John Westen


What do women think of women?

John Westen

This month of March, Pope Benedict XVI issued a prayer request which was intriguing – it was about women.  It was all the more intriguing for me since my eldest child – Hannah-Marie – is fast approaching her 16th birthday and has often complained about not being able to serve Mass as do her many younger brothers. The Pope’s prayer intention for March was: “That the whole world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society.”

I thought it may be of benefit to ask some of the many prayerful and inspirational Catholic women I have been blessed to know to offer a short reflection on the Pope’s prayer intention. Here is what they had to say. I pray that you may be inspired by their words. 

(The most important of those women to me – my wife Dianne – is missing form this list since she has time only to show me in her actions and love for our eight children what the contribution of women to society really is.)

Most of the women offering their reflections are well known to LifeSiteNews readers.

Gabrele Kuby, a famous Catholic author in Germany who has fought the culture war on the intellectual level, personally encouraged in her work by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) and known for her critique of Harry Potter, gender mainstreaming and the sexual revolution

Dr. Maria Wolfs (Kraw), a Toronto endocrinologist who has spoken on the abortifacient nature of contraceptive pills

Judie Brown, President of American Life League and a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life

Mercedes Wilson, leader of one of the world’s largest natural family planning groups, former Guatemalan representative to the United Nations and a close personal friend of the late Pope John Paul II

Joanna Najfeld, a Polish pro-life leader and journalist

Stephanie Gray, the founder and President of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform and a stellar pro-life debater

Vicky Thorn, the Founder and Director of Project Rachel the organization which works toward healing women from abortion’s aftermath

Gwen Landolt, the Founder and Vice President of REAL Women Canada

Sister Mary Catherine of the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate in Ontario Canada

Christine Vollmer, head of Venezuela’s Alliance for the Family and a founding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life

Kathleen Gilbert, US Bureau Chief

Gabariele Kuby

There are two very different social situations of women in this world where our essential contribution to the development is not recognized.

1) In societies, mostly Muslim, where the God given human equality of men and women created in the image of God is not realized and women are in many ways suppressed by men and confined to roles where they can not freely contribute their talents to society.

2) In Western countries, shaped by radical feminism and gender ideology, women are increasingly confined to the masculine role of employment. Our essential and irreplaceable gift of motherhood, of giving life to children, building a stable family environment with our husbands and forming our children to become loving, responsible and capable human beings, is not valued by society and made increasingly difficult to fulfill.

Whatever our education and job, in our hearts we want to give ourselves so that life can prosper. May the prayer of the Holy Father and the Chruch be fulfilled in both situations.

Maria Wolfs

What is the contribution of women to society that we are called to recognize? Rather than focusing on the negative influences which have infected society in a misguided effort to free women from the evils of oppression and discrimination, the Holy Father is calling us to recognize the positive gifts that women bring to the world around them.

Through her generosity, a woman calls forth the gift of self from others around her, helping build up a civilization of love.  A woman’s sensitivity recognizes in the weak and vulnerable of society their inherent dignity and worth.  Nurturing those around her in spiritual, emotional and physical ways, she allows God’s life-giving love to transform society at its very core. 

Her gifts serve to compliment those of a man, establishing a partnership that allows their gifts to multiply exponentially.  Rather than diminish or dominate him, she edifies and calls forth the strength of a man, encouraging him to live fully his vocation as priest, husband, father, and protector.

Let us therefore join the Church in prayer this month, expressing our gratitude to God for the authentic gift of women in society.  May Our Lady intercede for all women, that in imitation of her, they may live fully the graces that God has given them in the gift of their femininity.

Judie Brown

Over the years I have come to realize that among the greatest gifts the Lord has given to me, the most miraculous is my womanhood.  By concentrating on the Blessed Mother and her FIAT it has become abundantly clear to me that women are specially chosen by God to be His nurturers in so many ways.  Women bring a soft yet constant strength to the family, to the culture and to the Lord no matter what our vocation. 

One of my most cherished insights from Pope John Paul II is that “Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.”

Mercedes Wilson

As I travel all over the world and meet women from all walks of life, I never cease to be amazed at the untiring sacrifice that women offer to their whole family, particularly her children.  Her love and dedication to them is, in a way, a reflection of the love of God for humanity.  His Holiness John Paul II once told me that Jesus always had a special love for women, because He recognized their loyalty to Him and appeared to them first after He Resurrected. 

Joanna Najfeld

Satan hates Mary, Mother of God, for bringing Jesus into this world. That’s why he hates all women and everything feminine. This explains why true womanhood, especially motherhood, is under such attack today.

