Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Yesenia Lepe Lost a Sibling to Abortion: “A Cloud of Sadness Loomed over our Family…Rachel’s Vineyard Brought Salvation to Our Home”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Light Shines in Darkness

[The following letter from Yesenia to Theresa Burke, Ph.D., was originally published in the Rachel’s Vineyard newsletter Vine and Branches.]

More than 35 years ago, my parents found themselves newlywed, with a one month old baby, and again with child. Heartbreakingly, they bought into the lie that abortion was an answer to their fears.

Since that moment, they promised to keep that choice a secret. Years passed, and they had three more children (myself included).

Growing up, we were taken for our sacraments, but never fully alive in the faith. We did not even own a Bible.

Fast forward to 2007, my mother came across a bulletin for Rachel’s Vineyard, and our lives changed forever.

Because of my parent’s healing at Rachel’s Vineyard, they were able to come home and open up their hearts to my siblings and I.

The cloud of sadness which had loomed over our family life for so many years finally disappeared…with the power of God’s truth and God’s love.

We came to know Jesus in a profound way through experiencing with my parents His healing power. Today, we live for The Lord, sharing the good news and giving Him praise for all His blessings and graces.

In closing, I just want you to know that my family and I deeply appreciate you and the work the Lord entrusted you with. Rachel’s Vineyard is a treasure for our Church…a gift that transformed our lives.

Please know you, you’re team, and your family are always in our prayers.

God BLESS YOU! Love, Yesenia Lepe

 

Childhood Abuse Survivor has a Message for Emma Stone and the Hollywood Glitterati: “Planned Parenthood Enslaved Me to a Self Destructive and Soul Crushing Lifestyle – A Pregnancy Care Center Set me Free”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Emma Stone

Celebrities like Emma Stone sported pins at the recent Oscar awards to show their support for Planned Parenthood.

They tell us that Planned Parenthood empowers women with essential reproductive healthcare, especially families in our poorest communities where many of their facilities are located.

Meet Susan

Susan was a client of Planned Parenthood for many years.

She was born with 2 strikes against her.

“My childhood was full of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse by my father, and at a very early age, I went looking for a man’s love thru sex.”

As Susan travelled down the self-destructive road of looking for love in all the wrong places, she was desperate for of the care and acceptance of a father who abused and rejected her.

Susan shares about her first abortion using the RU-486 pills she obtained at Planned Parenthood:

“The abortion was very painful physically and emotionally; the baby looked like a little turtle when it came out. I buried the baby outside because I couldn’t stand to flush it.”

Without healing, women with previous abuse and trauma are more likely to have repeat abortions – close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.

Back Alley Chemical Abortion

Susan returns to Planned Parenthood for her second abortion:

“The second abortion was kind of a “back alley” abortion. I had gone to Planned Parenthood for pills and was turned away because I was a few days past the cutoff for having a medical abortion…one of the employees there agreed to help me anyway, and she offered to meet me in a parking lot where she would give me the pills.  This obviously wasn’t the first time she had done it because she had a system in place.”

Note the expert counseling and medical care offered by Planned Parenthood to this increasingly self-destructive young woman.

Susan was locked into repeat patterns of re-enacting her past trauma.

Planned Parenthood was waiting with chemicals and procedures to keep her enslaved to the behaviors and dysfunctional relationships that can flow from abuse and neglect in childhood and adolescence, and arising from her unhealed abortion losses.

Planned Parenthood Staff: Jaded by Choice

Susan began to realize that the staff at Planned Parenthood really didn’t care about her. They were motivated by greed but on a deeper level, the daily immersion in immorality and death takes a toll on the staff.

Employees at abortion businesses often have their own wounds from abuse and past abortions.  The can suffer from burnout and become callous and even abusive towards their clients.

Susan shares:

“The staff was cold and unsympathetic and the doctors were even worse. It’s like they despise you, but conceal it under the guise that they are ‘helping’. I had never felt cared for or understood at these places.

It was clear to me then that money mattered way more than my health to them, but it didn’t stop my careless behavior towards sex because I had not changed nor had I changed what I thought about myself. In fact, the abortions only led to lower self esteem…I knew what I was doing – and I hated myself for it.”

If you read the testimonies of the thousands of women who are part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, you will learn that this treatment of women by Planned Parenthood staff is quite common.

Enabled in this self-destructive path by Planned Parenthood, Susan experienced her final and most traumatic abortion:

“The fourth and final abortion was a D&C type at Planned Parenthood. I was too far along for a chemical abortion and so this time I actually had to face the reality. I was placed on a table and stretched and pulled, and suctioned, and it was horrifying and painful.”

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Thankfully Susan’s long nightmare came to and end.

It was not Planned Parenthood with their pin wearing celebrity glitterati that finally stopped Susan’s descent into hell.

It was the services of a Pregnancy Care Center:

Susan shares:

“I became pregnant again in 2008 when I was heavily addicted to Meth – a way to self medicate my pain and depression. I was broke and homeless and ended up at a Pregnancy Care Center.  The director there listened and offered help, but no judgment…She gave me a grocery store gift card, a gas gift card, and free maternity clothes.

She actually cared and told me about classes they have at the center that I can attend to earn items that I would need. I began to hear truths in these classes that I had forgotten (or maybe never learned); that I was valuable, that God loved me in spite of my sin – that I didn’t have to stay the way I was…”

Susan gave birth to a child with special needs that she placed in the loving care of an adoptive family.

Susan found in that Pregnancy Care Center something she never found in all her years of going to Planned Parenthood facilities:

“For the first time in my life, when I was at my absolute worst and most disgusting self, I was able to see God showing His love for me.

He began to heal my heart from the previous abortions and abuse, and I was able to forgive those people (my parents and boyfriends) who had so deeply hurt me, which then allowed me to forgive myself.

I left the drugs and promiscuous lifestyle behind and began the long process of rebuilding and reconciliation.

Planned Parenthood didn’t help me… the abortions didn’t help me.

