Monday, September 28, 2015

RU-486 Canada's New Abortion Drug: Another Reason To Join Life Chain

A young mom and her newborn baby, a beautiful relationship that RU-486 would destroy just barely after it would begin

In case you missed the headline from this summer, Health Canada on July 29, approved of the abortion drug, Mifegymiso, commonly known as RU-486. As a Catholic I am deeply disturbed that a governmental organization which is supposed to be at the forefront of protecting the health of Canadians, has done the exact opposite with this approval. There is nothing healthy about RU-486, for women who take it and certainly not for developing human beings in the womb, who are killed because of it.

In today's post, I intend to not only spot light the deplorable approval of RU-486 and its contribution to the moral disorder in Canada, but identify and denounce the evil of abortion based on resources from the Catholic Church. I also hope to encourage Catholic laity, Christians alike and all people of good will, to take action; and to alert women to the very real dangers of using this drug, citing from a real life case of a young Portuguese woman who died from septic shock.

In addition to this blog post, one of the ways in which I am going to express my concern over this abortion drug's approval is to participate at this Fall's Life Chain pro-life effort. If you are new to Life Chainit is a public witness against the killing of unborn children. Participants stand in silent prayer holding a sign that reads, "Abortion Kills Children" or something very similar. I will be holding an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress Of The Unborn.

Life Chain is a North American effort and if you live in Canada or the United States, Life Chain will take place in your local community or in close proximity; you can find out about a location near you by visiting the web site, www.lifechain.netHere in Vaughan, Ontario, I will be attending the Life Chain effort to be held on October 4th from 2:00pm-3:00pm at Hwy. 7 and Islington Avenue.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress
of The Unborn
You might be asking yourself, "Why should I participate in the Life Chain effort?" There are several reasons, all of which I have included in a previous post, Life Chain - Faith Put Into Action. I have also included some recommendations that takes your participation to the next level and extends it beyond the one hour witness. The thrust of why you should participate in Life Chain is contained in the blog title itself, "putting faith into action." What good is faith that does nothing in practice, it is thoroughly lifeless. (James 2:17) 

Participation at Life Chain should form part of your effort to Labour In The Vineyard For The Unborn and Nonbelievers. The necessity to "labour in the vineyard" was presented to the Church in Saint Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (Christ's Faithful People). It is a document that explained the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world. In it, Saint Pope John Paul II sought to instil in the laity the urgency with which we need to "labour," considering the social, economic, political and cultural state of affairs in world and in the Church. He stated that due to this, "...It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle." (3)

In identifying and denouncing the evil of abortion, I have drawn from the teaching of the Catholic Church, which is very specific about the killing of a human being, be it developing in the womb or at any other stage of life, "You Shall Not Kill" (Fifth Commandment). As a commandment, it is not negotiable or open to interpretation; it is God's holy law. There are no circumstances in which abortion is considered acceptable and any action against God's holy law, no matter what the rationale and justification, is always immoral and evil. Our Heavenly Father's teaching on the respect for human life was reiterated by Jesus at the Sermon of The Mount, "You shall not kill." (Mt 5:21)

Respect for human life has waned in many countries and it stems, in part, from a lack of understanding about a fundamental aspect of human life, that is, human life is sacred. Why is human life sacred you may ask? The Catechism Of The Catholic Church provides the answer, "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." (2258)

A further understanding of the abortion issue in Canada can be gained by reading the well known pro-life encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) written by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1995. It is a detailed and thorough document that clearly explains the value and inviolability of human life and all threats to it. He specifically dealt with the threat of abortion in Chapter III - You Shall Not Kill. Saint Pope John II noted that when man is deceived by Satan, who is a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies, the deception shows itself by the projects of sin and death that men are led to, disguised as goals and fruits of life.(53) The application by LinePharma, the pharmaceutical company that produces RU-486, based in London, England, is one such "project."

If we look to Health Canada's "regulatory decision summary" it is not difficult to identify Satan's signature. In addition to the use of euphemistic and at times ambiguous language, the information contained in this summary demonstrates a great deal of disrespect for and indifference to human life. Reading this information with the filter of truth, one can not help but feel a sense of repulsion and disappointment that such a drug was approved. Judge for yourself, here are a few excerpts:
The decision to authorize Mifegymiso for the Canadian market was made further to a thorough review of the data package provided by the sponsor that supported the safety, efficacy and quality of the product...Product labelling was revised in order to reflect and communicate the benefits, risks and was concluded that the evidence provided supports the use of Mifegymiso for the medical termination of a developing intrauterine pregnancy with a gestational age up to 49 days as measured from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period based on a standard 28-day cycle...A small number of patients who took Mifegymiso presented more serious complications, such as pelvic infections (endometritis, salpingitis) and vaginal haemorrhages. Rare cases of fatalities were reported, therefore access to emergency care which can provide gynaecological surgical procedures, antibiotic intravenous therapy and blood transfusion in the rare cases where complications occur, is recommended in the labelling to ensure patient’s safety...The data provided to support this indication included data for women less than 18 years of age. The efficacy of Mifegymiso in these patients was similar to that seen in adults, however nausea and pain were reported more frequently in these patients. There were insufficient data to comment on the safety and efficacy in patients less than 15 years of age...
The existence of abortion in society is, as Saint Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae, "...[A] telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense." (3) In Canada, the moral crisis was ushered in a very identifiable way in 1969 when the Omnibus Bill under the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Liberal government was passed, followed by the infamous Dr. Henry Morgantaler's 1988 constitutional challenge that made abortion available on demand. For all those responsible for making abortion, euthanasia, contraception and all other threats to human life available in Canada, the reproach of the Prophet can be applied, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (Is 5:20).

