Don’t Believe the Media Hype Pro Lifers: Pope Francis Has Your Back!

October 10th, 2013


The interview with Pope Francis published in the Italian Jesuit Journal La Civiltà Cattolica caused a firestorm of reaction.  Media and entertainment outlets cranked up their spin machines to proclaim a fundamental shift in the Church’s emphasis concerning the hot button issues of contraception, abortion, and same sex marriage.  Some of the faithful, after battling for years in the pro-life/pro-family trenches felt confused and discouraged by some of the Pope’s quotes as highlighted in the media.

But the media has a very short attention span and quickly moved on to the next big story.  So now we can take a deep breath, and take a closer prayerful reading of this interview.  Perhaps you will find as I did that there is much that affirms the evolution of pro life ministry over the last 40yrs and the movement as a whole.

First let’s look at some key excerpts.

Ongoing Repentance and Conversion in Christ

Pope Francis reminds us that our ministry to build a culture of life and heal a culture of death, always begins with a deep awareness of our own spiritual poverty and the generous gift of salvation.

Pope Francis reflects on the painting of The Calling of St. Matthew, by Caravaggio:

 That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew.” Here the pope becomes determined, as if he had finally found the image he was looking for: “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze.

 The Lord understands well Matthew’s struggle to let go of his worldly concerns, while calling him to embrace a treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy (Matthew 6, 19-21.)   Worldly concerns are not always bad things, like Matthews attachment to money.  We can be tempted to see the necessary business of our apostolate as more important than sacraments, prayer, contemplation, and devotions such as daily rosary, Eucharistic adoration and study of God’s Word.

Ongoing repentance, conversion and communion with Christ are the foundations of our pro life vocation.

 Closer to the Heart

There is a strong emphasis from this Pope, in this interview and in other sources that sees the mission of the Church, not as an imposition of truth from above, but initially an intimate respectful encounter with each unique human person, especially those wounded by poverty, violence and neglect.

“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”

 When asked about those who struggle with same-sex-attraction, the Pope did not contradict in any way the fundamental teaching of the Church when he expressed that our initial encounter with those who struggle with this burden and other complex human problems, is not the righteousness and truth of our cause, but an intimate relationship of mercy:

We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.

The Church as Field Hospital – Pro Life Good Samaritans

I see the church as a field hospital after battle.  “How are we treating the people of God? I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the Good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor.

The pro-abortion forces and their allies like to portray pro lifers as mean spirited, narrow minded, and obsessed with saving the unborn at the expense of other victims of social injustice.  Sadly this prejudice has crept inside the Church at times in the unnecessary division between social justice and respect life ministries.

Pro Life and abortion healing ministries work daily with people ravaged by the consequences of sexual freedom and the promotion of “reproductive rights.”  Unplanned pregnancy, single parenthood, abortion while impacting all of us, have in a special way attacked the most vulnerable in our society, the poor and minorities.  (Six out of 10 African American children conceived in New York City are aborted.)

I have been involved as a social worker in pro life and abortion healing efforts in the Church now for 25 years.  I have travelled across the United States and around the world.  The overwhelming majority of pro life people I encounter are clearly Good Samaritans that the pope speaks of.  They embody in their outreach the personal humility and a merciful love for each person they serve…unborn and born.  They are moved by decency and justice, a love for the unborn, love for the mothers and fathers of those threatened with abortion and those who suffer after abortion.  I have had a similar experience in my relationships with those working in the arena of law or politics to try and end this evil.

Many of these pro-life good Samaritans can be found at the local Pregnancy Resource Centers where women in crisis find not judgment and condemnation, but love and practical assistance.   Leading the annual March for Life in Washington you will find women and men from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who intimately understand the cost of “reproductive choice.”  They carry signs that publicly acknowledge regret of their abortions, and later before the Supreme Court they share riveting stories of suffering and redemption from the Paschal mystery of their lives.    Where did they find the courage and strength for this very public witness?  It is the love, compassion and accompaniment of pro life people and after abortion healing programs where they found freedom from shame, and confidence to proclaim their truth in Christ.

