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

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

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.]

 

 

Through a Mirror Dimly: Pro-Choice Men and Abortion Grief

January 18th, 2017

 

Hugo's Dream

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (Corinthians 13:12)

The Huffington Post has a story by Hugo Schwyzer on a Father’s experience of abortion loss.

The title of this piece – The Child Who Wasn’t: Pro-Choice Men and Abortion Grief – is the first indication of the challenges the author faces in trying to understand his abortion loss within the context of pro-abortion ideology.

Despite this deference to “choice” one would expect to find in a HuffPo piece, from the very beginning, we learn that Hugo desperately wanted to parent the baby.

He shares this exchange with his then 16 year old girlfriend, April:

“No one will believe we can do it,” I told April, “but I know we can… It would be hard but we’d make it work. People our age had been having babies for millennia.”

Hugo was a sensitive, caring and decent young man who was ready to accept the responsibility as parent. While still young and immature like most teenagers, he was already acting like a father and exploring practical ways to take care of their baby.

Sadly, as the story reveals, he learned from his abortion experience that he now must pay homage to the sacred tenets of “choice.” Whatever the women decides is the wise decision…is the “only decision”:

“One of the small and repeated unkindnesses of my life has been forcing the women I love to be practical in the face of my optimistic fantasies. April was a wise 16 (she is a wise 48 now, a tenured professor of psychology), and though she let herself daydream for a moment, she knew before I did that there was only one possible decision. “

Hugo learns that he must ridicule and dismiss his natural instinct to protect, provide and parent  this child.  Hugo now sees his “optimistic fantasies” to father their child as just the ramblings of a naïve school boy – rather than the desperate pleas of a father for his child’s life.

Reinforcing Complicated Grief

Abortion is not a normal experience of grief – it is a complicated grief. It is often a closely guarded secret

With a natural experience of death you are at least given the opportunity to acknowledge that there has been a loss, express your painful feelings, and find support moving through that experience.  There are religious rituals, social supports, expressions of concern and compassion that all help in the grieving process.

Any attempt to acknowledge the unique humanity of the unborn child, and any feelings of regret and loss after abortion, are often met with dismissal and hostility by those who are pro-abortion.

Society, and often friends and family can collude to further complicate post abortion grief by dismissing and even shaming those that share any painful feelings or regret after abortion.

This is necessary as this truth threatens the constructs of individual denial, and strikes at the foundational lies of the abortion movement.

Hugo shares of the response of a friend and April the mother of their baby on what would have been the due date of their child:

“I was not prepared for February 7, 1986. The week that our baby would have been due, I felt a hot, grinding heaviness in my chest. I saw children on the street and I cried.  I told a friend, and she looked at me strangely. “There never was a baby to cry for,” she said, “you’re romanticizing a clump of cells.”

I called April to talk about it, and she got angry: “I’m not upset, and I was the one who was pregnant! It’s ridiculous for you to be sad.”

Note how the friend coldly dismisses his grief.  The mother of the child, April is not ready to deal with the reality of her loss as a mother. Hugo’s grief is threatening the weak and tottering scaffolding of her denial, and feeling threatened, she also ridicules and shames Hugo for openly expressing his grief.

Relationship Fallout

As is often the case, the toxic effects of the abortion seep deep into the relationship, like radio-active fallout. An abortion is an intimate experience of death and loss at the heart of a couple’s emotional, physical and spiritual union. Couples often stay together as they try to recapture they love, joy and pleasure that brought them together and in their union conceived a child.

Sadly, the symptoms of their complicated grief and inability to acknowledge and grieve this most intimate loss together (while it may initially keep them together as an unconscious memorial of the aborted child) naturally leads to relationship dysfunction:

“The abortion knocked precisely no sense into either of us. April and I stayed together another year ― a year marked by chronic cheating, fights, and slow disillusionment. She had a second abortion, not mine.”

Angry exchanges, infidelity and as Hugo puts it, “slow disillusionment” soon follow. April, predictably acts out her repressed and forbidden post abortion pain and grief in a sexual affair, and suffers another abortion loss.

The relationship, like their unborn child, is over time also aborted.

On The Precipice of Recovery

It is in the final segment of Hugo’s story, that we see him come up to the precipice of abortion recovery.

Once again, he must bow down to pro abortion ideology:

“I can long for the child that was conceived but never born and still be so grateful that April made the decision that she did. The right thing, the best thing, often leaves a mark that fades but never vanishes.”

Yet, in the very next line he shares:

“For more than 30 years, I’ve dreamt about this child who might have come in early 1986.”

We see Hugo wrestle in his story with the truth of his daughter’s loss and his pro abortion ideology.  Sadly, he has learned from the time of his first abortion, when his grief was rejected, to downplay and dismiss the deeper meaning of his losses:

“This is selective sentiment― I never dream about the children who might have been born from other, later abortions for which I was responsible. Sometimes I dream it would have been a son, sometimes a daughter.”

It is not selective sentiment.

His subsequent abortions reveal another dynamic of post-abortion complications that pro-abortion supporters fail to understand – the relationship between complicated grief and repeat abortion procedures.   (Remember that April also had at least one repeat abortion we know of during the one year dating period after her first procedure with Hugo.)

