mercy. In life, he lived the very definition of Hell as he practiced his murderous trade. We ask that if he is in Purgatory, that you accept the merits of the saints in the pro-life movement, the sacrifices all in this movement make, and apply their merits to Dr. Booker and any from the abortion industry who suffer the pains of purgatory.

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. 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 abortionist and their staff, 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 Dr. Booker, that he has come to know the divine mercy of Jesus.

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.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

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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 repentant abortionists 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. We pray too for the humility to lift up those as yet who are unrepentant, that they might not be lost, but saved.

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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From Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog: The Deacon’s Bench another of his masterful homilies. If you don’t know of his blog, bookmark it now. It’s superb. Now, Deacon Kandra:

Honestly, I thought it must have been a joke.

When I saw the story online last Sunday, I didn’t quite believe it. Many of you probably saw it, too: it’s Amazon.com’s proposed new delivery system. The idea is to use small, unmanned airplanes—drones!—to pick up packages at a warehouse and deliver them to your door, in 30 minutes or less.

When it was unveiled on “60 Minutes” last weekend, I think Charlie Rose summed it up eloquently in one word:

“Wow.”

No one has explained yet exactly how this project would work—how thousands of these would be able to hover over cities without crashing in to one another, defying wind and rain and skyscrapers. And I imagine, if they can get it to work, this kind of convenience will not come cheap. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, conceded that it will take a few years to realize his vision. They have to work out the details and get federal approval. But he seemed serious about it. I have to think, if he doesn’t pull it off, someone else probably will.

Aside from the audacity and daring of the idea, I think the Amazon proposal says much about who we are and what we have become.

We are people in a hurry. We are people who are saying, insistently: Give it to me. Now.

Once, overnight delivery was more than enough. Then we wanted same day delivery. Now, we want everything in 30 minutes—whether it’s a pizza or a paperback. We want our food fast, our dinner microwaved. We can’t wait to get to a phone or a computer—and we don’t, because the phone and the computer are with us, every second, of every day, in our hand or in our pocket. Remember when we used telephones in phone booths? Remember when computers were confined to big boxes on desks in our offices?

What did we do before we had tiny smartphone screens to check every 10 minutes?

In 2013, we just don’t want to wait. For anything. Ever.

But in the middle of this, for four short weeks, we do.

The Church presses the “pause” button.

In the middle of all the hurrying and impatience and insistence comes…Advent.

We find ourselves suddenly in a state of suspended animation. It’s the season of expectation. Of longing.

Of waiting.

A child is coming, a hope is dawning. In our liturgies and in our lives, we yearn for something we cannot quite name. We pray for deliverance. We cry out to God, “O come, Emmanuel! Ransom us! When will we be freed?”

Like prisoners in a cell, we mark the days.

We light candles, one at a time, week by week, to slowly bring forth light.

We fold open the cardboard windows of the Advent calendar, day by day, one day at a time, for 25 days.

This is Advent. It is the season when we wait—but also when we have work to do.

“Stay awake,” Jesus told us in the gospel last week.

“Repent,” John the Baptist says today. “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make the crooked path straight.

If you ask a child what we are waiting for, they’ll tell you in one word: “Christmas.” It’s that simple.

For a child, of course, it can’t come fast enough. For the rest of us, we’d probably like more time—a few more weeks to plan, shop, wrap and ship. But the reality of Advent—the astonishing truth at its center—plunges us into something deeper. The question demands an answer.

What, exactly, are we waiting for? What are we preparing for?

Spoiler alert: It isn’t really Christmas. It isn’t the presents and the tree, the cards and the tinsel.

No.

It is Christ. We are waiting for Christ.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote beautifully about the three comings of Jesus: in Bethlehem, at the incarnation; at the end of time, for the final judgment; and here and now, through the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the grace of God, and the prayerful awakening of our hearts.

