Monthly Archives: April 2010

Baby Survives Abortion, Left to Die in Italy

News from Zenit:

ROSSANO, Italy, APRIL 28, 2010 ( The former president of the Academy for Life is lamenting the death of a baby who survived an abortion but died two days later after being left without care.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia stated on Vatican Radio that care is a duty even if the law does not require it, denouncing the neglect of a 22-week-old baby boy who survived in a hospital in Rossano after his mother attempted to have him aborted.

Prenatal scans had shown two malformations in the boy, in his palate and lip. His mother went to the Nicola Giannattasio hospital on Saturday to procure a so-called therapeutic abortion.

The baby, weighing just under 11 ounces, was deposited by doctors onto a sheet after the procedure, and placed in a container to await his death.
He continued to breathe, however, and an unidentified person noticed movement in the container on Sunday morning.

This person reported the matter to the hospital’s chaplain, Father Antonio Martello, who went and found the baby.

The little boy was still alive, with his umbilical cord attached, some 24 hours after the abortion attempt.

The priest alerted the doctors, who sent the baby to a neonatal unit at a nearby hospital, The Telegraph reported. He died there Monday morning.

Law enforcement officials are investigating the case to see if this qualifies as abandonment or homicide.

The bishop of that region, Archbishop Santo Marcianó of Rossano-Cariati, lamented the “arbitrary superficiality” of the staff that did not try to save the child, L’Osservatore Romano reported today.

He asserted that this case should “lead civil society to reflect on the tragic character of abortion, in so far as it is the suppression of a human being, and in this case, on the illicit character of the definition ‘therapeutic.'”

The prelate stated, “In fact, it is not a ‘cure,’ but reinforces the eugenic mentality that is spreading, and which not only increases recourse to abortion, but poses serious questions regarding the alleged benefit to the woman’s health and on the natural meaning of maternity.”

“It also invites us to consider with what ease a person who is seriously malformed and simply undesired is treated inhumanly,” he added.

Archbishop Marcianó expressed the hope that this case will spark a serious and fruitful debate and “lead each one to collaborate so that the value of the life of every human person is recognized as the foundation of a civil and just society.”

Bishop Sgreccia pointed out the limits of a law that does not provide for artificial respiration and tube feeding for fetuses of 23 or 24 weeks.

He asserted that doctors should look at “fact” rather than the age of the baby, “because if the aborted fetus, in a voluntary or accidental way, is alive — also if it is at the limit of survival, at the age limit — the doctor is in the presence of a fetus that, because it is strong or because the dates were not properly calculated, fortunately, is living.”

The doctor “is obliged to make it live,” the prelate said. He added that “the law must clarify this.”

Bishop Sgreccia called for “great care and great vigilance” because the underlying fact “is that it is a life that is born and also that is already outside the mother’s uterus, which shows that it can live, and must have all the help possible.”

It used to be the case that once you were born, if you survived birth, you were considered a person with rights, and doctors had to take care of you. So what is the case now? You are only a person if someone wants you? Only once you are old enough to fight for yourself?

A Prayer for Priests

Keep them I pray Thee, dearest Lord,
Keep them, for they are Thine;
Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them for they are in the world though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasurs tempt, allure — shelter them in Thy Heart.
Keep them, and comfort them in hours of lonliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
Keep them, and remember, O Lord, they have no one but Thee.
Yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress.
Their every thought and word and deed, deign, dearest Lord, to bless. Amen. — Anonymous

Three Years Ago…

OLGC Envelope

Originally uploaded by CadyLy

Three years ago, on April 7, 2007, at Easter Vigil, I was baptized, confirmed and received first Eucharist from Fr. John — officially entering the Catholic Church.