When a woman or man has that first abortion, and is unable to find a deeper emotional and spiritual healing of that loss, they are more likely to find themselves involved in future abortion procedures.

The most recent statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute reveal that 47% of abortions are repeat procedures.

Dr Theresa Burke explored the dynamics of repeat abortions in her book Forbidden Grief. Theresa shares that abortion in these cases becomes part of an unconscious process to gain mastery over the experience and feelings associated with the initial abortion trauma – to feel a sense of control, and over time, detached indifference.

Yet the symptoms of complicated grief and emotional trauma after abortion feed dysfunctional behaviors and relationships that make repeat abortions more likely. Like April’s mother, these losses, if not properly grieved and reconciled, may lead to multiple experiences of abortion over time.

Hugo’s Dream…Through a Mirror Dimly

Despite his public pro abortion stance, Hugo Schwyzer’s closing segment reveals that on a deeper level, beyond the rationalizations of the intellect, his heart and soul are calling him to a deeper reconciliation and healing of his abortion losses:

“A few years ago, I had a dream that I was hiking in the hills near my family’s ranch in the Bay Area. I was alone; it was a warm spring day, golden poppies and lupine carpeted the hillsides. I came to a summit, and my late father and a young woman in her late 20s were sitting on two rocks, talking quietly. They looked up as I approached, and I knew at once that the young woman was she who was never born.  They smiled as I got closer, but their smiles suggested I was interrupting. I wanted to sit and listen, but my father shook his head.

“Huggle,” he said, calling me by my childhood nickname. “You need to go back. We’ll come along in a bit.”

Without the benefit of an abortion recovery program, Hugo will not be able to fully understand and receive the truth of this very important dream. Sadly, he remains constrained by his pro-abortion ideology.

Drawing upon my experience in Rachel’s Vineyard with women and men around the world who have made the emotional and spiritual journey to healing, I believe there is a deeper meaning to Hugo’s dream:

– His father’s comments were an admonition and also a warning.

“You need to go back.” There is spiritual and emotional healing work still left for you to do. Reconcile with God, reconcile with my granddaughter and the other children that you aborted.

– Hugo senses in his dream an exclusive spiritual intimacy of his father and his aborted daughter (each seated on a rock) – that he intrudes upon and does not yet enjoy.  He does not yet possess this intimacy which is a fruit of a deeper reconciliation with God and healing of his abortion losses.

– The dream may also serve as an intimate and loving warning:

We will come along soon “Huggles”…prepare…get ready.

– The father’s use of Hugo’s childhood nickname Huggles may reflect his hidden desire to return to a state of spiritual simplicity and innocence. Hugo hungers to have this loss healed, his soul cleansed of the toxic effects of participating in abortions, and longs to return to a child-like peace with his heavenly Father.

The Meadow of Rachel’s Vineyard

Rachel’s Vineyard is a comprehensive emotional and spiritual healing program for abortion loss developed by Theresa Burke, Ph.D.   Women, men, grandparents, and anyone who desires healing and reconciliation from an abortion loss are welcome.  It is a time for sharing the truth of one’s heart and soul in a safe and non-judgmental setting.

Despite the concerns and misunderstanding Hugo expressed in the article about programs for abortion loss, there is no political or social commentary or agenda as part of any reputable recovery program.  If Hugo ever attends a weekend program, he will find compassionate, caring individuals, many who have experienced abortion loss and understand his fears, concerns and suffering.

The weekend activities and exercises of Rachel’s Vineyard facilitate a healthy expression of grief and other painful emotions, reconciliation with the Creator of life, and developing a spiritual relationship with one’s aborted children.

While people of other faiths and beliefs are welcome, the retreat is in a Christian context. This spiritual component is essential to reconcile and heal this complicated loss. The weekend features bible based meditations and therapeutic exercises that help participants move through painful feelings and years of denial, isolation and secrecy.   Each step in the program prepares them for an intimate and healing encounter with their aborted children.

An Open Invitation

Hugo: “I had a dream that I was hiking in the hills near my family’s ranch in the Bay Area. I was alone; it was a warm spring day, golden poppies and lupine carpeted the hillsides.”

I was struck by this scene because it is very similar to one of the more moving and spiritually powerful exercises on the Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend, entitled Meeting Our Children with Christ.

As participants travel in this meditation through a dark forest, they come upon rolling hills of flowers with a supernatural, heavenly beauty. They then discover a great meadow where they meet their children who appear gathered in joy with the Risen Lord Jesus.

I hope and pray that one day Hugo, and all men and women wounded by abortion, will make the journey to this healing meadow.

___________

– To learn more about men and abortion loss and find resources for healing please visit:

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign

The Men and Abortion Network

For Abortion Recovery Resources by Zip Code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meryl Streep and Hollywood: Champions of the Disabled? Or Cowardly Hypocrites?

January 10th, 2017

 

meryl-streep

Meryl Streep gave what many considered a brave and courageous speech at the Golden Globes Sunday evening January 8th 2016 after receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award.

Streep began with this curious observation as she addressed the Hollywood crowd:

“You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now.”

Streep went on to attack president-elect Trump for allegedly mocking a disabled reporter:

“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back… Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. “

Meryl Streep’s advocacy for the respect and protection of those with disabilities is certainly admirable.

