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Life Trumps Death, Always

November 2, AD2016

life

I drive a cab in New York City, and when I am in the East Village, I stop in front of the Margaret Sanger Center, operated by Planned Parenthood. I sprinkle some Holy Water on the pavement and say a prayer for life, and to stop the killing of the unborn, of all people. I pray too for the Planned Parenthood workers that they leave that business and find other work, maybe even in life-giving work, such as And Then There Were None. I invoke the names of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Gianna Molla, Joseph, Peter, and Our Blessed Mother. I also invoke the names of some probable saints-to-be, specifically Mother Angelica and Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. The Sheen Center, named after the late Archbishop, is directly next door—the last neighbor an abortion site would ever want to have. Sometimes I take a photo of the clinic and the center, and post it on Facebook. My pro-life warrior friend from the West Coast, Dan Sanchez, asked me to do an aspersion for him. He’s a Third Order Dominican, so lately I’ve been doing two splashes and also invoking the name of Saint Dominic.

I am just a lowly cab driver, and the upcoming presidential election is only about two things to me, life and religious freedom. I don’t get into the ethics, morality, or criminal behavior of either candidate. Life is our most basic right, and religious freedom is the very first right in our Bill of Rights, even before freedom of speech and of the press.

Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life, says it best for me:

Mr. Trump was crystal clear about the need to defend and promote the sanctity of life, to preserve the institution of marriage, to appoint pro-life judges, and to protect religious liberty. In fact, he mentioned explicitly the efforts of some to ‘restrict religious liberty with government mandates.’ Priests for Life was among the first group to challenge the HHS mandate in court, and our case went all the way to the Supreme Court and is still unresolved.

I also appreciate Mr. Trump’s assertion, ‘We will protect the right of churches to speak their minds on political matters, free from intimidation.’ This is the key message of my book Abolishing Abortion, in which I call on the Church to abandon the self-censorship that is so prevalent and so unnecessary, even within the current structure of the law.

Fr. Pavone also says:

We have a court split right down the middle, and the next president will shift that court strongly either to the left or the right — either toward defending life or destroying it, either to preserving the freedom of the Church or snuffing it out, either to preserving marriage and family or redefining them with new transgender definitions….

Finally, according to Pope St. John Paul II, a government that authorizes the killing of babies by abortion has become ‘a tyrant state’ (Evangelium Vitae [The Gospel of Life], 20). This is not just about one issue; it’s about the very nature of the state, the type of government we have. The Democratic Party and Mrs. Clinton believe that when they are voted into power, they have authority over human rights, a veto power over the right to life. That is a tyrant state, moral corruption institutionalized in policy. That’s far worse, and far more monumental, than anyone’s personal faults, past or present.

All to Save One Human Life

If my words, and my prayers, and my vote can save one human life than it is all worth it. As Al Kresta, the President of Ave Maria Radio, says, “The abortion issue is the morally defining issue of our generation.”

I yield the rest of my column to Holy Scripture and to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Abortion

CCC 2270 “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you (Jeremiah 1:5).’ ‘My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth (Psalm 139:15).’

CCC 2271 “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.
This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”

CCC 2272 “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. ‘A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae, by the very commission of the offense,’ and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.  The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”

CCC 2273 “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: ‘The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.’

‘The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined….  As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.'”

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Converted in 2007—the greatest day of my life—by the miracle of EWTN. Off the drink and drugs for 17 years—by the grace of God. Bible Study group leader and guitar player 5 years. RCIA assistant leader 2 years. Former atheist and then a crystal-gazing New Ager. Former musician (guitar) raised in Indiana, now I use the big bucks I make writing Catholic blogs to finance my dream of driving a cab in New York City.

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  • Birgit Atherton Jones

    “The abortion issue is the morally defining issue of our generation.” What else do we need to know?

    As always, I enjoy sharing a bit of your life as a NYC cab driver. Go with God!

  • Edward Monti

    Excellent essay. God bless you for your evangelization and aspersions. That is a wonderful weapon against evil. I have marched and prayed before abortion clinics in Brooklyn about 30 years ago with the Bishop of Brooklyn from St. Michaels Church up 4th Avenue and more recently in NJ. The clinic in NJ was a stones throw away from my parish. We prayed them out of business with peace and love and the power of the Rosary. Keep on doing what you are doing and pray that horrible place out of business.
    Pax et bonum.

    • jamey brown

      But mostly thank you. You folks out in the field counseling and witnessing in front of the abortion clinics are the real warriors. I love your story of praying a clinic out of existence. I also love the stories of abortion workers leaving the business. “Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.”
      –Pope Saint John Paul II

    • Guy McClung

      Jamey-In Corpus Christi it took around a dozen years, but the employee whose child by the abortionist who was aborted by him, she finally one day exited the hellhole early and drove up to Pat -prolife prayer warrior par excellence who knelt in the driveway there every week for years-and told her that because of her prayers and those of all there all those years, she was leaving and would never return. Apologize for the length of what follows-it echoes what you say re the “folks” in front of the abortuaries-from New Oxford review 2012:

      Sidewalk Counselors: Your Work Won’t Go Unrewarded

      What a fine guest column Edmund B. Miller has written about the generous and amazing work done by prayer warriors and sidewalk counselors outside abortion businesses (“Abortion & The Creed of Progress,” Jan.-Feb.). He admits that “discouragement comes swiftly and heavily. Often I wonder why I should and do continue.” Anyone who has stood and prayed outside an abortion business can echo these feelings; but the unseen effects of these prayers, of this witness, are far beyond what can be imagined.

