Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Conferences at Steubenville

Franciscan University at Steubenville (Ohio) offers spiritual conferences in the summer that have been popular among people ages 18-30 for many years. Check out the schedule of charismatic, spiritual and apologetic conferences here.  One of the conferences, "Defending the Faith", is from July 26-28.  Based on the video and write-up below, it looks really good!  A slew of powerhouse Catholic speakers will be there.  Of course, the greatest Catholic speaker, the Holy Spirit, will be leading it all! 


July 26 – 28

Faith Transforming Culture

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
—Matthew 28:19

There is not a conference on earth that better equips ordinary Catholics for the work of the new evangelization. The program at Defending the Faith includes bestselling authors and renowned speakers—men and women who not only teach, but also motivate. People travel from the far corners of the country (and abroad) to attend, and they go home with renewed confidence, zeal, and real knowledge. They go home with power to evangelize.

This year’s conference focuses on the difference in the new evangelization—the qualities that make it new. Pope Benedict XVI, like his blessed predecessor, insists that this is not just the work of missionaries and priests. Explaining and defending the faith is the job description of every Catholic.

No pope, no bishop, no parish priest can reach our workplaces and neighborhoods the way ordinary lay people can, if they’re prepared to give witness. No experience prepares lay people as well as
Defending the Faith.

The popes tell us we must take the Gospel not only to those who are ignorant of Christ, but also to those who are baptized but have grown lukewarm in faith. Ours is not just a one-time witness, but ongoing and ever-deepening.

What’s more, our focus is not just individual, but cultural. Our goal is the establishment of what
Blessed Pope John Paul II called a “civilization of love.”

This year’s roster of speakers helps us to see our mission clearly—what we need to do to bring about change in politics, media, art, and everyday conversation

We must not abandon the field to those who despise our faith. We cannot love our neighbor if we’re not working to transform the culture. We will be judged by how well we’ve given witness.

Defending the Faith is where great and effective witness begins. Make your beginning by registering today.

Talk Titles
“Offering the World a Better Life!”
“Mary Star of the New Evangelization: Our Lady’s Spiritual Journey and the Year of Faith”
“How to Lose the Culture War”
“I Fought the Church and the Church Won”

“New Media and the New Evangelization”
“By What Authority?”
Don’t Impose Your Morality on Me! Engaging the Culture of Moral Relativism”

Additional Information
Early Session begins 2 p.m. (Travelers’ Mass available at 4 p.m.)
Conference ends Sunday by 1 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"How to Become An Annoying Catholic (In Eight Easy Steps)"

As a follow-up to my post from May 21, please check out this informative and entertaining post from here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Varsity Catholic" by FOCUS...coming to GW!

We found out today from FOCUS that we will be getting a fifth missionary next year...a "Varsity Catholic" missionary!  We don't know who it is yet, but are very excited to be getting a new missionary whose ministry will be primarily to athletes.  For more info, check out the video below and click here.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Homily - "Share in the life of the Trinity"

It is much quieter on the campus of GW now that the students have gone home for the summer.  Some of them are around during the summer months, and I have continued meeting with a few. One of them asked me in our meeting, "what is Grace?" This is a beautiful but tough question. Answering it is much like articulating the dogma of the Holy Trinity. We are dealing with mystery, so while we won't be able to understand it fully, we can at least use the language of the Church to define or describe it. 

As some of you memorized when you were young, Grace is a share in divine life. It is a share in God's life. Grace is the most incredible thing in the world! I don't think we begin to appreciate this until we start living a life of Grace. Grace is everything, and everything is Grace. Grace gives us strength to live as we are supposed to live...and as we truly want to live. And, as we hear in today's readings, Grace attaches us to the things of God. When we share in God's life, we share in wisdom (1st reading), virtue (2nd reading), and truth (Gospel). I met with a student for an hour and a half last week talking about things like the Trinity. She was so impressed with and inspired by the wisdom and truth of the Church. It's an incredible thing to come to know wisdom and truth!

