I will say:
I will say:
: St. Therese and Our Lady of the Smile
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Today attorneys with the Jubilee Campaign's LAW OF LIFE PROJECT timely filed its agency commentsopposing the Obama Administration's "Interim Final Rules" that arbitrarily exempt some, but not all, healthcare plans and health insurance issuers who conscientiously oppose coverage of so-called "preventative services" under Obamacare* that unlawfully include abortifacient methods of contraception that effectively terminate a pregnancy after it begins. The Project's General Counsel, Samuel Casey said: "Unless these rules (and the 'Guidelines' promulgated pursuant to these rules) are immediately changed, or the exemption from these rules is substantially broadened, as we suggest in our comments filed today, we are looking at a double-barreled lie by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) who told us that by adding coverage of 'preventative services' to Obamacare we would not be covering abortion in the first place and by President Obama who promised us in his March 29, 2010 Executive Order 13535 that Obamacare would not force health plans and individual health insurers to cover abortion."
As many other concerned Americans have noted, the religious exemption allowed by the interim final rule is not only extremely narrow, but unprecedented in federal law. It covers only a "religious employer" that has "the inculcation of religious values" as its purpose, "primarily employs and serves person who share its religious tenets," and is a church organization under two narrow provisions of the tax code. Group health plans offered by a great many religious organizations, including Catholic colleges and universities, as well as hospitals and charitable institutions that serve the general public, would be ineligible under this narrow exemption. Individuals and health insurance companies do not quality at all for this exemption.
Casey said, "Most importantly, unless broadened to include every group health plan or health insurance issuer who conscientiously opposes abortion as a matter of 'sincerely held religious belief,' the application of the government's 'interim final rule' to such entities should be deemed a 'substantial burden' upon such entities' 'free exercise of religion' in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act('RFRA', 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq.). Since Obamacare already includes some religious exemptions and many organizations for political reasons have already been 'grandfathered' out of compliance, the government will be hard pressed under RFRA to bear their heavy burden of justifying their overly narrow definition of 'religious employer' on the grounds that a broader definition more in keeping with federal law is somehow barred by some non-existent 'compelling state interest' that cannot otherwise be achieved in some 'less restrictive' fashion. As Thomas Jefferson declared to New London Methodists in 1809, '[n]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.' Jefferson's statement expresses a long-held conviction of respect for the free exercise of conscience that is deeply embedded in the history and traditions of our Nation and codified in numerous State and Federal laws, including laws on health care."
Casey concluded, "Unless the rules are changed or the exemption from compliance with it broadened, only legal action challenging the rules as they may be unlawfully applied to a non-exempt group health plan or individual health insurance issuer; or, alternatively, the enactment of H.R.1179, THE RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE ACT OF 2011, currently pending in the 112th Congress, can remedy the lies Americans opposed to mandated abortion coverage have apparently been told by Obamacare proponents."
* THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, Public Law 111-148 was enacted on March 23, 2010; THE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT. PUBLIC LAW 111-152 was enacted on March 30, 2010 (collectively and popularly known as the "Obamacare" or the "Affordable Care Act"). Section 2713 of the Public Health Act, as added by the Affordable Care Act specifies that a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage provide benefits for and prohibit the imposition of cost-sharing with respect to women, With respect to women, "evidence-informed preventive care and screening provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration." (75 FR 41728)
JUBILEE CAMPAIGN'S LAW OF LIFE PROJECT IS A PUBLIC INTEREST LEGAL ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO LEGALLY DEFENDING THE RIGHT TO LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN BEING FROM BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTION UNTIL NATURAL DEATH IN ALL MATTERS WORLDWIDE, INCLUDING THE HEALTHCARE RIGHT OF CONSCIENCE WHEREVER SUCH A DEFENSE IS REQUIRED. JUBILEE CAMPAIGN IS AN INTERNATIONAL CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION THAT SEEKS TO BE A "VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS" PROMOTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL, PARTICULARLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF ANY AGE IN COUNTRIES WHICH IMPRISON, TERRORIZE OR OTHERWISE OPPRESS THEM
In the mid-1980’s, I spent a lot of time with Michelle, a seventeen year-old parishioner who suffered from a terminal brain tumor. In the last weeks of her life on Earth, I visited with her every day. It’s difficult to declare God’s love to a dying teenager and her family.
It was a humbling way to learn that I cannot give away what I do not have. I had no answers to explain their suffering, and could not pretend otherwise. For weeks, Michelle and I together drew closer to the precipice between life and death. I could be but a fellow pilgrim on that path, not a guide.
