Vengeance dominates the tide of social media these days. Sometimes it comes in the form of mob justice descending upon the perpetrator of a crime inadequately punished, other times as smaller and subtler smears against those who have wronged us.
But perhaps we could spend some time pondering on the perennial tug-of-war between two opposing forces: Vengeance and Mercy.
The desire for revenge is rooted deep in us
We want those who hurt us to hurt, those who shamed us to be shamed. Whether we inflict the retaliatory attacks ourselves or by inciting others, the root of that thirst is one and the same. Sometimes we confuse the desire for revenge with the desire for justice, and certainly there seems to be an overlap. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that at some point the streams diverge. Justice ends (ideally) in some kind of restoration, whereas unabated revenge ends in destruction.
Vengeance seeks to destroy the other party
Often we don’t realise that in the process it destroys a part of us as well. What feels like ointment on the surface, could it not in fact be poison that seeps into our hearts?
On the other hand you have Mercy. Where vengeance seeks to destroy, mercy seeks to redeem. There’s no doubt that mercy presents itself as a heavy demand on the one who has been wronged. Anyone who claims it is easy does not know what they are talking about. Mercy is epitomised by a Man of Sorrows who, while nailed to the cross prays for those jeering at Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Perhaps such radical mercy is a weight none of us can bear. But when we truly contemplate the effects of such a mercy, perhaps we would at least desire the capacity for it.
The story of Maria Goretti
No story of radical mercy has captivated me as much as that of Maria Goretti, an 11-year-old girl from a small town in Italy who died a most tragic death in 1902. Maria’s neighbour, 20-year-old Alessandro Serenelli, had developed some kind of a sick and vile desire for the girl. When Alessandro attempted to rape Maria, her resistance and insistence that she would rather die than yield to him propelled him into an unfathomable rage, which ended in him stabbing her no less than 14 times.
As she lay dying on the hospital bed, Maria’s last words were: “I forgive Alessandro…and I want him with me in heaven forever.” Those words make me tremble; it’s as if Jesus Himself had whispered those words into her ears.
A killer is saved by a dream
Meanwhile, Alessandro was not immediately contrite. He was even reported to have said in court that Maria would not have died had she just given in to him. However, a few years into his prison sentence, Alessandro recounted a dream to the visiting Bishop in which Maria appeared to him and handed him 14 lilies, as if a symbolic reminder of her forgiveness for each stab wound inflicted. Profoundly moved, he began living a converted life.
Alessandro was released from prison in 1929, after serving 27 out of 30 years. After being rejected by several communities, he found lodging at a Capuchin Franciscan monastery, where he began living a quiet life working in their garden as a lay brother. Said Alessandro, “Maria’s forgiveness saved me.”
On Christmas of 1934, he sought his victim’s mother, Assunta Goretti, and got on his knees to beg for her forgiveness. And imagine this: that night they attended Christmas vigil Mass together at their parish, and received Holy Communion side by side. Before the stunned congregation, Alessandro asked for God’s forgiveness and for the pardon of the community. Assunta later even adopted him as her own son. She said, “Maria has forgiven you, and surely God has forgiven you. Who am I to withhold my forgiveness?”
If Maria’s mercifulness wasn’t miracle enough, the chain of events it precipitated surely were.
The power of mercy
An excerpt from a public letter written by Alessandro Serenelli, dated 5 May 1961:
At the age of 20, I committed a crime of passion, the memory of which still horrifies me today. Maria Goretti, now a saint, was my good angel whom God placed in my path to save me. Her words both of rebuke and forgiveness are still imprinted in my heart. She prayed for me, interceding for her killer. Thirty years in prison followed. If I had not been a minor in Italian law I would have been sentenced to life in prison. Nevertheless, I accepted the sentence I received as something I deserved. Resigned, I atoned for my sin.
“Little Maria was truly my light, my protectress”
With her help, I served those 27 years in prison well. When society accepted me back among its members, I tried to live honestly. With angelic charity, the sons of St. Francis, the minor Capuchins of the Marches, welcomed me among them not as a servant, but as a brother. I have lived with them for 24 years. Now I look serenely to the time in which I will be admitted to the vision of God, to embrace my dear ones once again, and to be close to my guardian angel, Maria Goretti, and her dear mother, Assunta.
May all who read this letter of mine desire to follow the blessed teaching of avoiding evil and following the good. May all believe with the faith of little children that religion with its precepts is not something one can do without. Rather, it is true comfort, and the only sure way in all of life’s circumstances—even in the most painful.
St. Maria Goretti, one of the Church’s youngest canonised saints, did not live to see the fruits of her mercy, and there’s no guarantee that we would see the fruits of ours in this lifetime either. But nonetheless, may the life of St. Maria Goretti, brief yet so intimately configured to the Divine Mercy of Jesus, sprout lasting fruits of mercy in our own hearts.
[Karen Zainal lives in Singapore where she works with people with special needs. She is a blogger, an artist, and a Catholic convert. Thanks to her for permission to publish this essay. You can read more of her work at her blog here.]
The latest dehumanizing effort comes from the medical community. A lecture in a University of California San Diego School of Medicine course, Evolution of Human Disease, characterized the human fetus as a “legitimate parasite.”
