From the Tiber to the James” seeks to engage, inform busy readers


The Virginia Catholic Conference is happy to announce today’s launch of its new blog, “From the Tiber to the James. We hope this new tool will engage, update, inform and educate our network members, friends and interested fellow travelers about the Conference’s public policy work here in Richmond and, with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Washington DC, as it relates to Catholic social teaching.

Our goal for “From the Tiber to the James’’ is to provide engaging,  thought-provoking posts – respectful of our reader’s busy lives – about why and how we do the work we do, and how our readers can become more involved in advocacy on behalf of the common good.

Attuned readers will not miss the symbolism of the blog’s name: our Faith traces its past, present and future to the Vatican on the banks of the Tiber River. Our daily work – living in the public square – takes us to Virginia’s capital, on the shores of the James.

With our inaugural post and the one to follow, we celebrate two significant pro-life victories. Later posts will touch on civility in public life, immigration reform and marriage, to name a few. We welcome your suggestions for future posts! Please check out “From the Tiber to the James” and email us at

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The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency of Virginia’s Catholic Bishops and their two dioceses.



The Pregnancy Resource Center – May 4th 2013

Support the Pregnancy Resource Center



I am walking in the local Walk for Life on May 4 at 10:00 a.m. to raise funds for the Pregnancy Resource Center (formally known as the Crisis Pregnancy Center).  If you are not planning on walking yourself, I was wondering if the members of the respective groups would consider sponsoring me (and Carol).

No money is due at this time…just send an e-mail to with your name and address and the amount you’d like to pledge.  You will receive a bill from the PRC at a later date after the Walk for Life.  No amount is too small (or too large!).

Thank you for your consideration and, again, please forward this to the respective groups.

Mike Kozak

Gosnell and Abortion’s Darkest Side

If abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is found guilty of homicide, he will be unique among murderers-for-hire: He set his fees based on weight. “The bigger the baby, the more he charged,” a grand jury explained. It recommended he be charged with eight counts of murder — one patient, seven babies.

Despite what amounted to a blackout at many media outlets until last week, you’ve probably now heard at least some of the details. According to the grand-jury report, Gosnell’s Philadelphia “clinic” was a filthy abattoir. It stunk of urine. Flea-ridden cats defecated freely, including in procedure rooms. Fetuses — or, rather, parts of fetuses — were all over the place, in jars, on shelves. The remains of 45 babies were found by authorities. Gosnell collected baby feet in jars.

Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a refugee from Nepal, died at Gosnell’s clinic, allegedly because he and his staff used too much of a cheap sedative and because the clinic was so crammed with junk that it took paramedics 20 minutes just to find their way out. Authorities later found her intact 19-week-old fetus in a freezer. It had been there for three months.

This barely scratches the surface of what the grand jury describes as a “charnel house.”

So obviously, this is a story about the mainstream media.

My fellow Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers wrote a USA Today column last week shaming the media for not covering the Gosnell case enough or, in many cases, at all. She got results. Suddenly everyone was talking about it, though a dismaying amount of the coverage is about why there was a lack of coverage.

It’s an important issue, of course. But it’s not a complicated one. It seems obvious that most mainstream outlets are run and staffed by pro-choice liberals. But whatever the motivation, the Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger is surely correct when she says the mainstream media are generally locked into a single narrative about abortion: “reproductive rights under siege.”

Ironically, the same factors that might have discouraged the mainstream media from covering the story in the first place now give them an incentive to turn it into a story about the media. CBS News, for instance, broke its broadcast boycott of the trial by running a piece on the political firestorm over the lack of coverage. Now, for understandable reasons, the bombing at the Boston Marathon is likely to push the Gosnell story out of the news once again.

In fairness, some feminist writers have been talking about the case all along. But their outrage has not been over the fact that Gosnell fully delivered live babies and then cut their spines with scissors. Their outrage was focused on the legitimately outrageous conditions of the clinic and the economic and racial inequities involved. Gosnell preyed mostly on poor and minority women. He was even something of a racist, reportedly reserving a clean visiting room for white patients.

