Judas Shiling

Lunaria (Judas Shilling) Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Few realize that the Passion narrative listed two Judases among the attendees of the Last Supper.  

Judas Thaddeus, became a saint. The other, Judas Iscariot …  well, most people know what famously happened to him.

Most know Judas Thaddeus by the popular name St. Jude, the Patron Saint of lost causes.  He is also the namesake of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the author of the Epistle of St. Jude.

Catholic writer Michal Hunt suggests that Judas Thaddaeus became known as Jude after early translators of the New Testament, in English, sought to distinguish the saintly Judas from the not-so-saintly Judas Iscariot, abbreviating his forename to Jude.[1]  

Both Jude and Judas are translations of the name Ὶούδας in the Koine Greek language original text of the New Testament, which in turn is a Greek variant of Judah (Y’hudah), a name which was common among Jews at the time.  

Most versions of the New Testament in languages other than English and French refer to Judas and Jude by the same name.[2]

According to the Catholic Catechism, [i]n Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two “senses” of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

Literally, there were two apostles with the name Judas.  Coincidence? Maybe? But with God, there is no real coincidences.

When we take a look at the two Judases in the spiritual sense, we not only see the unity of God’s plan in scripture, but we can [also] acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance. [3]

Judas Iscariot sold Jesus for 30 silver pieces, the cost of a slave, much like Judah did in the Old Testament, when he sold his brother Joseph into slavery. 

The robe Joseph wore at the time was drenched in blood.  He was thought by Israel (his father) to be dead.  Sound familiar? 

However, Joseph was not dead!

Joseph rose in the ranks in Egypt, to the right hand of Pharaoh, symbolically rising from the dead in the eyes of his brothers, only to save the people of Egypt and of Israel (Jacob) with wheat.

And, of course, we all know what we make with wheat?  Bread!  And what is the Eucharist, the bread of eternal life, made from?  Yes, bread — made from wheat!

Interesting, yes?

Much like the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, we tend to focus on the betrayal of Joseph more so than on the redemption story of his brothers, more specifically the redemption of brother Judah.  

Remember, Judah was not the oldest son of Jacob.  However, he stepped forward to defend Benjamin and offer his life in exchange for the life of his youngest brother. 

From the beginning of the story to the end, Judah grew spiritually, as Rabbi Loevinger states, in empathy, compassion, forgiveness and self-sacrifice.

In the midrash, it says that it was  Judah who, first, convinced Jacob, the father, that Joseph, his favorite son, was dead because he did not know the “pain of children.”   Then, Judah married and had sons.  

Becoming a parent profoundly changes a person.  You can say, with the birth of a child, one becomes reborn.

Likewise, Rabbi Loevinger continues, Judah became a new man after the birth of his children.  His empathy as a father, accordingly, lead to his compassion, and it seems that Judah’s compassion was so great that he could not let his father again lose a favored son. [4]

Though the New Testament narrative literally gives us two apostles named Judas, in an allegorical sense, it also presents us with the two Judahs of the Old Testament; the one who betrayed the love of the Father and the one who compassionately and willingly prepared to forfeit his own life for the Father’s Son.

In the spiritual sense, scripture anagogically presents, to the readers of the Gospel accounts of the Passion, this question: Which Judas are you?

At face value, it might appear to be an easy question to morallanswer.  

But is it really?

Blessed Pascha!

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.



He has Risen!


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre.

And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel.

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead?

He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee,

Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

And they remembered his words.

And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles.

And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them.

But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

— Saint Luke

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.



Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Recently, I stumbled across an email I sent in 2010!

Have you ever read something you wrote in the past and thought, “Wow, I wrote that?”

That’s exactly what I did when I read this email so many years later.

It appears that it was a written response to an email sent to me by very close friend.  His email contained the blog article posted in  Biblical Archaeology Society’s Bible History Daily titled “Was Jesus’ Last Supper A Seder?”  The link in the email no longer works.  However, I googled the article and found the new link HERE.

After I completed the email, I Cc’ed it to many of my close friends.  Today, I am sharing it with you.  Enjoy!

Thank you for the link to the interesting article.  I enjoyed reading different perspectives on a tradition that has been celebrated in the Church for almost 2000 years.  With that, I am Bcc’ing it to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for their enjoyment.  But before I do, I’d like to make a few points where I believe the author erred.  