As you can see in the screen grab above, the professor characterizes a fetus as a “cancer:”
“The fetus: a legitimate parasite:
manipulates immunity of mother
reshapes blood vessels.
The cancer: crashes the party!!!
reshapes blood vessels.”
Of course, the difference is that the fetus is creative while cancer is destructive. Yet the prof uses words like “parasite”, “invades,” and “manipulates” to suggest the fetus is someone negative.
After receiving some pushback, the professor defended his approach:
“Most of you probably realize that my point was to show that mammals are especially prone to invasive cancers because mammals evolved invasive placentation. My point was not to indoctrinate you with the notion that fetuses are cancers, as insinuated in the article.”
Whatever his intentions, the student was correct to expose this latest toxic use of the language to dehumanize the unborn.
“You are pathetic for believing and spreading such garbage!”
What sparked this intense outburst? The meme above which appeared on our Facebook page. The meme reveals the incoherence of Democratic politicians when it comes to born alive legislation. The responder was livid and continued:
“This is probably the very worst lie that the far right is spreading! It is ugly and untrue. No doctor is killing babies once they are viable, and definitely once they are born! If continuing to spread this lie because you want votes-it is just sickening.”
Iowans for LIFE is non partisan. Our mandate is to defend the gift of life from conception until natural death. As the Democratic Party becomes increasingly anti-life in their public policy pronouncements, they are increasingly finding themselves in IFL’s crosshairs.
So, is the meme a lie?
Sadly, no. Let’s look at the issue in a simple question & answer format:
When is a baby in the womb viable? The age of viability keeps changing thanks to medical advances. When Roe was decided, the age of viability was 28 weeks; today, it is 24 and in some cases, the markers have been moved to 21 weeks.
Is there really any distinction between a 24 week old human being in 2018 compared to one in 1973? No, there’s not. It takes a leap of faith to think otherwise, but that is the leap of faith abortion advocates make. If you think about it, a human being is not viable for a number of years after birth. They will die of hunger or exposure without the intervention of their mother and father.
By the same token, human beings in a coma or afflicted by dementia or other ailments are not viable without intervention. Viability is not a rational or moral standard for defining human dignity.
Ok, but be honest, no doctor is killing babies once they are viable, right? Sadly, wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5597 abortions took place in the U.S. when the unborn person was 21 weeks or later. These numbers are for 2015 and include data from only forty states. Some states, such as California, don’t collect this data, so the numbers are actually much higher. Here in Iowa, nine abortions took place when the unborn person was 21 weeks or older.
Ok, but “no doctor is killing babies once they are born!” Right? Tragically, wrong. Dr. Kermit Gosnell is the most notorious example. Prosecutors believed Dr. Gosnell killed hundreds of newborns who survived his late term abortion procedures. He was ultimately charged with seven counts, convicted on three of them, and is serving a life term in prison without the possibility of parole.
That’s but one example. Can you name one other? As you might guess, abortionists don’t like to admit their “failures.” Their job is to kill the baby in the womb, even if that baby is on the cusp of being born. So statistics are spotty. Nonetheless, data from the Centers for Disease Control identify 362 deaths to babies that initially survived an abortion for the ten year period beginning in 2001.
What happens if a baby survives her abortion? Watch the undercover video below of a conversation between a Washington DC abortion doctor and a pregnant woman. She pointedly asked what happens if the baby survives the abortion. His response:
“I mean, technically, you know, legally, we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive. But, you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.” [Emphasis ours.]
Watch the entire unguarded conversation:
Now surely a baby that survives an abortion is going to die anyway, right? Not according to the human abortionist in the video above. He said:
“When you have a pregnancy that is 23, 24 weeks, if you’re, you know, extra — if you — if you do everything possible to help it survive, you know, there’s a — maybe 20 to 30 percent chance that it would survive. If you don’t do anything, then, you know, the chances are much, much less.”
If the baby survives the abortion, is she a person? According to the abortionist in the video above, yes. In discussing what would happen to the baby who survived the abortion, he compared her to a terminal patient:
“Yeah. It would be, you know, uh — a person that would be — a terminal person in the hospital, let’s say … that had cancer. You know? You wouldn’t do any extra procedures to help that person survive.”
Isn’t there already a law on the books protecting babies that survive an attempted abortion? Yes. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was passed unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. It clearly defines the surviving baby as a person, as did the abortionist in the video above. That’s why Dr. Gosnell went to jail: he was convicted of killing three persons who survived their abortions.
So why do Republicans want to pass the “Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act?” As demonstrated above, babies die who survive an abortion. Why do they die? Oftentimes it is neglect. The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act requires that proactive medical care be provided to these infants in an effort to save their lives. Even more, it imposes criminal consequences on medical providers (but not mothers) who don’t.
What is the position of Democrats on this proposed legislation? They universally oppose it. Every single Democratic candidate for president opposes it.
Why? Democrats’ position on abortion has evolved since Bill Clinton ran for president. His position, and that of his party back in the 1990s, was that abortion should be “safe, rare, but legal.”
Today’s Democrats aren’t interested in rare.
