Footprints Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn and Notre Dame, Our Mother,
Please contact our Development Officer, whose address can be found on page 2, with address changes or any questions as to how you can continue to help support Notre Dame Right to Life!
Notre Dame Right to Life 314 LaFortune Student Center University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556
2007 - 2008
The official newsletter of Notre Dame Right to Life
The President’s Note
Pray for us!
Stay in Touch!
Vol. III, Issues I-IV
Notre Dame Right to Life seeks to promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death through prayer, service, community, and education, particularly by helping women in crisis pregnancies find alternatives to abortion through service and support, in the spirit of the Catholic Church.
Inside this issue: President’s Note 1 Secretary’s Note 2 President Elect 2 Rice Lecture 3 Life is Beautiful 4 Cemetery 5 Theology of the Body 5 Dawn Parkot Lecture 6 Project Mom 7 Motherhood Resources 7 March for Life 7 White House 9 Conference 10 Burning Questions
Joy, disappointment, excitement, elation, pain, love - a smattering of words can only begin to describe my last two years of service to Right to Life as President. Ups and downs come with work for any cause - but they are particularly poignant when that cause is the right to life - when you know that what you do can actually change someone’s views and save a life. Frequently, life is literally on the line. That is why our work as ND Right to Life is so vitally important. We are here to answer a call to defend all life, particularly the most vulnerable - and what a more fitting place to do so at Notre Dame, the University of Our Lady, Our Mother, who constantly reminds us of the beauty and worth of human life. Thank you to everyone who I’ve worked with these past years. Without you this club would be nothing. All of your time, energy, prayers, and financial support has helped form this club into one of the most active and vibrant student organizations on campus. ND Right to Life is without a doubt one of the most respected collegiate prolife organizations in the nation. As I prepare for graduation, I know that I will miss Our Lady’s University more deeply than words can express; but particularly the people, the friendships, many of them formed thanks to RTL. I am thankful for my time with this group. It has deeply impacted my life, and I know that is has also changed and formed the minds and hearts of many others. ND Right to Life truly answers the call of the recently beatified founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Bl. Basil Moreau: the mind must not be cultivated at the expense of. the heart. Thus as we strengthen our academics, and even address these issues from an academic standpoint, we do not neglect the care of our heart. We learn to feel for others, and through love and charity come to see the dignity and worth of every human and feel the need to protect that gift. I am confident that Mary Kate Daly, president elect, will serve this club well. So I leave in peace and hope that she will take as much delight in working with you and the Right to Life as did I. Thank you all once again. I hope you enjoy this newsletter and hearing of many of Right to Life’s events this year. May God bless you and keep you. In Our Lady, Mary Liz Walter Class of 2008 President 2006-2008
Highlights! This year Right to Life… ♦
Won Best Club of the Year in its Division and Best Overall Club from the Club Coordination Council! Brought 280 students to the March for Life in D.C.—20 of whom ate breakfast at the White House Raised over $3000 for moms in need Hosted monthly lectures, several roundtable discussions, and conference featuring Alice VonHildebrand, Phyllis Schlafly & Bobby Schindler, and sponsored numerous successful activities. Touched the lives of countless people!