When Pope Francis speaks of accompanying the poor, marginalized and so many that have lost their way in our modern world with love and mercy, he is affirming the pro life movement in the United States and around the world.

Who’s Really Obsessed Here?

This provides a good opportunity to turn our gaze to the one excerpt from this interview that has received the greatest attention and media spin:

“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. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the timeThe dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.  

The obsession with the issues of abortion, same sex marriage and contraception are pervasive in media and entertainment promoting an agenda that is clearly at odds with Church teaching.   This obsession flows from a distorted understanding of the human person and like other well intentioned social movements, is capable of tremendous evil and destruction in the name of corrupted concepts of freedom, rights and personal liberty.

Perhaps the Pope is saying to us, we cannot let the secular agenda, which is truly “obsessed” with the issues of same sex marriage, abortion and contraception to dictate the Church’s overall message and compromise our primary mission to present the Gospel in all its beauty and splendor.  It is not necessary as the Pope said, to “talk about these issues all the time.”

This is no way contradicts the prophetic call of his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.  It is very necessary, especially in a nation with over 50 million abortions since 1973 to proclaim the Gospel of Life to a culture of death.

Again the Pope offers an important caveat:

The proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. 

Our pro life/pro-family efforts, the moral and religious imperatives, are rooted in the mystery of the incarnation of God in the womb of a humble virgin facing an unplanned pregnancy.  With God’s help, Mary was able reach beyond her natural anxiety and fear to embrace the call of the Father to become the Mother of His Son, who embraced our sin and death and transformed it into the power of resurrection.

With that said, the Pope’s use of the word imperative (moral and religious imperatives) is instructive concerning the urgency of our cause:

Imperativesomething that demands attention or action; an unavoidable obligation or requirement; necessity

 The primacy of the Gospel proclamation in no way diminishes the urgency of our cause.  In fact, as Evangelium Vitae reveals, they are intimately connected.

 Pope Francis in this interview is reminding us that our work for social justice flows not from a myopic focus or obsession on the particular evil we fight at the expense of a loving encounter with those we serve.  Our marching orders are not from any political party or ideology.   We proclaim the Good News of the salvation of God, and his saving love for each person, no matter what their history, sin struggles and wounds.    This foundation will bring us to an encounter with individuals that respects the unique dignity of each person, and is willing to accompany them in their sorrows and struggle.

Pope Francis is very clear in other preaching and speaking concerning the evil of abortion and the need for healing for all who have participated in the death of the unborn.   You can read an excellent presentation on this important topic by Fr Frank Pavone in the National Catholic Register.  Fr Frank touches on the special affirmation by the Pope on the ministry of healing for those that have experienced abortion loss:

The Pope is not criticizing the Church’s focus on abortion. He is actually protecting it. He is protecting it from being seen just as a “rule” or a “directive,” detached from the fundamental teachings of the faith that make us Christian in the first place and detached from the compassion and mercy that Christ extends to those who have had abortions.

Regarding that latter point, the Pope made a special point to encourage me in my work as pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries throughout the world. The Pope, who came to know of the ministry in Argentina, said to me, “Rachel’s Vineyard is very good; it is an excellent work! Go forward with that!”

The reason he is particularly affirmative of Rachel’s Vineyard, and of the Church’s overall work of healing after abortion, comes out in the recent interview that made headlines. He made it clear that, in dealing with abortion, we have to extend mercy to those who have committed this sin. We who reject abortion do not reject those who have had abortions. Rather, we embrace them with forgiveness and peace.

Healing the Troops in the Trenches

Finally, in our reflection on the Pope’s interview we have focused much on the wounds of those we serve in our pro life and abortion healing outreach.  But it is important to remember that the leaders and troops serving on the front lines are intimately connected by virtue of their ministry, to the death of the innocent unborn…and over time this can take its toll.

Think of those praying at abortion centers, reaching out in love to the mothers and father…yet many still choose death.   Consider the ultrasound technician who reveals an image to a mother of her unborn child in all its wonder and beauty…yet the mother still chooses abortion.  Think of the scars and wounds of those that battle in secular politics and in the legal arena to defend the unborn and those injured by abortion and face continual attacks from pro abortion forces.  We know that many who have experienced abortion loss and come to regret that decision, become involved in Pregnancy Resource Center outreach to help other mothers avoid that tragic decision.  Pro life leaders and those serving in this ministry also need healing and restoration in Christ.

