Priests for Life - Healing After Abortion
Find Healing Resources:
Silent No More Awareness Campaign, A Project
of Priests For Life

Rachel's Vineyard,
A Ministry of Priests For Life

Testimonies from Women

Men and Abortion

Clergy and Abortion Healing

Research, Articles, and Presentations

Healing After Abortion Home
America Will Not Reject Abortion Until America
Sees Abortion

Prayer Campaign

Take Action

Social Networking

Rachel's Vineyard,
A Ministry of Priests For Life

Silent No More Awareness Campaign, A Project
of Priests For Life

Clergy Resources



The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

October 2004

Rachel's Vineyard is on the web at:

Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion are held internationally. Rachel’s Vineyard welcomes, women, men, couples, grandparents and abortion providers. Our retreats are held in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings. Rachel's Vineyard Ministries is a resource for clinical training, education and healing models.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Help us spread the Good News! Pass along this newsletter to friends and colleagues. If you are receiving this newsletter because a friend forwarded it to you, details on subscribing (or unsubscribing) appear at the end.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The progress of mankind has always depended upon those who, seemingly isolated and powerless in their own day, have seen their vision and remained true to it. In the darkening corridors of time, they preserved integral their vision of the daylight at the end. This is a matter not of calculation but of faith. Our work may be small and its results invisible to us. But we may rest assured it will come to fruition in God’s good time. John Ferguson - The Enthronement of Love [1950]

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Interview on Men and Abortion

The Professional Ethics of Political Activism

Request for Help

A Word from our Pastoral Director

Retreat Reflections

Upcoming Training Conferences

Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Schedule (October- November)

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Zenit News Agency - Rome, Italy

The Rome based Zenit News Agency recently published an interview with Kevin Burke, co-director of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries, on the subject of men and abortion with a particular focus on how abortion effects men and their relationships.

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


By Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

Dr. Ken Wilson MD makes the point in his book "The Moral Mandate to Vote" that our vote should extend beyond mere political agendas and fulfill a moral obligation of compassion. Spirituality does not end with a person’s relationship to God. Loving one’s neighbor demands that we take into consideration laws and values that can rescue our neighbor from physical death as well as spiritual death.

Every vote counts! Every action of compassion can transform the world! We must work to support candidates and legislative initiatives that will support access and funding for high quality programs for post abortion healing. We must also act to provide non-violent alternatives to those facing an unplanned pregnancy with choices that do not invade a woman’s physical and psychological integrity, choices that enable her to feel empowerment rather than the desperation of "no choice… but abortion." And we must persistently reveal the truth about this cruel and degrading procedure and seek to modify the laws that perpetrate the abuse of women and destroy the dignity of the human person. We must elect public officials and judges who will affirm the fundamental right to life. All of us involved in this critical work can be confident and proud to advance the cause of respecting human life, with a love and compassion that is able and willing to lay down one’s life for another.

It is a matter of civic responsibility to bring attention to the grave violations of human rights in a spirit of solidarity: We work together as a collective mash unit of volunteers and church ministries who provide the funding, the resources, and the hospitality for the work of many different healing ministries; As the professionals, who are bound by the ethics of their professions in codes of social responsibility; As the clergy of many different denominations who are acting as representatives of God to assist in spiritual peace and the process of forgiveness and reconciliation; And above all, as the many post aborted women and men who have experienced healing, and now want to help others find the peace and reconciliation they have discovered in their own lives. We are all part of a greater whole which is diminished when others are humiliated or reduced, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were anything less than an individual created in the image and likeness of God, deserving of legal protection from the moment they are conceived and welcomed into the world until the end of life, when the soul makes its final journey into the arms of God.

There is a common perception that people who are dedicated to the work of post abortion healing should not be involved in pro-life activism or politics.

Activism is defined in the Dictionary as:

1) The use of direct action, in opposition to, or in support of a cause.