The LOVE of the staff at that Pregnancy Care Center did more than help me, it led me to real salvation and healing.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Personal Hell of a Late Term Abortion to A Healing Journey of Divine Mercy

Monday, February 27th, 2017

A Journey to Healing

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Theresa Bonopartis has published a little gem of a book, A Journey to Healing Through Divine Mercy that will be a perfect companion for your Lenten journey. Like many of the best spiritual writers, her reflections are refreshingly simple, yet profound and rich in practical spiritual wisdom.

The book is broken down into small chapters that focus on many of the common core emotional and spiritual issues in the lives of those with abortion loss. Within each section you discover excellent passages from various saints and holy men and women. Excerpts from Sister Faustina’s Diary are featured in each chapter and nicely compliment the author’s own reflections.

A Light Shines in the Darkness

As I read through Theresa’s book, it struck me that this would have special benefit and blessing for those who suffered traumatic loss and the  painful spiritual darkness that can arise from past abandonment, abuse and neglect.

Perhaps that is because the author has travelled through some very painful and traumatic experiences on the road to Divine Mercy.

Theresa opens the Journal of Healing to share a brief account of her traumatic later term abortion as a teenager.

Theresa’s parents threw her out of the house after they learned of the pregnancy and later she is rejected by the baby’s father who pushes her to abort their child. Homeless, impoverished and vulnerable, she gave in to desperation and fear.

Theresa describes her condition after the procedure:

“I can remember the struggle to be faithful, searching in the dark to find God…I remember having to keep moving in spite of the pain, the darkness, the fear, because there was nothing to lose. There could be no greater hell that the one I had made for myself.”

The Power of Denial

Theresa touches on the issue of denial that is so powerful for those that participate in the death of their unborn children. Denial is often a necessary part of surviving the shock and confusion of the abortion event.

Yet without a deeper reconciliation and healing, over time this denial and repression of the truth numbs and starves us of the love and joy that is essential to a happy and fruitful life.  Theresa writes:

“The agonizing pain did not leave as the years went on, although I must admit I fell into such a deep denial that I was not aware that my lack of joy was a consequence of my abortion. Society did not acknowledge my pain and grief.  So in order to survive, I pressed my feelings into the recesses of my mind and, like everyone else, denied their existence.”

Practical Spiritual Wisdom

Theresa found peace and healing through a personal encounter with the Divine Mercy of God that touched her in a very deep and intimate way. The grace from that blessed event fills the pages of her book and later inspired Theresa to develop her after-abortion healing program Entering Canaan.

A Journey of Healing contains practical spiritual and emotional wisdom that touches on some of the common core issues for those with abortion loss; trust, forgiveness, discouragement and despair, impatience and pride.

Theresa acknowledges her own struggles in these areas as she gently encourages and calls those who are afraid to take those small steps in the healing journey. There are some helpful reflections on the challenges, and opportunities that various Holidays such as Mother’s Day and Christmas can present to those with abortion loss.

One of the valuable themes repeated in this book are that of patience and perseverance in the spiritual life. While a seemingly simple concept, it is in fact the most challenging aspects of the spiritual journey and an obstacle that leads many to stagnation or even regression in their faith life.

Interwoven into A Journey of Healing are Theresa’s experiences of suffering and healing of her abortion loss within the context of her family. This is an important as it touches on the reality that while isolation and shame are common after the procedure, this wound touches many people.  Often other family and friends can play a significant part in the abortion decision and are impacted by the symptoms that are common after the procedure.

A Journey to Healing has some valuable sections on how Divine Mercy touched all those relationships in Theresa’s life bringing new understanding, reconciliation and peace. She rightly stresses that this requires much prayer, patience and trust in God.

While the tone is one of gentle encouragement and the love and mercy of God, you will also find some healthy and more earthy spiritual wisdom:

“When we look at our sinfulness, there is a temptation to get stuck there… ‘I can’t believe I had an abortion’ mode. This…is false pride.  Why should we be so shocked that we can commit such a sin?  Once we turn from the will of God, any sin is possible.”

Amen! This provides a healthier context to look at our sin, no matter how grievous.  It is also a wakeup call that if we remain trapped in our pride, separated from God’s love, mercy and grace – we can all, in different ways, continue to abort God’s will in our lives.

Take the Journey of Healing

A Journey of Healing is certainly appropriate for those with abortion loss that need encouragement to takes steps to a deeper reconciliation and healing in their lives.

But it is also an excellent resource for those who have been through an abortion recovery program and want to continue on the road to deeper conversion, healing and growth in the faith. Consider this a valuable resource for your study/prayer group and an excellent book for spiritual directors to accompany those with abortion loss.

Take time this Lent to read Theresa’s book. You will find in A Journey to Healing a deeper healing of your abortion loss and a blessed encounter with God’s Divine Mercy.

The Deadly Power of Denial: How Roe V Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington’s Abortion Led to the Destruction of 60 Million Pre-Born Children

Friday, February 24th, 2017

 

Weddington McCorvey 2

By Kevin Burke, LSW and Christa Childs

In 1969, a young Texas lawyer, Sarah Weddington approached a desperate and pregnant Norma McCorvey. Norma already had 2 children and a failed marriage, with a family history of abuse and addiction. Norma was unable to get an abortion of her third child due to Texas abortion law.

Over a pizza lunch Norma signed the paperwork making her the plaintiff “Jane Roe” in the infamous abortion suit against the State of Texas – the rest is history. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and legalized abortion in the United States.

What is less known and understood, is how  Sarah Weddington’s own abortion, years before Roe V Wade, played a central role in opening the door to a decision that led to the death of close to 60 million unborn children.

The Price of Higher Education

In 1967 Sarah and her boyfriend Ron Weddington, both law students at the time, were facing an unplanned pregnancy. They did not want any disruption of their educational goals.

Abortion was illegal in Texas. So in the fall of 1967 Sarah and Ron drove south to Eagle Pass, Texas, crossed the border and entered a small clinic in the Mexican town of Piedras Negras.

In her memoir “A Question of Choice”, Sarah, upon waking after the procedure thought, “I hope I don’t die, and I pray that no one ever finds out about this.” Sarah and Ron married the following year.

For 25 years their abortion remained a dark secret that was not shared with family or friends. Only in the writing of “A Question of Choice” did she finally open up about her own abortion.  Sarah and Ron would later divorce.