Prior to that, I first stepped foot inside St. Anastasia on January 14, 2007. I didn’t have a clue what was going on, but the day before on Saturday, I had woken up and said, “I’m going to be Catholic!” Rather a startling thing to say, because I’d been atheist/agnostic my entire life and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

So I Googled “Catholic church Troy” and came up with websites for two churches: St. Anastasia and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. I wasn’t particularly impressed with either website at first glance, but decided to go to St. Anastasia the next day, noting that the first Mass was at 8:15 am.

Why did I pick St. Anastasia?

Because I had gone to Troy High, and St. Anastasia was right next to Athens High. I figured that if I went to SEAS, as it was closer to my high school, I’d have a much greater chance of running into the parents of my high school classmates, who would then, of course, point me out immediately as a fraud for having dared entered a church.

I rationalized that if I didn’t like it at St. A’s, then I could always try SEAS the next week.

So, I went to Mass and sat in the very last benchy-thing. I didn’t go up in that line everyone else was getting into for communion, but stayed glued to my chair. After it was over and everyone was starting to leave, I went up to an usher and, mustering all the courage my scared little self had said, “How do you join?” The poor guy looked terrified that I had asked him this and said, “Uh…. Let’s find Father!”

In my head, I was like, “Oh no! Don’t bother HIM! Isn’t there some flunky I could talk to instead?” But I obediently followed the usher in solemn procession as we tried to find this “Father” person. The usher kept saying things like, “He was just here a minute ago….” And I so desperately wanted to tell him thanks, but nevermind, but I felt bad because I had already taken up several minutes of his time and felt obligated to stay until he had completed his mission.

Finally, we find him, and I find myself staring up, way up, at this man in vestments, who says something like, “Hi! How can I help you?” I look frantically at the usher, as if to say, “I told you; YOU tell him!!” I could swear the guy looked at me like, “Hey, I found him for you. You are on your own now. See ya.” Oh boy.

The Father was still standing there, expectantly. I looked up again and said, “How do you join?”

He smiles, “Oh! You went to the wrong Mass!”

I felt my eyes get big as I exclaimed, “There’s a wrong Mass??!?”

“No, no,” he reassured me. “It’s just that people who are coming into the Church go to the 10:15 Mass, and then there’s a meeting afterwards. So, go away and then come back…oh, about 11:30 or so at the Davidson, the building on the far end of the property by John R.”

So, I passed my time at the conveniently located Starbucks, where I seriously considered just forgetting about it all and going home.

What kept me from going home?

I knew that, somehow, if I ever decided to come to this church again, THAT MAN WOULD KNOW. And he would smack me saying, “I told you to come back!”

So, I came back and found my way into the Davidson Center. After a bit, a woman came up to me and gave me a Bible, a Catechism, a 5-inch binder and another book, plus a whole stack of papers.

I was still a little overwhelmed by it all and when I got home, I placed it all on the couch, then started looking at the back covers. “This is like $70 worth of stuff! I’d better go back next week!”

Actually, I haven’t missed a Sunday since that first one.  Less than 3 months after that, there I was at Vigil.

Shortly after coming into the Church at Easter Vigil, Patty, our Director of Religious Education, came up to me and told me a little more about that day. She said, “He (Fr. John) caught me between Masses and told me, ‘There’s going to be a [girl] coming to [RCIA] today. She’s going to be joining us at Easter. She’ll be ready.” (Or something to that effect, you’ll have to ask Patty for the verbatim.)

I could go on and on about all the wonderful people I met: Patty, Steve, my sponsor/godmother whom I came to love deeply… But to be short, I’ll just say that this changed everything. I had a new family. And I was home.

Shortly thereafter, Fr. John was transferred to a new parish. This parish was right on my way to work. And in September of 2007, Fr. John started up 6:30 am Masses. This was awesome, because it meant that I could go to Mass EVERY DAY on my way in to work at U of M! 🙂

Even though I knew Fr. John, I get anxious in new churches (which is odd because I am typically fearless in any other place). So, throughout that first Mass, I was white-knuckled, shaking in my chair in the Day Chapel.