Michelle’s room was decorated by her loving family and scores of high school friends. It was filled with flowers, stuffed bears, and balloons that reflected their love for Michelle, and their broken hearts over what was happening to her. It was difficult to reconcile that room, with its flowers and gifts that screamed life, with the image of a young girl rapidly departing from it.
On the night before Michelle died, I was with her in that room. After Anointing and Viaticum, she held my hand as I grasped for something that would ease her fear, and give her hope. I don’t know what made me think of it, but I told her of the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower.
I told Michelle all that I knew of Therese, which wasn’t much. She entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux at fifteen, and left this world on September 30, 1891 at just twenty-four years old.
Her Journal of a Soul became one of the most widely read spiritual biographies of all time. I struggled against tears as I spoke of Therese’s “little way,” and asked Michelle to practice it now by surrendering herself to God. By this time, Michelle had lost her ability to speak. She fought against the drugs meant to buffer her pain, seeming to drift in and out of consciousness as she tried hard to listen to the story of St. Therese.
I spoke of St. Therese’s cryptic promise, “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses.” I told Michelle that I believed the young Therese will meet her on this path, take her hand from mine, and walk with her so she would not be alone. I asked her not to be afraid.
Michelle had not opened her eyes for some time. I wondered if she could even hear me. I told her that some people believe they will receive a rose as a sign that St. Therese has heard their prayer for her intercession. Perhaps I was trying to find hope for myself as much as instill it in Michelle. I looked around her room for a rose among the flowers sent by friends, but there was not one rose to be found there.
When I looked back, I was startled. Michelle was staring at me intently. Too weak to raise her arm, she rested it at her side, her index finger pointing upward at the ceiling as she continued to stare at me. There was an urgency to her stare that seemed to take all the strength she had left. I looked up. Among the several helium balloons tied to her bedposts, one had broken free and drifted to the ceiling. It was one of those silver foil balloons.
Emblazoned upon it was a large, brilliant, vibrant rose.
The balloon had arrived that afternoon, her mother later told me. As soon as Michelle could see that I noticed the rose, she closed her eyes. She never opened them again. The next morning, I was with Michelle as she surrendered her life.
In the days after celebrating the Mass of Christian Burial for Michelle and her family, I was haunted by the memory of the rose balloon. The sheer miracle of it felt so vivid, so alive at the moment it occurred. I had an overwhelming sense of awe, a sense that St. Therese really took Michelle’s hand from mine and walked with her soul the remaining distance. I never spoke of this to anyone until now.
The rose balloon can be easily dismissed now as coincidence, but it didn’t feel that way at first. I could feel what Michelle was feeling as she pointed to it. “Stop looking around my room. It’s right there! Hope is right there!” At that very moment, I felt Michelle’s fear give way to hope.
The days to follow stretched into weeks and months and years. My own trials became many, and heavy. They distorted that moment with Michelle, and hid it in clouds of doubt. In time, my own tribulations drove Michelle’s rose from conscious awareness. I didn’t forget it so much as it just didn’t seem to matter anymore.
HAUGHTY MINDS AND SIMPLE SIGNS
Years later, my life and priesthood imploded under the devastating weight of false witness. I spent the eighteen months before my trial living with the Servants of the Paraclete, a community of priests and brothers in New Mexico. One of my housemates was Brother Bernard. He still writes to me. Well into his 70’s now, his Irish wit has not diminished at all, and age has only intensified his simple, trusting – and sometimes irritating – Irish piety. We who serve the Church with advanced degrees in theology and the sciences at times find the combination of sharp wit and simple piety to be, well, humbling. That’s the irritating part.
Brother Bernard has a sort of comic book-like league of spiritual super heroes who, in the simplicity of his faith, will always come to our aid. Clearly, the Wonder Woman of his team of saintly rescuers is Saint Therese of Lisieux, the “Little Flower” and a Doctor of the Church.
When Brother Bernard writes to me, he doesn’t miss a chance to proclaim that he prays to St. Therese for me. When I lived with him, he loved to take out his collection of St. Therese holy cards and other memorabilia.Now every one of his letters contains one of those cards.
We of haughty mind and proud heart have trouble wrapping our brains around the spiritual arena inhabited by Saint Therese. Her “little way” of transforming every moment into a prayer of union with God is hard to relate to when faced with painful and weighty issues – like an unjust imprisonment.
In one of his letters a few years ago, Brother Bernard reminded me of that cryptic promise: “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses.” He told me that I should look for a rose as a sign that St. Therese hears his prayer.
