Monday, September 30, 2013

"Are We Obsessed?" Asks Dr. Janet Smith In Response To Pope Francis

A charitable and practical guide to recent controversial comments made by Pope Francis, written by Dr. Janet Smith.

Are We Obsessed?
September 25, 2013
Janet E. Smith, Ph.D.

A few passages from Pope Francis’ famous interview published in America have unsettled some people for many reasons. My reason for being unsettled is that it would not be a complete distortion to say that I have been “obsessed” with the issues of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality for nearly all of my professional life. I prefer the terms “dedicated” or “committed,” of course, but whatever word is appropriate, I have long thought that helping people understand why abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plans for human happiness is a very effective way of drawing people closer to the Lord and to the Church, and thus, more or less, most of my adult life, I have been evangelizing in this way.

Enough about me. Let me talk about the legions of pro-lifers who run pregnancy help centers (which outnumber abortion clinics), of those who host pro-life websites and give pro-life talks, of those who try to get pro-life politicians elected, of those who do the hard work of trying to find jobs, housing, and other kinds of support for single mothers, of those who provide healing ministries to women who have had abortions, such as Rachel Weeping. Let me talk about teachers of Natural Family Planning and the Theology of the Body and abstinence educators. Let me talk about those who work for and promote Courage, a compassionate ministry to those who experience same sex attraction and about those who against strangely strong odds make the case against same sex “marriages.” Let me talk about those who use Facebook, blogs, and comments on blogs to try to dialogue with those who reject and even despise Church teaching and those who defend it.

I know these people and most of them radiate the love for Christ and the Church that the Holy Father desires. They sacrifice their time, talent, and energy because they love Christ and those who hate Christ and those who don’t know Christ. Undoubtedly some pro-lifers and some opponents of contraception and some who crusade against the widespread acceptance of homosexuality are angry people ready to condemn others as unredeemable sinners, but I suspect they are few and far between in the US at least. Although I have seen rare postings on the internet, written by putative Christians that are very unchristian, I have not met any such individuals in “real life.”

In fact, I don’t think the Holy Father was speaking about my friends, when he states:

We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.

My friends definitely talk about these issues “in context,” in fact in many contexts. Again, their reason for boldly and sacrificially and ardently addressing these issues is precisely because they love Christ and the Church and want others to do so. They are trying to save people, to save them from ignorance about Church teaching, to save them from serious sin, to save them from missing out on the great joys of accepting Christ as their savior and the Church as their home. And—praise God—sometimes they succeed. In fact, my own reversion to the Church was greatly facilitated by an anti-Catholic professor who patiently argued with students that truth exists. It pained him that many of his students converted to Catholicism, once they came to accept that truth exists, and even moral truths that require most students to change their behavior radically.

Pope Francis is right that in some contexts proclaiming the Gospel is a powerful aid to conversion to moral goodness. For instance, many of those who do counseling outside of abortion clinics approach the women entering and say: “I am here to help you realize that God loves you and, if you are pregnant, he loves the child you are carrying. He trusts you to be the loving mother your child needs. I am here to help you find whatever you need to help you be that loving mother. There is nothing you have done that God won’t forgive.” That is a powerful and effective approach. It can often be costly to deliver what is needed but I know pro-lifers who definitely go the extra mile.

He also said:

The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

Again, I don’t think this statement refers to my friends since there is nothing “disjointed” about the way they present doctrines nor do they “impose” them “insistently.” Rather, they study hard to learn the deep anthropological truths that John Paul II labored so tirelessly to teach that justify the Church’s teaching. They make the call to conscience that John Paul II makes: man’s dignity resides in his ability to know the truth and to live consciously and freely in accord with it. They call people to live in accord with the natural greatness that God gave them. They do not make threats of damnation or make calls for blind obedience; they lay out the evidence, scientific, sociological, psychological, theological and philosophical. There is no imposing; there is, rather, intelligent instruction and persuasion.

I also began to realize that the Holy Father was not speaking of the same context in which I live and labor when he said:

I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation.

