Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Straight Talk About a Serious Health Concern for Fathers

Friday, June 15th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, MSS

Psychologist Michael Addis writes in Atlantic magazine of a life threatening illness for some men.

You are probably thinking… prostate cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes?

All important health care concerns.

But this illness often remains hidden because the symptoms lead men to embrace a shame-based silence about their pain. This silence leaves men isolated and vulnerable.  Some would rather die than reveal their suffering to a family member, colleague or friend.

Dr Addis was working in an inpatient psychiatric unit where he met Patrick. Dr Addis shares that Patrick presented as a handsome, successful looking man with no previous mental health history.

He was surprised to read in his chart that Patrick’s son recently discovered his father sitting on a coach in their family room…with a loaded gun to his head.

Initially the interview skated along on a superficial level revealing little of what led Patrick to such an obvious act of despair.

Dr Addis realized he needed to challenge Patrick: “Can we be straight with each other and cut out the BS?”

Patrick opened up about a series of business failures that led to an increasing disparity between his wealthy lifestyle, and the reality of his financial situation.  Things got so bad that he was unable to pay the mortgage for his large suburban home.

As Patrick’s depression increased, he created an illusion for family and friends that he and his business were just fine – even as his economic and emotional prospects were in free-fall.

Dr Addis reveals:

[Patrick] couldn’t face working, but he also couldn’t face telling people how bad things had gotten. Instead, he got up each morning, dressed as if he was going to work, forced a smile for his family, and either drove around the city or sat at a local coffee shop all day reading the newspaper. Eventually the depression became so overwhelming that he saw no other way out.

Deadly Isolation

Why didn’t he open up about his financial difficulties and depression with friends or family?

Patrick shares:

I should have been able to handle it…I fell apart and turned into a sniveling little boy… ‘Oh Mommy, please help me?’ I couldn’t let people see me like that.

A Newsweek feature on male depression reveals that “men often view asking for help as an admission of weakness – a betrayal of their male identities….”

Men learn from the schoolyard to the boardroom that revealing vulnerability, and an inability to handle emotional or physical pain, is a big mistake that can lead to ridicule and shame.

The idea of the solitary male hero is an entertaining and sometimes inspiring image in an adventure movie.

But the real world can be a mine field as men struggle to negotiate the challenges of modern life. Sometimes, men benefit from sharing their burdens with trusted family and friends.

Others need to reach out to their clergy/minister, a counselor, mentor or support group – safe places where men can share their pain, and find healthy strategies to cope with the challenges they are facing.

Men and Abortion-Emotional Quicksand

Financial crisis and depression are not the only emotional quicksand that can entrap isolated men.

A past abortion can also leave men emotionally reeling – without the support and information needed to negotiate this life-changing experience.

Often the unresolved grief and shame from a past abortion can combine in a toxic synergy with other painful issues; a history of family dysfunction and/or divorce, past abuse or molestation, addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex or pornography.

Over time this accumulated pain can lead to a crisis where men find themselves isolated and overwhelmed.

Given the current abortion statistics, (close to 60 million since 1973), millions of men have participated in the death of their unborn children.  Some are powerless to stop an abortion they do not want.

Jason Baier shares the devastation when he was powerless to prevent his partner’s abortion:

I…would often break down and cry from depression…I was angry all the time…stricken with panic attacks…No one seemed to understand or know how to deal with my loss.

Jason was isolated, in great pain, and unable to find the support he needed. He reached a point of desperation and despair.  He decided to take a bottle of prescribed sleeping pills and “never wake up.”

Fortunately he experienced a moment of spiritual grace that held back his hand, and released a deep seismic explosion of fatherly grief from the loss of his child.  Jason began a process of abortion recovery that brought him to a place of reconciliation and peace.

End the Isolation – Reach out For Help

If you are a father struggling to reconcile this secret area of shame and pain, there are people who understand what you are going through, have been there, and want to help you find reconciliation and peace.

It all starts with that first step; send that email, make the phone call.

It’s not easy…especially for men.

But this act of humility and courage will change your life.

The blessings of that healing experience will benefit not only you, but your loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Resources for Healing:

Enter your zip code and find healing resources near you.

Find a mentor for one-on-one support from a man in your area.

 

 

 

Skating Around the Truth: An Editor at “The Atlantic” Responds to Man’s Letter One Year After An Abortion

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Atlantic Cover

By Kevin Burke, MSS
LORI GOTTLIEB is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles. Readers submit questions to Gottlieb and ask for advice and guidance.

In a recent entry entitled Dear Therapist: I Don’t Know How to Feel About My Girlfriend’s Abortion, a male reader writes to Gottlieb:

“About a year ago, my girlfriend got pregnant and we decided right away that we should get an abortion. I was only 19 and she was 24…”

As is typical after abortion, the romantic relationship was terminated along with the pregnancy.

The young man shares that after the procedure:

“…we were overwhelmed by a sea of emotions that neither one of us could deal with properly, and splitting up was the solution we found…A little more than a year later, we’re still friends and see each other regularly, but this subject never comes up…”

While he assures the therapist that he made the right decision and is relieved, he is still wonders if he should try to speak to his former partner about his feelings – and worries about the future impact of the abortion on their lives

Gottlieb’s response is kind, and in many ways helpful.