As Jesus indicates in the Gospel, the Spirit guides us to all truth...particularly, the truth about God. Thanks to the Spirit, we know who God is! As a people, we waited for
housands of years to know who God is. We now know that God is Father, Son, and Spirit. This is what He has revealed to us through Scripture and the Church. Reason tells us THAT God exists, but faith tells us WHO God is. The Spirit not only tells us who God is, but He also invites us to share in God's life. What does a share in the life of the Trinity look like? What is the life in the Trinity?

The Church describes the Holy Trinity as a "communion of persons". We are invited, then, into this communion...this family of divine persons. The Trinity is three persons, one God. They are distinct persons who share the same substance. We now use the correct term in the creed, "consubstantial"; each divine person shares the same substance. The Church says that each has a distinct "mission". This word "mission" helps us to work through the doctrine of the Trinity.

The mission of the Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. The Father and Son have infinite love for one another. This is from all eternity, so our finite minds cannot really grasp this. But, their love for one another cannot be contained. It overflows - like coffee overflowing a cup - and generates another divine person, the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. Analogous to this is the love between husband and wife overflowing to create another person; every baby is the love between his or her parents. The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the us. He invites us to share in the love of the Trinity. 

The mission of the Son is knowledge of the Father. He says a few times in the Gospel that if we know Him, we know the Father. The Father sends the Son into the world for us to know Him. Everything comes to us from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. This is the Trinitarian formula which shows us the missions of each divine person.

Finally, we use this Trinitarian formula at Mass. If you listen to the prayers, then you hear that they are offered to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. And, when we receive the Eucharist, God makes His dwelling within us: Father, Son, and Spirit. Where there is the Son, there is the Father and Holy Spirit. 

As we leave Mass tonight, let us think about what we do when we dip our fingers into the holy water font and bless ourselves. This reminds us of our Baptism when we first received God's Grace and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit came into our souls. And, it reminds us of the Trinitarian lives we are to live: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Praying for the families in Oklahoma

‘I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them,’...tweet of Pope Francis.

“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord”

.- The Pope told Christians it is better to be “annoying” and “a nuisance” than lukewarm in proclaiming Jesus Christ.

“If we annoy people, blessed be the Lord,” said Pope Francis during his morning Mass at the Vatican on May 16.

“We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when things are too quiet in the Church,” he said at the chapel of the Saint Martha residence, where he lives.

He celebrated the Mass alongside Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso, the president and the secretary of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace.

Council staff and employees from Vatican Radio were among those attending the Eucharistic celebration.

The Pope preached on today’s first reading from Acts 22 and contrasted “backseat Christians” with those who have apostolic zeal.

“There are those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and apostolic zeal,” he stated.

The pontiff said apostolic zeal “implies an element of madness,” which he labeled as “healthy” and “spiritual.”

He added that it “can only be understood in an atmosphere of love” and that it is not an “enthusiasm for power and possession.”

Pope Francis also dwelt on St. Paul’s actions in the reading from Acts.

“Paul, in preaching of the Lord, was a nuisance, but he had deep within him that most Christian of attitudes, apostolic zeal,” he stated.

“He was not a man of compromise, no!” he exclaimed. “The truth, forward! The proclamation of Jesus Christ, forward!”

The Pope noted that St. Paul’s fate was one “with many crosses, but he keeps going, he looks to the Lord and keeps going.”

“He is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable.
“It threatens our comfort zones, even Christian comfort zones, right?” he asked the congregation. “It irritates us.”

Pope Francis underscored that the Lord “always wants us to move forward, forward, forward, not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures.”

Saint Paul’s apostolic zeal, he observed, comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Paul did not find and encounter Jesus Christ with an intellectual or scientific knowledge, but with “that first knowledge of the heart and of a personal encounter.”

According to the Pope, St. Paul was a “fiery” individual who was always in trouble, “not in trouble for troubles’ sake, but for Jesus” because “proclaiming Jesus is the consequence.”

“The Church has so much need of this, not only in distant lands, in the young churches, among people who do not know Jesus Christ, but here in the cities, in our cities, they need this proclamation of Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis stressed.