Reading between the lines of Health Canada's approval would suffice to sound the alarm the bell that RU-486 is dangerous to the health of women. If you do a little research on this drug and the potential negative physical ramifications, you might be surprised to find that many women (one is enough) have died in the most unpleasant manner. Case in point, death by septic shock in 2011 of a sixteen year old Portuguese woman.

So what exactly is septic shock. The web site, defines septic shock as follows, "Septic shock is what happens as a complication of an infection where toxins can initiate a full-body inflammatory response..." Sound pretty serious. Here is more information from elaborating on just how serious it is, "It is thought that the inflammation resulting from sepsis causes tiny blood clots to form, which can block oxygen and nutrients from reaching vital organs. As a result, the organs fail, causing a profound septic shock. This may cause a drop in blood pressure and may result in death." The web site goes on to identify three stages: 
  1. sepsis, when an infection reaches the bloodstream and causes inflammation throughout the body
  2. severe sepsis, which occurs when infection disrupts blood flow to the brain or kidneys, leading to organ failure. Blood clots cause gangrene (tissue death) in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes.
  3. septic shock, when blood pressure drops significantly. This can lead to respiratory, heart, or organ failure and death. further notes that sepsis, the initial stage, can be caused by any type of infection: bacterial, fungal, or viral. As to where sepsis commonly originates from, here is the list they provide, with the last item on the list being most relevant to today's post:
  • abdominal or digestive system infections
  • lung infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, or lower respiratory tract infections, which are responsible for around 25 percent of cases (NHS)
  • urinary tract infection
  • reproductive system infection

Those who are at a greater risk for developing septic shock includes: newborns, older people, pregnant women, and those with suppressed immune systems because of HIV or cancer treatments.

As for the details of the young Portuguese woman who died in 2011 from septic shock, (A Clostridium sordellii fatal toxic shock syndrome post-medical-abortion in Portugalhere is the information submitted to the the 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), 27th International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC):
Background: Clostridum sordellii (C. sordellii) is a gram-positive anaerobic bacillus that has been reported as a rare cause of fatal toxic syndrome after medical abortion. Portugal’s legal therapeutic abortion, before 10 weeks of gestation, was approved in 2007. We report a case of a young patient who underwent a medical induced abortion and died of a C. sordellii toxic shock syndrome. 
Case summary: A 16-year-old women who underwent a medically induced abortion by means of 200 mg of oral mifepristone followed by 800 µg of vaginal misoprostol, presented to the maternity hospital’s emergency five days after receiving mifepristone, complaining of lipothimia in the night before and abdominal cramping. On admission, she was conscient, afebrile and hypotense (76/35mmHg). A few hours later she developed a rapid onset-sepsis with marked leukocitosis (83,400 white-cells/µL with 88% of neutrophils), hemoconcentration (hematocrit of 63.4%; hemoglobin of 21.2) and severe metabolic acidosis. The patient underwent a hysterectomy and uterus biopsy cultures and anatomopathological analysis were requested. Patient was transferred to intensive care unit and died 18h after presenting to emergency. At the microbiology laboratory a direct examination by gram-stain smear of the uterine biopsy showed large, gram positive rods. The biopsy was inoculated in appropriated agar plates mediums and incubated aerobically and anaerobically. 48 h later only the anaerobic culture was positive and colonies were smeared by gram stain (showing gram positive rods) and a C. sordellii was identified by the semi-automated system, Vitek 2 (bioMerieux®) with an ANC card (Anaerobes and Corynebacterium card). 
Discussion: This was a fatal case of pos-abortion C. sordellii sepsis. The distinctive clinical features developed are the same reported in other studies. Gram staining of a uterine biopsy is a good and rapid mean of having a presumptive result and help to diagnose. C.sordellii was identified through uterine biopsy cultures with a semi-automated system which is different from other studies that used anti-clostridium species immunochemical assay and PCR assays performed on formalin fixed uterine tissue pos-autopsy. 
Conclusion: To improve diagnosis gram staining and cultures of an endometrial biopsy specimen are a good approach to an earlier recognition of the disease’s etiology.
Although I don't possess the medical competence to discuss the above details, there is something that I would like to spotlight in the "case summary," the death of this young woman only eighteen hours after being submitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The fact that such a quick and horrible death could be the reality for any woman that takes RU-486, is in itself be a powerful deterrent to completely avoid this drug. Regardless of what statistical data is presented by Health Canada or pharmaceutical companies, the reality is that this drug not only kills the developing human being in the womb, but may also kill the "mother," and it may happen in a very unpleasant manner.

