Monday, December 12, 2011

WHY I AM FOR LIFE, NOT "PRO-LIFE"

ADOLF HITLER AS AN INFANT
“How lovely it all is!” said Tyltyl, who could not get over his astonishment. “Goodness me, how lovely!...Where are we?”

“We are in the Kingdom of the Future,” said Light, “in the midst of the children who are not yet born. As the diamond allows us to see clearly in this region which is hidden from men, we shall perhaps find the Blue Bird here….Look! Look at the children running up!”

From every side came bands of little children dressed from head to foot in blue; they had beautiful dark or golden hair and they were all exquisitely pretty. They shouted gleefully:

“Live Children!...Come and look at the little Live Children!”

--Georgette Leblanc, from The Children’s Blue Bird, adapted from a play by Maurice Maeterlinck

Call me old-school. Call me churlish. But the practice some folks have of requesting a FB friendship, then, the second you accept, promoting their work and/or political views by putting up a giant post on your wall has always struck me as less than sporting. So when someone I'd never met before did this to me recently, rather than simply deleting the post, I thought to write the person:

Congrats on your [work] and thanks for the FB add....please don't post your own [work]/pro-life stuff on my wall, though....just a personal preference...You're always welcome to send a message of course-all the best and Advent blessings—Heather

Granted, my wording was clumsy: by “preference,” I meant I generally don’t like people posting any self-promotional stuff, or political stuff, on my wall.

This was the message I received in reply.

Apologies and thank you for making this a private message Heather. My pro-life stuff? [My work] could save a baby. I allow people to post decent things on my wall and group wall. My preferences are quite different than yours Heather. Pro-life stuff? God bless.

Two minutes later, when I went to write him back and explain, he’d de-friended me.

The “God bless” that really means “Burn in hell” also strikes me as less than sporting. And though my intent was simply to maintain my own FB page, not to weigh in on the subject of abortion, the whole exchange pointed up exactly why I have always been uneasy with the “pro-life” movement.

If either side had the courage of their convictions, the pro-life people would wear giant buttons of Hitler, Ted Bundy, and Osama bin Laden, saying “We are for all of life and that means criminals, drag queens, meth-heads, serial killers, terrorists and whores,” and the pro-choice people would wear giant buttons of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Emily Dickinson and Christ, saying “If it were up to us, these people might never have been born.” In fact, the pro-life people seem to be “for” an illusion of life, and the pro-choice people are “for” death.  Have whatever view you want, but have the courage to tell it like it is.



Anyone can be “for” a tiny pair of baby feet, especially if the baby is someone else’s that you don’t have to feed, take care of, get up in the middle of the night for, educate, and morally, emotionally and spiritually guide while, say, earning minimum wage as a single parent. What's way harder is to exercise the same melting tenderness and touching pity toward the mother. Anyone can be “for” an unborn baby. The challenge comes when the baby grows into an adult, as babies tend to do, who is playing loud music, running red lights, seducing your husband, or raping your daughter.

As I ended up writing the FB guy, sending the message through a (kind, and again thank you) mutual friend, I am very much against abortion. Abortion, in view of the fact that I’ve had three myself, is and always will be my central wound. (The guy and I ended up having a short, civil exchange later and I OF COURSE wish him well).

And because I am against abortion, that means to be sure that I am very much for the birth of Hitler. Not for what Hitler did, but for his birth.  I am for the crack baby, the deformed baby, the baby who is going to die before his second birthday and shatter for all time his parents’ hearts, the baby who is going to be abused, the baby who is going to grow up and abuse someone else. I am for the whore, the serial killer, and the meth-head drag queen.

You are either for all of life or you are for none of it. Yes, we are going to suffer. The question is not how to eradicate suffering. Suffering is ineradicable, and all efforts to eradicate it lead inevitably to "final solutions" like ethnic cleansing, enforced sterilization, and genocidal murder. The question is how to creatively bear our suffering without transmitting it to another. If we were truly for life, the conditions whereby souls like Hitler and Ted Bundy and Osama bin Laden are created would no longer exist.