Women contribute to the development of society primarily as wives and mothers, not as career women. The role of wives and mothers is so often underestimated and taken for granted. It is even denied and ridiculed by radical feminist ideologues who usurp for themselves the right to speak on behalf of women.

The idea that women contribute to society only if they mimic men is simply offensive to billions of women heroically fulfilling their vocations as wives or mothers, without whose selfless efforts societies would simply not exist. Feminists keep telling these heroic women that their lives don’t matter unless they pursue a career outside of home. How idiotic is that. How ungrateful.
We need to pray so the world doesn’t buy into this lie, so we never forget how much we all owe to women heroically fulfilling their call to marriage and motherhood.

Stephanie Gray

As I think about our Holy Father’s intention for this month, I think about the women I know who have contributed to the development of society.  In particular, I think of my own mother who tirelessly and sacrificially loved my sister and me, who was very present in our lives and yet also juggled working as a nurse and volunteering for pro-life and at our schools.  As my mom reveled in the joy of motherhood, she strove to help other women embrace motherhood—she served at the local pregnancy centre, counseling scared girls and helping single mothers.  I also think of my three best friends who, as doctors, intelligently and compassionately minister to the wounded and sick.  And I think of my dear friend I’m currently staying with as I’m “on the road” on a speaking tour, and I think of her hospitality, her warmth, and her servant’s heart in making my stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

Women, by our nature, are created to bring forth and nourish life.  When a seedling is nourished, it grows into a mighty tree to provide shade and beauty for those around it.  A woman’s nature of bringing forth and nourishing life doesn’t have to come in the physical form of biological motherhood, but can also come in the spiritual form of having a mother’s heart to all we encounter—compassion, empathy, receptivity, and warmth.  When we do that, we positively contribute to the development of society, making it a place of virtue, self-sacrifice, patience, beauty, and love.

Vicky Thorn

The contribution of women throughout the ages has been enormous but most often unrecognized and unappreciated, especially from a contemporary perspective. Because women can’t be priests, all other gifts freely given through history are ignored.  It is the case that from the time of Jesus, women are the pragmatic responders. They see a need and develop a way to meet that need. Women have cared for the sick and educated the young when no one else was doing it. Women are the lynch pin in society.  They have born children, fed the Lord, sustained family systems, been scientists, authors, artists, nurses, educators , cloistered women devoted to prayer and the list goes on. There is no corner of society that has not benefitted from the contribution of women. The prayer of the Holy Father calls attention to the unique contributions of women. It is worthwhile to reread the Dignity of Women and the Genius of Women, the documents of Blessed John Paul II to truly appreciate the scope of women’s contributions. It is time to name the truth!

Gwendolyn Landolt

Women are equal to and as capable as men, but women, like men, are unique.  Part of women’s uniqueness comes from the great gift God has given them to be the heart of creation.  Women carry the precious unborn child during its first early months in the womb, give birth and then nurture the child, giving to him/her the gift of unconditional love.  This gift gives the child a sense of self-worth, belonging and safety, which carries and protects that child throughout his/her life.  It provides not only comfort, but also a strong armour to protect their children when difficulties, inevitable in every life, occur.

Women share another unique gift for humanity – that is, intuition and sensitivity.  In general, women are able to quickly sense the pain and discomfort of others and are unhesitating in reaching out to lessen that pain.  Seldom do women turn away from those in need:  they care too much to do so.

Women’s intelligence and capability, together with their intuition and sensitivity can smooth the path for others, whether in the home, industry, the courts, halls of learning, offices, hospitals or the factories.  Women belong in all places, according to their interests, needs and talents.

Women may not have the physical prowess of men, but women provide a different, equally important strength and contribution, which reaches out to everyone, in all walks of life, and assists them in their life’s journey.

Sr. Mary Catherine

Flipping through the pages of history, one cannot help but notice women’s handiwork in every aspect of society, especially in the Church.  The silent tears and love of many a St. Monica for her children have brought to fruition great souls that ardently loved God and built up His Kingdom here on earth.  The love and prayers of many a Clotilda for their husbands have brought about great conversions and have even led whole nations to the practice of the Faith.  The passionate love and zeal of the many St. Catherine of Siena’s for God and men have provided countless souls with spiritual and physical relief and have been an inspiration to great men in the Church.  The writings of the St. Teresa of Avila’s have filled the minds of countless souls with truth and beauty.  Finally, the quiet prayers and sacrifices of many a St. Therese of Lisieux have appeased the justice of God and have obtained graces for many souls.  And still today numerous women continue to unite their voices with this chorus that has been sung throughout all of history, under the direction and guidance of the greatest women of all time, the Blessed Mother.

