St. John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)
priest, martyr of the Congregation of the Mission
Nothing happens by chance. Neither life, nor death, nor vocation. JOHN GABRIEL PERBOYRE was born in Montgesty, near Cahors, in southern France, on 6 January 1802 into a family which gave three missionaries of St. Vincent and two Daughters of Charity to the Church. Such an environment exuded faith, simple and healthy values, and the sense of life as gift.
The one who "calls by name" seemed to ignore him as a teenager. The call came to his younger brother Louis for entrance into the seminary. John Gabriel was asked to accompany his younger brother for a time, while waiting for him to get adjusted to the surroundings. John Gabriel's presence at the seminary, then, happened by chance and he should have left quickly. But chance revealed to the astonished eyes of the young man unexpected horizons: that in the seminary he had found his path.
The Church of France had at that time just emerged from the throes of the French Revolution with the red-colored garments of martyrdom for some, and with the pain of the apostasy of many. The panorama at the beginning of the 1800's was desolate: buildings destroyed, convents sacked, people without pastors. Thus, it was no accident that the ideal of the priesthood appeared to the young man not as a feeble arrangement for life, but as the destiny of heroes.
His parents, surprised, accepted the choice of their son and accompanied him with their encouragement. Not by chance, his paternal uncle Jacques was a missionary of St. Vincent. This explains why in 1818 the missionary ideal matured in the young John Gabriel. At that time, the missions meant principally China. But China was a faraway mirage. To leave meant never to find again the home milieu, taste its flavors, enjoy its affections. It was natural for him to choose the Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625 for the evangelization of the poor, the formation of the clergy, but above all to push those very missionaries toward holiness. The mission is not propaganda. The Church has always demanded that the proclaimers of the Word be spiritual persons, mortified, full of God and charity. In order to illuminate the darkness in people, a lamp is not sufficient if there is no oil.
John Gabriel did not think in half-measures. If he was a martyr it is because he was a saint.
From 1818 to 1835 he was a missionary in his own country. First, in his formation period, he was a model novice and student. After his priestly ordination (1826), he was charged with the formation of seminarians.
The missionary attraction
A new factor, certainly not haphazard, modified John Gabriel's life. The protagonist was once again his brother Louis. He also had entered the Congregation of the Mission and had asked to be sent to China where the sons of St. Vincent had had a new martyr in the person of Blessed Francis Regis Clet (18 February 1820). During the voyage, however, the young Louis, only 24 years of age, was called to the mission in heaven.
All that the young man had hoped for and done would have been useless if John Gabriel had not made the request to replace his brother in the breach.
John Gabriel reached China in August of 1835. At that time the Occident knew almost nothing about the Celestial Empire, and the ignorance was reciprocal. The two worlds felt a mutual attraction, but dialogue was difficult. In the countries of Europe one did not speak of a Chinese civilization, but only of superstitions, of "ridiculous" ceremonies and customs. The judgments were thus prejudices. China's appreciation of Europe and Christianity was not any better.
There was a dark gap between the two civilizations. Someone had to cross it in order to take on himself the evil of many, and to consume it with the fires of charity.
After getting acclimated in Macau, John Gabriel began the long trip in a Chinese junk, on foot, and on horseback, which brought him after eight months to Nanyang in Henan, where the obligation to learn the language imposed itself.
After five months, he was able to express himself, though with some trouble, in good Chinese, and at once threw himself into the ministry, visiting the small Christian communities. Then he was transferred to Hubei, which is part of the region of lakes formed by the Yangtze kiang (blue river). Even though he maintained an intense apostolate, he suffered much in body and spirit. In a letter he wrote: "No, I am no more of a wonder man here in China than I was in France ... ask of him first of all for my conversion and my sanctification and then the grace that I do not spoil his work too much..." (Letter 94). For one who looks at things from the outside, it was inconceivable that such a missionary should find himself in a dark night of the soul. But the Holy Spirit was preparing him in the emptiness of humility and the silence of God for the supreme testimony.
In chains for Christ
Unexpectedly in 1839 two events, apparently unrelated, clouded the horizon. The first was the renewed outbreak of persecution which flowed from the decree of the Manchurian emperor, Quinlong (1736-1795), which had proscribed the Christian religion in 1794.
The second was the outbreak of the Chinese-British War, better known as the "Opium War" (1839-1842). The closure of the Chinese frontier and the pretence of the Chinese government to require an act of dependence from the foreign ambassadors had created an explosive situation. The spark came from the confiscation of loads of opium stowed in the port of Canton; this action harmed the merchants, most of whom were English. The British flotilla intervened, and the war began.
The missionaries, obviously interested only in the first event dealing with the persecution of Christians, were always on their guard. As often happens, too many alarms diminished the vigilance. And that is what happened on 15 September 1839 at Cha-yuen-ken, where Perboyre lived. On that day he was with two other European missionaries, his confrere, Baldus, and a Franciscan, Rizzolati, and a Chinese missionary, Fr. Wang. They were informed of the approach of a column of about one hundred soldiers. The missionaries underestimated the information. Perhaps the soldiers were going elsewhere. Instead of being wary, the missionaries continued enjoying a fraternal conversation. When there was no longer any doubt about the direction of the soldiers, it was late. Baldus and Rizzolati decided to flee far away. Perboyre hid himself in the surroundings because the nearby mountains were rich with bamboo forests and hidden caves. As Fr. Baldus has attested for us, however, the soldiers used threats to force a catechumen to reveal the place where the missionary was hiding. The catechumen was a weak person, but not a Judas.