One problem with the term "pro-life" is that it implies that everyone else is anti-life. It tends toward the very unfortunate belief that, as a pro-lifer, you are doing the crusading work of  "saving babies" and everyone else is a base coward. Another is that it is a political movement with an agenda, a massive budget, and a poster child--a "converted," wholesomely hot mother whose wealthy parents are apparently poised to support her and the kid; a 4.0 college student, saved from abortion twenty years before--who invariably seems to be white or very light brown, looks to be from Orange County, California, and has really good teeth.

But the main problem with politicizing abortion, to my mind, is the danger of the goal becoming not sacramentalizing life, but supporting a candidate; not converting hearts, but winning votes; not Christ, but you and your cause. You cannot serve both God and mammon. It's not that speaking out against abortion in a political context doesn't require courage; it's that for me it wouldn't require nearly enough.

What is never going to fly in a political speech is that sex is holy, that the love between a man and a woman is the most precious thing on earth, and that we welcome new life and all life not as Republicans or Democrats but as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. That is the message I'm interested in imparting. That is the message to which I devote my work, my heart, my life. You don't get funding for that. You don't get the backing of a political party for that. You don't get an expense account or health benefits or the support of your like-minded peers; you don't get a platform from which to launch your CD, your book, your blog, your career.

Now I'm not saying my way should be your way. I'm saying we all have to find our own way. Maybe your way is to work for a pro-life candidate: great. Maybe your way is to picket abortion clinics: beautiful, if that's what you feel called to. I just have never seen a war on anything--cancer, terrorism, drugs, abortion--work. I just  intensely dislike the presumption that your way should be, must be, mine.

Christ never mentioned abortion: he didn't have to (I myself have mentioned my experiences with, and views on it frequently--from one of the first pieces I ever published, in Commonweal in the early '90's, up to and including my most recent book). Every word, act, and glance was toward life, toward community, toward the child. His whole life was about the child-like heart, no matter that it is going to be trampled to the ground. That's what sets me on fire. I don't "support" life; I love life.

To be for life means to be for reality, and reality is paradoxical, contradictory, awkward, unendingly messy, and unresolvable. To be for life means to realize that someone who is born to a junkie mother, is beaten every day of his life, sexually molested as a child, and farmed out to a series of foster families as a teenager may be in prison for another reason than that he has a "criminal mind." To be for life means to believe that human beings are capable of transformation. To be for life implies a capacity and willingness, no matter how difficult or how much of a stretch, to put ourselves in the shoes of another. To be for life is to refrain, insofar as possible, from every kind of violence: physical, emotional, psychological, and I say this because I am (obviously) so prone to violence myself. Because to destroy your own child is a special, and perhaps the most horrific form, of violence imaginable.

To be for life means to stand your ground while also exercising delicacy, courtesy, and restraint of tongue and pen. It means to be passionately for our work and passionately against imposing our work on others. It means to refrain from trumpeting our own courage in favor of admiring the courage of the next person.  It means to be for the unborn baby and for the baby who grows up to be an alcoholic, love-starved, frightened, extremely misguided adult and has an abortion, or two, or three before at last crawling toward the light (or not)—because you never know the wounds from which another suffers. You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working. You never know who you are hoping burns in hell so you can "save" some other baby. 

I am for you and for me, as fallen, pissed-off, broken--and as glorious--as we all are.  
I am for reality.
I am for Christ.
And please don’t post your pro-life stuff on my FB page. 

34 comments:

  1. What you write here, Heather, is incontrovertibly true. I wonder how often my "pro-life stance" -- even my Catholicism itself! -- is little more than an unchristian pride at belonging to the right ecclesial party.

    A lot of pro-life activity is merely polemical or political, and as you note, is suspicious if we get the sense that the polemicist is not making a personal sacrifice, but merely sharpening his rhetorical knives for fruitless online debates. I plead as guilty to this as anyone else.

    The greatest thing we can do to promote -- arrgh, what's the way to phrase this? The most salutary and life-giving activity we can perform comes not on a soapbox, nor at the ballot box, and certainly not by tapping away at the laptop keyboard in vehement denunciation of our opponents -- but rather, on our knees, weeping for our own sins, and our own offenses (my own offenses!) against the dignity of persons.

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  2. Heather, as always you face issues head on and then hit the nail on the head. I too question the real motives of Pro-Life. Every woman in my family is Pro-Choice, and down to the last one of them when they got pregnant they said "I have a choice and I'm having this baby."

