Thursday, August 13, 2015



Six months ago, I moved to Vermont. I now live in a state that is ranked 49th by Americans United for Life in terms of protection of the life of children in the womb.  My state representative (I live in Chittenden District 6-3) is employed as a VP at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.  At the start of this year’s state legislative term, pro-choice advocates forced a roll-call vote of each member as to their support of “Roe v. Wade” even though no pro-life or pro-choice initiatives were on this year’s legislative agenda.  Obviously, the pro-choice side was affirmed overwhelmingly.  Vermont does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.

Yet, as is the case all over the United States, the number of pregnancies ending in abortion continues to decline in Vermont. In 1991, 22.8 % of pregnancies in Vermont ended in abortion. Twenty years later in 2011, 11.7% of children were aborted. It is still a terrible number, but the decline gives hope. Even in this most pro-abortion of all states, men and women are coming to see the tragic nature of abortion and choosing to do otherwise.  We Catholics and those who share our pro-life beliefs need to continue to be strong witnesses to the truth that all human life is sacred and the greatest gift from God.

Presently, much outrage is being generated by the release of undercover videos of conversations between representatives of Planned Parenthood and men and women posing as “buyers” looking to procure body parts and tissue samples from aborted children.  The callousness with which the Planned Parenthood staff speaks of the harvesting of organs from what was once a living human being is horrifying and stunning. But, sadly, I am not surprised. In numerous instances, the more radical proponents of abortion rights, of which the people at Planned Parenthood are the most outspoken, always speak of the child in the womb as simply “an embryo” or “tissue.”  For them, it is not a human life, a person, a child. It is tissue. So, why are we surprised when they treat the remains of the “tissue,” as just that, something one can simply dispose of as one will? 

It is my hope that the content of these videos which reveal how Planned Parenthood and its staff truly view human life in the womb will serve as a “wake up call,” even a slap in the face to all of us and spur more and more men and women to come to know that the pre-born child is not tissue, but a beautiful creation of God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Our Lady of the Snows": The story behind the "major", or greatest, Basilica dedicated to Our Lady in Rome

When Liberius was Pope, a Roman patrician named John, and his wife, also of noble birth, having no children to inherit their goods, vowed their inheritance to the most holy Virgin Mother of God. The blessed Virgin heard their prayers and approved their vow by a miracle.

On the 5th of August, which is that time when the heat of summer waxeth greatest in the City, a part of the Esquiline Hill was covered by night with snow. And on that same night, the Mother of God told John and his wife separately in dreams that they should build a church on that place. When John told this to Pope Liberius, he said that he had had the same dream. The Pope therefore went to the snow-covered hill and there marked out a site.

The church was built with the money given by John and his wife, and was later restored by Sixtus III. It hath been given various names; but, so that its title may indicate its excellence, it is called the Church of St. Mary Major.

From the Breviarium Romanum

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