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The Secretary’s Welcome 2007-2008 Officers Mary Liz Walter email@example.com President Emily Toates firstname.lastname@example.org Vice-President Adam Hoock email@example.com Vice-President Adam Hansmann firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary Caitlyn Flanagan email@example.com
Laura de Give firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Victor Saenz email@example.com Development Philip Little firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster Elizabeth Kirk email@example.com Faculty Advisor
Contact us! ND Right to Life 314 LaFortune Notre Dame, IN 46556
As another busy year comes to a close, I’d just like to thank you all for your continuing support. I’m positive that your donations - and even more importantly, your prayers - had a lot to do with Right to Life’s success this year. This success was not only marked with the distinction of being named Club of the Year, but was also shown by the incredible stories I’ve heard of people changing their minds about the abortion issue or wanting to get more involved because of our activities and example. After such a great year, and with so many of this year’s truly amazing crew graduating, us new officers certainly have some big shoes to fill. They’ve left the club a fantastic legacy. After seeing the enthusiasm of some of the new staff, though, I’m confident that the club and the cause are in good hands, and will continue to grow and see a lot of good fruit. Thanks again, and keep praying for life! - Erik Miller
The President-Elect’s Message... The motherhood resources committee is still in its infancy, however it has taken many strides this year to become more active as a RTL commission and also to set a firm foundation for future work. We hosted three "Parents' Day Out" events at the married student housing complex, University Village, that were well attended not only by the children being babysat but also by volunteers from RTL. Considerable effort was also made to establish a partnership with Notre Dame's Office of Student Affairs in the hopes of getting more pregnancy resources available on campus as well as increasing knowledge about this on-campus help available. Next year, as I assume my position as president of Notre Dame Right to Life, I hope to continue the work that has been done so well by the current president, Mary Liz Walter, and the current leadership committee, but while also bringing some new ideas to the table. I hope to continue pushing the work that the motherhood resource committee has been doing, as I see this work as important both for the sake of having such resources available oncampus, but I see this work as important for the mission of the grand-scale pro-life movement. In addition, I would like to see a sky-rocketing in attendance of our annual spring collegiate conference. This year's conference was well attended, but I see our potential for attendance to be even bigger and better in the near future.
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Burning Questions: On Terri Schiavo 2008-2009 Officers Mary Kate Daly firstname.lastname@example.org President Emily Toates email@example.com Vice-President Victor Saenz firstname.lastname@example.org Vice-President Erik Miller email@example.com Secretary Juliana Thimmons firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Nicole O’Connor email@example.com Membership Kelly Levis firstname.lastname@example.org Development Philip Little email@example.com Webmaster Elizabeth Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org Faculty Advisor
Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life. When I saw the poster for the Right to Life Conference, I thought, oh gosh, here we go again… I took a step back and re-evaluated my initial reaction, and thought, well, I know where I stand, but what better place than Notre Dame to challenge my views on the pro-life issue? I was attracted to the caliber of speakers that were invited: Terri Schiavo’s brother, a speaker who was conceived from rape, and many other prominent pro-life advocates comprised an excellent group of panelists selected to speak at Notre Dame. How could I miss this opportunity to give the “pro-life” side a fair chance? I was apprehensive, and I admit, a bit scared that the core of my liberal beliefs would be shaken a bit too hard. I showed up for the first speaker, Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s sister, with my notebook in hand, counter arguments ready, and an open mind. I definitely underestimated the extent to which the speakers could challenge my beliefs and that I would come out of the conference with completely new insight on what it means to be a “pro-lifer.” Take Bobby Schindler’s speech. Articulate and passionate, Bobby told Terri’s story and spoke of the impact Terri’s death had on his family. Upon my question to Bobby regarding the validity of Michael Schiavo’s statements that Terri “wouldn’t have wanted to live like that [on life support],” Bobby said that he felt these statements were blatantly false and “it would be outside of Terri’s nature to even talk of such things.” In this case, who could you believe, Terri’s brother/family/friends or her husband? There seem to be endless layers of complexity and mystery in this case, including Michael Schiavo’s intentions, and whether or not he should have been given the right to all of Terri’s medical decisions in the first place. But one thing was clear and unquestionable, evidenced from Bobby Schindler’s experience: the torturous misery and pain that Terri’s family went through having to watch their daughter dehydrated/starved to death and not being able to stop it. At points during his speech Bobby was impassioned to the point in which it seemed that he was trying hard to keep from being overemotional- which must have been diffi-
I also have more simple goals for Notre Dame Right to Life. Just recently we hosted a well-attended dance to raise money for a local pregnant teen. This event was a success not only monetarily, but also it was a great opportunity for the social aspect of RTL. I would like to see more such events occurring next year and beyond at which we can be doing pro-life work, but while also having a really fun time and building relationships and getting a lot of different kinds of people involved in this important work that we do. Next year’s President, Mary Kate Daly
By Natassia Quan