I would suggest to you that it is this last one that we need to pay closest attention to. That is what Advent is really about: Christ, the savior, dwelling within each of us. Gracing us with mercy, with humility, with patience, with love. If we make that a priority, we will make of our lives an ongoing Advent. We will live waiting and watching in joyful hope for Christ to enter our lives and to be with us, always.

That is the very essence of his name: “Emmanuel.” God with us.

Only by making ourselves ready to encounter Christ today, can we make ourselves ready to encounter him at the end of history.
So prepare. Repent. Make the crooked paths straight.

Heal a wound. Mend a quarrel. Comfort the lonely. Console the grieving. Pray for the poor, the outcast, the forgotten. Look beyond. And look within.

And do it all deliriously, wondrously, tenderly, with love.

Remember this: Advent is the time when we wait not for Christmas, but for Christ. We wait for him to step into the doorway of the heart. We put out the welcome mat. We light a candle. We make the walkway to the front door of our lives straight. We stand at the door and invite him in.

It’s worth asking ourselves: What will he find when he arrives?

In a few weeks, wise men will be scanning the skies. They won’t be looking for a drone from Amazon.com. They will be looking for the sign that the waiting is over, that hope is on the horizon.

A star will appear. Light will break through.

Christmas is coming, yes. But more importantly, Christ is coming.

That is what all the waiting and wondering and worrying is all about. We can’t lose sight of that.

In an age when nobody wants to wait for anything, Advent reminds us: some things are worth the wait.

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We continue our Divine Mercy Novena today.

We Pray…

✞ ✞ ✞

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 the should of all abortionists and their staff members, living and dead, whose actions separated themselves from you. For those yet living, we pray an abundance of mercy and that you move powerfully in their lives to bring about a conversion of heart, and continued healing for those who have turned away from their evil. For the dead who died contrite, we pray an end to their purgation and admittance into your light and love.

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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In his recent interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reiterated that the only problem he and the bishops had with Obamacare was the HHS mandate for contraceptive and abortion coverage in all insurance plans. He lamented that Obama was alienating a body of bishops that wanted to support this legislation, wanted to support Obama in his efforts at it. Most respectfully, the interview with Gregory was a missed opportunity on so very many fronts. Our bishops and several in the pro-life movement have had such a myopic focus on contraception and abortion issues in Obamacare that moral issues just as big and even bigger have entirely gone unaddressed by them. First, to the interview. David Gregory asked:

“What about Obamacare? You have voiced your displeasure with certain aspects of it in terms of mandates for hospitals and so forth. What about the overall goal? Do you think it will ultimately prevail? Would you like it, do you think it’s important for our country that universal health care insurance be available?”

Cardinal Dolan responded:

“Yep, and I’m glad you allow me to make that distinction,” Dolan replied. “We bishops are really in kind of a tough place because we’re for universal, comprehensive. life-affirming healthcare. We, the bishops of the United States–can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care. That’s how far back we go in this matter, okay. So we’re not Johnny-come-latelys.

“We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this. Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,’ so we began to bristle at that.

“And then secondly we said, ‘And wait a minute, we who are pretty good Catholics who are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing healthcare, do it because of our religious conviction,and because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those.’

“So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, ‘Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders. And that, sadly, is what happened.”.

Sadly?

Really???

In a 2,000+ page document filled with countless yet-to-be-determined, open-ended policy that states, “The Secretary [of HHS] shall determine…”, how is it considered moral to cheerlead for something completely undefined, especially in this nation with what Pope John Paul II called an ascendant “Culture of Death,” and with the party of death as its authors and administrators?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law that will be administered with hefty doses of what is euphemistically called “rationing,” when President Obama brought aboard Dr. Donald Berwick whose expertise is in rationing? From Wiki:

“Berwick has studied the management of health care systems, with emphasis on using scientific methods and evidence-based medicine and comparative effectiveness research to improve the tradeoff among quality, safety and costs.[2][3][4] Among IHI’s projects are online courses for health care professionals for reducing Clostridium difficile infections, lowering the number of heart failure readmissions or managing advanced disease and palliative care.”