Weddington’s autobiography reveals that once the Roe decision went to court, her memory of that time is sketchy. She forgets how and where she first heard about the Supreme Court’s decision. A Question of Choice presents Sarah as a serious woman with workaholic tendencies.

The Deadly Relationship between Abortion Advocacy and Complicated Grief

Abortion is not a normal experience of loss. It is often a closely guarded secret.

Remember Sarah Weddington’s first thoughts immediately after the procedure:

“I pray that no one ever finds out about this.”

This reveals a natural sense of shame and desperation about what just happened – and a need to keep this shameful event a secret. Pro-choice feminist will claim this is because of  abortion stigma directed against those who have the procedure.

But even when abortion is felt to be the “best option or decision” and validated by friends and family, there are often feelings of confusion, shame and guilt when you disrupt the very natural process of  pregnancy.

A woman’s body, when experiencing a healthy pregnancy, is naturally pro-life…and not pro-choice. A woman in reality becomes a mother at the time of conception and her body goes through various changes to welcome and nurture the new life growing within her.

Unplanned or complicated, stress-filled pregnancies can cause some mothers and fathers to reject the truth of their parenthood, and lead them to abortion decisions.

Denial of what was lost, and repression of the painful memories and feelings after the abortion event, can be manifest in a variety of ways.  Those with previous trauma and abuse and other emotional vulnerabilities are more likely to experience post abortion symptoms such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and unhealthy relationships featuring promiscuity that can set in shortly after the procedure.

However among higher functioning and educated women, denial can take a more sophisticated, but deadly form.

The Deadly Denial of the Abortion Rights Activist

Some women deny and repress their natural post-abortion feelings by total immersion in educational and career pursuits.

Others discover a vocation in abortion rights activism.

To those in abortion recovery counseling, it is no surprise that many of the pioneers of reproductive choice, such as Kate Michelman of NARAL and Gloria Steinem, zealously promoted abortion rights after their own procedures.

Those with previous abortion loss, and consumed with the fight to expand and validate abortion rights, are continually repressing any negative feelings and memories of their own abortion experience. This powerful emotional energy is directed into what they and others see as a noble and just cause.  Any feelings of anger and pain from their abortion experience are displaced onto the enemies of choice.

Sadly, the failure of many abortion activists to acknowledge and mourn the death of their unborn children, has led to so much suffering and death.

Pro Choice feminists like Michelman, Steinem and lawyer Sarah Weddington re-enact and re-validate their own unhealed abortion loss by “empowering” other women to make the same “choice” as they did.

Leslie Blackwell of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign shares about her pro-choice activism after an abortion:

“I discovered I was pregnant and I had just landed my dream job as a TV Talk Show Host.  A roommate drove me to an abortion clinic in Greensboro, N.C. After graduation, I threw myself into the new job creating a façade of the perfect young career girl who had it all together … drinking, drugging and sleeping around … self destructing. Trying to validate my choices, I became a strong pro-abortion supporter and at times militant with anyone who didn’t agree with my opinion.”

Aborted Relationships

As Sarah Weddington’s story indicates, partners that have an abortion and stay together experience higher rates of relationship dysfunction and divorce.

Why is that?

A couple shares physical and emotional intimacy, pleasure and joy that naturally leads to the creation of life. The abortion procedure disrupts this very natural process and ends the life of the developing child.  This loss infects those areas of relational intimacy with the painful emotions and memories associated with the procedure and their role in the child’s death.   Couples rarely share their complicated feelings about the abortion experience and the child that died.

Over time this can create challenges in future communication, trust, and sexual satisfaction. Partners, often throw themselves into work (as Weddington did after her abortion,) and are vulnerable to acting out their unrecognized post abortion issues in affairs.   Some will abuse drugs and alcohol and may be be prescribed anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication by their physicians. They may appear quite successful – but they remain emotionally and spiritually wounded.

Anniversary Reactions

The body remembers what the mind and heart deny and repress.

Many women and some men experience depression, anxiety and grief on the anniversary of their abortion or on the actual due date of their child.

Norma McCorvey, (the Jane Roe of Roe V Wade) shared in a radio interview  with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life that her meeting in 1969 with Sarah Weddington, when the lawyer was trying to convince Norma to be a plaintiff, was held on the anniversary of Sarah’s illegal abortion in Mexico.

Weddington may have unconsciously channeled her anniversary reaction after abortion into efforts to validate her own choice, as she met with a pregnant Norma McCorvey and worked to legalize abortion in the courts.

Aborting Jane Roe

Those who deny their own abortion loss are often reactively angry and unforgiving with those that challenge the narrative that abortion is always and everywhere a liberating and empowering experience for women.

From the New York Times:

“Sarah Weddington generously praises the Austin women who first sparked her involvement in Roe, but she is unduly harsh and dismissive toward her former client, Norma McCorvey, with whom she has since had differences.”

Why such animosity toward Jane Roe?

Perhaps because Norma was the voice of her conscience, and the millions of women who have been manipulated and exploited at the time of an unplanned pregnancy.

Norma McCorvey came to later publicly regret her association with Roe V Wade and shared her experience of feeing manipulated and lied to by Weddington at a vulnerable time in her life.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Sarah’s autobiography, 25 years after the loss of her own child to abortion, was perhaps in part related to an unconscious need to share her public abortion testimony, break the power of the secret, and find peace and healing.

Sadly she cannot fully repent, grieve and heal of her own abortion loss as she continues to promote abortion as a necessary solution to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

Jesus said it is challenging for the rich and wise of this world to enter the Kingdom of God. It is easier “for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

Jesus also shared that the poor and meek of this world are blessed.

The periodically homeless single mother who became the Jane Roe of Roe V Wade later repented of her role in that infamous decision. This required great humility and courage.  Norma was received into the Catholic Church in 1998 and died recently on February 18 2017.  Before she died Norma found God’s mercy, forgiveness and peace.

The journey to conversion and repentance, forgiveness and healing will be much more difficult for Sarah Weddington. But not impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

African American Victim of Rape and Molestation Says Abortion is another form of Enslavement for the Black Community

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

 

A metallic chain with an explosed link.