While I understand that preaching the love of Christ is central to Christianity, and while, of course, I am delighted that Pope Francis, as Benedict and John Paul II and a host of popes before him, have preached this relentlessly, I am a bit surprised that Pope Francis thinks an effective way to promote Christianity would be to enthusiastically teach that Christ came to save us. He seems to think that many people are hesitant to embrace Christianity or Catholicism because they believe that they are beyond redemption and that the Church is a judgmental, intolerant institution that won’t accept them. Now, it may be that many people think the Church is judgmental and intolerant, but my impression is that most people do not think they are sinners beyond redemption. In fact, I think most people think they are not sinners and not in need of redemption. They do not think having abortions, using contraception, using pornography, fornicating, masturbating, or engaging in homosexual acts are immoral actions. They think what they are doing is fine and they are fine just as they are.

I am not suggesting that we should be shouting from the rooftops that these are serious sins and that those who commit them knowingly and freely and who don’t repent of them will face an unpleasant eternity, to say the least. That is the truth, of course, but it is not the truth that the crusaders I know, speak. Rather, as I stated, they give reasons for the teachings; rational, persuasive, appealing reasons.

The Holy Father continues his remarks about homilies and says:

Then [after preaching salvation] you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing. The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people, because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent. The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis finds the homily a proper place to teach moral truths but thinks priests have gotten the order wrong. Where is he hearing these homilies that hammer on moral truths at the expense of preaching the gospel? For some time now I have been trying to help seminarians and priests preach on the difficult moral truths. One reason it is we struggle is that virtually none of us have heard it done! We have heard homilies on abortion—perhaps at most once a year—while homilies on contraception and homosexual acts are so rare as to cause astonishment and generally earn the pastor an influx of hate mail.

Some people have proposed that the Holy Father is speaking out of his experience of a Latin American culture. I don’t know if priests in Latin America incessantly give moralistic homilies without reference to the good news of Christ, but clearly that is the scenario that Pope Francis has in mind. More and more priests in the US are realizing that their parishioners need to hear the truth about morality proclaimed boldly and clearly. The seminarians and I are making every effort to tie moral teachings to the Gospel. It is not hard to do since many passages such as “keep my commandments” lend themselves to a wide range of issues. But displaying the requisite sensitivity is a challenge. I require seminarians always to mention that the fact that so many commit serious sexual sins can be explained by the pernicious influence of our culture, particularly the influence of the entertainment world, but increasingly by the policies of our government as well. I require the seminarians to invite people to confession to experience the liberating and healing power of the sacrament.

In fact, Pope Francis’ own daily homilies that focus on greed, gossip, and laziness, for instance, completely won my heart. I saw that he realized that Catholics need to be reminded daily to let their faith influence every action of our lives—and he regularly invites people to confession. He often preaches about the reality of the devil. I wonder if he knows that American Catholics are as likely to use contraception and view pornography as they are to be greedy and to gossip. The devil has us in his grip there. Mention of those sins, too, need to be a regular part of homilies.

This is not to say that neither my friends nor I have anything to learn from what the Holy Father has said. While I said above that the people I am speaking of “radiate the love of Christ,” I must admit, and not slowly, that such is not always true. We get angry, impatient, dismissive, and self-righteous at times. We are not saints yet, just saints in the making. It is undoubtedly true that some of us love truth more than we love those we serve. That is not a Christian attitude. We need to truly approach each of those we attempt to serve with love for them, with a humble understanding that our approach is not always the best and most compassionate, and with the knowledge that God works patiently with each of us and that we must be patient too.

As Dave Sloan—a friend who is one of the best workers in the vineyard—stated in a post on Facebook: “People do not need to be convinced that they are lost, and they do not need to be convinced that they are wounded. All that is needed is for them to believe that they are known at a deep level and they are loved at a deep level. When they are convinced of these things they are ready enough to reveal their wounds and their sense of being lost. This is messy, and painfully difficult, and it is no surprise that those in the church who have grown comfortable hiding behind a didactic wall are howling that Pope Francis is tearing down that wall.” While I have my quibbles with what the Holy Father said, I think Dave captures the most important element of what he said. Those of us who love didactic certainty need to examine ourselves to strive constantly to ensure that our actions are motivated by love.