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law when the “tradeoff” regarding cost is, “quality of life,” as determined by a bureaucratic algorithm that takes into account average life expectancy given a treatment, age of the patient, etc.? If the numbers fall the wrong way, the state will offer either physician assisted suicide or hospice care as they deny further treatment. This has been standard in Oregon for years. Also read here.

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law whose costs have soared before a workable website could even be put in place, with a government that is close to $20 Trillion in debt, and the certain knowledge that physician-assisted suicide is being pushed in almost every state in the Union?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law they now know was founded on the lie that, “If you like your plan you can keep it,” knowing that over 7 million people have been dropped in the last two months?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that the Congressional Budget Office projects will STILL leave more than 30 million people uninsured, especially when the principal reason offered for going down this road was to insure the 30-40 million uninsured?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that increases funding for abortion and contraception through the HHS Mandate, just so long as the Church gets her exemption and doesn’t have to get her hands dirty?

This immoral and unjust legislation is not at all what the bishops of 100 years ago militated for. They would have raged against it all, because they were very different men. Those men were shepherds. Their flock was a large immigrant population in a strange land, with a strange tongue for many, with strange customs. The Church was the one great constant in their lives, and their bishops fought for them.

And politicians feared and respected them.

A far cry from a Cardinal lamenting forced participation in 10 percent of a one-hundred percent abomination of legislation and healthcare.

A far cry from a Cardinal who admitted on CBS This Morning, the week before he received the red hat, “We bishops aren’t fighters, we’re pastors.” (See video below)

Notably absent from Cardinal Dolan’s lament was that the small business owners in his flock, and outside of his flock, would be forced to violate their consciences.

Notably absent was any mention of rationing, euthanasia, the tissue of lies, the millions who have been dropped, the outrageous projected increases in premiums by as much as 179% in some states, the yet-to-be-defined policies a priori codified in the law.

These would have been real issues for the bishops of 1919. They most certainly would not have been tolerated 70 years before that with New York’s fourth Archbishop, “Dagger” John Hughes. From an excellent article about Hughes:

Hot on the heels of the school controversy came Hughes’ third battle, which showed him at his feisty best or worst, depending on one’s point of view. In May 1844 anti-Catholic Nativist rioters in Philadelphia burned down two Catholic churches in several days of violence that cost a dozen lives. The Nativist leaders then announced their intention of coming to New York City to stage a large public demonstration that almost certainly would have precipitated anti-Catholic riots. Bishop Hughes placed armed guards around his churches and warned the mayor that “if a single Catholic church were burned in New York, the city would become a second Moscow.” John Hughes’ tough talk paid off. Under pressure from him and other civic leaders, the Nativists canceled their rally.

This stands in stark contrast to Cardinal Dolan’s Feb. 2012 interview on CBS This Morning, when speaking of the HHS Mandate he said:

I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.

So, give the Church that exemption and she will go mute on all of the other horrors this law is visiting on Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

“You’re not gonna hear from us anymore.” (see the video below)

No, Cardinal Dolan. Most respectfully, we need you and the other bishops to fight for us, to show the moxie of Archbishop Hughes. Want to fill the pews? Defend your flock! The nation has awakened to the trap laid by Obama, the imprisonment, the economic destitution coming under this law, the massive carnival of death on the other end of the life spectrum, and not just abortion. The nation is aroused, and my bishops are losing the forest for the tree.

There is not a shred of moral decency in this law. It is a eugenicist’s dream. It preys on the very weakest on both ends of the life spectrum and impoverishes everyone in-between.

In your interview two years ago, you indicated that the president made all sorts of promises to you and the bishops and then broke them all. Where is your outrage and disgust? You cannot deal with such men. You can only defeat them.

This president and his signature piece of legislation are tearing this nation apart. This is the golden moment for our bishops to stand and fight, with a nation desperate for leadership in that fight. This is our defining moment in the Catholic Church.