Onawu can you share with us some of your family background?

Onawu: My mother and father were migrant farm workers.  I was molested at age four by a neighbor’s son who is in prison to this day for armed robbery and rape.

My father was very abusive to my mother.

My grandmother struggled with mental health issues. My grandfather…was murdered in 1963 by one of his seven daughter’s husband in a very small farming community of Fairmead, CA.

What impact did those early experiences of violence and molestation have on you?

Onawu:   As I reflect back on my life it started out in a pretty violent and twisted environment.   With the challenges I faced in my family, I struggled with a sense of shame, not really understanding this…but also a fear of being rejected.

I felt a deep sense of insecurity.

You have also suffered the violence and trauma of rape.

Yes I was raped in 1972 when I was a senior in high school. He was someone that I used to date. He raped me six months after we broke-up and I became pregnant.

My father wanted me to have an abortion, but I was too far along…My mother convinced me to keep the baby and she would help me to raise him while I went to school. I graduated from high school in June of 1973. I am glad I did not abort.  My son is a wonderful man who is serving in the army. He has done two tours in Iraq.

Your first abortion occurred when you were a college student correct?

Onawu: My first abortion in 1974, I was 20 years old and shortly after the Roe vs. Wade decision…and yes I was attending junior college at the time. I was referred to Planned Parenthood by a friend.  I got involved again a year later with another man who was in the military was the same scenario, resulting in another abortion.

It is amazing how easy it was for me to accept the lies of the pro abortion Planned Parenthood counseling back then. [They convinced me] that I was not carrying a human being. I was able to believe that abortion was the answer because I needed a quick fix…

It was many years later that decided that you needed to reach out for help from your abortion pain. What led you to take that step?

Onawu:  It was sometime after that second abortion I would be driving and cross an overpasses or body of water and [filled with fear] that I would throw an infant over the railings into the water or over into a canyon.

If I was holding a child in my lap I would hold the baby tighter. Sometime I would fight tears.

I was in my fifties when the Lord brought it to my attention that constant fear and anxiety was connected to my abortions.

Can you share about your Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Experience?

Onawu:   It was an intense three days. Tears began to flow, stony hearts were turned to flesh. We all made it thru…women and men, couples and some grandparents were there as well…lives were being changed.

What are some of the obstacles you see in getting a message of awareness and healing to our African American Christian churches? How can we open doors to healing our families and communities?

Onawu:   Some of our leaders don’t understand the mental anguish of the consequences of abortions for mothers and fathers. Lack of knowledge is damaging, the truth shall make us free.

Some of our politicians and Christian ministers and leaders need healing as well…of their own participation in abortion and by encouraging others to abort.   I believe lack of education and perhaps the ability to face their own past lead them to put up defensive walls.

We must be examples of hope and life for generations to come. My prayer is that we no longer be enslaved to poverty and violence; especially in the womb; not only for African Americans but for human beings as a whole.

[You can read Onawu’s full testimony here.]

In the Netflix Series “The Crown” Winston Churchill Enters the Deep and Murky Waters of Male Grief and Loss

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

Churchill

Netflix‘s ten-part series The Crown premiered in November 2016. The Crown is a lavish drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II in post-war Britain.

If you are a devotee of the HBO epic Game of Thrones, you will likely be disappointed by the scarcity of graphic sex and violence.  However, if you’re a fan of compelling stories set in a fascinating historical period, excellent acting, with no expense spared for costume and sets – then take a look at The Crown.

It is refreshing that the writers and director allow time for the stories to breathe and develop.

From the Telegraph:

Like “Downton Abbey,” this is a series you watch to see actors being given the time to act…

As the series unfolds, we begin an intimate journey with Queen Elizabeth and the man she calls “my first Prime Minister”, Winston Churchill.  The British monarchy and government are struggling to find their place in the emerging new world order rising out of the ashes of war.

As the series progresses, we witness a growing tension between the Queen and Churchill as the Prime Minister begins to advance in age and experiences a natural decline in his health and stamina.

This dilemma reaches a head in the final episode of season one, entitled Assassins (which is not about an actual assassination.)  Interwoven into this episode, is the intriguing relationship that develops between Churchill and Modernist painter Graham Sutherland, and the role of Sutherland in helping Churchill face both his age related limitations, but also something much deeper and intimate.

The Murky Waters of Grief

In the season one finale, British Parliament has commissioned the artist Sutherland (played by actor Stephen Dillane) to paint a portrait of Churchill to celebrate his 80th birthday.  The tension and dialog between Churchill and Sutherland provides an excellent framework to look at what can be challenging territory for any man – the murky waters of grief and loss.

Churchill is an amateur painter and at various times throughout the series we see Winston taking retreat from the pressures of his larger-than-life role in domestic and international politics, to sit by his backyard pond painting the serene landscape.

Yet he struggles to capture the essence of the scene…as it eludes him time and time again. The experience of painting this pond is more like a violent wrestling match for Churchill than a time of meditation and peace.

As he sits for his portrait with artist Sutherland, with ever present cigar in hand, Churchill shares:

Painting a picture is like fighting a battle. A bloody battle. In the gladiatorial fight to the death, the artist either wins or loses.

It is here that we travel deeper into the soul and psyche of the blustery Churchill, aided by an excellent performance by actor John Lithgow. The shared vocation and love of painting, opens the door for these men to communicate on a more intimate level:

Sutherland: I do take comfort from the fact that your own work is so honest and revealing.

Churchill:  Oh, thank you for the compliment.  Well, are there any works that you’re referring to in particular?

Sutherland: I was thinking especially of the Goldfish pond here at Chartwell.

Churchill:  The pond? Why the pond? It’s just a pond.

Sutherland:  It’s very much more than that. As borne out by the fact that you’ve returned to it again and again. More than 20 times. Churchill:  Well, yes, because it’s such a technical challenge. It eludes me.

Sutherland:  Well, perhaps you elude yourself, sir.  That’s why it’s more revealing than a self-portrait.

Churchill:  Oh, that’s nonsense.