Christine Vollmer

The Holy Father is asking the Holy Spirit to inspire mankind once again with an understanding of the beauty and importance of the unique and proven contribution of women to the development of civilization and of every child born.

The versatility, fortitude, tenderness, and capacity to understand human situations which are the particular gifts of the female brain have been overlooked by a culture which only glorifies the masculine and the material. And so also the “feminine genius” as Blessed John Paul would call it.

The Holy and Blessed Virgin Mary, as the essence and epitome of womanliness, considered for centuries the example for women, must once again be our inspiration and our aid.

Kathleen Gilbert

Pope Benedict has hit upon a beautiful truth with this statement - notwithstanding those who might scratch their heads and wonder if it was a kowtow to the feminist masses. It wasn’t. The truth is, at the heart of Christian civilization stands the full-blossoming of woman as its crowning glory and even, in a way, its defining characteristic.

A world in which women have the freedom to enrich the world with their unique ability to truly humanize relationships, a world that protects them from repression, marginalization, or redefinition by the myriad forces that would snuff out this delicate humanization in the warpath of greed and power, is the mark of a truly Christian society.

I pray that, by joining in Pope Benedict’s intention, we may receive from God the grace once more to honor and exalt woman as she bears in her arms the ultimate symbol of her personalizing, fruitful love: her own child.

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Henry Westen with granddaughter.


Private letter to an abortionist from a hard-core trad Mass Catholic

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- My Dad was the epitome of a hard-core traditional Mass Catholic. He was a man who went to Mass daily, said many rosaries a day without fail, and bemoaned the loss of the Latin Mass and the abuses of the Novus Ordo.  He was a pro-life activist, donating to the cause and showing up faithfully at the March for Life and Life-Chains even when his aging body and leukemia would advise otherwise.

Imagine how he’d speak to an abortionist. Imagine how he’d communicate to the chief abortionist - Henry Morgentaler if he got the chance.  

Well there’s no need to wonder. I found a sealed letter, a letter I was supposed to send that got lost in the hustle and bustle of big family life.  It’s from years ago before my Dad and Henry Morgentaler both passed away.

The letter blows away the false impression of traditional Catholics as hate-filled, judgemental, unkind, uncaring and self-righteous.  Check out the kindness and the outreach to Canada’s leading abortionist from this man - Henry Westen - who many would have taken for an extremist. A kinder and gentler man I have never known.

Rest in peace Dad, and pray for me that I may join you there one day.


Dear Henry,                                                                                                    Bancroft, 15-4-08


Ever since I read a newsletter from C.L.C. (Campaign Life Coalition) I wanted to write to you and thank you for the fairness, indeed, justice of some of your views as reported in that letter! First, I allow me to to address you as Henry, since I am your namesake. My name has also been Henry, for so, these eighty years (erring a few months) of my life. Your birthday, 19 March, is also dear to me, as it is the feastday of St. Joseph, whom I venerate as the chaste spouse of the virgin Father of Jesus. I have often visited the holy shrine in honour of St. Joseph, in Montreal, where I lived for a while.

Now, to come to the reason of my letter.  In the CLC newsletter it was reported that you also approved of late abortions.  Furthermore you backed the right of medical personnel, ie. doctors and nurses, to refuse to cooperate in abortions - a right that the rabid feminists want to deny them through corrosive legislation! And wonderful to relate, you also had the courage and honesty to declare that, in your opinion, the so-called pro-lifers (usually labelled anti-choicers or anti-abortionist) were not people given to violent methods. These views take courage + have undoubtedly drawn criticism upon you. 

I was sad to learn, however, that your own mother does not love you. Here I wish to to differ with you - no Mother, ever forgets or ceases to love the child she gave birth to. I am sure your mother loves you but may disapprove of your chosen profession.  

Every Mother, especially when older and more mature, realises that the child she gave birth to - is not of her own making. She cooperated, was instrumental in bringing a child to birth. Your Mother has probably often read Psalm 139 of the Jewish BIble, which we Christians inherited from the Jews. There we read: Ps.139, 13-”For thou hast made my reins, Thou hast knit me together in my mother's womb. I will give thanks unto Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well....My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth,” etc. These wonderful words I have copied from the Holy Scripts approved by Jewish authorities are true, so true indeed, every child is wonderfully made the complex organs of eyes, ears, brains, etc. the inner organs, altogether a wonderful reality. 

