This year (1990), was the first time in over 20 years that I found myself part of a permanent parish staff for Holy Week. I must admit that I had forgotten how busy the last three days are – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday morning. By Sunday evening I felt as if I had climbed Mount Everest at least twice!
Easter Monday came as welcome relief. Schools were closed so I decided to catch up on my reading. Placing myself in a horizontal position, I perused The Advocate from cover to cover and learned a lot. The Advocate is a free monthly publication from Advocates for Life, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and it seems to have its finger on the pro-life pulse of the world.
Rescues in far away places
The issue I have of March 1990, and it is almost entirely devoted to the efforts of rescuers in different parts of the United States and other countries as far away as New Zealand. There appears to be a kind of common denominator which expresses itself in a savage determination on the part of the state to silence any opposition to abortion. This is evident, first of all, in the brutality of the police everywhere; and secondly, in the excessive sentences and total lack of any human understanding on the part of the various judiciaries. Here are a few examples.
At a place called Cherry Hill Women’s Center near Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love), the police began arresting the rescuers. They used plastic handcuffs and dragged them to the other side of the street. Some of the rescuers began walking back towards the abortuary. They were then bound by the legs and “ankle cuffed”: like goats to other rescuers.
In Portland, Oregon, Judge Nely Johnson ordered eight rescuers jailed “indefinitely” until they promised not to intervene for children at the Lovejoy – what a name! – abortion “clinic.” The judge was a woman – not a lady – and she ordered the accused, one of them was an 84-year-old lady, “to be incarcerated until they agreed to obey the injunction.” The eight rescuers – including the 84-year-old – refused to consider any conditions. Another example of the determination of the state to effectively muzzle pro-life advocates took place in San Diego. Two attorneys were sentenced to 290 days and 45 days respectively for their attempts to defend the moral positions of rescuers. The n names of the attorneys are Cyrus Zal and Collette Gonzalez. The San Diego judges, who are trying rescue cases, had accepted a motion from the plaintiffs’ attorneys to bar the use in court of such as kill, killer, baby killer, killing centers, murder, fetus, holocaust, abortion, rights of the unborn.
Also forbidden were any references to God or the Deity or religious beliefs in any manner or form.
Dozens of other words were excluded. One wonders what’s left. One of the statements which landed attorney Cyrus Zal in jail was “The question here is whether killing unborn babies is a crime. Legality was the same excuse Nazi war criminals had.” The use of the word “Nazi” is also proscribed.
Do you know what a “nunchakus” is? I didn’t until Easter Monday. My guess would have been some kind of pizza. Well, here is the story.
The San Diego City Council gave its blessing to the police department’s controversial “pain compliance” technique to subdue unruly suspects. The purchase of the nunchakus will cost $85,942. A nunchakus is made up of two pieces of hard plastic compound joined by a strap. When the strap is wrapped around the subject’s wrists and the plastic sticks are twisted, pain can be caused and increased incrementally. The devices became controversial last spring when they were sued on pro-life demonstrators who went limp when arrested. But the controversy is now settled as the Council has given its blessing to these oriental torture weapons. By the way, this is America, not Romania.
The Mayor of the City, Maureen O’Connor (Irish?), said, “I would prefer that to the alternative where they are using their batons, which could cause real harm. I mean, I don’t like violence in any form.” City councilman Wes Pratt said he does not have any real problem with the use of nunchakus in cases where protesters are “breaking the law, blocking right of ways and things of that sort – its preferable to a club or a baton or shooting somebody.” Apparently Mr. Pratt has no problem with babies being cut to pieces in their mother’s wombs.
First Paris rescue
On February 5, 1990, Catholics and eight Evangelicals held a rescue at the Corentin Celton Hospital in Paris. It was the second rescue in France and the first in Paris. The staff threw tomatoes and eggs at them and poured buckets of cold water over them. The police were called and the rescuers were arrested. They were released without charges. But the leaders realize that as they repeat the rescues, they will have to be prepared for much heavier sacrifices.
A rescue outside an abortuary in Liverpool, U.K., in January, resulted in the arrest of 26 people, four of them Catholic priests – Father Cyril Thomas, James Morrow, James Birrell and Gerald Dunn. Catholic Archbishops Dereck Worlock and Anglican Bishop David Sheppard were invited to join but declined. A message from the archdiocesan press officer, on behalf of the Archbishop said, “We must r to change the law, not break the law. Other ways of persuasion should be used, not this. We will use the parliamentary process, we will use persuasion and we will use prayer.”
In the meantime, thousands of innocent babies will be murdered while the parliamentary process grinds its way interminably. If the children being murdered were in grade 1 of the Catholic elementary school, I wonder if the Archbishop would settle for prayer and the parliamentary process! And yet, according to Catholic thinking, there is no difference in principle between murdering a grade 1 child – or a grade 12 student – and murdering a pre-born baby. Was Vatican Council Two exaggerating when it termed abortion “an abominable crime?” The Holy Father does not seem to think so.
But the news is not all bad. The Advocate reports that in Corpus Christi, Texas, there is a heroic sheriff names James T. Hickey. He refused to enforce the law which would have meant arresting rescue protestors blocking an abortuary. He appeared on two live TV call-in programs to explain his stance. In response to one question he said that although he would not use his department to help women past protesters, if a riot broke out he would take action to quell it. He said, “My first duty is to God – His law comes first.”
Of course, there are screams for his resignation. But the Sheriff calmly replies “I shall not resign. I shall run for re-election when my term ends in 1992.” Why are men of this caliber so few and far between?
If you are interested in having this fine magazine sent to you, the address is the: The Advocate, Advocates for Life, P.O. Box 13656, Portland, Or, 97213, U.S.A. Although The Advocate is free, a donation towards postage would be acceptable.