cult, talking about an issue as emotional as his own sister’s death. One main point of emphasis Bobby made was the injustice of Terri’s parents being stripped of their right to protect their daughter. He cited one instance in which Terri had chapped lips and her parents wanted to put ice on her lips to soothe them, but armed policemen were stationed at Terri’s bedside and wouldn’t let her parents approach Terri. Maybe it’s because I trust that my parents would do all that they could to ease my suffering, but I can’t imagine the agony a parent must feel when they look at their daughter suffering and are denied the ability to even help her. After the talk, Bobby Schindler showed a 7-minute long video of pictures from Terri’s life, from when she was a smiling toddler, to when she passed away in 2005, set to thought-provoking music like the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” At this point, I totally broke down, and really felt emotionally attached to Terri. Although I didn’t know her, I felt like I did know her all along, just because we are tied together as humans, through a common humanity that God has given us through life. Bobby’s story was compelling and I commend the Right to Life club for giving Notre Dame students a chance to hear his side of the story. Thousands of cases involving life-support and limited family responsibilities exist in the U.S., and listening to the perspective of a family member in this complex situation is invaluable in allowing people to see how brothers/sisters/parents will respond to such a tragic occurrence. If we are to be conscientious leaders, we must ask ourselves how we would handle situations such as Terri’s, placing ourselves in the role of judge or family member. With pages of notes and a new take on this issue, I admit that I underestimated the impact that pro-life speakers could have on a determined liberal. Natassia is a Junior Marketing Management B.B.A. and Political Science B.A. dual degree candidate whose views on life were radically changed by attending the April Conference.
More photos from a very memorable year for Notre Dame Right to Life...
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RTL Hosts 3rd Annual Pro-Life Collegiate Conference at Notre Dame By John Gerardi On April 11 and 12, Notre Dame Right to Life held its 3rd annual Right to Life Collegiate Conference in Debartolo 102. The conference dealt with the life issues of abortion, contraception, and euthanasia from the perspectives of medical ethics, politics, and theology, and featured six prominent and dynamic speakers with expertise in these various fields. The unifying theme was the third chapter of John Paul II's encyclical Humanae Vitae, entitled "You Shall Not Kill."
mother. Dr. Eugene Diamond proceeded to give an interesting lecture regarding medical ethics entitled "Doctors Should Not Kill." He discussed how doctors have always regarded their work as a vocation as to heal, protect, and preserve life. This is in opposition to many modern ideas of medicine, which seems to portray the doctor as being a mere functional instrument of the will of a particular patient or family, without regard to the natural moral law.
The conference began on Friday This year’s speaker lineup: with a talk from Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's younger brother. Bobby explained the teachings of the Church in regards to the care of patients need of artificial means of delivering food and water for their survival: basically, food and water are never Bobby Schindler Phyllis Schlafly to be considered "extraordinary means," but as essential to the care of any patient. He also highlighted the fact that Terri Schiavo’s case was not an isolated one, that many in her situation have been killed or are in danger.
Pro-life activist and family lawyer Rebecca Kiessling delivered the next talk, talking about her personal experiences of having been conceived in rape and given up for adoption. She emphasized that the value of a person has nothing to do with the manner in which they were conceived, that all men have value as adopted children of God.
The last speaker was the great philosopher Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand, who discussed abortion from a theological perspective. She discussed the beauty of Dolores Meehan Eugene Diamond Alice Von Hildebrand life, the fact that Jesus Christ The next talk was held in the Himself claimed to be The Life; Gold Room of North Dining conversely, she attempted to show the true horror of Hall and featured the prominent conservative political death. She emphasized the dignity possessed by women activist and author Phyllis Schlafly. She discussed how which stems from the fact that their bodies have been dethe judiciary branch, in a manner that the Founding signed by God to carry within them an immortal human Fathers did not intend, has exercised an undue degree soul. In light of all this, the horror of abortion is made of judicial power to harm American culture in the areas quite evident: it is a rejection of the life in which man is of pornography, abortion, and public displays of religgiven the privilege of procreating in union with God. ion. She also advocated steps to stem the problem of judicial activism by having Congress more actively work Perhaps the most important contribution of Collegiate to limit cases over which the Courts have jurisdiction. Conference was that it dealt with aspects of the culture war that are not always very well examined in most pro-life The talks resumed on Saturday morning with a talk by youth outreach. There was very little re-hashing of the Dolores Meehan, the co-founder of the Walk for Life basic arguments for and against abortion; instead, the life West Coast. Her lecture focused on the lessissues were examined in different ways—through the discussed topic of the effects of abortion on men. lenses of politics, theology, bio-ethics—and other aspects Many men, as a result of helping to provide for aborof the pro-life battle, particularly euthanasia, were more tion, experience severe psychological consequences, closely examined. It is important for young Catholics to many of them left unnoticed and untreated. She also understand the grave battle taking place in our culture, and discussed how men have absolutely no say in the deciit is to be hoped that the Collegiate Conference helped to sion of whether or not their own child is to be aborted, not even when they are married to the achieve that end.