God, Yahweh, is the Designer and creator of all human life, indeed of all life. We can only cooperate or destroy. To nurture to protect and to defend life is the solemn duty of everyone who believes in God the creator. I cannot believe that you are an atheist-as medical doctor you know too much about the mystery of life described so beautifully in Palm 139, above.

My Jewish Bible has other texts which I cannot believe-apply to you-Psalm 14:The fool has said in his heart:” there is no God” and it is repeated in Psalm 53: ”the fool has said in his heart: there is no God”.

Dear Henry. I am 80 (eighty) years old and although I have done many foolish things in my life I could never (thank God) shake my belief in God, Yahweh, the Creator. It just did not make sense to me. I am firmly convinced that, in the bottom of your heart, you can’t say ”there is no God”.

I am on the verge of leaving this earthly life. Perhaps God will grant me a few more years - I also must think you are not far behind me -- somewhere between 60 and 70? I hope and pray that you will turn to God who told us in Deuteronomy 6,4: ”hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the lord is one and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might”.

Henry, my namesake, I love you as a fellow creature of God, who is love. I shall pray for you every day.


Henry Westen

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The gay rights flag is dripping with the blood of the unborn

Ryan Bomberger Ryan Bomberger Follow Ryan

June 4, 2015 ( -- Unlimited access to the internet and 24-hour news cycles would give one the impression that extensive information is being conveyed to the public regarding the crucial issues of our day. But in large part, the same old uninformative stuff gets regurgitated over and over again. The gatekeepers, intent on presenting a one-sided portrayal of one of the most coordinated and funded social movements of our day, are fine with misrepresenting the news.

This is “Pride” month for a community that enjoys the most protection of any people group by news organizations. There’s no journalistic objectivity, only subjectivity drenched in happy rainbow colors and an ever-expanding acronym. The LGBT activist movement enjoys its immunity as it brands any dissenters as haters, bigots, and homophobes.

I’m from a family filled with diversity. I’ve always been taught to love others, to be compassionate, and to speak and live the truth. Oh, and by the way, be prepared for people to hate you anyway. Little did I know, as a child, how valuable those lessons would be now.

The LGBTQ movement decries the “inequality” and the epidemic of “hate violence” that touches the homosexual, bisexual and whatever-you-want-to-be-sexual community. (I’m not going to go into the absurd self-cited “hate violence reports”, pseudoscience, and trumped up statistics right now; that will have to be a whole other Radiance Foundation article). No one deserves to be physically harmed (unless it’s self-defense, of course). Yet, at the same time leading “gay rights” groups cry “discrimination” they actively, and aggressively, promote the most violent form of discrimination: abortion.

Nearly every major LGBTQxyz group (Human Rights Campaign, Act Up, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and GLAAD, just to name a few) promotes the violence of abortion. Many of them see “gay rights” and “abortion rights” as a united front.

In a teleconference discussing Lamda Legal’s opposition to the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, a participant asked the question: “I looked at your 30 questions and see that several of them relate to Roe v. Wade. Why is Lambda Legal focusing on abortion?” Jon Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal, answered: “Well, for at least a century, reproductive freedom and LGBT rights have been inextricably linked both legally and politically. The ties between these rights are so strong that we really believe that a threat to one directly and profoundly impacts the other. That is true historically.”

He continued: “In the early 1900s, feminist pioneers like Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman set out to convince the public that sexual freedom and the ability to control one’s reproductive destiny were intimately connected and beyond that that both were essential to individual liberty.”

Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, often discussed homosexuality. Her organization promoted it as a means to curb population. After her death, Planned Parenthood Vice President, Frederick S. Jaffe, issued what is referred to as the Jaffe Memo, which encouraged “increased homosexuality” as a means to reduce U.S. fertility. The nation’s soon-to-be-leading-national-abortion-chain promoted homosexuality as a means to reduce our population, not to illuminate any kind of equality or worth of an individual.

Yet, here we are in 2015 with multimillion-dollar gay activist organizations embracing the ideals of a racist and elitist eugenicist and an organization birthed in her pseudoscience of eugenics. Some of these groups, like Human Rights Campaign, receive funds directly from Planned Parenthood—a billion dollar business that profits from the violence of abortion.

Planned Parenthood is so enmeshed in the “gay rights” movement, it’s hard to separate the abortion chain from this political juggernaut. LGBTQPP activists, as Lambda Legal articulated, see the freedom to choose abortion and the freedom to choose sexuality as a political and inseparable marriage.