Sutherland has hit a nerve, and like a lot of men used to being in control of their lives and emotions, Churchill’s reflexive response is to dismiss the observation as “nonsense.”

Winston wants to keep things on the surface and avoid the deeper emotional waters:

Churchill: It’s the water, the play of light. The trickery. The fish, down below.

But Sutherland is gently relentless and he won’t let this fish escape the hook.

Like Great Britain and the Monarchy, there is something painful beneath the “tranquility and elegance” of Churchill’s pond:

Sutherland:   I think all our work is unintentionally revealing and I find it especially so with your pond.  Beneath the tranquility and the elegance and the light playing on the surface, I saw honesty and pain, terrible pain. The framing itself, indicated to me that you wanted us to see something beneath all the muted colors, deep down in the water. Terrible despair. Hiding like a Leviathan. Like a sea monster.

Churchill: You saw all that?

Sutherland: Yes, I did.

Churchill, needing a respite and diversion from his own interior pond, asks Sutherland:

Churchill: May I ask you a question, Mr. Sutherland?  It’s about one of your paintings. The one you call “Pastoral.” With all that gnarled and twisted wood. Those great ugly dabs of black. I found something malevolent in it. Where did that come from?

Sutherland:  Well, that’s very perceptive.  That was a very dark time.   My son, John, passed away, aged two months.

Churchill:  Oh, my. I am sorry.

Sutherland:   Yes. Thank you.

Sutherland’s vulnerability creates the possibility for Churchill to put aside his outer garment of power and control, and open up about his own experience of loss.

Sutherland asks Churchill about his children:

Sutherland: You have five, yes?

Churchill: Four. Marigold was the fifth.  She left us at age two years, nine months. Septicemia.

Sutherland:  I’m so sorry. I had no idea.

Churchill:   We settled on the name Marigold, on account of her wonderful golden curls.  The most extraordinary color.  Regretfully, but though perhaps mercifully, I was not present when she died.  When I came home, Clemmie [Churchill’s wife] roared like a wounded animal.

This journey with Sutherland now provides a moment of great grace and insight for Churchill:

Churchill: We bought Chartwell a year after Marigold died. That was when I put in the pond…Here.

Churchill pauses, as his face is moved with deep emotion and an expression of restrained tears as he connects the repeated act of painting the pond and the grief he never expressed with the loss of his daughter Marigold.

Churchill previously saw his paintings of the pond within the familiar construct of a great battle. This makes sense given his role as the iconic bastion of perseverance and strength for the British people during the great Battle of Britain when the nation was terrorized by  Nazi air strikes.

As he wrestled with his repeated painting of the pond, Churchill like many men was creatively using a concrete and physically engaging vehicle to channel his emotions of anger, frustration, pain and loss.

Yet without a greater awareness of what was driving his interior battle, Churchill remained without peace, and without closure –in his painting of the pond – and closure with his daughter’s death.

Staying on the Surface of the Pond – The High Price of Displaced Grief

Newsweek magazine featured a February, 2007 cover story entitled “Men and Depression.” [1] The article revealed that men suffer much higher rates of depression than previously thought.

Over time this can take a toll on a man’s health and relationships:

Although depression is emotionally crippling and has numerous medical implications—some of them deadly—many men fail to recognize the symptoms. Instead of talking about their feelings, men may mask them with alcohol, drug abuse, gambling, [pornography] anger or by becoming workaholics. And even when they do realize they have a problem, men often view asking for help as an admission of weakness, a betrayal of their male identities…

Michael Addis, chair of psychology at Cark University shares an insight that can help us understand why a prominent figure like Churchill’s initially struggled to be vulnerable with the artist Sutherland:

“Our definition of a successful man in this culture does not include being depressed, down or sad. In many ways it’s the exact opposite. A successful man is always up, positive, in charge and in control of his emotions. ” [2]

As a professional counselor, I have seen how the inability, or lack of an opportunity to honor and grieve a very painful or traumatic loss, can impact a man’s emotional and physical health, and his relationships.   Events such as childhood divorce, sexual and physical abuse, the neglect/rejection of a parent, and job loss can inflict some very deep wounds on the heart and souls of men.

I was surprised to discover early in my counseling work with men, that abortion, like Churchill’s loss of his daughter Marigold, can also be a very complicated and confusing experience of loss for some men.  They can carry a heavy burden of regret, shame and guilt that continues to impact their lives and relationships.

This has been confirmed by the largest study on men and abortion by sociologist Arthur Shostak. (Shostak was himself part of an abortion decision and accompanied his partner to the abortion center.)  His research revealed that men frequently think about the child that would have been born.  Many men revealed guilt, confusion and openly grieved during the interview process. [3]

The grieving process is unique for each person, and there are differences in how men and women express and process emotions. But it is life giving and essential for men to be open to that experience.   Without a safe place and the necessary support to share about such deep wounds, like Churchill, men will avoid looking deeper into that murky pond.

Some men will find significant relief in just being able to share with a counselor or friend, a caring person who understands their loss, or in a men’s prayer group some of their feelings and struggles. (Men who have been part of an abortion decision and procedure can find help here and also here.)

Always the Prime Minister

Churchill was surely blessed in his private life and relationships by any insight and emotional release facilitated by the story of his exchange with Sutherland and the journey to his own interior pond.

However, Churchill was not about to allow such vulnerability in his public life.

Churchill and his wife Clementine were not pleased with artist Sutherland’s very revealing portrait of the great Winston, with all his age appropriate emotional and physical vulnerabilities on display.  There would be none of that!

The couple made sure the painting never saw the light of day, and after building a large bonfire, ceremoniously burned it.

 

[1] Scelfo, J. (2007, February 25). Men and Depression: New Treatments. Newsweek.

[2] Ibid

[3] Shostak, Arthur. Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love .  Praeger, 1984.

NY Senator Schumer Weeps for Immigrants – While In New York City, More African American Children Die in the Womb…than are Born

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

 

Schumer

New York Senator Chuck Schumer publicly wept in his public response to President Trump’s “mean spirited” executive order on immigration:

“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded, has been stomped upon.”