However she reveals a common blind spot shared by many medical and mental health professionals when dealing with a client’s past abortion:

– Most are ignorant of the complex, and potentially far reaching impact of being part of abortion decisions and procedures – even when there is relief and no conscious regret associated with the abortion.

– They do not understand the short and long-term benefits of abortion recovery programs for women and men.

Skating Around the Truth
This young man, while confused, understands clearly that abortion is not a simple medical procedure like the extraction of a tooth. His concern about future relationships touches upon the truth that abortion is a life-changing experience.

His letter to Gottlieb reveals that he is ripe for a more comprehensive understanding of the abortion event. While he claims to have no regrets, and consciously this may be true, there is much more going on here.

Anniversary reactions related to the abortion are very common. Many women and men have some confusing and painful abortion related feelings, nightmares, depression and anxiety around the time the child would have been born, or on the anniversary of the procedure.

This letter is written to the Atlantic psychotherapist about one year after the abortion. This is likely part an anniversary reaction.

But here is a key issue in this young man’s story that the therapist missed.

Why is the young man’s abortion related anxiety focused on his partner?

Why does he want to connect with her and talk about the abortion and feelings associated with that experience?

He wants to speak to the one person who will understand what they experienced together and share their feelings and memories about the abortion. He may be concerned for her and want to be reassured she is ok.

But, on a deeper level, he focuses on the relationship and his former lover – because their relationship is the life-line and connection to the child he lost to abortion.

In her response, Gottlieb rightly affirms the young man’s emotional experience and the challenges couple’s face when trying to communicate about this life-changing event.

But the therapist, in her attempt to minimize the abortion, inadvertently touches on the heart of abortion recovery ministry:

“You’ve had an abortion, but you didn’t lose a child you’ve held in your arms…”

More accurately stated…abortion denied this couple the opportunity to hold this child in their arms and share the love of a mother or father with their baby.

Abortion Disrupts an Intimate Relationship
Abortion is often presented as a contentious political and social issue, in the context of reproductive rights, or as a private personal medical decision between a woman and her health care provider.

But abortion can be best understood in the context of relationship.

Thirty years in abortion recovery counseling and ministry have taught us that deep within each woman or man there is a hidden love for the aborted child, and an emotional and spiritual hunger for re-connection with their son or daughter.

Many of the conflicting and painful emotions and self-destructive behaviors that sometimes follow abortion can be understood as calling attention to this loss and a need for reconciliation and recovery.

The heart of abortion ministry is gently guiding mothers and fathers through an abortion recovery process, so they can acknowledge the truth of what has been lost.

When parents go through an abortion recovery program, they are able to safely re-visit their memories and feelings about the abortion event. The special exercises and spiritual support of programs like Rachel’s Vineyard help participants come to understand, and intimately experience, a new reality:

The emotional bond of love between parent and child, often denied for many years, is now resurrected and firmly rooted in their maternal and paternal heart.

The spiritual relationship with their child in this life, and the hope of reunion in eternal life to come with the Lord is a source of great consolation and peace.

This is the peace and resolution that this young man hungers for.

________________

[Keep in mind, some women and men, often many years after the abortion, are surprised by an intense desire to re-connect with the partner of their aborted child – perhaps on Facebook or other social media.
On a deeper level, this is calling attention to the need for  reconciliation of that abortion experience, and the development of a spiritual relationship with their aborted child/children in an abortion recovery program.]

–  Drexel University Professor Arthur Shostak, Ph.D., conducted a survey of 1,000 men who accompanied wives or girlfriends to abortion centers and found the following: One in four men considered abortion to be a participation in the death of their unborn child; Slightly over 80% said they had already started to think about the child that might have been born (29% think of the child “frequently”); Many cried during the interview process.  [Shostak, Arthur. Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love . Praeger, 1984.]

For more information on how abortion impacts men, resources for recovery and research on men and abortion contact the Men and Abortion Network.

Divorce is on the Increase Among Aging Baby Boomers – Boomers Had the Highest Abortion Rates Since Legalization – Is There A Connection?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

senior couple sitting on sofa at home

The first of the Baby Boomers were in their early twenties when the Supreme Court passed the Roe V. Wade abortion decision to legalize abortion in 1973.

The Boomers, as they entered into their peak childbearing years, would go on to have the highest rates of abortion in the last 45 years.

Abortion crossed the 1.5 million a year mark for the first time in 1980 with 1,553,900 … and the high for the decade of 1,590,800 reported in 1988. … The U.S. abortion ratio reached its peak in 1984, with a figure of 364 abortions for every thousand live births.

Now, as Boomers are aging, Jocelyn Elise Crowley writes in The Week that “even though divorce rates across all age groups have stabilized, the number of gray divorces (i.e., divorce after age 50) has dramatically increased.

Currently, about one out of every four divorces is gray.

Crowley interviewed 40 men and 40 women and asked them why, at this point in their lives, they were divorcing.

The primary reasons that women shared for divorce were their partner’s infidelity, verbal abuse, and addictions to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Men’s reasons were different and focused on areas like their spouse’s money management (over-spending) and resentment over differences in parenting philosophy.

The Baby Elephant in the Room

There is one very important question that Jocelyn Crowley could have asked those women and men of the Boomer Generation facing gray divorce:

 Have you experienced a pregnancy loss (abortions, miscarriages) either prior to or during your marriage?  What was that experience like for you…for your partner? 