Thus began the sad Calvary of John Gabriel. The prisoner had no rights, he was not protected by laws, but was at the mercy of the jailers and judges. Given that he was arrested it was presumed that he was guilty, and if guilty, he would be punished.
A series of trials began. The first was held at Kou-Ching-Hien. The replies of the martyr were heroic:
- Are you a Christian priest?
- Yes, I am a priest and I preach this religion.
- Do you wish to renounce your faith?
- No, I will never renounce the faith of Christ.
They asked him to reveal his companions in the faith and the reasons for which he had transgressed the laws of China. They wanted, in short, to make the victim the culprit. But a witness to Christ is not an informer. Therefore, he remained silent.
The prisoner was then transferred to Siang-Yang. The cross examinations were made close together. He was held for a number of hours kneeling on rusty iron chains, was hung by his thumbs and hair from a rafter (the hangtze torture), was beaten several times with bamboo canes. Greater than the physical violence, however, remained the wound of the fact that the values in which he believed were put to ridicule: the hope in eternal life, the sacraments, the faith.
The third trial was held in Wuchang. He was brought before four different tribunals and subjected to 20 interrogations. To the questioning were united tortures and the most cruel mockery. They prosecuted the missionary and abused the man. They obliged Christians to abjure, and one of them even to spit on and strike the missionary who had brought him to the faith. For not trampling on the crucifix, John Gabriel received 110 strokes of pantse.
Among the various accusations, the most terrible was the accusation that he had had immoral relations with a Chinese girl, Anna Kao, who had made a vow of virginity. The martyr defended himself. She was neither his lover nor his servant. The woman is respected not scorned in Christianity, was the sense of John Gabriel's reply. But he remained upset because they made innocents suffer for him.
During one interrogation he was obliged to put on Mass vestments. They wanted to accuse him of using the privilege of the priesthood for private interests. But the missionary, clothed in the priestly garments, impressed the bystanders, and two Christians drew near to him to ask for absolution.
The cruelest judge was the Viceroy. The missionary was by this time a shadow. The rage of this unscrupulous magistrate was vented on a ghost of a man. Blinded by his omnipotence the Viceroy wanted confessions, admissions, and accusations against others. But if the body was weak, the soul was reinforced. His hope by now rested in his meeting God, which he felt nearer each day.
When John Gabriel told him for the last time: "I would sooner die than deny my faith!," the judge pronounced his sentence. John Gabriel Perboyre was to die by strangulation.
With Christ priest and victim
Then began a period of waiting for the imperial confirmation. Perhaps John Gabriel could hope in the clemency of the sovereign. But the war with the English erased any possible gesture of good-will. Thus, on 11 September 1840, an imperial envoy arrived at full speed, bearing the decree confirming the condemnation.
With seven criminals the missionary was led up a height called the "Red Mountain." As the criminals were killed first, Perboyre reflected in prayer, to the wonderment of the bystanders.
When his turn came, the executioners stripped him of the purple tunic and tied him to a post in the form of a cross. They passed a rope around his neck and strangled him. It was the sixth hour. Like Jesus, John Gabriel became like a grain of wheat. He died, or better was born into heaven, in order to make fall on the earth the dew of God's blessing.
Many circumstances surrounding his last year of life (the betrayal, the arrest, the death on a cross, its day and hour), are similar to the Passion of Christ. In reality, all his life was that of a witness and a faithful disciple of Christ. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote: "I look for him who died for us; I yearn for him who rose for us. Behold, the moment is near in which I will be brought forth! Have compassion on me, brothers! Do not prevent me from being born to life!"
John Gabriel "was born to life" on 11 September 1840, because he always had sought "him who died for us." His body was brought back to France, but his heart remained in his adopted homeland, the land of China. There he gave his witness to the sons and daughters of St. Vincent who also wait to be born to heaven after a life spent for the gospel and for the poor.
Shared from Vatican.va
Thursday, September 10, 2015
- Year XXII - Num. 153
|- Audience with the prime minister of Kuwait: the importance of education in promoting respect and peaceful coexistence of peoples and religions|
|- To new bishops: no sphere of human existence is excluded from the pastor's interest|
|- The Pope receives the Equipes Notre Dame: Christian couples are in a better condition to announce Jesus Christ to other families|
|- The Holy Father to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in November|
|Audience with the prime minister of Kuwait: the importance of education in promoting respect and peaceful coexistence of peoples and religions|
Vatican City, (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Highness Sheik Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, prime minister of the State of Kuwait, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, various themes of mutual interest were reviewed, including the positive contribution that the historical Christian minority offers to Kuwaiti society. The Parties also focused on the importance of education in promoting a culture of respect and peaceful coexistence between the different peoples and religions.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait was then signed by Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher and Sheik Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, first deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs. With this instrument the Parties undertake to consolidate and strengthen bilateral relations in order to favour mutual collaboration, peace and regional and international stability.
