29 April 2008

My mother's 38th death anniversary

My mother, Mary Collins, was born in Dublin on 18 January 1915, the third of ten children of William Patrick Collins, also Dublin-born, and Annie Dowd from nearby County Meath. Indeed, Annie grew up near Tara, about 35 kms northwest of Dublin, very close to where St Columban's, Dalgan Park, the seminary where I studied from 1961 to 1968, was to be opened in 1941, replacing the 'Old Dalgan' in Shrule, on the border of County Galway and County Mayo, that had welcomed the very first Columban students in 1918.

Mam, who married my father, John Coyle, on 6 July 1942, died in her sleep early in the morning of 29 April 1970. It was the fourth anniversary of the death of her own mother.

The photo above was taken in a studio in Dublin when my mother was 19, according to her life-long friend, Mrs Maureen Gunnery, who my mother always referred to by her maiden name, Maureen Clare, as she did with other married women whom she had known when young. (It's only a custom in Ireland, I understand, for women to take their husband's surname, It's not required by law). Maureen died only a few years ago.

A couple of years ago the husband of one of my cousins was talking about the crucial decisions that parents make that affect our who lives. He mentioned my parents' decision to send me to O'Connell Schools, run by the (Irish) Christian Brothers. It was named after Daniel O'Connell, 'The Liberator', who laid the foundation stone in 1828. His election to the parliament in Westminster that same year, though he could not take his seat because he was a Catholic, led to Catholic Emancipation, ie, the repeal of most of the anti-Catholic laws in the United Kingdom, the following year.

My mother hated school and left the day she turned 14 since the law didn't require her to go any more. But she wanted only the best for my brother and me. O'Connell Schools was one of the very best in Ireland. It has a primary and secondary school. I was there from 1951 to 1961. Most of my classmates were children of parents who had never gone to secondary school. Fees were low in the secondary school - about one week's wage for a tradesman at the time - and many of us earned scholarships.

Very few of my cousins had a full secondary education but for my mother it was all-important that we got that chance. It was she rather than my father who was the driving force here, though he was fully in agreement with her. I'm very grateful to both of them for that, among many other things.

After my mother's death I could see signs of what I call the 'thoughtfulness' of God. I was studying in the USA at the time, already a priest, and the previous Christmas had an unexpected opportunity to spend six weeks at home in Dublin.
I remember on one occasion, when I think my mother was present, preaching about the Resurrection. I truly believed what I was saying but it was only at her death that my faith in the Resurrection moved from my head to my heart. I knew the truth of it with my whole being. My fahter had a similar experience during the funeral Mass. Within hours of my getting the news of my mother's death I felt a deep peace and an awareness that she had completed what God had asked her to do. I learned that she had been living to see my ordination, which took place on 20 December 1967. She had chronic bronchitis since the time I was about four.

My mother had a lovely singing voice and appeared in many amateur productions in her younger days. She was a great fan of Canadian singer Deanna Durbin who had a beautiful, pure soprano voice. I often heard Mam talk about a movie in which Deanna starred, Three Smart Girls, made in 1936 when the singer was only 15. My mother would always smile when she recalled the film. But it was in a sequel made in 1939, Three Smart Girls Grow Up, that Mam found her party piece, Because:

May you be part of the heavenly choir, Mam!

24 April 2008

Ice-cream melts divisions

Good Friday this year was the tenth anniversary of what's known by some as 'The Belfast Agreement' and by others as 'The Good Friday Agreement' which has led to peace in Northern Ireland. You could also say that it has led to peace in the United Kingdom, of which Northern Ireland is part.

But there are many very human factors that led to the present situation. Five or six years ago a friend of mine from the Convent of Mercy in Downpatrick, County Down, Sister Perpetua, attended a funeral in what is said to be the most Protestant town in Northern Ireland, Donaghadee. The Catholic church is in a backstreet and the funeral was that of an old Italian who had owned an ice-cream parlour in the town. I'll call him 'Gino' since I don't remember his name.
Sister Perpetua was afraid that there would be very few at the funeral. However, the church was packed. The man beside her told her that he was a Protestant. 'When I was a child', he said, 'our family were poor. Whenever my father brought us to Gino's, even if he couldn't afford to buy some for each of us, none of us ever left without ice-cream. That's why I'm here, Sister'.

Gino had migrated to Northern Ireland to sell ice-cream. I wonder if he ever knew that he was one of those of whom Jesus said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers'?