However, are Streep and her Hollywood colleagues willing to step out of their left-wing bubble and look at the rights of a large group of extremely vulnerable disabled individuals?

Fetal Disability

If you are an unborn child diagnosed with Down Syndrome or another fetal disability, your chances of surviving pregnancy in the U.S. and other Western nations are increasingly slim:

Recent statistics showed that between 2002 and 2010 there were 17,983 abortions of disabled babies in Britain. The overwhelming majority of these were for conditions compatible with life outside the womb…This 17,983 included abortions for serious disabilities like anencephaly but also babies with Down’s syndrome, cleft palate and club foot. (Lifesite News)

It’s no secret that Streep and Hollywood are pro-abortion.

If she really wanted to address the violence against the disabled, and not just score some cheap political points with her fellow Hollywood glitterati, Streep could have asked her audience to consider just how those later term abortions “terminate” a disabled child.

Here’s former abortion doctor Anthony Levatino describing how you end a disabled baby’s life at 20-22 weeks gestation:

In a D&E procedure you must use a grasping clamp… It’s roughly 13 inches long…When this gets a hold of something it does not let go…grabbing at parts of the baby, and then getting a hold and pulling, and you really pull…You tear out spine, intestines, heart and lungs… you crush down on the clamp and some white material runs out of the cervix, because that was the baby’s brains. And then you pull out skull pieces…

In light of this horrific description of the procedure that dismembers our disabled and also healthy unborn brothers and sisters in the womb, let’s revisit Streep’s comments:

“…Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Real Courage, Bravery…and Diversity

Streep shared about the importance of reaching out to those who are different from us:

“An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”

Ok Meryl. I have some ideas for you and your Hollywood friends.

How about a TV series or movie that shares a compelling story of the challenges and triumphs of a Christian couple who defied the pressure of medical professionals who counseled them to abort their disabled child – and instead gave that child life?

Maybe create a Netflix show telling us how a couples abortion of a disabled child impacted their lives and the amazing emotional and spiritual healing they found in an abortion recovery program?

I am still waiting Meryl Streep for a creative, compelling television or movie script out of Hollywood, or a politically charged acceptance speech at an awards presentation that honestly looks at what abortion does to the unborn child, and the pain and anguish that many women and men experience after the procedure. [1]

Now that would be brave and courageous!

 

[1] From Lifesite News: Rather than leading to psychological well-being, termination of pregnancy for fetal disability is an emotionally traumatic major life event which leads to severe posttraumatic stress response and intense grief reactions that are still detectable some years later. Kersting A et al. Trauma and grief 2-7 years aftertermination of pregnancy because of fetal anomalies–a pilot study. JPsychosom Obstet Gynaecol 2005;26(1):9-14 (March)

New Study Claims Abortion Has No Adverse Effects on Mental Health – Dr. Priscilla Coleman Takes a Closer Look

January 9th, 2017

 

blind-leading-blind

Mainstream Media rushed to proclaim the results of a recent study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry that suggests women have no adverse reactions to the abortion procedure.  A headline in the Atlantic proclaimed: A New Study Says Abortion Doesn’t Harm Mental Health

Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University. Dr Coleman has conducted dozens of studies on the psychological impact of abortion.

Dr. Coleman offers her expert analysis of the JAMA study in this radio interview with Cullen Herout.

After you listen to Dr Coleman’s analysis of this study, you will see that there is only one reasonable conclusion to draw from this study:

The Journal of the American Medical Association has compromised sound and responsible scientific research in the interest of promoting pro abortion ideology and politics.   This is professional malpractice.

The Impact of the Shockwaves of Abortion Revealed at the Steps of the Supreme Court

January 3rd, 2017

 

shockwaves-supreme-court

By Kevin Burke, LSW

At the close of last year’s 2016 March for Life the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court to share their testimonies of abortion loss and recovery. I have been blessed to participate in many Marches and Silent No More events over the years.

Yet as we prepare to come together again this month in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, there was something special about last year’s gathering that continues to resonate within me.

That afternoon and evening, as the snow began to blanket our nation’s capital, I saw the Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in a new and dynamic light.

Abortion Shockwaves

The Shockwaves of Abortion shines a bright light on the wider impact of abortion on our families, communities and nation.  We know that the mother and the father of the child are at the “epicenter” of the abortion event.

But the destructive shockwaves reverberate across our nation impacting all of us.

Grandparents, family and friends can play an integral role in the abortion decision and procedure.  They, along with the siblings of aborted children, are often intimately touched by that unborn child’s death.  Like the mothers and fathers (and abortion providers,) they too can suffer from grief, shame and regret and may benefit from an emotional and spiritual healing of this loss.

Abortion Scatters…Healing Gathers

Last year at the Supreme Court former abortion doctor Anthony Levatino offered a moving witness of his conversion from an agent of death to a defender of the unborn.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings of aborted children shared their testimonies and stood side by side with Dr Levatino as they prayed for, and supported one another.

The unique signs they carried and their testimonies created a dynamic visual presentation and a living, breathing narrative of this wider reality of how the Shockwaves of Abortion have impacted our society.  It was also a beautiful witness to the power of God to bring faith, hope and life – out of sin, suffering and death.