Janet E. Smith is the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Image via Wikimedia Commons. This piece has been updated (09/26/13), at the request of the author.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sleeping With The Spirit of the World Or Is It Communing With Devils?

 One and the same phenomenon, when you think about it.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. I Corinthians 10:21

The Spirit of the World ushered in legal abortion in Canada working through Catholic politicians and under the malfeasance of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Attends Pro-Life Conference: Declines Invite To Speak

The Archbishop of St. John’s, Archbishop Martin Currie, managed to find time to attend the Pro-Life Conference event on Saturday. He arrived later in the morning and left a couple hours later due to a previous appointment.

Jim Hughes, National President of the Campaign Life Coalition of Canada (CLC), invited the Archbishop shortly after he arrived to address the conference. The Archbishop, who was sitting not too distant from me, declined. (There was no conversation between the Archbishop and me.)

I had previously called upon the Archbishop to condemn my recent attack for the following reason:

Some people have said that the priests, and possibly the Archbishop himself, are quite upset with my protests which take place at the various parishes in and around St. John’s. The aim of these protests is to stir the consciences of Catholics to stand firmly against abortion and the underlying causes of abortion (e.g. contraception, dissent from Church teachings, profanation of the Holy Eucharist, etc.). The clergy are generally highly resistant to such a message and, again, I have been told that many priests might be sympathetic to my attacker who himself, I believe, holds a respected position at St. Patrick’s Church. For this reason I believe it is extremely critical for the Archbishop to make public comment condemning such hostility and violence and also affirming the right of all Catholics—indeed all individuals—to peacefully protest the heinous crime of abortion, at any time and any venue.

I also asked Father Dohey to do the very same thing in order to prevent scandal amongst the faithful. There has been no public response forthcoming from either the Archbishop or Father Dohey.

Needless to say, I find the silence of the Archbishop and Father Dohey to be not only extremely disappointing but disgraceful under the circumstances. Then again, regarding the abortion holocaust, Catholic clergy avoid the subject like the plague. That is in fact why the killing continues and why I carry my signs to Catholic parishes.

There are other things I'd like to say about this sad story so there may be an update to this posting. Be sure to check back.

Friday, September 27, 2013

To Prevent Scandal, I Ask Father Dohey To Denounce The Violent Actions Of His Parishioner

Father Wayne Dohey is pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in St. John’s.  A man, I assume a fellow Catholic, well known to Father Dohey, committed a despicable offense against me on Sunday past. As I explained here and here, I was subjected by this man to a vicious assault:

Today I left in the morning as usual to protest at several parishes in St. John's area with abortion signage.

At St. Patrick's Church I was standing on the sidewalk with my usual signage when a well dressed gentleman strolled towards me and when he was about 15 feet away he yelled out: "Get that sign off our property" and by that time he was at the edge of my sign and then gave it a huge shove. Since I was holding up the sign, I went with it and before I could even think about what was happening he took advantage of me being off balance and gave me a big push out onto the road. Basically I went flying and hit the ground hard, fortunately not on my head. However, more fortunately still, no traffic was coming my way or it could have been lights out.”

I have called upon the Archbishop of St. John’s, Rgt. Rev. Martin Currie, to condemn this attack for the following reason:

Some people have said that the priests, and possibly the Archbishop himself, are quite upset with my protests which take place at the various parishes in and around St. John’s. The aim of these protests is to stir the consciences of Catholics to stand firmly against abortion and the underlying causes of abortion (e.g. contraception, dissent from Church teachings, profanation of the Holy Eucharist, etc.). The clergy are generally highly resistant to such a message and, again, I have been told that many priests might be sympathetic to my attacker who himself, I believe, holds a respected position at St. Patrick’s Church. For this reason I believe it is extremely critical for the Archbishop to make public comment condemning such hostility and violence and also affirming the right of all Catholics—indeed all individuals—to peacefully protest the heinous crime of abortion, at any time and any venue.

