Friday, October 18, 2013

Two Years Ago We Learned a Lesson about Down Syndrome

Two years ago, in October 2011, Dr Brian Skotko published the results of his survey of families of people with Down syndrome. It proved that the overwhelming experience of raising a child with Down syndrome is one of happiness, pride, love and transformation. Read Dr Peter Saunder's comments on the survey in the British Blog Christian Medical Comment. and on Life News.

Among older siblings, 88% felt that they were better people because of their siblings with DS, and more than 90% planned to remain involved in their sibling’s lives as they became adults. The vast majority of brothers and sisters described their relationship with their sibling with DS as positive and enhancing.
In the second study parents of children with Down’s syndrome (DS) were asked how they felt about their lives. Of the 2,044 respondents, 99% reported that they loved their son or daughter; 97% were proud of them; 79% felt their outlook on life was more positive because of them; 5% felt embarrassed by them; and 4% regretted having them.
The overwhelming majority of parents surveyed reported that they were happy with their decision to have their child with DS and indicated that their sons and daughters were great sources of love and pride.
But the third study was most interesting of all as it explored the self-perceptions of children with Down’s syndrome.
At the same time as Dr Skotko's survey was published, the new prenatal tests to detect Down syndrome were rolled out, the first being MaterniT21, which use a sample of the mother's blood and, in the 10-12th week of pregnancy can give a probability of Down syndrome approaching 99% according to the manufacturer. These are meant only to screen high risk women to send them on to have amio, however, its widely believed that many women may abort their children with Down syndrome based upon this and similar tests.
Of 284 people with Down’s syndrome (DS), ages 12 and older who were surveyed, nearly 99% indicated that they were happy with their lives, 97% liked who they were, and 96% liked how they looked.
In his first study , 822 brothers and sisters were asked about their feelings and perceptions toward their sibling with Down’s syndrome (DS).
More than 96% of brothers/sisters who responded to the survey indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with DS; and 94% of older siblings expressed feelings of pride. Less than 10% felt embarrassed, and less than 5% expressed a desire to trade their sibling in for another brother or sister without DS.

Nearly 99% people with DS expressed love for their families, and 97% liked their brothers and sisters. A small percentage expressed sadness about their life.

Yet, at the same time, new prenatal screening tests for Down syndrome, the first being MaterniT21 were made available to the public. These tests can with high accuracy, diagnose several genetic conditions ,among them Down syndrome.  So we got good news just in time for a potential spike in abortions as more mothers avail themselves of these early tests which require only a sample of the mother's blood.

This was a cruel juxtapositon of events, especially knowing that the public would be much better informed about the prenatal tests than Dr Skotko's survey.
But I didn't take it quietly, I blogged about Dr Skokto's information, and then, I published my own testimony, "A Special Mother is Born", the very same week.

We have the information we need to make good decision, life affirming choices and avoid the ones which will destroy us and our families. But will we listen?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Scalfari Did Not Record Interview with Pope Francis, I Would!

As of this week, I have been writing for seven years. I began on this blog and quickly expanded to writing articles online and in print, and editing a book of 34 stories from parents of special needs children. I never took a journalism course, because I was an English major and avid reader. But I admit there are a few finer points of journalism I might not understand, however I understand the ethics of journalism.

Number one rule of journalism, if you are going to quote someone, QUOTE THEM ACCURATELY!

I have been honored to interview movie stars, producers and politicians. My reputation as a journalist restsupon my integrity. If I were to interview an incredibly important international figure, like, say the Pope.
I would record the interview (on multiple devices) and take notes.

Got that?

But according this report, 88 year old Italian journalist Scalfari did neither.

Respected French Vatican writer Jean-Marie GuĂ©nois confirmed with Scalfari that he didn’t tape the interview, nor did he take notes, so the text was an after-the-fact reconstruction.

I am dumbfounded and outraged as I think of all the Catholic writers who are parsing every single word in that interview without taking this into consideration. I would hate to answer to God about why I misquoted the Holy Father and misled millions of Catholics. I think Scalfari owes us and the Pope an apology. 

AND if you ever read this, Your Holiness, and want to grant me an interview, I promise to record the interview and take notes. 
Read more about the interview in Catholic World Report. 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

John Elefante - "This Time" (OFFICIAL VIDEO @JohnElefante)

Help Austin Ruse save kids with Down syndrome

Read on to find out why...

The devil wants them dead. Who? Children with Down Syndrome.
Why would the devil want them dead?
Because they are messengers sent from God to teach us about love.
First, they are joyful people.
Sure they have bad days like all of us. But for the most part, they are happy and joyful people and so loving it would knock your socks off. They love unconditionally. The devil really hates that. He hates that the most.
Second, they teach us how to love.
Its a hard thing to think about raising and caring for a person with Down Syndrome. It is a lifetime of work and frankly it scares those faced with such a task. But, what parents and siblings of such children tell you, it is an amazing experience. It brings you out of yourself. They teach you the joys of sacrifice. And the devil hates that. He hates it when people learn to sacrifice for others. The devil hates it when place ourselves second or third or fourth.
This is why up to 90% of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are killed by the abortionists knife. The devil wants that. He likes that.
So, what are we going to do to help them?
We are going to become their friends and supporters. We will make lifelong friends with them and help them and their families through life.
We are going to be an example to the world but even more than that, we are going to be an example to that mother who gets the diagnosis today and who is even now contemplating abortion that little messenger of God. The devil likes that.
There is an organization that the devil hates and I am helping them. It is called Best Buddies International.
Best Buddies raises up friends for those with Down Syndrome. Best Buddies is active in high schools, colleges and communities all across this land and to points overseas.
Best Buddies is one of the most amazing organizations that I know of.
That is why on October 19, my friends and I are climbing our out-of-shape bodies onto bicycles and riding 62 miles through the mountains of Norther Virginia, to raise money for Best Buddies and to give the devil a black eye.
There is a very good chance I will be the number one fundraiser this year. Right now I am in second place.
There is a very good chance that our team (C-FAM/Lejeune) will place third and possibly second ahead of more than a dozen corporate teams.
We cannot do this without your help. Please go to,1mzcf,4t6x,iq8x,etzb,2j6l,cdul and donate to this worthy cause.
If you file taxes in the US, your donation is 100% tax deductible. Can you help us with a donation of $500? How about $100? $50? Really any amount will do.
I really need your prayers, too, not only that I will reach my personal goal of $25,000 but that I will complete this monster ride. I went on a training ride this weekend. We road 32 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation and I have to admit, it was really really tough.
I am willing to make this minor sacrifice in order to give the devil and black-eye and to help a child with Down Syndrome and her family!
Many many thanks.
Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse
Publisher/Friday Fax
PS If I am the highest fundraiser, when they give me the mic at the awards ceremony, I will dedicate my ride to all those precious children with Downs who have been aborted. We can never forget them. We can never give up trying to save them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pope Francis speaks on homosexuality in Jesuit Magazine.

