On Friendship, Faith, and Martyrdom

Faith Abbott McFadden (1931-2011)

October 6 is the feast day of Saint Faith of Agen.  Few people are aware that there is actually a saint named “Faith” in the martyrologies of the Church.  I took the occasion of her feast day to write about my friendship with the late Faith Abbott McFadden, who was senior editor of The Human Life Review until her death in 2011.   The good folks at Review posted my reminiscences on their blog today.

Faith was a champion of the fight for life, and she was a huge influence on me.  She and I had a 20 year correspondence in which we shared our observations on the changing culture and life in general.  Today’s struggle to create a culture that respects and values human life was central to Faith’s work.

We both understood that to openly identify as pro-life is an act that will get you socially rejected in most social and academic circles. And to persist in doing so – to refuse to trade in the Truth for the shiny objects of worldly “rewards” no matter the price — is where true martyrdom begins. Martyrs who hold that fast to the Faith are willing to shed blood if it comes to that.  That’s the story of Saint Faith of Agen.  Though mention of that saint never came up in our correspondence — I only discovered Saint Faith recently — today I seek to link the devotions of both women.

And so I offer this excerpt from the Review’s blog on the feast day of Saint Faith:

Saint Faith’s refusal to renounce Christ and sacrifice to pagan gods got her tortured and killed. And that’s what true martyrdom is about, really:  refusing to bow down to idolatry under pain of punishment, and even death.  It means holding fast to Faith.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and an old French adage rings truer than ever:  “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”  My favorite translation of that is this: “The more things ‘change,’ the more you get same old, same old, same old.”  Indeed, as we witness the lightening erosion of religious liberty in today’s transformed America, we are increasingly facing the same choice as Saint Faith and all the saints: true worship or idolatry? God or mammon?

Such are the things my friend Faith and I reflected on.  And I can hear Faith adding a stoic “Natch” to all of the above.  I believe her outreach to me — and to everyone — was built on her understanding that God leads us to do his work through friendship, through one-on-one personal relationships, influencing the lives of others as well as our own lives.

I still fall short whenever I try to express the impact her letters had—and continue to have—on my life. And why wouldn’t I fall short? Why wouldn’t anyone who ponders the influence of another person on their life fall short in sizing it up?

I think the answer lies in the eternal mystery of love and the limitless trajectories a life can take. It lies in the fact that every human life is an entire universe of God’s making. There is just no way that the effect of one life upon another can be measured or predicted.

You can read the whole post here:  http://www.humanlifereview.com/9184-2/

 

 

Abortion is about Separating Us All, Man, Woman, and Child

Ad for the Tinder App, which is basically for hooking up with sex partners who happen to be in the local area.   This sort of stupid is ultimately what abortion is for. Everybody loses.

I’d like to share an article I wrote a little while ago for the Federalist about my take on pro-abortion men:  Click here to read “Why Pro-Abortion Men are Anti-Woman.

Anyone who can see the reality of sex distinctions understands that women are more emotionally invested in pregnancy than men. So it is undeniable that women are the biggest losers in a society that promotes casual sex. So who are the prime “beneficiaries” of abortion on demand?  Women? Or the men who wish to use and then discard women?

Clearly, it’s the latter.  The dirty little secret is that it wasn’t really grassroots women activists who got abortion legalized, though they carried the sound bites.  A little history shows us that abortion on demand was really an operation from the top down. Establishment men were the ones who pushed hardest for it and made it happen.  Elitist men in the courts and legislatures made it happen.  Feminists? They basically ran cover for them right through the Roe v. Wade decision handed down by seven male Supreme Court justices in 1973.  Oh, sure, these men would couch it all in terms of “women’s rights” and hold themselves up as champions of women.  Very convenient.  Big of them. Easy too, because their feminist allies were their subservient enablers.

Another point is that women have always polled consistently more pro-life than men.  The margin may not be huge, but it’s a persistent gap.

In my article, I discuss a recent Vanity Fair piece that’s laid bare the wasteland of the hook-up culture spawned by our abortion culture.  Many defend hooking up by claiming: “This is 2015 and things have changed.” I can only respond: “This is a total throwback to ancient times. And nothing has changed.”  The Vanity Fair essay is hard to read with its descriptions of men and women using the Tinder app — which you can see in the ad above — obsessively looking for sex partners in the near vicinity.

But it was all so predictable:  jerk men taking advantage of women who are clearly looking for intimacy but pretend they are not.  The irony revealed by the Vanity Fair article is that the women hooking up don’t even enjoy the sex.  And the men are so steeped in competing with other men for conquests — through the “wonders” of phone app technology — that in their 20’s and 30’s they have an epidemic of erectile dysfunction.  It’s all so pointless and stupid, aside from being cruel and destructive.

“Abortion really makes you hate men,” is an apt quote from a college classmate after she told me about her abortion.  This clarified for me that abortion is like Total Warfare on personal relationships. It’s all about separating us from one another.  It severs the mother-child bond as well as the man woman bond.  (The father-child bond was the first casualty.)  The abortion mentality requires destructive coping mechanisms in which the women must emotionally separate themselves from the person of the child as well as from the father.