I now ask Father Dohey to do the very same thing, i.e. to out this attacker and to denounce his violent actions. Otherwise this priest will fail to provide redress for this crime and his silence will embolden the perpetrator and others of his violent mindset. It is the least Father Dohey can do to maintain not only the pro-life credentials which he claims to have but his reputation as a priest of the Church of Jesus Christ. Remember that this crime was witnessed first-hand by a goodly number of his congregation while I believe the entire assembly in the pews at Mass on that Sunday morning were aware of a police presence and the interrogation of Father Dohey by police. Discussion and speculation as to what happened is rife and everyone touched by the disgraceful conduct of this Catholic parishioner will be awaiting a word of clarification from the priest. Scandal is a very real possibility in this incident.

The other request I would have for Father Dohey is that for the sake of this man’s soul, Father Dohey should encourage him to find a place of repentance and willingly choose to confess his sin in the Sacrament of Confession before the man receives Holy Communion. The Church has always taught that the party who assails another unjustly commits a mortal sin. Regarding the means to address mortal sin, the Catechism is clear:

1457 According to the Church's command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year." Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

Canon Law is also clear. Canon 916 states:

A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.

Furthermore, if an individual refuses to acknowledge his/her sin and persists in that sin—or the attitude which leads to such sin—after having been instructed and admonished, Canon 915 requires/obliges the minister of Holy Communion to deny the Eucharist to that individual.

I note that on the parish’s website, classes in Family Catechesis are upcoming in October. The following information appears:

The first year of the program will build your child’s knowledge of the Church as a whole, and how they belong to the Church community. The following years will further develop their faith, while they also prepare to receive the Sacraments of initiation.

Here is an opportunity, Father Dohey, to put the Church’s teachings and Sacraments into practice and, using this sad example of violence to achieve ends, to teach your Church community the ways of peace and pro-life which our Lord Jesus advocated.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Will Archbishop of St. John’s Publicly Condemn Vicious Assault on Local Pro-Lifer?

In light of recent events, "Be Not Afraid" is the perfect theme for the conference detailed in this posting.
On Friday and Saturday, September 27-28, Campaign Life Coalition of Canada (CLC) will be featured at the annual Newfoundland and Labrador pro-life banquet and conference. Jim Hughes, National President of the Campaign Life Coalition of Canada and Patrick Craine, Canadian Bureau Chief of, a leader of the national pro-life media, will be among the keynote speakers. Dr. Stella Edwards, Doctor of Psychotherapy at Wedgewood Medical Clinic in St. John’s Newfoundland is also a guest speaker who will be talking on Abortion Aftermath.  Dr. Edwards will also speak at the gathering on Confederation Hill. This conference will also serve as a rally for the launch of the national "Defund Abortion Rally." (See CLC website.)

To register or for information contact Colette Fleming at 364-1119, or Margaret Hynes at 709-279-2580 or

The Archbishop of St. John’s, Archbishop Martin Currie, is expected to attend the conference event on Saturday. He is currently in attendance at the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and is expected to return to St. John’s in time for the conference, I have been told.

I would like to see the Archbishop publicly condemn the assault which took place on my person by a fellow Catholic while I was protesting abortion at St. Patrick’s Church on this past Sunday. Some people have said that the priests, and possibly the Archbishop himself, are quite upset with my protests which take place at the various parishes in and around St. John’s. The aim of these protests is to stir the consciences of Catholics to stand firmly against abortion and the underlying causes of abortion (e.g. contraception, dissent from Church teachings, profanation of the Holy Eucharist, etc.). The clergy are generally highly resistant to such a message and, again, I have been told that many priests might be sympathetic to my attacker who himself, I believe, holds a respected position at St. Patrick’s Church. For this reason I believe it is extremely critical for the Archbishop to make public comment condemning such hostility and violence and also affirming the right of all Catholics—indeed all individuals—to peacefully protest the heinous crime of abortion, at any time and any venue.

Will the Archbishop please honour my request? The Pro-Life Conference would be an ideal and most opportune time to make such a statement and to further attract media attention to the pro-life cause.