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  3. Lovely reflection as usual - thank you Heather.
    Regards
    Stephen Sparrow

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  4. Interesting and provocative! Certainly provided a different way to look at it, in that I tend to see the baby as the one unable to elicit sympathy since it's hidden in the womb and can't talk (or go on Oprah), while the mother can. But your viewpoint seems to be that the baby, with its inherent cuteness, is the one that elicits sympathy. Which is a fair point!

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  5. Dylan, I agree that on your knees, learning humility, is always the best place to start, but I also think that we can transform the culture of death not through a "movement" that operates, practically, as just another political action committee, but only through the witness borne by each of our lives lived authentically with, in, and through Christ. We're not winning this "war" because we don't organize and publicize effectively, but because our individual lights do not burn brightly enough. This is from a dimly lit bulb, so I cast no stones at others that I'm not willing to take on the chin in return.

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  6. As a sixty-something woman who graduated from college concurrently with Roe v. Wade, I have always preferred being called Pro-Life. When the term was invented, it was a response to always being called "Anti-Abortion", and many (maybe even most) of us are so much more than that! Have you ever heard the slogan "Love them Both!"? It was coined by a past-president of the National Right to Life Committee, to express care for the baby AND the mother. And abortion is not the only issue of the Pro-Life movement. We're the ones who put an end to the grizzly career of Jack Kevorkian. We really do value ALL life, and think it has meaning even when accompanied by pain.

    Honestly, I believe that your jaded view of we who call ourselves "Pro-Life" are based on the obnoxious few, not the quiet many. Even so do quiet Christians suffer when "big names" like Jim Bakker fall. I am very sorry that you were Facebook spammed by someone who sees that as an effective "ministry" tool. I'd love to find myself working next to you when we paint the new home of the local pregnancy care center, because I think that we pretty much agree on everything except terminology. May God bless you -- and that is indeed a prayer.

    (I found your blog through Dylan, who commented above.)

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  7. Great post especially as we we are preparing to celebrate the Incarnation and they mystery that the Father motivated by great love would send the Son to redeem and enter into the craziness of our fragile human lives.

    It struck me as a great elaboration of Dorothy Day's message, "I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

    Adventen blessings and thank you for your daily drudge and sacrifice to produce and share spiritual fruit.

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  8. Heather-Miles Davis was the son of a very successful oral surgeon and dentist, Miles Sr. I'm sure it wasn't intentional on your part but his inclusion on the 'pro choice' side of the list struck me as a bit racist. For what it's worth,in my opinion the abortion issue will ALWAYS be an incindiary debate because there IS no 'right side'.

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  9. I don't quite get your point, John. What might be racist, if anything, was wishing Miles hadn't been born. My point is I'm glad Miles, along with everyone else, WAS born!

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  10. Perhaps your friend assumed that since you are a Catholic, that you would like his post. People are repelled by the realities of abortion because it is ugly, but it must be faced head on and exposed for what it is. I recommend that you get to know some of the prolife folks in your neck of the woods. I think you will be surprised at all they do for life other than post prolife messages and picket abortion clinics. Blessings on your continuing journey.

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  11. Heather, you wrote: "I just intensely dislike the presumption that your way should be, must be, mine." Your article a) let's us know which "way" you are comfortable with; and b) presumes that any other way is lacking in--among other things--courage. I happen to agree with most of what you wrote, but the tone and the implied negative assessmnt of those who don't agree with your way made me uncomfortable. Your treatment of the FB friend seemed disproportionate to his offense. He expressed appreciation for the private message which you then published along with your conclusion that his "God Bless" meant "Burn in Hell". Couldn't his "Pro-life stuff?" remark have represented hurt feelings or feeling misunderstood. Words and the tongue are powerful, as I know from reading your blog you know. And email exchanges often lose the full context of a comment. Bottom line, the strength of your message here was diluted by the distracting personal edge.

    John W. White
    Purcellville, VA

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  12. "because you never know the wounds from which another suffers. You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working."

    For healing the wounds:

    Hosea 2:16-17
    Hosea 2:21-22

    Isaiah 12:1

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  13. What interests me about this post is that your work - which I admire - is so intensely oriented towards inclusiveness, openness and non-judgment...but this post reveals no such stance toward the self-proclaimed "pro-life." (Of which I count myself one.) You seem so concerned with not labeling anyone or any group as "other" but that is what this post is all about.