They are hard at work removing any regulation on human abortion, including right up to the minute of delivery. Watch the video below as a Democratic member of the Delaware House of Delegates is quizzed on the details of a late term abortion bill promoted by her party:
As demonstrated earlier, babies sometimes survive late term abortion. The Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, defends late term abortion. He was honest in admitting that those babies could be left to die if that was the will of the mother:
“There may be a fetus that’s not viable. So in this particular example, if a mother’s in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” [Emphasis ours.]
Does the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act outlaw abortion? No.
Don’t comprehensive born-alive protections already exist at the state level? No. Only about half the states provide some degree of protection.
So to respond to the rant quoted at the outset:
- Yes, babies are aborted in the womb after viability.
- Yes, babies have been killed who survived an abortion.
- Yes, babies have been left to die after surviving an abortion.
- Yes, Democratic politicians oppose legislation to protect these unborn persons after viability … and even after birth.
[Iowans for LIFE vigorously defends the dignity of human life in the public square. Help us continue our educational outreach by donating today.]
One-percent of Planned Parenthood employees want out of their jobs after viewing the new movie, “Unplanned.” According to Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood director upon whom the movie is based, ninety-four Planned Parenthood workers reached out to her after seeing the movie for help in exiting the industry. The “Unplanned” movement is gaining traction!
In testimony before Congress (shown below), the co-director of the film, Chuck Konzelman, said that represents just about one percent of PP’s employees. Impressive!
“Unplanned” is effective
This confirms the reason why the power structure beholden to Planned Parenthood worked overtime to block the film, as we discussed in our previous blogpost. A movie like this is effective in removing the scales that blind so many on what really happens inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.
(You’ll note that we are intentionally not using the “A” word, since Facebook will block this post from further promotion if we do, as they blocked our last post.)
What is interesting is that so many need “help” leaving. Doesn’t that sound kind of weird? Iowans for LIFE executive director, Maggie DeWitte, explains:
“Planned Parenthood is a powerful corporation with affiliates in every state. They are united under the banner of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, that dispenses their marching orders. When you leave and go to the other side, you become their enemy, as Abby Johnson discovered.
It’s not like leaving Wells Fargo to go to work at Principal.
And yet women who see this movie understand that they are really not helping other women, they are hurting them.”
An example of a woman hurt by abortion
Professor Steve Byas of Randall University in Norman, Oklahoma, related a story that confirms Maggie’s assertion. He was running for state office and went door-to-door. At one stop, a woman asked his position on the ‘a’ word, and he acknowledged his pro ‘L’ position.
He braced himself for pushback, but didn’t get it. Instead, the woman acknowledged that she had an an ‘a’ when she was seventeen. She had nightmares for the next ten years. Only conversion to Christianity helped to heal her, and even that took time.
This website has many more examples.
It’s like rejecting a religion
Maggie DeWitte said a rejection of Planned Parenthood’s ideology is very comparable to a rejection of a religion. Those leaving this “church” run the risk of losing friends and a support group that once bound these women together.
You can see that a movie this honest is going to be highly effective, which explains how PP’s supporters in Hollywood, the media, and social media united in labeling the movie as ‘propaganda,’ in other words, a bunch of lies.
A Google search for the movie initially labeled the movie as “drama/propaganda.”
The headline for the New Statesman American screamed, “Unplanned is anti-‘a’ propaganda. Its success at the box office should scare us all.”
The Hollywood website, Variety, says “Unplanned” isn’t a good movie, but it’s effective propaganda.”
The word was used ad infinitum by the thought police who will go to the mat for Planned Parenthood. And yet, if the movie is a lie, why would so many workers in their clinics reach out to Abby Johnson for help exiting their jobs?
Because they know it’s true. They work in such a clinic. They’ve seen everything portrayed in the movie in real life.
“Unplanned” is authentic
Yes, a movie like “Unplanned” is so effective because it is so authentic. Ashley Bratcher starred in the movie in the Abbie Johnson role. She was blown away by the response.
“The response has been incredibly positive. I mean, through it all — this has been the most rewarding and fulfilling role I’ve ever had in my entire career. To be able to hear someone come up to you and say, ‘I was so affected by your work that I decided instead of having an abortion, that I’m now going to have my child’ — I don’t know how to really explain the way that feels to know that you could potentially just have saved a life.”
Abby Johnson said “Unplanned” is more than just a movie:
“I feel like this movie is not just a movie. It really is sort of creating a movement. We want to get people plugged in. We want to rally around the people that are changing their minds.”
The “Unplanned” movement reaches Iowa
The impact of “Unplanned” is felt right here in Iowa. Iowans for LIFE heard from Iowa State student, Serena Hilton, with this email:
“A few weeks ago, the movie Unplanned came out and a friend and I had the opportunity to assemble a group through Students For Life of America to go see the movie during opening weekend. Our group had about 25 Iowa State Students who are involved in the St. Thomas Aquinas community (above).
The movie was absolutely honest and heartbreaking. It opened our eyes to a lot of the sickening manipulation that is happening at Planned Parenthood, which is really important for people to see.
When the credits started rolling at the end of the movie, everyone in the theater (which was full!) just sat there for quite a few minutes trying to process everything we’d just seen.