A Further Important Note

LifeChain is an annual prayerful and silent public witness to life, held on the same day on the street corners in every Canadian province and American state. To ensure that the most eastern link is upheld, Pro-Life NL will be hosting LifeChain in front of the abortuary at 202 LeMarchant Road on Sunday, October 6th at 2:30pm. You are invited to join us as we pray and promote awareness! For info contact

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do Graphic Abortion Images Help Or Hurt The Pro-Life Cause? UPDATED

Image taken from CCBR site

Yesterday was a busy day. While I was protesting abortion outside another local parish, a young Catholic man greeted me, passed by my sign and without travelling too far, turned about and returned to speak to me. He was quite disturbed about the graphic abortion picture which I was displaying. He explained to me that he was actually the leader of one of the local Catholic pro-life groups but that he had learned to get past the extremism of graphic imagery and to take a more compassionate view when dealing with people on the subject.  He told me that he was currently dealing with a “poor” woman who had had an abortion and who was attending Mass there at that parish today. He thought that my sign might destroy some of the good work he was doing in embracing her, welcoming her back to the community and evangelizing her. He was hoping to direct this woman to the Archdiocesan Counselling Center where she might get some help in overcoming the trauma of her past abortion but he saw my approach as detracting from, possibly undoing altogether, his efforts. He pointed out that the Bible doesn’t tell us we should show pictures of aborted children. Moreover, he said, the Bible also doesn’t tell us we should go around offending people.

Much has been written on the use of graphic abortion imagery in turning the hearts of society towards the plight of unborn children. The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) continues to do outstanding work in providing an apologetic for their use of such imagery. By following this link you will discover one of a great many of their arguments. Another link dismantles the pro-abortion charge that graphic pictures traumatize small children. Their apologetics arsenal on the use of graphic images is immense and worth exploring in greater detail.

I have written several posts on the subject myself. Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue wrote an apologetic for the use of graphic images, including a special section addressing the arguments against subjecting children to the images. Abort73, a great resource, has a concise rationale for the use of these images as well.

I would like to have had more time in discussion with the young Catholic man I mentioned above. In fact, I would be glad to have an open debate with him and his young pro-life friends on the subject of graphic abortion imagery.

One final note: There is an interesting expression found in Western society, “The law is teacher.” We learn much from our laws. In Canada we have no current law respecting abortion. When no law exists to limit an evil action it becomes extremely difficult for individuals to comprehend the depth of evil and injustice associated with that action. Regardless of the objective facts, a huge, almost insurmountable, obstacle prevents individuals from grasping or acknowledging the true severity of the crime evil action. Thus, the unborn child (sometimes even the newborn child) in Canada has a sort of phantom, uncertain identity which precludes the possibility of placing them on the same moral level as other children. We just don’t rate them as equal human beings (again, because the law is teacher, and teaches us that we can “dispose” of them). The young Catholic gentleman to whom I referred above said not a word about the murdered child. He saw only the “poor” woman, the only survivor of the crime evil action, and yet the only individual who had full power to prevent the murder of her child. But when he saw the graphic abortion image, immediately the “phantom” vanished and he was forced to see the awful reality of a dead human being. Instinctively, I believe, he feared this is also what the woman would see in that graphic image. His heart was certainly in the right place but he was missing a key perspective on showing the truth.


I’d like to comment further on a couple of things this Catholic pro-life gentleman stated.

Since the woman was at the very center of this man’s argument for not showing the pictures, I would like to say from my heart that my actions in protesting abortion and in using the tactics that I do, are in no way opposed to the following statement by Blessed Pope John Paul II from his encyclical "Gospel of Life":

“I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors that may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that, in many cases, it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly, what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try, rather, to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitely lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living with the Lord” (99).

Now on to a couple other points: I was told that Jesus nowhere instructed us to use graphic abortion pictures. True, but only in the literal sense. Jesus didn’t specifically tell us to take that approach. However, He left us a powerful example.  “The cross itself was a bloody, public image of incredible brutality.” The linked article is very insightful and worthy of the reader’s attention.