    I agree with Barb - real interaction with real pro-lifers at a CPC - people who have a passion for helping real people - most of whom are poor - might broaden your vision and inspire a little...tolerance.

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  14. I must double-comment; my characters, may be flawed, but are too many for one entry in Blogger:

    I knew Heather had an abortion; but I did not know she had three. But there it is in the post!
    I read later in Comments:
    "Bottom line, the strength of your message here was diluted by the distracting personal edge."

    How could anyone miss the "distracting personal edge" of a woman who has had three abortions and is TRANSFORMED by Jesus Christ, a man who proclaimed life in the Spirit to all?

    The murderer of Christians becomes SAINT Paul, an author!.....and gives us much of the New Testament.

    John Newton is in the slave trade, and while his shipmates toss dead Negro slaves overboard into the ocean abyss, Newton reads the Bible and is TRANSFORMED, going on to write the most powerful Christian hymn, "Amazing Grace".

    Can change come politically?
    Ask William Wilberforce, who fought for decades to abolish the British slave trade.
    Couldn't be done. Too much money to be made.
    [Sidebar: Heather's post denotes words on God and Mammon]

    So Wilberforce made headway by tacking his political sails in a new direction. Health standards were set up. THAT cost money and took the profits out of slave trade, leading directly to the abolishing of slave trade by Parliament.

    I have a folder of "Christian Blogs" where I can source readings any given day.
    I have a folder of "Catholic Blogs" where I can source readings any given day.
    I delete many in BOTH folders. As Mohandas Gandhi felt and said: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians."
    I grow weary of the infighting, the perceived slights, the absolute stands, the "Just kidding" response when someone calls a blogger out on their position, the lack of any mention of Jesus Christ, as screed come out of Boston against Cardinal Law, or the negativity on wording in the Mass....can't have ineffable or consubstantial, eh?

    Or how about a blog devoted solely to "countdown clocks" on When The Bishop Retires? My Bishop was on that list, and I was not keen about that, as my Bishop spoke to my daughter and said he would ALWAYS be praying for her. As a single dad to two daughters, I was grateful.

    Let Heather's words simply say what they say.
    Let us not add "tone", how they could be written with inclusion, sensitivity, and the rest.

    We go into attack mode when any of us are cut off on the highway by a maniac driver.
    We must go into prayer mode at that moment instead.

    Further, that which infuriates us....the sin of abortion...we also do.
    "OH', you say, "I have never had an abortion!"
    But there are none who can say "I do not sin".
    Only the sins are different.... for any of us.
    Still, they are sins.

    I drove a relative to an abortion clinic long ago.
    She had been thoroughly and literally beaten by a man, now she was pregnant too. My family was furious at my action.
    I sought to alleviate the pain in this woman.
    She went in alone. I sat in the car at her request.
    She came out and looked like death warmed over; silence ensued for the next two hours.

    Does she regret it? I dunno.
    Do I? You bet. Decades later I would have 5 pregnancies in my life, but only the first and last child survived. I pleaded to God why he took three of my children from me (um, they are really His anyways) and I was sure my trip to a clinic was my demise.

    So low did I go, it took a stranger to lift me up, a good Samaritan in life.
    She told me "You do not have TWO daughters, you have 5 children. THREE are in heaven already. You will see them again."

    HE sends relief to the broken spirits among us, still.

    Let us not quibble over terminology, practices, how things should be phrased, or the political, moral, ethical stance of anyone.

    Let us grow close to Christ and become a full moon, reflecting all of His light and glory.

    continued....

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  15. the rest.....

    Any one who has ever lived on this planet has viewed the same moon in their life. Sometimes a crescent, sometimes waxing or waning, and sometimes, breathtaking full. ALL light is being reflected at that moment.

    "...in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
    ~~~Romans 12:1-2

    There is the direction map for all of our lives.
    Wanna transform, like a lowly caterpillar into a gorgeous butterfly? Renew your mind.
    Directions for THAT are in Philippians 4:8

    whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
    THINK about such things."

    Merry Christmas, Heather!
    With love,
    Danny

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  16. Salome Ellen's points are well taken. In my first comment, I only meant to criticize pro-lifers whose stance is merely polemical or political, nothing more. (Many candidates for higher office come to mind.) I know there are hundreds of good souls out there, prayerfully working for an end to abortion and other insults to the sanctity of life -- Fr Groeschel's Franciscans, the Sisters of Life, Mother Teresa's nuns, etc. And people beyond Catholicism, and beyond Christianity!