Raymond Arroyo posted this on Facebook

Pope Francis on the Church's "small-minded rules" and his outreach to gays:
“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds...
"In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this.During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person."

From the new extended interview granted to Jesuit Magazines, released today.

Here is my take.
Too often the position of the Church, that homosexual actions is sinful, alienates the person struggling with same sex attraction, and he or she does not seek healing and confession, feeling rejected. What have we gained if he or she doesn't return to the Church? Is that what Christ died for, to alienate the sinner who then seeks refuge in his sin?

My friend, married for several years, the father of several children and an active member in lay ecclesial movements, experienced a severe crisis in his family, a double murder of those closest to him. His reaction was to return to the sin he thought he had overcome by himself; homosexual relations. Fr Harvey of Courage offered to personally counsel him and his wife. For some reason it didn't happen, and an opportunity to save a family was lost. This man was a leader in the Church, a great husband and father who carried a deep wound not one of us who cared for him knew about. Fr Harvey's offer to counsel him did not include, I am sure, finger wagging in his face, nor would it include justification of his sin, as I suspect some clergy had done for him. I feel that it would have led to healing and a repentant sinner who could witness to others. 

But now Fr Harvey is with the Lord, the family lives in the same house, on different floors and is in constant acrimony. No one attends Mass anymore, and they seek consolation in the world. . I pray for them and ask Fr Harvey's intercession for healing.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Night of Love in New York City as Fr George Rutler Remembers 9/11

Mme Lejuene addressed the gathering. 
I had just finished radiation for a melanoma in my eye, but I was determined not to miss an opportunity to meet with my friends at the Lejeune USA reception at the French Embassy in New York City. Tired from the treatments, I travelled from Boston with my daughter's help. We arrived in the warm summer rain, stopping for a slice of authentic New York pizza on our way to the French Embassy on Central Park East. We walked past elegant designer shops featuring cocktail dresses and bridal gowns, umbrellas aloft, until we were welcomed into the majestic building across from the Park.
At first, my daughter and I were awestruck by the Embassy's elegance: soaring, frescoed ceilings, marble foyers, and dramatic two story windows framed by velvet draperies. Waiters proffered champagne flutes and savory hors d'oeuvres. World-renowned scientists chatted with businessmen and clergy while well-dressed children whose almond eyes bore the signature of an extra chromosome, darted between adults.

But what instantly made me feel at home was the love which which permeated the gathering.

Dr William Mobley and LeticiaVelasquez.
Dr William Mobley mentioned it when he discussed his award winning research to overcome the cognitive delays inherent with Down syndrome. In her years at school, my 11 year old daughter Christina lost her ability to speak fluently, and has only learned to read nine words due to these delays, so I expected to hear a detailed scientific discussion about his research. But this night, I heard him talk about the love our children have shared with us, and how we learned from them how to give love. I saw Lejeune USA Pressident Mark Bradford and French Foundation director Thierry de la Villejegu who fiercely embraced me and thanked me for my writing.  I understood, we were united in this intense emotion because we loved our children and wanted them to have the best in their lives, and to make certain that more babies are born to live out the lives God intends them to lives as we give expectant mothers hope for their children's future.

Love was indeed the theme that evening. Those of us who have worked to support the research and improve the public understanding of Down syndrome, separately met, shook hands and became friends. I was honored to thank, once again, the widow of my hero, Dr Jerome Lejeune,
Mme Lejeune and Leticia.

Madame Berthe Lejeune, for her sacrifice as the wife behind the great man during his lifetime, and as the President of Fondation Lejeune after his death. I met columnist and fathers of daughters with Down syndrome, Matthew Hennessy, and Kurt Kondrich, and was able to thank Stephanie Hall Meredith for her work with The Human Development Institute.
 I had very little time to meet everyone there who has done great work advocating for those with Down syndrome, but the man I met as we left the Embassy surprised me by his presence.

Fr George Rutler, so impressive in his EWTN series "Christ in the City" was quietly waiting for his coat when I boldly asked him the question which had been on my mind every anniversary of 9/11. "Father, I heard that you gave general absolution to the first responders entering the Twin Towers on 9/11. Is that true?" He looked at me a bit startled at the question, seemly out of nowhere,  then his eyes took a distant look as he began to relive the tragic events which he witnessed firsthand as a priest in New York City who instantly rushed to the scene.