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Club Meeting – RTL Packs LaFun Auditorium to hear Rice Lecture by Adam Hansmann For most members of Notre Dame Right to Life, answering the question “Are you pro-life?” is easy. Articulating why can sometimes be difficult. Although the truth about most life issues seems almost intrinsic, being able to say “why” is just as important to the pro-life movement. Professor Emeritus Charles Rice, of the Notre Dame Law School, addressed this issue on Wednesday, October 3rd, at the monthly Right to Life meeting. After a few introductory remarks from Club President Mary Liz Walter ’08, Professor Rice took the microphone to address a packed Montgomery Auditorium. He began his lecture by posing the question to several members of the audience: “Why are you pro-life?” The bevy of answers was expected: because everyone should have a right to life, because abortion is murder, because it’s in the Constitution. As Professor Rice expected, most people struggled to truly articulate their reasoning. He first addressed the Constitutional issue. To one student who derived his pro-life stance from the Constitution, Professor Rice replied: “OK – well, let’s amend the Constitution. We’ll amend the Constitution to permit it. Problem solved. Do you still have a right to life?” He also wondered about other countries that do not explicitly or implicitly
guarantee life in their governing documents – is the right to life there nonexistent as well? His point, of course, was that a person’s “right” to life was not a right in the public sense of the word at all. Instead, a person’s “right” to life is rooted in his inherent dignity as a human being created by God. Interestingly enough, Professor Rice took it a step further. “How do you know there’s a God?” he wondered. The answers became even more varied than before. Some cited St. Thomas Aquinas. Others referred to personal experience; still others offered theological insights. But Professor Rice’s explanation was rather simple: “Nothing can exist,” he said, “that does not have a prior cause.” God, he concluded, is that which, through divine infinitude, brought the universe into effect. And with the universe comes the natural rights with which we are all endowed. For Right to Life members, Professor Rice’s lecture was both challenging and insightful. He challenged the notion that beliefs can be held without sufficient reasoning to articulate them and give them credibility. But he also offered very useful insights for the dozens in attendance. And affirmed what many of them knew intrinsically to be true: that the cause for which Right to Life stands is rooted in more than a policy preference.
RTL Concession Stand a Success!
October 30, ND vs. USC
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Life is Beautiful
By Mary Liz Walter Reprinted from the Irish Rover, Respect Life Week, October 2007.
Life is beautiful in all stages. Think about that for a second. It sounds so simple, but it’s a pretty profound statement and not that easy to accept. It’s tough in the middle rotten day, when nothing is going your way, to pause and think “Wow! Life is beautiful!” Now think outside of yourself, think about the elderly woman facing the onset of Alzheimer’s, the homeless man on street, the young teen who just found out she’s pregnant, the ‘unwanted’ child growing inside that girl, the murderer on death row, the child with severe disabilities. The list can go on forever. Are you able to look at them and say “yes, their life is a beautiful thing?” Can you see the beauty? Do you think they can? It’s not easy, but that’s what we’re called to do, especially here at Notre Dame. As Catholic university we have a particular mission to stand up for the dignity, sanctity, and worth of all human life from conception until natural death. In a statement issued last week on behalf of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Rigali wrote: “Since 1972 the Catholic bishops in the United States have set aside the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday. On October 7, Catholics will again pray for – and renew their resolve to bring about – a culture of life and an end to the killing of innocent human beings, especially those who are vulnerable due to their age, size, health or dependency.” Notre Dame cannot let this call go unheeded. Consequentially in these days leading up to October 7 we celebrate Respect Life Week – dedicated to further our understanding that each and every life is beautiful regardless of its stage or condition and deserves the utmost respect and love. This year ND Right to Life is pleased to welcome the so-sponsorship of Campus Ministry and the Center for Ethics and Culture in taking up this challenge to respect life. While all men and women are called to this challenge, in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II set an even higher standard for universities, especially Catholic universities such as Notre Dame. He writes: “A special task falls to Catholic intellectuals, who are called to be present and active in the leading centers where culture is formed, in schools and universities, in places of scientific and technological research, of artistic creativity and of the study of man. Allowing their talents and activity to be nourished by the living force of the Gospel, they ought to place themselves at the service of a new culture of life by offering serious and well documented contributions, capable of commanding general respect and interest by reason of their merit.” Thus our mission is even more challenging than that of others. We have at our disposal gifts that many do not, and – as we all know – with great power comes great responsibility. John Paul explains at length how we must go about this enormous task of revolutionizing our world; so I’ll simply refer you to his writings rather than filling this entire paper. But if you’ll take any last words from me, let them be that life is truly beautiful at all stages. The questions I raised at the beginning of this article are difficult ones I can’t answer here and now - they require serious contemplation and profound understanding that is not easily grasped. But consider them, read JPII, consider your own life, come to the next Right to Life event – particularly one this week – and know that life is beautiful and live accordingly.
