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They Won’t Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste — Women of GraceWomen of Grace

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Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

True to form, the abortion industry is doing everything in its power to capitalize on the coronavirus emergency by using this pandemic to expand access to abortion. Thanks to the vigilance of the pro-life movement, many of their efforts have been successfully thwarted.

Planned Parenthood and its allies have found themselves in a precarious situation since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. As Reuters reports, Vice President Mike Pence has asked the nation’s hospitals to cease elective surgeries in order to free up critically needed beds and personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves for use in fighting the spread of this virus. Because abortion is appropriately labeled as “elective,” this order also applies to abortion clinics.

“If ever there were a medical procedure that met the definition of ‘elective,’ it is abortion,” writes Father Shenan J. Boquet of Human Life International. “Abortions cure no disease. The only thing they do is result in a dead baby and a wounded mother.”

Not according to Planned Parenthood. They claim to be providing “essential” medical services and are keeping many of their clinics open in spite of the worsening pandemic and critical shortage of medical supplies.

Even in the state of Illinois where a shelter-in-place order is in effect and all nonessential businesses have been ordered to close, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) announced that it will temporarily close all facilities in the state except for six clinics, three of which provide abortions.

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois is taking all necessary precautions to keep our staff and patients healthy and well. This temporary consolidation of services is just one part of that,” said Dr. Amy Whitaker, Chief Medical Officer at PPIL. “Patients will still need family planning services and abortion care during this time, and we are committed to providing it.”

The abortion lobby also managed to convince the state of Massachusetts to leave abortion off the list of “nonessential, elective invasive procedures” that should be postponed or canceled while in a state of emergency. As MassLive.com reports, colonoscopies and knee replacements must be postponed – but abortions can continue.

Because so many clinics have closed, abortion proponents are now pressuring the FDA to relax regulations governing medical abortions.

“The fact that those regulations are designed to protect women from deadly complications that can occur during medical abortions didn’t seem to bother them,” Father Boquet writes. “Instead, they argued that the FDA should immediately make it legal for women to abort their babies at home using the abortion pill, without ever physically seeing a doctor. Under this proposal, women would be able to get a prescription for the abortion pill over ‘telemedicine’ (i.e., through a video conference) and then obtain the pill itself through the mail or at their local pharmacy.”

Of course, abortion activists claim this is just a “temporary” measure to help women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic but we all know that it will only be a matter of time before those relaxed regulations become law.

In addition to these deadly antics, anti-life forces on Capital Hill were also hard at work trying to include taxpayer funding for abortion into an earlier coronavirus relief measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did her best to slip medical funding into the bill that was not covered by the Hyde Amendment, a law that prohibits the use of government funds for abortion. Thankfully, it was caught by pro-life lawmakers and the funds were put back under the protection of the Hyde Amendment.

“Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment,” said an exasperated Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) about the foiled attempt. “We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”

The Speaker hasn’t learned any lessons, however. Insiders say that part of the holdup over the Senate’s $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill was Democrats’s insistence that abortion providers be eligible for aid under the small business portion of the bill – something Republicans have specifically barred. It remains to be seen what language made it into the final draft of the bill.

Meanwhile, the states of Texas and Ohio have ordered all elective abortion procedures to be postpned in order to free up medical resources to fight the virus.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement.

Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost did the same, ordering all abortion clinics in the state to cease performing abortions or any other procedure that requires the use of personal protection equipment.

“You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient,” Yost wrote in a letter to clinics that provide abortion.

At least five of the state’s six clinics responded with defiance, claiming that abortion is “essential and time sensitive” and that the clinics were in compliance with saying the Health Department’s order.

The attorney general responded by threatening legal action if the Health Department determines its facilities are in violation of the state’s order.

“This is not about abortions,” said Bethany McCorkle, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, in an email to CBS News. “This is about nonessential surgeries using PPE during this pandemic.”

Pro-life organizations have responded forcefully to the abortion industry’s attempts to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) noted in a press release:

Continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible. Abortions use up much needed resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment,” said the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Five percent of women who undergo abortions for medical or surgical abortions experience complications that require evaluation in the hospital, and most clinics do not manage their own complications and send women to emergency rooms, this only adds to the burden of hospitals who are already struggling to keep with the expanding COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sheer selfishness on display by abortionists refusing to close shop even for a brief time to funnel every possible resource to the brave medical providers … is simply unconscionable,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life.

Those women who experience an unplanned pregnancy during this national emergency need the same thing women in crisis need any other time.