 I quickly regretted reviving those painful memories, as a tear welled up in his eye, but he didn't seem to mind recalling that day, painful as it was. He affirmed that he had indeed given wartime absolution to those entering the Towers, because, as he said, we were at war, suddenly and unexpectedly in our own land. But Fr Rutler refused to dwell on his own vital, soul-saving role in the events of that tragic day. He told me the moving story of the heroism of Fr Mychal Judge, who was killed while hearing the confessions of first responders entering the Towers to their deaths. He recalled how Fr Judge's body was laid at the foot of the altar of old St Patrick's Cathedral downtown, his spilled blood still flowing down the marble steps. A true alter Christus, offering himself to the last drop of blood for Christ's body, the Church. These two priests, like the crowd in the Embassy were about love. Love which doesn't count the cost as it " bears all things, hopes all things. believes all things." (ICor:13:7)
Gabriela and Leticia Velasquez, Mme Lejeune, Dr Elizabeth Rex.
We walked to the subway that evening, quietly reflective in the drumming of the rain on our umbrellas, wishing we knew of an open church to ponder the depth of this evening. We had been in the presence of true heroes, people whose first thought was of giving their time, their treasure, and their very lives for the good of others. My daughter who is becoming a nurse and I were fortunate to have been embraced by such company and rededicated our
efforts in the service of those beautiful people whom God had given us to bless our families.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Please support Team C-FAM/Lejeune as they help Children with Down Syndrome find Mentors

from Austin Ruse of C-FAM

Imagine you are all alone. There are lots of people around you but still you are all alone. No one comes to be your friend. At school you eat alone. After school your only friend is your mom or dad. You see other kids play but none of them come to play with you.

What is wrong with you? Nothing except you have Down Syndrome.

This is the sorry state of affairs for hundreds of thousands of children and adults who have Down Syndrome or other intellectual disabilities. People may think you are strange.They may simply not know how to talk to you. And so they stay away.

Your life can be sad and lonely.

As pro-lifers we know this can be a deadly condition. We know that 80% or more of children with Down Syndrome are aborted.


Because of ignorance. Because mothers know their child may face such a life of loneliness and they simply cannot take it. Or they wonder if they can live up to the needs of such a child.

Happily there is a wonderful organization founded to help people with Down Syndrome find and have friends, friends for a lifetime. This organization therefore helps mothers with babies with Downs in the bellies make the choice for life!

The group is called Best Buddies, an international organization that forms clubs in schools and otherwise trains students and adults how to become friends, lifetime friends, with those with Down Syndrome.

C-FAM and the Friday Fax fully endorse Best Buddies International.

In fact, in October I am climbing on my bicycle and riding 100 kilometers in order to raise money for Best Buddies.

I did this first two years ago in order to lose weight! Ok, it did not really work. But I did become the second highest fundraiser, thanks to your help.

Last year I started a cycling team. We call it C-FAM/Lejeune. We are partnering with the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, which is the largest funder of Down Syndrome research in the world and explicitly pro-life!

Last year C-FAM/Lejeune was the second highest fundraising team. We won the cup for the raising the most of any "independent" team. We beat out major corporations!

We are riding again. Ten of us! And we need your help.

As I promised two years ago and last year, if I win the fundraising cup, in my acceptance speech in front of hundreds of influential people, I will mention the pro-life cause and the plight of children who are aborted in the womb simply for having Down Syndrome! I promise!

We have already taken the pro-life message to this organization. Last year I spent a long time talking to Olympic runner Carl Lewis. He is on the board of directors of Best Buddies. He had never heard that 80% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. He was appalled!

So, I need to raise $30,000 and I need to do it fast. I am competing with some very rich guys who work for big corporations. I can win with your help and if I win, unborn babies win!

So, please go to and give as much as you can.

Can you afford $100? Can you afford $1000? Any amount will help the children with Down Syndrome.

Go to right now. Do not hesitate. Go now.

Please pray for our success. And give as much as you can to help this great cause. By the way, if you file your taxes in the United States, your contributions are tax deductible.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse
Publisher/Friday Fax

PS Do me a favor and send this to your whole address book, to all your family and friends!
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tuff Love Stops a School Shooter

Antoinette Tuff looked at the face of death at the Atlanta school where she is a secretary. The young man was full of hate and without hope. He was also armed with an AK-47 and other weapons. He wanted to die that day and bring as many innocent children with him as possible. It was another Sandy Hook in the making. But this time there was no tragedy. Instead there was peace through a rare type of heroism which the world doesn't understand. Antoinette Tuff stopped the power of hate with a force even more powerful. The power of Christ's unconditional love. With it, she stopped a crazed shooter without pointing a gun. The world is in awe at the unbelievable strength of this modest woman.
What amazed the public is her calm under tremendous pressure, she knew the situation was extremely volatile, and could turn at any moment. Antoinette had fear, as anyone would, but she also had love, and as Scripture says, "Perfect love overcomes fear."
She had an advantage, however. Antoinette Tuff knows where her strength comes from.
"I give it all to God, I'm not the hero, I was terrified."
When the interviewer on the news said, "But you kept it together" She replied, "I don't know how I did" then thought about it and added, "Through His grace and mercy I did.I just explained to him that I loved him. I didn't know his name, I didn't know much about him, but I loved him. And it was scary, because I knew at that moment, he was ready to take my life with his, and if I didn't say the right thing, then we all would be dead."

Antoinette overcame hatred with love, showing compassion to a hurting stranger, letting him know that she too
 has known sorrow. After thirty three years of marriage, she lost her husband, and she, like the shooter felt that no one loved her. She took a chance and shared her pain with the agonizing young man who admitted he was off his medication. She was buying time to give the police a chance to gain control of the situation and secure area, bringing the children to safety.But she was also speaking to a lost sheep, a young man for whom Christ died.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
She knew God's love was stronger than death, and can overcome hatred. She knew that we are commanded to love our enemies.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)

Antoinette Tuff showed the world a dazzling glimpse of that perfection in the most horrifying of circumstances.
Read more here. 
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Does Pope Francis want us to be Poor?