Since OLGC is so conveniently located to work, it’s much easier to get there for Holy Days, than to try and beat the traffic back to Troy. Plus, the 5 days a week of daily Mass, the occasional Saturday morning Mass, Wednesday night Catholicism for Cradle Catholics and Gospel of Life speakers…. I was finding myself at OLGC quite a bit.

OLGC during the week, and St. A’s on Sunday (plus RCIA and Bible study and 5th grade catechism and…) but I wasn’t contributing to OLGC and this kind of bothered me.

When Archbishop Vigneron was installed and had a Mass at OLGC, I asked him if I could belong to more than one parish — and he gave me permission.

So this Easter, as one of my student loans was paid off and I had a little extra money, I decided that I should officially join OLGC, since it was becoming a second home and people were beginning to recognize me there at the various Church events.

On April 7, 2010, exactly three years after I was officially entered into the Catholic Church, I faxed over my application to be a parishioner.

And waited for the rejection letter…..

But, here I am! With the coveted Church Offering Envelopes!

SCORE!!!! 🙂

My little family is growing! 🙂

Now for the cute little ironies.

Last year January, I felt that God was calling me to work in the field of Bioethics, and so I was admitted to Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where I am working on my Master’s in Theology, hoping to go on to a PhD in Bioethics.

I was cleaning a couple of weeks ago and what did I find? The bulletin from that first day at St. Anastasia.

What did Fr. John write about in his article?

Bioethics. 🙂

And what is printed on the front of my new starter envelopes? Luke 6:36 “The measure you measure with will be measured back to you.”

The first time I think I heard this Gospel was during daily Mass at OLGC in that first year. I was grinning as soon as I heard it and I’m pretty sure I giggled all throughout the communion line.


Because I pictured this 2 story tall pyrex measuring cup and imagined myself telling Jesus, “THIS! THIS is the measure I use!”

Why Fr. John puts up with my laughing through his liturgy, I may never know. But he hasn’t kicked me out yet! 🙂

St. John Fisher

Here is my eagerly anticipated research paper on St. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, for your reading enjoyment! 🙂

Jennie Miller


St. John Fisher

Although there has been some controversy over the dating of St. John Fisher’s birth, due to clues such as his statement that he was “very young when made bishop,” and the timing of his graduation with his bachelor’s degree, Rev. Bridgett determines that St. John must have been born in 1468 or 1469 (Bridgett, 1922, p. 6-7).  Interestingly, it is noted that St. John’s paternal aunt married into the Wycliffe family (of early dissident John Wycliffe fame), which was devoutly Catholic despite the family’s notorious member (Bridgett, 1922, p. 8).  Despite his father’s death when he was quite young and his mother’s subsequent remarriage, St. John’s family was “united in affection to the end,” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 10).  He received a good education and was sent to Cambridge in 1483, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1487 and a Master’s degree in 1491 (Bridgett, 1922, p. 11-13).  He was highly esteemed at Cambridge, serving as proctor and being elected to be Master of Michael House in 1497 (Bridgett, 1922, p. 19).  It was around this time that his relationship with Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and mother to King Henry VII, began (Bridgett, 1922, p. 19).  In 1501, St. John received his Doctorate in Divinity, and the following year was called by the Countess to serve as her chaplain and confessor (Bridgett, 1922, p. 19).  In a letter addressed to his mother, King Henry VII says of Dr. Fisher:

I am well minded to promote Master Fisher, your confessor, to a bishopric; and I assure you, Madam, for none other cause, but for the great and singular virtue, that I know and see in him, as well as in cunning [i.e., talent] and natural wisdom, and specially for his good and virtuous living and conversation. And by the promotion of such a man I know well it should encourage many others to live virtuously and to take such ways as he doth, which should be a good example to many others hereafter (Bridgett, 1922, p. 24).