The Impact of Abortion on Relationships

In my book, Tears of the Fisherman, I share an interview with Mary and Joe about an abortion they had when Mary was in college, prior to their marriage.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mary: I told Joe I was pregnant, and that I would have to get an abortion. I was waiting desperately for him to say something, to tell me we’d manage somehow. It never happened.

Joe: I knew it was wrong, but I was silent. I never stood up for the baby. I prejudged her, and decided that her mind was made up. I was angry with her for choosing an abortion.

Mary: My feeling of anger at Joe was pushed down for so many years that I didn’t even recognize it. But it was there all the time. I took my anger out on him without ever recognizing where it came from.

Joe: There was a lack of trust in our relationship. I blamed her for the loss of the baby. I did things that purposely hurt her. I drank a lot, I gambled, I did a lot of things to escape into a private world where I wouldn’t feel pain.

While there can be many factors that contribute to marital problems, you can see in Mary and Joe’s case how this complicated experience of loss  led to problems in their relationship.

Fortunately, when the couple attended an abortion recovery program Rachel’s Vineyard, they were able to begin the process of emotional, spiritual and relational healing they so desperately needed:

Mary: My big breakthrough came when I was able to express my anger at Joe. He had never realized that the abortion had any connection to our behavior. We were able to forgive each other, and to have our baby forgive us.

Joe: I was able to express my anger toward myself at my total lack of courage. Once I released that, it’s easier to accept and take ownership for the acts that I did… I feel reborn. I’ve been accepted by God, my wife, and, most of all, by myself.

The Harvest is Plentiful

Each marriage and the individual and relationship history that couples share is unique. In some cases it will be better for individuals or spouses to attend separate Rachel’s Vineyard weekends or other abortion recovery program.

For others like Mary and Joe, making that journey together will be a powerful and rewarding option. When you contact your local site they can help you discern the best option.

Given the abortion rates among Baby Boomers, this is a vast mission field for the Church. Boomers are approaching a time in their lives when they become more aware of their own mortality.

They have experienced the loss of parents, the aging and separation of living children, and the challenge of careers. They are ripe for taking a step back and revisiting an area of their lives that, while buried for many years, has actually had a long-term, profound effect on their lives.

While there is pain in opening up this wound from the past, those that make the journey will tell you that the rewards that flow from the healing experience can bless all areas of your life.

This dark and often shame-filled place in your heart and soul can be the entryway for God to touch you intimately and powerfully.

It offers an opportunity to shed new light, awareness, and understanding of how abortion impacted your life, marriages, and parenting, as well as how it may have contributed to your relationship problems.

For churches, this is an abundant harvest just waiting to bear fruit.

The first step is in raising awareness.

If you are a clergy, pastor, or volunteer minister in your church, here are some ways you can reach out to the Boomers with abortion loss:

– Have a woman or man share their personal experience. He or she can give a brief presentation as part of your service or at a separate gathering. You can find a speaker in your area by contacting the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

– Share videos and pamphlets with helpful information and resources about after abortion healing.

– Include some of our Inserts and short messages in your church bulletin

If you or someone you love is experiencing marriage and family challenges, and you suspect that abortion may be a part of their story, please have them visit our Shockwaves of Abortion website to learn more.

Children in Foster Care and Children in the Womb Have Something in Common

Friday, May 18th, 2018

The concept of drug problems in youth.

Because of the opioid epidemic, record numbers of children are coming into foster care:

Every 15 minutes a baby is born substance-exposed. Nearly 50,000 will enter care this year, more than ever before…

Author Darcy Olsen writes in National Review that now more than ever, the system is in serious need of reform:

The purpose of foster care is to provide temporary safety for children, but for thousands it has become a life sentence.

Like pre-born children in the womb, children in foster care are denied some of the “basic constitutional rights we cherish as Americans.”

In America, the criminally accused have a constitutional right to counsel and to the speedy disposition of their cases; these children don’t.

And the legal protections afforded these children are decidedly weaker than those given to their abusers.

As the judge in one of my severance hearings said, “I’d like to remind everyone in the courtroom that mom’s rights are constitutional, and baby’s rights are only statutory.”   

Darcy Olsen is a foster mother and founder and CEO of Generation Justice, which works to extend constitutional rights and protections to foster children.

Olsen shares:

I fostered “Emma” as a newborn. She is still a ward of the state as she nears her sixth birthday. Statistically, Emma is more likely to end up in prison than to be adopted.

Or consider a teenager I know. “John” entered state care in diapers. He was never returned home or adopted. He’s lived 16 years in the system — in 48 different homes.

Like the nearly 60 million preborn children who have died in the womb, children in foster care are often denied basic constitutional rights.

There are the lasting consequences for these children and for our society.

The author presents some promising developments in Arizona indicating that change to existing laws is possible – changes that protects vulnerable children.

Arizona’s has enacted new legislation that can be used as a model to guide lawmakers nationwide.

Please read Olsen’s full article in National Review:

America’s Flood of Opioid Orphans

Women with a Past Abortion Loss can Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Mother Baby Connection

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Susan Swander, a Rachel’s Vineyard team member in Oregon shares:

“Yes, Mother’s Day can be a hard day for women with abortion loss. But it can also be a day for those women to celebrate being mothers.”

How is it possible that a secret and shameful event from the past…can be a cause for celebration?

To understand this good news, we first need to explore the heart of the abortion wound.