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The March for Life was a memorable experience for many students, and helped show the nation Notre Dame’s concern for the Right to Life. It provided a perfect opportunity for everyone to be in solidarity with other people who are also fighting for the dignity and the respect for human life in all of its stages. In an Observer interview Senior Ana Laura Virzi said she just wants to protest abortion on behalf of "all the unborn souls that didn't have the opportunity to protest themselves." Though she is a Panamanian citizen, she believes it is important to make a difference in the United States - a country that may well serve as an example for other countries in Latin America and the world on the abortion issue. Hopefully this trip will continue to grow and be an important event for Notre Dame Right to Life in years to come.
A March to Remember: ND Right to Life Goes to the White House By Julie Hail Flory Reprinted from University of Notre Dame Newswire online
Right to Lifers begin planting crosses at 6:00AM.
The view from South Quad sends a powerful message.
Cleaning up after a successful demonstration.
It’s a yearly trip Mary Elizabeth Walter has made for most of her life. Growing up just outside of Baltimore, the Notre Dame senior joined in many family outings to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life, an event that draws some 200,000 people to the nation’s capital each year to rally for legal protection for the unborn. Now in her second year as president of Notre Dame Right to Life, she has kept the tradition alive throughout her college career, traveling by bus to Capitol Hill each January with a group of students to participate in the march. But this year was a little different. “It was kind of a surprise,” Walter says of the day, about two weeks before the trip, when she learned that this would be no ordinary march experience. The woman who coordinates the group’s stay in Washington had contacted some friends of hers – who happen to work at the White House – and arranged an opportunity of a lifetime. She wanted to know, would the students be interested in meeting a certain commander-inchief? “And, of course, we said ‘yes,’” Walter recalls. It was Bill McGurn, a 1980 Notre Dame graduate and chief speechwriter to President Bush, and his wife, Julie, who set up the presidential visit for 25 members of the Notre Dame contingent, who first enjoyed breakfast at the White House. “It was incredible,” Walter says of the experience, which she found especially significant as a history major. “We ate in the Red and Blue and Green Rooms, and those rooms are usually museum space, but there we were, eating breakfast while sitting on the couch that Dolly Madison sat on.” The group then joined a small crowd of about 200, including about 50 students from nearby Christendom College, in the East Room for an up-close and personal address by the president, who shared his admiration for their commitment to the cause. “I see people with a deep conviction that even the most vulnerable member of the
human family is a child of God,” President Bush said. “You're here because you know that all life deserves to be protected. And as you begin your march, I'm proud to be standing with you.” Held each year to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that required the legalization of abortion, the March for Life’s mission is to urge the adoption of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the decision. The yearly Notre Dame trip is about more than just the march itself. Participants spend time exploring Washington and learning about the history and ideology of the pro-life movement. “We try to set aside a day to explore the religious sites around D.C. – the National Shrine, the Franciscan monastery – all the sites that remind us why as Catholics, and as Christians, we believe in the right to life,” Walter said. “Then we take another day to explore the secular side; to try to understand why we as Americans, as humans, believe that we have the right to life.” For the first time this year, the group also spent a day volunteering at various locations around the city. But not too surprisingly, the highlight most certainly was the audience with the president, who left the crowd with some parting words of encouragement. “As you give voice to the voiceless, I ask you to take comfort from this: The hearts of the American people are good,” he said. Walter plans to continue attending the march, even after graduation. But she knows this year’s trip will be hard to top. “Will we be disappointed that we don’t get to go the White House? Well, we’ll miss it,” she admits, even though future trips certainly won’t be lacking with the week of activities. “It’s not everyday that the president says thank you and then shakes your hand and says, ‘Go Irish!’”
