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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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Pope tells Girl Scouts to oppose ‘ideologies’ against God’s design for marriage

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

ROME, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Girl Scout and Girl Guide leaders from across the globe last week that it is essential they promote respect for marriage and family according to God’s design.

The pope’s remarks came as both the international organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts USA face criticism over support for abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and contraception.

"It is very important today that a woman be adequately appreciated, and that she be able to take up fully the place that corresponds to her, be it in the Church, be it in society,” Pope Francis said in his address on the morning of June 26, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision imposing same-sex “marriage” on the country.

In the face of ideologies that seek to destroy the truths about marriage and family, he said, the formation of girls through Guiding "is absolutely determinant for the future."

"We are in a world in which the most contrary ideologies are spreading to the nature and design of God on the family and on marriage. Therefore, it is a question of educating girls not only to the beauty and grandeur of their vocation of women, in a just and differentiated relation between man and woman, but also to assume important responsibilities in the Church and in society," Pope Francis said.

The pope spoke during a private audience at the world meeting of the International Conference of Catholic Guides (ICCG), which took place in Rome from June 25-30.

Stressing that among educational movements Guiding has played a pivotal role in the faith formation of young women, the pope said, "Education is, in fact, the indispensable means to enable girls to become active and responsible women, proud and happy of their faith in Christ lived in every day life. Thus they will participate in the building of a world permeated by the Gospel."

“To Live the Joy of the Gospel as a Guide” was the theme for the ICCG meeting in Rome, with the stated purpose of reaffirming and strengthening the organization's 50-year-old history within the Catholic Church.

Among the participants at the ICCG meeting in Rome were Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) CEO Anna Maria Chávez and National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan.

In a statement, Chavez maintained that faith is “at the heart of Girl Scouts, and is woven into everything the organization does to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.”

However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has cautioned that some aspects of the Girl Scouts pedagogy go against Catholic teaching and doctrine.

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A report by the USCCB focused on three issues:

  1. GSUSA's relationship with groups like Planned Parenthood and international affiliate World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS);
  2. GSUSA's views on issues related "to human sexuality, contraception, and abortion";
  3. and various materials and resources GSUSA has that have "inappropriate content."

With regard to WAGGGS, the report notes that while this group claims it does not formally back abortion and "reproductive rights," language on its website leaves no doubt that such support exists, as well as support for contraceptive use.

Numerous pro-life and pro-family groups have organized boycotts of Girl Guide cookies in protest of the organization's embrace of feminist politics and activism.

The pope's address to the ICCG meeting, translated into English by Zenit, is available on the Zenit website here.

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St. Peter Damian
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St. Peter Damian (1049): what Church MUST do in response to rampant homosexuality among clergy

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By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The rise of the power and influence of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as influential laity, has been a major factor in the growing chaos within Catholicism over the past 60 years. This disorder within the Catholic Church has had a negative impact on the entire world because of the resulting decline in the positive influences that Catholicism has had on civilization for many centuries.

To think that what is happening now is new, however, betrays an ignorance of history. In 1049, when St. Peter Damian wrote his treatise, Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), to Pope Leo IX, homosexuality and sexual perversion in general were far more openly rampant within the clergy than today.  This horrendous state of affairs is what the Saint addressed in his appeal to the Pope for urgently needed reforms.

We often hear from sleepy, comfortable, cowardly, timid or cultural Catholics, and especially from clergy who are directly implicated in homosexuality, that we should never criticize priests, bishops and especially the Pope. Supposedly, that is a greater sin than that of the heretics and sexual perverts facilitating great personal suffering and sending souls to Hell without anyone doing what is necessary to either convert or stop them.

St. Peter Damian was not so foolish as to listen to such nonsense denying God His justice at a time when the Church appeared to be in its death throes. He understood the grave duty to be blunt about the dangers and sinfulness, to not minimize the catastrophe that would come if strong actions were not quickly taken and to demand corrective actions. And yet, he also emphasized that all of this must be done with charity and Christian hope for the persons involved in the moral corruption. Their conversion was above all hoped and prayed for, rather than their condemnation for eternity.

An Italian translated version of the Book of Gomorrah has recently been published. An English version carefully translated by one of our LifeSite journalists will also soon become available.

On Feb. 11 of this year the Rorate Caeli website published excerpts from the introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei to the Italian version.

Following are some paragraphs from that introduction that I hope will jar awake some of the faithful, especially considering what is going on now in the United States as a result of the mad Supreme Court decision and the moral chaos around the Synod on the Family regarding Church sexual teachings.
 

Excerpts from the Introduction:

St. Peter Damien (1007-1072) Abbot of the Fonte Avellana Monastery and subsequently Cardinal/Bishop of Ostia, was one of the most outstanding figures of Catholic reform in the XI century. His Liber Gomorrhianus, appeared around 1049, in an age when corruption was widely spread, even in the highest ranks of the ecclesiastical world.

In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Peter Damien condemns the perverted habits of his time in a language that knows no false mercy or compromises. He is convinced that of all the sins, the gravest is sodomy, a term which includes all the acts against nature and which want to satisfy sexual pleasure by separating it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist – he writes – the sword of Divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing ruin to many.”

There have been times in (the Church’s) history when sanctity pervades Her and others when the defection of Her members cause Her to collapse into darkness, appearing almost as if the Divinity has abandoned Her.

Peter Damien’s voice resounds today, as it did yesterday, with encouragement and comfort for those, like him, who have fought, suffered, cried and hoped, throughout the course of history.

He did not moderate his language, but kept it fiery to show his indignation. He was fearless in voicing an uncompromising hatred for sin and it was precisely this hatred that rendered his love burning for the Truth and the Good.