“So let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace of apostolic zeal, let’s be Christians with apostolic zeal, onwards, as the Lord says to Paul, take courage!” he exclaimed.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Homily - "The Spirit has been leading us"

Given at the Vigil Mass for Pentecost which was also the Baccalaureate Mass for our graduating seniors:
Earlier in the week, we had our Senior Night when we honored our seniors with a Mass and dinner.  It was a great time of reminiscing over the past four years.  If you all remember that summer of 2009, then you might recall meeting me at orientation (CI) or in the first few weeks of school.  I asked you what you would be studying and what you wanted to do after graduation.  So many of you said, “I want to be president”.  I replied, “That’s cool.  President of what?” “Of the United States”.  I laughed it off with the first few of you, but then after the first dozen or so (!), I took it more seriously.  That summer was when I arrived as chaplain of the Newman Center (we are seniors together!) and the campus minister was two campus ministers ago.  So, a lot has happened since you began GW…even the outside of the Newman Center has changed dramatically!  When you arrived, the exterior paint was something out of the Partridge Family from the 70s – “earth tones” like brown, green, orange, etc.  We brightened it up with yellow and blue, trying to make it in the family of buff and blue.

If you think back to who you were four years ago – teenagers right out of high school – then you will see how much you have grown intellectually, personally, and spiritually.  We all have grown! You have helped me to grow, no doubt.  I said the other night that you have taught me so much.  One of the greatest things you have taught me is to teach the truth in love.  And, underscore IN LOVE.  My primary task is to teach.  We celebrate Pentecost tonight when the Spirit of Truth came upon the early Church and has been guiding the Church in truth ever since.  Our mission is to speak the Truth, and you have taught me, mainly through your example, to do it in kindness , compassion, gentleness, and patience.  Thank you for all that you have taught me!

One thing we have definitely shared together these past four years is the Holy Spirit.  If there was any doubt that the Spirit has been guiding us, God made it abundantly clear this semester.  We had such an awesome semester with the Spirit, especially during the Easter Season when the readings spoke to us so much about uniting in persecution and in joy.  Sometimes, God sends the Spirit in dramatic ways so that we will know He is there with us.  Look at the event of Pentecost: it is pretty dramatic! The Spirit comes upon the Apostles who were all together in a room afraid to go outside “for fear of the Jews”.  They were afraid to be identified as followers of Jesus.  Then, the Spirit comes upon them as tongues of fire, and they go out and boldly proclaim Jesus. The same Spirit that dramatically came upon them has come upon you these past four years, sometimes in extraordinary ways and sometimes in ordinary ways.  But, make no mistake, the Spirit has been leading us.

Jesus says in the Gospel (Jn 20:19-23) that “as the Father has sent me, so I send you”.  The word apostle means, “one who is sent”.  You have been modern day apostles on this campus the past four years, going out to campus and inviting people to Jesus.  I said this to you when you were freshmen and you response has literally been known around the country and the world.  Cardinal Wuerl has used you and our GW Catholic community as the main example of the New Evangelization in homilies and talks in Washington and around the country, as well as in his new book. Who knows, maybe he even mentioned you in the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization last year in Rome!  As Christ sent out the Apostles, He has sent you out to this campus.  Now, He sends you out to the world.  Just like the Apostles, you have been all together to receive the Spirit; now you, too, go out separately to speak the Truth in love.

So, that’s the plan going forward.  How do you live it?  St. Paul gives you a spiritual blueprint for your future in our second reading (Rom 8:8-17): life in the Spirit.  You have a choice as you have had the past four years: to live in the flesh or in the Spirit.  You have seen that when we live in the Spirit, it’s just different.  Living in the Spirit brings joy, and not just pleasure which passes.  It brings peace.  When Jesus gives peace to the Apostles in the Gospel (and He says twice, “peace be with you”), He gives it in the form of a divine person, the Spirit! It is the Spirit of joy, peace, love, kindness, generosity, chastity, and all the fruits.  Life in the Spirit means a life of freedom.  I hope you have experienced this freedom in your time here, especially with regards to chastity. 