The agreement further strengthens the bonds of collaboration in the political and cultural spheres, and offers tools for consultation between the Parties. It entered into effect immediately upon signing.
To new bishops: no sphere of human existence is excluded from the pastor's interest
Vatican City, (VIS) – The bishops are witnesses to the risen Christ, educators, spiritual guides and catechists, mystagogues and missionaries, Pope Francis affirmed this morning as he received in audience in the Clementine Hall the new bishops ordained during the past year. They were accompanied by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The following are extensive extracts from the Holy Father's address.
“Bishops .. are witnesses of the Resurrected Christ. This is your primary and indispensable task. You have been entrusted the preaching of the reality that holds up the entire edifice of the Church. Jesus is risen! … We too will be resurrected with Christ. … This is not an obvious or easy proclamation. The world is so content with … what it is seemingly able to provide that appears useful to suppress the demand for what is definitive. … However, we are assailed by questions, the answers to which can only come from a definitive future. … How can we face our difficult present if our sense of belonging to the community of the Risen Christ fades? Will we be able to remember the greatness of human destiny if there abates in us the courage to subordinate our life to the love that does not die?”.
“I think of great challenges such as globalisation, which brings together those who are distant from each other yet at the same time separates those who are close; I think of the epochal phenomenon of migration that unsettles our times; I think of the natural environment, the garden God gave to us as the habitat for human beings and for other creatures, threatened by short-sighted and often predatory exploitation; I think of the dignity and future of human work, of which entire generations are deprived; I think of the desertification of relationships, a widespread abdication of responsibility … the bewilderment of many young people and the solitude of many elderly. … I do not wish to focus on this agenda of tasks to complete as I do not want to alarm you. … I wish only to offer to you the joy of the Gospel. … Remember always that it is the Gospel that protects you and therefore do not be afraid to go everywhere and to be with those whom God has entrusted to you. … No sphere of human life is excluded from the interest of the heart of the pastor. … Be on your guard against the danger of neglecting the many and singular situations of the members of your flock; do not renounce encounters with them; do not spare preaching of the living Word of the Lord; invite all to the mission”.
Bishops as educators, spiritual guides and catechists
“With those who are at home, who frequent your communities and partake of the Eucharist, I invite you to be educators, spiritual guides and catechists, able to take them by the hand and to lead them up Mount Tabor, guiding them in the knowledge of the mystery they profess. … Do not spare any efforts in accompanying them and do not let them resign themselves to staying on the plain”.
Bishops as mystagogues
“I think of baptised people who do not however respond to the demands of their Baptism. Perhaps it has long been thought that the land on which the seed of the Gospel falls is not in need of care. Some have drifted away as they are disillusioned by the promises of faith or perhaps because the path to realising them has appeared too challenging. Some instead leave, slamming the door behind them, holding our weaknesses against us or seeking, while not entirely successfully, to convince themselves that they had been deceived by hopes that were ultimately dashed. Be bishops able to intercept their path. … Do not be scandalised by their pain or their disappointments. Enlighten them with a humble flame … always able to illuminate those who are reached by its light that is, however, never blinding. Devote time to meeting them on the road to their Emmaus. Offer them words that show to them what they are still unable to see: the hidden potential of their very delusions. … More than with words, warm their hearts by humbly listening, interested in what is truly good for them, so that they open their eyes and are able to reverse course, returning to Him, from Whom they had drifted.
Bishops as missionaries
“As pastors and missionaries of God's gratuitous salvation, seek also those who do not know Jesus or have simply refused Him. Go in their direction … without fear or unease. … It is not true that we can do without these distant brothers. It is not permissible for us to dispense with our concerns about their fate. … Seeing in us the Lord Who calls to them, perhaps they will have the courage to respond to the divine invitation. If so, our communities will be enriched by what they have to share and our Pastors' hearts will rejoice to repeat once more, “Today salvation has come to this house”.
The Pope receives the Equipes Notre Dame: Christian couples are in a better condition to announce Jesus Christ to other families
Vatican City, (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Pope received in audience the participants in the International Meeting of the Equipes Notre Dame (Teams of Our Lady, END), held in Rome on the theme, “Here I am Lord, send me”. The Equipes are a lay movement focusing on married spirituality, established in response to the needs of couples to live fully the sacrament of marriage, using its own method and exploring the complex reality of married couples today. The END were founded in France in 1938 upon the initiative of a number of couples and the priest Fr. Henri Caffarel, whose cause for beatification has been received in Rome.
Recalling the upcoming Synod on the family, Francis invited the members of the END to pray for the Synod Fathers and for what they must reflect upon in the assembly on the “vital cell of our societies … in the difficult current cultural context”, and devoted his discourse primarily to the missionary role of the Equipes Notre Dame.
“Christian couples and families are often in the best position to announce Jesus Christ to other families, to support them, to strengthen and encourage them. What you live in the couple and the family – accompanied by the charism typical of your movement – this profound and unique joy that the Lord enables you to experience in the intimacy of domestic life, between joy and suffering, you must bear witness to … so that others, in turn, take the same path”.