If the Statue of Liberty is weeping, it is because in the great city of New York more African American children die in the womb each year – than are born. That horrific fact bears repeating – more African American children die in the womb each year in New York City – than are born.

Perhaps Senator Schumer could have a press conference where he shares his grief at the death of close to 30,000 African-American babies a year in the city of that iconic statue of Lady Liberty.[1]

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr Martin Luther King and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, shares how the Shockwaves of Abortion are devastating the African American Community:

“A majority of abortion businesses are in areas with high minority populations. Abortion apologists will say this is because they want to serve the poor.  You don’t serve the poor by taking their money to terminate their children. Abortion is accomplishing the goals of which racism only dreamed.”

Senator Schumer calls for a more “welcoming” policy toward immigrants. In the Senators district, the womb is the most unwelcoming and dangerous place for an African American child.

Perhaps those like Senator Schumer and other that are so concerned with welcoming immigrants from other parts of the world, could turn to their own backyard and come up with solutions to the challenges facing our poor minority communities – solutions that do not include genocide against our African American brothers and sisters in the womb.

If you think Genocide is too strong a word – I implore you to once again let the reality sink in – more African American children die in the womb of their mothers each year in New York City, than are born.

If this does not qualify as genocide…then the word has lost all its meaning.

 

[1] [1] “…In 2013 black women accounted for 29,007 terminated pregnancies, representing almost 42 percent of all abortions in the city…With abortions surpassing live births by nearly 5,000, African American women in the city clearly terminated pregnancies more often than they carried babies to term.” (According to a report by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Vital Statistics – Politifact)

Sarah Silverman: Pulling Back the Curtain on the Abortion Queen of Comedy

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

Sarah Silverman

Actress/comedian Sarah Silverman in this tweet, advocated for the military overthrow of a duly elected president of the United States:

“Wake up and join the resistance. Once the military is with us the fascists get overthrown.  Mad king and his handlers go bye bye.”

Sarah was the featured speaker last year at the Arts Connection Benefit, a charity for arts education in New York public schools.

Sarah was offered the opportunity to address the middle and high school students:

… Silverman talked about the smell of sperm and included “gags mentioning abortion, sexual assault, her dead dog and sex with boyfriend Michael Speen…At the end of the night, Silverman seemed to shock even the most hard-core New Yorkers with her limit-pushing new material…” (from Bizpac Review)

In a scene from the Sarah Silverman Show Sarah is lectured on a couch by two women who share, with forced sincerity, that abortion is the taking of a human life and something she should never do.

She abruptly leaves, and with the poignant sound track of Green Day’s “Time of your Life” playing in the background, Sarah goes on, in a breezy “aw shucks” kind of way, to have 3 separate abortions in the Reagan, Clinton and Bush administrations.

What the Heck Happened to this Woman?

As I explored Silverman’s past, I expected to find an abortion in her history given the crude sexual content, the abortion themes in her comedy, and her radical pro abortion advocacy.

Silverman reports no history of abortion, but she does share a traumatic experience while filming a sex scene in 2013, and seems to suggest it is not her first time suffering such abuse.

[Please be warned the following is graphic]:

“I’ve had experiences in my life… I had a brutal sex scene in something that [before] I was looking around going, ‘Is there gonna be a board or something between us?’

It fell on deaf ears and the next thing I knew it was happening. It hurt to walk for two days.”

Silverman explained that she expected “someone would have thought before hand and protected me in some way”…

Of the scene, she said: “He is completely naked except for not even the thickness of a sock…He’s not even a real actor, he’s an extra. And he’s smashing me and [inflicting painful and abusive simulated sex on] me in the scene… It felt very violating.”

Why would a woman like Silverman, who has experienced sexual abuse and other similar “experiences,” in her life, exhibit such crudeness, shocking sexual content and radical pro abortion themes in her comedy?

The Sexual Wounding of our Nation

It is important to keep in mind when we look at the generally pro-abortion/pro-sexual revolution mindset of most in the entertainment business that generations of women like Silverman have come of age in a culture that tries to normalize hook-ups and sex without real commitment.

Female celebrities and those working in the business of entertainment are often personally involved in, or promoting in their artistic medium characters involved in such “consensual” sexual relationships, often with multiple partners, and no marital commitment. Abortions are often the back up when birth control fails.

These sexual encounters are presented as mutually empowering and satisfying (and with no one suffering from the record number of Sexually transmitted diseases now plaguing our nation.)

Leah Fessler shares about her experience of the hook-up culture in college:

“Far more frequent, however, were pseudo-relationships, the mutant children of meaningless sex and loving partnerships. Two students consistently hook up with one another—and typically, only each other—for weeks, months, even years. Yet per unspoken social code, neither party is permitted emotional involvement, commitment, or vulnerability. To call them exclusive would be “clingy,” or even “crazy.”

Fessler went on to interview other women on their experience of the hook-up culture:

“The women I interviewed were eager to build connections, intimacy and trust with their sexual partners. Instead, almost all of them found themselves going along with hookups that induced overwhelming self-doubt, emotional instability and loneliness.”

On a deeper level, as Leah Fessler reveals, these relationships are often experienced by women as abusive and exploitive. Women must repress a natural desire for greater intimacy and commitment from their partners. Some develop a false sense of “empowerment,” and a type of mastery of their emotional trauma, by adopting the same detached and even predatory behaviors of some exploitive/abusive males.

The Fruit of Moral and Spiritual Darkness

Sarah Silverman, who was powerless and violated, and likely involved in exploitive sexual relationships, is in need of repentance, and emotional and spiritual healing.

Sadly, she may be trying to master her trauma but by becoming the Queen of raunchy, sexually explicit comedy, with a twisted attachment to radical pro-abortion advocacy.

Even with no abuse history, an ongoing immersion in spiritual and moral darkness leads to a gradual corruption of the heart, intellect, and soul. This is reflected in Silverman’s perverted art, radical advocacy for the death of innocent unborn children, and suggestion of a military coup against President Trump.

The Entertainment industry has its share of compromised women and men. They have their own personal wounds from abuse and abortion loss, and have been corrupted in various ways if they have been promoting sexual immorality and abortion in their art.