Fr Frank Pavone, Spiritual Director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign shares:

 “Abortion scatters- healing gathers. Abortion brings destruction and division; healing brings unity and the peace of Christ to wounded hearts and souls, and their broken relationships.”

On January 21st 2017 the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will once again gather prior to the West Coast March for Life in San Francisco and on January 27th at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. at the close of the March for Life.  The Participants will hold their powerful signs sharing with the world the truth about their abortion loss and regret, and through their testimonies, the destructive power of the Shockwaves of Abortion.  Most importantly, you will be blessed to witness the mercy and healing power of God.

I have been in pro life advocacy and ministry for abortion loss for over 20 years.  Being part of the Shockwaves gathering in D.C. last year was one of the most powerful spiritual and emotional experiences in my many years of pro life outreach.

I encourage you to join us at this year’s Silent No More Campaign events.  We look forward to seeing you!

 

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A Remarkable Autobiography by Medjugorje Visionary Mirjana Soldo: Mirjana Shares of her Persecution under Communism and our Blessed Mother’s Words on the Fate of the Souls of Aborted Children

December 8th, 2016

 

mary-defeats-dragon

By Kevin Burke, LSW

December 8th, 2016 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

In 1981, 16 year old Mirjana Soldo was living with her family in Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia.   She took a train to spend the summer with relatives in the tiny village of Medjugorje.

On June 24th, feast day of St John the Baptist,  Mirjana strolled with her friend Invanka in the late afternoon.   They saw a mysterious woman with a baby in her arms on Podbrdo Hill.  Soon they learned her identity – she was the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus.  Mirjana and five other children would experience apparitions of the Blessed Mother each day  at the nearby parish of St James rectory.

The children were both in awe and overwhelmed by this experience.

Mirjana:

“My heart whirled with fear and wonder…my heart was in such turmoil that I could hardly identify one emotion before another took over. “Pinch yourself,” I thought.  “You must be dreaming!”[1]  

Fear and wonder were natural reactions to such a supernatural encounter. But they had other reason to be anxious.  They were entering dangerous and complicated waters in communist controlled Yugoslavia.

In her autobiography My Heart Will Triumph Mirjana shares about her family life in the city of Sarajevo.  The account reveals she grew up in a stable and loving family and matured into a happy and well adjusted young woman.   Mirjana was not prone to unusual religious fervor, or exaggerated emotional displays.

Yet after the events of June 24th 1981, the young woman’s life was turned upside down.

Life Under Communism

The citizens of Yugoslavia, as they went about their day to day lives, were well aware of the power of the communist government to harass, hurt and even murder those they felt threatened the regime.

Mirjana shares:

In communist Yugoslavia, religious books were practically contraband, so our knowledge of miracles was limited to the measured homilies of our priests who were always aware that government spies lurked in the pews. Anything misconstrued as an attack on the regime, the priests knew, could send them to prison—or worse.[2]

On June 29th 1981 as word spread of the heavenly visitations, the children were summoned to the Citluk police station for interrogation. An officer inquiring about visionary Jakov, who was not with the other children, asked Mirjana:

Where’s that little shit?”

Jakov is only 10 years old,” I said.  “Leave him alone…”

You lying bitch,” growled the policeman.  The interrogation went on like that for hours.

Failing to get the children to recount their experiences, the officers stuffed them in the back of an ambulance for a rough and painful ride to Mostar hospital.

When they arrived the officer sneered, “Get used to this place…it might be your new home when the doctors declare you insane.”

The police locked them in a dark, windowless room. The air was cold, damp and foul as described by Mirjana.

I thought someone was sleeping on the table, but as my vision adjusted I realized the person was dead. Scanning the room, I saw more bodies.

They were in the hospital morgue.

Next they were examined and questioned by a cold and threatening physician:

You know,” he said, “we have a special place for the insane.” [3]

This physician then locked the children in a ward with severely mentally ill patients.  The children huddled together terrified fearing they would never be released.

It is important to keep in mind the methods of Eastern European communists to control their populations.  All manner of diabolical physical and psychological torture, personality destruction and abuse were used to control and punish those that were seen as threatening the power of the state to form the new communist man and society.

Turning Up the Heat

Thankfully the children were later released but as news spread across Medugorje and beyond about the apparitions, the government went on the offensive. The visionaries’ relatives were threatened with imprisonment and the children with confinement in mental institutions if they continued to “perpetuate this religious hoax.”

The government declared a state of emergency in Medugorje and the military with soldiers and attack dogs entered the village. Federal police took over the investigation of the apparitions and the interrogations of the visionaries became lengthier and more intense.

The following exchange with a federal officer is telling. It reveals the spiritual peace as well as the character and tenacity of young Mirjana.

The communist official pulled his handgun off its holster and laid it on the table between him and Mirjana:

Confess,” he said… “Come clean,” he said glancing at the gun.  “You didn’t see anything.”… “Now give me the truth.”

Mirjana looked at him straight in the eyes:

The truth is that I see Our Lady, and I’m willing to die for her.”[4]

If the visionaries were adults, they would have found themselves locked away in some dark prison cell and likely tortured and killed. The fact they were children was a saving grace.  The government, as corrupt as they were, did not want to be seen as imprisoning children.  This did not prevent government agents from terrorizing the children and their families.

