Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
December 30th, 2008


[Back in the late  1940’s I worked for philosopher Mortimer Adler on the Syntopicon, an index to the ideas in the (then) 54 volume set of The Great Books of the Western World.  As my field was the biological sciences, I was assigned to index  the biological works of Aristotle, Hippocrates,  Harvey, Galen, and Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species and The Descent of Man.   I have written before about the evolution of my thoughts on evolution.   As my thinking became more critical over the years, I wrote the following reflection on Darwin’s work.]


Consider the eye on the tail of the peacock.  Technically known as an ocellus, it is a thing of awesome beauty, an intensely blue center surrounded by iridescent concentric colored circles, to be enjoyed many times over as the peacock raises and displays his plumage.  It seems to have no purpose but to please the observer.  Darwin called the peacock the most splendid of living birds.  He writes: “That these ornaments should have been formed through the selection of many successive variations, not one of which was originally intended to produce the ball-and-socket effect, seems as incredible as that one of Raphael’s Madonnas should have been formed by the selection of chance daubs of paint made by a long succession of artists, not one of whom intended at first to draw the human figure.”

Obviously, even Darwin had trouble in believing in his theory of natural selection!

Nevertheless, natural selection and sexual selection as described by Darwin DO operate by chance.  A brighter color or more beautiful design appears by happenstance, (or, as we would say today, by some quirk of a gene) and appeals to the peahen so that the more elegant peacock pleases her most and wins the opportunity to pass along his genes to the next generation.  Darwin attributes to the peahen an apparent delight in beauty, which he also considers strange.  Unlike the cock, the peahen remains drab, her coloring protecting her as she nests and cares for her young.

The peahen choosing the more beautiful male is an example of sexual selection.  The survival of the hen and chicks because their drabness hides them from predators would be considered an example of natural selection.

Consider again the eye on the tail of the peacock and the feather on which it is found.  A feather consists of a central shaft with barbs on each side equipped with barbules which turn bear barbicels which interlock, velcro-fashion, with similar structures on the adjacent barb, producing a continuous vane.  No person comes along and paints the ocellus on this plume after it has formed.  No, each individual barb must “know how” to produce the right colors in the right place to achieve the overall ball-in-socket effect.  It boggles the mind that there are those who would believe this marvelous arrangement of minutiae to produce an ocellus came about as the result of the random activity of atoms.

It likewise boggles the mind to think that your eye (the kind in your head) with eyelid, lens, pupil, iris, retina and optic nerve gradually evolved over millenia.  Any of these parts without the other would be useless and would not have persisted by natural selection.  Evolutionists need a scenario that will demonstrate how all the parts of a functional eye could come about AT THE SAME TIME just by accident.  Darwin also had trouble with this, stating “the belief that an organ so perfect as the eye could have been formed by natural selection is enough to stagger anyone…”

Many genetic mutations are harmful, causing disease or death, others are neutral, but among random mutations one might occasionally occur which would seem to be advantageous.  It has been estimated that only 1 out of 10,000 mutations would be considered beneficial.  We know that natural selection, or artificial selection by man, can, within a species, cause considerable diversity–witness Mendel’s peas, various breeds of dogs, the development of drug-resistant bacteria.  No one really has any problem accepting such diversification within a species.  This  is known as “micro-evolution” and has been well demonstrated.

Natural selection and geographical factors have allowed populations within species to drift in different directions and mutate to such an extent that they can no longer interbreed, producing a subspecies or even a new species.  Micro-evolution is a scientific fact, only resulting in minor changes.  Frogs always give rise to frogs, and dogs to dogs.  No matter how much one radiates fruit flies to get them to mutate, they always give rise to fruit flies.  Sometimes they are very sad specimens but they are undoubtedly fruit flies.

It is MACRO-evolution that presents the problem.  Macro-evolution extrapolates from the known variations within a species to the theory that all diversity in life – plants, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals – all evolved in similar fashion from some prehistoric archetype.  This is another problem that Darwin himself puzzled over.  He noted the lack of evidence for transitional forms between classes in the progression from single-celled organisms to man, stating, “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?  Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?”  Darwin died expecting the fossil proof of his theory would be forthcoming.

It was not.  Evolution is a theory being increasingly questioned by a number of honest scientists.  In 1980 Darwin’s theory that one species evolved into another over billions of years was rejected by a conference in Chicago of  “160 of the world’s top paleontologists, anatomists, evolutional geneticists and developmental biologists.” (Newsweek, 11/3/80).  According to Newsweek , “Evidence from the fossil record now points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans learned in high school; that new species evolve out of existing ones by the gradual accumulation of small changes, each of which helps the organism survive and compete in the environment.”  Because of the embarrassing absence of fossil evidence they supported instead “punctuated equilibria” which says that evolutionary changes occurred by quantum leaps, so fast that they didn’t leave any fossil record!  The foremost advocates of punctuated equilibria, Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould, recognized that species in the geological record remain remarkably constant over millions of years, showing little appreciable change.  In Eight Little Piggies (1993) Gould writes, “Nothing much happens for most of the time when evidence abounds; everything happens in largely unrecorded geological moments.”