I thought of the now distant memory of Michelle and the rose balloon. Whatever it had evoked in my own soul then was gone. I scoffed and mocked Brother Bernard’s letter. I am in prison in the harshness of steel and concrete. Roses do not exist here. In all these years in prison, I have never seen a rose. I put Brother Bernard’s letter aside, and put this pious nonsense out of my mind.
Two days later, well before dawn on the morning on October 1st, I emerged from my cell, cup of instant coffee in hand. The cell block was quiet and empty except for one young man sitting alone at a table. As I approached, he complained to me that he had been up all night with an attack of ADHD. A promising artist, the troubled young man had spent the night drawing a card with his treasured colored pencils.
“I’ll trade you this for a cup of coffee,” he said as he handed me the card. I sat down. I had to! On the morning of the feast of St. Therese, I was holding in my hand a stunning three-dimensional sketch of a magnificent, brilliant rose.
Editor’s Note: Several of you have expressed a desire to join Fr. MacRae in a Spiritual Communion. He celebrates a private Mass in his prison cell on Sunday evenings between 11 pm and midnight. You’re invited to join in a Holy Hour during that time if you’re able.
For the first time since he became pope, Benedict XVI has cited and criticized in public the movement of ecclesial opposition most widespread and active in German-speaking countries. He did so in an off-the-cuff speech to seminarians in Freiburg. Here are his wordsby Sandro Magister
"We can only ever believe within the 'we'. I sometimes say that Saint Paul wrote: 'Faith comes from hearing' – not from reading. It needs reading as well, but it comes from hearing, that is to say from the living word, addressed to me by the other, whom I can hear, addressed to me by the Church throughout the ages, from her contemporary word, spoken to me the priests, bishops and my fellow believers. Faith must include a 'you' and it must include a 'we'. And it is very important to practise this mutual support, to learn how to accept the other as the other in his otherness, and to learn that he has to support me in my otherness, in order to become 'we', so that we can also build community in the parish, calling people into the community of the word, and journeying with one another towards the living God. This requires the very particular 'we' that is the seminary, and also the parish, but it also requires us always to look beyond the particular, limited 'we' towards the great 'we' that is the Church of all times and places: it requires that we do not make ourselves the sole criterion. When we say: 'We are Church' – well, it is true: that is what we are, we are not just anybody. But the “we” is more extensive than the group that asserts those words. The 'we' is the whole community of believers, today and in all times and places. And so I always say: within the community of believers, yes, there is as it were the voice of the valid majority, but there can never be a majority against the apostles or against the saints: that would be a false majority. We are Church: let us be Church, let us be Church precisely by opening ourselves and stepping outside ourselves and being Church with others."
LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report
Friday, September 30, 2011
|For pro-life news updated throughout the day, visit LifeNews.com.|
• New Hampshire Fights Obama on Planned Parenthood Funding
• Baby Saved From Abortion in First Hour of 40 Days for Life
• Kermit Gosnell Abortion Staff, Family to Stand Trial With Him
• Attorney: Probe Planned Parenthood Over Tax-Funding, Fraud
More Pro-Life News
• Obama Admin Anti-Conscience Mandate Threatens Health Care
• Obama s CDC Stops Bad Fruit, Ignores Abortion Drug Deaths
• End the Link Between Labor Unions and Pro-Abortion Candidates
• United Nations Considers Euthanasia and New Treaty on Aging
• Obama Abortion-Sterilization Mandate Violates Religious Freedom
• Ohio Abortion Numbers Decline for 10th Year, Hit Record Low
• Mexico Supreme Court Upholds Second State Abortion Ban Law
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New Hampshire Fights Obama on Planned Parenthood Funding
The New Hampshire Executive Council is not giving up its fight to revoke taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and members of the council, which voted to revoke a $1.8 million contract, are fighting back against an Obama decision to force the state to fund the abortion business.
The council has filed a formal protest with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office following the Obama Administration s award of a non-competitive $1 million dollar contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The Obama administration s decision bypassed the state s decision to reject taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.
Three members of the Council, as represented by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, requested that HHS declare the grant void. In their complaint, they say the Grant by HHS was improper, irregular, unnecessary, in contravention of the authority of the Executive Council and its duly elected members, and in disregard for the sovereignty of the State of New Hampshire.
The letter also criticizes the Obama administration for a lack of transparency, saying the HHS has treated its requests for more information about the grant Obama officials forced New Hampshire to make with Planned Parenthood were treated as formal Freedom of Information requests that take some time to process. As a result, New Hampshire officials say they have not been able to get information they need to respond.