    A former archbishop of Boston once said that one couldn't be genuinely pro-life unless one had love in one's heart for every human person -- and that is difficult! (Heather, your litany of the 'unlovable' -- whom we must love! -- the meth addict, the sex addict, the blarer of loud music -- yes!)

    Truly, our sympathies should be broader than merely rhetorical "assent to Church teaching" -- and as Salome Ellen reminds us, many pro-lifers (opponents not only of abortion but of euthanasia and other affronts to life) are indeed loving, sympathetic, open-hearted, self-sacrificing souls. But we do encounter those -- like myself, on occasion -- whose rhetoric is more intense than their human sympathy!

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  17. Hi Heather. You know I really respect your work. I'm challenged by this post, though, because as a pro-lifer who is in agreement with your views here about what that should encompass, I feel a little misunderstood and boxed in. When I saw pro-life, I mean it, from womb to tomb, and everyone, including Hitler, in all of his/her brokenness. Is it possible you misunderstood the initial intention of the FB poster? That said, the only time I post a link on someone's wall is if I know them well -- like my mom or close friends. Unless I've referenced someone in a blog or something like that. I can certainly understand why that felt a little off-putting. I'm encouraged by the fact that you did have a conversation and that there was at least a certain amount of mutual understanding. I have a feeling that if you were to sit down with that person in a room and really explore each other's hearts and minds, you might be closer than either of you realizes. I think the conversation is important though, either way. You were right to raise the issue, but I do hope you'll consider, as some have suggested here, that there are many of us who consider ourselves prolife who really share your definition. Probably more than not. God bless you always. I'm chomping at the bits to find time to read your latest book! God bless, and I mean that! :)

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  18. Danny Nolan, bless you, thank you. You said it way better, way more poetically, and way more charitably than I could have. My goal is not to save babies, which even someone of my grandiosity understands is a bit beyond my ken: my goal is to follow Christ. And my hope is that somewhere along the way, someone else might see him and follow him, too.

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  19. Heather, you have your eye on the prize: following Christ. Others (me certainly) reading your blog and the discussions that follow are challenged to see Him and follow Him. For me, this includes seeing His face (more clearly) in these little babies, in the wounds, the central wounds, suffered by mothers and fathers of babies who are now with Christ and in the least likeable in my midst. Thank you for this post and thanks to everyone who commented. Blessings to all during this season of the First Christmas.

    John W. White
    Purcellville, VA

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  20. Heather,
    Reading just the title of your post, I got a little nervous about what was going to come next, but once again I can hardly disagree with keeping our sole focus on Christ. Strangely enough, the discomfort I felt in reading your post is not all that different from the feeling of discomfort I feel around some pro-lifers. At least for me behind many of these feelings of discomfort is a call to wake up to Christ in different ways. In other words, often beyond the discomfort is an approximation of some truth. Ironically despite the many words that you write, your call to wake up often involves recognizing the limits of words and simply resting in Christ. I will shut up now. A sincere God bless to all of you.

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  21. Heather, the more I read of yours, the more I wish I would have the chance to sit down over a cup of coffee and pick your brain.

    I always feel so guilty because I don't like activism. I usually find in activists a lot of anger and yelling and inflammation, and find it repelling.

    I am constantly defending myself when people tell me that if I don't take an aggressive stance against such and such issue, then I'm weak, or passive. I earned the label "bleeding heart liberal" back when I was five.

    I'm very passionate about what I believe, but what I believe is that the world is more dependent on individual goodness than anything else. But who has the energy to work on following Christ themselves when they're marching for The Cause?

    But again, I feel like I fall short. Like maybe I SHOULD be some culture crusader, or else I'm just taking the easy way out.

    This post made me feel more affirmed in my "Love, Not War" approach, so thank you for that.

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  22. People were always approaching Christ for a miracle, a healing, a distress relief.

    His response so often?
    "Your sins are forgiven".
    "Uh, Hello Christ....can't you hear me? I need a miracle".
    "Your sins are forgiven"

    Why this emphasis on forgiveness?
    ALL sin leads to death. In the next 24 hours, most of us will sin at least once, many way more.
    That is at least 7 billion sins today alone....everyone of them shedding blood on a God/Man on the Cross.
    Just one day, 2011 years into His future.