This is bigger than contraception and abortion.

This is the forest, not just one tree.

[Photo Credit: http://alchemystudio.com%5D

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We continue today with our Divine Mercy Novena for Dr. Joseph Booker and all abortionists, living and dead.

We Pray
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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.

Lord Jesus, we lift up to you Dr. Joseph Booker and all abortionists living and dead who did not know or walk with you in their practice of medicine’s blackest art. We beg your mercy on them for their many sins, and on us for any sinful thoughts their actions have engendered in us.

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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We Pray…

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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 in a special way those medical students and resident physicians who are being misled by their professors regarding abortion and its effects on women and the human identity of the child. We implore your merciful love and protection of them and beg that the good and devout physicians and scientists who remain silent for fear of reprisal will stand up and speak out not only in defense of the baby and its mother, but in defense of the medical students and resident physicians into whose hands your healing science is being placed. Give them not only courage to do so, but your divine protection, that they may remain a force for reestablishing a culture of life and a civilization of love.

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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We continue our Divine Mercy Novena today for Dr. Joseph Booker and all abortionists living and deceased.

Day 1 here.

We Pray…

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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 Dr. Joseph Booker and all abortionists, living and deceased, and beg your divine mercy on them. We ask that you enkindle in your priests and religious a fervent love of them and of the unborn, a love that translates into special prayers of intercession from these special sons and daughters.

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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forgiveness1

To some of the finest people I’ve been privileged to know:

For decades I heard the call in prayer to stand up against the monstrous evil that has been unfolding in this nation since Roe v. Wade, which was handed down when I was twelve years old. For years I blinded myself to the horror welling up all about me. In part, the taunts of people outside of abortion clinics served to confuse my discernment. How could God be in such harsh and terrible language hurled at women about to do the unthinkable? For decades I simply could not wrap my mind around some of what I had heard in my youth.

So I sat it out on the sidelines and busied myself with becoming a scientist, husband, and father. I simply refused to consider the movement and tuned out anyone who approached me. All of that changed at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio when I attended a summer conference and met a woman who was there with her infant son, encapsulated in their own bubble of love and devotion. People looked on and smiled at this pure beauty.

I was on the way into a talk by Dr. Scott Hahn when I stopped and told this woman how many of us were taken by the extraordinary depth of love we all were witnessing. I’m not sure how it all started, but the upshot is that she told me her witness story, how she had an abortion two decades ago that left her unable to have children, of the pain, the broken marriage that followed, the repentance, remarriage to a prince and this recent adoption, and of this ministry called Silent No More, of which she was her state’s coordinator. I was so fascinated, riveted, that I decided I could always get the CD of Dr. Hahn (Sorry, Scott). In one of those rare moments of spiritual clarity, I felt like the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning within us as He walked with us on the road?”

I came away from my encounter with Nicole finally understanding that God was present in the movement in a way that is consistent with all I’ve ever known and experienced of Him. He was there in LOVE.

I took this woman’s phone number and in the ensuing years our families have become dear friends. I am Godfather to her second adopted son, and she has mentored me regarding post-abortive trauma. When I began the blog four years ago, she, Jill Stanek, and my wife were among a small circle of powerful women who encouraged and supported me every step of the way.

So what have I learned?

I can’t possibly put it all here. It’s all in the 800+ posts on the blog. However, there is one worth mentioning here. My friend has introduced me to other post-abortive women, and they to others… Women in the hundreds, and they all share one common trait.

They have a radiant beauty and joy about them that is unique. It is the unmistakeable beauty and radiance of a woman who has sinned against the core of her womanhood and who has been restored by Jesus to the fullness of her feminine beauty.

Every. Single. One.

They love much because their Lord has not only forgiven them, but revealed to them the fullness of their dignity, their great worth, and just how much He loves them.