For example, in 2011, Amanda Marcotte wrote in Slate: “These . . . charges involve late-term abortion, and all I could think upon reading the news story was, ‘I wish these women could have gone to Dr. George Tiller,’ [who] was renowned for the quality of care provided at his Kansas clinic.”

Tiller was murdered by an anti-abortion fanatic in 2009 because he was one of the most prominent providers of late-term abortions. And though Gosnell’s patients would no doubt have gotten better care from Tiller, the truly significant difference is that the fetuses would have been killed without seeing the light of the day.

Many prominent Democratic politicians oppose any meaningful restrictions on late-term abortions. President Obama, as a state senator, fought a law that would have protected live infants accidentally delivered during an abortion. Senator Barbara Boxer once said that constitutional rights begin when you bring the baby home from the hospital. Prosecutors almost never try to enforce violations of late-term abortion laws, in part because the Supreme Court says any abortion is constitutional if the mother’s psychological health would be endangered by continuing the pregnancy.

Regardless, Gosnell isn’t only being charged with performing illegal late-term abortions. He’s being charged with delivering viable babies and killing them. The really profound question here: What is the moral difference between killing a living baby that is outside the mother for a few seconds and killing one that’s still inside? It’s no wonder the media would rather talk about themselves.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of The Tyranny of Clichés. You can write to him at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


The full article may be read at:

The Lack of Pro-Life Media Coverage

All in the pro-life cause should be outraged by the previous lack of coverage by the mainstream “media” of the horrors practiced by the Philadelphia “clinic.”  Please forward to your groups as you see fit.  The depravity of the efforts to “ensure the demise of the fetus” is cogent evidence of where society is led when it is ambivalent to the daily destruction of innocent life.

After weeks of growing frustration, pro-lifers took to Twitter en masse Friday to express disbelief and outrage over media silence on the multiple-murder trial of American abortion provider Kermit Gosnell. And the media, at least some of it, seems to be listening.

The outrage was almost certainly precipitated by Kirsten Powers’ Thursday column for USA Today: “Philadelphia abortion clinic: We’ve forgotten what belongs on page one.” In that piece, Powers writes a scathing critique of major news agencies for ignoring the story. She begins:

Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. Haven’t heard about these sickening accusations? It’s not your fault. Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.

None of the three major television networks in the United States had mentioned it. Nor had major newspapers like the Washington Post published any original articles on the trial. This despite the fact that testimony (and the Grand Jury report leading up to the trial) has been horrifying: teenagers being told to administer anesthetics without medical training; aborted infants stored in the refrigerator next to employees’ lunches; accusations of preferential treatment for patients based on race; babies born alive who had their spines subsequently snipped by Gosnell and his staff; seventeen years of government, accrediting agencies, and hospitals looking the other way despite numerous complaints of medical negligence at the clinic.

Following the publication of Powers’ article, Get Religion’s Mollie Ziegler Hemingway (who had earlier in the week noted the lack of Gosnell coverage) took to Twitter, directly asking reporters why they and their news agencies were ignoring the story. Other Twitter uses started doing the same. And pro-life agencies began organizing a “Tweetfest” for Friday, asking people to highlight media blackout on the story by using the hashtag #Gosnell.

It seems that some media agencies were listening. The Atlantic posted an article Friday by Conor Friedersdorf entitled “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s trial should be a front-page story.” In it, he states he was unaware of the story until Powers’ USA Today column. He thus agrees that “the story has been undercovered,” and proceeds to write some of the best coverage of the case and its policy implications to date. He details the various news-worthy aspects of the trial, concluding that “this story has numerous elements any one of which would normally make it a major story.” “The news value is undeniable,” he writes. “Why isn’t it being covered more?”

Slate also picked up on the story with an article by David Weigal entitled “Kermit Gosnell: The alleged mass-murderer and the bored media.” He attributes his awareness of the story to Hemingway’s Twitter question campaign. He admits that because national political reporters have a tendency to be, “by and large, socially liberal,” suggesting that self-imposed “bubble” led them to ignore the story. “Horror stories of abortionists are less likely to permeate that bubble than, say, a story about a right-wing pundit attacking an abortionists who then claims to have gotten death threats,” he suggests. But he too concludes that the media have ignored a major story with the Gosnell trial: “The question, raised by pro-lifers, is this: Explain to us why Gosnell isn’t a national story. Somebody else can try. I can’t explain it.” He sums it up bitingly: “Maybe it’s not a raw political story. It’s just the story of a potential mass murderer who operated for decades as government regulators did nothing.”