2) A policy of taking direct action to achieve a political or social goal

For the purpose of clarity, lets now define "Pro-Life" activism. This form of direct action includes legal efforts to reduce and end abortion, representing women in the legal arena who have been damaged by the procedure, voter registration and support of candidates who will further pro-life goals, providing education on fetal development and the abortion procedure itself, work in pregnancy care centers, and prayerful witness at abortion facilities.

Kevin Burke is a Licensed Social Worker, who serves as the co-Director of Rachel’s Vineyard, says the following in response to those who contend that activism has no place in the work of healing:

"In my profession of social work, a person who has worked in the trenches with a population that has been denied a voice for their pain would be encouraged to look at other ways to advocate for this population. It would be considered quite natural that we would take our vast experience in journeying with persons through their experience of pain and injustice and bring that to light in any context that could empower persons and prevent suffering. We would lobby our legislatures, encourage legal efforts, educate about the problem, work to inform the public about this issue, encourage individuals when they are willing to speak out about their pain/experience, media efforts etc. etc. To say that the work of healing is incompatible with activist efforts to effect change seems to me as a social worker to be an absurd notion and misinformed. Certainly different strategies and sensitivities are necessary for various efforts. Some persons are called by their gifts and vocation to be only healers, and others only activists. However there is certainly a broad area where persons can effectively be engaged in a variety of venues to effect change and where their various efforts are complementary and are mutually empowering."

This excerpt from the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics supports Kevin’s comments:

Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice. (NASW Code of Ethics)

In my own profession as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Psychologist, the ethics are similar.

The Code of Ethics for the profession of Psychologists has one particular section that outlines our professional Responsibilities to Respect for Client’s Right’s and Dignity. The ethical code states: Master’s Psychologists shall be committed to increasing knowledge of human behavior, understanding of their own and others socio-cultural orientation, and to the relief of human suffering."

It is a gross misunderstanding of the helping profession to assume that those involved in the work of healing should not be involved in efforts which seek to relieve human suffering and death. As a professional, I have an ethical responsibility to educate others regarding the harm that I have witnessed that has been inflicted by abortion.

The American Psychological Association describes our social responsibility:

Psychologists are aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to the community and the society in which they work and live. They apply and make public their knowledge of psychology in order to contribute to human welfare. Psychologists are concerned about and work to mitigate the causes of human suffering. When undertaking research, they strive to advance human welfare and the science of psychology. Psychologists try to avoid misuse of their work. Psychologists comply with the law and encourage the development of law and social policy that serve the interests of their patients and clients and the public. They are encouraged to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no personal advantage.

The reality of coerced abortions and domestic violence against pregnant women is a grave abuse of human rights and dignity. Professionals who learn the sad unspoken secrets of women, who felt they had no choice but abortion, need to advocate for those being victimized and traumatized by this procedure.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Let me give you one definition of ethics:

It is good to maintain life and to further life;

It is bad to damage and destroy life.

And this ethic, profound, universal, has the significance of a religion.

It is religion.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Prize Winner

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Dear Friends:

Please prayerfully consider helping Rachel's Vineyard reveal the truth about abortion and bring healing to those who suffer through your financial contribution. As the U.S. heads towards Election Day, it is especially critical that we remind voters and public officials of the importance of the right to life and the suffering abortion inflicts upon women, men, siblings, grandparents and friends. Let's work together to rescue our neighbor from physical as well as spiritual death!

Just click here: or send an e-mail directly to me at and I will forward a postage-paid envelope. Thanks to all who can help!

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
PO Box 195
Bridgeport, Pa. 19405

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Dear Friends,

Thanks for your ongoing concern about healing from the wounds of abortion. In these final days before our national elections, please join me in prayer that the elections will advance the cause of healing by bringing into office those who will help prevent the wounds in the first place. You can join the prayer effort at

There is a Catholic version, an Interdenominational version, and a Spanish version. Please spread the word!


Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties.  A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved.  It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Ben Franklin

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


By Rev. John Madigan

This past weekend I was the chaplain on a Rachel's Vineyard healing retreat. This is a retreat that ministers to those who have taken the step of aborting a baby in life and have discovered to their cost what a destructive decision that can be for them. I have now worked on several of these weekend retreats over the past few years and I continue to be profoundly touched and saddened by the heart rending stories I get to hear. I am also profoundly uplifted by the action of God's saving and healing grace in their lives when they ask for forgiveness and healing. The participants are mostly women, though a few men have recognized their responsibility and come to participate, and their stories have provided a variety of reasons why they have made such a drastic decision in life. Most all of them never thought their decision would have such devastating consequences for their lives and have deeply regretted the choice.

Most of the weekends inevitably get to the discussion of how hard it is for them to sit in the pew at church and listen to a condemnation of those who have had abortions or read church bulletins containing such condemnations. I asked how we as a church might state our abhorrence for the act and not seem to soft peddle the seriousness of it. Most all could accept the strong stance, but complained of rarely hearing the compassion of Jesus for the sinner that could have helped them to turn back to God through the church. Most of them never wanted to do it and I heard a variety of reasons why they did that made me aware yet again of several factors:

Straight out condemnation of abortion is hardly reaching the target audience.

Family lifestyle and values play a big part.

Communication in families needs lots of help.

Loving interaction in family life needs development.

Providing support for an alternative choice is paramount.

Welcoming back an abortionist to healing and forgiveness so that they can speak to the devastation in their lives may be a very effective way forward.

They especially spoke of the anguish they continue to feel when they sit in church listening to condemnations by people who have never made such a terrible decision and consequently show no trace of compassion for those who are living with the consequences. It was a lesson for me to always balance what I say in such situations and measure words carefully so that why the moral unacceptability of abortion is stressed yet the one who has done it can approach the speaker with confidence of being received with the mercy of Christ.

Rev. John Madigan writes from his parish St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Seattle, Washington

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

There has been a tendency in the history of the church to professionalize services. The end result of this greater specialization is to turn diakonia into something done by professionals rather than by the whole congregation. The congregation participates through its giving, to be sure, but the members are for the most part one step removed from the immediate experience of ministry and service.... Those who are in the professional ministry must resist the tendency found in all of our churches to professionalize diakonia to an ever-greater extent and insist that the service of the people of God be shared by all. It is indeed the responsibility of the professional ministry to find ways and means by which the ministry of the whole community can become effective and meaningful so that each one has his or her share in the enterprise.

Jurgen Moltmann, Hope for the Church

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Oct 19, 2004 Diocese of Peoria, Illinois – Full Day Clinical Training (for Clergy Only)
Presenter: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
Contact: Jean Whelan: 309-671-1550

Nov 5, 2004 Rochester Clinical Training
Presenters: Theresa Burke, Ph.D. and Kevin Burke, MSS/LSW
(6.0) CEU credits available
Contact: Amy Crossed: 585-461-1541
Project Rachel: Diocese of Rochester

November 11, 2004 Presenter: Martha Shuping MD – "Healing After Abortion"
Sponsored by The Alton Deanery - St. Jerome Catholic Church, Troy,IL.
Contact: Karen LeClerc (618-667-6571 ext 20 or

February 4, 2005 El Paso, TX Clinical Training Seminar
Presenter: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
(6) CEU Credits available
Contact Dr. Sherwood Kaip
(915) 584-0620; (915) 309-6340 cell; (915) 231-9916

February 5, 2005 Banquet for NOEL of El Paso
Contact Dr. Sherwood Kaip
(915) 584-0620; (915) 309-6340 cell; (915) 231-9916

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Do all the good you can

By all the means you can

In all the ways you can

In all the places you can

To all the people you can

As long as ever you can.

John Wesley

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


October – November 2004

In the next two months there will be 58 Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats throughout the United States and Internationally. For a complete listing of upcoming dates and contact information see

 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

To subscribe to this newsletter: Send an e-mail to

Type SUBSCRIBE VINE & BRANCHES in the subject line or body of your e-mail.

Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

Editor: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

Comments and questions:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Rachel's Vineyard ® All rights reserved.

© 2004

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •