Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


Blackmail Threat Leads to life-giving Testimony

Leave it to pro-choice political operatives to make a blackmail threat against a pro-life politician and his family. And leave it to the King of Kings to bring light out of darkness and to write straight with crooked lines.

 

It seems that "an unnamed source" told Michigan State Rep. Lee Chatfield, a pro-life Republican, that they planned to make public information about his wife's abortion years ago. I suppose this was supposed to embarrass Rep Chatfield and his wife Stephanie that they would, do what, exactly? That he would stop calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood? That he would withdraw his sponsorship of a bill to ban abortions that dismember the child? 

In any case, Mrs. Chatfield made her own decision to not allow herself and her husband to be manipulated by her past. She beat them to the punch and told her own story of her high school abortion. She told the story on her own terms: a story of rape, abortion, regret, forgiveness and healing.

When I read her story, I could not help but think how clueless the person who threatened must really be. Or maybe she/he/ze did not know the full story. The young Stephanie, a high school student, was obviously a victim of rape, the very sort of person the Sexual Revolutionary feminist claims to be trying to help. Stephanie did just what the feminist/sexual revolutionary playbook called for: she had an abortion. But the abortion did not solve her problem, as advertised.

I made a decision that I’ve thought about and regretted nearly every day since. It’s haunted me. It’s made me weep. It’s made it difficult to look in the mirror at times. I knew that what I did was wrong at the time, but I never imagined the weight and guilt that I would carry as a consequence.

I give Stephanie Chatfield a lot of credit for how she is handling herself. This is exactly what the Ruth Institute hopes more people will do: tell the truth about what happened to you. Reveal the lies of the Sexual Revolution. You will take the sting out of them. You will heal yourself, and heal others. As Mrs. Chatfield said:

 

No matter the intentions of anybody wishing to see this story go public, this I am certain of: God meant it for good and will glorify Himself through this....And to everybody reading this, remember what I had forgotten – that God is greater than our sin. I am confident that God can continue to use an imperfect person like me to bring Himself glory. And while the life vs. choice debate will continue to wage on, this I know for certain: I made the wrong choice. Yet, I plan to use my story to help girls, love others and serve as a living testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.

This is the real, Christ-like solution to the problems of the Sexual Revolution. As I have said many times in my talks, if it is not Christ-like, I'm not the slightest bit interested in it. And if it is not Christ-like, it won't last anyway.

 

Share your story with us. We may include it on the Tell Ruth the Truth blog. You have no idea who may benefit from your experience.


Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

From the Cardinal Newman Society and a collection of Pro-Life Leaders on May 11, 2016.

 

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 29 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm in defending truth and the Catholic identity of their institutions.”

 

The statement, released today by The Cardinal Newman Society, argues that such events betray the mission of Catholic education and endanger the spiritual well-being of students.

“We urge the leaders of Catholic colleges and universities to reject the culture of death” and refuse “to honor and award speaking platforms to public advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage,” the signers of the letter stated.


“There is no sensible appeal to ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘academic freedom’ to justify university-sponsored events or activities that hold up opponents of known moral truths for special honor, as if falsehood and immorality are to be celebrated and not firmly rejected,” the letter states.

Noting that “special honor” by a college can include awards, honorary degrees, commencement speeches and invitations to deliver prominent lectures, the signers of the letter assert, “[T]here is no ‘freedom’ in presenting lectures that include one-sided advocacy for evil; the university’s free choice to present such lectures has the consequence of binding young people in the chains of falsehood and sin.”

Citing Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican constitution on Catholic colleges, the letter reminds Catholic colleges of their responsibility to teach truth and to conduct all official actions in accord with their Catholic identity:

We, the undersigned, urge Catholic colleges and universities to “consecrate [their selves] without reserve to the cause of truth” by teaching and upholding the sacred dignity of all human life and of the divinely ordered institution of marriage … The truths of the Catholic faith—and indeed, all human experience—are also clear: innocent human life must be protected, and the institution of marriage between man and woman is essential for children, family, and community.

The full text of the letter follows, along with the names of those who signed in support of the statement:

Committed to the Truth of Life and Marriage

An Appeal by Catholic and Pro-Life Leaders to Catholic Educators

We, the undersigned, urge Catholic colleges and universities to “consecrate [their selves] without reserve to the cause of truth” (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 4) by teaching and upholding the sacred dignity of all human life and of the divinely ordered institution of marriage, and by refusing to honor and award speaking platforms to public advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage.

Most recently, we are gravely concerned by scandals at three Catholic universities:

  • Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., hosted a prominent campus lecture on April 20 by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who has presided over an appalling enterprise that killed more than 2.8 million babies by abortion during her tenure and has admitted to then selling the parts of aborted children. She advocated for abortion, contraception, and sterilization during her lecture to students.

     

  • The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., hosted a lecture by former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a champion of abortion who is known for her 2013 filibuster of pro-life legislation. Davis advocated abortion and even defended the abortion of her own child during her lecture to students, which was held on April 4, the Feast of the Annunciation.

     

  • The University of Notre Dame also has chosen to honor Vice President Joe Biden—who has supported both legal abortion and same-sex marriage—with its Laetare Medal for exemplary Catholics. It will be awarded at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 15, reminiscent of the scandalous honor for President Barack Obama in 2009.

     

  • Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., selected as its spring commencement speaker former President Bill Clinton, who also received an honorary degree. He protected partial-birth abortion while President and has advocated same-sex marriage in recent years. He is also in the midst of an active presidential campaign for his wife Hillary, a vociferous advocate for both abortion and same-sex marriage, who was prominent at the commencement ceremony on May 7.

     

The Church’s expectations for Catholic education are clear: “A Catholic University’s privileged task is ‘to unite existentially byintellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placedin opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and thecertainty of already knowing the fount of truth.’ …Any official action orcommitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity” (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 1; General Norms, Art. 2, §4).

The truths of the Catholic faith—and indeed, all human experience—are also clear: innocent human life must be protected, and the institution of marriage between man and woman is essential for children, family, and community.

There is no sensible appeal to “freedom of speech” or “academic freedom” to justify university-sponsored events or activities that hold up opponents of known moral truths for special honor, as if falsehood and immorality are to be celebrated and not firmly rejected. (Such honors include awards, honorary degrees, commencement speeches, and invitations to deliver prominent lectures.) Moreover, there is no“freedom” in presenting lectures that include one-sided advocacy for evil; the university’s free choice to present such lectures has the consequence of binding young people in the chains of falsehood and sin.

We urge the leaders of Catholic colleges and universities to reject the culture of death and instead stand firm in defending truth and the Catholic identity of their institutions.

[NOTE: The following sign in their individual capacities. Titles and affiliations are provided for identification only.]

Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

L. Brent Bozell, III
President, Media Research Center

Tom Brejcha
President and Chief Counsel, Thomas More Society

Brian Brown
President, National Organization for Marriage

Judie Brown
President and co-founder, American Life League

Dr. E. Christian Brugger
J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

Eileen Cubanski
Executive Director, National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools

Mary Rice Hasson
Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Kristan Hawkins
President, Students for Life of America

Abby Johnson
Founder, And Then There Were None

Jennifer Kimball Watson
Director, Culture of Life Foundation

Stephen M. Krason, J.D., Ph.D.
President, Society of Catholic Social Scientists

Philip F. Lawler
Editor, Catholic World News

Maria McFadden Maffucci
Editor, Human Life Review

Jeanne F. Mancini
President, March for Life Education and Defense Fund

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Founder and President, The Ruth Institute

Nikolas T. Nikas
President and General Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund

Camille Pauley
President and CEO, Healing the Culture

Father Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Patrick J. Reilly
President, The Cardinal Newman Society

Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg
Senior Fellow, American Principles Project

Austin Ruse
President, Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM)

Andrew T. Seeley, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Institute for Catholic Liberal Education

Matt Smith
President, Catholic Advocate

Jo Tolck
Executive Director, Human Life Alliance

Debi Vinnedge
Executive Director, Children of God for Life

John-Henry Westen
Editor-in-Chief, LifeSiteNews

Edward Whelan
President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Eugene J. Zurlo, KCHS
Chairman Emeritus, Catholic Radio Association

 



Men and Abortion: Comforting Those Who Cry Alone

by Ryan MacPherson

Reprinted, with permission of the author, from LifeDate (Lutherans for Life, Fall 2013)

Abortion is a men’s issue. Yes, abortion is also a women’s issue. And it certainly is a children’s issue—a child’s life is at stake. But abortion is a men’s issue—a fact too readily overlooked these days.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court took men out of the picture by declaring in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that no state may guarantee a man the right to share in the decision of whether his wife or girlfriend would preserve or abort their child. Every woman would have the “right” to make that choice alone. Even minor girls would, in some instances, be permitted to abort a child without informing their own fathers or mothers.

No matter what the courts say, abortion genuinely remains a men’s issue. Human nature can have it no other way—every baby has a dad. God has designed men to care for women and to protect children. When men fail to do so, they suffer guilt. When men are prohibited from doing so, they suffer a loss of masculinity. But so long as abortion is framed as a “woman’s right” or as a “women’s health issue,” the men who suffer do so largely in silence—struggling with great inner turmoil.