Along the way, I’ve been stunned to see the depth of anguish they feel FOR abortionists. I’ve marveled at their prayers for the men and women who preyed on them in their fear and confusion, robbing them for profit of all that matters most in the world. They see beyond their own pain and loss, the hurt and agony inflicted on them, as well as their own roles. There is a relentless love in these women, a love that is infectious.

Some, it seems, are not so susceptible to the infectiousness.

Last week the notorious abortionist, Dr. Joseph Booker had a stroke in his shower and drowned. What a horrid death, symbolic on many levels. The outpouring of visceral hatred for this man on my blog, on Facebook, and at other pro-life outlets has been shocking. I began a Novena of Divine Mercy on my blog for Dr. Booker, and have been taken to task by several, including a Catholic Priest. Much of the language used by commenters could never be repeated here. However, it has shaken me to my core. For a jaded and cynical New Yorker, that’s quite an admission.

The hatred of what Dr. Booker did is definitely of God. The hatred of Dr. Booker is not.

I pray that Dr. Booker cried out to God for forgiveness and mercy as he lay drowning. Because I earnestly pray that he did so, I have set up the Novena of Divine Mercy for his soul. For some in our movement that is an affront to their sense of justice. How tragic. The vitriol has literally left me wondering how pervasive this sentiment is.

Only 30 people out of 5,000 FB friends joined in the Novena tonight. That says something.

Last month I was privileged to give a day of recollection at a seminary with Msgr. Phillip Reilly (fellow Brooklyn boy) of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. The man is a living saint, and reminded all that the main purpose of the pro-life movement is the salvation of souls, especially the mothers and abortionists. Why do some remain impervious to that? Why the hatred? Why wish the eternal horrors of hell on any human being? Do they really know what it is they seek?

There is a spiritual cancer in the body of this movement, one that I thought was pretty much dead, a death evidenced too by the love of the folks involved in 40 Days for Life and other sidewalk counselors. We need to eradicate this by identifying those with such bitter and angry hearts, and then minister to them until they heal. Whatever their anger is about, I suspect that it has roots elsewhere and that abortion is a proxy war for what is really going on. Whatever the cause it must be addressed.

How hard are such hearts that the radiant love and warmth of my post-abortive friends cannot thaw them? Since we are in Advent, a time of penance, when we are done with the Novena of Divine Mercy for Dr. Booker and his fellow abortionists I am doing one on the blog for all “pro-lifers” whose bitter sanctimony will land them in the same place they wish for Dr. Booker.

To Nicole, Georgette, Theresa, Mary, and all of the beautiful women of Silent No More and the other post-abortion healing ministries, this work thrives in no short measure because of you, your loving witness, and your willingness to build the body of Christ.

To the rest of the movement, we really need to take the time during Advent to pray for healing among our own. We simply cannot be so busy that we lose sight of the salvation of souls. If we are about God’s work, we had better be more than mere activists. 30 people out of 5,000 pro-life friends praying for an abortionist most in need of our prayers is as shocking and deplorable as the denunciations for doing so, especially contrasted with 10,000 hits in that same time on an article calling the bishops to task.

Our work loses a great deal if we lose sight of what Msgr. Reilly rightly points out as the purpose of it all:

The salvation of souls.

God Bless, and a Good Advent to All.

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Today the Coming Home pro-life family lifts up in love and prayer Dr. Joseph Booker, his fellow abortionists, his victims, his family, and the pro-life community. Our prayer is for Dr. Booker’s soul, that God be merciful to him, and for the conversion of abortionists still living. We pray that in God’s eternal time He takes this novena and applies it at the moment Dr. Booker came before His judgment throne. We seek for him the same Divine Mercy to which we all seek recourse in our own sinfulness, and pray that if Dr. Booker did cry out at the last for forgiveness that he be spared the horrors of hell and receive the healing love of Jesus.

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.

And so we pray…

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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 the repose of Dr. Joseph Booker’s soul, that God be merciful to him and that his horrific sins be forgiven him; that his purgation be short and his intercession for abortionists still living be long and unceasing; 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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