You can read more in My Heart Will Triumph about the ongoing harassment and oppression of Mirjana and her family, priests of the village and others by the communist authorities in the early days of the apparitions.  Mirjana and her family as well as some of the clergy of that village paid a high price for being faithful to the mission entrusted to them by the Blessed Mother.

The Fruit of Forgiveness

One of the many beautiful fruits of the spiritual events in Medugorje is the cultivation of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Mirjana shares many years later:

“A few years ago a man came to my door. He looked vaguely familiar, but I did not recognize him at first.  He seemed reluctant to speak and he avoided eye contact.”

Can I help you” I said.

“Please forgive me.”

“For what?”

“I’m one of the policemen who interrogated you back in 1981. I’m really sorry for what we put you through.” [5]

The policeman shared with Mirjana a tape of one of their interrogation sessions and he played a portion of the recordings as they both sat and listened. As I reflected on my own experience in abortion and trauma healing ministry, I saw this exchange as a healing ritual of confession and closure for the officer…but also for Mirjana.

Mirjana shared how this encounter led her to recall the events and feelings of those early days of the apparitions. She was struck by the voice of that previously timid teenage girl on the tape who spoke with such confidence and with no fear to her interrogator; truly a gift of faith.

She’s Just Like You and Me

I was deeply moved by Mirjana’s very personal account of the apparitions, our Lady’s messages and mission, and the personal suffering of Mirjana and her family. I now see the apparitions through a different lens.

Prior to reading her account I remained open but skeptical at times given some of the criticisms of the apparitions and challenges to the authenticity of the events of Medjugorje.

After reading her story, I believe very strongly that the experience of the children is authentic and true. As with any powerful spiritual event or movement over many years involving human beings, there will be controversy and confusion – at times even scandal.  This has been true from the time of the Apostles. [6]

What about the Ten Secrets?

Mirjana does touch on the ten secrets entrusted to the visionaries by our Blessed Mother. These are all future events in Medugorje and the world.  Mirjana is careful to present the secrets without sensationalism. While some involve difficult and painful events, (some which can be mitigated by prayer,) ultimately they are properly seen in the context of the overall mission of our Blessed mother as a message of hope in the coming victory of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary over Satan and his agenda.  Mirjana mentions in her autobiography that the events in Medugorje are a fulfillment of the apparitions of Fatima Portugal in 1916.

The information In My Heart Will Triumph about the secrets compels us to return to a fervent practice of our faith that features fasting, daily Rosary, and frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.  This is a special time of repentance and conversion so we can establish God’s Kingdom in our hearts and share the transforming love of God in our families and communities.  It is also a time of preparation for that encounter with the Lord at the end of our lives, but also for the events that will unfold in the world in the years to come.

Mirjana is now married and lives in Medjugorje with her husband Marko Soldo and their two daughters. Despite her very intimate experience of the Blessed Mother, and knowledge of the ten secrets entrusted to the visionaries, she leads a normal marriage and family life.  The book reveals that despite her very unusual vocation, she has the same responsibilities, joys and sorrows that we all encounter each day.   (With that said, her personal description of the visual and emotional experience of being in the presence of Mary is both fascinating and moving.)

Our Lady’s Words about Children Lost to Abortion

Along with my wife Theresa Burke, Ph.D., I am co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries for men and women who long for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion.

One of the more moving parts of the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend program, are those meditations and exercises where the humanity of the unborn child and their unique dignity and identity engages the heart, mind and soul of the participants. This is an essential emotional and spiritual gift of this powerful and very effective retreat process developed by Theresa.

Women and men can despair when they come to face their role in the destruction of their unborn children and struggle to accept God’s forgiveness and find peace and closure. The spiritual reality that their children are alive in the Lord is so important to recovery from this loss. As St John Paul II declared in Evangelium Vitae, To the same Father and to his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.”

This was reinforced for me when I read this passage from Mirjana’s book where she asks the blessed mother what happened to the souls of abortion victims after their death. The blessed Mother’s responded:

They are with me in Heaven.” (Pg 108)

A Gift that will Keep on Giving

Reading My Heart Will Triumph was like sitting down with a good friend and being riveted by a fascinating and compelling story.  Mirjana’s personal experience and journey of faith, the messages of Mary and the passages on the ten secrets left me with a sense that while we are perpetually distracted by the unending flow of news, entertainment and information that saturate our daily lives – there is a powerful spiritual drama unfolding in Medugorje.

God through Jesus and His Mother will perhaps manifest their presence in unprecedented ways in this tiny village and throughout the world in the years to come.

But on a deeper and more immediate level, it moved me to have a greater appreciation for the power of the rosary, cultivated an increased awareness of the presence of Mary in my life, and a renewed hunger for prayer. As a Catholic, it has impressed upon me the importance of regular confession and receiving of Christ in the Eucharist.

What a precious and invaluable gift to receive in this advent season.

I encourage you to consider this book as a Christmas gift to yourself, or for a friend or family member that would be blessed to read such an inspirational and moving story.