The Pope encouraged all the couples to live deeply the “concrete aspects of commitment” of the movement, such as prayer in couples and in the family, a “beautiful and necessary tradition that has always supported the faith and hope of Christians, and unfortunately abandoned in many regions of the world”. He also emphasised the importance of monthly dialogue between spouses, “that well-known and challenging 'need to sit down' that is counter to the habits of our frenetic and agitated world riven with individualism”. Finally, participation in the life of a team brings “the wealth of teaching and sharing, as well as the help and comfort of friendship”. In this respect Francis underlined the mutual fruitfulness of meeting with the accompanying priests, and thanked the couples of the END for the support and encouragement in the ministry of their priests “who always find, in contact with your Equipes and your families, priestly joy, fraternal presence, emotional balance and spiritual paternity”.
The missionary task of the movement is of supreme importance and the Holy Father indicated various fields of action, such as accompanying young couples and forming them in faith before and after marriage, or closeness to wounded families, “of whom there are so many these days, due to unemployment, … health problems, bereavement … the imbalance caused by distance or absence, or a climate of violence. We must have the courage to enter into contact with these families, in a discreet but generous way, materially, humanly and spiritually, in those circumstances in which they are vulnerable”.
Finally, the Pope encouraged couples to “be instruments of the mercy of Christ and the Church towards those whose marriage has failed. Never forget that your conjugal fidelity is a gift from God, and that mercy has been shown to every one of us. A united and happy couple can understand better than any other, from within, the harm and the suffering caused by abandonment, betrayal, and a lack of love. It is necessary, therefore, that you bring your witness and your experience to help Christian communities to discern the real situations in which these people find themselves, to welcome them with their wounds, and to help them to journey in faith and in truth, under the gaze of Christ the Good Shepherd, to take part in the life of the Church in an appropriate way. Nor must you forget the unspeakable suffering of the children who experience these painful family situations.
The Holy Father to visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in November
Vatican City, (VIS) – Accepting the invitation issued by the respective Heads of State and the bishops, Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Kenya from , Uganda from , and the Central African Republic from . The programme of the trip will be published in due course.
Vatican City, (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio in Canada.
09-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 152
|General audience: it is essential to revive the alliance between the family and the Christian community|
Vatican City, 9 September 2015 (VIS) – The relationship between the family and the Christian community, “a 'natural' bond, since the Church is a spiritual family and the family is a small Church”, was the theme chosen by the Pope for the catechesis of today's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square.
The Christian community is the home of those who believe in Jesus as the source of fraternity between all humanity. The Church journeys among peoples, in the history of men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. “This is the history that matters to the Lord”, explained the Pope. “The great events of world powers are written in history books, and stay there. But the history of human affections is inscribed directly on God's heart, and it is the history that remains for eternity. It is the place of life and faith. The family is the locus of our initiation – irreplaceable, indelible – into this history of full life that culminates in the contemplation of God for all eternity in heaven, but begins in the family”.
“The son of God also learned human history in this way, and experienced it to its end. … Then, when he left Nazareth and began his public life, Jesus formed a community around him, an 'assembly', a convocation of people. This is the meaning of the word 'church'”.
In order to continue to experience the reality of Jesus' assembly, “it is essential to revive the alliance between the family and the Christian community”, he affirmed. “We could say that the family and the parish are the two places in which the communion of love that finds its ultimate source in God Himself is realised. A true Church according to the Gospel cannot but have the form of a welcoming home, with open doors, always. Churches, parishes and institutions with closed doors cannot call themselves churches – they should call themselves museums”.
“Today this alliance is crucial. Against the centres of power – ideological, financial and political, we posit our experiences in these centres of love: evangelising, full of human warmth, based on solidarity and participation, and also mutual forgiveness. Certainly, it requires a generous faith to find the intelligence and the courage to renew this alliance. Families at times pull back, saying that they are not up to the challenge. … But no-one is! … Without God's grace, we cannot do anything. And the Lord never arrives in a new family without some kind of miracle. Let us remember what He did at the wedding in Cana. Yes, the Lord, if we place ourselves in His hands, makes us perform miracles: these everyday miracles, when the Lord is there, in the family”.
“Naturally the Christian community must play its part. For instance … favouring interpersonal dialogue, and mutual understanding and respect. May families take the initiative and be conscious of their responsibility to bring their precious gifts to the community!” exclaimed the Pope. “We must all be aware that Christian faith plays on the open field of life shared with all, and the family and parish must perform the miracle of achieving a more community-based life for the whole of society”.
After the catechesis, in his greetings to various groups of faithful, the Pope remarked that today the Church celebrates the liturgical memory of the Jesuit St. Peter Claver, patron of the missions in Africa, and expressed his hope that the saint's example, with his tireless service to the weakest, impel the young to choose solidarity with the needy. “May his spiritual vigour help the sick to carry the cross with courage, and his love for Christ be a model for newly-weds of the love that should occupy the centre of the family”, added the Holy Father.
