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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
Posted on: Friday, October 28, 2016
In the film, Demolition Man, the year is 2032. The characters of John Spartan (played by Silvester Stallone) and Lenina Huxley (played by Sandra Bullock) are about to have sex having known each other less than a few days. John Spartan in fact is only a day or two living in this “brave new world” having been cryogenically frozen as punishment for manslaughter, back in 1996.
To the confusion of Spartan, Huxley asks him to put on a Virtual Reality headset. Spartan is unaware he is about to have “sex”. As both begin to reach orgasm, Spartan pulls off the headset and begins a rant that what they were doing was not real sex. In this version of the future, to keep STDs at bay, sex is done exclusively by V-R except for the rejects of society who live in the city sewers.
Rewind to 2002 and the real world, a male Catholic called Richard, played by me, is trying his best to act out the role of a secular atheist male with no Catholic or family history. He sees himself as liberated from the truth and love offered him by his family and Church.
Richard is in a worse state than the “Prodigal Son” when in his rebellion, since the latter we are told used his own inheritance. Whereas Richard finances this life through the State, using the student loan the UK government has given him to study 100 miles from home. This is where he meets “Anne.”
Within a few days Anne tells Richard she loves him and a year-long relationship ensues that is eventually ended by Anne. Pre-marital sex begins almost immediately but the inner life of Richard is beginning to already experience difficulties regarding this.
It is clear he has what has been looking for: Anne is a talented student, funny, caring, chatty and down to earth. She “ticks most boxes” and yet an inner struggle is present straight away, with Richard’s body, mind and soul altered forever.
Condoms are used each time. The most sensitive area on the male body is being wrapped in a man-made rubber fibre. For the duration of being sexually active and afterwards, the genital and lower-abdomen area feel tight and uncomfortable. The lack of scientific research means this is more a “hunch” but Richard feels a chemical imbalance has entered his body.
Richard notices too, that in the act of having sex, he can smell the rubber. Every time he smells it his lower abdomen pulls tight. Wearing rubber gloves brings him out in rashes too. Would it not be reasonable to think, that were he rubbing man-made fibres vigorously on sensitive parts such as the mouth or nose or eyes, that toxins would enter and create imbalances?
There is a change in mental health too. Although mental health issues were present already since eating marijuana as a 16 years old, a gulf exists between Richard’s inner longing for romantic love and lots of children, and this secular model he is playing out. This despite being in a loving relationship.
This realisation properly surfaces when playing a love song by Nick Drake called “Thoughts of Mary-Jane.” A deeply idealistic and romantic soul though Richard has, he cannot stop the tears as he listens, since his innocence and idealism has been exchanged for a lie. But it is the accompanying confusion that perpetuates this, since this is everything that had been proposed by Hollywood and the romantic poetry Richard had consumed since a pre-pubescent as the way of achieving inner-happiness.
Later reading of St John Paul II’s theology of the body, albeit a superficial reading, gives some confirmation to these feelings. As with the characters in the novel “Brave New World,” Richard has been prioritising sex over love. The model of love proposed in the media is a version that is rooted first and foremost in sexual pleasure and has no roots in Truth.
As the relationship comes to an end in, Richard is desperate to re-enter the Catholic Church. He goes to a priest for Confession who has a reputation as a very strict Confessor. The priest listens as Richard recounts his relationship and the lack of love he feels in his heart. The priest is gentle.
The priest asks Richard if he received the Eucharist at all whilst in this relationship. Not knowing Church teaching, the answer is yes. The priest bends over as though in pain, like he has just been stabbed in the stomach and asks that if Richard decides to have sexual relationships outside marriage, that he refrain from having the Eucharist. I get absolution and begin a new life in Christ.
It remains the mission of the Church to posit a positive view of marriage and family and the pro-life movement, that will attract others. For example in the March for Life rally in Birmingham, England, in 2015, a young woman seeing the joy and happiness of the people on the march, decided to cancel her forthcoming abortion. She brought her baby to the rally the year after, thanks be to God in Christ Jesus.
Submitted by R. F., England
Posted on: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
First person testimony from a survivor of the late term abortion experience. Please note: this author did NOT actually have an abortion. Her baby had already died, and needed to be removed from her uterus. In the Mother of All Insensitivities (in my opinion) her doctor sent her to an abortion clinic where they specialize in evacuating the uterus. As a pro-life mother of 4, who was grieving the involuntary loss of her baby, without having a guilty conscience over being the cause of her child's demist, this author's perspective is invaluable.
Highly recommended for those struggling with the aftermath of abortion.
Posted on: Saturday, September 24, 2016
I was 35 years old, happily married and pregnant with my 5th child in 11 years. It was not a smooth pregnancy. I was sick with nausea, dehydration, weight loss and exhaustion for months. My doctor urged me repeatedly, due to my medical history, to consider having a permanent solution to any more pregnancies. The idea of birth control was assumed and for years we relied on the pill and condoms. Thinking about a “permanent solution” for me was: get a tubal. I could get it done while I was already at the hospital. It doesn’t inconvenience my husband in any way. It ‘solves’ our problems. However a tubal ligation did not.