That is why we can receive the Pope’s words with consolation and as a gentle reminder…not as the media would present as a scolding to back off from our efforts.

Many pro life veterans are well aware of the need to step back from the battle so we are not consumed or obsessed by the very evil we are fighting.  One who is obsessed is not filled with peace and joy…and cannot share the compassion, mercy and love of Christ with one who is wounded and in crisis.  Perhaps there is more we can do as a movement to minister to the leaders and troops on the front lines and provide opportunities for healing, restoration and refreshment so we emerge renewed.

Don’t believe the media hype pro lifers.  The Pope’s message in this interview and elsewhere is clearly one of affirmation and support with some always welcome spiritual direction.  The primacy of our cause remains as an imperative flowing from the Annunciation and incarnation of Christ our savior in the womb of our Blessed Mother Mary.

The Pope and the Church have your back.











Avanti! Pope Francis Enthusiastic Support of Rachel’s Vineyard and Healing After Abortion

October 3rd, 2013


Fr Frank Pavone, Pastoral Director of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, shares the following enthusiastic support of the world’s largest outreach to those suffering after abortion loss:

You have probably heard this by now, but I wanted to encourage you once again by passing along to you the personal encouragement of Pope Francis for Rachel’s Vineyard. On the first of  September, I was in a private audience with him, and had the chance to give him the greetings of our entire Priests for Life family, including Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries around the world.

Here is what he said to me, in a very animated voice: “Rachel’s Vineyard is very good; it is an excellent work!         Go forward with that!”

He was aware of Rachel’s Vineyard from Argentina, where the dedicated work of our RV team there caught the attention of the local bishops, who then made the other bishops aware of it.

Friends, the word the Pope used in speaking to me is the Italian word “Avanti!” It is a word of vigor, courage, and determined, forward-looking progress. May we all encourage one another in that spirit, and let’s pass along to everyone who knows  about Rachel’s Vineyard the encouraging words of the Pope.

Fr Frank Pavone 

Pastoral Director – Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

National Director – Priests For Life

Priests For Life Newsletter Article on Fatherhood Forever

September 30th, 2013


Check out the latest Priests For Life Newsletter with a feature on the Fatherhood Forever Section of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) website for men who have suffered abortion loss.  Read the inspirational story of the man who lost a child to abortion, nearly lost his life, and later developed the Fatherhood Forever site .

[In the picture above PFL Executive Director, Janet Morana, was chosen to greet the Pope after the Mass on the Day of Life (June 16). She updated him about the work of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard.  Pope Francis spoke to her about his awareness of and appreciation for this work, including in Argentina.]




Comedian Louis CK: The Eternal Rewards of Unplugging from Technology and Facing the Existential Void

September 23rd, 2013


Emmy winning Comedian Louis CK had a great bit on Conan recently where he talked about kids glued to their smart phones and how we use technology/entertainment to run away from the darker things we struggle to face (like grief.)

Louis CK shared a personal experience about taking a break from technology and taking the risk to enter his personal “existential void.”

Check it out (language can be a bit spicy at times.)

As Louis Ck points out, it’s so easy to remain obsessively connected, numb and distracted from the scary deep-dark-waters that lie beneath the surface of our hyper busy lives, continually attached to our devices.

To be fair, this is an inevitable part of trying to manage personal and professional responsibilities in a 24/7 society.  But this continual connection to ever present technology does have the capacity to change our sense of reality and our relationship to others, and a connection to our deeper selves. There can be a high price to pay for all that distraction, especially when there is some important stuff to sort out and grieve and deeper longings that we are being called to cultivate.

These longings, if we can give them some attention, alert us that unwittingly, even innocently, we have made idols out of our devices and busyness.   In addition is it possible that the related immersion in entertainment, media, pornography and drugs have become addictions that keep us distracted and numb, safely walled off from the painful and scary void Louis Ck spoke of in his Conan presentation?

