All about Confirmation names over at

My February column posted today, check it out! Choosing a Confirmation Name


I know we’ve talked about them before, but if you have more to say about Confirmation names, please do! And if you think this article would be helpful to anyone making their Confirmation this spring, please share it (I wrote it with teens in mind).

My newest column

You all know I’m struggling with these Planned Parenthood videos so you shouldn’t be surprised that my August column at (up today) tackles the issue again (my previous post here on the blog, I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names, was the most shared of all the posts I’ve ever written, by a landslide, so I know you’re all feeling it too): Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus.


(I blogged about the Holy Name the other day too, especially in regards to Its major promoter, St. Bernardine of Siena.)

Of course I had no way of knowing when I wrote it that the seventh video would be released today, but I’m glad my article’s coinciding with the release of this new information of horror: babies alive after an attempted abortion, with still beating hearts, having body parts harvested, including “how the abortionist made [the “former procurement technician with Planned Parenthood partner StemExpress” who revealed this info] harvest the baby’s brain by cutting his face open with scissors.”

This is a bit from a historical novel I just read (Winter of the World by Ken Follett, about the Second World War, including the Nazis):


This particular bit is about how the Nazis rounded up disabled children — and adults too, though it doesn’t reference them in this particular passage — but most of the German citizens either didn’t know it or didn’t believe it.

Then there’s this, from the same book:

imageIt explains more about that very program:

The program was called Aktion T4 after its address, 4 Tiergarten Strasse. The agency was officially the Charitable Foundation for Cure and Institutionalized Care … Its job was to arrange the painless deaths of handicapped people who could not survive without costly care. It had done splendid work in the last couple of years, disposing of tens of thousands of useless people … The problem was that German public opinion was not yet sophisticated enough to understand the need for such deaths, so the program had to be kept quiet.”

Of course parallels have been drawn for a long time between the Holocaust and abortion, but still I was struck by the similarity between what I was reading and what Planned Parenthood (and all abortionists) is and has been doing. In fact, our government does sanction the killing of handicapped children. Healthy children too! The particular horrors have been kept quiet for some time, and there are those (one example here) that seem to think the same as what’s being said in this passage — that the graphic revelation of horror shouldn’t change hearts because we need to be “sophisticated” enough to understand the need for this “necessary” evil.

Just like the Nazis.

God help us all, in Jesus’ name.

THE promoter of the Holy Name

I was doing a little reading on the Holy Name of Jesus — teachings about It, devotion to It, etc. — and discovered that, though many saints loved and promoted the Holy Name (St. Ignatius of Loyola is a notable example, having chosen the monogram of Jesus’ name — IHS — for the symbol of his Order, which he named after Jesus as well [the Jesuits]), there was one saint who rose head and shoulders above them all as the one most known for his devotion to and promotion of the Holy Name: St. Bernardine of Siena.

This might not have meant that much to me, except a little known fact about my alma mater (especially little known by those who didn’t attend, but even also by some [many?] alumni) is that, though its current name is Siena College, its original name was St. Bernardine of Siena College. (I can’t tell you how many people think it’s named for St. Catherine of Siena, even though it’s a Franciscan college and St. Catherine was a Dominican.)

St. Bernardine of Siena College, Loudonville, N. Y.
St. Bernardine of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y. by Boston Public Library (2011) via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

How cool to discover that my school’s patron was a superfan of the Holy Name??

So this isn’t really a name spotlight, because Bernardine is kind of … out of fashion? Even among Catholics who go bananas for heavy duty saint names. This is really more of a Holy Name of Jesus post, a note on one of the many awesome things I discovered about it. Which St. Bernardine, being a saint and a lover of the Name, would probably prefer — having Jesus be the focus. Like how St. John Paul the Great would put the crucifix in front of him, so when people looked at him they had to see Jesus first.

Luxembourg-5151 - Pope John Paul II
Luxembourg-5151-Pope John Paul II by Dennis Jarvis (2013) via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Says the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent:

“… the greatest promoters of this devotion were St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistran. They carried with them on their missions in the turbulent cities of Italy a copy of the monogram of the Holy Name, surrounded by rays, painted on a wooden tablet, where with they blessed the sick and wrought great miracles. At the close of their sermons they exhibited this emblem to the faithful and asked them to prostrate themselves, to adore the Redeemer of mankind. They recommended their hearers to have the monogram of Jesus placed over the gates of their cities and above the doors of their dwelling (cf. Seeberger, “Key to the Spiritual Treasures”, 1897, 102). Because the manner in which St. Bernardine preached this devotion was new, he was accused by his enemies, and brought before the tribunal of Pope Martin V. But St. John Capistran defended his master so successfully that the pope not only permitted the worship of the Holy Name, but also assisted at a procession in which the holy monogram was carried. The tablet used by St. Bernardine is venerated at Santa Maria in Ara Coeli at Rome.”