“Information, resources, empowerment, and love are the ways that we can best help mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy,” Foster said.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com



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Prophet, Priest, Exorcist — Women of GraceWomen of Grace

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By Kathleen Beckman

The renowned Pope John Paul II biographer George Weigel gave a moving keynote presentation on suffering in the life of St. John Paul II at the 2005 national conference of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. The conference theme was Healing and the Mystery of Suffering. I was there to give my testimony of suffering and healing in the family but the greatest witness we heard was Weigel on the life of Karol Wojtyla. In the latter days of his life that played out on the theater of the world, the Polish Pope became an image of the Suffering Servant of whom the prophet Isaiah wrote so eloquently.

Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter on the meaning and value of human suffering (Salvifici Doloris, 11 Feb. 1984) contained a prophetic message—one of many. The theme of Christian suffering will permeate three points presented in this reflection on the life of a saint who forever changed my life.

During my three trips to his beloved Poland, I traced his footsteps praying along the way for the grace to be a lover of God and souls under the mantle of Mary according to Wojtyla’s example. The six times I saw Pope John Paul II in Rome I experienced Christ’s love radiating through this chosen prophet, priest and exorcist. I attended his canonization on 27 April 2014 because I owe him a debt of gratitude.

St. John Paul II: The Prophet

In an address during the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla said:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…”

This 38-year-old prophecy is unfolding now when a great battle is underway for the soul of the Church. Pope John Paul II prepared us to take up the trail that lies within the plans of Divine Providence. He repeatedly taught, be not afraid—echoing the words of Christ in scripture where the same message is repeated over 100 times—fear not! St. John Paul was a prophetic voice, a prophet of courage, and like all prophets he was either accepted or rejected. What is the Catholic understanding of courage? St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “Fortitude of soul must be that which binds the will firmly to the good of reason in face of the greatest evils.”

Karol Wojtyla’s life is a profile in courage from the time of his youth fraught with loss and danger to his old age fraught with physical diminishment displayed on the stage of the world for a mysterious audience whom he loved like Christ loves.

The Christian must have fortitude, forbearance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty and intimidation from the world and the evil one. St. John Paul II said, “In the inner heart of every person the voice of God and the insidious voice of the Evil One can be heard. The latter seeks to deceive the human person, seducing him with the prospect of false goods, to lead him away from the real good that consists precisely in fulfilling the divine will” (Angelus, March 9, 2003).

St. John Paul II: The Priest

Karol Wojtyla lived his priesthood to the fullest. The Sacrament of Holy Orders transforms an ordinary man into a priest who is a beloved son of the Eternal Father, a chaste spouse of the Church, a spiritual father of souls, the head of the body of Christ and a shepherd who lays down his life for the flock.

In his book, Gift and Mystery the Pope’s personal testimony reveals the difficult situation that marked his vocational discernment. The crucible of suffering is never far from a saint in the making.

But let us go back to 1 September 1939. The outbreak of the war radically changed the course of my life. True, the professors of the Jagiellonian University tried to start the new academic year in the usual way, but lectures lasted only until 6 November 1939. On that day the German authorities assembled all the teachers in a meeting which ended with the deportation of those distinguished scholars to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The period of my life devoted to the study of Polish language and letters thus came to an end, and the period of the German occupation began.

Karol Wojtyla was ordained to the priesthood on 1 November 1946 by Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Sapieha. He loved his priesthood and his brother priests with fatherly affection as evidenced in his annual letters on Holy Thursdays.

12. Dear Brothers, …In each of our diocesan communities we are going to gather together, on this birthday of our Priesthood, to renew the grace of the Sacrament of Orders, to stir up the love which is the mark of our vocation. We hear Christ saying to us as he said to the Apostles: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends… No longer do I call you servants…, I have called you friends.” Before him who manifests love in its fullness, we, priests and Bishops, renew our priestly commitments. We pray for one another, each for his brother, and all for all. We ask the eternal Father that the memory of the Cure of Ars may help to stir up our zeal in his service. We beseech the Holy Spirit to call to the Church’s service many priests of the caliber and holiness of the Cure of Ars: in our age she has so great a need of them, and she is no less capable of bringing such vocations to full flower. For my part, I assure you once more of my great affection, and, with your Bishop, I send you to my Apostolic Blessing. (Vatican, March 1986)

St. John Paul II: The Exorcist

The Pope’s 1986 encyclical on The Holy Spirit (Dominum Et Vivificantem) teaches, “Not only the devil is involved in spiritual warfare, but the Holy Spirit is equally involved, or more involved in it, bringing men and women of goodwill the ability to overcome evil in their lives, so that they too can say: “Where evil abounded, grace super-abounded!” (Rom. 5:20).” On the subject of spiritual warfare, Pope John Paul II placed a fresh, strong emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit. Priest exorcists and their teams rely fully on the Holy Spirit in every case where liberation from evil spirits is required.

