Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Designs by Birgit is Moving

Hi all! I wanted to let you know that I am packing up my posts and moving over to a new WordPress site by the same name. My goal is to make my musings more viewer friendly and to add more free content for sharing.

Some of the changes you will see:
  • The Pro-life memes I create and share on Facebook will be available for free download and sharing or using for your parishes, pages, or blogs.
  • Content will feel more accessible and user friendly (I hope).
What won't change is my dedication to share messages of faith, life, and creativity. 

Go check it out - I've added a few things already and will be working on getting settled in as quickly as possible. I hope you'll join me at the new Designs by Birgit location and consider sharing with your friends. 

Thanks and God bless!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sometimes Sharing Your Ordeal Blesses Other Victims

Sharing a heart-wrenching ordeal can become a matter of rejoicing when it witnesses victory over evil. Not just survival, but a of a flourishing outcome makes a profound statement . By looking closely at every obstacle, struggle, and eventual victory in their lives, people have the ability to discover hope. Such examinations of the past can be an aid to hope for a fruitful future. Most victims who share this kind of witness are in no way attempting to find fame or fortune. Nor are they seeking attention – their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. Contrarily, the dredging up of the past brings tears, pain, and sometimes even nightmares. Yet the experience begs to be shared as a beacon of hope to those experiencing similar ordeals.
"God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know his holy will, and to do it fully." -St. Ignatius of Loyola

After the Ordeal

I was an inexperienced fourteen-year-old teen when my life was forever changed in a horrific eye-opening ordeal. The cute boy down the street had a violent side and I was his naïve young victim. That I was not the only one affected goes without saying. Our family dynamic would never be the same. A new child was conceived.

The 1970’s were not like current times, with relaxed moral views and blasé reactions. Unwed motherhood was taboo and our family, Catholic and pro-life, hunkered down to await the new arrival. It was decided that the child, a boy, would be adopted by my parents and become a special sibling to us.

Life Moves On

After the new addition arrived we continued our small town American life. Returning to school was unnerving but college was in my future, necessitating the prerequisite grades. Aside from a few hushed whispers, our tiny community continued on without much ado.

My parents stipulated that dating begin promptly at sixteen. Remarkably I met a young man who won approval from my parents almost immediately. Something I now recognize as Divine Providence. We dated throughout high school and married during my senior year. My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to persuade my mother to allow us to adopt my brother (son) but the mother-child connection they had developed was too strong. My mother simply couldn’t give up the three-year-old son she now called her own.

College-bound after completion of high school, four years later found me as a married college graduate with a one-year-old son. Life had successfully and beautifully moved on. The scholarship I had been denied (because I was married), the teen ordeal and subsequent birth, as well as the youthful marriage, had not marred my future. If anything, these life circumstances had enhanced my ability to cope with responsibility and the unexpected. The graces flowing from our sacramental marriage allowed us to weather any storm and remain committed to loving each other.

Career Blessings

As unhindered as my education was, my career likewise flourished. The experience of my youth strengthened my drive to become a pro-life advocate. The BA acquired enhanced creative endeavors toward that goal. Tempered by the fire of the punitive ordeal, my organizational skills were finely honed as well. Life lessons had prepared me for numerous employment experiences including: Executive Director of pro-life groups, art teacher, and Field Representative for a pro-life U.S. Congressman.

Vocational Choice

In the end, my strong vocation for a traditional family won out. My preeminent career move was achieved. Stay at home mother became the most rewarding career choice for me. First, as the mother of three children attending Catholic schools and then as a home educator.

Now that my own children are grown and parents in their own right, I continue to relish home life by having grandchildren around me as much as possible. The life I have lived, the life I am living was not hindered in any way by my adolescent ordeal. In some ways the experiences I endured prepared me for who I want to be today.

There were myriad options along the way – but the choices were mine to make. In the end, an early pregnancy did not prevent the achievement of becoming who God called me to be. I became exactly who I was meant to be: A woman with many choices, armed with strength and faith and endless possibilities.

Don’t Believe the Abortion Hype

The telling of my experiences is in no way intended as a long list of self-congratulatory achievements. On the contrary, my hope is to inspire those who are thrust into similar circumstances. Never forget that Planned Parenthood and their ilk exist as money-making businesses whose success depends on taking the lives of helpless unborn babies by seducing their mothers by abortion promoting hype.

As with people who grow up in poverty, broken homes, and abuse, success is dependent on grace, a strong will, and faith in the human person who was created by an almighty God. He has endowed all people, from conception, with a right to life and an undeniable ability to achieve. To use an unexpected pregnancy as an excuse not to achieve is a morally bankrupt denial of the human will.

Abortion Hurts Society

In my pro-life work, I have been privileged to know many women who pulled themselves up out of their post-abortion desolation. Without fail, their regret is profound but their conviction for life is greater. Many of these women unselfishly relive the most painful experience in their lives in an effort to help others. They speak and write and volunteer in their vocation as pro-life advocates. Their pain is unspeakable and lingering guilt drives them to a profoundly selfless love of others. Although forgiven, a passionate resolve to bring something positive out of past flawed choices makes them insightful ambassadors for life.

Let us all do as much as we can to promote a Culture of Life. Even if the conception occurred under duress. After all, the child is simply another,living victim of this ordeal and has a God-given right to life. There can be no excuses to negate the fact that these children are as much of gift of God as the planned child. Furthermore, we no longer live in a time of scientific ignorance – even secular science confirms life begins at fertilization. Likewise, our faith in God confirms that all people are conceived as equals – each life is important, no matter its origin. Educate yourself, speak out, and pray to end abortion.