I love too that St. Bernardine’s partner in crime good was St. John Capistran — one of the friars that I particularly loved during my time at Siena was a Fr. Capistran.

St. Alphonsus wrote about St. Bernardine and the Name of Jesus:

If we read the life of St. Bernardine of Siena, we shall see how many sinners the Saint converted, how many abuses he put an end to, and how many cities he sanctified, by trying when he preached to induce the people to invoke the name of Jesus.”

So powerful! We could all use a little of that, right?? St. Bernardine, pray for us! Protect us from all evil, in Jesus’ Name.

IHS and St. Bernardine of Siena
IHS and St. Bernardine of Siena by John Donaghy (2013) via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names

I’d been composing this post in my head all morning, and when I sat down just now to write it, I logged into Twitter to access the link to an article I wanted to reference here, and saw that the fifth Planned Parenthood video has just been released (warning: graphic). I briefly skimmed the beginning of the article, stopping before I got to any graphic visuals, and yes, it’s truly awful, and I’m glad to join in the outrage in the way that a name blog can.

This was the article I logged into Twitter to get, which I’d retweeted the other day: The Difference a Name Makes by Molly Oshatz at First Things. An excerpt:

It’s amazing the difference a name makes. On one day this past week, nearly a hundred endangered elephants were killed and around 3,000 abortions were performed in the United States alone, and we were unfazed—but the killing of Cecil the lion broke our hearts. He wasn’t just any random lion. He was Cecil. Mere lions (along with chickens, cows, lambs, and pigs) are killed, but Cecil was murdered. We love the lion that was named Cecil. We feel as though we knew him.”

I hadn’t given one thought to the idea that Cecil had made such huge headlines because he had a name (and all that a name implies) before reading this, but it makes sense. Knowing one’s name is what makes a person — or in this case, a lion — emerge from the nameless hoards as an individual. It’s like a sea of body-shaped gray-scale shades until names become known, and then faces emerge, detailed and clear and in color. It’s an individual marker for an individual, an entity separate from the crowd.

“The abortion industry knows very well the difference a name can make … “

This was certainly the reasoning behind this article posted at, which I’d also referenced on my Instagram last week: Call Him Emmett. An excerpt:

The little boy in the most recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress has been referred to as “Eleven Six”, meaning that he was aborted at 11 weeks 6 days gestation. His tiny body parts are easily identifiable in the horrific videos as they are sorted in order to be sold.

This baby deserves a name, deserves dignity that is rightly afforded him as a member of the human race … 

His name should be Emmett, after the boy of the same name who became the catalyst for the 1950s and 60s Civil Rights Movement.

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who dared to speak to a white woman when he was visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was subsequently beaten with one eye gouged out, and then shot through the head before being tethered to a heavy gin and thrown in the river. His body was recovered three days later and returned to his mother in Chicago … 

Rosa Parks even said she was inspired by the boy: “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.”

This baby boy in the Center for Medical Progress is the Emmett Till of the pro-life movement.”

I thought Emmett seemed most appropriate for this baby. It made me think of the web site 50 Million Names, a “grassroots campaign to collect names for the now-more-than 50,000,000 children aborted in our country.” As it says,

We ask Namers to register and then add names in a way that shows reverence for the lives of the aborted babies. Each name registration is accompanied by some concrete gesture made by the Namer in honor of this particular child.

Our hope is that these names will someday be read into state congressional records one by one, once each state’s million names are given. When all the names have been collected, perhaps the entire list could be read into the national congressional record.”

Because names are that important. How different it is to say, “These are the aborted babies: Daniel, Jayden, Marisa, Benjamin, Keisha, Trey, Moses, Ava, Chloe …” than to say, “Fifty million babies have been aborted.” (It’s actually closer to 60 million. God help us.) Even I, a lifelong ardently pro-life pro-lifer, get lulled into an almost settled unhappiness when faced with the abortion statistics (all numbers, of course) instead of the devastation and horror I should always have when presented with this information. But now, when I think of Emmett? I’m going to think of that one individual baby, and the gruesome specifics of his death, and the injustice and evil of it all.

Names have power. But more than that, being named=being loved and known and wanted, and that sense doesn’t come from nowhere. God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5) and, as we’re reminded at the end of the First Things article,

“… everyone is loved and named, even those whose parents don’t want them and can’t bear to love them, and whose lives the rest of us don’t deem worth living. Even before each and every one of us emerges from the womb and gains official “baby” status, we are already known, named, and loved; as in Isaiah 43:1, God says to us, “I have called you by name, and you are mine””