As recently as 1995, Eldredge in Reinventing Darwin again notes the absence in the fossil record of gradual evolution as described by Darwin and posits, rather, evolution in brief spurts, during periods of major habitat disruption, with eons of stasis in between.  These brief spurts, from the viewpoint of paleontologist Eldredge, may take from five to fifty thousand years, as compared to the millions of years when evolution apparently goes nowhere.

This new theory of punctuated equilibria does not alter the fact that Gould and Eldredge still believe in evolution and the fossil evidence is still missing.  One commentator went so far as to describe their theory of punctuated equilibria as “evolution by jerks!”

In Darwin on Trial by Philip Johnson (1991) he writes, “If evolution means the gradual change of one kind of organism into another kind, the outstanding characteristic of the fossil record is the absence of evidence for evolution.  Darwinists can always explain away the sudden appearance of new species by saying that the transitional intermediates were for some reason not fossilized.  But stasis – the consistent absence of fundamental directional change – is positively documented.  It is also the norm and not the exception.”

Some years ago I worked on the Great Books em>Syntopicon, indexing the biological works contained therein,  including those of Darwin.  I found Darwin to be a brilliant and honest man whose prodigious wealth of data was very convincing.  It is only in recent years that my thinking became more critical and I realized that accepting Darwin’s Origin of Species required jettisoning other pretty well established physical laws.

The second law of thermodynamics states that all things naturally, over time, degenerate from order into disorder–into randomness– unless there is input from outside the system.  Not so long ago the idea of spontaneous generation was ridiculed by scientists.  Now we are supposed to accept, as an article of faith (because there is no proof) that life arose spontaneously in some prebiotic broth and evolved ever upward by random acts of atoms.  Evolutionists theorize that somehow organic compounds formed, merged, and discovered how to replicate themselves, producing the first living cell.  Never mind that scientists, with all their technology, have not

been able to achieve purposely what is supposed to have occurred long ago by chance.  No amount of chemical soup zapping has yet produced a single living organism (i.e., one that can grow and reproduce.)  In the famous Miller-Urey experiments in the 1950’s the best they could come up with were amino acids.  Nevertheless, what was once deemed impossible must now be considered, given enough time, to be not only possible but probable.  As one writer put it, we are asked to believe that “falling up a ladder” can be achieved if it is just done “rungwise.”

The basic cell design of all living things is the same, but even the cell of the tiniest bacterium is, according to molecular biologist Michael Denton, “a veritable microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world.”    Moreover, the oldest rocks known to paleontology have failed to reveal the kind of organic compounds that would have been needed to form the first living cell.  There is, therefore, no evidence whatsoever of the required primeval super soup.  All is conjecture, yet biology texts and the popular press write about the spontaneous development of the first living cell from some inorganic muddy puddle as a fait accompli.  And even though they don’t know how life happened to develop on earth, they send expensive gadgets to outer space to see if the conditions are right for it to happen there, too!

David Raup, renowned paleontologist, wrote in Science in 1981: “A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is.  This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources:  low-level textbooks, semi-popular articles, and so on.  Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved.  In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions.  In general these have not been found, yet the optimism died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks…”

Francis Crick, biochemist and Nobel prize-winning co-discoverer of DNA, in 1981, wrote: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going.”  Modern molecular biology has not been kind to evolutionary theory – the missing links – the necessary intermediate classes – are just as missing on the molecular level as on the morphological level.  Molecular biology has only served to emphasize the marked discontinuity between life and non-life, and between major natural

The above-mentioned molecular biologist, Dr. Michael Denton, created quite a stir in 1985 with his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.  In what I consider his most fascinating chapter, “The Failure of Homology,” he deals with one of evolution’s strongest arguments, the structural similarities between different organisms.  As the Encyclopedia Brittanica puts it:  “…the bones of the upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers all…can be matched, bone for bone, in rat, dog, horse, bat, mole, porpoise or man.  The example is all the more telling because the bones have become modified in adaptation to different modes of life but have retained the same fundamental plan of structure, inherited from a common ancestor.” (Emphasis added).

Denton describes an amazing lack of that same homology at the embryological level.  “There is no question that, because of the great dissimilarity of the early stages of embryogenesis in the different vertebrate classes, organs and structures considered homologous in adult vertebrates cannot be traced back to homologous cells or regions in the earliest stages of embryogenesis.  In other words, homologous structures are arrived at by different developmental routes.”  And, “the evolutionary basis of homology is perhaps more severely damaged by the discovery that apparently homologous structures are specified by quite different genes in different species.”  Darwin describes homology as the “relationship between parts which results from their development from corresponding embryonic parts.”  According to British embryologist, Gavin de Beer, that is exactly what homology is not.  This is a truly an astounding–and unexpected–finding!