So many of the symptoms women and men struggle with after abortion such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and relationship problems are rooted in the following:

– Abortion attacks the unique relationship between a mother and her unborn child

– A woman who has experienced abortion loss has within her heart, soul and body a powerful desire to reconnect in love as mother with her aborted child or children.

– Given her role in the child’s death, the circumstances of the pregnancy and trauma associated with the procedure, it can be very difficult to sort through the emotional aftermath and pain to find peace and reconciliation.

The Intimate Relationship of Mother and Child

Until that bond between parent and child is re-established in an abortion recovery program, women and men may develop substitute relationships with things like substances, work, and sex as a way to cope with repressed grief and the complicated feelings that often accompany the abortion experience.

Often these symptoms lead to the process of traumatic re-enactment resulting in repeat abortion procedures (close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.)

Abortion is an especially sensitive wound for women given their unique role in pregnancy and childbirth. With conception, a mother’s body is quite aware that there is a very small child growing in the womb.

The female body is anything but “pro-choice.” From the beginning she begins the intimate process of nurturing and protecting the developing life that resides within her.   A woman’s body is clearly pro-baby and pro-life.

We know that pressure from the baby’s father, other family members, fears and anxieties about motherhood, and challenging circumstances can lead parents to see abortion as the only way to resolve an unplanned pregnancy.

Yet, even when a conscious decision to abort seems the only possible solution, (which of course it is not), and she experiences a sense of relief after the procedure, a mother is still deeply injured when she participates in severing that intimate relationship as the mother of her unborn child.

Thanks to the mercy of God and the physical resurrection of Jesus, our Christian faith gives mothers the sure hope that while there may have been a physical separation with the child (or children), she never stopped being the mother of her unique and precious child.

When parents go through an abortion recovery program, they come to understand and more importantly, intimately experience a new reality. The bond between parent and child, which was denied for many years, is now resurrected and firmly rooted in their maternal and paternal heart.

The spiritual relationship with their child in this life, and the hope of reunion in eternal life to come with the Lord, is a source of great consolation and peace.

Susan shares:

So many women who have had abortions never thought of themselves as mothers, if they didn’t have any living children, until after a healing program like Rachel’s Vineyard. And even someone like me who does have a living son, after doing my Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, Mother’s Day became a day for me to honor and celebrate my three aborted children & one miscarried. So, now I have five children that I rejoice in.”

 

Lenin, Fatima, and the Annihilation of the Unborn

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

lenin-and-fatima

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder…  (Matthew 15:19)

Last May 13 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children of  Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

The apparition featured the greatest publicly witnessed miracle since the resurrection of Christ.

In October of that same year of 1917, Vladimir Ulynov (better known by his alias Lenin) led the atheistic communist Bolshevik party to power in the Russian Revolution.

The Blessed Mother warned at Fatima of Russia spreading her errors across the globe, and the threat of another catastrophic war with grave consequences for humanity.

But Fatima is not just a fascinating historical event to commemorate and quickly forget.

As you will see, the messages and warnings of Fatima continue to have special relevance and urgency for our times.

Revolution Rooted in Rage

The seeds of the Russian communist revolution were planted in Vladimir Lenin many years before the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917.

In January 1886, when Lenin was 16, his father died of a brain hemorrhage.  The loss of the families stabilizing father figure appears to have played an important role in Lenin’s embrace of revolutionary ideology.

After the death of his father, Lenin renounced his belief in God.

Russia under the Tsars provided few outlets for healthy political expression and intellectual freedom.  Lenin’s older brother Alexander, like other disenchanted Russian intellectuals, was seduced by Marxist revolutionary ideology.

In March 1887 Alexander was part of an unsuccessful plot to assassinate the Tsar.   Alexander and his co-conspirators were executed.

The death of his brother Alexander led to an embrace of Marxist philosophy, economic theory and revolutionary politics.

Lenin’s smoldering grief and hatred of the Russian Monarchy metastasized into a lust for power through Marxist revolution.

Angels and Shepherd Children

In Fatima Portugal, as men like Lenin were orchestrating communist revolution, another story was unfolding.

In 1916 three shepherd children were visited by an angel as they tended their sheep.

As the First World War raged on in Europe and blasphemy and atheism were spreading like a malevolent virus, the Angel of Fatima declared to the shepherd children:

I am the angel of peace.

Pray with me:  

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”

In the aftermath of this angelic visitation, the children were unable to speak for a time as they were so overwhelmed by the powerful presence of God.

The Angel gave the timely plea for the children to make sacrifices, “in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which [God] is offended” and for the conversion of sinners in danger of eternal separation from their Creator.

Later in the apparitions Mary revealed a frightening vision of hell to the children. The mother of Jesus spoke of her sorrow at the potential loss of so many souls that were falling into grave sin.

Yet this was surely also a warning that the sin and arrogance of men promoting new anti-Christian and pagan ideologies, were summoning the powers of hell upon the earth.

In the same apparition where the children were shown this terrifying vision of hell, the Mother of Jesus warned:

The [First World War] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI (1922-1939.) When you see a night illumined by an unknown light[1], know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father…

The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.(7)

Tragically men continued to offend God as they unleashed hell upon the earth. The forced famine in the Ukraine under communist dictator Stalin, the persecution of Christians, the horrors of Nazi terror, and the threat of nuclear war were just some of the diabolical fruit cultivated by the satanic deceptions embraced by men like Lenin and Hitler.