The credits were practically finished by the time our group started to stand up and hug each other as we were all feeling a bit emotional. Not knowing what else to do, we stood in a circle in the movie theater and prayed. It for sure helped me feel some peace after seeing the movie, and it felt good to be surrounded by such a supportive and loving community of people.
The movie stirred up a fire to take more action in my Pro-Life stance. I am currently doing a design project about it. We are supposed to put together a few articles revolving around any topic and present the text in a visually interesting way, so I’m stirring the pot a little in my studio by making my articles about ‘a’.
Tonight, for National Prayer Day, we are trying to assemble a group to pray outside of Planned Parenthood, like people are doing all across the country. I will admit I’m nervous to be so public, but then I remember why it’s important that I am.”
Abby Johnson said that on days when people were praying outside the Planned Parenthood clinic she directed, ‘business’ dropped way off.
Thanks to “Unplanned,” Iowa State students are being galvanized to make a positive difference in their community by saving human life through prayer.
You’ve got to see this film if you haven’t done so yet. It’s creating a movement.
There’s a very good reason pro life films are so hard to make: they turn people against human abortion. In other words, they are effective. The power structure that controls the film industry and its marketing platforms are practically evangelical in their zeal for abortion rights. As a result, they push back. Hard.
The new pro life film, “Unplanned,” is a case study in this inevitable clash of creeds and how supporters of Big Abortion fought furiously to undermine this Abby Johnson bio.
As we wrote in our earlier review, “Unplanned” tells the story of Abby Johnson’s journey from zealous abortion rights supporter and Director of a highly profitable Planned Parenthood abortion mill into one of the most effective pro life advocates in America.
The movie takes you inside a Planned Parenthood clinic where you learn in convincing fashion that human abortion has nothing to do with ‘women’s reproductive health.’
The movie cost $6 million to make. To date, it has grossed nearly $16 million at the box office. “Unplanned” had to overcome one hurdle after another to get made.
Something odd happened during the filming of Unplanned. Violence swirled around the cast and their families in ways that went beyond coincidence. The movie’s co-directors, Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, were warned that they were about to engage in an epic battle of spiritual warfare.
“We, from the beginning, knew that it would be spiritual battle, spiritual warfare. It was prophesied over us that this is not a normal movie.”
The battle manifested itself with physical reality:
“We’ve had probably 15 accidents where people or family members of people who worked on the movie, were in a car crash, […] and the person would just walk away.
“They’ve all been crazy violent. One person survived a bike accident that destroyed her helmet, and a producer’s car was split in half after being t-boned.”
Even the star of the movie, Ashley Bratcher, had a brush with death, according to Solomon:
“Ashley herself, she had a deer, a stag, jump backwards–I’ve never seen deer jump backwards–on the highway into her car and wiped out her car and almost killed her.”
Shortly before the film was to be released, Hollywood threw the Unplanned team a major curve ball. The Motion Pictures Association of America gave the movie an “R” rating, which meant teens 17 and under could not attend unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. This would limit their reach to a core audience of this movie.
Hollywood missed the incongruity of their tacit acknowledgement that abortion is violent. Said an MPAA spokesperson:
“This film received an R rating for ‘some disturbing/bloody images.”
Ironically, thirteen states do not require parental notification for these same teens who want to have an abortion.
It is inexplicable that a film without sex, nudity, offensive language, and violence gets an R rating at the same time that a violent teen slasher movie, like “Happy Death Day 2U” gets a PG-13 rating.
Contrast these two trailers. The disconnect is jarring:
The first is rated PG-13, the second garnered an ‘R’ rating. Obviously, the fix was in. The MPAA spokesperson tried to justify their decision:
“The filmmakers did not make use of the rating appeal process.”
The reason: they didn’t have the time, since the delay would have pitted it against summer blockbusters by the time it was finally released. Besides, there was no guarantee the MPAA would change its mind. An appeal would have been the kiss of death to “Unplanned.”
It took Unplanned two years to raise the money to make this film. Their investors had a lot on the line, and the MPAA did all they could to kill it by goading the producers to delay the release date in a ratings squabble.
Once the MPAA’s dirty deed was done, they passed the baton on to Twitter to submarine the release of “Unplanned.” The most critical day on social media for a movie is the day it is released, and sadly, Twitter pulled the plug on opening night.
According to Mr. Solomon:
“[Twitter] closed us down on opening night, which, considering we had the account for nine months, was quite unusual. It just so happens that happens on opening night which, for a movie, is the most important night of the whole run.”
Google joined the conspiracy by refusing to let them advertise “Unplanned.” Said Konzelman:
“Well, we are completely blocked at every turn. I mean, our primary difficulty was with Google, who refused to take any of the advertising for our film. All of our banner ads up until our date of release were refused. Basically, they identified us with a conservative issue, which is the pro-life side of the abortion issue. They said, ‘your marketing is related to abortion.’ We said, ‘no it’s not. It’s a film.’ And they still refused us.”
Google went even further. Early Google searches for Unplanned labeled it as “drama/propaganda.” Bet you’ve never seen that movie genré before in a Google search, have you?
Even the Nazi propaganda film, “Triumph of the Will,” wasn’t slapped with a ‘propaganda’ label by Google.