That great emptiness Louis CK spoke of is actually the existential void that can lead us to either despair or contemplation of the deeper meaning of our lives.   When we allow ourselves to be still, to put away the smart phone for a few hours…are we afraid of the silence?

I believe there is a great longing in people, perhaps unconscious and unspoken, but a longing to quiet all the hyper-activity and at least for a time let go of the gadget obsession.  I think people hunger to give a voice to the deeper longing of the soul for reconciliation of past losses, to stop running from the pain and allow a healthy expression of the feelings and memories.

One very important caveat that Louis CK did not mention:

If you are going inward, and you encounter some complicated and painful areas of loss, such as abortion or abuse, please don’t try to go it alone.  Once you recognize the truth that something like abortion has left a deep wound on your heart and soul, (and this is a great grace!) make sure you fight the temptation to recover from this loss by yourself, and reach out for the help you need.  This is especially true for you men out there who may struggle to reach out for help.

As Louis CK points out, our bodies and souls will reward us if we can safely do that grief work because along with the necessary pain and copious tears will come good chemicals, feelings, new insight and understanding.

Best of all, when we safely open up deep parts of our hearts and souls that have been long ignored, numb and lifeless…this freshly tilled soil provides an excellent place for God to sow new seeds of faith, hope and love.

We can come to know in a deeper and intimate way the God who created us and embrace him as our Heavenly Father.

BTW: It was great in that segment with Louis CK and Conan seeing Conan trying to imitate Bruce Springsteen’s primordial wailing at the end of Jungleland.  Here’s a powerful beautiful live rendition of Jungleland from Bruce.

The dual wailing of both Clarence Clemons on saxophone and Springsteen’s howling at the close of Jungleland, reveals the depths of human longing and the desperate cry of a suffering soul.  I have to agree with Louis CK that this song is deeply moving.






Chemical Weapons Attack U.S. Family! What Happens to Couples When Their Home Becomes an Abortion Clinic?

September 18th, 2013


Lifesitenews ran a deeply disturbing article from a self described pro choice woman who experienced an RU 486 abortion.  She was shocked by her treatment by Planned Parenthood and the excruciating pain of the procedure.

What I found most disturbing about this piece is the fact that with RU 486, the home is now the place where the abortion occurs.  Even more insidious, when you read this couples experience note where the climax of this horrific tragedy takes place:

Her husband got her out of the tub, and into the bed…

It was then, with her husband lying next to her, that Kay says, “I went through the worst experience of my life.”

“After two hours of this,” Kay says, “I felt a rush of blood and a large lemon-sized clot came out. I assume that was the pregnancy. I was horrified. Why hadn’t anyone told me that it would be like this?”

Her husband cleaned the blood off her, cleaned up the towels, changed the sheets, dressed her because she was too weak from the pain.

The same bed where this tiny “lemon sized” unborn baby was likely conceived (with great pleasure and joy as the mutual gift of their marital union), is the place where the child is painfully and forcefully expelled from its mother’s womb.   Copious amounts of blood cover her and stain the sheets of their marital bed.

The father of the child lies next to his wife during this nightmare.  He carefully attends to her and removes the bloody sheets…and we can assume disposes of their very small baby after the deed is done.  The sheets serve as a type of burial shroud for his tiny son or daughter.

What must he have been thinking and feeling as his wife went through this traumatic labor?  Might he have felt a sense of shame and guilt that their “choice” led to so much physical and emotional anguish for his wife?  Did he feel helpless and powerless as he witnessed what Planned Parenthood said would be a simple process morph into an unforgettable and traumatic nightmare?

It doesn’t really matter what this couples political and moral opinions are about abortion.  There are things more powerful than ideology and politics.  The intellect can rationalize about lost pregnancies and women’s rights.  But the painful truth of the heart and soul will not be denied.

Based on my professional experience, let me offer just one likely scenario for this couple post RU 486:

They have both clearly experienced a traumatic event.  The bedroom and bathroom will continue to be triggers of their painful memories and emotions from that experience.  Ongoing physical complications are possible as the article revealed.  Nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and depression are likely.  Sexual relations will be challenging if not impossible.  Even after the physical challenges end, they will need to dissociate from their feelings and go through the motions of sexual intimacy.

