Archive for the ‘Humanae Vitae’ Category

From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 5

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

As my marriage continued its downward spiral, I focused more and more on my three daughters.  The good news is that I became reconnected with my Catholic faith around this time.  It was amazing how the hand of God worked.  You see, I was trying to get a job teaching in the public schools in Staten Island, oh and by the way they weren’t hiring, there were in fact budget cuts.  My mother-in-law, who was a daily communicant and also the person who took my daughters to Mass every Sunday for me, began praying a novena that I would find a job.  I just rolled my eyes, being the doubting Thomasina that I was.  It was two days before Christmas in 1988 that I was hired to teach first grade in P.S. 31 in Staten Island.  It was a miracle!  So my mother-in-law instructed me to go to Church to light a candle of thanksgiving. Well since it was Christmas and I at least went to Mass then, I went and lit my candle.  I then went to Mass the following Sunday not wanting to chance anything  happening to me starting my new teaching position.  By the third week of attending Mass the Hand of God reached out for me again.  We were leaving Church when my daughter Tara Lynn called out to the newly ordained Fr Frank Pavone to come over and meet her Mom.  She said, “Fr F rank, here’s my Mom, you know the one that needs to go to Confession!”  I turned beet red with embarrassment.  Fr Pavone was very cool and calmed down Tara Lynn’s excitement and turned to me and told me I didn’t have to go to Confession. Well, that was a relief. He did give me the rectory phone number and told me to give him a call.  He said we could just talk.  Just talk about the Church?  That seemed  odd to me.  So I stuffed the paper with his number in my pocketbook and there it stayed for a few more weeks.  Then one day I stumbled across it again and decided to give this young priest a call.  He invited me to his Friday night Bible Class and we had an appointment for what I later found out was called Spiritual Direction after that.  I gave him my laundry list of disagreements with the Churches teaching and he wasn’t shocked.  He invited me to continue to come and study and I took him up on the challenge.  It took me three months of discussion and study and finally I was ready for Confession.  After twenty years away from the Church I rediscover and wealth we have with our Faith.  I received Communion that day and it was for me now like my First Holy Communion.  I know this was beginning a relationship with Jesus.

As I continued to rediscover my faith and the teachings of the Church, I learned about God’s beautiful plan for marriage, including Natural Family Planning.

Janet in 2002

At the same time, I became aware of how birth control pills really worked.

I had always thought that birth control pills simply prevented fertilization.  Now I learned that the Pill actually has its own built-in insurance system, employing several different methods of action in case one or more of the methods don’t work.  Besides trying to prevent fertilization, the Pill also thickens the cervical mucus, which then acts as a barrier, preventing the sperm from getting to the egg.  If both of these first two methods fail and ovulation and conception both occur, then the Pill acts to prevent the fertilized egg (the newly conceived human being) from implanting itself onto the side wall of the uterus.   The child is then aborted out of the body.

I didn’t feel the impact of this newfound information until several years later. I was with a friend visiting the EpcotCenterin Disney World, and we decided to visit the Wonder of Life exhibit. As I began to watch a beautiful video showing the wonder of how life began, I realized what taking the birth control pills really meant: the possibility of aborting new life. In the years that I had been taking birth control pills, I had been very sexually active. I also knew that I was an extremely fertile woman. Given these facts, there is no doubt that I had successfully conceived new life many times, but had never given these little babies the chance to grow inside me. For the very first time in my life, I came to grips with the fact that I had not only shut myself off to life, but had also destroyed an unknown number of children.

As I came out of that exhibit, there was a giant rushing water fountain nearby. I walked over to it and began to sob uncontrollably.  I stayed there for quite some time, absorbed in my sudden feelings of grief and remorse.  This was the very first time I became aware of the full impact of what I had done.

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From Revert to Pro-Life Activist, Part 3

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

 

Janet's High School Graduation from St. Agnes Seminary in June 1970

Now you’ll hear how I began down the slippery slope…

I attended an all-girls, small Catholic high school, St. Agnes Seminary in Brooklyn,
staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph.  In my sophomore year (1968), the Church went
through another radical change.  July 25, 1968 was a day that will live in Church infamy!
That was the date that Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae. There was division in the
Church.  You could literally go to a priest on one side of a church and be told that birth
control was a sin, while on the other side of the same church another priest would say it
wasn’t a sin as long as you had a “good reason to use birth control.”  Let’s face it – we
can all try and justify our behavior if we really want to.  The culture, too, was changing.
This was the sexual revolution, “woman’s lib”, and the whole drug culture.  And so I,
too, got caught up in this whole changing world. I began to question my faith.  I thought
women had a right to birth control, and I no longer believed in the infallibility of the
Pope.  All those Baltimore Catechism questions and answers became irrelevant to me.
Then the moment came when I took that first step down the slippery slope.  It was
sophomore year, and the priest came to our school for our monthly Confession.  I
dutifully lined up with my class for Confession.  This time, though, I began to feel
anxious and no longer wanted to go to Confession. I did an about-face and walked back
into class.  Sister said, “Confession, Janet!” and I replied, “Yes, Sister,” and so began my
first step down that slippery slope. I stopped going to confession, which led me to abstain
from Communion, which in turn led to me skipping Mass altogether.  In the end, I only
attended Mass on Christmas and Easter.

Fast forward a little: I graduated from St Francis College in 1974 and married in 1975.  It
was a time when my Catholic faith no longer seemed to matter to me.  My relationship
with God was almost at a zero.  At the same time, all my close friends were getting
married, so marriage seemed like the next step to take – or so I thought.

Stay tuned to see what happened next…

Janet's College Graduation from St. Francis in 1974

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