Further, Jesus did not prescribe in great detail what every man and woman should do to lead their daily lives of faith and obedience. We are to obey His commandments, certainly, as well as the commandments of His Church, but beyond that each believer must listen attentively to the Holy Spirit, Who will lead us in love to do the will of God. Thank God no two believers act exactly the same in trying to live out a life of holiness. If someone maintains that actions of Christians that lead to offense by others is always an indication of a lack of love, that is a ridiculous over-simplification. If true, it would make Jesus out to be a loveless fraud. When Jesus confronted people in their sin, it was often accompanied by great offense, but Jesus, the incarnation of Love itself, and out of love, chose not to allow people to continue in their sin.

Another point I’d like to make regards the question of murder. I noted to my fellow pro-lifer that everything on my signs was 100% faithful to the Catholic Catechism. He agreed but took issue with my approach. I’m sure he would agree that abortion is murder because it not only fulfils the formal definition of murder but the Catechism places it in the context of murder and Popes have specifically called it murder. So when he protests the showing of the image of a murdered 10 week old baby and voices concern about the harm it will do to the woman, it leads to an obvious question: If the woman had murdered her neighbour, would he protest to the court that gruesome pictures of the victim not be shown as they would certainly hamper the rehabilitation of the “poor” woman? Here is where we normally hear the common retort: But it’s not the same thing! What exactly is not the same? Is it our understanding of murder? Clearly not, because we all know well the implications of that word. Is it our understanding of the victim? YES. OF COURSE. Any human being killed intentionally by an attacker is tried in our courts for murder and courts regularly use graphic photos of victims as “truth” evidence in administering the full scope of justice. Don’t the pictures add their own special, unique dimension to the truth of the heinous crime perpetrated? So we have identified where the disconnect lies: The murdered child is said to be human but in reality believed to be something less than human, i.e. dehumanized in our thinking. That is why “It’s not the same thing!” But doesn’t God, who at conception says Amen! and breathes a soul into that little one,  consider the child fully human? Yes, of course, and the Church says so. So why should we hold a distinction in our minds and hearts?

One final thought that at times comes to me in regard to assessing the actions necessary to put an end to abortion can be summed up with a quote from a letter I once sent to a Canadian Bishop:

Further to the subject of disrespect of remains, etc. and admittedly on a hypothetical note, wouldn’t the Unborns involved have given their permission to take and to show pictures if done in an effort to save their fellows from equally horrid deaths? One could not imagine an answer in the negative. Is not true respect for these precious little souls best shown by a respect for what is very likely their last wishes? At memorial services for those we love, we regularly use this same criterion in determining the method of honouring their life and memory.

Personally I often find myself asking a very simple question when in doubt about a course of action in defense of the Unborn. When courage is questioned, when persecution looms, when clear thinking seems elusive, the difficulty can often be resolved by asking: What would the Unborn have me do in such a situation? In virtually all cases the answer immediately presents itself and all peripheral issues fade away. Would the Unborn want the CCBR to represent them in the fashion they do, despite the fact that perhaps no other group takes a similar approach? Obviously the answer would depend on whether the Unborn saw hope for their cause from the efforts of CCBR. I believe even a short analysis of the work of CCBR and a reading of the testimonies of the many individuals won to the plight of the Unborn by CCBR will attest to the effectiveness of their tactics and so I say a resounding Yes! The cause of justice for the Unborn is being well served by CCBR and the Unborn would encourage such efforts.

Always I am challenged deeply, yet often inspired, by the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.

(#73) “Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them [emphasis mine] by conscientious objection.

“It is precisely from obedience to God -- to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of His absolute sovereignty -- that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for ‘the endurance and faith of the saints’ (Rev 13:10).”

(#90) “I repeat once more that a law which violates an innocent person's natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law.”

Yes, challenging, because I must ask myself: If my obligation to oppose them is “grave and clear,” what actions must accompany an obedient attitude? Certainly this would demand serious steps. The matter of “obedience to God” to the point of imprisonment or at the risk of physical injury speaks to the seriousness of these crimes and to the seriousness of my response as a Christian.

Much controversy over the use of graphic images has taken place in Canada in recent years. Even the pro-life movement seems unsure and timid at times. I hope my comments will help us all get on the same page so we can stop the killing.