The Errors of Russia and the Abortion Holocaust

Many years later, we can see in the fall of the Soviet Union in March 1990 a fulfillment of Mary’s promise of a future conversion of Russia.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the threat of nuclear annihilation was reduced considerably.

But do the errors of Russia only refer to the evil of atheistic communism?

Since the 1960’s the consumerism of the western world, partnered with the unfolding cultural and sexual revolutions, has led to the rise of practical atheism and pagan morality.

The deadliest fruit of these errors has dark roots in the former Soviet Union.

Geoffrey Strickland, J.D., J.C.L., who serves as the Rome Office Director for Priests for Life, shares about the roots of abortion in the former Soviet Union:

Russia was the first country ever to legalize abortion up to birth without restriction and also developed and promulgated technology to this end.[1] Russia and areas formerly controlled by the Soviet Union have the highest abortion rate in the world.[2]

 Further, those countries sharing in the political and ideological legacy of Russia at that time such as China, Cuba and others continue to carry on this violent imperative.[3]”

 “Thus “various nations” – the innumerable children of every race, creed and culture – have indeed been “annihilated” through the fundamental error of abortion and the faulty logic behind it, namely that a human child is not a human being.”

Over 1 billion unborn girls and boys have been aborted around the world in the last 100 years.

In China and India, sex selection abortions have killed 160 million unborn baby girls.  The imbalance of men to women is having unforeseen consequences for these societies.

My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!

Such massive deception and death can leave us numb and tempted to despair.

But evil, death and despair will not have the last word.

The Mother of Jesus assured us that in the end, “My Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

But Mary wants our prayers, rosaries and acts of sacrifice and reparation to play an important part in this great victory, the final consummation of the victory of her Son Jesus over satan and death at Calvary.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV comments on the conclusion of the famous Third secret of Fatima entrusted to visionary Lucia:

“The concluding part of the ‘secret’ … is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God

… As from Christ’s death, from his wounded side, the Church was born, so the death of the witnesses is fruitful for the future life of the Church…

The vision of the third part of the ‘secret,’ so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope:

 No suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God.”

This message from Benedict XVI has special relevance and consolation to those parents involved in the abortion of their children, and the millions of preborn children who lost their lives in this holocaust and are now with the Lord.

Thanks to the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, there is the hope of repentance and restoration.

The blood of the innocent unborn children lost to abortion, and the tears of their parents, can be a fruitful source of conversion and new life for the Church.

As Benedict XVI wrote, no suffering is in vain when united to the cross of Christ.

[You can find an excellent and informative overview of the Fatima apparitions here at EWTN.]

[1] Sr. Lucia believed that an especially intense an widely seen aurora borealis, which appeared in the sky on January 25, 1938, was the “unknown light” to which Mary had referred. The celestial phenomenon could be seen throughout Europe and as far south as Australia, and across the Atlantic to Bermuda and parts of the United States.

 

Hey U2 and Bono! Meet Two Icons of Rock that Would Never Have Been Born if Abortion Was Legal 1940 in the United Kingdom

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

U2

On Tuesday, Internationally acclaimed Irish rock band U2 tweeted in support of relaxing Ireland’s  strict abortion laws.

It’s ironic that rock stars and entertainers often promote abortion as a progressive social justice cause.

What U2 and their lead singer Bono fail to understand, is how many rock legends were conceived in very challenging circumstances, and would likely have died in the womb  if conceived today.

In my article from The Stream, I look at 2 iconic rock stars that were thankfully conceived and born before abortion was legal in the United Kingdom:

 Imagine for a moment. It’s 1940. We’re in Great Britain. Tweak just one detail of history. Pretend that abortion is already legal.

We’re in a historical port town on the northwest shores of England. A woman named Julia discovers she is pregnant. The father, a merchant seaman named Alfred, abandons her during the pregnancy.

Julia is a creative and free-spirited woman. She’s unprepared for the responsibilities of motherhood. Alfred prefers to spend much of his life on the open seas. He is unwilling to support a family or parent his child.

In July 1940, in Julia’s sixth month of pregnancy, German bombers began their reign of terror. They attack the civilian population and strategic port cities of Great Britain.

Imagine if Britain had Planned Parenthood or Marie Stopes facilities that performed legal abortion procedures in 1940. And Julia came to one of their centers. What would the staff most likely have recommended?

Read the rest of the article here.

I Spoke to A Group of Teenagers About My Abortion. I Was Amazed by Their Response

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Silent No More
[Kathy Gonzales is a Regional Coordinator with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Kathy recently had the opportunity to share with high school students about her abortion at age 20. I was curious how her message was received by the youth and Kathy agreed to share about her experience. – Kevin Burke]

Kathy: Valerie Jacobs from Rachel’s Vineyard Seattle asked me to talk to a religious education youth group…8th to 12th graders. I prayed about the event and asked for guidance. The Lord told me to revisit where I was as an 8th grader and share with the students the path that led me to my abortion at age twenty.

Reflecting back on that time, I wanted to share with the youth that in many cases the abortion doesn’t occur as an isolated event in someone’s life. My story reveals that the path to abortion at age 20 began years earlier.  One sin led to another sin. Others, a relative or friend for example, can play an important role in opening the door to darkness in our lives.

