April 21, 2013

April 21, 2013 Column Father De Celles

The Gosnell Trial—WARNING: PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED. The murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell began in Philadelphia on March 18, over a month ago. As the New York Times reported on April 15: “Dr. Gosnell…is charged with eight counts of murder…He could get the death penalty if he is found guilty.” But for the first four weeks of the trial the so-called mainstream media was virtually silent about the proceedings. The Media Research Center compared the reporting on the Gosnell trial to the reporting on the firing of Rutgers’ basketball coach Mike Rice: “in one week Rice received 41 minutes, 26 seconds of air time on ABC, CBS and NBC in 36 separate news stories. Gosnell received zero coverage . . .”

Why the silence? Because Dr. Gosnell is a professional abortionist and ran an abortion clinic, and his victims included a pregnant woman and seven tiny babies who had survived his attempt to abort them. The seven babies had been born, and lay outside of their mother’s wombs, like any other new born baby, capable of living on their own if only given the care normally given to newborns. Instead, prosecutors charge that (and I will be purposefully vague here) he killed them with a pair of scissors.

I could go into the details but they are too gruesome. You can now easily find them on the internet. But the testimony at trial reveals that these charges are just the tip of the iceberg, and the culmination of decades of macabre criminal activity passing itself off as a “medical practice.” As the AP (finally) reported last week: “In testimony…eight former employees said they performed grueling, often gruesome work…. Three have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder…” Kirsten Powers wrote in USA Today last week, “one witness testified that he saw 100 babies born and then [killed]… The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff…should shock anyone with a heart.”

If this doctor had walked into a major hospital maternity ward and shot an expectant mother and seven babies in their cribs, this would be the subject of non-stop coverage in the media.

So, again, why the silence here? It seems obvious: the mainstream media is afraid of this story because it makes abortion and abortionists look evil. Because they are. It points to the vivid reality that killing a baby a few minutes (or days or weeks) before she’s born is no different from killing a baby a few minutes (or days or weeks) after she’s born. Abortion is what it is, and the gruesome testimony in this trial lifts the veil of “medicine” to reveal that the killing of the unborn is just as gruesome and heartless as what this “doctor” is now being charged with as murder.

Moreover, this case sheds a bright if eerie light on those who consider that it’s okay to allow babies born alive after unsuccessful abortions to go without medical treatment, and to simply die. Such behavior was made a federal crime in 2002 in an act passed unanimously by the Senate and with an overwhelming majority in the House. A similar bill was introduced at that same time in the Illinois Senate. Then-State Senator Barack Obama voted against it—repeatedly. The Gosnell case will surely make pro-abortion ultra-extremists—like our president—“look bad.”

Let’s pray for justice for these murdered babies and mother (and all the other unnamed victims). But let’s also pray for God’s mercy for Kermit Gosnell—that he may see the evil he has done, repent, and be saved by Christ’s grace, even as he receives the earthly justice he is due.

And let us continue to pray for an end to abortion. And for the souls of all the babies who have died in abortions.

And let us pray especially for the mothers who have had abortions, especially after being lied to by doctors who should know better. God knows these women’s sorrow, and God loves them so much. May these poor “second victims” of abortion know his tender mercy and forgiveness. The Church shares in this love and offers these victims of abortionists spiritual healing and forgiveness through the sacrament of Penance, and offers compassionate counseling and assistance through ministries like Project Rachel (tel: 703-841-2504, or 1-888-456-HOPE; email: projectrachel@arlingtondiocese.org).

Boston Massacre. What can we say about the tragic bombings on Monday of last week, April 15, at the Boston Marathon? Of course we pray for all those who were injured or killed. And we pray for just punishment as well as God’s mercy and the conversion of the maniac(s?) who perpetrated this cowardly crime.

But it should also remind us of a few things. As with the Gosnell case, this brings home the fact that evil exists in the world—it is real, and incarnate in the actions of evil people. And nowhere is evil more obvious or despicable than in the murder of innocents. So we must never relent in fighting to protect innocent human life from those who embrace the evil that justifies their killing.

It also reminds us that death comes quickly, and all too often unexpectedly. And when it does come, we must be ready to go before the just and eternal Judge, and be judged by what we did in this life to embrace true goodness and reject evil in our lives, and to protect innocents from evil.

At the same time, during this Easter Season, we remember that Jesus suffered and died on Cross, the most innocent One unjustly killed for our sins. But in His Death He conquered evil, and by His Resurrection He restored human life to the goodness it should have—and promised all who follow Him, and embrace what is good and reject what is evil, that they would share in His glorious life and grace—imperfectly in this world and perfectly in the next.

Let us turn to our Merciful and Risen Lord Jesus, and entrust ourselves, our country and our world, to His boundless love and grace.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles