Protesting at Planned Parenthood is Different from March for Life

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This coming Saturday, August 22, is the day many will gather at Planned Parenthood to protest the grisly infanticide going on behind it’s closed doors. Seven undercover videos have now been released revealing the appalling and barbaric practices that go on in this country with legal protection. The most recent video, which I could not stomach to watch, shows a Planned Parenthood worker cutting the face off of a born alive infant (yes many babies are born alive, especially in later term) and then harvesting the child’s brain. Every time I think about it I want to vomit. I have always known these horrors go on, but seeing and hearing it with my own eyes causes a visceral reaction in me that I cannot control, nor should I.

These protests are absolutely necessary and must continue until abortion is illegal in this country and the unborn share in equal protection under the law. What I do want to remind people is that protesting at Planned Parenthood is not the same thing as attending the March for Life. It is important to realize this distinction so that people who attend this coming Saturday’s protest do so in a spirit of charity and a desire to serve.

In the local abortion clinic here, Saturday is the day that surgical abortions are done. The rest of the week a woman can walk into the clinic and get the abortion pill to do an abortion at home alone and in agony. That is truly heart-rending. We unfortunately cannot be there to minister to them in their home. When we are there on a day surgical abortions are performed, that is another matter. I have watched many women stumble out of the clinic after an abortion. They are groggy, dazed, and usually need help. One woman stayed in her car for over an hour with her mother. There was clearly something wrong, but all of the Planned Parenthood workers and the abortionist walked right past her at closing time without even checking to make sure she was well enough to go home.

The women who are walking into the clinic on the day of their abortion are not going to be moved or come seek our help if all we do is show them grisly pictures of aborted babies and signs that vilify them and call abortion workers the Devil. Make no mistake, we are battling the Devil when we pray at Planned Parenthood. But, a woman who is already dealing with immense spiritual agony, whether she knows it or not, is going to be less likely to approach one of us for help if all we do is scream in her face.

Not everyone I pray with at Planned Parenthood is Catholic, but I am. I take a very Catholic approach to my pro-life service to others. I have not been as involved as of late because my daughter is at a difficult age for me to take her to stand on a very busy highway. My weapons of choice while I am there are the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and St. Michael the Archangel prayer. My signs are adorned with religious art and I have an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I also have a sign that very clearly shows the phone number of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in town. The other sign says, “You and Your Baby are loved beyond measure.”

At its very root abortion is a failure to love or receive love. It will take an act of love and grace to change the hearts and minds of those who seek abortion and those who work in the abortion industry. We cannot fight malice with malice. It will fail every single time. Human beings are weak and sinful. We are capable of immense depravity, but we are not irredeemable. Christ came to save us and show us the path away from sin. He came to show us that those difficult situations, even an unplanned baby, are moments of grace and sanctification. These are people who cannot see a child as a loving gift because they are blinded by fear, pressure, despair, or a dead conscience. The only way to bring the dead to life is through Christ. If we want to be an agent of change then we must be willing to bring Christ to these dying souls. This is not a political issue, it is an issue of morality and it is a great spiritual issue. It is an issue of what it is to be a human being and it is a decision as to what kind of life we want for our neighbor. Yes, a change in law will bring an end to the mass killing, but what is needed is a spiritual re-birth and that can only happen if we present ourselves as Light rather than heat and anger.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.     John 3:5

I encourage all of you to participate in the protest of Planned Parenthood. It is impossible to turn a blind eye to such barbarity and we need to reach out to those who can ignore it. More than anything we need to reach out to these women, families, and abortion workers as witnesses to the Living Christ. Think about that before you make your signs. How are you serving the mission? Will your signs invite these women and couples to seek your guidance and help? The March for Life is the time when political stances and responses to rabid pro-abortion supporters are appropriate. It is not appropriate when women are literally stumbling out of these clinics into an abyss they cannot even fathom at that moment. Share the Good News that is how we will win this battle.

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Praying for those Who Persecute Us-Government Edition

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the hardest things that we are asked to do as Christians, is to love our enemies.  For many of us those enemies can be in our family or in our community.  For a lot of Americans these days, it is our government.  The response that we are called to in this situation is prayer.  Sure we can call and write our Representatives and vote, and we should, but after that we must pray.

 
The government shutdown has been maddening.  It has revealed a thuggish, petty, and downright evil government that is bent on making people miserable.  I personally was livid that World War II Veterans were being denied access to their own memorial.  My grandfathers, may they rest in peace, fought against tyranny and thuggery at great sacrifice to themselves and others.   It reminded me that our current President is a toddler and a bully.  But, it also reminded me that he is depraved and in need of saving from Our Lord, just like the rest of us.  Without Christ, this is who we become, empty shells who are only concerned with power and hurting people who do not uphold our self worship.
 
When I  heard that Catholic priests could be threatened with imprisonment if they ignored an order not to perform the Sacraments, if they were contract employees for the government, I felt physically ill.  I felt this way because many of us have noticed the increased attacks on the Church (HHS mandate anyone) and her priests (GWU). A lot of us, especially priests of my generation, know that things are going to get a lot worse.  Once a government or people start to attack the Sacraments things are in full on persecution mode.  To deny Catholics the very center of their Faith is to deny them the right to practice their God given right to religious liberty.
 
It can sound trite, but we must learn to pray for our enemies.  Why?  Because prayer changes us, as C.S. Lewis would say, and it can bring about conversion.  Yes, prayer can be petitions to God for the sake of others, but it also frees us from hatred.  It is very difficult to hate someone if you are truly praying for their salvation.  Prayers helps us to keep our own humanity intact in the face of barbarism or evil.  That does not mean that we are not righteously angry.  It does not mean that we do not fight and defend the Faith.  It just means that we cannot allow sinful anger to destroy our hearts.  We must fall on Christ.
 
We are all sinful and in need of a Savior.  Looking at the people in charge of our government, we can see a greatly depraved and craven generation of people.  They have turned in so much on themselves that they are blocking out the good and only serving their own interests and their own egos.  They have forgotten their place in life.  They have forgotten their place in the Mystical Body of Christ, especially for those who claim to be Catholic but work hard against her teachings and God’s moral law.
 
The call to prayer is absolutely necessary for the future of our country and the purification of our own souls.  It teaches about pruning away irrational anger.  When we are justifiably angry about what is going on in this country, we must also pray for the conversion of sinners.  We are all capable of great evil, and it is those who have chosen good, who must help others to turn away from the Enemy.  Christ calls us to go out to the people and bring them to Him.  We are all lost without Him.  So, even though it is difficult, pray for those who persecute and hate us.  It has been this way since the Fall.  If it is hard to utter words,  I would suggest a Divine Mercy Chaplet.  It is short, done on a Rosary, and full of the power of the Cross.
 

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you

and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad,

for your reward will be great in heaven.

Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

St. Matthew 5:10-12