Archbishop Gallagher at the UN Conference on the protection of victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East
Vatican City, 9 September 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, spoke at the United Nations International Conference on the Protection of Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East, held yesterday in Paris, France. The prelate remarked that during this past year we have witnessed “unspeakable atrocities committed in the Middle East, which have forced thousands of Christians and members of other religious and ethnic minorities to abandon their homes and seek refuge elsewhere in precarious conditions, involving great physical and moral suffering”.
“Fundamental principles such as the value of life, human dignity, religious freedom and the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of individuals and peoples are at stake. The phenomenon continues, with the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law by the so-called Islamic State, as well as those perpetrated by other parties to the conflict. The drama of migration during recent weeks, which has compelled Europe to pay greater attention to the situation, is irrefutable proof of this tragedy”.
He went on to indicate three key aspects for improving the future of ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East, beginning with raising awareness in the international community to face the humanitarian emergency and to guarantee minimum conditions of safety for minorities and Christian communities.
“Currently the situation compels us to deal with the humanitarian crisis”, but, “in the long term, other suitable measures will have to be taken to ensure their presence in their homelands. Among the challenges to be faced, I would underline those regarding first and foremost the respect for human rights, especially those freedom of religion and conscience. It is important to insist on religious freedom, which obviously includes the freedom to change religion. Indeed, in many countries in the Middle East, freedom of worship exists, although the space for religious freedom is at times extremely limited. Increasing this space for freedom is necessary to guarantee to all those who belong to the various religious communities the true freedom to live and profess their faith. It would appear appropriate for the States in the region to be directly involved, along with the rest of the international community, in protecting the fundamental rights of Christians and members of other religious minorities. It is not a question of protecting one religious community or another, or one ethnic group or another, but of protecting people who belong to the single human family and whose fundamental rights are systematically violated”.
The second issue is that of guaranteeing the right of refugees to return to live with dignity and in safety in their country of origin; a right that “must be defended and guaranteed both by the international community and by States, whose citizens are refugees or displaced. It must be emphasised that Christians and other religious minorities do not wish simply to be tolerated but to be considered as citizens to full effect. It is important that this concept of citizenship opens up an ever broader space, as a point of reference for social life, guaranteeing the rights of all, including members of minority groups, through the implementation of adequate legal measures”.
Finally, it is important to face the phenomenon of terrorism and to promote interreligious dialogue. “The mechanisms must be found to encourage all, including in particular countries with a Muslim majority, to deal with terrorism in a serious way, with particular attention to the issue of education”, observed the prelate. “In this respect, it is important that teaching in schools, internet use and the preaching of religious leaders do not provide an opportunity for the development of intransigent and extremist attitudes, or radicalisation, but instead promote dialogue and reconciliation. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that care must be taken regarding the use of certain expressions and manifestations, considered sacred by some religions, as occurs from time to time in the West, to avoid acts causing offence to those to whom they are meaningful”.
It is also essential to promote interreligious dialogue, which is “an antidote to fundamentalism, which afflicts religious communities. Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders can and must play a fundamental role in favouring both interreligious and intercultural dialogue and education in mutual understanding. Furthermore, they must clearly condemn the abuse of religion to justify violence”. Archbishop Gallagher concluded by adding “a positive and respectful separation of religion and State should also be promoted. In this sense, it is necessary to contribute to develop the idea of the need to distinguish between the two spheres, in favour of autonomy and mutual independence, without concealing the indispensable collaboration between them, so that they may coexist without contradicting one another, thanks to dialogue between religious and political authorities and with respect for their respective competences”.
Vatican City, 9 September 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 8 September, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio in Argentina.
#Abortion Survivors Testify at Judiciary Hearing for #ProLife against Planned Parenthood - Amazing testimony...
Full video of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing (4:48)
Is Planned Parenthood Committing Murder? A Tale of Four Babies
By Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood may be engaged in criminal activity related to the selling of aborted baby remains, altering abortion procedures to ensure sellable organs, and intentionally killing babies born alive during abortions in order to harvest their organs. These allegations were brought by evidence presented in a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.
The question of whether or not Planned Parenthood is committing murder – by far the most serious charge – has been generally obscured by the public focus on whether or not Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of aborted baby parts and on Planned Parenthood’s dubious “analysis” that has given abortion supporters the ammo they desired to question the veracity of the videos.
The murder allegations really boil down to a tale of four babies.
The first baby was a little boy born at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in San Jose, California. We learned about him during one of those CMP videos at the heart of Wednesday’s hearing. In that video, Holly O’Donnell described her experience at Planned Parenthood while in the employment of the biologics firm StemExpress. He was born during a second trimester abortion and brought to the pathology lab so his organs could be harvested. But there was a problem, at least for Ms. O’Donnell. The baby boy’s heart was still beating. Nevertheless, O’Donnell was ordered to cut open the baby’s face and harvest his brain.
The second baby, known to us as Baby A or the Abrams Baby, may have played no part in the hearing, but is important to consider nonetheless. His mother wound up in a run-down abortion clinic in a poor urban neighborhood of West Philadelphia operated by a then little-known abortionist named Kermit Gosnell. The mother was given an abortion, but her son was born alive and moving. One of Gosnell’s employees later told authorities that Gosnell cut the baby’s neck, but the baby continued to struggle until he finally died. Later, Gosnell joked, “This baby is big enough to walk me to the bus stop.”