Rather than look within their own hearts and souls, with honesty and humility, some of the over-the-top reactions to the Trump administration, may be connected to their personal experiences of abortion and other abuse, and their own complicity in corrupting our culture.   They may be projecting their own personal guilt, pain and rage onto what they see as a scary and dangerous president and administration that is not as friendly to the agenda of Planned Parenthood and their allies.

The hyper-reactivity (apart from any legitimate difference in politics and policy) suggests that the response is coming from a deeper place.

Note Robert DeNiro’s reaction to the Trump victory in November:

“I feel like I did after 9-11.”

He didn’t say, “I am very upset that my candidate lost, but I wish the new president well” – which would have been a gracious and reasonable response.

DeNiro compares the election of Trump, to a terrorist attack that led to the death of 3000 Americans.

This is not a normal response.

Hope for the Future

There are many excellent television programs, beautiful music, plays and other forms of artistic expression.

But if we are to be honest, we have also seen a gradual lowering of standards in our overall culture.  Many influential and popular forms of music, movies and other entertainment are increasingly pornographic, misogynistic, and graphically violent.

Whatever your reservations about the Trump administration, there are signs that, at least for the next four years, Washington will not be a close partner of the more radical elements of the Entertainment Industrial Complex.

Whether you like President Donald Trump or not, many of the women and men in his administration understand the value of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  In the areas of pro life, and religious liberty, there are reasons to be hopeful for significant progress and change.

This may be our last opportunity to begin to turn back the tide of the sexual revolution, and begin to heal the impact of abortion and other moral and spiritual attacks upon our nation.

Just as immorality leads to darkness, so too if we can begin moving back toward moral sanity, the light will begin to spread across our land and a new day can dawn for our beloved country.

 

Chuck Schumer, Cardinal Cupich and the Real Reason the Statue of Liberty Is Weeping

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

 

weeping statue-of-liberty

Understanding the Nervous Breakdown of the Left and the Path to Healing a Fractured and Divided Nation

Amidst the firestorm of reaction to the recent executive order by the Trump administration on immigration, we find Senator Chuck Schumer publicly weeping as he shares his pain and outrage:

“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded, has been stomped upon.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago expressed his own concern:

“It is time to put aside fear and join together to recover who we are and what we represent to a world badly in need of hope and solidarity…The world is watching as we abandon our commitments to American values.”

Senator Schumer grieves and Cardinal Cupich believes we are abandoning our commitment to “American values.”

Yet, if we are honest, our nation abandoned the most fundamental American value and human right a long time ago – the right to be born.

If you want to understand our increasingly polarized and toxic political atmosphere, you need to go back to 1973.

The Shockwaves of Abortion and the Nervous Breakdown of the Left

The legalization of abortion in the 1973 Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision was a moral, religious and psychological earthquake. We still do not understand the full extent of how the shockwaves of this event have fractured our people, and the entire nation.

Have you noticed lately that many on the left/liberal side of politics, such as Senator Schumer, seem to be experiencing a type of collective hysteria and nervous breakdown? With each move by the Trump administration, its 1939 once again and Hitler is about to invade Poland.

There may be an abortion connection.

We have had generations of our nation’s children educated and formed by teachers, music and entertainment figures, college professors and counselors (and led by politicians) who are morally and spiritually compromised in various ways by abortion. Others have also been similarly impacted by their involvement in immoral sexual behavior and relationships.

Many of these men and women have either experienced abortion and/or were complicit in some way in the death of an unborn child:

Complicit by advocating for the abortion in the decision making process – paying for an abortion – or in various ways helping to facilitate a women’s access to the procedure.

Abortion denial can lead to the misdirection of the emotional and spiritual energy that should go toward repentance, healthy grieving and healing – into abortion rights activism.

This is manifest in the promotion of sexual immorality and abortion rights in our primary and secondary educational system, among medical and mental health professionals, in corporations, the entertainment/media industry, and even among some of our religious leaders.

Without emotional and spiritual healing, over time these abortion rights and sexual revolutionary activists, and their many disciples, become increasingly reactive, intolerant and aggressive when confronting any perceived threat to their agenda. They pursue their utopian vision with a righteous religious zeal as they label all opponents as hateful and fascist reincarnations of Adolf Hitler.

Their sympathetic allies in academia, media, business, politics and the entertainment industry work to amplify the righteousness of their cause, feed their collective denial, and vilify and marginalize opponents. (One example of this can be found here on the hysterical reaction to the reasonable North Carolina law that violated the transgender agenda.)

This in turn increases the antagonism, mistrust and polarization between opposing groups. Because honest and civil dialog are impossible with the reactionary left, various groups retreat to their own echo chambers for comfort, community and a reinforcement of core beliefs.

There are other contributing economic and social factors for the current state of our nation. But the toxic divisions in our society are magnified and exacerbated by the national denial of our shared abortion wounds, and the failure to repent, grieve and heal of our complicity in the death of close to 60 million Americans.

The Path to National Healing

The Trump administration after winning the November election is in the process of working to fulfill their campaign promises made to the country’s voters. Good people can disagree on how to best protect our nation’s borders and its citizens, and also be mindful of our Christian duty to reach out with love and charity toward those fleeing political and religious persecution.

But our political and religious leaders need to recognize that there will be no peace in our nation, and our national culture and discourse will become increasingly fractured and toxic, and at times violent, until we recognize the impact of the abortion Shockwaves unleashed by the Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973.

The Real Reason the Statue of Liberty Weeps

If the Statue of Liberty is weeping, it is because in the great city of New York more African American children die in the womb each year – than are born. That bears repeating – more African American children die in the womb each year in New York City – than are born.

Perhaps Senator Schumer could have a press conference where he shares his grief at the death of close to 30,000 African-American babies a year in the city of that iconic statue of Lady Liberty. [1]

There will be no shared “hope and solidarity,” or commitment to American values that Cardinal Cupich hopes for in this country – until we recognize the need to be in absolute solidarity with the unborn child in the womb.

Once we understand how abortion has divided and corrupted our nation and its political process, we will see that the most patriotic action we can take right now is to reduce and end abortion.