Finally, live this life in the Spirit centered on the Eucharist.  Jesus promises in John’s Gospel that those who remain in Him and Him in us (Eucharistic language) have life, bear much fruit, and live forever.  The saints found happiness in their devotion to the Eucharist, and I promise you will find happiness in a life centered on the Eucharist.  So, go to Mass every Sunday no matter where you are, and daily Mass whenever you can.  And, pray the rosary every day, at least a part of it.  Again, the saints’ ticket to happiness was in Jesus through Mary. 

Just because we will be separated physically does not mean we will be separated spiritually.  I will pray for you every day, and please pray for me and our GW Catholic community.  I am always here for you in the future as I’ve been here for you the past four years. One of the things you have realized about having a celibate priest around is that I am always here.  If there is one thing I hope you have learned in these four years from me – other than that the Eucharist is really the Body and Blood of Christ (!) – is how much God loves you.  And, how much I love you.  My hope is that you believe deeply in your hearts that you are good and you are loved.       

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pro-lifers: reject the death penalty for Gosnell

Why the pro-life movement must reject the death penalty for Kermit Gosnell

Is it any surprise that Dr. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of murder? His trial, when people finally started paying attention, disgusted the nation for weeks. He killed babies, inside the womb and out, he discriminated on the basis of race, he put women in danger, he made the world an uglier place.
The world is a touch more just, now that he has been found guilty. But soon many will begin banging their drums with bloodlust, calling for the death penalty. But what good is responding to death with death?

In fact, pro-lifers often make the argument that responding to a violent act (rape) with another violent act (abortion), only perpetuates a cycle of evil and violence. This is not to say that putting Gosnell to death is the moral equivalent of aborting a baby conceived of rape, as putting Gosnell to death would not necessarily be unjust. But it is to say that fixating on the death penalty for Gosnell is focusing our attention in the wrong place.

Our Constitution may permit the death penalty, but our hearts should resist it. And in our modern world, where the human heart is so coarsened against the dignity and value of all human life, there is actually much good that can come of sparing the life of a criminal and causing him instead to live the rest of his life in penance for his crimes. Blessed Pope John Paul frequently made the case against the death penalty, arguing that the world had developed in such a way that, “society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”

Professor Robert George has gone so far as to suggest that a plea for mercy for the life of Gosnell from the pro-life community might touch the hearts of heinous criminals such as he. Pro-lifers must realize that we can condemn Gosnell’s murder and infanticide and the crimes committed by abortionists every day, without calling for their lives.

Rather than focusing on Gosnell’s punishment, we should instead turn our attention to the hellish world that legal abortion has created. The Gosnell trial brought to light just how hideous and gruesome second and third trimester abortions are, even when legal. It has forced us to come to terms with the reality that abortion still places women in danger. It has sewn death into the bedrock of feminism, depriving women of the knowledge that they have alternatives to midnight assaults on their wombs when they are pregnant and scared.

Don’t get me wrong, Gosnell’s crimes rank among the most vile I’ve ever known to transpire in my short life.

But clamoring for his death perpetuates a culture of death. Pro-lifers must stay focused on saving babies, not on killing their killers.

Ashley E. McGuire is a Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association and the editor of Altcatholicah. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

US Bishops Announce 2nd Fortnight for Freedom

Prayer Effort Answers Threats to Religious Liberty
By Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2013 ( - The second annual Fortnight for Freedom will take place from June 21 to July 4, and will consist of national and local efforts to educate Americans on challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the US bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, will open the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom by celebrating Mass at Baltimore's National Shrine of the Assumption.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington will celebrate the closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4, American Independence Day.
"The need for prayer, education, and action in defense of religious liberty has never been greater," explained Archbishop Lori. "The Fortnight for Freedom exists to meet that need. This year's

Fortnight occurs just weeks before August 1, when the administration's mandate coercing us to violate our deeply-held beliefs will be enforced against most religious non-profits. During the
Fortnight the Supreme Court's decisions on the definition of marriage will likely be handed down as well. Those decisions could have a profound impact on religious freedom for generations to come."
Resources for the Fortnight are at
The site has items such as one-page fact sheets outlining current threats to religious freedom both in the United States and abroad; frequently asked questions about religious liberty, including quotes from the Founding Fathers, the Second Vatican Council and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI; and a study guide on Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II's document on religious liberty.
The Web site also lists sample activities already planned in several dioceses, an image gallery of photos from last year's Fortnight celebrations, as well as resources and recommendations for other local efforts, such as prayers for use in special liturgies.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Homily - "Let nothing disturb your peace"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