Each man has a unique story, but some basic patterns connect their stories with one another. Men whose children have been aborted need healing, they need redemption, and until they experience these they cry alone. Men whose fatherhood has been cut short struggle over their identities. They feel inadequate as leaders. They have difficulty with commitment. Abortion drives a wedge between mom and dad, whether married or not. Past abortions also have ongoing significance, as when a man whose child was aborted by his girlfriend later marries and attempts to become a responsible husband and father while memories from the past haunt him.

Some men pressure their girlfriends to have an abortion. Other men hope for their child’s life, but feel powerless against the “it’s a woman’s body” argument that leaves the mother of the child calling all the shots. Guilt and sorrow are universal.

When Michel Sauret (author of Child, Hold Me) learned that his girlfriend, Heather, was pregnant, his initial impulse was to seek an abortion—despite his Christian faith. That’s how society had programmed him to escape from an “inconvenient” situation. In one breath, Michel “hated the idea of abortion even being available and tempting,” but simultaneously that temptation warped his mind into thinking “it was a choice … no more threatening than the color of wall paint.”

When Heather miscarried, a whole new set of emotions surfaced. After they married, Michel and Heather struggled against infertility for years. These experiences taught them that God’s gift of children is not something to be toyed with. In time, God blessed them with a child; moreover, God’s forgiveness in Christ enabled them to come to terms with their past.

Men who have been entangled by the snare of abortion often experience guilt, remorse, hopelessness, and—if Christ is proclaimed—redemption (Kevin Burke, et al., Redeeming A Father’s Heart: Men Share Powerful Stories of Abortion Loss and Recovery):

  • Guilt: “I murdered a child. Not just any child. My child. This baby did nothing wrong except come to be as a result of my reckless lifestyle. The most innocent of the innocent. No semantics, no excuses, no lies, can define it or describe it as anything other than that. I murdered my son or daughter, then ran.”
  • Remorse: “She had the abortion. Now her grief was unplanned. Her sadness inconvenient. Her anger at her husband unwanted by both, and a heap more inconvenient to him than another child might have been.”
  • Hopelessness: “Time may heal some wounds, but I can tell you now from experience, an abortion wound is not one of them.”
  • Redemption: “God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy are the only things that can truly heal a heart broken by abortion.”

Just as God forgave Saul, the great persecutor of the early church, transforming him into Saint Paul, the great evangelist to the Gentiles, so also God redeems men who have been entangled by the sin of abortion. Some of these men have become, like Saint Paul, powerful spokespersons who proclaim, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Other men are still waiting to hear comforting words like these—might you be the one to tell them?

 

 




Democrats: Parents have no right to know if daughter is getting an abortion

by Fr. Mark Hodges

This article was first published at Life Site News on March 23, 2016.

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, March 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrats in the Missouri House fiercely opposed a parental notification bill.

Currently, Missouri law allows pregnant girls to get an abortion without their parents' even knowing if a judge agrees to it. Without a judge's agreement, one parent must approve in writing. A new bill just passed the Missouri House last Thursday, requiring both parents to be notified.

The bipartisan vote, 121-34, requires the approving parent to verify that the girl's other parent has been told. The second parent need not approve of the abortion.

Abortion advocates were fiercely opposed to the bill.


Rep. Rocky Miller (R-Lake Ozark) said he sponsored the legislation to support parental rights and families because parents should be informed of such a major, life-changing decision by their daughter. He said his own daughter found herself in just such a situation and, with parental encouragement and support, decided to give life to her child.

Supporters say the bill not only supports parents, but also may help scared young teens avoid major, life-debilitating regret later on.

Rep. Miller noted that the bill makes exceptions for girls living in unsafe homes, and a girl can bypass her parent's notification with a judge's permission. Furthermore, the bill has no criminal penalties, so if the approving parent doesn't inform the other for whatever reason, the worst he or she could face is a lawsuit.

Nevertheless, pro-abortion Democrats argued that parents do not have the right to know of their adolescent daughter's abortion. Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St Louis Co) brought religion into her argument, going so far as to say parents do not have the right to "force" their religion on their own children.

"You cannot force another teen to follow your ... religious beliefs," Newman said to Missouri parents.

"Abortion is potentially dangerous, both physically and emotionally," Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews. "Allowing young girls to get abortions without telling their parents puts the girls at risk."

Morse is president of the global non-profit, dedicated to fostering a cultural movement to end family breakdown in society. She says parental notification is not an onerous burden on a teenage girl, but is in her best interests.