We need to stay focused on the immediate strategies to Defund Planned Parenthood, end all tax-payer funding of abortion, and advance legislation that will reduce abortion.

At the same time, the battles for Supreme Court Justices are now underway as we pray and work to get pro-life justices approved.

The future of our nation, the health and welfare of our republic and its people, require us to work tirelessly to reduce, and in time end legal abortion in the United States of America.

 

[1] “…In 2013 black women accounted for 29,007 terminated pregnancies, representing almost 42 percent of all abortions in the city…With abortions surpassing live births by nearly 5,000, African American women in the city clearly terminated pregnancies more often than they carried babies to term.” (According to a report by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Vital Statistics – Politifact)

 

The Catholic Deformation: New York Governor Cuomo Requires Insurance Companies Provide Free Contraception and Abortion Coverage

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

 

Andrew Cuomo New York

Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday January 21st 2017 that he was requiring health insurance companies to cover medically necessary abortions and most forms of contraception at no cost to women.

It appears the governor is anticipating the repeal of Obama-Care:

“These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation…”

Cuomo – Steeped in New York’s Catholic Culture

From the NY Times on Cuomo’s Catholic faith:

“He goes to Mass… He considers himself a practicing Roman Catholic…he supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights…Cuomo was raised in a Queens household where priests and the occasional bishop were guests at dinner. Education meant the neighborhood parochial school, then Archbishop Molloy High School followed by Fordham University.”

Cuomo was steeped in the Catholic culture of New York.  How did his educational formation at Catholic High School and College shape the governors moral and religious perspective and prepare him for a life of public service?

On one hand we see the Governor’s commitment to Catholic social teaching in working to advance the cause of justice reform for minorities.  Reflecting this month on the recent Martin Luther King Day Celebrations Governor Cuomo shared the following:

“This weekend, we celebrate the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Above all else, King’s crusade was about justice — racial, economic and social justice.”

Yet while he speaks of justice for the poor, the Governor departs from the clear teaching of the Church about the sanctity of life, and supports “abortion rights.”

I wonder what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr would think of the abortion statistics for African American’s women in the New York City:

“According to a report [by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Vital Statistics] in 2013 black women accounted for 29,007 terminated pregnancies, representing almost 42 percent of all abortions in the city…With abortions surpassing live births by nearly 5,000, African American women in the city clearly terminated pregnancies more often than they carried babies to term.” (From Politifact)

In Catholic Governor Cuomo’s New York City, more African American children die in the wombs of their mothers, than are born.

How Did We Get Here?

There is no doubt that Governor Cuomo received an excellent education that prepared him for a life of public service. Yet there are clearly serious gaps in his moral and spiritual formation that have led him to view his support of abortion rights and same sex marriage as somehow consistent with being a faithful Catholic.

We have to ask honestly, how can a man formed in the Catholic culture of New York, be blind to the horror of the genocide against black children in the womb?

Governor Cuomo would likey respond that the answer to the high abortion rates among minorities – is more contraception. Many of his fellow Catholics would agree.

Yet, contraception is already widely available in New York City, and still the high abortion rates.

Something that Governor Cuomo did not learn in his Catholic formation (or perhaps learned but rejected) is the truth that promoting more sexual promiscuity, contraceptive use and abortion in poor communities will continue to feed the dynamics of dysfunction; fatherless households, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and the problems facing schools.

Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion

In the month of January, the Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative focuses on the need for the church to promote awareness and healing in our churches.  The initiative provides information and healing resources for clergy/ministers, aids for preaching and how abortion not only hurts the unborn child, but all impacted by the child’s death; parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members and friends who may have served as accomplices in the abortion, and abortion providers.

Shockwaves also considers those like Andrew Cuomo, who by advancing abortion rights in their fields of medicine, business, politics and church ministry, are complicit in the death of unborn children.  They too are in need of God’s forgiveness and healing.

We have to ask the Questions

Have we failed as a Church to educate and form our people on the absolute primacy of the abortion issue in her social justice and moral teaching?

Has the scarcity of forceful and persuasive preaching and education in our parishes and some of our institutions of higher learning on abortion loss and the impact of abortion on individuals, families and society – contributed to the rise of Catholic politicians who are complicit in the death of millions of unborn children?

Have we heard enough over the years from our pastors about the necessity of reconciliation and the good news of healing after abortion?

Preaching the Truth with Love

Fr. Pat Scanlan P.P. has been serving in Parish ministry since his ordination in 1977 for the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland and has been a member of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat team (for healing after abortion) in Cork since 2003.

Fr Pat shares an important message to those Catholic clergy and ministers of other faith communities who are reluctant to speak directly on the issue of abortion to their congregations:

   “Prior to my involvement in Rachel’s Vineyard I often felt a bit scared at the prospect of preaching about abortion. I was conscious that in any congregation there may be one or more who had experienced the procedure, and I was never sure how to effectively proclaim the truth while at the same time witnessing to compassion.”

Fr Pat shares that God’s people need to hear the truth about abortion, and also the good news of healing for those who have participated in any way in the death of unborn children:

   “The truth without compassion is a lethal weapon particularly for wounded souls. Compassion without the truth is a cruel deception. I know from my experience of Rachel’s Vineyard that the Gospel is truly Good News…how the Good Shepherd is waiting to embrace, heal and forgive them. I share in a gentle compassionate way that abortion wounds the lives of not only the unborn child, but of mothers and fathers, grandparents and all involved in the child’s death. I know that if there are women and men present who have had abortion they will identify, and realize that the church wants to help them.”

We each must look at our respective vocations in the Church, and humbly see where we have failed, where we must repent, and with God’s grace, to renew our efforts to end abortion and heal all those hurt by abortion loss.

We hope and pray that more Bishops and clergy, and pastors of all denominations will have the courage along with our Catholic institutions to boldly educate, and properly form our future politicians and national leaders, directly addressing the horror of the death of unborn children in the womb.  But also, to help them understand how abortion deeply wounds individuals, relationships and families, and the good news of reconciliation and healing in Christ.

[Please visit the Shockwaves website to learn more about abortion loss and resources for healing, preaching and awareness.]