According to interviews with Rome’s chief exorcist, Fr. Amorth, (quoted in José Maria Zavala’s book Así se vence al demonio) Pope John Paul II carried out at least two or more exorcisms against “extremely powerful demons”. Fr. Gabriel says: “I remember it perfectly. I know Francesca, the young lady who was present that morning during the Papal Audience at the Vatican. Previously, the bishop of the girl’s diocese asked the Pope if he would be willing to perform an exorcism on her, and he gave his consent without hesitation. The Pope proceeded immediately to do the exorcism, in his private chapel in the Vatican. Francesca did nothing but spit, writhe, and crawl on the ground. The people around the Pope could not believe their eyes: ‘We have never seen a scene like the ones described in the Gospel’, they admitted. Indeed, John Paul II said: ‘Everything that happens in the Gospels still happens today’.”

Regarding the other exorcism, it would be too much for this brief reflection. But as a final point, Fr. Amorth remembers that he once asked the devil why he was so afraid of John Paul II, “He told me that this had happened for two reasons: first, because the Pope had foiled his plans with the fall of communism in Europe. And then because he had snatched the souls of many young people during his papacy.”

In John Paul II’s own words: “Begone, Satan!’ The Messiah’s resolute attitude is an example and an invitation for us to follow him with courageous determination. The devil, the “prince of this world”, even today continues his deceitful action. Every man, over and above his own concupiscence and the bad example of others, is also tempted by the devil, and the more so when he is least aware of it.”(Vatican Archives: Angelus 17 Feb 02)

St. John Paul The Great, graciously pray for us that the Holy Spirit will transform the human world from within so that we can overcome evil by doing good and become courageous prophets of joy.

For more information on the meaning and value of human suffering, please visit www.foundationforpriests.org Learn More section on The Offering of Suffering.

This article originally appeared on Catholic Exchange.



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Una víctima del escritor francés Gabriel Matzneff cuenta su historia

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“Fue solo cuando tenía casi 35 años que entendí que esto no era una historia de amor”, recordó Gee.

En 1992 contactó a Matzneff y le exigió que dejara de usar sus cartas y se las devolviera. Al final, él le envió un montón de fotocopias, una colección seleccionada cuidadosamente que excluía su correspondencia negativa.

Una década más tarde, en 2002, fue Matzneff quien le escribió para pedirle, por primera vez, su permiso para usar viejas fotografías suyas en un libro. Con la tinta azul turquesa que siempre usaba para escribir sus cartas, Matzneff ofreció identificar a la adolescente como “la joven que inspiró al personaje de Angiolina en Ivre du vin perdu”.

Gee no solo se rehusó, sino que también volvió a pedirle que en sus libros no aparecieran sus cartas y que quitaran su rostro de la portada de Ivre du vin perdu. También exigió que eliminaran tres fotografías viejas suyas de un sitio web dedicado a Matzneff y creado por un admirador, Frank Laganier. Gee comentó que las fotografías fueron eliminadas siete años después, en 2010, después de que siguió ejerciendo presión.

Laganier, quien ahora vive en París, rechazó las solicitudes para entrevistarlo. Su abogado, Emmanuel Pierrat —que representa a Matzneff en un caso de pedofilia y es un antiguo simpatizante del escritor— rechazó ser entrevistado.

En 2004, Gee comenzó a prepararse para demandar a Gallimard, la editorial de Ivre du vin perdu y La passion Francesca, el diario que Matzneff escribió sobre su relación, pero no siguió con el proceso debido a los grandes costos legales. Gallimard no respondió a las solicitudes de entrevistas; Antoine Gallimard, director de la editorial, no respondió a una solicitud de entrevista enviada a su correo electrónico.

Sin poder detener a Matzneff, Gee tampoco podía contar su propia historia.

Después de que Albin Michel rechazó su manuscrito, ella lo presentó —sin éxito— a otras casas editoriales.

Geneviève Jurgensen, quien era editora en Bayard y quien se reunió con Gee en 2004, dijo que el enfoque del manuscrito no iba con la línea de Bayard, que se especializaba en libros juveniles, religión y filosofía.



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