There is a lot of discussion out there that suggests Pope Francis is some type of Liberation Theologian by questioning the luxury cars driven by many Vatican clergy and living his radically different lifestyle at Sta Marta, eating in a cafeteria with the visiting priests, wearing a plain medal Cross, keeping his tattered brown shoes. What is he, some kind of commie? 
No actually, he fought that trend when he was Jesuit superior in Argentina. He knows Christ came to win our souls back from Satan to bring us to Heaven. Period. BUT we have an obligation to remember the poor and adjust our spending to share with them. 

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Its just that Pope Francis, by living so radically, so visually, by his spartan lifestyle, makes it harder for comfortable Catholics to ignore and we are unhappy that our extravagant lifestyle is suddenly in question. I feel it as I consider my purchases, and I hear grumblings from fellow Catholics.

I have had two emotional arguments lately with devout Catholic ladies who resent his asking them to pare down their luxuries, or at least my saying this is a good thing for the entire Church, not an option for the few. This is what terrifies me: when devout Catholic laymen and priests whose blogs have tremendous followings start to disparage what the pope is preaching with his very life in order to preserve a lifestyle which may be a bit too comfy. It only proves him right, we must slim down in order to survive as a Church, to save our very souls. We have become enslaved to comfort which may not last. Look at the world economy, if our faith is to be tested by paring down a few luxuries, what will happen in the event of an economic collapse? Pope Francis lived in Argentina where they used chalkboards to write food prices, so they could raise them several times a day!
Plus I want to pose a challenge to you which the dear ladies could not answer. Name one rich saint. Oh, many started out rich, but to a man, they gave most of their goods to the poor, took up their crosses, and followed Our Lord. Aren't all Catholics called to do the same?

 Folks, this is not original material. We just haven't seen it lived as closely since Mother Teresa was last on earth. She died in 1997, how much have we forgotten in 16 years?

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Daughter of Holocaust Survivor "Addresses" the Mob in the Texas Abortion Hearing

Here is a guest post by a good and brave friend of mine, Peggy Clores whose mother was a Holocaust Survivor.
And so we descend further into the abyss of darkened consciences. I gave you more credit, Ladies.

Throughout these decades of legalized mass murder-55 million Americans that we know about-I have often spoken and written about the fact that when the pictorial records of Hitler's heartless crimes against humanity emerged, the world was aghast that this had happened "on our watch". Repeatedly I have insisted that the pictorial horror of abortion was a critical component in confronting the reality of the pro-choice argument and eliciting the re-assement of consciences.

I was wrong. At least when it came to the consciences of the mob in the Texas chamber and all those in the blogosphere cheering them on.

Only months after the Gosnell "House of Horrors" was made known to the world( by those who still have integrity and right conscience in journalistic reporting) we have this savage display of women screaming for their bloody "rights". That's all we can call it at this point in connection to the 20-week ban they were opposing. What have we become? When my mother watched the Nazi's toss babies in the air and shoot them for target practice or swing them by their feet and bash their skulls against a tree, she could never have envisioned that one day-in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave-that beautiful women who were made for authentic greatness and empowerment would be reduced to this. I used to say "they don't know". They don't know that heads are being ripped off and babies are being tortured in abortion chambers and being flushed down toilets or thrown in the trash.

I can't give you that benefit of the doubt now, Ladies.

Yet all is not lost. Not at all. Just ask any of the countless young women(and men!) who are the survivors of America's Abortion Holocaust -otherwise self-proclaimed The Pro-Life Generation. They know that they have managed to survive a wipe out of one third of their generation! Literally one third. They have heard the grave regrets of the countless physically, psychologically, and spiritually broken women who were victims of mass feminist indoctrination that rivaled any of Hitler's rationalizations for placing millions in ovens. They have witnessed the heroic action on the part of generations of pro-life women and men who have selflessly and sacrificially supported women and their babies and picked up the broken pieces. They understand that the only distinction between Planned Parenthood and the Gosnell clinic is that it is a cleaner "Gas chamber" facility and the largest Abortion Provider in our nation. Period.

Above all, they have seen the pictures and, thanks be to God, find them unconscionable.

In contrast to the uncivilized display inside the Texas Capitol, half a million of them humbly and peacefully march annually in Washington on the anniversary of the day that America lost it's moral compass and sanctioned decades of mass murder.

My dear American sisters, it's time to stop screaming and know that we truly love you. Be not afraid. You deserve better. Much, much, better.


Peggy Clores is a columnist for Amazing Catechists and the Adult Education Co-Coordinator at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Her mother was imprisoned with her siblings in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen from 1943 to 1945. Her grandparents were gassed in the ovens of Auschwitz.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Beauty and the Beast

In the movie, "The Music Within" the true story of disability rights activist Richard Pimentel, a handicapped man is chased from a diner in the 1980's because his condition, cerebral palsy violates the 'ugly' laws. His appearance offended some customers and he was summarily booted from the restaurant. Some have said that about my daughter with Down syndrome. A nurse in the hospital when she was born advised me there was plastic surgery which could 'fix her face'. I was devastated to hear I had a daughter whose face was considered too ugly to be left alone. And she had only just been born.
But in the eleven years of raising her, I have come to love those almond eyes and now we think that our children with Down syndrome have a special winsomeness which makes them particularly lovely.
There is a sweet faced beauty in an aqua t-shirt in this photo, a young woman with a smile and the look of Down syndrome, she's holding what appears to be her mother's hand. Look at the kindness in her face. I would love to know her someday, have her as my daughters' friend.

Now look at the angry, shaven, pierced, mocking woman next to her, in the black sleeveless t-shirt,  holding the offensive sign which reads, "Free abortion on demand without apology". Her face which would normally be considered attractive, is ugly. Beastly even. Because of the offensive sign she carries, her deliverate attempt to dress as a man, her mouth is contorted by hateful speech and I would guess by a lifetime of abuse and sin. She has taken God's gift of  normal chromosomes and good looks and thrown them away in favor of a 'look' which offends God and her fellow demonstrators. Her pain and anger have distorted God's image in her.