Netflix shuns “Unplanned”
The mainstream media refused to run their television ads. Only Fox would allow them to advertise.
Netflix, according to the co-directors, has “no appetite for the film,” and Amazon Prime is taking a pass instead to promote a couple of pro abortion films they’re producing, one starring Sandra Bullock.
Yes, pro life films are hard to produce and market. Despite the obstacles, this small, independent film is on track to more than triple its investment in a politically incorrect movie.
The real question: is the film making a difference?
Yes. We will explore this subject in more detail in our next blogpost. Check back.
[“Unplanned” is showing at AMC Classic Southridge-12; AMC Classic Johnston-16, and Century 20 at the Jordan Creek Mall. Watching this movie is a good preparation for Holy Week.]
By Tom Quiner
I just got around to viewing “A Quiet Place” which came out a year ago. There was a time when I loved horror films, that is, until they became dependent on gore as a substitute for suspense. A Quiet Place restores the genre to its proper place with a smart and surprisingly pro life movie. Even more, the film abounds with religious imagery.
‘What?’ you may ask! A pro life horror film? Yes, and it is a central plot element of this rich film. Before I proceed, be aware that I will spill the beans on key plot elements. So stop reading if you plan on watching this movie anytime soon (it’s available on Amazon Prime).
A Quiet Place is another in a long line of post apocalyptic movies. The premise: Most of the earth’s human population has been wiped out by unstoppable monsters who move quickly and kill you before you can say “Planned Parenthood.”
The monsters are blind, but they have hyper sensitive hearing. If you utter a peep, you’re dead within minutes, thus the movie’s name.
No one talks. Communication must be done by sign language.
Where did the monsters come from? How many people are left on earth? Don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. All we know for sure is that one family is left, the Abbots.
Mr. and Mrs. Abbot are portrayed by John Krasinksi and his wife in real life, Emily Blunt. They have three children, and when their youngest activates a loud toy, both parents … and the audience … watch in horror as a monster speeds through the forest towards the little guy. And just like that, he is gone.
Violence is not really depicted. It’s suggested, which really makes it all the more horrific in our imagination.
So how is any of this pro life?
Time passes, and we learn the mom is pregnant. Can she possibly deliver a baby without uttering a sound? Ask any woman who has experienced the pain of childbirth.
Even if she does, have you ever heard of a baby that doesn’t cry? This baby could mean the death of the family.
In this disposable culture, the quick solution is abortion. Tens of thousands take place on a monthly basis in the U.S. because the baby is considered inconvenient.
If ever there was an inconvenient baby in the womb, it was the Abbot’s child. And yet they never consider the option. This is a family that holds hands and silently prays together before each meal.
In fact, the entire movie is about the profound depth found within the family unit, a depth defined by ‘agapé love.
Most filmmakers consider love a feeling or a passion quickly spent beneath the sheets. To a man with a Polish Catholic heritage, Krasinksi knows love is sacrificial in nature.
He traveled back to his homeland with his father a number of years ago to learn about the profundity of the Pole’s struggle to survive against the monsters known as Nazism and Communism.
Six million Poles were sacrificed on the altar of atheistic totalitarianism. In A Quiet Place, the father sacrifices himself to the monster so that his children might live.
Love is all about giving
In other words, this is a film that tells us love is all about giving, a direct contradiction to a culture that tells us love is all about taking.
For a movie that downplays the violence element, A Quiet Place is still terrifying. It struck a chord with audiences who love to be scared, scoring an awesome $340 million at the box office on a $20 million budget.
As I mentioned, the film is peppered with religious symbolism, which Bishop Robert Barron touches upon in his video review below.
My takeaway from this movie is simply this: life matters. It is worth dying for.
By Tom Quiner
It’s hard to believe Psalm 22 was written a millennium before Jesus was nailed to the cross. This messianic psalm, which describes the travails of David, surely prefigures Christ.
It is reminiscent of Psalm 51 which opens our Lenten season with Ash Wednesday, just as Psalm 22 is sung on Palm Sunday, setting the stage for Holy Week.
In Psalm 51, David has sinned deeply, and in his contrition, he promises God to redouble his efforts to “teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”
In Psalm 22, he has been deeply persecuted by King Saul. He asks God to deliver him from death, and in return, he again promises to double down in his evangelization efforts by proclaiming God’s name in the assembly:
“You who fear the Lord, praise him!”
David uses rich imagery in describing his plight, which eerily foretells the crucifixion:
“All who see me scoff at me.”
“They have pierced my hands and feet; I can count all my bones.”
“They cast lots to claim my clothes.”
So when Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, He has allowed Himself to experience the isolation of the sinner as He takes all the sins of the world … onto Himself.
Sin separates us from God. And sin hurts.
The sin of abortion is particularly painful to women. These women are often driven to such an extreme in a crisis pregnancy because they feel abandoned by a boyfriend, a husband, or their family.
In their isolation, many cry out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me!”
But He hasn’t.