I close with a message of our Lady Queen of Peace from November 25th, 2015:

Dear children… be carriers of peace and hope in this restless world where Satan is attacking and tempting in every way. Little children, be firm in prayer and courageous in faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for all of you…

On this feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, let us pray with Mary that she will form us – so that we can fully surrender our hearts, minds and souls as never before to her son Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

[1] Mirjana Soldo, (Catholic Shop, August 2016), page 15.

[2] Ibid, page 16

[3] Ibid, page 59-60.

[4] Ibid, pages 80-81.

[5] Ibid, pages 87-88.

[6] I will respect whatever decision the Catholic Church reaches after they complete their current ongoing assessment of the phenomena.

The Sword of the Prince of Peace – Preparing for Pro Life Battle in this Season of Advent

December 2nd, 2016

 

sword-of-revelation

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  (Mathew 10:34)

Pro life advocates are rightly encouraged by the outcome of November’s election.

Conditions now are more favorable for the ongoing battle to protect the life of unborn children in our nation. The tide has shifted, for a time, and the overall conditions present a unique opportunity to advance our cause.  The troops are in good spirits and our prospects for success have perhaps never been better.

This advent season presents a perfect time to prepare for the coming battles but also to give us the proper perspective as we move ahead.

The Sword of Christ

When Jesus speaks of bringing a sword in Mathew’s Gospel, this is clearly not a call to physical violence (see Mathew 26:52.) Jesus speaks of the fact that his words, actions and teaching will cause division, foment controversy, and at times provoke a violent reaction.

But this sword also points to to the fearsome power of the Risen Christ as he comes again with his power and glory fully revealed to the nations. Jesus will consummate his victory over Satan and unleash the mercy and justice of God upon the nations:

From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. – (Revelation 19:5)

To Us a Child Is Given

We live our lives within the boundaries of this brief journey through a particular time and place. But mysteriously, our lives are also woven into an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness that in time will reach their climax with the Second coming of the Christ.

Advent touches upon this great mystery in such powerful ways.

Israel was called forth in time to be a people set apart among the nations to love and serve Yahweh the one true God and turn away from idolatry and sin.  In a similar way, the humble daughter of Israel, the Virgin Mary was set apart for her special vocation from the beginning of her existence.

Mary would receive the first redemptive fruit of her son’s sacrificial death, and be conceived without the original sin, that rejection of God’s providence, that has injured the human family from the beginning.

This Immaculate Conception of Mary was not so much a special privilege for her, but more a precious gift to each of us.  Mary became the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, and the mother of the incarnate Son of God.

The Rage of Satan and the Womb of Women

The incarnation of Christ reveals how God used the vehicle of a Jewish woman, and specifically the consecrated womb of Mary and her child Jesus, to save the human family from the power of sin, death and Satan.

Yet this action of God arouses murderous rage in the heart of Satan:

Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born… But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness…The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. – (Revelation 12)

Satan wants to devour Mary’s child as she gives birth. Thanks to an angelic warning of Herod’s designs, and the protection of St Joseph, Satan was unable to destroy the child and abort the mission of Jesus to save humanity.

But mysteriously, Satan and his demonic accomplices continue to have power to wage war on the human family.  It is the all consuming passion of Satan is to corrupt and disfigure the image of God in the human heart, mind and soul and to separate as many souls as possible from eternal union with their heavenly Father.

A Gathering Darkness

Our Blessed Mother appeared to 3 children at Fatima in 1917 to warn the world of the emergence of a gathering darkness and greater war that would envelop the world.

Failing to heed Mary’s warning, we witnessed the destructive rage of the great dragon of revelation unleashed in communist and Nazi attacks on Christians and Jews across Europe, and as communism spread, around the world.

But there is another battleground where the dragon has focused his powers of deception and rage.

Given that the womb of Mary was the vehicle through which God saved the human family from sin and death, we can safely assume that this only increased Satan’s hatred and rage against humanity, and especially of women and their unborn children.

The Hellish Power of Deception

The womb of women is the battleground where Satan is manifesting his agenda with unprecedented powers of deception and destruction in our time. Satan has made a woman’s body and womb, human sexuality and reproduction as battle grounds where he would manifest his passion to deceive and destroy.

In Revelation John says Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world.”

If you want evidence of this power to deceive, consider this statement by Christian pastor Rev. David Selzer, of Concerned Clergy for Choice found in this “blessing” he wrote for abortion facilities:

Bless this building and those who work here… who provide safe, legal, caring and loving reproductive services, including abortion… they are doing God’s work.

While the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Medjugorje are still under discernment by the Vatican, the following reflections by the visionaries on their exposure to the reality of Hell help us to see the eternal nature of our struggle:

Vicka: We saw many people in hell…The Blessed Mother says that those people who are in hell are there because they chose to go there…It is their choice. In this way they choose to enter the fire of hell where they burn away all connection to God.

Marija:  At the moment of death, God gives everyone the grace to see his whole life… And each person, when he sees himself in the divine light of reality…chooses for himself what he personally deserves for all eternity.  Anyone who goes to hell chooses hell. God condemns no one.

Jakov:  The self-chosen suffering there is beyond your ability to comprehend.

When asked if this vision was a painful experience for him Jacov replied: More than you can understand…Because no one needs to go to hell. It is the ultimate waste.