"We need to support our young girls, not treat them like rugged individualists," Morse reasoned. "If a fourteen year-old girl babysits for your family, you take her home, you don't send her out to fend for herself."

Thirty-eight states have parental notification laws, four of which require both parents' notification. Only three states require both parents' approval for their teenage daughter's abortion.



The Latest Pope Francis Controversy and Why Non-Catholics Should Care

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published at The Blaze on April 12, 2016.

Non-Catholics may be wondering why Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” or “The Joy of Love,” has Catholics in an uproar. Has the Pope changed Catholic doctrine? Has he left the doctrine officially intact, but changed pastoral practice so much that the doctrine is annulled? Now that I have taken the weekend to read it, I am convinced that Amoris Laetitia is a gift to the Church and the world.

What the Catholic Church does is important to everyone, no matter their faith. The Catholic Church is the largest institution still standing against the ideological fraud known as the sexual revolution. Everyone who is trying to deal with the fallout from this massive social upheaval has a stake in what the Catholic Church says and does. If Pope Francis were to change Catholic teaching, the purveyors of the revolution would be dancing in the streets.

And meaning no disrespect, but speaking bluntly: If the revolutionaries take down the Catholic Church, they will squash the rest of you like bugs.

So let me assure you: There is no change in official Catholic doctrine in Amoris Laetitia.

As for pastoral practice, Pope Francis is encouraging pastors to treat the lost, the wounded, the confused with as much sensitivity as possible. He intends it as an open invitation to the millions of souls who have been harmed by sexual sin, whether Catholic or not, to come home to the Catholic Church and draw closer to Jesus.


I can relate to the need for something like this document. Let me share a bit of Catholic “inside baseball.” I am what we call a “revert.” I was raised Catholic but left the Church for a period of time, and came back. So, I can’t be called either a “convert” or a “cradle Catholic.”

When I returned the Church after my prodigal period, my canonical situation was pretty simple. (By “canonical,” I mean what “canon law” or church law, would say about my situation. More inside baseball.) I was only on a second marriage.

But I had a whole pile of sexual sins. Like the Prodigal Son, by the time I finally came to my senses, I was desperate. I confessed having an abortion to Fr. Bob Cilinski, the chaplain of the campus ministry program at George Mason University at that time. (By the way, priests are not permitted to tell what we say to them in confession. But we can say anything we want! Let me say, how grateful I am to Fr. Bob and all the other confessors I’ve had.)

Fr. Bob was the first person who understood why I was upset about having an abortion. I had spoken to numerous therapists. Not one of them even considered the possibility that abortion was related to my emotional distress.

During that first confession in 12 years, Fr. Bob did not go down a checklist of possible sins. “Now, I cannot give you absolution unless you are sorry for all these sins.” I shudder to think what would have happened if he had. I would have freaked out and run out of there, more upset than before. And I certainly was in no position to have a theological discussion about each and every aspect of Church teaching.

I didn’t ask. He didn’t ask. He gave me absolution for the big sin I came in to confess.

He did tell me I should come to Mass, but not receive communion. He helped me seek an annulment. But I could not go to Communion, unless and until I received a declaration of nullity. (A declaration of nullity is an official finding by a church tribunal that my first attempted marriage had never been a valid marriage.)

In other words, he did not move the goalposts to make it easier and more “pastoral” for me. He stood by the Church’s teaching in every particular way and he set me on the path to a closer encounter with Jesus. Along that path, I eventually came to see that the Church was correct about premarital sex, cohabitation and contraception too. I confessed those sins too, in due course.

By the way, this confession took place in 1988, during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. According to the sexual revolutionaries, those were the dark days of doctrinal rigidity and all-around Catholic meanness. The fact is, Catholic priests have been quietly accompanying people in a pastoral manner for quite some time. Priests know better than anyone the wreckage left in the wake of the sexual revolution. Even the ones who don’t preach about it as much as I would like are still guiding people toward Jesus.

While I do wish Pope Francis had been more clear on some points, I consider Amoris Laetitia a gift to the Church and the world. No matter your faith tradition, I urge you to read the document. Start with chapters 4 and 5.

You will find Pope Francis to be like a wise grandfather or great-uncle sitting across the kitchen table. You can imagine him sharing a cup of coffee or bouncing a baby on his knees. He invites all of us to love one another, and teaches us how. That is gift enough.

 


Laity Should Act When Clergy Won’t

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first posted October 22, 2015, at crisismagazine.com.

Sturt Krygsman divorce

Let’s face it: The 2015 Synod on the Family is a mess. I was one who gave Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt. I now have my doubts about him. And I have no doubt at all that some of the men surrounding him are either heretics or lunatics or both.