So, I shared with the teenagers about my childhood abuse, drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, involvement in the occult. I hope the talk opens up an opportunity for the teachers to revisit some of these issues that can open the door to sin and to life changing events like unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

Most, importantly, I shared how God revealed his great love and the healing I experience in Rachel’s Vineyard.

According to one of the parents I spoke with after my talk, he claimed it was the first night that they didn’t have to discipline the kids for being noisy and off track, or worse…lethargic and bored.

One girl came up afterwards and she hugged me for the longest time and kept thanking me for talking to them. I would say that of all the talks I have given this one struck me as the most meaningful, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

I concluded the evening by passing out fifty fetal models (at ten weeks gestation.)  The models I believe help bring what can be very abstract in the minds of many people, particularly teens, to something tangible and real. I encouraged the students to keep the model as a reminder to pray for babies in danger of abortion.

I am continually amazed at how God so loves me…loves all of us. I pray that others will consider inviting a regional representative of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign for the youth and young adults in their community.

[Speakers are available from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to share their abortion testimony at your high school, youth group or college. You can contact us at mail@silentnomore.com for more information.]

God Bless
Kathy Gonzales – RC Silent No More

The Judas Option: How Self-Sabotage After Abortion Nearly Took My Life

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Judas Option

By David

Self Sabotage…You probably don’t think of it as abuse.

But it can be the most pernicious form of abuse.

It’s abusive to yourself and to those who love you.

I know this subject well. For most of my adult life I did nearly everything I could to thwart my own happiness.  It came very close to taking my life.

Building the False Façade

I came from an emotionally abusive home where my job was to be the peace keeper. I was set up to fail in this impossible task in a dysfunctional and crazy home environment.  As I failed as a child and young adult to restore order out of this chaos, my parents, especially my mother, continuously reinforced a message within me – I wasn’t good enough.

I left home for college as a man with incredibly low self-esteem and not a lot of self-confidence. I managed to hide all of that under a façade that I presented to the world.

I was blessed with smarts, a good sense of humor, and not a bad looking guy.  So, I learned to act like a person who had those qualities – though deep down, I believed none of it.

My freshman year of college I began dating a beautiful lady named Karen. Karen was pre-med; she was smart, attractive and seemed to come from a good family.

In the last semester of her senior year, we got pregnant.

To have the baby would mean giving up medical school for her and force me to drop out of college. Planned Parenthood assured us that there was no baby yet, it was just a blob of cells. For only $300 they told me, our lives could go on as planned.

We stayed with my parents during this time and went to the Planned Parenthood center for the abortion. After the procedure she was still foggy from the anesthesia. Karen was crying and through her tears she said “They took my baby. I saw them take my baby.”

Our relationship began to decline from that day forward. Within a year we broke up.  I blamed myself for being such a loser that I couldn’t take care of her or my kid.  Not a day went by that I didn’t think about the abortion.

When good times would come in the back of my mind I would have the thought…“Yeah, times are good, but don’t forget you killed your kid.”  I would not allow myself to experience joy.  If that joy did break through my wall of self hatred – I did not to trust it and certainly did not to feel I deserved it.

Drifting…into Deeper Darkness

I worked at a radio station as a program director and DJ for a couple of years out of school, drifting from one meaningless encounter with women after another. Truthfully there wasn’t even that much sex involved.  I wouldn’t allow myself to get that close most of the time.

I truly felt that everyone was better than me and I was putting on a good act, but if the truth about the real me ever came out it would be devastating.   So I never talked to anyone about the abortion.

I met Joanne at the radio station. We began a sexual relationship and while we thought we were being careful after a few months she was pregnant.  At the time I was thinking, well this sucks, but at least I can do things the right way this time.  I told Joanne I would support her and the baby as best I could.

But that first abortion left me damaged and weakened as a man and a father.  When Joanne told me she was thinking about getting an abortion, I didn’t try to talk her out of it.  I didn’t fight for the life of our child and instead told her, “I will support you no matter what you decide.”

Her friend let me know that Joanne had the abortion. For a minute I felt relieved, but then I was overcome by guilt and shame.  Once again, I didn’t do my duty as a man.  I let my kid be killed.  A short time later, Joanne moved away without a word to me.  To this day I have no idea what happened to her.

Not long, I met Kathy.   I’ve never met anyone as honest and decent-hearted as she is.  I felt Kathy was out of my league.  I really felt that I in no way deserved her.

Even after we married, I lived in constant fear that she would find out who I really was.

Creating a False World

Here’s the thing about self-sabotage. It’s not something you consciously plan out.  I didn’t wake up in the morning thinking, “Here’s how I’m going to screw up my relationship, today.”

Rather it’s a slow progression of selfish acts that build upon each other, fed by the inner demons that reinforce the lie that you’re a worthless human being. My fear that Kathy would discover the real me led to me create a false world for us to live in.

I didn’t tell her that we had money problems because I didn’t want her do without – that would reinforce my sense of being a loser. So, I took out credit cards that she didn’t know about.  The net result was that I bankrupted us twice.

Through all of this, I thought about the abortion every day.

I only told Kathy about the abortion with Karen. I lied about of a lot of other things to keep up the false front.  But as Kathy uncovered the truth, it began a process of slowly, steadily, eroding her trust in me.

On top of that I had this weird, irrational anger that would come up.  I would be verbally abusive, passive aggressive, and well, to put it politely, a real jerk.  I would try to make her think that she was the one with the problem.

