Weekly Clippings: Sacred and Profane Edition

I know it has been about a month since I published anything original, but I promise that I am indeed working on some things.

Meanwhile, this week has had two relatively unknown news stories rise to the surface among Catholic writers.  One, a story of horror and death.  The other, a story of heroic courage and virtue.

The first is a very ugly story of the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.  If you missed this story, you aren’t alone.  There has been a de facto media blackout on the subject, as Kirsten Powers points out in a column in USA Today.

“Chaos” isn’t really the story here. Butchering babies that were already born and were older than the state’s 24-week limit for abortions is the story. There is a reason the late Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called this procedure infanticide.

Planned Parenthood recently claimed that the possibility of infants surviving late-term abortions was “highly unusual.” The Gosnell case suggests otherwise.

In the same vane, Conor Friedersdorf laments the lack of media coverage on the horror of the Gosnell clinic for The Atlantic.

The media criticism angle interests me. But I agree that the story has been undercovered, and I happen to be a working journalist, so I’ll begin by telling the rest of the story for its own sake. Only then will I explain why I think it deserves more coverage than it has gotten, although it ought to be self-evident by the time I’m done distilling the grand jury’s allegations. Grand juries aren’t infallible. This version of events hasn’t been proven in a court of law. But journalists routinely treat accounts given by police, prosecutors and grand juries as at least plausible if not proven. Try to decide, as you hear the state’s side of the case, whether you think it is credible, and if so, whether the possibility that some or all this happened demands massive journalistic scrutiny.

If you have a strong stomach and want to learn more on this horrific story, the documentary “3801 Lancaster” takes a brief look at the controversial clinic.

Changing the subject to one that is much more pleasant, this week President Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Servant of God, Father Emil Kapaun, army chaplain and priest of the Diocese of Wichita.

Covering the event for the Wichita Eagle, Roy Wenzel writes:

Kapaun was honored for his actions Nov. 1 and 2, 1950, at the battle of Unsan, where his 8th Cavalry regiment was overrun by Chinese forces.

According to the medal’s citation, “Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man’s land.”

Kapaun also stayed behind and let himself be captured by Chinese forces in order to care for wounded American soldiers. He was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions, the Army’s second-highest military honor. That was upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

“When his commanders ordered an evacuation, he chose to stay,” Obama said Thursday. “When the enemy broke through and the combat was hand to hand, he carried on – comforting the injured and the dying, offering some measure of peace as they left this Earth.

Fr. Kapaun, whose cause for canonization has begun, has an amazing story of faith, bravery and selflessness.  The First Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army recently released a video tribute to the last priest.