So much love has gone missing through the descent into our culture’s abortion mindset.  People have lost so much respect for life, for others, and for themselves.  Intimacy has become elusive for so many.  And happiness? So much of it gone, in the name of “choice.”

Fetish Celebration and Baby Organ Harvesting Go Hand in Hand: Both Represent Social Decay

The media and Hollywood do little but feed and cultivate attitudes of self-absorption.  Academics also foster self-absorption in their college students who now can’t read literary classics because the content is too “triggering” for their tender emotions.  We should ask: How on earth can people have real relationships or establish any kind of true community if everyone is so obsessed with their own delicate sensibilities?  The answer is: we can’t.

Healthy personal relationships need a foundation of common reality and common language through which people can communicate.  Most of all, they need a common belief that there is inherent worth and dignity in all human beings, not just themselves.

So as more folks sink deeper into believing life is all about them, they are more liable to end up like Bruce Jenner: obsessed by the urge to project an imagined persona everywhere and eager to suck up whatever oxygen might be in any given room. Or like abortionists who must callous their souls  in order to  live day  to day.

As the Arthur Ashe award in honor of Jenner’s gender transition proved the other night, we seem close to hitting rock bottom.  Turning one’s fetish into a cause celebre might be a nervy thing to do, but it doesn’t resemble the virtue we’ve traditionally called “courage.” All the less so because of the heaping helpings of adulation, support, doting, protection, fawning, and heavy shielding the media and special handlers have been giving Jenner for doing so.

In fact, nary a word has been spoken about Bruce Jenner’s fault in a February car crash that killed a woman and left several others injured.  (Though one of the drivers involved has publicly pointed out that Jenner’s lack of personal responsibility made him ill suited for the award.)

Against this scenario of craven self-worship and self-obsession, it shouldn’t surprise us that a top abortionist and director at Planned Parenthood would brag about harvesting organs from unborn children.  Deborah Nucatola told undercover associates of the Center for Medical Progress how she personally goes about this with babies up to 24 weeks gestation.  She was videotaped saying:

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

It’s a ghoulish business that shocks people of conscience.  But we live less and less in a society that respects and understands the value of conscience.  Instead, Planned Parenthood reflects the attitude of Dr. Josef Mengele who conducted experiments on prisoners in Nazi Germany.  And, of course, of its founder Margaret Sanger who was a full blown eugenics enthusiast whose counsel the Nazis sought in the 1930’s.

How did our culture get to this place?  I think, in part, by accepting the antiquated notion of “modernity” or “progress” as though it is something enlightened.  Using abortion as a means of sexual “liberation” only serves to numb us, to separate ourselves from the humanity of others.  There’s no room for true human connection in such putrefied places devoid of human worth.

 

Human Dignity, Human Life, and The Human Life Review

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Congressman Henry Hyde shares an issue of the Human Life Review with Mother Teresa

Forty years ago, aghast at the Roe Vs. Wade decision, James Patrick McFadden founded a journal called The Human Life Review.  It’s a dynamic publication with writers from a wide array of backgrounds:  physicians, lawyers, stay-at-home moms, philosophers, journalists, academics, retirees, and many others from all walks of life.  Today Jim McFadden’s daughter, Maria McFadden Maffucci is editor.  Click here to read my interview with her, published today at The Federalist. 

You’ve probably all noticed how abortion is becoming increasingly celebrated by forces in the culture who are so invested in it.  Planned Parenthood is pushing a campaign for women to put their “abortion stories” in a happy light.  The New York Times Magazine recently ran a story about abortion “doulas” or hand-holders for women getting abortions, basically to serve as accomplices for the procedure.  (After that, of course, they’re out of the picture. The post-abortion women often turn to pro-life folks to help them heal emotionally and spiritually from the trauma.)  There was a summer box office flop called “Obvious Child” that attempted to be a comedy that featured the abortion of the main character.   Lately, there’s been no shortage of in-your-face “abortion is good” propaganda.  The intent is for women to ingest it, buy it, and live with it so that Planned Parenthood can go about it’s multi-billion dollar abortion industry.

The above are just a very few items discussed in my interview with Maria.  The Human Life Review deals with all issues related to human life and dignity, including assisted suicide, euthanasia, and eugenics. And the dark truth is that we are headed towards a future in which eugenics is more blatantly promoted and practiced.  Here’s just one small excerpt that gives you an idea of how Jim McFadden expected it all to play out.  As Obamacare pushes a culture of death on us all, we can see how Jim McFadden was prescient indeed:

Stella: Is there any particular human life issue that you see as the biggest threat facing human dignity in the coming years?

Maria: I would just say the biggest threat is what’s happening at end of life or with sudden disabling and not having life support offered. Obamacare and incentives for saving money are reaching a boiling point. How are you going to feel safe? My father was prescient about that, that a doctor would become either a “quality of life” doctor or a “sanctity-of-life” doctor. And there are going to be fewer and fewer sanctity-of-life doctors. If you are a sanctity-of-life doctor, who is going to back you up, hospital-wise, medicine-wise, insurance-wise?

Please take a look at the interview.  And also check out The Human Life Review online by clicking here.  You may want to consider subscribing because there’s no other publication like it.  As a subscriber for over 25 years I can personally assure you of that.  You can follow Human Life Review on Twitter too!