    And all the sins to come, and all the sins back to the Garden had to be accounted for before God. Why?

    ALL sin leads to death.
    To be "pro-life" you must stop sinning.
    Christ was pro-life, not because of babies, but because SIN would kill those who bear the image of God in their temple (soul).....eternally.

    I seriously doubt that God differentiates between mortal and venial sin. He hates all sin; it kills.
    It is convenient terminology for us, for we all sin daily and do not want to be labelled a murderer (mortal sin) while we gossip ( a venial sin) and murder reputations or bully online.
    Christ saw through all of that and said "STOP sinning!"

    "Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him,
    “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
    ~~~John 5:13-15

    St. Paul saw through all of that;he knew "STOP sinning".

    "Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame."
    ~~~1 Corinthians 15:33-35

    Even Peter, walking every day with Christ for three years in person, betraying Him (a sin), and then given the privilege of forgiving sin in Christ's name got to the root of evil and said "STOP sinning".

    "With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!"
    ~~~2 Peter 2:13-15

    To be "pro-life" you have to be against death.
    All sin leads to death.
    "Pro-life" folks can accomplish their task when all sin stops. Even God could not do this in the Garden thanks to the gift of free will.

    We marvel at the free will abuse of Adam and Eve in a perfect Garden walking with God, yet our own free will is the same as theirs, and we are quick to judge, lie, cheat, remove all holy out of sex, condemn others, isolate folks and cause loneliness rather than relieve it, drive like morons, skip Mass, honor false gods but not our parents,....the list goes on.

    But "STOP sinning" is all over in the Bible.
    It would not be there if it were not possible.
    Yes, things are not possible with man, but nothing is impossible with God.
    That is why we are to become like Christ!
    Then, ....sin becomes impossible.

    In the meantime, we rely on his eternal mercy to save us. And he does when we ask.
    Look no further than the Good Thief on the Cross:
    Dying, for stealing,...a sin, he said to Christ:
    "Can I go with you?"

    Perhaps it was one of the few moments the eternal Christ touched time, and knew it was worth His while, smiled inside through His pain and said:
    "THIS DAY you will be with Me".

    "Be pro-life"
    "Stop sinning"
    The above two sentences are the same.
    THAT is the task before each of us as Followers.

    The only sin that will never be forgiven is to grieve the Holy Spirit. And the scariest line in the Bible comes from that.

    Wanna be scared for good? Read this!

    continued due to comment space.....

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  23. the rest........

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU. Away from me, you evildoers!’"
    ~~~Matthew 7:21-23

    He is NOT talking to unbelievers. They do NOT prophesize in His name, drive out demons, or perform miracles.

    He is talking to people who believe they are BELIEVERS, yet He says "I Never Knew YOU!"
    And the Gates of Heaven are shut closed on these folks. It has to be more shocking to such a person than to one who never believed or followed.

    They were not pro-life.
    They did not become like Christ.
    He never knew them.
    They thought they were followers.
    They never STOPPED SINNING.

    To be catholic is to be universal. Christ never claimed to be Catholic; He claimed to be universal, to save ALL mankind. Only WE, can put ourselves outside that circle of salvation.
    Do you exclude Protestants? Gays? Abortion folks?
    How can you be catholic and universal when you do this? Stop sinning and you are pro-life.....
    eternal life!

    And when you approach the gate of Heaven, He will smile at you and say, "Good to have you home friend. I knew you well all along. We had a blast on Earth didn't we?"

    Do you know Christ well all along?
    Are you having a blast on Earth with Him?
    He is so holy He can not be by sin in Heaven.
    So He came to Earth to forgive them for those who ask forgivness.

    He comes from HIS place
    to OUR place
    To take OUR place
    so we can go to HIS place.

    Stop sinning; be pro-life.....ALL life.......Always.

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  24. Great post Heather! I don't think anybody is really anti-life in the larger sense. I surmise that those who support Roe vs Wade would still consider themselves to be pro-life. Conversely, I wonder how many politically motivated "pro-lifers" are at the same time for the death penalty. The issues are complicated...