But there will be powerful flash-backs and feelings being triggered in what should be a place of safety, peace, intimacy and joy…their home.   Regardless of ideology, the marital bed will remain a place of death, and an unspoken sense of loss will permeate the bedroom and relationship.  The image and memory of that tiny “pregnancy” will rest there between them as they struggle to sleep.   Each bath or shower will trigger flashbacks of her excruciatingly painful self-inflicted labor of death.

The unresolved feelings and memories will lead them to drink more, work more…whatever it takes to get away from the pain.  The distance will grow between them.

Over time this couple will be unable to meet one another’s needs for emotional and physical intimacy.  They will begin to look outside the marriage for support from someone who is not connected to the trauma.  Marital infidelity will begin a process of marital dissolution.

See, RU 486 is a very powerful chemical.  It didn’t just end the life of their unborn child.  The drug traumatized this couple, made their home a place of death, and in time will kill their marriage.

They may never be able to associate any of this to their chemical abortion…pro choice ideology forbids such honesty.  But the physical, emotional and relational symptoms will be screaming out for them to acknowledge this loss, to face the truth of their actions…to repent and heal.

The insidious nature of chemical abortion reveals that all the participants in this tragedy are victims.  The baby is foremost an innocent victim of his parent’s actions.  The mother and father are victims of our nation’s legally sanctioned “choice” and the consequences of their home becoming an abortion clinic.

Isn’t it tragically ironic that President Obama recently spent so much political capital, time and effort to threaten Syria for their alleged use of chemical weapons on innocent men, women and children?

Yet here in the United States, our President thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to legalize chemical warfare attacks on our families.  These deadly chemicals traumatize parents, desecrate the marital bed and family home, and kill innocent little children.

Isn’t it ironic…or it is criminal?

Isn’t it time to Recall Abortion?




A Father Attacks Mother of His Aborted Child: “Do You Realize How Badly You Hurt Me?”

September 15th, 2013

Road Rage

Those familiar with my writing and speaking know that I often focus on men and abortion loss with a special emphasis on those fathers who are powerless to stop their partner/wife/girlfriend from aborting their unborn child.  This unleashes powerful emotions in men…and without healing this can lead to some really bad outcomes.

Check out the following excerpts from this woman’s abortion story:

Every day for two weeks prior to the abortion, Jace would plead with me.

“We can get married and I will get another job; we can be a family and make this work” he would say to me over and over again.

I was angry and I wanted someone to blame. I refused to speak with him about it, and he eventually gave up. My mind was made up and there was nothing he could do or say to change that.

January 2014 will mark 5 years since my abortion. I recently came into contact with the Father of my aborted child, whom I had not seen or barely spoken to in years.

I agreed to see him…and he attacked me.

            He pinned me to the seat of his truck and told me that he had to get even with me for the abortion. I cried and screamed and fought him. He said that hurting me was the only way we could make things ‘right’ between us.

“Do you realize how badly you hurt me?” he kept yelling. When I begged him to stop, he said “you know what is funny about that Annie, I begged YOU to stop, I begged YOU not to have an abortion, but you did it anyway, you let someone rip our child from your body”.

 After a half hour struggle, I was finally able to escape from him and run for help. The police were called and he is now facing assault charges.

This father will have to face the legal consequences for his actions and there is never an excuse for violence against women.   But his powerful feelings and actions powerfully proclaim that men like Jace desperately need to know about healing programs for recovery from abortion loss…especially traumatic abortion loss.

  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a traumatic event as    follows:

1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. 2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Jace was clearly traumatized by his partner’s abortion and wrongly took out his helplessness, powerlessness and rage on the mother of the child.

I recently shared in my blog about a prison inmate who linked his life of crime and other immorality to his participation in 2 abortions.  Police, prison administrators and chaplains, mental health professional and all of us need to understand that whatever their role in an abortion, men are profoundly affected and need to hear about resources for recovery after abortion. 