Fortunately amidst all this suffering Kathy had converted to Catholicism after 15 years of marriage. I was raised Catholic but had been away from the Church since college.  Her embracing Catholicism inspired me to return to the practice of my faith, and I came back in a big way.

I became active in my parish and served as a Eucharistic minister, lector, I helped teach RCIA, I was on the Respect Life Committee, and served on various parish councils. People were constantly telling me I should become a deacon.

While I appreciated the respect and regard people had for me, in my heart I knew it was a façade. If these people knew that I had two abortions in my past they would disown me for sure.

I was living a lie.

Marriage Tipping Point

All that pain from childhood and later the two abortions continued to hurt Kathy and attack our marriage. We finally hit a tipping point where Kathy told me I needed to get help, or she would have to leave.

I went to speak with a priest, Fr Peter. I told him what was going on, and he asked me if I had ever been involved with an abortion. I was shocked he knew to ask that.

I confessed to him my story and Fr Peter told me about Rachael’s Vineyard.  I was so tired of thinking about the abortion every day for the last couple of decades and I was ready to get help.

I expressed to Fr Peter that I was worried I would be the only man on the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. He playfully punched me in the arm and said, “Well, if that’s the case, blessed are you among women.”   Kathy was kind enough to attend the weekend with me.

The retreat was overwhelmingly amazing. I named my kids Anthony and Claire.  I also became the godfather of the unborn child of a dear college friend whom I had driven to an abortion center when she became pregnant from a one-night-stand.

I’ll never forget Saturday evening of the retreat, standing around the bowl of lit candles floating in that holy water, each one representing our children lost to abortion. For just for a brief moment, I heard my children’s laughter.  I started to believe that they forgave me as much as Christ had.

The Judas Option 

I wish I could say that the story ends here, that we went on to live happily ever after.

The truth is, the retreats exposed the light of truth to the lie I had been living, but my old habits and beliefs were not miraculously cured.  I struggled to fully embrace the forgiveness of Christ and that of my children.

But I believe I drew upon the grace of that healing weekend during a coming time of dark and dangerous temptation.

Things got better for Kathy and me for a while, but gradually the inner demons began their endless reminder that “Okay, Christ forgave you, but that doesn’t change what a loser you are.”

The pattern of self-sabotage returned along with my abusive behavior.  It was too much, and Kathy I separated.

Three years ago I had a three-month assignment for my work in South Bend InKaren. It was Easter Weekend and I was alone.  No one in my family invited me to spend the holiday with them even though they knew Kathy and I were separated.

I went to the Easter Vigil Mass and wept for joy for those people coming into the faith.  But I also wept with despair at the reality that I was alone.  I had sabotaged my life so bad that no one wanted to be with me.

The darkness of that rejection and pain took hold of my heart and I set out on a path of anguish and temptation.

Rather than focusing on the Resurrection and the forgiveness of Peter’s denial in the Easter story, I became preoccupied with the experience of Judas Iscariot. Judas had sold his soul for some silver.  Not all that different than me selling my unborn kids out, selling my marriage out…all for my own agenda.

And what was his solution? Yes, Judas killed himself.

Finally, an answer I thought. What do I possibly have to live for?  I’m alone with no prospects of a better life in sight.  I have a job.  So, what?  In betraying Kathy, my kids, myself, I ultimately betrayed Christ.  Yes, the ultimate act of self-sabotage must be the answer.

I deserved the same fate as Judas.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I just kept thinking about Judas.  Christ had forgiven him, but that wasn’t enough.  That’s exactly where I was.

The next day I walked along the Riverwalk of the St. Joseph River that runs through South Bend.  I crossed onto a bridge that spanned the river and stopped in the middle.

I looked down into the fast-moving current.  I knew the water was very cold and deep.  I figured I would probably succumb to hypothermia within five minutes.  I imagined what drowning would feel like. The suffering wouldn’t last too long.  I just had to work up the courage to take the leap.

Suddenly, in the distance, I heard the church bells of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where I had attended Mass the night before. I could see the parking lot about a quarter mile away from the bridge.  I watched families all dressed for Easter filing out of the church.

And then the thought hit me.

Is this how I want Kathy to remember me? Is this really the way I want to meet my kids?   Could I really kill myself in a river named after St. Joseph?

I stepped away from the edge of the bridge and quickly walked off it. I found a park bench and wept.

Soon after, I went back to St. Joseph’s church and confessed to a priest, Fr Kevin, about my experience. Fr Kevin helped me more than the countless therapists I had seen over the years.  He helped me see that the negative self-talk I engaged in need not have such power over me or define who I was.

This wise priest awakened me to the reality that the negative thoughts were like a flock of birds flying overhead.  I had no power to stop the birds from flying over, but I did have a choice of whether I allowed them to land on me.

My future meetings with Father Kevin all included the sacrament of confession. While it was Father Kevin talking to me, Christ was the true counselor in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Once a week, I would go to confession and sit down with Our Lord.  His grace led me to realize that I may have negative thoughts, but I always have the power to not engage them.  With God’s grace, I simply choose not to engage them.  The more I don’t engage the less power they have over my life.

The Lord Heard My Cry for Mercy

A little over a year ago, Kathy and I reconciled. The two years we were apart we both used to get the help we needed.  We had kept in touch during this time and managed to stay friends.