Die-hard Darwinian, Richard Dawkins, in his 1995 effort, River Out of Eden, does not acknowledge Denton’s book nor does he attempt to answer most of his objections to macro-evolutionary theory.  He does try to deal with the difficulty of accepting chance as the cause of a structure as beautiful and complex as the human eye.  He accuses those who think that it must have been designed by a superior intelligence of the fallacy of the “Argument from Personal Incredulity.”  This argument states “I cannot even begin to imagine the steps by which this eye could have evolved from an eyeless being and therefore I don’t believe it could have happened.”

Evolution by gradual changes through natural selection might be accepted today beyond any reasonable doubt, even without the fossil evidence of intermediates, if it could be shown that the great divisions of nature could at least theoretically have been bridged by inventing a really convincing series of hypothetical and fully functional transitional forms.  (After all, time has passed and things do decay–there’s that second law of thermodynamics again!)  However, this has not been achieved.   A theory that asks us to believe that order proceeds from disorder, that design arises without a designer, and doesn’t show us how, requires an unwarranted leap of faith.

Dawkins offers a computer model by Swedish scientists, Dan Nilsson and Susanne Pelger (1994) suggesting the steps by which a simple eye consisting of a flat retina atop a flat pigment layer covered by a protective transparent layer could conceivably have evolved into a vertebrate “camera” eye in less than half a million years.  They assume that each generation experienced a beneficial mutation which was passed on.  I cannot blame them for starting with a simple three-layer eye. Producing the scenario by which an eye evolved from some eyeless ancestor would certainly have been a much more difficult accomplishment.  A computer model showing how a more advanced eye could evolve from a simpler eye simply does not cut the mustard.

It is posited that the first birds evolved from prehistoric reptiles and that reptilian scales are precursors of the feathers of birds.  Just imagining the gradations and mutations necessary to convert a scale into an aerodynamically plausible feather, with functional intermediates, is well nigh impossible.

According the Albert Einstein, “the probability of life originating from accidents is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in the printing shop.”  In like manner, British astronomer and agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle, after years of study concluded, “The probability of evolution [explaining creation] is equal to the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747.”

The missing links are still just that, despite years of search.  The Piltdown man is a proven fraud, the tooth of Nebraska man turned out to be from a pig, Neanderthal man and Cro-Magnon man seem to belong to our species, the fossils of Peking man have disappeared.   Missing links between man and monkey burst upon the scene, a tooth here and a jawbone there, are interpreted and re-interpreted, and then fade away as they fail to fill the bill.  Evolutionists have a hypothesis to confirm and tend to put their own spin on archeological findings.

The logical consequence of Darwinism is that the universe operates on blind chance, without design or purpose.  Evolution is a theory scrambling for facts because the alternative is considered unacceptable.  What is the alternative?  It is that God created each creature according to its kind, as we read in Genesis.

In recent years geneticists seem to be moving toward the creationists’ belief that all races of mankind are the progeny of an original man and woman.  Mitochondrial Eve, postulated as the mother of all known humans, has been making the news.  By studying mitochondrial DNA which is passed on from mother to daughter geneticists have concluded that all women are descended from one woman who lived over 50,000 years ago.  It is not supposed that there was only one woman way back then, however; rather it is presumed there were many but the progeny of the others died out along the way.   Similarly, they have deduced that all men had a common male ancestor by studying genetic mutations of the Y chromosome which is passed only from father to son.

Scripture states, and it is de fide, that God played a direct role in the fashioning of a man and woman from whom all humankind is descended.  (Gen.3:20, Gen.5, Tobit 8:6, Rom. 5:12-19, 1 Cor. 15:21-22).  It is necessary to accept at least this much “creationism” or all of Christianity, with its original sin and need for redemption, falls by the wayside.

They say that the genetic information in each human cell would fill thousands of volumes.  This occurred by chance?  I would as soon believe that a Pentium chip occurred as a result of the waves lapping on the sand through the ages.  Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, said in 1981, “All my life I had been duped into taking evolution as revealed truth.”  Dr D.N.S. Watson writes, “The theory of evolution is universally accepted not because it can be proven true but because the only alternative of special creation (by God) is clearly incredible.”

Douglas Futuyama in Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution states: “Some shrink from the conclusion that the human species was not designed, has no purpose, and is the product of more mechanical mechanisms–but this seems to be the message of evolution.”  As Dawkins put it in his recent book, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”   In essence, then, evolution is more of a philosophy of life than an explanation of it.

Over 50 years ago Pope Pius XI, writing about communism, stated: “According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man….In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life.”  In the same encyclical on atheistic communism he describes what he calls a “conspiracy of silence” on the part of the secular press.   It is apparent that not much has changed.

To go beyond randomness means to accept God.   The above-mentioned Francis Crick was so awed by the difficulty of explaining the origin of life on earth that he postulated beings from another planet sending us primitive life forms to begin the whole evolutional spiral.  Sure this is a Deus ex machina solution – which is what creationists have been saying all along.