17 April 2008

What really happens in abortions

John Smeaton, Director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in the United Kingdom, posted a video the other day on his blog. The video shows Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, showing clinically, in the best sense of that word, how D&E (dilation and evacuation) abortions are performed. Here is the video:

The Priests for Life website has that video along with another in which Father Pavone shows how the suction method of abortion is done:

This is not, as Father Pavone shows in both videos, a 'Catholic thing'. This is as factual as a biology class in which a frog or cat is dissected, except that in this case it is a human being made in the image of God and with all its potential whose life is being destroyed.

16 April 2008

Benedict XVI's Marital Take on Peace

Zenit carries this report today:

Pope Links Marriage to the Global Issues, Says Institute

MANASSAS, Virginia, APRIL 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).

A new analysis shows an unusual twist Benedict XVI has given to talk of how to end global conflicts: He says respect for marriage is essential if the world wants to achieve peace.

"Pope Benedict XVI on Marriage: A Compendium" was published by the Virginia-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy on the eve of the Holy Father's U.S. visit.

The study finds that in his nearly three-year pontificate, Benedict XVI has spoken publicly about marriage on 111 occasions, connecting marriage to such themes as human rights, world peace, and the conversation between faith and reason.

Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, said, "Over and over again he has made it clear that the marriage and family debate is central -- not peripheral -- to understanding the human person, and defending our human dignity.

"The analysis notes the Pope's comments on such occasions as receiving the credentials of the new U.S. envoy to the Holy See, and his message for this year's World Day of Peace.

It refers to a Sept. 21, 2007, papal address, when Benedict XVI said: "There are those who maintain that human reason is incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore of pursuing the good that corresponds to personal dignity. There are some who believe that it is legitimate to destroy human life in its earliest or final stages. Equally troubling is the growing crisis of the family, which is the fundamental nucleus of society based on the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman.

"Experience has shown that when the truth about man is subverted or the foundation of the family undermined, peace itself is threatened and the rule of law is compromised, leading inevitably to forms of injustice and violence.

"The institute acknowledged that listing marriage as a requirement for world peace may "strike American ears as an oddity." But, it affirmed, "If so Benedict has made clear it is not an unintentional one."

Gallagher contended: "The short pontificate of Benedict XVI is already a standing rebuke to those voices of our time who seek to make us ashamed or embarrassed of caring about marriage and sexual issues, who try to get us to view the contemporary marriage debate as merely a distraction from more important issues.

"She affirmed that the Pope "clearly connects life and marriage, the human person in the human family, with the most fundamental international issues of peace and human rights facing our times."

Any comments?

13 April 2008

Good Shepherd Sunday: a Prayer for Priests

I received this prayer the other day from a contemplative nun, now in her latter years, who wrote a series of meditations for Misyon under the name 'A Hidden Pearl'. (We're still working to get our full archive online). Sister belongs to the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters), known as the 'Pink Sisters' from the habit they wear. They have more than 200 sisters in six monasteries here in the Philippines and more than 70 Filipino sisters in monasteries in Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Togo, Netherlands, Germany , Poland and the USA.

I do not know the source of the prayer, which Sister sent me in her own handwriting.

Please remember us priests in a special way today.

Prayer for Priests

Divine Heart of Jesus, we adore you, we praise you, we thank you for your infinite mercy, compassion and love for your priests.

Assist them to become more and more like you, the Good Shepherd, in whom the tenderness of the Father's care, the glory of your Cross, and the love of the Holy Spirit shine forth in their priestly hearts, and their holiness draw more souls to your loving Sacred Heart.

Through Mary, Mother of priests, Mother of the Church, may our priests be shining witnesses of your light, love and life, drawing all to your Real Presence in the Sacrament of Love and Hope. Amen.

11 April 2008

Is there a link between abortion, violent language and violent crime?

Jeff Randal in an article in today's Daily Telegraph, London, quotes the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Sir Jonathan Sacks: 'We are living through the death of civility … Today, it is commonplace to encounter road rage, muggings, street crime, drunkenness, lager louts, hoodies, yobbishness and laddishness. Teachers are attacked in the classroom. Nurses encounter violence from patients'.

Jeff Randal continues, 'The death of civility? I'm afraid so. The liberal revolution of the Sixties, which separated morality from law, is leading us, says Sacks, to "a new form of barbarism". The view that "it's legal, so I can do it" is destroying the fabric of social harmony. Manners are disappearing, along with courtesy and shame'.