One example of his virtuous living came following the death of Lady Margaret.  She had left him a sum of money to be used at his discretion, regarding this bequest, he writes, “[It] should be spent for the good of my own soul, in the education of theologians, than squandered on my relatives, or wickedly and uselessly consumed for vain purposes, according to the custom of the world.  And this I do, not only for my own soul, but by my example to excite others to lend a helping hand to the college” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 33).  A papal bull dated October 14, 1505 officially conferred upon him the bishopric of Rochester (Huddleston, 1910).  In this same year, he was made Chancellor of Cambridge University, a position he would hold for life (Huddleston, 1910).

            In fitting with his virtuous life and scholastic affiliations, Bishop Fisher was a staunch defender of orthodoxy, particularly during the early years of the Protestant Reformation.  Because of his renown as a great preacher, he was chosen to preach against the German heresies on May 12, 1521 when the books of Luther and others were burned publicly in the presence of Cardinal Wolsey (Bridgett, 1922, p. 50).  Perhaps his most well-known defense of orthodoxy is a book he wrote in response to Luther, The Defence of the Priesthood.

            While St. John Fisher was highly regarded for his scholarship and position at Cambridge and his defense of heresy, “we know enough to be sure that no energy, spent elsewhere, was at the expense of his primary duty to his own people.  He was known, not only throughout England, but to all Europe, as the model of a perfect bishop” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 53).  Even King Henry VIII, prior to the events surrounding his divorce, was known to rely upon the Bishop of Rochester over all other bishops (Bridgett, 1922, p. 54).  Upon his episcopal consecration, St. John took, as was common of English bishops in that time, both an oath of allegiance to the pope as well as an oath of allegiance to the king and his heirs (Bridgett, 1922, p. 57).  While the diocese of Rochester, which was formed by St. Augustine, was the smallest diocese in England, St. John was not concerned with seeking a wealthier see and was noted to say that “it was safer to have fewer souls and less money to account for, and that he would not desert his poor old wife for the richest widow in England” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 59, 61).  He led such an austere life, that his friend, Erasmus, was noted to say of his home, “As to me, I could not live in such a place three hours without being sick” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 62).  In his personal life, he was known for his devotion to daily prayer and the Mass (Bridgett, 1922, p. 65-6).  “The ordinary fasts appointed by the Church he kept very roundly, and to them he joined many other particular fasts of his own devotion, as appeared well by his own thin and weak body, whereupon though much flesh was not left, yet would he punish the very skin and bones upon his back.  He wore most commonly a shirt of hair, and many times he would whip himself in most secret wise” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 68).  He was always furthering his education and was said to have “the best private library in England, perhaps in Europe” and even taught himself Hebrew and Greek so that he could study the Scriptures in their original languages (Bridgett, 1922, p. 92, 94-5).

            Trouble began for St. John with Henry VIII’s bid for divorce from Catharine.  “He sought divorce from the pope, not as if the pope could dissolve a valid marriage, but on the ground that his marriage had been null and void from the beginning….  [His] contention was . . . that the pope was not omnipotent, and that he [Pope Julius II] had gone beyond his power in trying to remove impediments which God had placed, and to bind in marriage where God forbade to bind” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 142-3).  At this time, Bishop Fisher served Queen Catharine as counsellor, appearing before the Legatine Court where “he startled his hearers by the directness of his language and most of all by declaring that, like John the Baptist, he was ready to die on behalf of the indissolubility of marriage” (Huddleston, 1911).  As bold as he was in court, St. John did not reach this position quickly, but as he says, “[t]he matter was so serious, both on account of the importance of the persons concerned, and on account of the injunction given to me by the king, that I devoted more attention to examining the truth of it, lest I should deceive myself and others, than to anything else in my life” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 162). 

“One consideration,” he writes, “that greatly affects me to believe in the sacrament of marriage is the martyrdom of St. John Baptist, who suffered death for his reproof of the violation of marriage. There were many crimes in appearance more grievous for rebuking which he might have suffered, but there was none more fitting than the crime of adultery to be the cause of the blood-shedding of the Friend of the Bridegroom, since the violation of marriage is no little insult to Him who is called the Bridegroom” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 175).