The third and fourth babies were also born during abortions, one in Sioux City, Iowa, and the other in Los Angeles, California. Just like the two previous babies, they survived their abortions and were born alive with tiny hearts beating in their chests. However, their stories ended much differently than the first two. Thankfully, caring people rescued these tiny baby girls, who survived to be adopted and raised into adulthood.
Those abortion survivors, Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden, offered testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that was convened to investigate Planned Parenthood’s alleged illegal selling of aborted baby remains, and spoke emotionally about how glad they are that they survived and have been able to experience the gift of life.
“I have long believed that if my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today,” stated Ohden. “Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that ‘failures’ like me don’t happen.”
It was Jessen who asked perhaps the most important question of the day. After describing the abortion she survived and the impact it has had on her life and health, she asked, “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”
The significance of what happened to the four babies should not be ignored.
A baby born alive is protected by law, yet it is the dirty secret of the abortion cartel that when living babies are born at abortion clinics, they are either intentionally killed or left to die.
When authorities in Philadelphia discovered Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic, he was rightfully convicted of three counts of first degree murder for killing Baby A and two others, and is currently serving life in prison.
Yet, Jessen and Ohden testified that had they been killed instead of rescued after having been born alive during abortions, they would have simply become another abortion statistic just like the baby born with a beating heart at the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Jose. They would have received no justice.
O’Donnell’s recorded statements along with other admissions of Planned Parenthood executives as revealed by the CMP videos only bolster the case for murder.
When David Daleiden, the project lead for the Center for Medical Progress was asked by Fox News anchor Shannon Bream if he was accusing Planned Parenthood of murder, his answer was unequivocal.
The House Judiciary Committee’s goal is to determine if Planned Parenthood is breaking the law in order to defund the abortion giant of the half-billion of Federal tax dollars it receives annually. But if defunding Planned Parenthood is the focus, we miss the point of the CMP videos. Those at Planned Parenthood responsible for the killing of living babies birthed during abortions must be prosecuted for murder or else we own Kermit Gosnell an apology. Planned Parenthood must not be held above the law, especially when it comes to the heinous crime of murder.
Shared from Operation Rescue
08-09-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 151
|- Motu proprio “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” and “Mitis et misericors Iesus”: the Pope reforms the procedures for declaration of marriage nullity|
|- Presentation of the Holy Father's Motu proprio on the reform of procedures for the declaration of marriage nullity|
|- Other Pontifical Acts|
|Motu proprio “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” and “Mitis et misericors Iesus”: the Pope reforms the procedures for declaration of marriage nullity|
Vatican City, 8 September 2015 (VIS) - “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” and “Mitis et misericors Iesus”, on the reform of canonical processes for the declaration of nullity of marriage, in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) are the two letters issued “Motu proprio” by the Holy Father Francis, published today.
In the first, “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus”, the Pope writes that the Lord Jesus, “clement Judge, Pastor of our souls, has entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors the power of the keys to fulfil in the Church the works of justice and truth; this supreme and universal power to bind and dissolve here on earth affirms, corroborates and vindicates that of the Pastors of the particular Churches, by virtue of which they have the sacred right and, before the Lord, the duty to judge their own subjects”.
“Throughout the centuries”, he continues, “the Church, in matters of marriage, acquiring a clearer awareness of the Words of Christ, has understood and explained in greater depth the doctrine of the indissolubility of the sacred conjugal bond, has developed the system for the annulment of matrimonial consent, and has more suitably disciplined the relevant judicial process, so that ecclesiastical discipline is more consistent with the truth of the professed faith”.
“All this has always been done with the supreme law of the salvation of souls as a guide. … Aware of the above, I have undertaken to reform the processes for the declaration of nullity of marriage, and for this purpose I have constituted a Group of persons eminent for their competence in legal doctrine, their pastoral prudence and their forensic experience who, under the guidance of the Most Excellent Dean of the Roman Rota, have drafted a plan for reform, without prejudice to the principle of the indissolubility of the marriage bond. … This Group has developed a framework for reform which, after thoughtful consideration with the assistance of other experts, has provided the basis for this 'Motu proprio'”.
“It is therefore the concern for the salvation of souls that, today as yesterday, remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer to the Bishops this reform document, insofar as they share with him the task of the Church to protect unity in faith and in discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family. The drive to reform has been fuelled by the enormous number of faithful who, while wishing to be at peace with their conscience, are too often separated from the legal structures of the Churches due to physical or moral distance; charity and mercy therefore require that the same Church, as a mother, to be closer to her children who consider themselves separated”.
“This direction was also indicated by the votes of the majority of my Brothers in the Episcopate, gathered in the recent extraordinary Synod, who called for faster and more accessible processes. In full harmony with this desire I have decided to introduce, by this Motu proprio, provisions that favour not the nullity of marriage but rather the speed of processes, along with the appropriate simplicity, so that the heart of the faithful who await clarification of their status is not long oppressed by the darkness of doubt due to the lengthy wait for a conclusion”.
“I have done so following in the footsteps of my predecessors, who wanted procedures for the declaration of nullity of marriage to be treated by judicial rather than administrative means, not because the nature of the matter imposes this but because it is demanded by the need to protect to the greatest extent possible the truth of the sacred bond; and this is precisely what is ensured by the guarantees of the judicial order”.
The Pope goes on to indicate a number of fundamental criteria that guide the reform:
“1. A single judgement in favour of executive nullity: it would appear appropriate to no longer require a double conforming decision in favour of the nullity of the marriage to enable the parties to be able to contract a further canonical marriage, instead considering sufficient the moral certainty reached by the first judge in accordance with the rules of law.
2. A single judge under the responsibility of the bishop: the constitution of the single judge, in any case clerical, is in the first instance the responsibility of the bishop, who in the pastoral exercise of his judicial power must ensure that the former does not engage in any form of laxity.
3. The same bishop is the judge: … The bishop in his Church, of which he is constituted pastor and head, is for this reason judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is hoped, therefore, that in both large and small dioceses the same bishop may offer a sign of the conversion of the ecclesiastical structures, rather than completely delegating the judicial function in matters of marriage to the offices of the curia. This is especially relevant to the shorter procedure, established to resolve the most evident cases of nullity”.
4. Short procedure: Indeed, aside from streamlining processes for the declaration of nullity, a form of shorter process is designated – in addition to the current documentary procedure – to be applied in cases in which the alleged nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly clear arguments”. The Holy Father observes that “it does not pass unnoticed that a shorter procedure may endanger the principle of the indissolubility of marriage; for precisely this reason I have required that in such a procedure the judge be the bishop himself who, due to his pastoral office, is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline”.
5. Appeal to the Metropolitan See: it would be appropriate to restore the faculty of appeal to the Metropolitan See, since this office of the head of the ecclesiastical province, stable throughout the centuries, is a distinctive sign of the synodality of the Church.
6. The competence of the Episcopal Conferences: the Episcopal Conferences, which must be above all driven by the apostolic eagerness to reach the lost faithful, are strongly aware of their duty to share in the aforementioned conversion, and fully respect the right of the bishops to organise the judicial power in their own particular Churches. … Along with their proximity to the judge, the Episcopal Conferences, to the extent possible, must ensure just and dignified retribution to tribunal staff, ensuring that the processes are free, since the Church, in a matter so closely linked to the salvation of souls, demonstrates the gratuitous love of Christ by which we have all been saved”.
7. Appeal to the Apostolic See: It is convenient, in all forms, to maintain the appeal to the ordinary Tribunal of the Apostolic See, that is the Roman Rota, respecting an ancient judicial principle, so as to strengthen the bond between the See of Peter and the particular Churches, in any case taking care, in the discipline of such appeal, to limit any abuse of the right, so that it does not jeopardise the salvation of souls.
The law of the Roman Rota will be adapted as soon as possible to the rules of the reformed procedure, within the limits of necessity.
In the eighth point the Pope mentioned that, given the specific ecclesial and disciplinary order of the Eastern Churches, the norms for the reform of the discipline of marriage processes have been issued separately in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
Finally, he decrees and institutes that the Book VI of the Code of Canon Law (part III, title I, chapter I) on processes for the declaration of the nullity of marriage (canons 1671 to 1691) will be entirely substituted by the new norms, with effect from .
In the Motu proprio “Mitis et misericors Iesus”, addressed to the Eastern Churches, Pope Francis notes that his venerated predecessor, St. John Paul II, in promulgating the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, affirmed that “since the beginning of the canonical codification of the Eastern Churches, the same consistent will of the Roman pontiffs to promulgate two codices, one for the Latin Church and one for the Eastern Catholic Churches, has shown very clearly that these latter wish to conserve what has occurred by divine providence in the Church, that is, that reunited by a single Spirit, she must breathe with the two lungs of East and West, and burn with Christ's charity like a single heart composed of two ventricles”.
“Following in the same path, and taking into account the particular ecclesial and disciplinary order of the Eastern Churches, I have decided to issue in a separate Motu proprio the norms for the reform of the discipline of marriage processes in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches”.
The Pope goes on to emphasise the importance of the ministry of the bishop, with according to the teachings of the Eastern Fathers, is “judge and physician, since man, wounded and fallen, owing to original sin and his personal sins, sickens and with the medicine of penitence obtains healing and forgiveness from God, and is reconciled with the Church. Indeed, the bishop, constituted by the Holy Spirit as the figure of Christ and in the place of Christ, is first and foremost the minister of divine mercy”.
The Bishop of Rome emphasises that appeal to the Metropolitan See is “a hallmark of the fundamental synodality in the Eastern Churches, which should be supported and encouraged”, and addresses to the Synods of the Eastern Churches the recommendations which in the Motu proprio “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” are addressed to the Episcopal Conferences.
Finally, he decrees and establishes that in Title 26 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (Chapter 1, article 1). Cases for the declaration of the nullity of marriage, canons 1357-1377) is entirely substituted by the new norms, with effect from .
|Presentation of the Holy Father's Motu proprio on the reform of procedures for the declaration of marriage nullity|
Vatican City, 8 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy Press Office a press conference was held for the presentation of the two letters issued “Motu proprio” by the Holy Father Francis, “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” and “Mitis et misericors Iesus” on the reform of canonical processes for the declaration of nullity of marriage in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (CCEO) respectively.