Who is beauty and who is the beast?

 Let's pray for both of them, that the lovely woman with Down syndrome can teach the sad demonstrator what love is.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Austin Texas is the Gettysburg of this Century

Today was the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Gettysburg. To honor the dead lost in this tragedy,  President Lincoln took the opportunity to give a speech which resounded in the human heart, the renowned Gettysburg Address, which ended with the words,
Pro-life women supporting the ban on abortion 
" It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
This speech gave heart to a nation losing heart while locked in mortal combat against its own citizens. It hurts to the core to be fighting fellow Americans, and it can make you lose faith in our nation. We needed inspiration from our leader and we got it. He paid the ultimate price with his assassination shortly after the war ended.
The bitterness destroyed Abraham Lincoln but not this nation which survived to become a more just civilization, till 1973 when the Supreme Court in its infamous Roe v Wade decision declared another class of human beings property, as they had done to Dred Scott. Since that time 55 million Americans have lost their lives to abortion, a number in which African Americans are disproportionately represented. We have not grown in virtue since then, but fell into a pit of depravity, where butchers like Kermit Gosnell are permitted to kill live babies with their bare hands and let their mothers languish in filth. We have to shame journalists and legislators to do their duty to report injustice and act to correct it. For awhile it seemed that America was beginning to care about the suffering of babies whose spines were summarily snipped at birth or ripped limb from limb before birth, a few inches making the unthinkable legal. We almost passed a ban on late term abortion last week in the Texas legislature, but in the final three seconds before passing, the shrieks of those who fight for the right to abortion, stopped the bill from protecting the innocent, ironically in the name of women. Led by Wendy Davis a woman who chose life for her child as a single mother and went on to great success, graduating from Harvard Law School and being elected to the State Senate but wants to make a name for herself preserving abortion in the name of women.

Today, at the state capitol building in Austin Texas two sides faced off in equally bitter conflict, though not with arms, with voices. Planned Parenthood and their employees is supporting State Senator Wendy Davis' attempt to filibuster a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, which nowadays is nearly the age of viability, when a child can life outside the womb. The pro-abort side is wearing orange, the pro-life side, blue. You can easily hear who is shouting and who is singing Amazing Grace, the song written by a converted slave trader.
Listen here. And here.
 I find it unthinkable, that a nation noble enough to sacrifice the greatest loss of life in any war of our history for the freedom of the African American slave, and then fight another battle for their full civil rights a century later, allows innocent babies to be vivisected in their mothers' wombs. In the name of women's rights.

Abraham Lincoln would be aghast. We have lost the righteousness we killed each other for in Gettysburg, betraying the 'new birth of freedom'.
Who will emerge as the new leader to help us resurrection our nation from this moral quagmire?

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Are 37% of American Women Stuck Being the Breadwinners in Their Marriage?

My friend Lisa Graas agrees with Fox News Commentator Megan Kelly that it is a major cultural shift. Over half of these women are, as you would expect, single moms who are not getting enough child support. I have written many times about the scandal of the high rates of single parenthood, so I won't address this here. I want to address the 37%  of breadwinners who are married mothers and are perhaps under pressure from their husbands because they make more money. Lisa Graas quoted the Pew Poll;

From the poll, quoted verbatim:

About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.

 I was in that category as a newlywed, pregnant mother. It is a very difficult situation but I found a solution I want to share.

I remember being well employed as a teacher in 1992 while pregnant with my first child. My dear husband was laid off every winter from his construction job (he was an immigrant who had only a GED and few marketable skills, I had a Master's in Education) As a practicing Catholic, I went to a Mother's Retreat and laid my case before God. Within the next month, my husband was offered a job connecting cable TV while our TV was being connected in our living room. My husband was on layoff from work.  Only God could have arranged that! When I was laid off in June, I was able to stay home with my newborn, after having hospital expenses covered by my job and FIVE baby showers.

My husband still works in the cable field, he is now a supervisor with a college degree and I have worked part time teaching at a local college or out of my home as a daycare provider for the past 20 years. We own three homes (two are income properties which we rent out) and are putting our girls through college. Don't ask me how old our cars are or the last time we took a family vacation. Our home is modestly furnished and I do my own house painting and gardening. We made many sacrifices for me to be a full time mom to our three girls. I homeschooled for a dozen years and have a full time volunteer ministry KIDS(Keep Infants with Down Syndrome) and a book (A Special Mother is Born). I only make enough money to cover travel expenses as I spread the word that life is beautiful when you love someone with special needs.

My point is, give your situation to God and be willing to compromise on your luxuries, and you will find time to be present for your children. Motherhood the most important job you will ever have. Your children won't remember how expensive your furniture is but they will remember the fun you had together, riding bikes, baking, or just doing the everyday things. You will have many years after they leave home to buy yourself things, but I suspect they won't replace the joy you experienced in the presence of your family.

"Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul".
 ~ St. Anthony of Padua
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dr Henry Morgentaler dead at 90, Godfather of Abortion in Canada wanted Mother's Love.

He is responsible for the death of millions of unborn babies, both by his own hand and from his relentless activism in support of abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
 He sponsored Canada's abortion policy, which is as broad as that in the USA, abortion throughout all nine months, for any reason whatsoever. For that reason he is called the Godfather of Abortion in Canada. His legacy is one of unspeakable evil.

And he did it all because his Mama loved his baby brother more than he. Really. Even being a survivor of the Holocaust does not seem to have as profound an effect on this twisted soul. He spent years in Freudian therapy to no avail trying to overcome what his young heart perceived as rejection when his mother had a baby.

Don't believe it? Read his own words in an interview quoted by Life Site News.

Morgentaler: 'My whole life has been devoted to doing things to get me the love of women'
Morgentaler is well known for being a philanderer, having been married three times, and having had affairs with many other women while married. "I’d say my whole life has been devoted to doing things to get me the love of women," the abortionist candidly admitted in one clip from a deeply personal interview that aired on CBC in 2008.