Page 8 of 11 The students on that trip - the “service trip” left Friday night and arrived in the Washington/Baltimore area the next morning. They split into three groups. One worked with a nonprofit charity group, A Simple House in the heart of D.C. and learned about poverty and evangelization, and baked cookies too. The second group spent the day cleaning a temporary housing complex run by Catholic Charities by Ft. Meade, Maryland. They also played with some of the children housed there. The third group traveled up to Baltimore where they spent the day with residents at an assisted living community also run by Catholic Charities. These opportunities allowed students to experience life at various stages and in poor conditions thus provoking them to think outside of the usual ’prolife bubble’ - what does it ‘from conception to natural death’ really mean? That night they gathered together at St. Agnes Parish in Arlington, Virginia, the host parish for Right to Life, shared a simple dinner, listened to a brief presentation by the director of A Simple House and then spent a Holy Hour together, praying and reflecting on the day’s lessons. The next day, Sunday, the ‘long trip’ arrived with 3 more buses. The students were encouraged to spend Sunday sightseeing and reflecting on reasons why as Catholics and Christians we believe in the right to life. That night, the kind and generous parishioners of St. Agnes provided the weary pilgrims with a wonderful lasagna dinner, reminiscent of the loaves and the fishes as there were enough leftovers to feed them for the rest of the trip. The following day, students were likewise encouraged to visit secular sites to explore why as Americans we believe in this right. That night many gathered at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the powerful vigil Mass. Tuesday morning, the final bus arrived at St. Agnes. Students boarded the metro and headed towards the Youth Rally at the MCI Center in anticipation of the March. However, a group of 25 students representing Notre Dame, St. Mary’s and Holy Cross, a variety of majors, freshman through senior classes and even graduate and law students, received a special invitation thanks to St. Agnes Parishioner and Domer Bill McGurn, top speech writer for President Bush. These students joined around 200 of the top prolife leaders in the nation for breakfast at the White House! After breakfast, President Bush addressed the group, commending them for their work - and he especially acknowledge the Domers with a cheer: “Go Irish!” After his speech, he took a few minutes to shake hands with some of the students. After this thrilling experience the group rejoined the rest of their friends for the March from the Mall to
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“Cemetery” Visualizes Abortion For most Notre Dame students, Thursday morning is a time to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Classes begin at 9:30 AM at the earliest, so moving under the covers before 9:00 AM is almost unheard of. But for more than forty Right to Life members, Thursday, October 4th was not a morning to sleep in. Shunning their shut-eye needs, they arose before the crack of dawn to help construct one of Respect Life Week’s most visual traditions: the Cemetery of the Innocents. The concept is to raise a number of white crosses to memorialize the number of abortions that take place in a particular amount of time. The idea is to show that abortion cannot be understood in purely “statistical” ways; every abortion represents one child that will never receive the gift of life for which he or she was intended. This year, 600 crosses were aligned across the campus’ South Quad – each representing the approximately 600 children that are aborted during the span of the average Notre Dame football game. “Getting up at 6:00 AM wasn’t fun at the time,” said Right to Life member Joe Scolaro ’10, “but seeing the finished product – and knowing what it stood for – certainly was.” Students listen to Clark Massey of A Simple House
Students wait for Mass to begin at a very crowded Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The University administration was very supportive of the group as usual. This year, as in past years, students were excused by Student Affairs from classes. Associate Vice President for Residence Life Bill Kirk said in an interview with the Observer that the decision to allow these students to miss their classes, he said, is in accordance with the absence policy outlined in duLac, which says members of groups that officially represent Notre Dame may receive excused absences when they are away from campus performing duties for the University such as athletic events, choir tours, and national conferences. Kirk said he was "delighted" to approve their absence from class and hoped these students will be "a very visible sign" of the University's commitment to its Catholic mission. "I can think of few better ways to do so than through this march," Kirk said. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and St. Agnes Parish, the cost for the trip was kept at an affordable price. The students on the service trip paid $85 per person. The long trip cost $75. Both prices covered transportation, lodging and some food. The short trip cost $50 per person to cover the cost of the buses.
