The Gospel Truth

A Saturday Morning Stroll | January 22, 2010

The recent seismic disaster in Haiti should cause all of us to pause and consider the fragility and fleetness of life.  As the poet John Donne wrote centuries ago, every man’s death diminishes our own lives.  When the bell tolls for one or for 250,000 Haitians, it signifies that some day a bell will toll for us.

At Holy Cross my alma mater in Worcester, Massachusetts, it has been standard policy for many years to send a simple postcard, tolling the bell for a newly deceased classmate.

I have always dreaded receiving these messages of death.  While the harmless looking cards might signal the loss of a friend whom I had lost track, they also contained the unwritten message that someday, Holy Cross would be sending a card with my name on it.

Most people don’t like to think of death, especially their own.  I think Woody Allen had it right when he said: I don’t mind dying. I just don’t what to be there when it happens!

I doubt if any Catholic or Christian can ignore thinking about it.  It is part of the ritual of our faith.

On January 22nd of every year the Catholic Church takes part in a national memorial service all over the country to recognize that a “culture of death” that has regrettably become part of the American heritage, embedded deeply, not just in the Federal Constitution but also the mores of the land.

Two years ago my wife and I journeyed to Washington to march on the 35th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion as part of our culture.

The weather was overcast and a bit chilly but the rain and snow held up for the entire afternoon.  It was just the two of us, and 350,000 of our closest friends that marched up Constitution Blvd. toward the Supreme Court Building.

We walked right in front of the Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke as he led about 60 seminaries in the Rosary.  I came perilously close to tripping him as I veered into his path at one point.

It was so refreshing to see the young and old, walking together for a cause that truly exposes the evil that has slowly been poisoning the soul of America’s true humanitarian spirit.  The overwhelming response to the devastation in Haiti just underscores the deep contradiction that abortion has caused in America’s soul.

Like the millions of stricken Haitians, the unborn are a part of our human family.  They are an endangered species that has fewer rights than the bald eagle or the snail darter.

As the march ended and we were working our way back to the historic Willard Hotel where we were staying, the sun peaked out from the clouds… as if God was giving us His thanks.

My wife later told me that this march was one of the most memorial things she had ever done as a Catholic.  That’s saying something because we were married in the Church, had three children and four children baptized and two Catholic weddings.

My wife and I usually do the local march in St. Louis.  This January I had to leave her home.  After a Mass Archbishop Robert Carlson led us over to the Planned Parenthood “killing center” on Boyle and Forest Parkway.

It wasn’t a bad day–a little chilly.  We have made this eight block walk in all sorts of dismal conditions.  One year there was a light snowfall we walked to Forest Parkway.   My wife had several snowflakes randomly decorating her hair and earmuffs.

I think at that moment she looked more beautiful to me than any other time I could remember to that point.  I wish I had the foresight to have taken her picture.

This year as I strolled along the route, trying to keep up with the prayers coming through the hand-held radios, my mind started wandering.  I could feel this wonderful and exhilarating sense of peace and unity. I was among the best and nicest people I had ever know.  What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

Over the 24 years I have been associated with this cause, these people have filled me with a sense of compassion, dedication and humility that I have never had before.

I felt warm just by being around them…no matter what the temperature. I have watched them age, some could hardly walk and yet they still come every year.

When we got to the site, we lined up on the west side of their building and said another Rosary.

A recent issue of the Sunday Visitor featured the story of a nine-year-old girl who joined her mother at an abortion protest, not unlike this one, at the notorious site of the late Dr. George Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas.

Before his murder last year Tiller performed late-term abortions.  I have even seen pictures of his oven that he used to dispose of his victims.

When one “client” eased by in her car the little girl asked her not to kill her baby. Perhaps it was her innocence or the pleading eyes of the little girl, or maybe the grace of God— perhaps they were the same thing but she decided to spare her child and drove away with the life within her intact and uninterrupted.

Rumor spread quickly our ranks that the protestors that do this every week had similarly saved another life. Maybe it doesn’t sound like a lot but to those two babies it is everything.  Life is truly a gift from God that we all have to cherish and respect in all its stages.

I used to have a bumper sticker “Chose Life” for years.  A friend told us that her daughter–pregnant and unmarried— saw it in my driveway and decided to keep her baby.  We just never know when what we do will positively affect another person’s life–in this case two people’s lives.

As I was standing there, I noticed that Planned Parenthood had a sign about their “quality, affordable health care.”  It sounds like “Obama Care,” has now become “Obamabortion Care.”  If pregnancy is a disease, I guess we are all a little bit sick.

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3 Comments »

  1. Approximately, 54% of citizens calling themselves, Catholic, vote for Abortion. These good Obama/Democrats and Prochoice Christians, whom also propose a “Death List” in their latest “national health care Constitutional Amendment” will stop at nothing to destroy Catholic Teaching and Faith to obtain Power and Wealth.
    We have a smoldering fire in our own backyard. Who will help to put it out?

    Comment by James — January 22, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  2. That is a beautiful report — thank you. I admire your dedication and faith.

    Comment by creationbydesign — January 22, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  3. To James … I think we have to start at the parish level, then diocese and then beyond. Pro-life priests will help us, if they will teach and correct people consistently. We can open up the dialogue with fellow Catholics and question them frankly on how they can be pro-abortion. That discussion should lead them to reconsider their views — and then to the confessional, we can hope. Much easier said than done. We all have a part to play. I think the March for Life is one of the strongest voices we have also.

    Comment by creationbydesign — January 22, 2010 @ 8:35 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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