God has placed angels right here on earth to tend to women dealing with unplanned pregnancies. You’ll find them in compassionate crisis pregnancy centers like these:
Crisis Pregnancy Resources
Davenport Hope and Healing Ministry (Davenport, Iowa)
Life Care Pregnancy Center ( Stuart, Iowa)
Pathways of Pella (Pella, Iowa)
Pregnancy Center of Central Iowa (Newton, Iowa)
Do you know someone in a crisis pregnancy with the misguided notion that God has abandoned them? Share the resources above with them.
This weekend, the entire Catholic community will sing this gut-wrenching psalm at our Palm Sunday Masses. The isolated and the abandoned hold a special place in the hearts of the faithful this weekend.
Christ is with the mother in crisis. Christ is with the baby in the womb. Help is available.
You are not alone.
By Tom Quiner
“Unplanned” movie review
If you ever had doubt that there’s hope for this unseemly world, go and see Unplanned the Movie. Iowans for LIFE and Innervisions HealthCare teamed up to host a private screening of this dramatic pro-life film.
We packed 4 theaters at the Jordan Creed Mall last night for an intense experience that plunged us deep into the inner workings of Planned Parenthood.
The move is so very painful. At the same time, it is so very hopeful. It tells the true story of Abby Johnson who drank the Planned Parenthood cool aid and bought into the lie that Planned Parenthood was all about uplifting women. She convinced herself that they were really all about ‘women’s reproductive health.’ And yet every frame of the film either directly or indirectly reveals the utter pain and despair wrought by the evil of abortion.
Despite the depravity of this ‘sacrament of abortion’ to which Planned Parenthood clings, Unplanned the Movie dramatizes the power of faith in overcoming evil.
Abby Johnson succumbs to the beauty of God’s love by finally having her eyes opened that abortion is really about bondage, not freedom.
It took guts to tell this story
She’s a brave woman, because she lays her life bare in Unplanned. She witnesses an abortion. The scene is the most unpleasant two minutes I have ever experienced at a movie. You see the fetus trying to dodge the abortionist’s deadly weapons on the ultrasound screen. You seem him losing the battle, and as Abby Johnson later sobs, “And then it was just … gone.”
You can’t consider Unplanned entertainment. Consider it penance you owe our tiny brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters lost on the altar of child sacrifice, aka human abortion.
Don’t get me wrong. The movie is utterly gripping. You’re sucked into the movie within seconds, just like an aborted fetus is sucked into an abortionist’s demonic vacuum device.
Unplanned reveals amazing things. Prayer works. Abby said whenever the faithful showed up to pray outside the clinic, PP’s “sales” dropped for that day as “customers” drove away.
Planned Parenthood is all about profits, and abortion is their cash cow. When Abby asks her heartless boss, “isn’t Planned Parenthood a non-profit?”, her boss barks back, “non-profit is a tax status, not a business model.”
Pro life films like “Gosnell: the trial of america’s biggest serial killer” and “Unplanned” have to overcome enormous obstacles to be made.
They’re hard to fund. The Gosnell producers had to crowd fund the project. Then Kickstarter wouldn’t let them use their platform, because it was an “inappropriate” subject matter for their platform. So they switched to IndieGoGo and raised record amounts of money for their pro life film project.
Social media platforms do everything they can to suppress these projects.
Film critics tend to ignore the films, which suppresses audience turnout.
And yet these films get made, driven by the passion and righteousness of the pro life cause. Support this project. It’s a wonderful, but painful movie. If you can, take friends who are not pro life. This film has the clout to change their mind.
[IFL and Innervisions co-funded last night’s private screening. The free will offering that followed didn’t cover our expenses. If you’re able, please donate online or text your donation to: (515) 800-BABY (2229). Thank-you!]
[Yesterday’s blogpost, “What Is It?“, generated intense pushback when it was first published at Quiner’s Diner three years ago. Reread the post. Here is the exchange]:
J. GREENBERG: Your story about the children who identify the model of the fetus is not valid evidence of fetuses being human beings. Children do not understand the stages of a pregnancy, and any attempt to say they do is ridiculous.
At that point in their lives, they cannot fully understand that there is a difference between a fetus and a baby. Thus, them saying that the model fetus (which is has little resemblance to an actual fetus that would be able to be aborted) is not proving your point, it’s showing that children don’t know the stages of pregnancy.
Finally, why do you get to decide if a woman wants to keep her fetus or not? Would you say to a woman who got pregnant as a result of rape, that she has to not only carry that being to a full term, but then raise it as a 24/7 reminder of the horrible act done to her? Or, what if the mother cannot support a child, be it due to financial status or physical ability, is it not her choice to decide that she cannot support this being in a way that will result in it having a healthy and loving childhood?
If that is what you are saying, then you are condemning that being to at a minimum, a childhood of pain, misery, and quite possibly a future in which they find themselves behind both economically and socially. I ask you, is all that worth not aborting something which cannot feel, cannot think, and will not do so for another couple of months.
GREENBERG: I asked quite a few questions, so could you be a little bit more specific?
QUINER: I responded to your last question. Yes, it is worth it because humanity begins at the instant of conception.
Some 98% of human abortion occurs with healthy women who carry a healthy baby. It is immoral to kill a person simply because she is inconvenient. It is arrogant to proclaim that someone born into less than perfect conditions has no 14th Amendment rights, an assumption refuted on a daily basis by incredible people who survive and thrive one obstacle after another hurled at them by life.