Like many Christians, the author makes the grand mistake in believing that the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John do not match. Therefore, his judgment that the Last Supper cannot be a Passover meal is sadly incorrect. 

Though not a Seder, which he correctly mentions was a tradition created after the fall of Jerusalem, all four Gospels do place the Last Supper on the same day,  Holy Thursday, … let me explain.

In Jewish tradition, if Passover (Nisan 14) lands on the Sabbath, Friday night, which the Gospels dictates was Good Friday, the pascal lamb slaughter occurs on Nisan 13, since slaughtering lambs is “work,” and the Passover feast takes place immediately following the slaughter, that night, which would be Nisan 13; or it is moved to Saturday night, Nisan 15, which is why Mark writes, “The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days’ time.” 14:1

With that, Luke 22:7 mentions that the Passover meal takes place on “day of sacrificing the lamb”, which was Nisan 13; Matthew 26:17 “on the first day” — again Nisan 13 — because, as Mark tells us, Passover (or the night of Passover meal) is now taking place over two days [Nisan 13 or Nisan 15]; and John 13:1 confirms this by stating that the meal took place on Nisan 13 “before the feast of Passover” (Nisan 14.)  [NOTE: St. John’s use of this term will make more sense when the Quartodecimen Controversy is discussed below.] 

Therefore, the Last Supper took place in all four Gospels on Thursday, Nisan 13.

What does this mean?  It means that the only lamb slaughtered on Nisan 14, the only sacrifice that took place on Nisan 14, the true Passover, was the sacrifice of the true Pascal Lamb, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, Whose Blood washed away our sins. 

Truthfully, that’s all that really matters. 

[Spiritually,] the following does not really matter.  However, I promised to mention the Quartodecimen Controversy, so for you DieHards, I’ll continue.  And, I’m on Spring Break….  

The placement of the Last Supper on conflicting days leads the author [of the article] into more error.  For example, he twists the Quartodecimen Controversy as a “Semitic plot” when he writes “… to encourage Christians to celebrate Easter on Passover would it not make sense to emphasize the fact that Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples just before he died?”

The writings of the Church Fathers, however, tell us that it was the followers of the author of the Gospel of John, St. John the Apostle — especially St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrma — who celebrated Easter after Passover (Nisan 14), not the followers of the synoptic authors, Matthew, Mark, & Luke, which would put in question that author’s belief that ‘John gets the Post-Passover date of the Last Supper correct.’ 

[Quartodecimen stands for 14 — as Nisan 14.  This practice caused “controversy” because the early Christians who followed this practice (e.g. the early followers of St. John the Apostle) celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord on the third DAY after Nisan 14 not the SUNDAY following Nisan 14.]

On a side note, Easter, like Passover, is still “lunar” based.  Easter ALWAYS falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon that follows the first day of Spring.

Finally, and even less important, the author continues to error when he writes, “The Orthodox churches preserve the earlier custom of using leavened bread.”

The Maronites (Syrian and Palestinian Christians), the Churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria, and the Armenians, all use unleavened bread.  

According to St Thomas Aquinas, in the beginning, both in the East and West, unleavened bread was used.  When the sect of the Ebionites arose, who wished that the Mosaic Law should be obligatory on all converts, so leavened bread was used [to combat the heresy]; and when this heresy ceased, the Latins again used unleavened bread, but the Greeks retained the use of leavened bread.  In short, leaven bread was used to break the heresy!

With that, the Latin rite can use leaven bread if no unleavened bread is available and vice versa; which means that it is a strongly held tradition (small t) that Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper.  Latin-rite Catholics follow this tradition because of the belief that a “good Jew,” which Jesus undoubtedly was, would NOT have “leaven” in their house during the days of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which begins on Nisan 14 and continues until Nisan 21…  [However, the Last Supper took place on Nisan 13.]

I’m not a theologian, but like I tell my wife “If I can figure this stuff out….”

Maybe much of the connection between Christ and the Passover lamb is lost on us English-speakers because we use term Easter to refer to the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord.  Most of Christian world uses a variant of the word Pascha (Greek: Πάσχα).