There's a clear increase in violent crime, involving guns or knives, in both Ireland and Britain in recent years and I've noticed in Ireland an increasing gratuitous coarseness in language over the years, not to mention the use of words that were previously taboo on radio, TV and in movies. I remember reading With a Machine Gun to Cambrai by George Coppard. He was one of the few ordinary soldiers to write about his experience in the Great War (1914-1918). He had a few pages about the soldiers' language. When they were engaged in fighting at the front it was extremely primitive, with the 'f'' word prevailing. However, when they moved from the front their language became less coarse. His interpretation was that language reflects the world we live in. Violent language reflects violence. The front in World War I was hell and the soldiers' language reflected that, even though the war also produced some sublime poetry.

Jeff Randal's article suggests a direct link between the availability of abortion, which is the direct killing of an unborn child, an act of ultimate violence, even if legal, and the rise in mindless violence among young people in certain parts of Britain. I was studying in a Catholic college in New York between 1968 and 1971. During that time the New York State Legislature made what amounted to abortion-on-demand legal in the State. This was before the US Supreme Court interpreted the US Constitution perversely, in the deepest sense of that word, to make the same legal everywhere in the USA under the name of 'privacy' (Roe v Wade). But after the New York decision one student, a young woman, wrote in the college paper, 'Now we have another way to solve our problems' - in another words, what Rabbi Sacks was saying, 'It's legal, so I can do it'.

Jeff Randall ends his article thus: 'The state protects Abu Qatada, but not semi-formed babies. Their lives are no longer precious, not even cheap. They are deemed to be worthless.

'When our legal system loses its moral compass, it is only to be expected that on the mean streets of Britain many impressionable children will do the same.'

Any comments?

08 April 2008

'Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest imperative of the 21st century'

'Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest imperative of the 21st century'

This not a quote from Pope Benedict XVI, though he has been saying the same thing, but from Mark Pickup, whose article 'Light of Christ lends hope as I travel down a dark road', I posted yesterday. Mark is a Canadian with MS who has two blogs, one under his own name, the other being 'HumanLifeMatters'.

Mark graciously commented on my post. He writes with authority, as he has had multiple sclerosis (MS) for many years. This is how he describes himself:

About Me

I have been married to wife LaRee for 33 years. We have two children and five grandchildren.

InterestsI am disabled (triplegic) with advanced multiple sclerosis. As my disability increases I have become interested in discovering Christian meaning in suffering. My priorities are faith family and sanctity of human life. I will dedicate whatever energies I have left to these things. I am now convinced that if a society does not embrace the sanctity, dignity and equality of all human life (and North American society does not) then any barbarity is possible. A truly civilized society includes in its tender embrace every human life. This includes every child developing in the womb those people with mental or physical disabilities those with terminal conditions derelicts the old and people who are not wanted or even loved by anyone.

Impossible you say? Perhaps but I'm a sucker for hopeless causes. Perhaps it comes from having what many consider a hopeless disease. Love is what defines enlightened and civilized society. But love needs the divine. The brotherhood of man needs the Fatherhood of God. Love without God becomes selective, coercive and arbitrary -- turning lives of the weakest into hell on earth. It was because of this hard-won understanding that I founded of the Christian disability organization HumanLifeMatters (see www.HumanLifeMatters.ca .) Yes I am convinced that human enlightenment is impossible without God. Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest imperative of the 21st Century.

Notice that last sentence: Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest imperative of the 21st century.

Another Priest Murdered in Iraq

Father Youssef Adel, a priest of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, was buried on Sunday in Iraq after having been murdered. His funeral was attended not only by those of his own church but also by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, and by Cardinal Emmanueal III Delly of the Chaldean Catholic rite, to which most Iraqi Catholics belong. Only recently he buried Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who died after being kidnapped.

The Christians of Iraq need our prayers.

7 April 2008 Iraq

All the Christian denominations at funeral for slain priest Yesterday at Saints Peter and Paul in Baghdad, the funeral was held for Youssef Adel, killed Saturday by unknown persons. Also present at the function, the Vatican nuncio and Cardinal Delly. The plan to drive Christians out of Iraq could be part of a more general strategy of Shiite supremacy in the Middle East.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - There is a climate of "great fear" in the Iraqi Christian community in Baghdad, where the funeral was held yesterday for the Assyrian Orthodox priest, Youssef Adel, killed in cold blood last April 5 in the capital. The funeral, in the church of Saints Peter and Paul in the neighbourhood of Karrada, was celebrated by the Assyrian Orthodox archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, Saverius Jamil Hawa. Various members of the faithful and religious representatives from all the Christian denominations were present, including Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, the Assyrian Catholic bishop of the capital, the patriarch of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the apostolic nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt.