And if you are a sister survivor, please consider sharing your story - no matter the circumstances or which choice you made. The goal in doing God's work is to work in His vineyard. How many women and their babies might He save as a result of your witness?
“God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Catholics, Planned Parenthood, Birth Control, and Heresy

In an effort to justify (and excuse) birth control and require those who conscientiously object to provide it to others, Planned Parenthood has come up with a cute little meme. As Christians everywhere traverse the dangerous territory of skewed morality, our rights to deeply held religious beliefs are being put to the test.

The pro-abortion faction is no longer satisfied with thrusting their ideology on everyone through straightforward advertising. Now they have devised a fraudulent method to entice Christians to conform to their way of thinking. Enter abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. Known for ‘cute’ ways of rationalizing deadly behavior; they have created memes for all of us to share.
By choosing the meme that indicates your belief system – Catholic, Baptist, Christian, Muslim, etc. – you can now brightly proclaim that you have deviated from long-held religious beliefs, no matter which form of faith you practice.

Let us be clear. The purported support is for access to birth control. What they really mean is that the Little Sisters of the Poor and other Christian groups, businesses, and organizations should be forced to provide free birth control, contrary to their firmly held religious beliefs.

The Counter-Planned Parenthood Meme

With righteous indignation, my daughter created a counter-meme. In this graphic, she exposes the heretical nature of supporting and using artificial contraception. After all, publicly and loudly proclaiming to support a practice that has been condemned by the Catholic Church since her inception certainly is not acceptable for Catholics. Not only does practicing birth control represent a sinful act for these individuals, but by their public support they are also leading others astray by scandal.

The pulse racing response to the counter-meme has been enlightening. There have been arguments for using the pill for everything from acne to poly-cystic ovaries. Some stubbornly relate that the decision is ‘between me and my God”. Referencing Natural Family Planning (NFP) for a preferable and healthy alternative has been mostly met with silence.

What Is Heresy?

Another considerably negative response has been addressed toward the consideration of heresy being committed. I can understand the hesitancy in using the word – heresy – especially when seemly judging the souls of others. But is that what is intended? Is it possible that some of the accused may be committing heresy? Let’s take a very brief, historical walk through the Catholic Church and her approach to both birth control and heresy.

Let us first take a look at heresy and automatic excommunication. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC), aside from abortion, “eight other sins carry the penalty of automatic excommunication: apostasy, heresy, schism (CIC 1364:1), violating the sacred species (CIC 1367), physically attacking the pope (CIC 1370:1), sacramentally absolving an accomplice in a sexual sin (CIC 1378:1), consecrating a bishop without authorization (CIC 1382), and directly violating the seal of confession (1388:1)”.

Here it is understood that “heresy is the obstinate doubt or denial, after baptism, of a defined Catholic doctrine”.

Citing Humanae Vitae and Popes

Ever since (and before) Pope Paul VI promulgated his encyclical, Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), the highest Catholic authority has held to the prohibition of all forms of artificial birth control/contraception. While this teaching was difficult to accept by some, its affirmation of the consistent moral teaching of the Church on the sanctity of life was fervently upheld - by both Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

This uninterrupted teaching of Catholic Doctrine affirms the danger of contraception to the life of marriage/family (and therefore society as a whole). Given the medically confirmed fact that the Pill (as well as some other forms of birth control) acts as an abortifacient agent, the consequences progress even to the ending of unborn life.

Therefore, ignoring this clear position of the Church or doing the mental gymnastics required to justify the use of birth control, could indicate an “…obstinate doubt or denial, after baptism, of a defined Catholic doctrine” – heresy.

Just because birth control, per se, was not specifically mentioned does not negate the severity of departing from a position held by the Church since its inception. Can you imagine how long the list would be if each and every form of heretical belief was individually listed?

When Is It Not Heresy?

It is vitally important for Catholics to realize that “No one is automatically excommunicated for any offense if, without any fault of his own, he was unaware that he was violating a law (CIC 1323:2) or that a penalty was attached to the law (CIC 1324:1:9). The same applies if one was a minor, had the imperfect use of reason, was forced through grave or relatively grave fear, was forced through serious inconvenience, or in certain other circumstances (CIC 1324)".

However, I do submit that this stubbornly held belief (contrary to irrevocable Church teaching), shouted to the world, can become heretical. Willful ignorance, after being informed of Church law, is also a means of denial.

Meme vs. Meme

Planned Parenthood persists in twisting and misrepresenting people of faith. Historically, their meme campaigns rely on misinformation and skewed logic. Bright colors and catchphrases are employed to grab the attention of the public and lead them to accept a misconstrued sort of reality. When countering sound bites and eye-catching graphics, a similar approach often brings the misconception to light. In creating a similar meme, many people are given the corrected message.

Discussions and even heated debates allowed the truth to break to the surface. I daresay that many Catholics were lead to reexamine their own consciences concerning the topic of birth control and the Church. To this extent, even with the misgivings of some, fighting fire with fire elicited a response that was both educational and effective. Is this method everyone’s cup of tea? No. Just as pro-life advocates and even saints employ(ed) different means of preaching the Gospel, the tone of memes are subject to the particular approach of the messenger.

So, was the intention of the countering meme to unequivocally imply that every woman using birth control is a heretic? Absolutely not. However, I do submit that this stubbornly held belief (dangerously contrary to irrevocable Church teaching), shouted to the world, can become heretical.