  • Latin – Pascha or Festa Paschalia
  • Greek – Paskha
  • Bulgarian – Paskha
  • Danish – Paaske
  • Dutch – Pasen
  • Finnish – Pääsiäinen
  • French – Pâques
  • Indonesian – Paskah
  • Italian – Pasqua
  • Lower Rhine German – Paisken
  • Norwegian – Påske
  • Portuguese – Páscoa
  • Romanian – Pasti
  • Russian – Paskha
  • Spanish – Pascua
  • Swedish – Påsk
  • Welsh – Pasg

Pascha is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew Pesach, both meaning Passover.

Recently, I discovered an interesting tidbit about the pascal lambs and the shepherds who visited the Infant Jesus at the time of his birth.  Some evidence points to the fact that the sheep that these shepherds tended to, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, where the Temple lambs raised to serve in Temple sacrifices, including Passover.  These lambs were believed to be “wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:12) to protect them and keep them “without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19)

According to tradition, these “unblemished” lambs were sacrificed on Nisan 14 between noon and 3pm — the same time Christ hung on the cross.

The Passover “lamb in which was commanded to be wholly roasted,” wrote Justin Martyr,, a second century Christian, “was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.”

In short, Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes of way the sin of the world.”

And, isn’t it beautiful that this year’s Triduum takes place during the start of Passover.

Blessed Pascha! Chag Peasach Semeach!

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.



The Greatest Action Story Ever Told | MadTV (1996)

It’s Holy Thursday.   The commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.  The day when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion prior to his arrest and crucifixion.  [1]

The Easter Triduum begins with the Vigil of Holy Thursday. It marks the end of the forty days of Lent and the beginning of the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. [2]

I get the seriousness; the sacredness.

I will be focused 100% at the start of Jesus’ sorrowful passion as my family and I prepare for Mass this evening.

Maybe it’s not a time for levity.

Jesus’ is not just Divine, he was also human; he had a sense of humor — so I think He would find this 1996 MadTV clip funny.  Hopefully, you will too.

Enjoy the Greatest Action Story Ever Told.

Blessed Pascha.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.


Suggested Reading:






Recently, I started following an admitted atheist on Twitter after s/he challenged me because I put a #Faith in one of my tweets. @[anonymous] Atheist showed an almost Christian brand of kindness when I revealed my #Faith became unshakeable after I felt the physical presence of God lift a major burden off of me.

Nota bene: I respectfully changed the person’s Twitter handle @[anonymous] Atheist.

Things were amicable and soon, we started following each other.  From time-to-time, I would respond to a tweet that I disagreed with. And s/he would respond in kind.

It all appeared cordial.

For the proof of God, I introduced [anonymous] Atheist to Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. PhD, President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009.  Fr. Spitzer had a series on EWTN titled ‘Finding God Through Faith and Reason’.  Today, he is the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and President of the Spitzer Center.

He’s pretty deep and science-based, which speaks to my science background.  For the repliability of the Gospels, I posted this lecture by Dr. Brant Pitre.

I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Pitre and often refer to him as the “new Scott Hahn.”  (If you’re into Catholic Christian apologetics, you know what I mean.)

However, after I responded to these two response tweets — where [anonymous] Atheist asked someone in the twittersphere to present proof that God existed — s/he blocked me.

I didn’t realize it at first. I’m not very twitter-savvy.  I only discovered that I was blocked after I searched for the [anonymous] Atheist.

[anonymous] Atheist posted often and when I didn’t see any recent tweets, I grew concerned.  When I discovered that I was blocked for seeing his/her tweets, I tweeted:

Blocked? Really? I really enjoyed your tweets.

Soon after that, I couldn’t even find the [anonymous] Atheist on Twitter, altogether.  So, I thought, either there’s a nuclear blocking option or s/he has left the twitter world completely.

So, I used another Twitter account — and that’s when I discovered I was nuked!

Again, I’m not Twitter-savvy, so forgive me if these are not the proper Twitter-terms.

For a moment, I was sad. Did I say something offensive? I don’t believe I did.

Finally, I had to chuckle.

Wouldn’t that be ironic, I thought, offending someone who makes it a daily ritual trying to offend people — particularly people of #Faith?

Then it hit me: Isn’t that what is happening across this nation?

Social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on.  [anonymous] Atheist is probably still out there, and still challenging people of #Faith.

Today, we are all truly globally connecting, yet sadly no one is really communicating.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.


Suggested Reading:

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says. Lee Billings.  Scientific America.  2019.

wormhole-2514312_640 (1)

Image by Genty from Pixabay

Everyone knows the story about Galileo and the Catholic Church — or at least everyone thinks they know the story.