When asked why he has had so many relationships over the years, Morgentaler - who told interviewer Evan Solomon later in the interview that he has been receiving Freudian therapy for "a long time" - responded: "What explains it is my inordinate need to be loved by women.
"Some time along my emotional development," he continued, "I got the impression that my mother didn’t love me, because there was a younger baby that she devoted a lot of attention to, which happens in many families I guess. I personally believe that she neglected me and that she didn’t love me. So, to be loved by women was emotionally to me very important."
So his rage at being forsaken for a younger sibling lead to a lifetime of murder. How many abortionists and mass murderers have the same rage against their mothers or fathers? How much pain could those parents have spared the world if they had healed their own wounds and not taken out their own pain on their children? I would not be surprised if we found similar dysfunction in Dr Kermit Gosnell's childhood. Or Adolf Hitler's. So much pain caused by broken hearts of children  who never learn to love.

Please take your parenting role seriously, the hearts and minds and CONSCIENCES you are forming will have a much greater impact on the world than you can imagine.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Where Heaven Meets Earth - Trailer HD (2:15)

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How to Win Hearts with Catholic Apologetics

Micah Murphy has an amusing and instructive post about the frustrating tactics we encounter in the New Evangelization.
Here we are in the midst of the New Evangelization and there are certainly other Pearls before Swine moments out there. Yet it must be possible for a person to prepare their debate opponent with some preliminary points so that they might be more ready for the Gospel. What are these Pearls before Swine moments and is there a way around them?
Note: I use the term “opponent” below technically, not uncharitably. Always be charitable to your opponent. You’re there to help them approach Christ.
And then there is a list of the most common tactics which we encounter.
Here is my answer:

As a pro-life apologist, I have encountered all these and more. But I am not discouraged, because Patrick Madrid once told me, speak to their hearts. That's where true conversion begins, and you may not see the change you make there at first, it may come only after years of reflection about what you and others have said, but if you speak to the heart, you are more likely to be successful at bringing about conversion down the road. Too often their pride keeps them from conceding your point in a debate, but God can penetrate that armor.
Don't forget God is already working on this person and possibly reminding them of your words (IF they were charitable!) over and over again, at opportune moments. That is why I read conversion stories, they give me hope, the person resisted truth for years and one day, one person's word or example was the straw which broke the camel's back.
This is why I met with infamous Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer in the quiet of his office on a Monday morning. I wanted to tell him my daughter with Down syndrome is a wonderful human being who enriches lives all around her, and to challenge his view that she has less value than an animal because of her IQ. I talked to Singer gently but firmly and left him with a copy of my book, 34 stories of Catholic parents who didn't want to raise Special needs children till God showed them what blessings they are (A Special Mother is Born). I still pray for Peter Singer a year later, and look for signs that God has done some work in his soul. Never give up, where there is life, there is hope God can reach a soul. We are only His instruments, He is the Divine Physician and Healer of the heart.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Will Pope Francis be a Liberal or Conservative Pope?

I just watched a round table discussion headed by Chris Matthews with his type of Catholics who are enamored of the symbolism of Pope Francis's actions; taking the bus, walking through the streets to shake hands, etc . They are comfortable as most liberals are with the preferential option for the poor and are hoping against hope that Pope Francis will not be "all about sex as the two previous popes were". They obviously have not been listening to his words where he calls abortion a death penalty and said we should oppose it even if it means being persecuted. Or his assertion that children have a right to a mother and a father, which landed him a rebuke from Argentina's pro-gay marriage president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner. He is outspoken about the travesty of Catholic politicians who vote pro-abortion and present themselves for Holy Communion.
 Our new holy father lives in poverty and defends the rights of the poor, but is very bold in speaking the truth to power.  HuffPo gets it.

Pope Francis is a conservative who is anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption. He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” He has also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children.
But Chris Matthews still thinks by wishing out loud he can influence the millenia old teachings of Christ which the Holy Father is entrusted with. His role is to explain Christianity to each generation in language which helps them to accept it, but some people are more open to learning than others. 
Keep dreaming that you can throw a coin or two at the poor Chris Matthews and continue to live in sexual sin without the Pope's loving correction. But also remember you capitalist types, this pope will challenge your crass materialism. Catholicism has no political party. It is an equal opportunity offender. May this be the Pope make both conservatives and liberals move beyond their comfort zones to encounter Christ, the real Christ, not the one they created in their own likeness. 

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"The Catholic Church wants women to be raped"

You've heard it before, the Pope wants millions to die of AIDS in Africa because he won't condone condoms, the Church protects pedophiles, the Pope resigned because he was about to be arrested. Lies, lies and more lies.They can't make up enough terrible things about the Church to erase her brave stand for morality and human dignity. 
Well, here is the latest lie about the Church coming from the UN and the truth C-FAM director Austin Ruse wants you to know. 

New reports rocketed around the world yesterday saying the Vatican is working with Russia and Iran to stop protections for women in violent situations. They are implying that the Catholic Church does not care about violence against women.
There is a very important meeting going on at the UN right now called the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The purpose of the meeting is to write a document that will later be "ratified" by the UN General Assembly.
This meeting, called the CSW, is always the scene of much maliciousness, often directed at unborn children. The meeting is packed with 6,000 radical feminist activists.
The radicals are reporting, and this has been picked up by the mainstream press, that the Holy See is in cahoots with Iran and Russia to stymie efforts to protect women from violence. The purpose of these false charges is quite clear; it is to hurt the Church and her negotiating position in the current negotiations.
What is really going on is the Vatican is attempting to take abortion-related language out of the document. The Vatican is working with a number of states to remove "reproductive rights" from the document.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Cardinal Sandri calls for larger role for women in the Catholic Church