      Last fall a group of us were praying outside the last abortion business (of four) in Corpus Christi, Texas, when a car drove up and screeched to a sudden stop right by us. When this happens one usually expects the worst. But this time a man got out and approached us, weeping. “You have no idea of the good you do here,” he said to us. “Thirteen years ago my pregnant girlfriend and I drove up here and you all were praying here. This was for her scheduled abortion. We went inside and we felt the evil. I thought about you all on the outside praying. We left. And now, because of you, she is my wife and, because of you, we have beautiful twin teenage daughters. Never stop this, keep praying here.”

      All of us who were there that day 13 years ago probably felt the “discouragement that comes swiftly and heavily.” But our prayers touched this man and his girlfriend and changed the course of human history. This is why those who stand and pray “should and do continue.”

      Another time we prayed most of the day outside a Planned Parenthood abortion business in Bryan/College-Station, Texas, as 17 girls and women went in for abortions, with no “saves.” Once the “business” day was over late in the afternoon, we went to a local restaurant, depressed and gloomy. While we were there, a woman came up to us and asked if we were “the people praying at the Planned Parenthood clinic.” We told her we were, and she said, “Thank you, I saw you praying and because of you I did not go in for the abortion.” This is reason enough to continue, because even if we do not know about it, a baby might be saved because of our prayers.

      I firmly believe that when anyone who stands and prays outside an abortion business, anyone who engages in sidewalk counseling, anyone who is a conduit for God’s love to these girls and women, gets to the pearly gates and St. Peter is studying the book and checking the commandments against what the person has done, there is going to be a crowd of little children telling St. Peter, perhaps impatiently, “This is our friend. She [or he] is why you call your book the ‘Book of Life.’ You have to let her come in here with us.”

      Mr. Miller is correct when he says that those who pray and those who counsel have “not been paid to do this.” This is true, in the practical sense. But in the spiritual sense, what one gives away is what one takes to Heaven; and those who do this give God’s love, and they take with them to Heaven the embodiment of that love in the saved children and the saved mothers, fathers, and families, and the love in each caress and kiss those mothers give to their babies.

      Guy McClung
      Rockport, Texas

    • jamey brown

      Guy that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. My heart stirred as I read it. The awesome power of prayer–I’ll never forget it. I’m posting it on my Facebook page…and on my heart.

    • Patricia Pulliam

      Proud to be another fool for Christ…..thanks Guy

  • Guy McClung

    This is so simple. The day after the election next week, about 3800 Americans will be killed – this is a certainty. Under Pres Hillary there will be a push that you and I and every American taxpayer pay for many, if not most, of these killings. About half of them will be black and hispanic babies. I do not know how many Americans will die November 9, 2016 from hunger, war, poverty, lack of education, paying ObamaDontCare premiums, thirst across the border in south Texas, lack of access to a friendly bathroom, or from offense that a police car bears the National Motto, IN GOD WE TRUST. But I do know that on Nov. 9, 2016 another 3800 Americans will be killed here. If you vote for Hillary, or for any Democrat of The Party Of Death, you are an accomplice in the daily murderous massacres – and you sin mortally. Guy McClung San Antonio, Texas

    [as a postscript, allow me to paraphrase Col Wm Barrett Travis writing before the end of the 13 Days Of Glory of the Alamo: even if we have to face Pres Hillary and then, perhaps soon, Pres Kaine, we march on, Victory or Death, I will not surrender.]

    • jamey brown

      Very eloquently said. I agree with the Catholic Church that life is the paramount issue:
      “the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
      I am not endorsing Trump. I am voting AGAINST the radical pro-abortion candidate. Trump has sent a letter to Catholics saying he will support our issues. No other candidate has done the same. Trump has appointed a Pro-Life Council headed by Marjorie Dannenfelser and has some of my favorites on it—Fr. Frank Pavone, Dr. Alveda King, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, and Austin Ruse. It looks like Trump is voting for pro-life; now it’s time for pro-life to vote for Trump.

    • Guy McClung

      Jamey-Again I thank you for taking some time in all that free time you have waiting in Manhattan for a fare and napping in your cab near Rockefeller Center to write for us; and especially muchas gracias for the baptism/exorcism of the abortion busines$s. Once in Corpus Christi-don’t you love the name of this town?-I threw a Miraculous Medal onto the roof of the last abortion busine$s there-I guess that medal is there to this day-and through Our Lady’s intercession and the efforts of thousands of prayer warriors, that hellhole was shut down. In the 7 foot fence around the place there were always countless holy cards, especially images of Ourt Lady Of Guadalupe, and medals of all sorts between the slats-and the lifeholocaust workers sent out to remove them and throw them in the dirt never found them all. “Exorcism” is not a misnomer nor is it too strong to describe what you did/do. The Democrat Party Of Death has fulfilled Cd. Burke’s prophecy-it is the party of consummate evil, actually so many evils it is difficult to list them all. Keep on keeping on, amigo, and just like JC did for us, hang in there-we will win, He will win, not “if,” but “when.” Guy

    • jamey brown

      Another stirring comment. You have given me so many good ideas about using Miraculous Medals, holy cards, and this slew of church bulletins and newspapers that I’ve been leaving on subway benches, bus stops, my apartment building foyer, and at my taxi garage for lapsed Christians, or Muslims, or atheists…oops, I mean…secularists. Some should go to Planned Parenthood–in the name of fairness.

  • Julie Machado

    What an interesting life story you have. Thank you for this article and especially for the quote from Fr. Pavone. I hadn’t seen it yet.