In 1987 a Supreme Court decision barred public schools from teaching “creation science” but permitted the discussion of “scientifically valid” alternatives to evolution.   In 1989 Of Pandas and People by Charles Thaxton, Percival Davis, and Dean Kenyon, all biologists and Ph.D.s, presented arguments for intelligent design, only to be attacked by the ACLU for writing a “stealth” book seeking to introduce God into the curriculum without mentioning his name.  Kenyon, who had previously published a book describing the evolution of a living cell from inorganic chemicals, found himself no longer able to support that hypothesis and began to point out to his students its weakness.  He was rewarded for his integrity by being suspended from San Francisco State University.  To dare to suggest that the politically correct theory of evolution might be questioned and was still a theory was equivalent to a thought crime.  He has since been reluctantly reinstated. (A video clip of Dean Kenyon explaining his change in viewpoint is available.)

Evolutionists try to disparage critics of Darwinism by calling them religious fanatics who refuse to look at the scientific data, preferring blind faith.  There are, however, an ever increasing number of scientists who are looking at the scientific data and rocking the evolutionary boat. Secular humanism, communism, modernism NEED evolution’s philosophy to counteract biblical Christianity.  There is no other alternative and they will not accept God.

Raphael’s Madonna, an unabridged dictionary, a Boeing 747, a Pentium chip–these speak of the intelligence of man behind the material thing.  The human mind has not yet begun to plumb the secrets of an atom, a single living cell, the ocellus of the peacock, the eye of man, the genetic code, the expanding universe.  These speak of an intelligence far beyond ours.  We stand in awe of their beauty and their complexity.  We seek to reveal their patterns and discover their laws, and we do no doubt such laws exist.  Some we have learned; some we haven’t.  Is there a designer, a lawgiver?

Chance or God?  Evolution or revelation?


I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Apostles’ Creed.

December 27th, 2008



“I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews But like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

“A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when on Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

“Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more.

“Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

“Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country—SILENCE!”


Have you ever wondered how people could have stood by and let the holocaust just happen? Do you wonder why the Christians in this story chose to just sing their praise to God a little louder to drown out the victim’s cries?

The old man’s story is in the past. The past cannot be changed. It is easy to think we would act differently now. But the old man’s last words are haunting: “It’s happening all over again in America with abortion. The Holocaust is here.”

As American Christians, we have become so comfortable in our lovely buildings and padded pews. We have beautiful fellowship halls for our many banquets. We have the latest sound equipment for our praise and worship. We have computers to keep our records. We gather together each week and shut ourselves inside our buildings. We raise our voices as loud as we can, all in the name of God.

And yet, in the heavenly realm, our voices raised in praise are drowned out by screams of agony from millions of babies who are being executed before they are born. We can’t see them. We can’t hear them. But it is happening right now! Babies are being aborted UP UNTIL THE DAY OF BIRTH in this country. Their organs and brains are “harvested” for use in medical experimentation. In Wichita, Kansas, the smoke stack from the furnace of Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic belches out black smoke and the sickening smell of burning flesh. These are the bodies of 7th, 8th and 9th month old babies being “disposed of.”

If the Christians in the old man’s church had done something, they would have probably been killed. That is not the case with us. We don’t even have that as an excuse for our silence. Years from now will you be like that old man trying to explain your apathy as millions were led away to slaughter in abortion clinics? Or will you raise your voice and cry out in protest for those who have no voice?   The choice is YOURS.


Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?   Proverbs 24:11,12

December 27th, 2008


My daughter Mary gave me a plaque on Christmas Eve – it looks like the words are engraved on marble.  As I started to write this I thought that it was probably mass-produced in China in a huge plastic molding machine, but when I turned it over it actually says: “PLQ: Light A Candle White Marble.”  So maybe it is marble–there is quite a heft to it.  But it also says “designed in Atlanta made in China.”  Do those Chinese  somehow cut rectangles of marble and somehow engrave them individually?  En masse?  It is a cause for wonder.

Anyhow, it is a very nice plaque and already one of my favorite things.  It reads: It Is Better To Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness.  When I opened the package and first read the words Mary said, “Remember the curtains?”

“Curtains?”  “What Curtains?”  “Remember what curtains?”  I see no connection between the plaque and  curtains.  Apparently at sometime in the long forgotten past we had white curtains which, according to Mary, had words at the bottom reading “It is better to light a candle” on one side and “Than to curse the darkness” on the other side.  I have no recollection of any such thing.  We had so little money that if we had any curtains in the house at all they were unlikely to have  been purchased at a store other than the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  They must have been kitchen curtains.  Conceivably they were made out of old sheets and I wrote those words there myself.   Who knows?  That sounds like me back then.

The next day I asked son Johnny about the curtains.  He remembers them, too.  They were kitchen curtains, he thinks I made them myself, and he recalls tomatoes on the window sill. Those curtains could have been forty years ago!    When you’re raising seven kids some things get lost in the shuffle but you’d think I would remember something I was so involved in.

The point is:   Mary remembered.   Johnny remembered.  The words registered.  They found them meaningful.  You can never tell when you’re raising a kid what is going to hit home and linger on.

Way back when I was in eighth grade we used to say the Twenty-Third Psalm every morning at school.  That  was permissible in public schools in those days.    I doubt that it was mandated as we learned nothing else religious in the other grades.  Maybe I had a Christian teacher who was allowed to do her thing.  As children, we never questioned. I learned the psalm as almost meaningless rote words.  To this day I can almost say the whole psalm from memory.   As an adult I find it beautiful – and comforting.