A God of Justice…and Mercy

Our Creator is a God of Mercy, reconciliation and healing. He desires that no woman or man is abandoned to their grief and despair after abortion. Most of us, if we are honest, have aborted God’s will in our lives in times of weakness and fear.  We are continually in need of the repentance and healing of Christ.

The heart of Christ burns with a passionate love for sinners, and desires their reconciliation and healing.  No sin is greater than God’s love and mercy.  He only asks that we have a humble and repentant heart, and he will bless us abundantly with his forgiveness and healing.

But sadly, some will persist in their promotion of abortion as a social and moral good and basic human right. Those who have been wounded by abortion can be tempted to avoid the very natural spiritual and emotional pain and grief that follow abortion.  They instead may justify and fiercely defend their choice.  Some even become aggressive advocates for abortion rights and lead many others astray contributing to the death of countless unborn children and the sin and suffering that flow into the lives of their parents.

This places those who advocate for abortion rights as accomplices in the death of countless unborn children. They are in grave risk of ongoing deception and eternal estrangement from God.  This includes those who serve in positions of public office, medical and counseling professionals and others who act in ways that facilitate the death of unborn children.

Silence is Deadly

This is seldom something we hear from the pulpit. There is an understandable desire to be sensitive to those who have experienced this loss and to invite the wounded to healing.  God’s mercy and forgiveness must always be our first response and proclaimed on a regular basis from our Churches.

But are we neglecting to preach about the justice of God, and the risk of eternal estrangement from our Heavenly Father for those who are persistent in their pro abortion advocacy? Is it merciful to be silent?

This is the greatest tragedy and the endgame of Satan. He not only wants to destroy and desecrate unborn life in the womb.  Satan wants to separate as many souls as possible from eternal union with their heavenly father.

As the visionaries of Medjurgorje suggest, God condemns no person to hell. Tragically, a human heart and soul can become so twisted by lies that they recoil from the light of truth, and when the time comes to encounter their Lord, they may experience the holiness of God as a repulsive darkness.

This is the ultimate horror and tragic fruit of abortion and similar types of sin that lead the soul into such deep darkness and blindness.

Prepare for Battle

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

In this Advent season we have a time of preparation to once again welcome the Savior into our hearts, homes and communities. In this time of peace and preparation – let us also prepare for battle.

We are not led by a particular political leader or party in this battle.  God can use current events and even weak and sinful men and women to accomplish his will.  We must read the signs of the times and fight the good fight to advance the cause of life and reduce and end the destruction of unborn children.

Yet the larger battle is for the heart and soul of the human family. While we fight against abortion and other attacks upon marriage and the family, we do so not in anger, derision or with hatred toward those we oppose.  We do so with love and concern for the unborn and all who are being deceived by Satan.[1]

We know that without God’s grace, we can do nothing. We rely on continual repentance and the deepest humility, immersion in the Word of God, prayer, rosary (and for sacramental Christians, Reconciliation and Eucharist.)

It is also important to take time to grieve our losses in this ministry.  This will strengthen us in our pro life vocations.

Perhaps this prayer to St Michael the Archangel can be particular focus for us in this advent season as we prepare for the coming of our Savior and the battles that lie ahead to advance the cause of life.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God  Thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

[1] In my personal experience, this is indeed the heart of the pro lifers I have encountered around the world.  They are humble, faithful servants of the Lord acting out of love for the unborn and those wounded by abortion.

Social Work with the Poor: The Temptation to Play God

November 7th, 2016

 

garden-of-eden-first-sin

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Early in my social work career I served as the director of a shelter for pregnant women and children in a poor neighborhood with all manner of family dysfunction and economic challenges.   Grounded in our faith and values, abortion was never an option for a young woman coming to us for assistance.

But I am a minority in my profession. Many of my colleagues see abortion as a necessary evil, especially for those in poor communities where single parent families, addictions, and violence are far too common. Most of my fellow social workers will vote this Election Day for political parties and candidates that they believe will advance the public good by making more  abortion services available to poor women.

Working in communities with great suffering, cycles of abuse and dysfunction can be overwhelming. There is a temptation over time to play God.  No one wants to feel powerless in the face of evil and injustice.  We naturally want to take control, help others assume control of their chaotic lives and break out of the cycles of abuse and poverty that can span generations. Empowering others to assume control and responsibility for their lives is of course a worthy goal of social work intervention.

Yet when taking control means ending the life of a unique member of the human family, we have crossed a chasm that in time drags us and those we serve into deeper sin, blindness and dysfunction.

Our poorest communities have not been blessed by their high rates of abortion.  It’s just the opposite; more abuse, addiction, family dysfunction and death.  Now some candidates in 2016 are telling us we need more public funding for groups like Planned Parenthood to fund contraception and abortion services for the poor.

In the last year alone 325,000 unborn boys and girls died in the womb of their mothers at Planned Parenthood facilities.

Social Work in the Vineyard

I have also spent many years as a social worker in Rachel’s Vineyard helping those who have participated in the death of an unborn child find reconciliation, peace and closure.