I would like to start by talking about a prayer plan for your summer which a few students have asked for.  We have had such a good and fruitful semester with the Holy Spirit together, and we want to keep it going.  It’s tough when we separate for the summer and you all go on your own.  So, the prayer plan will be to pray every day, of course.  I took this to prayer last week and asked the Lord how many minutes a day you should be praying: 5 minutes? 10? 20?  All of a sudden, the lyrics to the song, “22”, came into my head.  No joke.  It was like, “I’m feeling 22”, and I was like, “what? Oh, I’m feeling 22 minutes of prayer each day”.  Kinda weird, I know; I didn’t know Jesus was a Taylor Swift fan! But, it makes sense because every time you hear that song this summer, it will remind you of the prayer plan.
Also, 22 minutes is about the length of the average weekday Mass.  I know you won’t be able to get to Mass every day (in addition to Sunday), but go whenever you can.  The Mass is the greatest prayer; daily Mass is the best way for us to grow spiritually.  It takes about 22 or 23 minutes for me to pray the rosary every night, but I have a long list of intentions that you don’t have (yet) so it won’t take as long.  You can also read one chapter of a Gospel every day, and meditate on it for 22 minutes.  You can “lectio divina”; this is when you pray over a passage and just let a word or phrase or scene really speak to you.  If you have a smart phone, you can get an app called “iBreviary”.  This is the Liturgy of the Hours in which you pray throughout the day – morning prayer, daytime, evening, etc. in the tradition of Jesus and David who prayed seven times a day.  Some of our students do this and love it.  This would add up to 22 minutes.  Whatever you do, I recommend a “prayer partner” – someone who would either do this as well or just hold you accountable for doing it.  You need someone else with you because you won’t be able to do this on your own.  One of our students told me that her brother will be her prayer partner, not that he would pray, but that he would make sure she will pray. 

One of the biggest reasons to pray every day is to remain in the peace of the Holy Spirit.  We have had such a huge semester with the Spirit in persecution, joy, unity, and love.  We want to keep it going!  One student talked to me last weekend about the peace of the Spirit.  She has had such a good year with the Holy Spirit when she needed it most.  She has been at such peace.  But, then last weekend, a friend who is supposedly a believer said things to her that were not from the Holy Spirit.  It really rattled her.  We identified what was going on: that this had disturbed her peace.  It’s like we hear in the first reading where the Apostles are talking about people who have “disturbed your peace of mind”.  It’s a spiritual principle to “let nothing disturb your peace”.  We want to watch out for people or things that will disturb our peace; especially this summer, watch out for serious sin that will do this. So, her peace was disturbed and she was shaken.  Then, she told me the other night that she had a conversation with another friend that was totally from the Holy Spirit.  Her peace was restored, and you could see it all over her face. 

Jesus talks about peace tonight in the Gospel right after alluding to the Holy Spirit “whom the Father will send in my name, …teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you”.  We hear the Spirit teaching the early Church in the first reading in the awesome Acts of the Apostles which we’ve been hearing all Easter season.  It is the Spirit who has led the Church from day one for 2000 years now!  Then, the Lord talks about peace.  He says the words we have heard thousands of times at Mass, “peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”.  The first part is the Jewish greeting of “shalom”; the second part is the peace that Jesus gives which is deeper: the peace of the Holy Spirit.  The peace He gives is the Holy Spirit! We first receive this peace in Baptism and it grows more and more in the sacramental life.  When this peace is embedded in our hearts, we are not “troubled or afraid”.  It is intensely cool to live without fear!  This is the peace of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, let’s go back to the first paragraph of the Gospel – Christ talking about the love of God.  If we love Him, we will keep His Word.  The Spirit helps us to keep His Word…keep the 22 minutes a day this summer.  And, “my Father will love him (or her), and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”.  God makes His dwelling with us: this is Eucharistic language.  As we receive the Lord tonight in the Eucharist, let us receive His love…let us receive His peace.  It’s like what Father Dan talked about at the Healing Mass: to receive Christ’s healing is to receive His love.  When we receive His peace, we receive His love, and God makes His dwelling with us.  Receive His love tonight, and just rest in His love and His peace.  Dwell in the peace of the Holy Spirit.  Let the peace come deep into your hearts and know that God loves you.  He loves you.  Parting thought for you for the summer: know deep in your hearts that you are good and you are loved.   