The moral is:    Keep filling those kids with good things. They come as empty vessels, blank slates.   Be careful about what goes into those vessels.  Think about what is being written on those slates.  Something is bound to stick and it might as well be something that will serve them well when it surfaces in the future and grabs hold.

This brings to mind the Jesuit maxim, sometimes attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola:  Give me the child till the age of seven and I will show you the man.

It’s better to light just one little candle
Than to stumble in the dark
Better far that you light just one little candle
All you need’s a tiny spark

If we’d all say a prayer that the world would be free
The wonderful dawn on the new day we’ll see
And if everyone lit just one little candle
What a bright world this would be.
—Perry Como, 1952


  Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

December 24th, 2008


There she is. Celebrate the child! The amazing gift. The baby.  Her name is Kaylin. The gift of her father to her mother. The gift of the mother to the father. The gift of God to them both.



Her greatgrandma says: “Went for her 2 week checkup and she had gained 1 lb 1oz and grew an inch. That breast milk is good stuff ….”

Kaylin and Greatgrandma

Kaylin and Greatgrandma

Once upon a time greatgrandma was my baby sister, Dolly.  Another gift.

Kaylin and Greatgrandpop Dwight

Kaylin and Greatgrandpop Dwight

Kaylin and her Mommy

Kaylin and her Mommy


For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11.

December 22nd, 2008


This is just too great not to pass along.  We only had seven kids but have heard all those comments from “perfect” strangers.

December 18th, 2008


I had no sooner published my first rejoicing over the closing of the only free-standing abortion mill in our city than I was besieged with further reflections of the “I shoulda said” variety.  Over the twenty years there have been many memories, some of which I’d like to share.


Father Bill Smith always told us that the desire to witness to the evil of abortion in public was a charism, a gift from God, not given to everyone. I think all of us would testify that when we first decided it was something we needed to do we had considerable difficulty getting out of the car the first time and actually doing it.  We can also testify that we no longer think twice about it; we just do it.


We do not refer to the abortuary as a clinic.  A clinic is a place for diagnosis and treatment leading to health.  When one of the patients always ends up dead, and the other is wounded ( physically, psychologically, or both) that is not healthy.


Early on, when the abortuary was on Mill Plain Road, there was no sidewalk, and in the winter we had to make a path through the snow.   Sometimes people would drive as close as they could, splashing us or forcing us from the path.  Other times people would see us and return with hot coffee or cookies.


Also, when Medical Options first moved to Main Street, Mr. T (husband of the nurse who ran the abortuary) came out to talk with us with his young son.  “ Show her,” he said, and his son Jeremy opened his coat to reveal a T-shirt which read: “I was chosen.”  That boy would be a grown man now, probably married, maybe even blessed with children.  I have often wondered has it occurred to him that perhaps there had been brothers or sisters who weren’t “chosen.”  I wonder how he feels about having parents whose business is killing babies.  Of course, they present themselves as rendering a service to womankind, and proud of it.  But – I wonder.


During the days of Operation Rescue I was excited when I learned that a rescue was planned at Medical Options.  (See my post here explaining why we considered ourselves rescuers, not protesters.)   Since Medical Options was located on Main Street, a very central location, with a Catholic church a few doors south and another Catholic church a few blocks north, I thought that when word got around that people were being arrested for protesting abortion on MAIN STREET Christians of all stripes would rally around in solidarity.   It was one of the biggest disillusionments of my life that no such thing happened.  Our own Father Smith was there, of course, blessing us as we were removed from the premises.  But crowds of  people in prayer support?  Priests?  Pastors?  Forget about it!  I wonder what it will take for the church to finally rise up?  Will it ever?


All in all, three rescues took place at Medical Options.  In one of them the renowned pro-lifer Joan Andrews, took part.  Joan had been imprisoned in Florida for 2-l/2 years in solitary confinement for the crime of entering a abortion “clinic” and disabling the suction machine.  They would not release her  because she refused to promise that she would not do it again.  In another rescue, we actually invaded the premises and sat on the waiting room floor, refusing to move.  When the police came (the police station was right across the street) and hauled us off, we spent the weekend in jail and went to court on Monday.  If I recall correctly, we were released, “time served.”  One of us, Audrey, sent a letter to the newspaper complaining that in jail they took our coats away and the cells were cold with only a metal bench to lie on and no blankets.  When we tried to block the cold air coming from a vent in the ceiling with toilet paper they threatened to take our toilet paper away.  On the other hand, we remember happily one officer who brought us candy bars!


Years ago Medical Options employed “clinic escorts” who wore orange vests and were supposed to see that patients were not interfered with when they arrived for an abortion.  One day I had arrived early and was walking up and down alone, wearing my sign, and there were four such escorts lined up across the driveway.  As I was praying that someone would soon come and join me, a priest that I did not know appeared out of nowhere.  After he greeted me, he went up to the “escorts” and asked, “Are you pro-life or pro-death?”  I don’t think the question had ever been put to them so clearly before and they were taken aback.    What a blessing he was!  Actually, the priest was still a brother at that point,  later ordained a priest, and now pastors a church in Arizona.  A Danbury native, he would still visit and pray with us whenever he was in town.