ACT UP, a homosexual group created to fight the horrible AIDS epidemic, boasted of this union: “In December of 1989, ACT UP made history…About 4500 protestors attended the first ‘Stop the Church’ action to protest the Catholic Church’s deadly, homophobic, and misogynistic AIDS and abortion policies.”

What does AIDS have to do with abortion?  Well, nothing. This historic event in New York was a massive ACT UP protest against what it charged as the Catholic Church’s  “denial of life-saving AIDS information” and its “opposition to a woman’s right to abortion.”

Mainstream media, in collaboration with groups like the National Gay & Lesbian Journalist Association and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), make sure these “rights” are communicated in the same breath, with the same indignant calls for “equality” and “freedom.”

“While many of us in the LGBT community see parallels between the gay and women’s rights movements, we often overlook the direct role of Roe in establishing a right to same-sex marriage…Reproductive freedom and LGBT freedom are two sides of the same idea,” declares GLAAD on its website. The media-focused organization’s mission is, in part, to “create a world where everyone can live the life they love.” Well, everyone except those who are aborted under GLAAD’s banner of “reproductive freedom”.

Sadly, these groups stand in solidarity with an industry that violently discriminates thousands of times every single day and over one million times a year. Apparently, “hate speech” is just fine if it calls for the death of a minority—a minority more vulnerable and more victimized than any other group of human beings…the unborn.

I can’t see the (co-opted) rainbow colors of the LGBT movement’s flag without seeing the blood that drips from the fabric of its hypocrisy. You can’t demand “equality” while proudly stripping it away from millions of others. No one should ever take pride in violence. It diminishes all of us—born and unborn.

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Jesus Claus and Santa Christ

Ryan Bomberger Ryan Bomberger Follow Ryan

It’s that time of year for us to realize how far societies tend to veer from the true essence of things. We live in a deeply superficial culture that is too often satisfied with veneers. If it’s shiny and new and untouched by real life, it strangely gives us the false assurance that it will last forever.

Anyone can package up crap and put a nice shimmery bow on it and pass it off as the got-to-have-it-or-you’ll-die item of the season. Even when what’s inside is genuine and something we truly need, too many are content with the outer misleading packaging.

We’ve been consuming so much materially and ideologically, we’ve confused the packaging for the occasional essential stuff inside. In a selfie-driven, soundbite-fed world we are fixated with mere reflections and obvious distortions.

Holidays have become exactly that. Are we okay with the reality that most of them have devolved into conduits for filling store shelves with junk we don’t need and meanings divorced from their original intent? And I’m not going to blame capitalism. No one is forcing us to spend our money on emptiness.

Many of America’s churches, sadly, lead in the superficialization of the most sacred of holidays by delivering an enticingly packaged Christ, all year round, who might as well be Santa. He’s been so stripped of the true nature of who He is—love, mercy, grace, righteousness, righteous anger, compassion, intolerant of sin, forgiveness—that he’s become a caricature. Is it any wonder so many children put equal value in Christ and Claus? Interestingly, it’s okay for Santa to be judgmental as he decides who has been naughty or nice. But today’s westernized Jesus is someone who not only accepts everyone as they are, He’s perfectly fine with them intentionally remaining as they are, sinful behaviors and all.

But this facsimile of Jesus denies us of the most beautiful gift of love He offers us: redemption and transformation. There is an ever-widening void in our spiritually craving culture that is being filled by relativism and revisionism. Jesus and Saint Nicholas are hardly distinguishable as both are dim reflections of the real flesh and blood persons who represent(ed) each name. Jesus, the only Son of God, was sent here to Earth because our Creator loved us enough to rescue us from ourselves. That deliverance was in the form of a child, born to a poor yet courageous teenage mother and a father who chose adoption over abandonment. He chose to die for us in a brutal display of self-sacrificial love. Saint Nicholas, a Greek who served as a bishop in Myra, Turkey during the 4th century, was a fierce defender of this Savior in a time when priests were killed for not renouncing their faith. He was one of the signers of the revolutionary Nicene Creed.

I like that Santa more. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against imaginative creations. I’m a creative professional, and I enjoy make-believe in the right place and time. Sadly, too many don’t or can’t distinguish between faith and fantasy and render holidays like Christmas less than meaningful and full of commercial clutter.

There is a Savior who continues to love, continues to redeem and doesn’t need to be repackaged for a 21st century world.

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