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  25. Heather,0ut of your pain 'the thicket of suffering' you write prophetically.Keep it going !

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  26. I keep thinking of Severa Mukakinia, the Rwandan mother to whom I devote a passage in Redeemed who saw all seven of her children butchered by the Hutus, was impregnated as a result of genocidal rape, after considering abortion decided to bear the child to term, and ended up naming her Akimana—Child of God. Her reasoning? Her heart?: “The child was innocent.”

    How do you fit that into a political box, a platform, a speech? There are no words. No politician of conscience could even tell that story without falling to his or her knees in homage. Legislation is not only the wrong paradigm, it’s wrong in a way that derogates and by its very nature, mutilates the existential freedom that makes the choice toward life sublime. To pass a law forcing a woman to bear the child under those circumstances would be horrifying, and to pass a law mandating the funding, erection and maintaining of a clinic where a doctor would be bound to perform an abortion under those circumstances would also be horrifying. Choices involve terrible, life-and-death consequences: consequences to the end of our days here on earth; consequences for eternity. Sin, redemption, self-sacrifice, creative suffering: politics cannot encompass these deepest questions of my experience and heart. In fact, that politics has no place for falling to one knees is exactly, to my mind, what is so fatally self-limiting about it.

    I came to grieve, repent, and at last begin to heal from my abortions in spite of, not because of, the pro-life movement. I understand and respect that others have had a different experience. But surely you must allow me mine.

    Many, many thanks to all who have weighed in on this question that I know is close to all our hearts.

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  27. Also, Sarah--SO with you! And Denis, I just read the Office of Readings for St. John of the Cross--"thicket of suffering"...oh yeah...again, thanks to all.

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  28. Correction on the comment I posted above: Danny Nolan, bless you, thank you, etc. I meant Danny LUCAS, not Danny Nolan. My apologies.

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  29. Heather,

    This is an excellent post. As the grand daughter of an Eastern European Jew, I wish Hitler had never been born, however, but I am immensely grateful for Mikes Davis. My stepfather has frequently (and inappropriately) remarked over our Catholic dinner table, "It's disappointing that there isn't retroactive abortion." And of course we all inappropriately laugh, because we can all think of monsters and horrible people we'd wished had never been allowed to exist (let's be honest). However, Christianity calls us to love everyone, to be FOR the Image and Likeness of God in each human being. I think the difficulty, at least for me, is that I have to imagine His image in even such repressible human beings as Hitler and, say, Son of Sam Berkowitz (who I recently discovered is a creepy family relation). It would be easier just to love and feel passionate feelings of defense for that silent and sweet infant who has yet to demand anything of me. They are almost like mythical creatures, while Hitler, the irritating woman moving slowly in the grocery line, and my last parish priest who ran off with a teenager from the high school he taught at, are a representation of life that is much harder to love. But their ugliness requires that I practice love for them, which makes me somewhat more lovable and draws me closer to the God who has stamped His Image into all of us.

    Just my rambling...and I still wish Hitler's mother had been a slobbering drunk when she was impregnated by her uncle. If that turd of a human had been born unable to form coherent sentences or had to be wheeled around town in a cart, we all would have been better off, and he would have seemed sweet and beautiful.

    The Sinner, Tiffani

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  30. Tiffany, am just reading Caryll Houselander's Guilt.

    She points out "[Hitler] was not the leader or the oppressor of the German people, but the expression of everything that was worst in them, which they were repressing in themselves. This is Jung's description of Hitler and his relationship to his people: "With the rest of the world they did not understand what Hitler's significance was: namely, that he was a symbol for every individual: he was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was a highly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic individual, full of empty childish fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody's personality, in an overwhelming degree,--and this is another reason why they fell for him."

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  31. You'd be a great theologian...wait a minute...you are one already!
    -Michael Demers

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  32. I loved this! Well done! Amen to the whole thing.

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  33. Heather,

    Yes, I completely agree, at least, I think I do. However, I would add that an embittered and defeated Germany embraced him because he spoke the words a desperate people had been feeling in their hearts for sometime.And while I agree that we are all sinners and unworthy and no more deserving of God's perfect love than anyone else,I don't think just any nation, or every nation, would choose a Hitler or even want one. We each have our own weaknesses, even collectively. Hitler was Germany's
    and those other nations who felt as though he could redeem them from their humiliation.

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