FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
It’s been a tough winter: the inauguration and first 100 days of a president entirely committed to killing children and creating a socialist Utopia, the Notre Dame Commencement debacle honoring him, looming legislation that threatens to criminalize critics of sodomy and eliminate conscience rights for those who oppose abortion, etc. The troops, especially we old warriors, are suffering from battle fatigue. But spring always offers hope and thunderstorms pass, not without watering the earth. God in His faithfulness brings good from evil. So as I dig in my garden amidst the flowers and weeds, I’ve been thinking about hopeful signs in the culture of life. Let’s take a walk through God’s green earth and see what the Master Gardener is doing to nurture the culture of life.
By now every pro-lifer on the planet must have heard of Lila Rose and her undercover exposé of Planned Parenthood’s dirty little secret of protecting child rapists. Lila, pretending to be a pregnant minor with an adult boyfriend, videotaped PP counselors telling her they’d keep the statutory rape secret, a violation of mandatory reporting laws. They also coached her to lie about her “boyfriend’s” age. Because of Lila’s work, several states are investigating PP. Meanwhile, this incredible 20-year-old-student says she’ll dedicate her life to ending abortion and challenges her peers to join her.
The younger generation is media savvy and likes to get their news and views on the internet. Real Catholic TV features Michael Voris and Vic Faust, young Turks with hard-hitting news and commentary. Voris, on his editorial show, The Vortex, addresses the most controversial issues of the day in a hard-hitting style that pulls no punches. As a Notre Dame alumnus, he was a powerful voice opposing Fr. Jenkins’ decision to honor Obama and calling the university to account. Vic and Michael are a real Catholic dynamic duo.Not only alumni fought the Obama decision. Another exciting development was the formation of Notre Dame Response by students. About forty seniors skipped their own graduation to participate in an alternative
ceremony at the Lourdes Grotto with an outdoor mass and speeches by Fr. Frank Pavone and ND History Professor, Fr. Wilson Miscamble. These young people paid a price for practicing their Catholic faith and yet they did it with heartfelt gladness. Bishop John D’Arcy was so impressed by the prayerful attitude of the students that, surprising everyone, he attended the event where he proclaimed the young people heroes. They are the hope of the future.
Another young Catholic having a big impact on the culture is David Bereit and his 40 Days for Life Campaign. The campaign is based on the biblical significance of 40 days of prayer and fasting. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai; Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert. The first local 40 Days for Life was held in 2004 in College Station, TX. It involved not only a round-the-clock presence at the local Planned Parenthood, but volunteers contacted 25,000 households with the pro-life message. Abortions in the area declined 28%. Success bred imitators. Dallas, Houston, and other state groups quickly sponsored their own campaigns. In 2007, 40 Days went national and is now international in scope. David Bereit, a 30-something himself, recently met a baby saved by the movement he began. The little boy, one of over 1500 around the nation, was rescued when a first-time participant in Harrisburg, PA, a post-aborted woman, witnessed to little Jakai’s mother.
The weak and handicapped may be the most eloquent voices of all. Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor; Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Schindler Vitadamo, siblings of Terri Schiavo who was dehydrated to death in 2005; Eliot Mooney’s parents who shared the story of their tiny son’s 99-day battle with Trisomy 18 in the video 99 Balloons viewed by millions – their voices witness to the value of life no matter how vulnerable.
All of the individuals I’ve mentioned here fighting for the culture of life have three things in common: they are committed, eloquent, and above all, young. They are the future. And they are having an impact. Recently Gallup reported that, since 1995 when they began asking the question, more Americans polled identified themselves as pro-life than pro-choice – 51% to 42%. The future is the Lord’s; persevere in hope.