And regarding rape, studies reveal that women who give birth to the child of their rapist have fewer regrets than women who aborted the product of a rape. They discovered that more violence isn’t the answer; that death isn’t the answer. Pro abortion laws are proven to be anti woman time after time. Every single human being is distinct and complete at the instant of conception.
GREENBERG: I find it hard to believe that women would want reminders of a rape, but seeing as neither you nor I is a woman as far as I know, we cannot be the ones to decide for them.
It should not be up to men to decide what a woman wants to do. If they want to get an abortion, then that is their choice. If they want to have the baby, that is also their choice. If the woman is not ready to take care of a child, like in cases of teen pregnancy, they should not be thrown into a world of suffering and poverty because a politician decided she would have to have the baby.
The average cost of raising a child today is $245,340. That is something that many people cannot afford, and it will continue to create more poverty in this nation. And yes, I do know adoption is a thing. However, there are instances where that simply isn’t an option.
QUINER: Your instincts are as wrong as they are irrelevant. Researchers tested your thesis in a survey of rape victims. Their results are recounted in a book: “Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault.” The scientists refute your premise with this synopsis:
“Many of the women in our sample aborted only because they were pressured to do so, and most reported that the abortion only increased their experience of grief and trauma. In contrast, none of the women who carried to term said they wished they had not given birth or that they had chosen abortion instead. Many of these women said that their children had brought peace and healing to their lives.”
To your second question, it should not be up to men OR women to make a life or death decision over any child (your word) whether born or pre-born. Your position is shockingly heartless to suggest that a person should be exterminated because the parents don’t want to shell out the money to take responsibility for the child they conceived in an act of premeditated sex. Your position is just too heartless for me, especially when there are 36 couples waiting to adopt EVERY child placed for adoption.
GREENBERG: You seem to not understand that you will always be able to find evidence on any argument, and that because you read something doesn’t make it correct. If I wanted to, I could just as easily find a study that shows the opposite of what you claim.
Secondly, how do you fail to see the irony in so vigorously defending a life, even one that is considered by many to not be, and also be pro gun. Guns kill far more people every year, and despite that, if someone says we need tighter gun laws people go up in arms about it. Explain how that is logical.
And, I find it funny that you instantly go to personal insults when your beliefs are challenged. I could have gone there, but I didn’t because I have a little bit of class. I look forward to your repetitive and most likely factually incorrect response.
QUINER: The gun issue is a separate issue with no relevance to this argument. I used the word ‘heartless’ intentionally because I cannot think of anything more heartless than killing an innocent human life because she is inconvenient. If I have mischaracterized your position, please advise. Thanks for writing.
GREENBERG: You have in fact mischaracterized my position. You are completely overlooking the cases where it is vital to the health of the mother that she not have this baby. Saying that someone would get an abortion because the fetus is “inconvenient” is a ridiculous assumption, but not all to surprising.
Next, the gun issue is actually relevant. Obviously I need to explain further. Guns kill people, yet you think that people should have them. But when it’s an abortion, it’s an abomination and a crime against humanity. That is how they are related.
QUINER: I oppose the killing of a human being with a gun just as much as I oppose the killing of a human being in the womb with forceps or a spinal needle.
MARIA: THANK YOU FOR THIS. Couldn’t agree more, any sane human being in their right mind would agree with you.
PROLIFEMAMA: Please forgive me if another commenter has asked this question. Is this particular fetal model available for purchase by pro-life presenters like me?
QUINER: Yes. Contact Iowans for Life: http://www.IowansForLife.org. Good luck!
LORI: I honestly believe that this will not be solved in the political arena. I pray it will but I have doubts. However, I can’t vote for a “death party”…ever. In fact, the democratic platform is so immoral that we can’t read what they stand for to our kids (Until they are older). We have major issues with the republican candidate, but not the platform.
I have photos of my children at young ages, via ultrasound. I treasured them then as I do now. I didn’t even have the fancy 3D ultrasound but I could see what I knew- they were babies. In fact, when choosing godparents for our twins, I sent ultrasound photo invitations to the prospective godparents. After the birth, when visiting one of the families, I saw the invitation on the shelf. I said sheepishly, “Oh, I sent you the wrong photo.” After birth it was obvious I had sent her the ultrasound photo of the baby that was not her godchild. There was no confusing him for an alien.
QUINER: A dramatic point: the Democratic Platform is R rated. Thanks for writing, Lori.
JOHN ROZYCKI: Thank you for your good work, Tom. I and so many others appreciate it. May God bless you.
QUINER: Thank-you, sir!
CLARE FLOURISH: It appears that the Netherlands maintains an extremely low abortion rate through sex education and widely available family planning services.
Do you support this, as a way of reducing abortion rates?
FLOURISH: Why not? Don’t you think they reduce abortion?
QUINER: No, contraception increases the likelihood of human abortion, according to survey data. When it fails, as it often does, the baby is typically unwanted and thus aborted.
SWANDRH: Some girls use abortion for birth control. They get the abortion for free, it’s no limit to how many they get in one year.
QUINER: So sad, so tragic.