After this, the matter was taken up in Rome, bringing “Fisher’s personal share therein to an end, but the king never forgave him for what he had done” (Huddleston, 1911).  In 1930, as Henry VIII continued to attempt to usurp the authority of the Church, the bishops of Rochester, Bath and Ely appealed to Rome.  Henry issued an edict to forbid appeals of this nature and had the three bishops arrested and held for a short time (Huddleston, 1911).  On May 15, 1532, the Act of the Submission of the clergy was passed and St. Thomas More resigned the chancellorship (Bridgett, 1922, p. 221; Huddleston, 1911).  That June, while the king tried to convince the opponents of his divorce that the pope favored his cause, Bishop Fisher publicly preached against the divorce, and subsequently found himself, “in danger of prison and other trouble” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 223-4).  “The king had determined to have the Bishop of Rochester out of the way during the public farce of Queen Catharine’s citation and divorce by Cranmer, and the coronation of Anne Boleyn, lest one voice should be heard in indignant protest.  Cranmer was consecrated 30th March [1533], and Fisher was arrested on 6th April” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 226).  He was released following Anne’s coronation on 1 June (Huddleston, 1911).  In March of 1534, the Act of Succession was passed whereby people were compelled to take this oath “acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne [and not Princess Mary by Queen Catharine] as legitimate heirs to the throne, under pain of being guilty of misprision of treason” (Huddleston, 1911).  Because taking the oath meant condoning the violation of Henry’s marriage to Catharine, St. John refused to take the oath and was sent to the Tower of London on April 26, 1534 (Huddleston, 1991).  In May of 1535, Pope Paul III elevated St. John to Cardinal, in the hopes that this would improve King Henry’s treatment of him in prison; however, this only infuriated Henry and caused him to arrange for a trial for St. John Fisher, charging him with treason by way of refusing to recognize him as the head of the Church (Huddleston, 1911).  St. John was found guilty and condemned to drawing, hanging and quartering, but because they feared he would not survive the journey to the location where this was typically carried out, the Cardinal was taken to Tower Hill where he was beheaded (Bridgett, 1922, p. 391-2).  It is reported that his last words upon the scaffold were;

“Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ’s holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death; wherefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death’s stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith, free from any fear. And I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this realm, and that it may please Him to hold His hold hand over it, and send the king good counsel” (Bridgett, 1922, p. 396).

            St. John Fisher’s contributions to the Catholic Church are many, including his numerous extant letters and two books (The Defense of the Priesthood and Exposition of the Seven Penitential Psalms).  In a time of great unrest, uncertainty of the true authority of the Church and scandalous example of many clergy within the Church, St. John stood out as a bishop of uncompromising principle and ironclad integrity.  He not only lived as a shining example for others, but he would preach publicly and publish material so as to defend the faith and instruct the people on the orthodox teachings of the Church.  After his martyrdom, his head was place on a pole on London Bridge. 

Fisher’s head kept its form and features so well and so lifelike that, after a few days, people began to gather in front of it, praying for the intercession of the saint whose head it was. Hundreds of people from London and its suburbs made daily pilgrimages to the place. Instead of being a threat, the sight of the head was an encouragement to the firm believers in the faith of Christ (McCann, 1938, p. 258).