In stark contrast to HHS unannounced process leading up to [the award], the letter reads, all aspects of the Executive Council s decision were and are matters of public record and were and are well-known to HHS. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/new-hampshire-fights-obama-on-planned-parenthood-funding/
Baby Saved From Abortion in First Hour of 40 Days for Life
Reports of saved babies are starting to pour in! Yesterday as I was traveling to the 40 Days for Life campaign in Helena, Montana, I got an e-mail that really caught my eye.
It was from Lisa in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The subject line read: 40 Days for Life baby saved!
Alison, one of our core team members, said this save took place in the very first hour the abortion clinic was open after our campaign began, Lisa said. This is the fifth 40 Days for Life vigil at this location.
Lisa also sent along a photo of an art class project at a local Christian school. Each student created an individual panel that helped build a room-sized, heart-shaped display all in keeping with the theme of praying for an end to abortion during 40 Days for Life. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/baby-saved-from-abortion-in-first-hour-of-40-days-for-life/
Kermit Gosnell Abortion Staff, Family to Stand Trial With Him
A trial court judge ruled today that the family members and former staffers of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who faces eight charges for killing a patient in a botched abortion and killing unborn children in brutal abortion-infanticides, must stand trial with him.
Gosnell faces multiple murder charges for killing a woman in a failed abortion and seven unborn children after purposefully inducing birth so he could take their lives in a ghastly abortion-infanticide procedure. His wife, who worked at the Women s Medical Society abortion business with him, and staffers also face charges ranging from murder to obstructing justice to practicing medicine without a license.
Judge Benjamin Lerner ruled today that the family and staff must strand trial with Gosnell even if they are not also charged in connection with the murder of a woman in a failed legal abortion or the charges of murder related to the illegal late-term abortions.
Lerner agreed with defense attorneys who are concerned about the emotional intensity of the testimony of witnesses in the courtroom during the trial. But, according to a WPVI report, he said the daughter of the woman who died in the botched abortion and other witnesses who were injured in abortions at Gosnell s abortion facility should not have to be forced to give the same testimony twice if the trials were split up. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/kermit-gosnell-abortion-staff-family-to-stand-trial-with-him/
Attorney: Probe Planned Parenthood Over Tax-Funding, Fraud
A leading pro-life attorney who has experience battling Planned Parenthood over taxpayer funding and Medicaid fraud says those are two great issues that should compel Congress to move ahead with the investigation a congressman has announced.
Jay Sallow, the chief attorney for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), says For years, we have been pursuing Planned Parenthood challenging them in court, and he finds it encouraging that Congress is now taking a close look at the nation s largest abortion provider, with an eye toward investigating how Planned Parenthood spends federal taxpayer funds.
In a September 15 letter LifeNews.com obtained, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, writes to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.
The letter requests any information related to improper billing related to federally-funded programs, proof that federal funds are not being improperly used to pay for abortions by PPFA or its affiliates, audits by state agencies of any Planned Parenthood affiliate, and documentation of how many affiliates currently receive Title X family planning funding. The Stearns letter also requests documents on standards and practices related to billing issues, written policies and procedures, and it requests information on how the abortion giant keeps its family planning abortion monies separate and segregated.
We re delighted the Congress wants to take a closer look, Sekulow says. After all, Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million dollars from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009 from federal, state or local grants and contracts. That represented about one-third of the organization s total revenue of more than $ 1 billion during that period. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/attorney-probe-planned-parenthood-over-tax-funding-fraud/
|Announcing: National Association of Pro-life Nurses announces its 2011-2012 scholarship for student nurses. Scholarship application deadline is Feb. 15, 2012. Application can be found online at http://www.nursesforlife.org|
Obama Admin Anti-Conscience Mandate Threatens Health Care
A recent rule issued by the Obama administration threatens our nation s healthcare by attacking the consciences of our nation s healthcare providers.
The Witherspoon Institute s Task Force on Conscience Protection recently reviewed and will submit comments on the interim final rule jointly issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury on preventive services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We present our findings here. First, we treat the mandate that all health plans provide both contraceptives and certain abortifacients. Second, we comment upon the narrow religious freedom exemption in the rule. Third, we address the mandate in light of current social circumstances concerning sexual freedom and sexual restraint. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/obama-admin-anti-conscience-mandate-threatens-health-care/
Obama s CDC Stops Bad Fruit, Ignores Abortion Drug Deaths
Recently there has been a major food-borne illness outbreak in the United States. The Center for Disease Control has traced the outbreak of listeria, an often fatal bacterial contagion, to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado. So far at least 13 people have died and 72 have been sickened from eating the tainted fruit.
Authorities have asked that grocery stores pull the Jensen Farms cantaloupes from the shelf. They warn people that if they are not sure where their cantaloupes came from, they should throw them away.