VIOLET WISP: That’s not reality, that’s entirely misleading. You can see genuine images of a 12 week old fetus online. If you’re going to do this kind of thing, you should do it with honesty. I think the reality might still make your same point, but the fetus looks more like a newly hatched baby bird or a tiny alien. Have a look and tell me if you truly think that’s an honest thing to do – that model is a complete lie, and you should be ashamed.
QUINER: Me thinks you dost protest too much.
PAUL SHARP: A baby bird? A tiny alien? What absurd comparisons!
WISP: I take pregnancy and abortion seriously Tom. It’s not a game where we twist reality to suit our agenda. Please post a picture of an actual fetus for comparison. Your model is a lie.
LEE BURLESON: Tom, I kindly submit that you exchange “actual” for “model” in the picture caption.
QUINER: Seems reasonable.
BURLESON: I did a search as you suggested; it is true that the model is
more opaque and has more detail than a real human fetus. The pictures from Snopes (considered neutral) and LiveAction are similar to each other. To me, 12 weeks still “looks” human. But this only begs the question: what are using to define “human”? Looks? Many of these discussions circle back to that question, which then leads to questions of personhood. I am including the links here, but even before 12 weeks the growing organism is only human.
Most of us here know the usual scientific arguments, so let’s short-circuit these misdirections about humanity, shall we?
What is the heart of the issue?
WISP: Thanks for the links. My point is that the model being used above is misleading. It is simply a miniature fully formed baby, which is no a reflection of what a 12 week fetus looks like, as in your links. And as I say in my original comment, a real model fetus may still give someone pause for thought, so why exaggerate? Why lie? People should make decisions about their own lives based on facts.
What is the heart of the issue? The heart of the issue is that in every country in the world where women cannot choose to have a safe and legal pregnancy termination, they access any resource they can, including butchering their own bodies, to end unwanted pregnancies.
The heart of the issue is that a fetus has no awareness or sense of pain, and is entirely dependent on the host body of their mother for existence. They are also born yearning for that mother’s touch and love, having heard, smelt and felt their presence at key developmental times (which are beyond normal abortion limits).
I don’t think anyone wins when humans attempt to force women to give birth to babies they don’t want – women harm the babies and themselves with stress chemicals, with alcohol, with drugs, and with home-made, desperate abortion tactics. How would you combat that if abortion was illegal?
BURLESON:I agree that deception on either side of the debate is wrong.
I also agree that women and men can become desperate when faced with an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.
When considering the morality of an action, it is useful to ask who is affected. In this case, we both agree it is another human being (regardless of looks). In the U.S. we have well-established laws that prohibit direct intentional harm of others … except for abortion. Until the unborn are recognized as human persons, the foundational laws will remain unchanged.
While it is true that certain people will always seek out illegal abortions, I don’t see the problem as woman against child. I see a very difficult, sometimes tragic situation that shouldn’t be made worse by killing the innocent 3rd party.
For this reason, it is incredibly important that we continue to change hearts and assist families no matter what happens legally. The prolife movement -as a whole- does that.
ANONYMOUS: Well said.
By Tom Quiner
I held in my hand a model of a 12 week old preborn human being, also known as a fetus, or also known as a “blob” of cells if you work for Planned Parenthood.
People poured by.
We engaged a generally friendly crowd on life issues. The focal point of our booth were the life sized models of the preborn at different stages of development, from 12 to 26 weeks.
Little kids loved the models. I made it a point to take the 12 week fetus and show it to kids who were four or five years old.
“What is this?” I would ask them.
The response EVERY time was, “A baby!”
Kids are smart
Something struck me. Either these kids are smarter than so-called ‘pro choice’ politicians, or simply more honest. Kids at that age are without guile. Pro choice politicians are defined by it.
The public policies they promote allow abortion. The public policies they oppose are those that attempt to regulate the brutal business of Big Abortion.
In a single year, abortion kills nearly a million of the little guys pictured above. They have no rights, because these politicians and the judges they appoint won’t allow it.
At the least, each human abortion affects three people:
- The baby, who is dead.
- The mother who has either made the decision to kill her child, or was coerced into doing it.
- The father, who sometimes is the one who pressured the mom to kill her child.
This doesn’t count siblings, grandparents, friends, and the entire community who have been deprived of the gifts of a unique human person.
How are parents affected? Many, perhaps most, experience life-eroding guilt. They know in their heart they killed their child to make their own lives more convenient.
What is love? Love is willing the good of the other, or in other words, to love your neighbor as yourself.
Human abortion kills the good in the other.
Love civilizes man and gives meaning to our lives.
Human abortion turns man into barbarians, stripping away any semblance of meaning to our existence.
Many of my friends on the Left maintain that there are issues other than human abortion that are just as important in this highly-charged political environment. No, there aren’t. None dehumanize the United States of America more than the issue that breeds death and contempt for human dignity.
The reality of human abortion is this: it makes man less dignified than an animal.
We’re so much better than that.
[This blogpost was published on August 14th, 2016, at www.QuinersDiner.com. Thanks to Tom Quiner for permission to republish it. The piece generated epic pushback. Check back tomorrow for an intense exchange between Mr. Quiner and his ‘fans’.]