The full report is here.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Japanese Parishes

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst" (Jn 6:35).

These words are used in today's gospel. Here's a story by Columban priest in Japan that is appropriate. You can find it in its original format here from the May 2005 issue of Columban Mission, the magazine of the Columbans in the USA.

The Power Of Adoration

A conversation leads to a decade-long adoration of the Holy Eucharist in five Japanese parishes.

By Fr Harry O'Carroll

It was autumn of 1983 when I had a chat outside our little church with one of the prominent ladies in the parish of Koshi in Kumamoto City. She was worried about her teen-age daughter, who suffered from some mild physical handicaps. I asked her if she ever went before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and shared her worries with Him. “What?” she said in a shocked voice. “Surely you don’t believe that!”

That was the end of our chat! I was stunned. Here was one of the leading members of the parish community, and she did not believe in the real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. How many more were like her?

As a means of deepening faith in the Blessed Sacrament, and as an act of reparation, we decided to hold a quiet hour of adoration every Thursday evening for those who were interested.
The next Thursday, a few people in the softly lit, silent church adored the Sacred Host exposed on the altar.

Within a year, Koshi joined with two other parishes to form the new Musashigaoka Parish. We moved to a big, new church and presbytery. The adoration moved with us.
After awhile, we started a study group that began each evening in a room just off the chapel where the adoration was winding down. An interesting thing happened: people who came to the study group a bit early would sit in the soft silence until the meeting started. They then began to come earlier and earlier until eventually they were there at the start of the adoration.
Sitting quietly every week before our Lord gave them the gift of deep faith. All were baptized and became powerful Christians. Soon, the adoration attracted Christians from the other parishes in the city. It was obvious that Our Lord was pouring wonderful gifts on those who came to spend time in His presence.

Inspired Foolishness

While vacationing in my native Ireland, I spent a lot of time with family members in Letterkenny, which was one of the first places in Ireland to hold perpetual adoration in the parish. The adoration goes on day and night, except for weekends.
Soldiers, farmers, policemen, nurses, shopkeepers, doctors, housewives, students and retired folks take responsibility for every hour. I often would drop in and started thinking how we could do this in Japan. Most of our parishes are too small to contemplate around-the-clock adoration, but I thought we could do it if the Kumamoto City’s five parishes cooperated.

The five churches have a great history of cooperation and are blessed with wonderful lay leaders who thought the perpetual adoration was a great idea. The plan was developing smoothly until they realized that we weren’t talking about one week, but about an adoration that lasted for years.

Once they got over that shock, however, they were twice as enthusiastic. Perhaps it was the apparent foolishness of the whole thing. Imagine asking people to get out of their beds on a winter’s night to spend an hour in some church week after week. Only God could inspire such foolishness!

‘An Indispensable Part’

On August 15, 1995, Japan was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. We decided that instead of giving a halfhearted tip of the hat to the occasion with yet another “event,” why not begin the perpetual adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament day and night for peace in our lives, families, country and world? That was how the idea was sold. One of the five parishes, the Kengun Parish of St. Columban, already had a small Blessed Sacrament chapel, which was easy to heat and cool.

The public transportation trams and buses stopped right outside, so it became the center for the adoration.

We had to get permission from the bishop, who could hardly refuse. He came to me quietly and asked me to do my best to keep it going for six months. I guess he was afraid it would be a flop, and that, of course, would be a big loss of face.

However, with the powerful grassroots work of the lay leaders and the generous cooperation of other Christians, Sisters from local convents and many priests, the adoration was launched on August 15 nearly ten years ago—ten years of prayer for peace and all the other things people pray about.

“How is the adoration going?” I asked Takagi Hiroshi-san, a retired businessman who began the practice with some misgivings.

“To tell you the truth,” he said, “it has become an indispensable part of my week.”

Kobayashi-san, an elderly lady, quite crippled by arthritis, faithfully kept her weekly appointment with our Lord.