Friday, May 03, 2013

"She deserved better"

One of our juniors, Chris Crawford, had his commentary on the Gosnell case published by the National Catholic Register!  Congratulations to Chris, a gifted writer and speaker who brings passion and compassion to his mission as our Pro-Life Director.  The commentary is below; click here to view it on the NCR site.

Gosnell Trial, Long Ignored by the Media, a Potential Game Changer

by Chris Crawford
The gruesome details of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial are beginning to soak into the minds of Americans who read the belated news reports on the trial of the Pennsylvania doctor who performed late-term abortions.

Gosnell is charged with murder, in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies prosecutors say survived late-term abortions. As one column noted this week, the facts of the case are so grisly that an online fact-checking site was forced to confirm that the murders actually happened.

Any person who examines the Gosnell case understands that this has the potential to be a game changer for the way much of the culture views abortion in America. The Gosnell case is one that can awaken the consciences of Americans who have never fully examined the humanity of the unborn child since Roe v. Wade.

After the media began to report on the story, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America,
criticized pro-lifers and blamed them for the Gosnell murders. Indeed, she claimed that overregulation of the abortion industry is the reason that an abortionist was able to kill one woman and dozens of babies outside of the womb.

Yes, NARAL and its allies have the audacity to claim that overregulation was the reason that Gosnell was able to operate an abortion business with unsanitary equipment, bloody counter surfaces, parts of unborn children clogging up toilets and the necks of born-alive babies being “snipped” by unqualified staff members.

I have an alternative theory to NARAL’s “overregulation” defense. Perhaps the atrocities of Gosnell’s house of horrors happened because society does not embrace the “culture of life” that pro-lifers strive for. Perhaps Gosnell and others were desensitized to killing a baby outside of the womb because doing the same thing inside the womb is legally protected and culturally normal.

After all, the snipping of a fully formed baby’s neck inside of the womb is a “safe and legal” medical procedure. It is only when the child is outside of the womb that the procedure becomes a potentially capital criminal offense. If Gosnell had simply snipped the children’s necks five minutes earlier than he did, the law would protect him rather than demand his prosecution.

This is why the Gosnell case can be a game changer for the American conscience: Because decent people shudder at the notion of a baby’s neck being “snipped” on an operating table, they are forced to realize that the same disturbing procedure is legal when performed inside the womb. It is not the brutality with which Gosnell operated that made his actions illegal; it is merely the age of his victims.
Therein lies the collapse of the pro-choice argument. We look upon the dead baby girl on the operating table, and our hearts break. We look upon her lifeless little body and think, “She deserved better.”

This heartbreaking sentiment should cause each of us to consider the following question: “When did this baby girl start deserving better?”

Was it when her mother could start to feel her kicking feet? Was it when she could begin feeling pain? Was it when her heart started beating during the first trimester? Or when her unique, individual DNA was formed at conception?

And when we look upon this lifeless body, we don’t care what took her life. We don’t care if saline solution burned her to death, if a vacuum evacuated her from the womb or if Gosnell’s “snippers” ended her life. We simply think, “She deserved better.”

For years, this reality has evaded the consciences of most Americans. To many people, these questions have gone unanswered because they haven’t even been considered. Instead, the abortion debate has revolved around sloganeering and political bull.

The Gosnell trial forces us to finally face the difficult questions that stir our souls. When we reach the answers to these questions, the abortion debate in America will be fundamentally transformed.

Chris Crawford is a junior majoring in political science at George Washington University
and is the director of the campus pro-life ministry.