What did your parish do for the pope’s pro-life vigil?


This past Sunday I had a very unique experience at my parish in a small town in Northern Ontario. Just before the conclusion of Mass and the final prayer the altar was cleared, the monstrance was brought out, and the entire parish proceeded to participate in formal Eucharistic Adoration – for the intention of “all nascent human life.”

This unusual event happened thanks to the call of Pope Benedict XVI, who earlier this year sent out a letter to every diocese on the globe, asking Catholics worldwide to join him in a pro-life vigil on the weekend of Saturday, Nov. 27.

At our parish on Sunday, as everyone knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, we prayed a series of extremely moving pro-life prayers. We asked God to “preserve all children from bodily harm from the moment of conception,” to bring an end to “the destruction of human embryos in research facilities and IVF clinics,” and to “overturn unjust laws that permit the destruction of innocent lives.”

We begged God to “help parents of unborn children with disabilities to cherish the baby you have entrusted to their care,” and pleaded for repentance and forgiveness for those “who have acted against innocent human life.”

Those of us who spend every day working to advance the culture of life and family know what it’s like to feel a lack support for our work – often, sadly, even from within the Church itself. Saturday’s and Sunday’s pro-life vigils, however, were a resounding affirmation of the tireless efforts of the front-line warriors in the culture wars.

I, for one, am deeply grateful to the pope for having issued this truly historic summons to the Church to step up and take its place in the vanguard of those defending the innocent. The pope clearly understands the importance of the battle over innocent human life.

But what about you? What, if anything, did your parish or diocese do to celebrate the pope’s vigil for all nascent human life?

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Rep. Chris Smith: Lord Windsor’s article a “must read” for pro-life, human rights advocates

Peter J. Smith
By Peter Smith

Lord Nicholas Windsor’s article in the ecumenical journal First Things calling for a new abolition movement to end legal abortion has now circulated into the official record of the U.S. Capitol.

Pro-life and human rights advocate US Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) had Windsor’s article entered into the Congressional Record on Tuesday evening, calling it a “brilliant essay” and a “must read for those who treasure and promote human rights.”

The great-grandson of King George V of England argues persuasively that legal abortion is a “mortal wound to the heart of Europe” that poses a far greater threat to civilization than al-Qaida and Islamic extremists. He also says that the lessons of history on industrialized killing have been lost on Europe, and abortion has become so accepted that is almost invisible in European politics.

Windsor’s essay was covered by LSN this past Monday, and it is worth revisiting.

Windsor’s article, which Rep. Smith had entered in full into the Congressional Record, is available here at First Things. Smith, I should mention, is an ardent defender of human life and human rights, and is the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Human Rights Committee, a position he held before when the GOP last had control of the House.

The essay deserves to be read widely in the pro-life community and discussed. As Rep. Smith pointed out in his remarks before entering it into the record, Windsor’s essay is “equally applicable to us.”

It’s an essay of warning and an essay of hope. I’ll just quote the last lines, because it reminds us that the goal of the pro-life movement cannot be just to end abortion, but also to support human life and flourishing in a way that makes abortion an unthinkable option.

Writes Windsor: “We must also creatively envisage new and compelling answers to the problems that give rise to this practice, when the easiest solutions may be destructive or distorting ones. And the goal is that human life, without any exception, may be as treasured and respected as the highest moral thought has perennially called for it to be, and as our consciences surely sound the echo.”

Merry Christmas. 

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The aesthetics of casual sex in ‘Love and Other Drugs’

Caitlin Bowers
By Caitlin Bowers

In a November interview with Newsweek Magazine, Edward Zwick revealed his graphic and dirty little secrets on how he was able to direct sex scenes while filming the recently released Love and Other Drugs.

The film, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhall, depicts the story of Maggie, a young woman struggling with Parkinson’s, and Jamie, an arrogant drug salesman.

You won’t find much more of a synopsis than this. Even the Huffington Post remarked that “it finally ends up being about nothing much at all.”

Aside from the empty plot, the film displays the duo diving into an anything-but-fulfilling physical relationship – no strings attached, or clothes for that matter. The film is riddled with graphic sex scenes, which appear to be Zwick’s primary objective in filming the movie.

In the interview with Newsweek, Zwick educates the public on the art of filming onscreen sex. “Sex is a way of communicating in life. In this movie, sex plays an important role in the narrative arc of the characters – they fall into bed long before they fall into love. That was our guide.”

Zwick’s analysis of sexual relations is more reminiscent of drunken frat parties than real, sustainable, and fulfilling commitments. While dismissing all that “love” stuff, Zwick has brought casual sex to the forefront, upholding it as the primary attribute that brings couples closer together. If sex is a means of communicating in life, then what’s the point of actually talking? That’s just boring.

Then again, discourse doesn’t bring money into the box office like it used to.

Hollywood has attempted to turn casual sex into an aesthetic, like displaying showpieces at a museum. Zwick implied this idea as he discussed the extreme measures taken to show the actors how it’s done. “I finally said we should all take a picture together. I climbed into bed and took my pants off under the covers.”

Some things are just better left unsaid.

So what is it that separates Hollywood sex scenes from porn, other than the fact that the celebrities aren’t actually “doing it”? Don’t porn stars fall into bed before falling in love? Casual sex is certainly their way of communicating and expressing themselves, is it not?

If this is what Zwick and Hollywood have in mind, then there’s nothing to stop pornography from marketing itself as a vehicle for a deeper appreciation of art and beauty.

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Roxanne’s Law: Decisive Vote TODAY at 3:15


Roxanne’s Law, a Canadian bill seeking to ban abortion coercion, will be voted on in the House of Commons today (December 15) after Question Period.  It’s expected around 3:15 est.

Pro-life groups have rallied behind the bill, hoping to get it passed so it will be sent to committee where the language can be tightened up.

The bill is fundamentally about protecting the choice of those women who decide to keep their babies.  It should gain support from any MP claiming to be “pro-choice”, and not merely the pro-life MPs.

Nevertheless, pro-abort MPs have tried to find other reasons to oppose it, as we would expect.  They claim, for example, that coercion is already covered under the Criminal Code.  But pro-lifers have pointed out that while abortion coercion may technically be covered, the Code’s obviously not doing its job because no one has ever been charged with abortion coercion.

You can watch the vote on CPAC here.

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