The last time! The Gang, Medical Options, December 2008

The last time! The Gang, Medical Options, December 2008

After all those years of praying together, we “picketeers” have become like a family.  We are birds of a feather, with spiritual bonds that can be closer than blood bonds.  We don’t know what we will be doing with ourselves every Tuesday and Saturday morning, now that the “clinic” is closed.   Activists that we are, we are praying about what we are called to do next, but we will surely continue to keep in touch with each other.  We located an advertisement by Medical Options saying they had moved, but of course when we call they won’t say where they have moved to.   Time will tell.

Medical Options Advertisement

Medical Options Advertisement


There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness that breathes out lies, and a man that sows discord among brothers.

–Proverbs 6:16-19

December 16th, 2008


The Gang - 1988

It took twenty years. But the abortion mill, Medical Options, seen above at its previous location being picketed by the original Danbury Gang in 1988, has finally closed its doors as of October, 2008, on the feast day of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE! Who says prayers don’t work? So it takes a while sometimes.

We often wondered over the years why God took so long – were we not praying right? – did we chat too much between prayers? – was God waiting for greater numbers?  When Medical Options moved from the above location on Mill Plain Road to its 135 Main Street office right across from the Police Station “the gang” went along.  There it was, doing business on MAIN STREET, between two CATHOLIC CHURCHES!! Where were the crowds that should have protested this killing of babies for cash?

Over the years prayerful people came and went, some for a decade of the rosary, some for a decade of years.  We are sure that Father Bill Smith, featured in a previous post, must have had something to do with the final closing.  He was older than anyone and more faithful than anyone, and he had to travel all the way from Norwalk to be with us.    Thank you, Father Bill, for your inspiration and giving our motley crew an aura of respectability.

At its October, 2008, convention the Connecticut Right to Life Corporation honored the Danbury Gang with the Frank Haggerty Award, a pewter platter, nicely inscribed.  Over the years seven regular “picketeers,” including our beloved Father Bill, had died without seeing their prayers answered.

Our Pewter Plate

Our Pewter Plate

We do not know if Medical Options is closed for good or will pop up someplace else.   They did not tell us they were going, or why, or where.  We did not see them leave.  But we were told by a friend in a neighboring store that they left ON THE FEAST DAY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE!  How cool is that?  Many years we  would gather and pray on her feast day with a huge OLG banner.  On other days we had a smaller picture of OLG.  We said so many Hail Marys that our Protestant friends protested!  They feel there is something wrong about the ratio of one Our Father to ten Hail Marys.  It doesn’t seem to help much to explain that while we are saying the ten Hail Marys were are supposed to be reflecting on various events in the life of Christ.

HAIL MARY!   Daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, spouse of the Holy Spirit! Of course God will listen when Mary intercedes!


Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen

December 14th, 2008


I’ve never been a devotee of Padre Pio.  Of course, I’ve heard of him; you can hardly be a Catholic and not have heard of Padre Pio.  But I ordered the new book Words of Light: Inspiration from the Letters of Padre Pio as a Christmas gift for a Franciscan friend and have just finished reading it.

It is compiled and introduced by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa and published (2008) by Paraclete Press.  Father Cantalamessa, also a Franciscan priest, is known as the preacher to the Pope, and you don’t get much more theologically august and respectable than that. Much has been written about Padre Pio but in this book, drawn from his letters, he finally gets to speak for himself.

I thought I might give a thumbnail sketch of Padre Pio for those not familiar with him, beginning with:  Born Francesco Forgione in Pietrelcina, Italy, 1887. Died 1968.  Canonized 2002.  Feast Day September 23.  Then I realized that a thumbnail sketch of Padre Pio is just not possible.  There are so many facets to his life – his joining the Capuchins at a young age, his many health problems, his gifts including the reading of souls, healings, the stigmata, his good works, diabolical attacks, his problems with the church, and on and on.  Wikipedia seems to me to present a pretty comprehensive overview.

I will content myself with the following description written by Padre Pio to his spiritual advisor, Padre Benedetto, about how he received the stigmata — and then a few comments on the new book.

On the morning of the 20th of last month [September, 1918], in the choir, after I had celebrated Mass, I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. All the internal and external senses and even the very faculties of my soul were immersed in indescribable stillness. Absolute silence surrounded and invaded me. I was suddenly filled with great peace and abandonment which effaced everything else and caused a lull in the turmoil. All this happened in a flash.

While this was taking place, I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of 5 August. The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. The sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should die and really should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest.

The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood.  Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday. Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition.  Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment  caused by these outward signs? I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation. (Letters 1, No. 511).

Padre Pio bore the wounds of Jesus on his hands, feet, and side for 50 years.  Several days before he died in 1968, the wounds of the stigmata disappeared without leaving a single scar.

