This week on Register Radio, my guest was Register staff writer Peter Jesserer Smith. And because October is Respect Life Month, we discussed Smith’s recent coverage of news related to abortion. 

One of those stories was about Congress’ last legislative efforts to get conscience clauses into play in the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) to alleviate employers, who object on religious/moral grounds, from having to provide contraception, sterilizations and abortion inducing drugs in their health benefits plans (often called the contraception or abortion mandate).  The efforts failed so now the courts seem to be the last resort for the employers (EWTN, the parent company to the Register is one of those employers who have filed lawsuits against the mandate).

That same story revealed some of the ways that Obamacare will likely change the abortion industry. Smith reported that the abortion industry has always been a cash business, with a small percentage of clients using insurance to cover the costs. But Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood employee turned Catholic pro-life activist, told Smith that Obamacare will subsidize abortion thus guaranteeing money for abortions, which in turn will likely drive the cost of abortions higher. “Abortionists will be able to charge whatever they want, and our tax dollars will subsidize that fee,” she told Smith.

In another story Smith reported on the expansion of abortion providers in the state of California as well as a change to the building codes, which now allows first trimester abortions to occur in primary care clinics and essentially expands the number of locations that can offer abortions.

Although in our radio show, Smith was only able to talk about these setbacks in pro-life work, his Register reporting has also included great examples of growth and success in efforts for life. Check out these stories about new pro-life energy: “Undefeated: A New Pro-life Generation Rises in California” and “Leading a Respect Life Revolution.”


7 Secrets of Confession

In the second half of the show, Dan Burke interviewed Vinny Flynn, author of the recent book 7 Secrets of Confession.  Flynn also wrote 7 Secrets of the Eucharist.

Flynn explains that the reason he wrote his latest book was because he found misconceptions and distortions in many practicing Catholics’, even daily communicants’, understanding of the sacrament of confession.

John Paul II wrote, recounted Flynn, that “the people of God must be helped to rediscover the sacrament of mercy. …There’s a beauty to the sacrament that we’ve lost an awareness of and we have to rediscover it as a personal encounter with God.”

Flynn also talked about the biggest obstacle to confession. He said that we often get confused about what the sacrament is for. We think of it as being about “getting behaviors forgiven.”  But the author explained the common tendency is for us to think: “I need to get God’s love back again because I’ve lost his love because I’ve been bad so I need to get that behavior forgiven and we don’t focus enough on relationship; that it’s not about bad behavior but about how our behavior has separated us from our relationship with God the Father”

As Pope Francis has said and Flynn recalled: “It’s not about a trip to the dry cleaner. It is not to clean us up because we’ve been bad. It’s that we personally encounter God in a deeper way. He doesn’t just forgive our sins but he brings healing to our lives.”

Burke and Flynn’s conversation on this show is all about the merciful healing touch of God through a priest in the sacrament of confession and the interview provides plenty of motivation to renew our concept of this sacrament, which so often feels like a chore rather than a cure for our deepest hurts.  Listen to the show. It’s well worth it.  Also take a look at the recent Register book pick on 7 Secrets to Confession.