Women in the priesthood comments are found throughout the media, voiced largely by outsiders to the Catholic Church, either non-Catholics or those who have willingly distanced themselves from the Church, so when I read this headline, my visceral reaction was negative.
"They must have a much more important role in the life of the Church ... so that they can contribute to Church life in so many areas which are now, in part, open only to men ... This will be a challenge for us in the future," added the 69-year-old cardinal, who was interviewed in his office just outside St Peter's Square 

Why should women ask for a ministerial role in the Church; I bristled, what's the matter with the role of life giver and primary educator to future priests? But upon closer reading of the Cardinal's remarks, I softened my tone a bit. He was not suggesting that the Church open the priesthood or even the diaconate to women.
Women deserve to have more key positions in the Vatican administration "where they can make a very important contribution because of their qualifications," Sandri said, adding, "But they must also be co-participants in the dialogue and the analysis of the life of the Church and in (other) areas, even in the formation of priests, where they can play a very, very important role."
Currently, women in the Catholic Church cannot go beyond the position of under-secretary in Vatican departments, the number three post after president and secretary – which are open only to ordained men. At present, only two women are under-secretaries, one a nun and one a lay woman.
It must first be addressed that a majority of the women who have risen to positions of authority in the Church tend to be opposed to an all male priesthood, and the Church's moral teaching, they are largely feminist nuns or laywomen. They  have created a tension in the Church between factions which has not been a means of blessing to put it charitably. A priest friend reported that, while in the seminary, he was subjected to an art show containing obscene images of Our Lady and, when he refused to applaud such an outrage, he was promptly informed that his ordination was in jeopardy by the feminist behind the shameful display.
 This abuse of power by women in the Church is the reason orthodox Catholic women automatically reject the idea of a larger role for women in the Church. Well meaning bishops have allowed such dangerous women to assume leadership of many religious orders and diocesan offices. Catechism and adult faith formation have been deconstructed,  not to mention the decimation of religious orders, Catholic healthcare, and Catholic schools.We saw a sister in charge of the major conglomerate of Catholic hospitals sign on to Obamacare which we know contains mandatory funding and provision of contraception and abortion.

 We who joyfully embrace our Church for her exaltation of the role of women and veneration of the Blessed Virgin as a role model, are often too busy maintaining our Domestic Churches to take on larger roles in the Church. But the Internet can change that, as this blog proves.
 Women who embrace the doctrines of the Catholic Church are speaking out from the keyboards in our homes and, I believe are making a difference in what is said about the Church in the public square. We are giving testimony to the truth of papal documents our feminist forebears reviled for decades, like Humanae Vitae. We are testifying to the joys of family life lived in accordance with the fullness of truth found in the Catholic Church. We love our Church and want to strengthen her.  We have a lot to offer seminarians and even the Vatican, and, in increasing numbers, the Vatican is calling us to offer our experience and opinions. . I  know several women who attended Vatican conferences on women, the family, and social communication.  Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, Lisa Hendey, Elizabeth Scalia, Mary Rice Hasson, Teresa Tomeo, Dr Janet E Smith, Helen Alvare, Pia Solemni, and Kathryn Lopez to name a few. These women and other dynamic women of faith write articles and books, appear on Catholic and secular media, and form the bulwark of the feminine contribution to the New Evangelization.
If the cardinals want to invite women to contribute to the administration of the Church and to offer guidance on what should be part of priestly formation, then I am most enthusiastically in favor of such women having a larger role in the Church. Why wouldn't I, when I began writing seven years ago in order to be a voice in support of the New Evangelization and the Culture of Life? I edited a book,  "A Special Mother is Born"  a collection of 34 stories from Catholic moms (and some dads) on how their children with special needs are blessings for their families, in hopes of addressing Catholic medical personnel, adminstrators, teachers, counselors,  and clergy to help guide them in their ministries to such families.
Our Lord spent the great majority of His life living with his closest family member, the Blessed Mother. She was his first teacher, and set into motion His first public miracle; the changing of water into wine at Cana. May she guide His Body, the Church into accepting women of strong, orthodox beliefs as adminstrators and advisors to help Holy Mother Church develop her quality of maternal tenderness for all her members.
Read the entire article from The Christian Post here. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Prayer for the Conclave to Elect Our New Pope


Heavenly Father, We the People of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history at the beginning of the Third Millennium. We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for the cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse, Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son.
One Our Father, one Hail Mary, one Glory Be

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church
~Pray for us

St. Peter
~Pray for us

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pope Benedict and my Family

Now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."
The Gospel according to Saint John 16:5-13
Jesus knew when it was time to ascend to Heaven and leave His disciples but He sent them His spirit, the Advocate. We can trust that when Pope Benedict leaves the papacy today, that the Holy Spirit which guided the once fearful apostles to the four corners of the earth where they joyfully died for Christ will guide the conclave as they elect a successor to our beloved Pope.
I am sad on the eve of Pope Benedict's departure from the papacy, and yet my heart is full of gratitude for the blessings our family has received from his pontificate.
It began eight years ago on a lovely April morning in 2005, I watched the morning news and told my three girls, "No, it doesn't look like they will be a new pope today." We went to walk the ocean beach near our home on Long Island with our two black Labrador retrievers. A warm breeze cleaned out the winter cobwebs, and when we returned home, the phone was ringing. My breathless friend had wonderful news: Cardinal Ratzinger has been elected our new pope, Pope Benedict XVI! I was delighted since I knew Joseph Ratzinger was my beloved Pope John Paul's closest associate, well familiar with the problems of our Church and devoted to Sacred Tradition as expressed in the Liturgy and the catechism. I knew we could expect great things from this pontificate, however brief. We celebrated his election with all our hearts.
One summer morning, I was in Massachusetts at Morning Star Camp for girls, picking up my daughters from a week with the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an order of sisters who attend the Traditional Mass. We knelt on the soft pine needles beside the outdoor chapel by the lake for Holy Mass, and the priest announced with joy in his voice. "Today the Holy Father has made the Traditional Mass widely available". It was 7-7-07. Soon Mass in the Traditional Form was springing up like spring flowers all over Long Island, and home-schoolers were proud to note that the altar boys were being trained to serve and the girls learning Latin hymns and chants were our children, those who had learned and cherished Church tradition in our homes. Now we had the joy of sharing our love for the beautiful Latin Mass with our friends. We thanked Pope Benedict in our hearts for this great opportunity.
April 2008 found my oldest daughter Gabriela and I traveling to St Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie,  New York with thousands of youth to meet with Pope Benedict who was visiting the USA. We sat in the unseasonably hot sun for hours, waiting for limited food and drink with patience, all the while watching the jumbo trons for a glimpse of the Holy Father. First he came to greet children with disabilities in the Chapel which we watched with anticipation. Here is a photo montage of the event.