Fortunately for this mother, her story did not end in death and despair.  She writes:

In March 2011, 2 years after my abortion, I had reached another breaking point. One day I just had a complete melt down. That’s when I decided to seek spiritual help. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.   My family did not agree with my decision to attend this retreat, but I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to heal. I thank God every day for the women at Rachel’s Vineyard. That weekend truly changed my life. I was able to make peace with God about my abortion, and I didn’t have to do it alone.

Let’s pray the father of her child also learns about healing resources and reaches out for the help he desperately needs.  Jace needs the support of others who understand his loss, and a healing process where he can safely express his painful emotions and encounter the power of God.  Jace will find that the end of his story is not Calvary, but an empty tomb, and a spiritual relationship with his precious child.

This is the only path away from violence, despair and death…to peace, recovery and new life.  Let’s pray for all fathers of children lost to abortion, that they discover this path of healing.

-        And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!”  

(Revelation 21)

To Learn more about  Men and Abortion Loss:



Life After Aerosmith’s StevenTyler: Julia Holcomb Shares Her Abortion Story With High School Students

September 15th, 2013

La Crosse Tribune

Steven TylerÕs ex-fiancŽe, Julia Holcomb, gave a moving testimony relating her abortion experience with the American Idol judge and rock star.  Holcomb spoke on the steps of the United States Supreme Court building as part of the Silent No More Awareness

Julia Holcomb spoke at Luther High School in Onalaska, Wisconsin, Tuesday as part of the school’s annual Life Week.  She told students about her life with
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, her abortion, and abortion’s aftermath.

Read Article

You can read Julia’s amazing story in this Lifesite News article The Light of the World: The Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb Story .

I love this picture of Julia below because it reveals that while her story is important to share for what it reveals about the culture of death…her life speaks much more eloquently about the mercy and power of Christ.  Jesus saved Julia’s life  leading her to embrace the vocations of wife, mother and to nurture her gift as a very talented artist  painting powerful and moving religious icons.



A Father Discovers Freedom From His Abortion Pain… In A Prison Chapel

September 10th, 2013

The following is an article written by “TJ” an inmate at a Florida Correctional Institution.   The institution is a level 6 maximum security prison… a high percentage of the inmates will call this home for the rest of their lives. 

TJ shares how abortion impacted his life and of his participation in a Rachel’s Vineyard (RV) after abortion program specially adapted for use in prison by the local RV site leader Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, Director of Prison Ministry for the Diocese of Palm BeachTJ is half way through his facilitator training and will be part of the Rachel’s Vineyard Team in the prison. 

Over 50 men have participated in this prison outreach bringing reconciliation and peace to those in darkness and a number of Rachel’s Vineyard leaders have emerged from the prison population.  Here’s TJ’s story:   –Kevin Burke, LSW

 Healing a Father’s Heart


 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (Luke, 4:18)

Rachel’s Vineyard is a ten-week seminar offered here at the Correctional Institution on Wednesday mornings in the Chapel.  The service it provides for those who attend is immeasurable.  However, few really know what it is about.  In order to understand what this program offers, one must first become aware of the scourge of abortion.

I’m writing this article…to share with you a real-life experience that kept me in the deepest and darkest misery for twenty-seven years.  My hope is, if you were involved in a similar situation, that you may find help.

Twenty-seven years ago, as a teenager, I was involved in two abortions because I lived as an irresponsible, arrogant, prideful, selfish, self-centered human being.  Those abortions lead me down a road of drugs, alcohol, irresponsible sex, crime and so many other destructive things.

How could abortion lead to all that? Because it produces guilt, whether the person realizes it or not, which turns to bad decisions, self-hatred, anger towards others, violence and all kinds of other messed up emotions.  While these are taking place the person is in denial, refusing to recognize there is a problem.  Or, if he or she does admit to a problem, they don’t know that it is rooted in an abortion that may have taken place years ago.  At the time of my abortion experiences I knew none of this.

I was told that an abortion is simply getting rid of a glob of cells or tissue, that it was not killing a baby.