Honestly, as a nurse, I would tell people don t eat the cantaloupe until this thing resolves itself, said Laura Anderko, a Georgetown University public health expert. This stuff happens because our system is not as tight as it needs to be.
Contrast the cantaloupe hysteria with the lack of concern over a similar number of deaths caused by the RU-486 abortion pill. The Federal Food and Drug Administration reported in July that 14 U.S. women have died after taking RU-486 and a total of 2,207 reported adverse effects after using the drug. That makes the abortion pill more dangerous than tainted cantaloupes.
But the official response to these deaths has been to call the drug safe and promote it on the market. It seems that the deaths of over a dozen people are only a problem when abortion is not involved. When it is, then the deaths become an acceptable risk. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/obamas-cdc-stops-bad-fruit-ignores-abortion-drug-deaths/
End the Link Between Labor Unions and Pro-Abortion Candidates
Growing up in a blue-collar, steel mill town, many of my family were union members. They were and are hardworking people, and were just trying to support their families. Unions once played an important role in our nation, having given employees the opportunity to negotiate fair wages and provide safe work environments.
But these goals are long gone and instead unions have become long arms of the Democratic Party, bullying those they disagree with and contributing significant dollars for liberal candidates, most who are far to the left of the country s majority conservative social viewpoints.
Union PACs are clearly in the pockets of Democrats. Last year during the 2010 election cycle, 93% of all union PAC money almost $60 million was given unapologetically to Democratic candidates, almost all of them staunch advocates of abortion. But this is merely union PAC money. If all big labor spending is taken into account, that number tops over $1.4 billion dollars during the 2010 elections, a non-presidential year cycle.
Abortion is a sacred cow for the social Left. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation s largest abortion chain, tops $350 million a year. President Obama, who was elected with the help of significant union money, was prepared to shut down the federal government this year rather than defund Planned Parenthood. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/end-the-link-between-labor-unions-and-pro-abortion-candidates/
United Nations Considers Euthanasia and New Treaty on Aging
The Holy See condemned attempts to inject euthanasia into the right to health and Latin American and Caribbean delegations called for a new UN treaty at two recent UN meetings on the rights of the elderly. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/united-nations-considers-euthanasia-and-new-treaty-on-aging/
Obama Abortion-Sterilization Mandate Violates Religious Freedom
On Thursday September 29, 2011, the Alliance Defense Fund submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, pointing out the illegal character of HHS s proposal to mandate that the vast majority of religious entities, individuals, and insurance plans must cover abortifacients, contraceptive and sterilizing drugs, devices and information. ADF submitted its comments on behalf of The Cardinal Newman Society s Center for the Advancement Catholic Higher Education and multiple Catholic Colleges and Universities. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/obama-abortion-sterilization-mandate-violates-religious-freedom/
Ohio Abortion Numbers Decline for 10th Year, Hit Record Low
New statistics from the state of Ohio show the number of abortions there have declined for the 10th straight year showing the combination of effective pro-life education, legislation and help for pregnant women works. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/ohio-abortion-numbers-decline-for-10th-year-hit-record-low/
Texas Abortion-Ultrasound Law Blocked While Lawsuit Continues
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Texas can t enforce a pro-life law allowing women a chance to see an ultrasound before an abortion while the lawsuit abortion backers filed against it continues in court. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/29/texas-abortion-ultrasound-law-blocked-while-lawsuit-continues/
Mexico Supreme Court Upholds Second State Abortion Ban Law
The Mexico Supreme Court has delivered a second victory for pro-life advocates there just one day after upholding a first state law protecting unborn children from abortions by validating a second. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/30/mexico-supreme-court-upholds-second-state-abortion-ban-law/
Assisted Suicide: The Forgotten Pro-Life Battle
As the proponents of assisted suicide strive to legalize it in Massachusetts, we should take another look at their arguments and the deceptions therein. http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/29/assisted-suicide-the-forgotten-pro-life-battle/
Encourage Friends to Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
September 28, 2011 A.D.
Public Event Monday October 24, 2011 A.D.
Saint Agnes Church
100 Harbor Drive
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
*All times are Eastern Time USA
3:00 PM - Chaplet of Divine Mercy – From the beginning the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed, through the Rosary and Apparition time, up until Holy Mass begins
5:00 PM - Rosary will begin
6:40 PM - Appariton of Our Lady to Marija followed by Procession of Blessed Sacrament back to the Tabernacle
7:00 PM - Holy Mass
Holy Mass will be followed by a talk from Medjugorje Visionary MarijaFor More Information you can call Caritas at: **Updated schedule and information for Guayaquil, Ecuador and the 3rd Country will be posted soon.
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