In 2016, all that Canadian women will need to do in order to get this drug is obtain a prescription from their family physician. I hope that this sad reality and the reading of this post will help Canadian women and families become more aware of the dangers of RU-486, help save the lives of the unborn and women and convert those who are "anti-life." 

As Saint Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae, "...Only God is the master of life!" (55) Whether a pregnancy is planned or unplanned, it is a gift from God and should be received and respected as such. May God grant every man and woman the grace to accept and live this truth.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of The Unborn, pray for us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Group Recitation Of The Rosary In Medjugorje

The group recitation of the Rosary during the Evening Prayer Program at the back alter of St. James Church

One of the most beneficial aspects of the Medjugorje pilgrimage experience is the group recitation of the Rosary, recited every evening at the back alter of St. James Church. It begins one hour before the celebration of Mass that together with confessions, ushers in the Evening Prayer Program. During the summer months of June, July and August this begins at 18:00h (6:00pm) and from September 1, to May 31, it starts one hour earlier at 17:00h (5:00pm).

The Rosary is primarily led in Croatian with visiting priests invited to recite decades in various languages, serving as an accommodation to pilgrims in attendance from various countries around the world: Ireland, Australia, the United KIngdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain, just to name a few.

To recite the Rosary with so many like minded and dedicated "Rosary praying Catholics" in Medjugorje is an experience like no other. The devotion with which the Rosary is recited is such an encouragement that coupled with singing in between decades is so uplifting that I can barely use words to describe the feeling. After the recitation of the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries, the Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary is sung which is so beautiful done, that it truly is one of the most special moments in Medjugorje. 

In prayer to Our Lady at Gospin Trg (Our Lady's Square)

In addition to St. James Church, pilgrims recite the Rosary, both in group settings and on an individual basis, at various other locations: the Luminous Mysteries Mosaics, climbing up Apparition Hill (Brdo Ukazanja) and Cross Mountain (Krizevac), sitting by the Blue Crosses, in front of Our Lady's Statue at Our Lady's Square (Gospin Trg), walking through the fields and adjacent vineyards, inside St. James Church and just about anywhere else. No where in Medjugorje is there a larger gathering of faithful Catholics reciting the Rosary as there is every evening at the back alter of St. James Church.

Prayer in front of the Luminous Mystery mosaic - The Institution of The Eucharist

The recitation of the Rosary within a group setting is especially beneficial for many reasons; the details of which have been presented in St. Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret Of The Rosarychapter (Rose) forty six, Group RecitationSaint Louis De Montfort first introduces the most fundamental aspect of group recitation of the Rosary, "There are several ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups." (96) He reinforces the significance of group recitation by reminding the faithful that Jesus expressly recommended common prayer to His apostles and disciples, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew18:20) Saint Louis De Montfort then adds to this by stating, "What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst!" (96) This coupled with Our Lady's presence in Medjugorje, is sure to draw many blessings and graces upon pilgrims and others participating in the recitation of the Rosary.

Further to this in the same aforementioned chapter, St. Louis De Montfort lists a few key benefits of group recitation of the Rosary that I would also like to include:
  • Our minds are far more alert during public prayer than private individual recitation
  • With prayer in common, the prayer of each individual belongs to everyone and; thus, makes for a greater prayer in that, if one person is not praying well, someone else in the same gathering who prays better may make up for the deficiency. Those who are strong uphold the weak; those who are fervent inspire the lukewarm.
  • When an individual recites the Rosary privately, that individual only gains the merit of one Rosary; but when recited within a group setting, every individual gains the merit of the group's recitation.
  • Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer in appeasing God's anger and drawing His mercy upon the Church. This has always been advocated in times of public tragedy and suffering.

Capturing the Divine Intimacy of praying the Rosary at Apparition Hill (Brdo Ukazanja)

One of the final points I will include from St. Louis De Montfort is his note on the efficaciousness of group recitation of the Rosary when fighting the devil. Our Lady in Medjugorje has stated that the devil is strong and he is trying to destroy Her plans for the world. Our Lady has also stated that She wants our help:
Dear Children! I invite you to be an example to others in everything, especially in prayer and in testifying. Dear children, I cannot help the world without you. I want you to cooperate with me in everything, even in the least things. So, dear children, help me that your prayer may come from the heart and that you all may give yourselves up to me completely. In this way I shall be with you. Thank you for responding to my call (August 28, 1986)
Praying the Rosary within a large group setting is one of the most important ways with which we can cooperate with Our Lady. In the "Forty Sixth Rose," Saint Louis De Montfort further elaborated on the importance of gathering in large numbers to recite the Rosary: 
Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. "In union there is strength." Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his angels more forcefully? (98)

Polish pilgrims singing and reciting the Rosary at the back part of Cross Mountain (Križevac)

If you are in Medjugorje, on route or scheduled to go, I hope you will be encouraged to recite the Rosary within a group setting, in particular at the Evening Prayer Program. By doing so you will effectively fight the good fight against the Evil One, help Our Lady to accomplish Her plans for the world and personally benefit from it.

Kraljica Mira, moli za nas (Queen of Peace, pray for us)