The speakers at the conference were Msgr. Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota and president of the Special Commission for the Reform of Matrimonial Processes in Canon Law; Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and member of the Special Commission; Bishop Dimitrios Salachas, apostolic exarch of Athens for Greek Catholics of Byzantine Rite and member of the Special Commission; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and member of the Special Commission; Msgr. Alejandro W. Bunge, prelate auditor of the Roman Rota and secretary of the Special Commission; and Fr. Nikolaus Schoch, O.F.M., substitute promoter of Justice at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and secretary of the Special Commission.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio specified that the reform regards the canonical process for the declaration of nullity of marriage. “It is a process that leads to the declaration of nullity, or in other words, which leads first to establish whether a marriage may be declared null and, if so, to declare its nullity. It is not, therefore, a process that leads to the annulment of the marriage. Nullity is distinct from annulment, and declaring the nullity of a marriage is entirely different to decreeing its annulment.
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., recalled the necessary requisites according to canon law for the validation of a marriage between Catholics which, aside from the absence of diriment impediments and the observance of canonical form, including the free consent of the spouses.
“According to the teaching of the Church”, he said, “marriage is one, only a man and a woman may unite in marriage, and it is impossible to undertake a new matrimonial union during the life of the spouse. Marriage is indissoluble, as Jesus taught, and we have many examples of this teaching in the Gospel. The Letter to the Ephesians explains to us that sacramental marriage cannot be broken as it is the image and expression of Christ's love for His Church. … Marriage must be open to the transmission of life”.
“In our traditional civilisation, it was possible to suppose that these teachings of the Church were known and shared. In recent times there has emerged the doubt, that would seem not without basis, as to whether all those who marry in the Church are sufficiently aware of these teachings and, therefore, as to whether their consent truly refers to them. If it is not the case, their marriage would be null; that is, it would not exist in fact. And precisely because there are these doubts, many would like to be able to offer a rapid but reliable means for resolving the problem and contributing to pacifying the conscience of many Catholics”.
The key points of the reform were explained by the prelate auditor of the Roman Rota, Msgr. Bunge: “1) the central role of the diocesan bishop, to be applied in the spirit of collegiality.
As well as the regional, interdiocesan and synodal tribunals, according to the various methods of the Church and taking into account the good of the faithful and the appropriateness of accessibility of pastoral remedies for wounded faithful, the diocesan bishops are enabled to have their own diocesan tribunals, and if necessary, also to decide that in this tribunal, if it impossible to have a collegial tribunal (always chaired by a member of the clergy), there may be a single judge (again clerical).
2) Short procedure (avoiding the terms 'summary' or 'administrative') for clear cases of nullity of marriage, to render it more accessible to the 'masses'. In these cases the judge would be the bishop, assisted in ascertaining the facts by two assessors, with whom he will discuss in advance the moral certainty of the facts adopted in deciding on the nullity of the marriage. If the bishop is convinced of the moral certainty, he will pronounce the decision; otherwise the case will be referred to the ordinary process.
It may be objected that a bishop would be unable to decide a high number of cases, to which there is a dual response: in a region there would be not only the regional and interdiocesan tribunals, but also the bishop in each diocese for cases that are obviously clear; secondly, the bishop would be assisted by the staff of his tribunal. Ongoing formation would ensure that each bishop, with his tribunal for these cases of marriage nullity, would discover the ministry appropriate to him, entrusted to him in his holy ordination, as the judge of his faithful.
3) Appeal would be rare, as there would exist agreement between the parties and there would be evident facts regarding nullity; in the presence of elements that would lead the appeal to be considered merely dilatory or instrumental, it would be rejected a limine.
4) Ordinary process:
- Fast (a maximum of one year)
- Abolition of the double conforming decision (that is, the need according to canon law in the procedures for the declaration of nullity of marriage to have two conforming decisions to enable the spouses to be free to contract a new marriage. This implies that two tribunals of distinct grade declare the nullity of the marriage for the same reasons in fact and in law, Ed.).
- The affirmative non-appellate judgement ipso facto becomes executive.
- If an appeal is sought following an affirmative judgement this can be rejected a limine due to an evident lack of supporting arguments.
This may occur in the case of instrumental appeal, intended to harm the other party; often the non-Catholic appellant has already undertaken a civil remarriage.
There emerges in the reform the situation which is by now the reason why the majority of Catholics seek the declaration of nullity of marriage: 'consulere conscientiae', that is, aside from the civil law aspects, for reasons of conscience (to partake in the sacraments of the Church and to perfect a new bond which, unlike the first, is stable and happy).
5. The speed of the procedure favours the limitation of appeals to the Holy See and therefore to the Roman Rota, or appeals to the Apostolic Signatura to newly present a case previously rejected by the Rota.
In conclusion; the glory of God s living man, and may I add, man saved by the diligent ministry of the justice and mercy of the Church”.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 8 September 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Raymond Poisson, auxiliary of Saint-Jerome, Canada, as bishop of Joliette (area 8,800, population 281,000, Catholics 256,000, priests 113, permanent deacons 7, religious 230), Canada.