Today, at the beginning of the third millennium of Christ’s birth, priests, bishops and Episcopal conferences are arguing for married priests; they are placing in doubt the indissolubility of the marriage bond between man and woman and at the same time, accepting the introduction of laws for homosexual pseudo-marriage. Sodomy is not being thought of as a sin that cries to God for vengeance but is diffused in seminaries, colleges, ecclesiastical universities and even inside the Sacred Walls of the Vatican itself.

Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something worse than moral vice practiced and theorized. It is the silence that should speak, the abstention that should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established among the wicked and of those, who with the pretext of avoiding scandal are silent, and, by being silent, consent.  

Graver still, is the acceptance of homosexuality by churchmen, thought of as a “positive” tension towards the good, worthy of pastoral care and juridical protection and not as an abominable sin. In the summary Relatio post disceptationem of the first week’s work in the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, a paragraph affirmed that: “homosexual persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, with an invitation to the Bishops “…are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This scandalous statement was removed from the final report, but some bishops and cardinals, inside and outside the Synod Hall, insisted on the appeal to look for the positive aspects of a union against nature, going as far as hoping for “a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

St. Peter Damian as a simple monk, and with greater reason as a cardinal, did not hesitate in accusing even the Popes of that time for their scandalous omissions. Will the reading of the book Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of St. Peter Damien in the hearts of some prelates or laypeople, by shaking them out of their torpor and force them to speak and act?

Even if abysmally far from the holiness and prophetic spirit of St. Peter Damien, let us make his indignation against evil, ours, and with the words that conclude his treatise we turn to the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, presently reigning, so that he may intervene and bring an end to these doctrinal and moral scandals: “May the Almighty Lord assist us, Most Reverend Father, so that during the time of Your Apostolate, all of the monstrosity of this vice be destroyed and the state of the Church, presently supine, may wholly rise up again in all its vigour.”

The book can be found in Italian here. 

(Note: the name of the saint is spelled Damian in English and Damien in Italian and French. In Fr. Mattei's quotes is it spelled Damien)

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Phil Lawler

So now is it ‘hate speech’ to deplore the Obergefell decision?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

June 30, 2015 (CatholicCulture.org) - The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision.

"No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality," Father Martin told his Facebook followers. He repeated the same message several times throughout the day, warning commenters that they must not indulge in “homophobia” and suggesting that someone who questioned whether we were all expected to sing “Kumbaya” was illustrating his point. So is sarcasm now prima facie evidence of hatred?

In my own surfing through the internet, reading scores of posts on the Obergefell decision, I can honestly say that I did not see a single message, a single comment, that struck me as hate-filled. Perhaps Father Martin’s email traffic is qualitatively different from mine. Or perhaps—far more likely, I’m afraid—he sees “hatred” where I see only vehement disagreement.

Is it possible to be angry about the Obergefell decision, to consider it a travesty of justice and a betrayal of the Constitution, without being viewed as a hater? Wait; let’s turn that question upside-down. Is it possible to see all serious disagreement with the decision as hate-speech, without celebrating the outcome of the Obergefell case?

I ask the latter question, you see, because if Father Martin was upset by the Supreme Court ruling, his dismay did not show through on his Twitter feed. He recommended three columns reacting to the decision: one by a fellow Jesuit, recounting how his grandmother could not marry her lesbian partner; another by the gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, celebrating the decision; the third by the gay activist/blogger Andrew Sullivan, also celebrating.

The recommendation for Andrew Sullivan’s piece was particularly striking because of the title: “It Is Accomplished”—an explicit reference to the words of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Father Martin, who was horrified by so much of what he read on Friday afternoon, let that blasphemous headline pass without comment. His demand for the use of temperate language, and for avoiding comments that others would find offensive, was applied to only one side of the post-Obergefell debate.

And that’s likely to be the party line for politically-correct Catholics in the wake of this momentous decision. We are allowed to disagree with the Supreme Court, politely, but not too forcefully. Any strident denunciation of the ruling or its logic might be interpreted as hate-speech, which of course is unacceptable. As the secular left clamps down on religious expression—and we’ve already been served notice that the crackdown is coming-- the Catholic left will worry aloud that, yes, some strong public expressions of religious beliefs are distasteful.

The influence of this approach, with its keen anxiety to avoid provocation, has already been evident in the statements released by some American bishops in response to the ruling. Archbishop Gregory says that he disagrees with the Court, but if you don’t know why he disagrees before you read his statement, you’re not likely to be any better informed when you’re finished. Cardinal Wuerl reminds us that we must hate the sin but love the sinner; he neglects to mention what the sin is. And Archbishop Cupich gives no indication at all that he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling.

We have a long uphill struggle facing us as we seek to restore a proper understanding of marriage, to revive appreciation for the natural law, and to undo this wretched judicial decision. We cannot expect success if we go into the battle unarmed. If we begin the debate by saying that we must not offend our adversaries—even after our adversaries have declared our most fundamental beliefs to be offensive—we are doomed to failure.

We already know how the battle will unfold, because the campaign to crush resistance to same-sex marriage is already underway. The militant left will choose vulnerable targets—a pizza-parlor here, a baker there—and vilify them as “haters.” People who have been trained to see “hatred” in any firm disagreement will nod in solemn approval as the alleged offenses are harshly punished. And so juggernaut will keep rolling, gaining momentum, until it reaches us.

There is an alternative. We can speak the truth. Yes, certainly we should avoid making unduly provocative statements. But since we are trying to provoke reactions, we cannot pull all our punches.

More to the point, if we’re going into battle—and we are—we need to know who’s on our side, and who’s working against us.

This article was originally published on CatholicCulture.org and is re-published with permission.

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