The centuries old controversy was set into motion after a sequence of events, beginning with the enlightened scientist’s  defense of the Copernican astronomical theory  and culminating  with a trial and condemnation by the behemoth of religiosity, the Catholic Church, and its stubborn hold to a scripture-centered Geocentrism.

At least that’s the present worldview of the events.

Today, many people point to this moment in history as the great schism between science and religion. The fallout from this event continues to foster disdain, not just for the Catholic Church, but for organized religion in general.

The Galileo Affair has also divided the faithful into two camps: Those who literally interpret scripture verse those who don’t.

These divisions are brutally deep, leaving gaping wounds, filled with hurt feelings and scars that have never fully healed.  The purulent exudate from the battle wounds of this historic clash, has seeped into of our schools, our institutions, our politics, and has saturated almost every aspect of life.

But what if the Church wasn’t wrong?  What if the Earth IS truly the center of the Universe?

Would all these scars finally mend and heal?

Would the scientific community jointly write a treatise, as John Paul II did in 1992, apologizing for their errors?

Would the news organizations such as the NY Times, Washington Post, AP and alike, which jointly declared in 1992: Church Declares Galileo Was Right, retract their news stories?

Well, truth be told, Stephen Hawking proved that the Church was right holding to the belief that the Earth was the center of the Universe.

Yes, Stephen Hawking!

Back in 2016, in Episode 4 of the TV series Genius, Stephen Hawking set out to prove, through a series of demonstrations, that the universe was ever-expanding, a theory promoted by the brilliant Belgian scientist named George Lemaître.

Lemaître was not just a mathematician, astronomer, professor of physics, and member of the Royal Academy of Science, he was also an ordained Catholic priest.  You may know Lemaître’s theory best as The Big Bang Theory.

In the aforementioned episode, Hawking had screens set up that represented maps of a small part of our universe; the lights on the screens represented galaxies.

“Think of them,” Hawking said of the screens, “as two snapshots of the same area of space taken 1 billion years apart. So how about we put our [time] machine together? Overlap the screens?”

The two screens were then overlapped on each other. As the TV hosts stepped back from the screens, it was clear that they were not the same.

“It looks like everything is radiating out from a point,” they pointed out. “So it looks from a billion years ago to today everything has moved away slightly … Same patterns, but they have moved … It was like jumping to warp speed and you get that pssheew starburst sort of effect … And we figured out that that is supposed to represent the expansion of space….”

After this last demonstration, Hawking said something profound; something that has stayed with me ever since.

Everywhere is the center of the universe,” Hawking declared, “because it all came into existence at the same time, and it’s all moving away from everywhere at the same time. Space didn’t exist before the big bang. Now space is expanding in all directions, and these simple facts mean wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center, where it all began.”

Don’t take my word for it, CLICK HERE and read the episode script yourself.  It’s at the very end of the teleplay.  Or watch it below.  The scene discussed above starts at 45.25.

Everywhere is the center of the universe …wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center, where it all began.”

Astounding, right?

It sounds allot like the first words of scripture that teaches it all began when God, at the beginning of time, created heaven and earth.  Earth was still an empty waste…. (Genesis 1:1-2)

Assuming Stephen Hawking correct, that the universe IS ever-expanding — and the chances that the man declared the smartest person in the world is correct —  then wherever you are in the universe, it’s the center must be a true statement.

And if that statement is true, and wherever you are IS the Earth, then the Earth IS the center of the universe.

The truth is: The Gallileo Affair was never really about science.  At it’s core, it was a battle between philosophies. 

The Roman Church stood against Galileo’s theory because it believed it to bfoolish and absurd in philosophy [not  science] …  since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.

By removing the Earth from the center of the cosmos, Copernicanism embraced what became known as the ‘principle of mediocrity’.  In that sense, Earth became just a mediocre member of a mediocre solar system.

The sense of Holy scripture is philosophically  contrary to the principle of mediocrity.

That’s because the sense of Holy scripture comes from a Divine point-of-view.  It informs us that the power and energy that created the universe came from God.  It also calls us to spiritually focus on a “Rare Earth” [1][2], a rare Earth that is the center of God’s world, the center of the universe.

In that sense, Stephen Hawking and the Church both philosophically  put the center of the universe in the same place — wherever you are!

