Reflections Unto God – March 2011 – Maryland vs Mary’s Land


Maryland is a Janus among states.  Founded by Catholics as a refuge from religious hostility and named Terra Maria for the Catholic wife of King Charles I of England, the state now is replete with statutes, regulations and social conventions that are in opposition to Catholic teaching.  The state, indeed the nation, is in moral decay.

The watershed issue of this decadence is abortion, the intentional destruction of a human life.  If a society willing and consciously allows the killing of its unborn children under the guise of compassion and women’s rights, there is little else it is unwilling to do.  Nationally, abortion is legal and common; pre-marital sex and co-habitation are wide-spread; embryonic stem-cell destruction, harvesting, cloning, in vitro fertilization and other ways of manipulating conceptive life are viewed as beneficial; pornography is rampant on the Internet and in the entertainment media; and physician-assisted suicide is beginning to gain acceptance.

Maryland is in the vanguard of these destructive trends.  With some of the most permissive laws on abortion in the nation, feticide practitioners are finding a welcome home in the state.  It is the only state where an abortionist is protected from civil and criminal action in his practice, while hospitals and health care workers who refuse to perform or assist in abortions, or will not make abortion referrals as a matter of religious faith or personal conscience, are vulnerable to civil liability and disciplinary action.

Since 1999, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the annual rate of induced abortions in Maryland has averaged almost 30 percent of all pregnancies, which is about 10 percent higher than the nation as a whole.  The only state restriction on the procedure is that the parent of a minor must be notified before an abortion is performed if the abortionist thinks it is in the best interest of the minor.

As a result, abortionists are drawn to the state.  Until recently, Steven Brigham circumvented New Jersey laws prohibiting late-term abortions.  He would begin procedures in that state and then transport the advanced patients to Elkton.  Here he completed the abortions, even though he never held nor was required to hold a medical license in Maryland.   The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners suspended his license last October deeming him “a clear and imminent danger to the public health and safety.”  He still owns, however, several facilities in Maryland.  LeRoy Carhart, who gained infamy for performing partial-birth abortions before they were banned nationally, recently relocated his late-term abortion facility from Nebraska to Germantown, where he is currently practicing.  These two and other abortionists throughout Maryland must be stopped.

The organization with the strongest moral force to oppose these trends is the Catholic Church.  And the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest organization of Catholic men and their families, can serve as the Church’s foot-soldiers.

In Maryland, there are 27,000 members of the Knights organized into 151 councils spread throughout the state.  These men – you, I and our families — can be a potent unit in this legion.  The State Deputy has set a goal for the Knights “to improve Maryland’s moral culture.”  Effective pro-life activities are the primary means to achieve this.

An essential component of any pro-life initiative is prayer.  The fight for life is a spiritual battle being waged within the secular world.  Nothing can truly be accomplished in this engagement without the assistance of our Lord and His Blessed Mother.  Our outward activities must be a manifestation of Our Lord acting in and through us.  As St. Paul said, “I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  Thus, activities such as the Silver Rose, the regular recitation of the Rosary at council meetings, pro-life Masses, Marian Hours of Prayer, and similar programs are essential to the performance of good works.

Action should accompany prayer.  The State Council and many of our local councils already are involved in activities, such as the Cemetery of the Innocents currently operating in southern Maryland, providing support to pregnancy support centers, erecting monuments to the unborn, raising funds for the ultrasound initiative, conducting “baby showers,” participating in the national and the Maryland Marches for Life, and many other commendable activities.  These should be continued, strengthened, expanded.

While we have several beneficial programs at the state-level, and many councils conduct worthwhile pro-life projects, these are not enough.  Other organizations, such as the Maryland Catholic Conference, the diocesan pro-life offices, Maryland Right to Life, Defend Life and others, also conduct targeted, worthy pro-life programs in the state.  The effectiveness of these separate initiatives could be enhanced through collaborative efforts.  The Knights are a ready mechanism for this.  We have a statewide network of councils and members, while other organizations have proven programs.

One effort that we can assist right now is the 40 Days for Life campaign, which begins on Ash Wednesday in 243 cities across the country and continues through Lent.  It combines prayer, fasting, and vigils, efforts that begin and end with God.  Every Knight and his family can do something in this campaign.  Whether you join a peaceful prayer vigil outside a local abortion or Planned Parenthood facility for one hour once a week or only once, whether you pray and fast at home or pray in church, your help is needed.

Vigils will be held at five locations in Maryland: Hillcrest Clinic in Baltimore; Metropolitan Family Planning in College Park; Germantown Reproductive Health Services (LeRoy Carhart’s facility) in Germantown; Hagerstown Reproductive Services in Hagerstown; and Planned Parenthood in Silver Spring.  Further information can be found at http://www.40daysforlife.com/location.cfm, or on our state website www.kofc-md.org under up-coming events.  Participate at one of the sites.

With assistance from our Blessed Mother, help rid our state of abortion, an “intrinsic evil,” as the church tells us, that can never be tolerated.  Let’s return Maryland to its roots as Terra Maria, Mary’s Land.

Vivat Jesus!

 

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