A little later in the day, Megan McArdle published an article for The Daily Beast entitled “Why I didn’t write about Gosnell’s trial—and why I should have.” She confesses that she and others haven’t written on the topic not because it isn’t newsworthy, but because it’s unpleasant. “The truth is that most of us [‘pro-choice mainstream journalists’] tend to be less interested in sick-making stories—if the sick making was done by ‘our side’.” She agrees the media have been remiss in ignoring the trial. “This story should have been covered much more than it was—covered as a national policy issue, not a ‘local crime story’. The press has literally been AWOL.”

Finally, the Washington Post’s executive editor Martin Baron weighed in with the following statement late Friday: “We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.”

It seems, then, that the Tweetfest has succeeded in its goal of making the mainstream media end its blackout of the Gosnell trial. Powers’ original column and the subsequent Twitter campaign which followed it might seem like a story in itself: “Social media little-guys make big news listen,” and all that. But the real story here is that it took a Twitter campaign at all; major news outlets should have been covering this trial from the get-go.


Note: I’ve made a small addition (April 13, 2013) in order to include a link back to one of Hemingway’s pieces on Get Religion which had earlier highlighted the media blackout.
This article can be found at:

Third Annual Manje 2013 at VMFA 4/13/13

Third Annual Manje 2013!

Saturday evening, April 13th, 2013; 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm @

“Save the Date!”

Manje means food in Haitian Kreyol. Food for the mind, body and spirit.

The joint Haiti Committee has an annual fund raising gala celebration in its home city of Richmond, Virginia.

Anyone who makes a $150 donation in the name of a student during the 2012 school year drive, will receive 2 complimentary tickets to our annual celebration.

You won’t want to miss it!

See more by visiting:


ZENIT—The World Seen From Rome

Delaying Marriage


Report on Family and Social Consequences

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, March 29, 2013 ( – One of the major social changes in recent times is the postponement of marriage. A recent report examined the implications of this development.

“Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America” was published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and the RELATE Institute.

In the United States the average age at marriage is 26.5 years for women, and 28.7 for men. Yet while the average age at which women give birth to their first child has risen it has lagged behind the extent of delaying marriage.

The median age of first birth is 25.7, below that of a first marriage. As a result, by 25 years of age 44% of women have given birth, but only 38% have married. Consequently, 48% of all first births are now outside of marriage.

“Thus, the nation is at a tipping point, on the verge of moving into a new demographic reality where the majority of first births in the United States precede marriage,” the report stated.

Back in 1970 over 60% of women aged 20 to 24 and 90% of those aged 25 to 29 had married. By 2010, those numbers had plummeted to 20% and about 50%.

Men followed a similar pattern. In 1970, almost half of men aged 20 to 24 were married, and 80% of those 25 to 29 had also married. By 2010, those numbers had plunged to slightly more than 10% and less than 40% respectively.

Middle American women, those who have completed high school and have a year or two of college, are driving this trend. They account for more than half of young women in the United States and collectively they are having their first child two years before marriage. No less than 58% of their first births take place before marriage.


For the rest of this article go to:­spatch




In February 2013 the Obama administration published a new “proposed rule” containing revisions to its earlier mandate requiring most health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.  These revisions did very little to correct the underlying problem with the mandate.  A large number of religious organizations, including schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and charitable organizations will be forced to provide objectionable coverage.  Businesses and individuals of faith will lose the right to provide health care coverage that respects their deeply held religious and moral convictions.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed serious concerns about the new proposed rule and its violation of religious freedom.

Public comments on the proposed rule are due on April 8.  

Please act today and take a stand for religious freedom.  To submit a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), please click here:

The link provides draft language for your email. Please also feel free to add your own comments.

The struggle for religious freedom is at a decisive moment in our nation.  We must protect this right not only for own sake, but for the sake of our children, our grandchildren and all future generations.


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