The excerpts in Words of Light are drawn primarily from Padre Pio’s letters.  He describes his prayer thus:

As soon as I set myself to pray, I immediately feel as if my heart has been engulfed by the flame of a living love.  That flame has nothing to do with any flame in the world here below.  It is a delicate and sweet flame that gives no pain.  It is so sweet and so delicious that the spirit finds a great satisfaction in it, and remains satisfied by it in such a way that it does not lose the desire for it.

But all is not sweetness and consolation:

God remains hidden from the attentive spirit that burns itself up keeping watch for him, that is compelled to seek for him, though the task is exhausting.  Finding itself alone in a desolate solitude the poor spirit goes on consuming itself through the many fears of offending him since it is alone with its ardent character, alone with inner and outer vexations; alone with its natural corruption; alone with the trials of the enemy.  My God, where are you?  I do not know you anymore nor can I find you; but this searching for you is a necessity……

He is attacked by evil spirits:

Padre Pio complained to his guardian angel about the attacks of those “impure apostates.”  His angel said, ‘Give thanks to Jesus that he treats you as one chosen to follow him closely up the steep slope of Calvary.  I see, soul entrusted to my care by Jesus, with joy and emotion inside me, Jesus’ conduct toward you…..    Jesus permits the devil these assaults so that your devotion might make you dear to him, and he wants you to become like him during the anguish in the desert, the garden and the cross…… when your strength is of no use, do not worry, delight of my heart.  I am close to you.’

Whether experiencing  sweetness or desolation, Padre Pio says “I felt the need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim.”

I am prepared to be deprived forever of the sweetness that Jesus makes me experience, I am ready to suffer Jesus’ hiding his beautiful eyes from me, as long as he doesn’t hide his love, which would kill me.  But to be deprived of suffering, I am not able, I do not have the strength.

As the  recent publication of Mother Teresa’s letters disclosed her long interior suffering while living a life of obvious holiness and worldly recognition, so Padre Pio’s letters give insight into the trials of sanctity.  Mother Teresa toward the end of her life was overheard to say, “Jesus, I never refused you anything.”  Padre Pio’s response to whatever came his way was, “But fiat, I repeat always; and I long for nothing other than the fulfillment of this fiat in exactly the way the Lord requests – with generosity and strength.”  “Without reservation.”

Years ago I read that on the road to sanctity one first endures suffering, then accepts it, then embraces it.   This challenged me as I only endured suffering when there was no other option.  Obviously we are not all cut out to be Mother Teresas or Padre Pios.  Perhaps there are gentler ways to God with a lesser cross and a lesser crown?   To willingly embrace suffering in reparation for the sins of mankind must take a Christ-like love and a Christ-like courage.

Perhaps, like The Little Flower, St. Thérèse, who was content to be the smallest little white flower if it pleased God,  it is best to go along whatever path God puts us on.   Here I am, at 85, and not really into suffering. (That is not to say there may not be an opportunity.)  It might be a good idea to leave it up to God and trust that each person’s cross will be exactly the right size for them.

Or heed Padre Pio’s advice: Pray, hope, and don’t worry!


Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

I rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. – Colossians 1:24

December 10th, 2008


At the end of this post I am going to unashamedly retell a story that Dr. Laura Schlessinger told on her radio program today.  I started listening to Dr. Laura (Ph.D., not M.D.) when her son, Deryk was 10.   That son has since joined the Army, been to the HALO school (which apparently means they teach you to jump out of airplanes), been to Iraq and back, which makes him about 22 and makes me a seasoned listener.  I liked Dr. Laura from the beginning but for others she seems to be an acquired taste.  Others just hate her from the beginning and do not hesitate to go online and post their vitriol.

That being said, the lady has written 12 best-selling books (plus 4 children’s books) and has actually dedicated her life to (1) raising her boy and (2) helping people with their life problems.  She is against anything that will harm children and finds many such things in today’s society.  In my opinion, she has an amazing ear for the nuances and intonations in what callers say, and has what I think is a truly God-given gift for cutting to the chase and divining the cause behind the problem being presented.   Now 62, she is somewhat short on patience, will not tolerate argument, will tell you to be quiet and listen, is often brusque, but sometimes astonishingly gentle and caring and really, really insightful.  I wait for those shining moments!  I will not try to summarize her opinions (which I agree with 90% of the time) but only say that after twelve years I have not tired of Dr. Laura’s program.  Try it; you might like it.   (Her website is here.)

I’ve read three or four of her books and have given others as gifts.  Of those I’ve read, I especially recommend The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands for any woman married to a man.  Or for a new bride.  Or a couple on the verge of divorce.

Laura’s story:   The girls at a school were just getting to the lipstick stage and would put it on when they went to the bathroom.   But, being rather childish, they would think it fun to  press their freshly lipsticked lips to the bathroom mirror before going back to class, leaving an assortment of red lip marks on the mirror surface.   Daily the janitor would have to clean the mirrors but he eventually had enough and decided something needed to be done.   The teacher and janitor consulted and gathered the girls in the bathroom to explain to them how much trouble they were causing.   By way of demonstration, the janitor dipped his squeegee in the toilet bowl and proceeded to scrub off the lipstick marks.