St. John’s impact is felt today most keenly in his amazing witness.  This is also an age of uncertainty, where modernism and relativism reign supreme.  St. John shows us how to have unfailing faith in objective Truth.  As Bishop of Rochester, he shows today’s priests how to live out their vocations, by keeping your flock your first priority, by always learning and seeking out Truth, by defending that Truth as vigorously as necessary and, ultimately, by having trust in the Lord.  Perhaps Mr. Smith best states the importance St. John Fisher and his fellow martyr St. Thomas More have for us today when he says:

In these black days when many countries are the scene of a determined attempt to destroy the works of God; in these days when all the interests and needs of man, religious, cultural, economic, are threatened on every side; in these black days John Fisher and Thomas More return to earth, bidding us to be of good cheer. God is still the master of the centuries and His paths still lead onward to the light. Secondly, the Martyrs have returned to encourage us in the daily martyrdom of life…. [T]hrough constant faithfulness to his duty of the moment . . . each built up . . . a character capable of answering the supreme call when that call came (Smith, 1935, p. 295).


Bridgett, T.E.  (1922).  Life of Blessed John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and Martyr Under Henry VIII.  4th ed.  London:  Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd.

Huddleston, G.  (1910).  St. John Fisher.  In The Catholic Encyclopedia.  New York:  Robert Appleton Company.  Retrieved April 13, 2010 from New Advent:

McCann, P.  (1938).  A Valiant Bishop Against a Ruthless King.  St. Louis, MO:  B. Herder Book Co.

Smith, R.L.  (1935).  John Fisher and Thomas More:  Two English Saints.  New York, NY:  Sheed & Ward Inc.

Excerpt from “Fides et Ratio” by Pope John Paul II

“The Council teaches that ‘the obediance of faith must be given to God who reveals himself.’ This brief but dense statement points to a fundamental truth of Christianity. Faith is said first to be an obediant response to God.

This implies that God be acknowledged in his divinity, transcendence and supreme freedom. By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals. By faith, men and women give their assent to this divine testimony.

This means that they acknowledge fully and integrally the truth of what is revealed because it is God himself who is the guarantor of that truth. They can make no claim upon this truth which comes to them as gift and which, set within the context of interpersonal communication, urges reason to be open to it and to embrace its profound meaning.

This is why the Church has always considered the act of entrusting oneself to God to be a moment of fundamental decision which engages the whole person. In that act, the intellect and will display their spiritual nature, enabling the subject to act in a way which realizes personal freedom to the full.”

“It is faith that allows individuals to give consummate expression to their own freedom. Put differently, freedom is not realized in decisions made against God. For how could it be an exercise of true freedom to refuse to be open to the very reality which enables our self-realization? Men and women can accomplish no more important act in their lives than the act of faith; it is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth and chooses to live in that truth.”

St. John … Fisher…. (A Description)

From “Life of Blessed John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and Martyr Under Henry VIII” by Rev. T. E. Bridgett, 1922:

In stature of body he was tall and comely, exceeding the common and middle sort of men, for he was to the quantity of six feet in height, and being therewith very slender and lean, was nevertheless upright and well-formed, straight-backed, big-jointed, and strongly sinewed. His hair by nature black…. His eyes long and round, neither full black nor full grey, but of a mixed colour between both. His forehead smooth and large; his nose of a good and even proportion; somewhat wide-mouthed and big-jawed, as one ordained to upper speech much, wherein was, notwithstanding, a certain comeliness; his skin somewhat tawny, mixed with many blue veins. His face, hands, and all his body so bare of flesh, as is almost incredible, which came the rather (as may be thought) by the great abstinence and penance he used upon himself many years together, even from his youth. In his countenance he bore such a reverend gravity, and therewith in his doings exercised such discreet severity, that not only of his equals, but even of his superiors, he was both honoured and feared.
In speech he was very mild, temperate, and modest, saving in matters of God and his charge, [and in the affairs] which then began to trouble the world, and therein he would be earnest above his accustomed order. But vainly or without cause he would never speak; neither was his ordinary talk of common worldly matters, but rather of the Divinity and high power of God, of the joys of heaven and the pains of hell, of the glorious death of martyrs and strait life of confessors, which such-like virtuous and profitable talk, which he always uttered with such a heavenly grace that his words were always a great edifying in his hearers.

[Bolding is mine.]