And here is an article I wrote for the National Catholic Register entitled, "The Pope of the Young" with interviews of the young people in the montage. The most beautiful rapport developed between the young people surrounding the stage and the Holy Father. But the most touching moment for me, mother to ten year old Christina with Down syndrome, was captured in this news story, in the chapel, a young lady with Down syndrome presented the Holy Father with a gift book, then reached up and encircled him in a bear hug, as we watched in the crowd, many were tearing up at the sight of spontaneous affection. Did you know the Holy Father had a cousin with Down syndrome who was taken from his family as a teenager by the Nazis? I can only imagine how much love he holds in his heart for children like my Christina, they sense it and give him hugs whenever they can. I wrote about it in my book A Special Mother is Born.
My family was touched deeply in eight years by  Pope Benedict, and we pray the new prayers in the Novus Ordo Mass every Sunday, remembering his great love for the Mass and his pastoral care for our souls.

God bless you as you climb the mountain of the Lord, Pope Benedict to pray for us. We will pray for you.
We will miss you and cherish our brief time with you looking forward to our reunion in Our Father's House.
Thank you for your great love for Christ and His Church and for being a faithful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.
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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Cardinal Dolan, USCCB say NO to latest HHS ploy


Bishops look forward to finding acceptable solutions to shortcomings

Concerned that first-rate charities still given second-class status

Seek clarification on confusing finance plan

WASHINGTON—The Feb. 1 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) shows some movement by the Administration but falls short of addressing U.S. bishops’ concerns.

“Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a February 7 statement. “Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all. At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

He listed three key areas of concern: the narrow understanding of a religious ministry; compelling church ministries to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching; and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. These are the same concerns articulated by the USCCB Administrative Committee in its March 2012 statement, United for Religious Freedom.

Cardinal Dolan said the new proposal seemed to address one part of the church’s concern over the definition of a church ministry but stressed that “the Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries.

“It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities. HHS offers what it calls an ‘accommodation’ rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”

Cardinal Dolan highlighted problems with the proposed “accommodation.”

“It appears that the government would require all employees in our ‘accommodated’ ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy,” he said.

He also noted that “because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies. Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities.”

Cardinal Dolan also said the proposal refuses to acknowledge conscience rights of business owners who operate their businesses according to their faith and moral values.

“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan Responding to Feb. 1 Proposal from HHS

For almost a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have worked hard to support the right of every person to affordable, accessible, comprehensive, life-affirming healthcare. As we continue to do so, our changeless values remain the same. We promote the protection of the dignity of all human life and the innate rights that flow from it, including the right to life from conception to natural death; care for the poorest among us and the undocumented; the right of the Church to define itself, its ministries, and its ministers; and freedom of conscience.

Last Friday, the Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the HHS mandate that requires coverage for sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortions. The Administration indicates that it has heard some previously expressed concerns and that it is open to dialogue. With release of the NPRM, the Administration seeks to offer a response to serious matters which have been raised throughout the past year. We look forward to engaging with the Administration, and all branches and levels of government, to continue to address serious issues that remain. Our efforts will require additional, careful study. Only in this way can we best assure that healthcare for every woman, man and child is achieved without harm to our first, most cherished freedom.

In evaluating Friday’s action regarding the HHS mandate, our reference remains the statement of our Administrative Committee made last March, United for Religious Freedom, and affirmed by the entire body of bishops in June 2012.

In that statement, we first expressed concern over the mandate’s “exceedingly narrow” four-part definition of “religious employer,” one that exempted our houses of worship, but left “our great ministries of service to our neighbors, namely, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in our schools and universities, and others in need” subject to the mandate. This created “a ‘second class’ of citizenship within our religious community,” “weakening [federal law’s] healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity.” And the exemption effectuated this distinction by requiring “among other things, [that employers] must hire and serve primarily those of their own faith.”

On Friday, the Administration proposed to drop the first three parts of the four-part test. This might address the last of the concerns above, but it seems not to address the rest. The Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries. It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education, and Catholic charities. HHS offers what it calls an “accommodation,” rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our Church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches. And finally, it seems to take away something that we had previously—the ability of an exempt employer (such as a diocese) to extend its coverage to the employees of a ministry outside the exemption.

Second, United for Religious Freedom explained that the religious ministries not deemed “religious employers” would suffer the severe consequence of “be[ing] forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions.” After Friday, it appears that the government would require all employees in our “accommodated” ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy. In part because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies. Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities. Here, too, we will continue to analyze the proposal and to advocate for changes to the final rule that reflect these concerns.

Third, the bishops explained that the “HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values.” This includes employers sponsoring and subsidizing the coverage, insurers writing it, and beneficiaries paying individual premiums for it. Friday’s action confirms that HHS has no intention to provide any exemption or accommodation at all to this “third class.” In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath. We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.

Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few. Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions—we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks. Thus, we welcome and will take seriously the Administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all. At the same time, we will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York

February 7, 2013

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