It worked.  No more mirror-kissing. As Laura said, “There is a difference between teachers and educators.”

(Forgive me, Laura, for the liberties I took with your story. From the day I started this blog I knew I would one day add my voice to those who call you and say, “Thank you, Dr. Laura, for what you do.” Your little lipstick story gave me the impetus to finally sit down and do it. There is a reason your radio program is the most popular after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity! You keep trying to get people to parent their kids and “Go do the right thing.” How bad can that be? I consider you a major blessing to the world!)


What’s the difference between a pit bull and a soccer mom? Lipstick! – Sarah Palin

December 7th, 2008


A few days ago I read a bumper sticker that said: “Born once, and that’s enough.” Apparently the author saw no need for being born again. But it set me to musing.

Maybe the driver of the car saw no need for being born again, but Jesus did. In John 3: 3-5 he says quite clearly: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus states the obvious, that one cannot go back into the womb and be born again, Jesus repeats: “I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.”

Evangelicals will stop you on the street and ask: “Are you born again?” And most Catholics haven’t a clue. If Jesus says we must be born again, why can’t Catholics tell you if they are born again? “Born again” is certainly biblical terminology but is not something you hear anything about in Catholic churches. And I wondered: “Why not?”

And I wondered: “Are Catholics born again?”

My answer to the question would be: Some are; some aren’t.   Please bear with me as I explain my thinking and please straighten me out where I’ve gone astray.

For Protestants, being born again is pretty straightforward. They hear about Jesus, accept that he is who he said he is, read what he taught, repent of their sins, and decide they will follow Him. (“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15) They have altar calls so that they can “confess God before men.” They undergo water baptism and, presto, born again! The road ahead may be rough but they know they have decided to follow Jesus and they look to God for the grace to do it.

Adult Catholic converts are in pretty much the same situation. They study and are baptized (if not previously baptized), confess their sins, receive communion, and are confirmed. They make a heartfelt decision and enter the church, eyes open.

Then there are the others. The vast majority of Catholics are the cradle Catholics. If you ask them they will say they have “always” been Catholic. We Catholics are baptized as babies and are told that water baptism has cleansed us from original sin– that baptism is an indelible mark that makes one a child of God. We grow up doing the Catholic thing – mass on Sunday, receiving communion, being confirmed at the appropriate age. Some during this journey take seriously the idea of following Jesus – not receiving communion in the state of mortal sin (for example), confessing their transgressions and trying to live the Christian life. Confirmation really means something to them and gives them further grace to follow Jesus.

However (and this is a big however) It seems that there are many who “go along with the program” but who have never made a serious commitment to follow Jesus–not just to believe in Him (even the devil does that) but really making Jesus Lord of their lives. They were born into the church, baptized in the church, and accept whatever Catholic teachings appeal to them. There are “born Catholics” who don’t believe that Jesus was divine, to take an extreme example. To my way of thinking they were “born Catholic” but they are not “born again” because being born again takes a decision at some point or another to accept Jesus not only as Savior but as Lord. It takes a decision to seek to do the will of God.

The disconnect between “born Catholics” and God was first brought home to me when I heard a priest who was assigned to teach catechism to the Catholic teenagers in a Catholic high school say that he discovered that “they didn’t need catechizing, they needed evangelization.”  (What happened when some of those teenagers actually decided they wanted to follow Jesus is a whole other story!)

Being born of water and the spirit speaks of the two aspects of baptism. Baptism requires not only pouring water on the person in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but also a personal act of the will.

Augustine in the City of God wrote:

Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ—it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism. For he that said, ‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,’ made an exception for them in that other statement in which he says no less generally, ‘Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven’” [Matt. 10:32]

Pope Paul VI in Lumen Gentium (16) repeats:

Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

Again, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1281): “Those who …without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will are saved even if they have not been baptized.”

The Catholic Church has long accepted as sufficient for salvation the baptism of blood (should you die for your faith unbaptized) and the baptism of desire (should you ardently desire water baptism but die without it) in lieu of water baptism.

It seems, then, that while water baptism is desirable it is the commitment that is crucial. You can be born again and not Catholic. And you can be “Catholic” and not born again. I write this with a prayer that anyone reading it who realizes they have never made Jesus the Lord of their life, that they have never told God that they want to do his will, will decide to do that now.

For cradle Catholics who wonder if the Catholic church is something they would want to join as an adult, ask yourself if you could say (and mean) the following:

The Renunciation of Satan
Priest: do you renounce Satan?
I do renounce him.
Priest: And all of his works?
I do renounce him.
Priest: And all his pomps?
I do renounce him.

The Profession of Faith

Priest: Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth?
I do believe.
Priest: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, Who was born and Who suffered?
I do believe.
Priest: Do you believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?
I do believe.


Will you be baptized?

I will.

The entire Rite of Baptism in the Catholic Church can be found here.


And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out  of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold all things are
new. 2 Cor. 5:17.