Mother or Madness – A Story
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
In this post it should be stated I am in complete agreement with the teachings of the Church in its entirety, to wit,
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.
2272 … The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.
And yet I cannot remain silent in this current and cold juridic atmosphere of the Church and of American Civil Society that is most troubling. The unholy alliance of Catholic and Evangelical forces is drowning the society in a vat of a fluid falsehood covered in divine law making the perfect poison: vain worship.
I intend to argue my point by your letting me tell you her story….
My Mom died. She was 85 years old. I love her very much. She taught me how to love. She had a lot to say about love.
Kathryn E. Palermo
November 27, 1934 – February 05, 2020
Mother had the talk with me as a young teen. She explained the necessity of respect in relations with women. It was the birds and the bees but from the female perspective. She was clear in her mind the answer ‘you make it, you raise it’. She was equally clear. A woman should be able to choose but woe to the one who chooses abortion a decision one is haunted by the rest of their life.
Edmund and Agnes had their second child, a girl, Kathryn. They already had a first daughter Margaret and now the second. Kathryn quickly became the favorite of her father. However these things go and how they come about is really unknown but the love between this Father and Daughter was very deep. Edmund was a funeral director and little Kathryn often played at the funeral parlor between and among the grieving.
Unfortunately Edmund had the rheumatic fever and the heart disease that comes with it. It would be in 1947 that he succumbed to the illness. Perhaps his line of work had a complicated reality: appreciation for life, respect for the dead, and workplace damage to the heart and lungs. He spent many years in-patient sanitarium. Kathryn would go to see him there. He would die but not before having a Son.
Agnes and Edmund had a son, Edmund. The whole house was filled with joy. A son! Margaret (Peggy) and Kathryn (Kay) were super excited to have a baby boy in the house. Naturally he would be subject to dress up and tea parties!
There was a problem. Agnes and Edmund were the original odd couple. They did not fit the mold society had envisioned for them. Agnes was low Irish. Edmund was high Irish. A family delegation came to the door.
We want the boy.
You can’t have him.
Your husband is dying. You will be a widow with three children. Let us take the boy and we’ll help you with some money.
Agnes kicked the high Irish out of her home never to be seen again. It was a very painful memory for Agnes, Peggy and Kay but they were able to stay together. Agnes worked hard to keep them fed and safe. The three children took care of Agnes in her old age. The three of them remained close throughout their lives. We will bury Kathryn on the same month and day that Edmund, Jr died 21 years ago. His beautiful Wife and beautiful two daughters will be there graveside for Kay.
Kay was a beautiful young woman. Kay was a catch but certainly easy prey. She grew up and attended Saint Sebastian Catholic School, Woodside NY, immersed in the Church and in prayer. Even in the closing days of her life I would tuck her in at night. Mom, let us say our evening prayer… Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take followed by a Hail Mary and Glory Be. She was calm again. The storm of advancing decline no longer troubled her.
She was beautiful, very young and naïve indeed. A slick talking young man embraced her in romance and abandoned her in pregnancy. At fifteen she had an awful predicament. There were many voices that counseled abortion but she instead opted to give her first baby up for adoption. You see a marriage proposal was made in 1951 by another at the price of giving up her first born to adoption or abortion.
1953 Young Mother
Her first child in marriage was a delightful little boy, Frankie, 1953. Kay dedicated herself to motherhood. It was her mission now to raise her children. He had childhood leukemia. He died at 2 ½ years old in 1955. The doctors counseled Frankie’s parents that at each hospital visit young Frankie would rally because of love. These rallies while hopeful signs were in-fact delaying the inevitable. Kay and Frank were instructed to kiss their little boy one last time and never return.
He died shortly thereafter.
How does one get through all these tragedies? Well, you need good people around you, loving people. Those who would teach, coach and mentor Kay. My Uncle Tony was such a man. So beloved was Tony his name and kindness was often the conversation. I contacted my remaining Uncle also a very good man. He gave ne the title to the plot where Uncle Tony rests. Kay will rest with Tony and right alongside her son, Frank.
Four Plus One
Kay and Frank went on to have four more children. Along the way, well meaning people offered ‘a pill’ to take care of it. Especially the last one. I guess for some five children is too many. Now the women who advised her wanted her to abort. No. This is my baby. A beautiful baby. A beautiful soul. She sings like an angel.
She’ll sing at her Mom’s funeral on Monday. The baby bracelets were kept for 67 years in a little tiny box by her nightstand.
Men Should Tremble
Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master. Gen 3:16b.
I doubt many understand this verse. Its deepest meaning is in the unity and forgiveness that is stronger in women than in men. Women endure (Eve endues Adams betrayal of Eve by Adam to God). Woman place unity at a higher value than retribution for errors committed.
In 2005, Pope Benedict on building a just society: We are dealing with human beings, and human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity. They need heartfelt concern. Charity is inseparable from Word and Sacraments.
In 2013, Pope Francis observed that the Church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception.
The only laws that matter are laws firmly rooted in charity. We are falling into the madness of law which has the appearance of justice but the root of evil.
Woe also to you scholars of the law!
- You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. Lk 14:42
- You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. Lk 14:46
There has not been a comprehensive valid study on the causes of abortion in over 50 years. The CDC should be tasked with a thoughtful analysis and statistical reporting of causes and outcomes of abortion. A longitudinal approach will provide better data. No, you really don’t know. You never knew Kay’s stories and the millions of women who have stories are like hers. Prevention via education, medical care, and supportive services are barely on the agenda of most pro life political groups (thankfully not all).
A 35 y/o married woman with 3 children has a completely different motivation than a 16 year old woman abandoned by her boyfriend.
We pride ourselves on a capitalistic society but use none of the techniques available to us. Consider, a new, incentives for medical facilities to promote life and aid for women to accept the challenges of bringing forth life.
Child care in high schools…. Equal pay for equal work… promoting male equality in roles and responsibilities for pregnancies and children (no, I mean actually making that true not the window dressing of most States).
Weightier matters and lesser matters are a serious question for a Christian. It applies to those who live under law and who construct the law. Both!
Heartless Law and Heartless Science
Heartless science is alive and not well working its evil effects. Soon enough, public abortion will be a thing of the past for all the wrong reasons. Soon enough the greater injustice: abortions not in back alleys, not in abortuaries but by scientific advances that make all of these abortions cheap, hidden and beyond the reach of anyone.
If we don’t embrace the women, we will lose the children. It is that simple. Tremble. Tremble before God our callousness to women.
Peace be with you,