By Adam Hansmann
While for the most Notre Dame or St. Mary’s students life issues are a “no-brainer,” not everyone agrees with the pro-life stance. Two years ago the display was vandalized by a group of students, who tore down or uprooted most of the crosses. To deal with this sad problem, the Knights of Columbus, Notre Dame Council 1477, stationed a guard to watch over the Cemetery during the overnight hours on Thursday and Friday. Though it is perhaps disappointing that it came to that, the support of the Knights reinforced the idea that Right to Life is not an independent, exclusive group: prolife issues are important to many campus members, especially the Catholic men of the Knights. At Notre Dame, students are motivated, driven, and success-oriented. It is easy to sometimes forget that there are more important issues than grades or social activities. But no one who traversed the campus’ busiest walkways on South Quad could ignore the Cemetery. And that is exactly the point: to remember those who are so easily forgotten.
Prof. Reimers delivers “Theology of the Body” Lecture The evening of Friday October 5, just before the weekend of Respect Life Week, was devoted to an outstanding lecture on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. About fifty RTL members gathered to listen to Philosophy Professor Adrian Reimers, along with his wife Marie, explain the late Pontiff’s teachings on the subject and its implications for the Pro-life movement. Professor Reimers, an expert on the writings of Pope John Paul, began the informal discussion by deploring the ever-present hedonism of our time, specifically in the cinema. The impurity that stars in so many films is of course harmful enough, but Professor Reimers pointed out a subtler thread of error fed to us by the entertainment industry. Citing specific movies, Professor Reimers exposed their underlying message that man is (and ought to be) able to live in a blissful state of pleasure-seeking, following his passions without consequence. This is the supposed natural, primitive human state, free from the constraints of religion or social norms. That attitude, of course, is bald-headed modernism at its worst. It is a flat denial of original sin, free will, and divine grace; it makes us little more than brute animals; and it maims the truth of human love, thereby reinforcing the claims of the Culture of Death. In reality, of course, we are not mere bodies but instead enfleshed souls, created for genuine sacrificial love, not pleasure. Most of all, we are made with the dignity to be free from slavery to our passions, not to cave in to their every whim. In addition to addressing the grave falsehoods we face
By Will Erickson
today, Professor and Mrs. Reimers also offered their insights and wisdom (and exchanged a couple of jabs!) about the married life, the roles of husband/father and wife/mother, the demands of raising a family, and the joys in the midst of these demands. Incidentally, the abovementioned films all try to render the phrase “joy amidst demands” an oxymoron—either you are free from responsibilities, they suggest, or else you are not really happy—but all of us at the lecture surely agreed that Adrian and Marie Reimers are walking disproofs of this claim. The couple also answered several questions in detail regarding topics such as the failure of today’s young men as fathers, the fallacy of handicapped children’s “inability to lead a full life,” and the example of the Holy Family for today’s parents.
