Nick Rosendal

‘Why would you give up so much for pro-life work?: a father’s duty

Nick Rosendal
By Nick Rosendal
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January 18, 2013 (ReformedProlifer) - "Why would you give up so much for pro-life work?"

Over the past few months this question has been asked repeatedly by friends and family alike. Most ask out of curiosity, some in admiration and wonderment, and a few in tones of ridicule and spite when they learn of my new employment with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. For myself, I have always kept a motto of keeping all my options open. Throughout high school, for example, I took all academic courses since I wasn't sure of my career path, and even during the first two years of university I tried introduction courses from every faculty available. Once my profession was chosen, the most enticing aspect of becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) was the endless possibilities it would bring. However, never had I imagined that of all the options available, that this would be God's way for me.

This past summer, as I studied for my final test to complete and obtain my CA designation, it was impossible not to think about my future career and how to use my capacities to God's honour and glory. In the parable of the talents, as told in Matthew 25, it clearly shows us that the Lord has given talents to everyone and asks of us that we use and multiply these talents to the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. Further, in this parable it can be seen that unto those who the Lord has given much, much is also required of them. For the servant in the parable that received five talents, an additional five talents were required of him.

But this return of talents is not simply turning five dollars into ten dollars and perhaps even reserving a portion for tithes and the poor—no, this return is much greater. Matthew 25:14 speaks of the man who "delivered unto [his servants] his goods." Symbolizing God's gifts to us, this speaks of capacities of His image that are endowed unto all people: capacities of knowledge, love, and ability. Too often, we think of using our time and talents as our duty, which it undoubtedly is, but the higher goal must be to expand God's Kingdom and return what we received with thankfulness and interest. That can be very practical. If you help someone with car troubles on the side of the road the greatest reward is not that this person gives you a million dollars for your act of kindness, nor that it may cause him or her to return the favour to someone else down the road, but rather that you did it to serve the Master, and that the person may even ponder upon something so foreign to our fallen world.

Now, as a CA, I could look forward to and climb the corporate ladder in front of me, dreaming of a nice house, a fancy car, a boat perhaps and many sunny vacations, or I could consider an offer to help manage a non-profit organization that advocates for the most vulnerable of our neighbours. For over eight years already, the Lord has made the plight of the pre-born an important part of my life and now I have the opportunity to use my talents as an accountant to the good of those very children.

This is not to say it was an easy step for me to take, especially as the head of our little family and having the responsibility of looking after and providing for them. It took time, counsel, prayer and much encouragement from Above to show me that I place too much faith in a regular paycheque that is received from your employer. Since October my wife and I have been fundraising for our salary and in this time I have realized it must all come from the Lord, no matter what your occupation is. The fact that your employer doesn't go bankrupt, that business continues to thrive, that you have the health and ability to work, that your labour is blessed—all these factors and many more come from the Lord alone.

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In Matthew 6 we read, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains, "[Man] imagines that there is a relation of cause and effect between work and sustenance, but Jesus explodes that illusion. According to Him, bread is not to be valued as the reward for our work; He speaks instead of the carefree simplicity of the man who walks with Him and accepts everything as it comes from God."

This, of course, could be applied in different ways. It doesn't mean we may never earn money, but it has taught me that living in dependence on the Lord is of the greatest importance. And in my case, that has come in the way of giving up a secure income for a fundraised income. We now fundraise our salary, for the simple reason that there is no alternative funding for a non-profit organization that is not supported by government funds or the general public.

On the other side of the coin, I strongly believe that being a man not only means I provide for my family, but also gives me more responsibility to stand up for the pre-born as it is largely due to the demise of masculinity and the shirking of our responsibilities as men in society that abortion is so prevalent today. In general, we men have failed to be a role model to "our sons grown up in their youth" and we have failed to esteem "our daughters as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace" (Psalm 144). From pornography to advertising in business windows we are bombarded with hyper-sexualized versions of women, now degraded to sex objects. Though I was conceived after the beginning of the sexual revolution, isn't the question how we, as a Christian church, could have let this happen? Isn't the question what our response is today—are we determined to make a difference, unwavering in guarding our homes and hearts? I know it is nearly impossible to protect our kids, let alone ourselves, and therefore it is more important than ever before to lead by example, to show boys how to be men and treat women and children with respect.

It is much too convenient for us to point to feminism as the sole cause of the sexual 'liberation' of our day and age, when in part male chauvinism may have instigated the movement, the lukewarm state of the church allowed it, our materialism promoted it. And thus, abortion would not be the leading cause of death in Canada today if men would take responsibility. No, not just the men who cowardly leave a woman to deal with the results of their physical desires and lusts, but you and me too—Christian men who ought to reflect Christ in all we think, say, and do.

While we may have failed in the past, and without God's grace will continue to do so, this should not be a reason to give up on the future. Francis A. Schaeffer once wrote, "Future generations will look back, and many will either scoff or believe in Christ on the basis of whether we Christians of today took a sacrificial stand in our various walks of life on these overwhelmingly important issues."

Isn't that how we often look back at the lack of action from European Christians during the Second World War? Just the other day, someone said to me, "How could they have just let it happen?" I couldn't help but think of the historical account of a Lutheran church, situated only a short distance from railroad tracks. Every Sunday, cattle cars full of Jews would ride past the church on their way to concentration or death camps. The wailing and weeping from the train could be heard in the church. What was the response? Comfortably inside, the congregation just sang louder to drown out the anguish. As we consider this, we shake our heads. "How could they?" But today, many of us, who call ourselves Christians, go about with our lives, "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" (Matthew 24:38), building our homes, and attending church, all the while fellow human beings are visiting hospitals and abortion clinics to have their tiny pre-born children torn to pieces. Should we not stop and rethink and change our lives accordingly, lest future generations will look at the blood on our hands and say, "How could they?"

Finally, regardless of talent or opportunities, the Scriptures command us in Matthew 22 to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. What does that mean in our day-to-day lives? In obedience to God, that means asking what He would have us do about the injustice of our day, one that we pay for with our tax dollars. Proverbs 31: 8 says to "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction." If you have watched "The Silent Scream" or take a few minutes to watch this video, you will be able to make the connection quite easily. Pre-born children are appointed to destruction, almost 300 times a day in our country alone. Each time an abortion is scheduled, we are to open our mouth to defend those that cannot defend themselves. That is not a question or a suggestion: it is a command.

There are many ways to advocate for the pre-born, the most vulnerable in our society in Canada today and for the past 25 years. Efforts are made through pro-life organizations such as ours to give a voice to the voiceless, to show their plight so that the general public may not plead ignorance and abortion will become unthinkable. Support comes in many forms, through actively volunteering, financially funding, prayerfully encouraging, and lovingly educating those that are still ignorant. But the most important question is this: are we willing? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to save these children?

For our little family, it has meant a life-style change and it won't always be easy, but our decision has definitely come with tremendous blessings too. While working from home, we spend more time together than before, and we are able to raise our boys engaged in the fight for the very heart and life of our culture. We've also had the privilege of meeting many pro-lifers, each of them serving the Lord in the place that was given to them. A businessman wrote a big cheque after going through his finances and concluding that this cause was getting much too little. Young families with already tight budgets have committed to monthly donations to answer the call in this way. And one God-fearing, elderly couple we met wasn't able to contribute much financially, but their prayers are a mighty weapon against the forces of darkness.

So, why give up so much to do pro-life work? The way I see it, we're gaining more than we're giving up. As the Talmud saying goes, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."

Reprinted with permission from Reformed Pro-lifer

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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