So, if God created the universe that means God created you.  And, if the center of the universe is wherever you are, that means God put YOU in the center of the universe.

If God thinks you’re important enough to make you the center of His universe, maybe you might want to consider making God the center of yours.

That’s the true sense of Holy scripture.

Maybe that’s why they call The Big Bang Theory a Roman Catholic creation?


Although St. John Paul II apologized, in 1992, for the condemnation of Galileo, the Polish pontiff added that “the Galileo case has been a sort of ‘myth,’ in which the image fabricated out of the events was quite far removed from the reality.”

St. John Paul II also said ““Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other to a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.”

Maybe that’s why we call him Great.

Years before the pontificate of John Paul II, another Pope, Benedict XIV, granted an imprimatur to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo.  He did so — in 1741![1]  An imprimatur is an official declaration by a bishop — in this case the Bishop of Rome — that a book is free from doctrinal error. [2]

Regardless of the events in his life, Galileo remained a pious Catholic for the remainder of his life.  He died in 1642. Galileo was 88 years old and was buried at the Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze in Florence Italy  with his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, a Catholic nun.

So, you can see why St. John Paul believed the events of the Galileo case were far removed from reality.


James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

You can read more about the Galileo Affair:

  2. The Galileo Affair by George Sim Johnston
  4.  Genius by Stephen Hawking (2016) s1e4 Episode Script Where Did the Universe Come From?
  5. Biographical sketches of memorable Christians of the past: Nicolas Copernicus, Priest and Scholar



Wednesday night, my wife and I had a very rare opportunity.

We were finally able to get out of the house, without our boys, for a date night.  We spent our evening together, with friends, at a preview of the faith-based film Unplanned.

The film is based on the true-life story of Abby Johnson, who went from Planned Parenthood clinic director to Pro-life advocate.  

Kleenex were handed out before the movie for what was expected to be a tear-jerker.  

Shortly after, a local pastor had us all, a private audience, bow our heads to pray for the end of abortion in the United States.

Though personally Pro-Life, I attended the film to support my wife, who was gifted tickets through our Parish’s RCIA program.  

To be honest, I would’ve enjoyed seeing A Star is Born with my wife rather than Unplanned.  My wife, however, is not a chick-flick kind of gal.  Since she cried when watching the trailer, I wanted to be there for her just in case she needed a shoulder to cry on.

You see, we lost our middle child, Jimmy, who was stillborn at 19-weeks.   

It’s difficult to lose a child at any age.  However, it’s even more difficult to openly express grief for a child most people don’t accept as a child — especially people who believe that life begins with “viability” outside the womb or don’t believe life begins at conception, as we do.

The loss affected my wife, more than me. 

She had a greater connection to our boy simply by the nature of carrying and nurturing  him for almost five months.  She also had to go through the pains of childbirth only to say “hello” and “goodbye” in the same breath. 

Don’t get me wrong; I mourn Jimmy, but for a completely different reason. 

Sadly, I never saw him alive.  

I was “too busy” with work.  The first time I accompanied my wife to the doctor’s during the pregnancy was the first time I saw the image of our baby on the sonogram.  He was oddly still.  His heartbeat was silent.

This unplanned loss, oddly enough, would soon become my greatest moment of Faith.

On the evening of the scheduled delivery, I not only felt the heavy cross of sorrow spiritually lifted off my shoulder as my wife and I prayed together before we entered the hospital;  I also felt the physical presence of the Almighty at our side.

In that time of pain and anguish, God lent me His strength to be the husband I was called to be at a time I needed to be a strong husband!

It’s amazing how such a sad and tragic event in my life is also my most evidential God-moment.  The still birth of our son, at 19-weeks, also gave me a greater awareness of the development of the fetus in a woman’s womb.

You can say this was a turning-point in my life, on many levels. 

Likewise, the movie Unplanned began almost immediately with the turning point in Abby Johnson’s life: Her witnessing a 13-week baby, on a sonogram, fighting off the attack of a surgical vacuum and eventually losing its life at the hands of an abortionist, who she was assisting.

The film quickly jump-cut, from that dramatic moment, back to Abby Johnson’s college years and her initial introduction to Planned Parenthood on her university’s campus.

From there, Unplanned chronicled the events in Abby Johnson’s life from naive Planned Parenthood volunteer to dedicated Abortion Clinic director.  Unplanned continues forward, showcasing her rising in the ranks, until the film returns to the first turning- point of the story, when she watched the sonogram of that 13-week baby whose struggle and death changed Abby into the defender of Life she is this day!