The memorial service on Sunday of the weekend program is both beautiful – and deeply painful. Once a parent or grandparent is given an opportunity to open their heart to the truth of their child’s unique life, they can experience the fullness of that loss.  In Rachel’s Vineyard they receive the precious gift of a spiritual relationship with their son or daughter now, and the hope of a reunion in the life to come.

There is peace and closure…yet there is still a heartache that remains. It is now a healthy and healing grief, but also a yearning for what could have been.

Election Day 2016 – It’s Time to Stop Playing God

When you vote on Election Day please reflect on the following; as a nation we need to find peaceful solutions to an unplanned pregnancy. There are no simple answers to the chaos, abuse, addictions and family dysfunction in our poorest communities.

But as a social worker with years of service with the poor and with those wounded by abortion, I can assure you that destroying our unborn children in the womb, and wounding their parents, will never bring peace and blessing to this nation.

Catholics and all Christians need to send a clear message to all political candidates and parties:

We need non-violent solutions to unplanned pregnancy and the challenges faced by poor communities.

Life and death are the Providence of the Creator. We have to stop playing God – or the Creator of Life will allow us to continue to experience the consequences of this most grave and original of sins.

Those consequences have been eating away at the fabric of our nation, our families and communities.

There is still time…but the hour is late.

Vicarious Trauma: Caring for Our Pro-Life First Responders

November 4th, 2016

 

pro-life-prayer

By Kevin Burke, LSW

When we hear of vicarious trauma, we often think of first responders; the brave men and women who serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers.

There is a growing awareness of the importance of caring for these public servants after repeated exposure to accidents, violence, injury, loss of life, and other tragedy. The Trauma Center of the Justice Resource Institute indicates that the longer the exposure to such events, the higher likelihood symptoms of post- traumatic stress will surface.

There is another Population of First Responders

These women and men are frequently marginalized, cursed, and ridiculed as they try and protect the innocent and advocate for their lives.  They are ignored or maligned by the media, society and sadly sometimes even by their own faith communities.

They are the pro-life advocates on the front lines:

– Counselor Donna Gardner, shares about her work with a pregnancy care counselor helping an abortion minded client:

   “I worked with one counselor who developed an ongoing relationship with a pregnant mother. The counselor naturally developed a close working relationship with this mother and child.  The mother abruptly stopped coming to appointments.  She later learned the mother aborted her 5 month old baby.  She was emotionally devastated by this loss.”  [1]

– June Matson has been the director of Pregnancy Resource Connection in Granby Colorado for the past 26 years.   Their center has an ultrasound machine. In most cases seeing the ultrasound image of the unborn child helps many mothers to continue with their pregnancy.

Sadly some parents still make the tragic decision to abort their child. June shared that not only the ultrasound technician, but all volunteers present at the center during the time of the mother’s visit are impacted by the loss of this unborn child.                   

– A Front Line Pro-Life Advocate praying in front of an abortion business approaches a woman with love.   She tries to engage her in a life affirming decision for her unborn baby. The mother goes into the abortion center and comes out with an empty womb. The pro-lifer who has encountered this mother and child is naturally intimately connected to and deeply touched by this abortion loss.

– Women and men pray before abortion centers in all kinds of weather interceding for the conversion of the employees, for the parents and their babies. At times they are cursed at, spit upon, mocked and abused by pro-abortion activists and sometimes an angry parent, grandparent or friend of the pregnant mother.

– Pro life advocates may suffer from the Institutional Spiritual Neglect of their religious leaders and churches.   They stand for years on the front lines of the abortion battles, praying, educating, and legislating to try and save unborn lives and protect their parents from abortion complications. These spiritual children can feel ostracized, marginalized and unappreciated by their spiritual fathers.  This causes deep pain and grief that may be expressed as bitterness, anger and depression.

Disenfranchised Grief

Therapist Donna Gardner shares an experience that can help us better understand the disenfranchised grief of pro-life advocates [2]:

I recently spoke with an older group of pro-life veterans who spent years in pro life ministry and advocacy.  I asked them to close their eyes and bring to mind one particular situation; think of that one baby lost to abortion that especially touched you deeply.  They all began to tear up and express the grief that has been hidden in their hearts for many years.

As previously noted, the effects of trauma can be cumulative.  After repeated exposure to situations where a pro-life advocate is unable to save an unborn child, while continuing to face the hostility or indifference of the wider community, they can reach a tipping point.

The repressed grief and pain can emerge in symptoms that can impact life and relationships.  Keep in mind a single event where one is unable to prevent a tragic death can also lead to some of these feelings and symptoms:

– Anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, irritability and anger.

– Withdrawing and isolating from others.

– Some may experience a sense of confusion, distance and darkness in their spiritual life and relationship with God.

– Nightmares, flashbacks, or other intrusive thoughts or memories of the event.

– Using substances to avoid feelings, feeling numb, spacing out, or feeling as if things are unreal [3]

[In part II of this series, we will explore the good news of how what we have learned in abortion recovery programs can help minister to those women and men on the front lines of pro life advocacy.]

 

[1] Thankfully she was able to find emotional and spiritual healing and closure by attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend.

[2] Disenfranchised grief is a term describing grief that is not acknowledged by society.

[3] Regan, Laura. When Helping Hurts: Trauma’s Effects on First Responders. Good Therapy.Org, February 12th 2015.