On ordinary days, even walking to the bus stop was out of the question for her.
“Every week when the day for adoration comes, I am always blessed with a strange strength to walk to and from the bus,” she wrote.

Both parishioners now continue their perpetual adoration of Our Lord in Heaven.

As parishioners have aged and died, the adoration is now only a 24-hour session each Thursday. Some churches outside Kumamoto City also began the practice of having a few hours of perpetual adoration one day a week.

In the small mountain parish of Hitoyoshi, where I am now, the adoration takes place from 1 to 5 every Saturday afternoon.

Our Source Of Energy

One of the sad facts of our world today is the apparent loss of faith in the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist and the great decline in Mass attendance. St. John Vianney said, “to sustain the soul in the pilgrimage of life, God looked over creation, and found nothing that was worthy of it. He then turned to Himself, and resolved to give Himself. O my soul, how great thou art, since nothing less than God can satisfy thee!”

This is surely the faith and perception of those who participate in the growing phenomenon of Eucharistic adoration worldwide.

Why go to Mass on Sunday? You could say that for those with faith, no answer is necessary, while for those without faith, no answer is possible. You also could say that if we believe, then the question might well be why we aren’t at Mass every day. A Protestant gentleman once told me, “If I could believe what Catholics believe, I would never leave the chapel.”

The Eucharist is the food and source of energy for our Christian life. Mother Teresa’s Sisters begin their day with Mass and an hour’s adoration. She said, “We go to meet Christ in the Eucharist before we go out to meet Him on the streets.”

I don’t know where that lady with the handicapped daughter is now on her journey of faith, but I believe what she set in motion that day has turned into a magnificent gift of prayer and praise throughout our neck of the woods. Yes, God is great!

Columban Father Harry O’Carroll of Ireland was ordained in 1969 and first went to Japan on mission the following year.

07 April 2008

From Barbershop Quartets to a Beatified Emperor

The other day I posted a video of the finale from The Music Man. One of the great songs from the film was 'Lida Rose' sung by the Buffalo Bills, a barbershop quartet. Barbershop singing is very popular in the USA. Barbershop singing is tuneful, with great harmony and brings people together. Here are the Buffalo Bills singing 'Lida Rose' in The Music Man:

Perhaps the best known barber in the world of entertainment was the late Perry Como, who kept his membership of the barbers' union till the day he died. During sojourns in the USA and Canada the barbers I went to were all Italians, either from Italy itself or first-generation North Americans. Here's vido of Perry Como singing with the Buffalo Bills in 1958. I'm not sure of the theology of 'If You Were the Only Girl in the World', which dates from 1916, but it's always been a favourite of mine, as it was of my parents.

You can access a recording of the song made in 1916 by Violet Lorraine and George Robey here.

This is from http://www.firstworldwar.com/ , a marvellous website for anyone interested in that awful event.

This same website has a number of recordings of the voice of Blessed Karl of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria and the last King of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovania. This was recorded on 16 February 1916 when Karl, not yet emperor, gives his formal blessing to the Imperial Austrian Fund established to aid military widows and orphans.

I had no idea when starting this post that the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet would lead to Blessed Karl of Austria! And I've just discovered that the Barbershop Harmony Society will be 70 years old on 11 April.

'Light of Christ lends hope as I travel down a dark road'

I have had a number of close friends with multiple sclerosis (MS). Some are no longer around, others are battling away. It's a sickness about which much is known but for which there is yet no medical breakthrough. It's much more common in cooler climates than in the tropics. Yet it occurs in the Philippines.

One friend who died on 28 September in Ireland was Columban Father Joe Murtagh, ordained in December 1952, and just a few months short of 80. Father Joe spent all his missionary life in Mindanao and retired to Ireland only about three years ago. He had MS for nearly 30 years and it was initially mis-diagnosed. He continued to minister to people as long as he could. When he died at St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, County Meath, some of the kitchen staff from eastern Europe cried their hearts out because of the kindness they had experienced from him, despite the fact that he was in a wheelchair, though he was mobile until near the end.

More than once I have seen persons taking care of sick people being strengthened by their patients, even when the latter need full-time care for everything.

Mark Pickup is a Canadian with MS and a man of faith as this article from the Western Catholic Reporter shows. Mark begins his article thus:

Although my body is broken and wounded by advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), a light of hope in Christ sustains me. I depend upon an electric wheelchair for movement but my dark road still leads to a new horizon. A morning prayer proclaims:

Lord Jesus, you are the rising Sun, the first fruits of the future resurrection. Grant that we may not sit in the shadow of death but walk in the light of life. Christ, King of Glory, be our light and our joy.