Though there was no cursing or nudity, the film received an R-rated.  Oddly, I think the controversy behind the film’s MPAA rating gave Unplanned a publicity boost, awaking a sleeping giant, an audience of Pro-Lifers across America.

A letter from Abby Johnson was read before the film began, pointing out the two scenes reportedly responsible for the film’s R-rated: a CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) sonogram re-creation of the initial abortion and the re-creation of an awful experience Abby had after using the abortion pill. 

Even though Unplanned had an obvious Pro-Life message, I had a problem with some of the film’s possible mixed messages. 

Christian and the Pro-Life most likely would not agree with Abby Johnson’s early life choices, however, others may see the life of Abby Johnson improving after being freed from the having a child — not once, but twice — with her loser boyfriend who later became her unfaithful first husband! 

Film is powerful.  These scenes, I feel, as they are portrayed, sadly play right into the hand of the pro-choice movement.

I thought it strange, as well, how observing the dissected body parts of an aborted fetus in a petri-dish had no impact on the film’s protagonist.  In fact, it appeared to only made her a stronger Pro-Choice advocate. 

Yet, after witnessing a two-dimensional sonogram of an abortion, the film’s protagonist became Pro-Life?

I couldn’t help but thinking that the short film Silent Scream, which has been out since 1984, could have been found online at that time.  Wasn’t she, or anyone she knew, aware of it? Or even curious?

I’m not questioning Abby Johnson’s character.  I’m just questioning the motion picture’s story-line and imagery.

There was one scene, for me, that favorably stood out.   It was a brief, yet it portrayed the true power and patience of our Heavenly Father

Pregnant with their first child, Abby was offered a promotion at Planned Parenthood.  If promoted, she would become one of the youngest clinic directors in the non-profit organization’s history.   So, she prayed and placed the promotion in God’s hands.

Her husband, in the film, as well as many around me in the theater, chuckled at the perceived irony of a Pro-Choice advocate believing that a promotion, from abortion clinic health counselor to abortion over-seer would involve God’s Will?

It may not be a part of God’s Will, but her promotion was certainly part of God’s Plan!

Think about it: If Abby never received her promotion, she may have never witnessed the sonogram of the abortion — and today, we’re discussing a movie about the conversion of Abby Johnson because of tha ultra-sound.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knew how and when Abby would see it — and He knew what would happen to Abby’s heart once she did!

As a film, Unplanned was good.  It just wasn’t great.  The highlight of the film was the performance of Ashley Bratcher, the actress who played Abby Johnson.

I prayed for Ashley, after the film, because knowing Hollywood as I do, I fear that her career may be negatively impacted by the success of Unplanned just as Jim Cavievel’s career suffered after playing Jesus in The Passion of The Christ.

The actress who stars in Unplanned, appears to be less fearful and believes the film is going to change history.  Not to be a negative Nellie, but I sadly don’t agree with her.

Do I think Unplanned will have an impact on our culture?  Yes, it will … with some folks! 

However, as I told my wife on the ride home, “Schindler’s List was so much more of a movie — and sadly anti-Semitism is at an all-time high today.” 

Likewise, the 1980’s short film Silent Scream can now be found on YouTube for all to see.

Yet, of 198 world nations, the United States is one of only seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam are the other.  The Netherlands and Singapore allow abortions after 20 weeks, but ban it after 24 weeks.  (Astounding, isn’t it?  Almost unbelievable.  You can fact check it all here.)

So, I have my doubts that a computer-generated ultra-sound assisted abortion with have a stronger impact.

I am, however, praying for the hope that I’m wrong.  

I’m also praying that the faithful show up in droves and support Unplanned. 

Support, however, also needs to shared with the upcoming anti-abortion film Roe v. Wade when it is released.  And while we wait for its opening day, we need to go back  out, purchase the 2011 Christian-themed film October Baby, and show it to friends, as well.

Overwhelming support for Unplanned, and films like it, would simultaneously send a message to Hollywood and to our State and Federally elected officials that we have the heart to save lives, but the ways and means to change the hearts and minds of Americans.

 But Unplanned can only be a start!  






James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!    As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  He also co-wrote and directed the play Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.  His screenplay, based on the play, has garnered much attention.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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