The real question for us as lay people is this: what exactly can we do about it? We do not have full information about what is going on over there. Giving advice to cardinals and bishops is not likely to work. Screaming at them even less so.


As faithful lay people, we believe all that the Church has taught about marriage, family, and human sexuality. We do not want to see the Church water down that teaching, or surrender to the Sexual Revolution. It would be tragic indeed, if she did so now, right at the moment when the wisdom and beauty of her ancient teaching is becoming daily more evident from experience.

So what are we, as faithful lay people, to do about this? What has the best chance of cutting through the noise and having an impact?

To answer this question, let’s back up a minute. The Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people. Just to take one of the issues most immediately before the Synod: divorce and unmarried parenthood.

  • About 1 million children per year have experienced their parents’ divorce, every year since 1972.
  • Over a million children have been born to unmarried parents, every year since 1988. In 2008 alone, 1.7 million children were born to unmarried parents.
  • By 2010, about 20 million children were living in single-parent households.
  • These are just the children in the United States. Many other developed countries have similar rates of family brokenness.

We now know that kids are not “resilient.” They do not “get over it.” We know this from decades of careful research. We know if from experience. In fact, according to Judith Wallerstein, author of a 25-year study on the long-term legacy of divorce, the impact of divorce on children does not diminish with time. It “crescendos” in young adulthood, as they try to form relationships and marriages and families of their own.

Kids need their own parents. I learned from my experience as an adoptive mom, a foster mom, and a birth mom, all kids want the same thing. They want their parents to be there for them, and be appropriate parents. No matter how old the kids are, no matter what their parents have done, all kids of all ages, long for their parents to get it together and be good parents.

The Sexual Revolution has taught us that adults are entitled to have the sex lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience. What we never hear anyone come out and say is: “And kids have to accept whatever the adults chose to give them.” You don’t usually hear people blurt out that last part, because we would be too ashamed of ourselves.

The Sexual Revolution promised fun and freedom. It delivered hurt and heartbreak. With the possible exception of a handful of predatory Alpha Males, everyone in society has been harmed: men, women and children, rich and poor alike.

I will let you in on a secret: the reason kids keep getting separated from their parents is because the victims, the kids, are not allowed to speak for themselves. As children, their parents expected them to accept whatever was going on around them, without complaining. And children, eager to please their parents, fearful of losing the parents’ love, kept quiet. Even as adults, the children of divorce and the children of unmarried parents, are expected to keep quiet, and go along with the program.

Silencing the victims has been crucial to the success of the Sexual Revolution. If you doubt me, consider these facts:

  • The state of California just passed legislation requiring pregnancy care centers to announce that they do not do abortions, and to post signs telling women where they can get abortions. Why? The Revolutionaries cannot stand the thought of women seeking alternatives to abortion, or regretting their abortions. Women who do not fit the “narrative” must be silenced.
  • The Huffington Post has a regular feature called “Blended Family Friday.” Their stated purpose is, I’m not making this up, “Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!” Is there a comparable site for children of all ages who were miserable in stepfamilies? To the best of my knowledge, the Ruth Institute’s Kids Divorce Stories is the only thing remotely like it.
  • How about all the career women, who put off having children for too long? I estimate that there are over 500,000 women with Masters degrees or more education, who have impaired fertility. What does the Sexual Revolution have to offer them? Commercial third party reproduction, a complete separation of sex from love and reproduction, is supposed to make up for all the losses we experience.

The solution is for all the victims of the Sexual Revolution to speak up, and tell the truth about how they were harmed. Telling that truth is the first step away from being a victim, to becoming a survivor. Anyone of us can take that step.

What does this have to do with the chaos over at the Synod? Most of the bishops know perfectly well that the Church’s teachings are good and humane. But they too, have been reluctant to speak out, and to preach this good news. Why? Because they are afraid of us, the laity!

True enough, many faithful people have been trying to support them all along. But look at it this way: if the souls wounded by the Sexual Revolution were visible, we wouldn’t be having this fight at all. All decent people would abandon the Sexual Revolutionary ideology in a heartbeat.

While it is awful that so many people have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution, we are undaunted. We are turning that very horror into an advantage: millions of us can testify about the false promises of the Sexual Revolution.

The elites in media, academia, law, and government cannot silence all of us. If everyone who has been harmed by the Sexual Revolution spoke out about it, we would change the world.

And eventually, even the most reluctant of the Catholic bishops might get the hint that the Church has been right all along, and find the courage to say so.

(Illustration credit: Sturt Krygsman)


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