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Motherhood Resources Committee Hosts Discussion By Mary Daly
Lecture Review: Dawn Parkot Uplifting By Emily Toates Respect Life Week was highlighted by keynote speaker Dawn Parkot, the first person to graduate from Notre Dame with multiple disabilities - literally a living piece of Notre Dame history. Afflicted with cerebral palsy at birth, Dawn overcame all odds to graduate from Notre Dame with an undergraduate degree in Math in 1995 and with a Master’s in Computer Science in 2000. Dawn spoke about being disabled and the shocking way our society regards people who are “different”. Looking through the eyes of someone whose mother had been told her daughter was nothing more than a “mindless vegetable” who would die before age 5, Dawn provided a new perspective to the Terri Schiavo case. Sometimes, it is obvious, a medical prognosis is little more than a medical conjecture. Fortunately, Dawn’s mother did not listen to the doctors, providing her with the education and therapy that allowed her to reach the place she is today. Had it not been for her mother’s hard work and encouragement, Dawn might have ended up very much like Terri. Instead Dawn became a double-Domer - someone with an undergraduate and graduate degree from Notre Dame. Dawn also became the first person with a speech impairment to win the Miss Wheelchair USA pageant. She was even an alternate on the US Paralympic team in horseback riding, and has been successful in the business world. Dawn was able to succeed because of her enormous determination and the enduring support of her family. But she pointed out that not all people with disabilities are lucky enough to have the opportunities she did. All too often, Dawn said, they are sent to institutions or special schools which do not provide the opportunity for them to work so that they can reach their full potential. Dawn’s talk reminded us of the importance of respecting life in all its stages and that pro-life work does not end once the baby is born. The pro-life movement is about affirming the worth and dignity of all human life in all its stages, born and unborn, from birth until natural death.
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On Monday, November 12th, 2007, the Motherhood Resources Committee hosted RTL's first of a series roundtable discussions aimed towards self-education of club members and others on Pro-Life hot-issues. Addressing abortion, this first discussion looked at related topics such as the pervasiveness of the abortion industry in American, Asian, and European cultures, and its connection to the contraceptive mentality. Included with this was discussion of various studies that have been done into the practices of the industry of death. Also tackled were the myths and claims of the abortion/ pro-choice industry and effective pro-life responses in this dialogue. Future roundtable discussions will examine issues such as euthanasia, stem-cell research, chastity in modern culture, and pro-life politics. Above: Late September, Professor Dan McInerny and his wife Amy hosted a delicious barbecue for RTL this fall. Thanks! Below : Right to Lifers got their groove on at the “Lifesavers Dance” this May. Ticket proceeds helped support a local pregnant teenager in her decision not to abort.
Footprints Project Mom November through December Right to Life ran its annual Project Mom drive to help the Women’s Care Center host a baby shower for local moms in crisis pregnancies. This year Project Mom did a stellar job broke all previous records! Project Mom collected at over $2300 in cash alone - and of course there were boxes of baby items collected from many dorms as well! December 8, the committee hosted a baby shower for around 20 moms! In May a “Lifesavers Dance” was held to help a granddaughter of a campus worker in a crisis pregnancy. The family is deeply appreciative of our assistance. Thanks to all who helped!
Club Joins March for Life in Washington, D.C. Around 250 students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, Holy Cross and around 30 more from Purdue and other schools who work with Notre Dame Right to Life made the 12-hour bus trip to Washington, D.C. to join thousands of other prolife advocates at the March for Life on Tuesday, January 22. Each year the group travels for the this powerful annual demonstration against Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973. This year, Right to Life offered students three travel options, ranging in length from 36 hours to four days. Usually there are only two options - a ‘long trip’ which allows students to spend the entire weekend preceding the March in D.C.; and ‘short trip’ which drives through the night the eve of the March and returns the night after. However, since the March fell on a Tuesday instead of a Monday this year, a third option was created allowing nearly 50 students to take advantage of the full weekend in D.C.
The students on that trip - the “service trip” left Friday night and arrived in the Washington/Baltimore area the next morning. They split into three groups. One worked with a nonprofit charity group, A Simple House in the heart of D.C. and learned about poverty and evangelization, and baked cookies too. The second group spent the day cleaning a temporary housing complex run by Catholic Charities by Ft. Meade, Maryland. They also played with some of the children housed there. The third group traveled up to Baltimore where they spent the day with residents at an assisted living community also run by Catholic Charities. These opportunities allowed students to experience life at various stages and in poor conditions thus provoking them to think outside of the usual ’prolife bubble’ - what does it ‘from conception to natural death’ really mean? That night they gathered together at St. Agnes Parish in Arlington, Virginia, the host parish for Right to Life, shared a simple dinner, listened to a brief presentation by the director of A Simple House and then spent a Holy Hour together, praying and reflecting on the day’s lessons.