My periods returned fairly quickly post-partum. But they were unlike any previous periods. The twice a month headaches were exponentially more painful. My doctor prescribed migraine medication. That didn't work. The uterine discomfort I felt every ovulation cycle caused me to double over in pain like labor. I was stunned. All this for ovulation? The doctor told me to take Advil. That didn't work. My periods were longer and more painful. I tried Alleve. That didn't work. What was going on physically was also mirrored in my emotional/sexual world. Those 14 or so days every month between ovulation times and menstruation meant almost ½ the month I was irritable, short on patience, and not in the least interested in romance, nor being touched by my loving husband, let alone sexual relations. I told my husband, “Ever since this tubal I feel like I was born on earth, but woke up on Mars. I am most definitely NOT the same person. I don’t understand this. I know it is connected to the tubal since it is involved with my cycles. But how can a little snipping of tubes inside my abdomen produce such a dramatic difference in me as a woman?”
Then I began to notice that at every period, as the months passed, I began to grieve. Grieve that I would never have another child, that I had permanently changed my body, that I no longer was a fertile woman in control of my body. The regret I felt I pushed deep inside – afraid to face it – but the sorrow remained. Then my brother confided in me. They had their 3rd child just a year after our last – and his wife opted for a tubal. He shared that he doesn’t understand what happened but for the past two years his wife is completely different. “It’s like she’s from another universe” he said (mirroring my exact experiences). My mouth opened wide in shock. I had my tubal one year before my sister in law – but our reactions were identical. I told my brother he wasn’t crazy. We drew comfort from the fact that at least there was a possible ‘cause’ for this radically changed behavior from both of us.
Fast forward 25 years. My husband and I became Catholic. I made an appointment with a priest for Confession. I began to cry as I recalled as many sins as I could, and then my mind and heart turned to the tubal. The decades of sadness I had pushed as deeply as I could, poured out in a wailing keen as I told the priest about the tubal. "I am so sorry I did this. I wanted more children. But the doctor told me it was for my health. I wanted more children…I wanted more children…I am so sorry.” Even as I spoke those words I had no idea I would verbalize the cry from my heart that so desperately needed to be spoken where heaven and earth meet in God’s grace. And the speaking of them opened my heart to hear the next words from this precious man of God: “You are forgiven. You are a mother. God made you a mother. You will always be a mother to others.”
I share this story knowing my sister-in-law and I simply can NOT be the only women who experienced this kind of reaction from a tubal ligation – one that clearly isn’t ‘medical’ but emotional/spiritual/psychological.
Submitted by D. P.
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2016
My mother left when I was six. My sister and I went to a beautiful old house we called “the home” - a group home for girls whose families were under stress.
We were fed and dressed well, had lots of play time but, even with my sister there, I was scared. I saw Matron rub a twelve year old girl’s nose into
her urine-soaked sheets, and I had seen her pull down underpants in public, in order to spank other girls. That was when I began to live on the margins
and keep watch. Like the kid in the movie 'The Blind Side’, I became "99% self-protective”.
At age eight I went back to live with Daddy. I hardly can recall my mother but Dad remains my hero. He and I shared long evenings reading or listening
to the radio and talking about plays, music and politics. With him, I participated in anti-apartheid marches. My love of history came from trips
we took to ancient places like the Roman ruins at St. Albans and, every year, we went by ferry to his Irish homeland. I loved sitting on deck at
night, singing old Irish songs.
By my early teens I began getting in trouble and ended up in boarding school. The school was in a 19th Century mansion, its grounds filled with exotic
plants, lakes, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts. A tolerant staff kept watch over us. We danced to juke-box music every weekend. Boys
and girls found all kinds of secret places to meet - in fireplaces, by laundry baskets, in the woods and at the trout stream. And we knew not to
go “all the way”.
By 1965, the naive little boarding school girl, heavily influenced by an atheist/socialist Dad, went to nursing school and became a bleeding heart.
Assisting with abortions was part of the surgical rotation. I never thought to question the morality of it and none of my peers did either. There
was no public discussion about it, no talk about women’s rights. It was a scandal for a young woman to be pregnant outside of marriage. They were
my peers, and I wanted to shield them.
When Evangelical friends put a Bible in my hands, my life changed radically. By the time I read the Gospels the third time, I was sensing a protective
and tolerant Presence, yet I struggled with accepting Christianity. Then came terrible nightmares about dead babies. I felt prompted to read my
Bible and start writing. I realized I was dreaming about the abortions I’d participated in and which, for fifteen years, I never had a second thought
about. In nursing school, I had believed as I was taught, that the baby was a “blob of tissue”.
The words of Deuteronomy 30:19 jumped out - “I put before you Life and Death, choose…” I saw two armies, one standing behind Jesus and one behind
Satan, and my inner ears heard, “there is no gray area”. It was a mandate. My choice had to be an eternal one. After 29 years I went back to the
Church, and I was (flinchingly) in the pro-life camp.
However, I continued, as a Public Health nurse, thinking that birth control was a lesser evil than abortion and that the Church’s teachings were wrong,
until I learned about the beautiful spirituality of natural family planning. I began to remember women who had strokes as a result of birth control
- and malignant hypertension and pancreatitis. Could my sister’s death, from pancreatic cancer have been avoided if she had not taken birth control
for thirty years?
Following a hunch, I discovered many horrid complications of artificial contraception besides abortifacient properties - cardiovascular disease, cancers of breast, liver and cervix, egg-producing male fish, personality changes, sterility, miscarriages and STDs.
I know now, as my 69th birthday approaches, that the Church had wisdom about the terrible consequences the sexual revolution would bring - long before science began to identify them.
Submitted by L. P. February 2016.