He is the future resurrection but I can live in the present basking in his light. Despite increasingly profound disability (only my left arm is unaffected by disease), I know that just as my Redeemer lives, so shall I. Even though my body is being slowly and steadily destroyed, I will be brought forth as gold.

Like Job, I live with the hope that even though I may die, in my flesh I shall be made new to see God as he is.

03 April 2008

'Obama's Abortion Extremism'

I found this column by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post, dated 2 April 2008, through Catholic World News.

One quote from the column:

But Obama's record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion -- a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called "too close to infanticide." Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy -- hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.

'76 Trombones' for Someone Special

Today is the birthday of a very special person, Mrs Salvacion 'Salving' Tinsay Valderrama, here in Bacolod City, Philippines, where I'm based. Recently there was a big party to celebrate her 25 years of involvement with the Deaf. She has also raised, in a nursery in her own home, children who were left on her doorstep.

You can read an article I wrote about Salving here.

Salving has been fighting cancer for the last three years. Please keep her in your prayers.

I found this video, the finale of that great movie, The Music Man, which is particularly appropriate for Salving's birthday:

02 April 2008

'Wilberforce Would Join the Anti-abortion Fight'

totalCATHOLIC.com carries a story about the great, great-grandson of William Wilberforce

Wilberforce would join the anti-abortion fight
Published on 31 March 31 2008

A descendant of legendary anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce has said that if his ancestor was alive today, he would be campaigning against abortion. Fr Gerard Wilberforce, a priest of the Diocese of Plymouth, England, is the great, great-grandson of the renowned human rights champion.

Read the full story here.

Clinton and Obama challenged on pro-abortion stance

Lifenews.com carries an article by Steven Erfelt which shows that the abortion rate among African-Americans is much higher than among any other ethnic group in the USA.

Barack Obama, African-American Leaders Must Confront High Abortion Figures

by Steven Ertelt LifeNews.com Editor March 24, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A leading African-American pro-life advocate says Barack Obama and other black leaders must confront the phenomenon of black women having abortions at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts. Instead of advocating more abortions, the leader says Obama and others should promote alternatives.

Walter Hoye, who heads community relations at the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church of Berkeley, California, told LifeNews.com about the problem.

Hoye points to new statistics published in January by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research affiliate of Planned Parenthood. (Note: this is a pro-abortion group.)

AGI found black women were 4.8 times as likely as non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion.

Though the total number of abortions on women overall has decreased nationwide, the total number of abortions in the African-American community has gone up.

AGI showed 683,294 abortions on black women in 2005 or 56% of all legal abortions done across the country. Ultimately, from 2000 to 2005, the total number of abortions performed on black women rose 153,040 during that time period.

"These numbers represent an average annual increase of 30,608 aborted black babies per year or an annual daily increase of 84 aborted black babies per day," Hoye told LifeNews.com.
To bring the figures into perspective, Hoye examined population data and found that the number of abortions on black women and babies annually "is the equivalent of killing more than the entire African-American population of Oakland, California, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia combined."

Hoye, who heads the Issues for Life Foundation, calls for all African-American leaders to do the math and understand the impact of abortion on the African-American community.
"Abortion is the Darfur of the African-American community. We must work together towards ending abortion," he said.

Hoye asked Obama and other black leaders to promote the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business that has numerous abortion centers in predominantly black communities.

He also called for African-Americans to support pro-life candidates and for the promotion of post-abortion programs to help the high number of black women having repeat abortions to stop the cycle.

"With an estimated 1,900 black babies being aborted every day, African-American leaders must do the math, understand the impact of abortion on the African-American community," Hoye concluded.

Related web sites:Issues for Life Foundation - http://www.issues4life.org/


Meanwhile, Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania will not be attending the graduation ceremony at Mercyhurst College, a 'Catholic' institution in his diocese, because of their invitation to Senator Hilary Clinton to speak there. Her pro-abortion position is well known. This report from Erie Times-News includes quotes of people with the usual cliches about 'different points of view' and so on, as if the Church was never founded by Jesus Christ and given the mandate to preach the Gospel, to preach and teach the truth, cliches about 'one-issue politics', as if killing unborn children was in the same category as smoking in no-smoking areas.