Let’s look at some facts.  Day one: the sperm fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube; forty-six chromosomes combine which predetermines all of the person’s characteristics.  By day eighteen there is a heartbeat.  At eight weeks all the body systems are present.  The baby is rapidly growing.  The genital organs are clearly differentiated in sixteen weeks and the baby grasps with hands, kicks, and turns.  This is not a blob of tissue, but clearly a little human being.

Abortion has been a divisive topic long before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made it legal.  Two of the biggest arguing points are a mother’s “right to choose” and the baby’s “right to life.”  Rarely does the father even get a say in the argument even though twenty-three of those chromosomes are his and the rest of his life is affected by the decision.

Every day 4,300 babies are killed by abortion.  It is said that one in every three adults has been involved in an abortion.  If you’re one of them, and if you’re like I was, maybe you hate yourself or your spouse or girlfriend or even your parents.  Perhaps you’re mad at the doctor or God or experiencing every messed up emotion that could entangle a person’s life.  I was.

Humans are not designed to carry burdens alone, and we don’t have to.  There is hope, and there is help to heal from the brutality of abortion.  That’s what Rachel’s Vineyard does.  It is led by Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, two of the most awesome people I’ve ever met.  They have love and a great passion for what they do and for the men and women inside and outside who have experienced the devastating tragedy of abortion.  They can help mend the affects of years of wrong choices and destructive behavior.

Even if you don’t fully understand some of what I’ve said and how an abortion years ago could be responsible for so much destructive behavior – come and check it out and learn.  Take a step forward and give yourself a new beginning.  Sign up now by sending a request to the chapel.  It will be a life changing experience for the good.


Donna Gardner M.S. is the Coordinator of the Healing Ministries Rachel’s Vineyard/Lifeforce  for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach 100 West 20th Street Riviera Beach, Florida 33404






Jason Baier – Pioneer In Outreach to Men After Abortion

September 4th, 2013

Fatherhood Forever

Jason Baier is featured in one of the chapters of my book on men and abortion entitled Redeeming a Father’s Heart. Jason’s story is a harrowing account of his experience of learning the exciting news that his longtime partner was pregnant… Read more…


Technical Foul! NBA’s J.J. Redick Coerces Pregnant Girlfriend to Abort

July 26th, 2013


Jill Stanek breaks  story:

BREAKING: Documents show NBA player coerced pregnant girlfriend to abort

-Redick is denying paternity on Twitter:

JJ Redick         @JJRedick   

 Ms. Lopez did not and has never terminated a pregnancy of a child fathered by me.-

The documents clearly indicate a contract signed by Lopez and Redick that required pregnancy termination in order for Redick to continue in a relationship with her and he agrees to pay her 25 grand if he ends the relationship prior to one year (weird)….but he is not the dad.  As Stanek’s blog reveals, Lopez has a history and its not pretty and futher complicates understanding exactly what happened to these two young adults in 2007.

Even if he is not the father of this unborn child, the contract between Redick and Lopez seems to clearly indicates that he is an accomplice in the child’s dismemberment in a D&E procedure when Lopez was over 3 months pregnant.

My plea to Mr. Redick as a fellow sinner and brother in the Lord:

If the legal documents are accurate and since the event is now public,  admit you participated in the death of this unborn child with a degree of coercion given the circumstances.  Forget the public denials…embrace the painful but liberating grace of humility!

The mother experienced symptoms of post abortion trauma after the procedure.  Publicly apologize to Lopez, pray she find healing of her loss and embrace the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord. 

 I encourage you to Attend a healing program because whether you know it or not, your participation in this abortion has also hurt you deeply, emotionally and spiritually as a man.  Don’t be afraid and have hope.  You can recover from this injury to your manhood and fatherhood and develop a spiritual relationship with this child lost to abortion.  Even if you are not the father, you can spiritually adopt this child and embrace the one that you abandoned to death. 

As Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things New!” (Revelation 21:1)

With healing you can become the best man and father you can be…with God’s help.  Use this as an opportunity to reject the abortion culture of death, and call other men to healing

The media’s agenda is often to sensationalize and humiliate celebrities with the emphasis on scandal and gossip.  Take the high road Mr. Redick, and bring healing and resurrection out of this very painful situation.

Your Brother in Christ

Kevin Burke, LSW