I know the love we had for each other never went away, but we could not stay together while I was continuously sabotaging myself and our marriage.  I’m happy to say our marriage is better than it has ever been.

The inner struggle? Yeah, it’s still there, and maybe always will be, but I have those negative messages under the power of Christ and his love so they have no power over me any longer.

In closing I share two songs; one a contemporary tune by Julia Brenna that has been a source of inspiration and comfort to me.

The other is a much older song from the grateful heart of Israel’s King David. This David also suffered through his own journey into the darkness of sin and death.  David’s sins, to his horror and anguish, brought great pain upon his family and nation.

Yet King David learned from this tragedy to trust in the Lord’s saving power, and experienced in time, restoration and salvation, reflected in this beautiful psalm:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me,  I will call on him as long as I live.

 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me;     I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. (Psalm 116: 1-6)

To Learn More about the impact of abortion on Men:

Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion by Kevin Burke, LSW

Register Your Abortion Regret with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.  You can sign up to receive a newsletter every month highlighting opportunities to be Silent No More along with news about the Campaign.

The Men and Abortion Network    Our Mission:  To promote emotional healing for men who have lost a child to abortion, and to create awareness among the counseling community, the pro-life movement and society as a whole regarding the impact of abortion on millions of these hurting fathers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Help to Men Hurting After Abortion

Friday, April 6th, 2018

MAN

[Bradley Mattes is a founding member of the Men and Abortion Network.  As Bradley shares in this important article, even if only a small percentage of men are impacted, there are millions of fathers who are experiencing psychological and spiritual distress after abortion and in need of help. 

Bradley introduces an ongoing service of the Men and Abortion Network – one that we hope to expand – a nationwide network of trained peer counselors and pastors who can mentor hurting fathers through the grieving process. – Kevin Burke]

 

Getting Help to Men

By Bradley Mattes

Over the last decade-and-a-half, considerable advances have been made in generating awareness within the pro-life movement that men who have lost a child to abortion can, and do, suffer from emotional fallout.

The question people often ask is, “How many men are affected by abortion?”

The most comprehensive analysis of abortion’s effect on men is presented in a book entitled Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love by Arthur B. Shostak, Gary McLouth and Lynn Seng. Based upon information extrapolated from their data, approximately eight percent[1] of fathers who’ve lost a child to abortion suffer psychologically.

To date there have been 60 million abortions which has generated nearly five million “walking-wounded” fathers who struggle day-to-day with abortion’s lingering impact.

This is a conservative number due to many more men who are affected to lesser degrees. Abortion’s resultant carnage on men is unfathomable. For example, no research been done to confirm our suspicions that a vast number of men in America’s prison system may have a history of abortion which contributed to their incarceration.

The good news is that we have a grassroots, nationwide network of trained peer counselors and pastors who can mentor hurting fathers through the grieving process. The most effective way to do this is with a biblically-based program. However, we are ready, willing and able to assist men with no religious affiliation.

Additional good news is that several programs have been developed and are being used to transform grieving men into new creations through the blood of Christ.

These encouraging developments, however, present a challenge of how to match hurting fathers with the help they so desperately need. That too has made promising gains but remains a work in progress.

The Men and Abortion Network (MAN) is a small ad hoc group of men and women who individually or as an organization have experience on a national or international level of promoting healing and creating awareness regarding the issue of men who have experienced abortion loss.

Further, MAN has developed a website exclusively for men who have adverse symptoms resulting from abortion loss. The site primarily serves two purposes.

First, it provides a nationwide referral network for a man who is struggling after abortion. With no cost to him, he can request a trained mentor near his location. Credentialed counselors are also available.

If a man seeks anonymity, we can still assist him. All that is required is a city, state, zip code and email address. Additional information is helpful to provide the best support available, but it is not required. His privacy is paramount. If possible, we try to match him with a mentor from his same religious background.

Second, the men and abortion website provides a wealth of resources to assist fathers:

– New articles by MAN members are posted every month. A variety of Bible studies are available to walk with men through the grieving and healing process.

– Books, authored by experts in the field, give additional, in-depth information.

– Website visitors can also find brochures that summarize why men are affected, identify possible symptoms and share ways in which these symptoms can be treated.

– In addition, half-hour video and audio programming are available.

Research on men who have experienced abortion loss is limited, however, helpful data is posted on the website.

Is God Calling you to Serve as a Mentor to Men Hurting after Abortion?

Now our most pressing need is to expand the network of trained mentors and reach out to fathers who may be suffering.

The need is great, so if you or someone you know may be well-suited to assist this crucial work, please contact us here at the Men and Abortion Network if you feel God’s urging. We can provide the assistance and resources you need to be tools of the Holy Spirit.

It is an amazing thing to see the Holy Spirit at work through us as we witness the transformation of these dads. When you help a father, you impact an entire family.

[1] C.T. Coyle, Ph.D., Men and Abortion, A Path to Healing, 1999, p. 27.

Bradley Mattes is president of Life Issues Institute, the pro-life grassroots partner of the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund. He is a founding member of MAN and has done considerable anecdotal research on the effects of abortion on men. His writings on this topic have been printed in US and international publications. He has a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and Biblical Counseling from Master’s International University of Divinity and has written undergraduate and post-graduate courses on men and abortion. He serves as a peer counselor to men who’ve lost a child to abortion.