Peter Baklinski

‘God would not send you this baby in order to let you perish’: A Romanian mom’s miracle pregnancy

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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BUCHAREST, Romania, July 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Daniela Popa’s husband was away on spiritual retreat in Mount Athos, Greece, when she suddenly began to experience a high fever that she could not bring under control. It was May 2005. Daniela’s worries increased when she also began to experience heavy fatigue, intense sweating, and swollen neck glands. When Daniela’s husband Richard finally returned, an emergency biopsy revealed stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system.

Natural treatment proved ineffective and within months, Daniela was fighting for her life against the most aggressive form of the cancer (stage 4).

“The fever was higher, my glands had grown bigger and I was itching all over my body,” recalled Daniela in an interview with Familia Ortodoxă magazine.

By September, Daniela was hardly able to walk anymore. Her swollen glands made her neck double in size. The pain and the abundant sweating made it practically impossible for her to sleep at night.

“I would change my clothes a dozen times a night, and my fever would not go below 38 °C (100.4 °F),” she recounted.

Daniela began a desperate regimen of chemotherapy which was to be followed by radiotherapy, but had to stop after her body refused to cooperate with the grueling treatment. Subsequent tests revealed why. Daniela had contracted tuberculosis.

The body of the sick woman was now saturated with a matrix of chemotherapy drugs and nine antibiotics that she had taken for six weeks to combat tuberculosis. A tomography was scheduled to determine how much damage the tuberculosis had caused to Daniela’s lungs.

Two lives in the balance

Daniela was about to receive the most challenging news of her life. 

“During the tomography, I realized that something was not exactly right. The machine stopped. Then a pause followed, and then it restarted.”

What Daniela did not know was that the doctor had stopped the machine when he noticed that his patient was not the only one being scanned.

Daniela was pregnant. The doctor restarted the scan only after consulting with Daniela’s husband Richard.

“Basically, I was irradiated twice,” said Daniela.

The newly discovered life in Daniela’s womb now had three strikes against it. Not only did the little one have to contend with the toxic environment of chemotherapy drugs and tuberculosis antibiotics, but it also had just received a double-dose of radiation, which is known to cause severe health defects to unborn babies.

Doctors strongly urged the parents to terminate.

“At that moment I had very little faith,” said Richard to LifeSiteNews. “I only thought of my wife’s health and nothing about God. I was sure that abortion was the best solution.”

After the tomography, only one doctor had words of encouragement for the distraught Daniela. “Do you think God has sent you this baby in order to let you perish?”

‘You have no right over the life of that child’

Daniela and Richard approached their ‘spiritual father’, Orthodox priest Ion Popescu, and asked if they should follow the advice of the doctors.

“You have no right whatsoever over the life of that child,” the priest responded gently.

After these words, Daniela and Richard remember experiencing a “big burden” being lifted from their shoulders and “moved onto God’s shoulders.”

With new hearts, the couple now turned to their faith as a previously untapped source of courage, hope, and strength. Up until now they had placed their trust in doctors and drugs to overcome the sickness. Now, with a baby in the picture, and with the blessing of their spiritual father, they decided to place all their trust in God.

Stepping out in faith, Daniela decided to interrupt all treatments and give no more thoughts to her sickness. She focused exclusively on the life of the child in her womb.

Daniela and Richard dedicated their unborn child to the Mother of God praying, “Holy Mother of God, please take care of this child. We give it to you; it is yours. May your will be done.”

The couple begged for prayers from the faith-filled people who lived in their area. Their plight inspired an entire monastery, where Daniela’s brother is a monk, to storm heaven with prayers for the protection of the mother and child and for a safe delivery.

Daniela turned to the ‘Holy Mysteries” of her faith for strength and healing. Every week she received the Anointing of the Sick. She frequented the sacrament of Confession to make her soul right with God. She made every effort to regularly receive Jesus into her ailing body in Holy Communion.

One gynecologist, however, continued to insist that Daniela abort, pointing out that “you can’t have it all: get healed, see your child live, and also see it free of malformation”.

But that doctor was wrong.

A miracle

On January 17 2007, the feast day of Saint Anthony the Great, little Antonie came into the world. To the astonishment of all the doctors, numerous tests revealed that the child was perfectly healthy.

“We regard this miracle as the fruit of the prayers of many of our brethren – monks, priests, and laymen,” the parents say.

The doctors were even more astonished by the improved condition of Daniela’s health. An X-ray after the baby’s birth showed a complete absence of tuberculosis.

“The doctor held up both my X-rays – the one before and the one after the birth – and she couldn’t believe that they belonged to the same person, who had been so sick and had not taken any conventional treatment over the past months.”

Further tests indicated that even Daniela’s cancer was in remission.

“What happened to Daniela is simply a miracle,” said Richard to LifeSiteNews. “We believe that putting our faith in God is what cured my wife. It was such a hopeless case. And such hopeless cases cannot be solved by medicine alone, but by prayer, a lot of prayer.”

Daniela, who is now cancer free and enjoys good health, believes that she went through this time of trial so that “God’s power would be shown”.

“Through the miracle that we lived, God’s power was shown”.

The couple has learned to “thank God for this trial”, saying that it has set a “fire in our hearts for God”.

They will be forever grateful for the words of their ‘spiritual father’, words that they say were the “beginning of a miracle”.

“Can you imagine where we would be if we did not have Father Ion Popescu giving us such holy advice?” said Richard. “Maybe Daniela and Antonie would no longer be with me today.”


Editor’s note: Richard told LifeSiteNews that Antonie, now 6, is a “clever, beautiful, obedient boy” with “a lot of energy” who is “loved by all”. Daniela continues to enjoy good health and the blessing of being surrounded by her loving family including Mihaela, 17, and Andrei, 16.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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