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We all know the saying that one’s life changed as a result of a single event.

Very likely, it’s happened to all of us in one way or another.  If not, yet, hang on.  Assuredly, it will happen.

Whether it is wonderful news, or bad news, or just sort of middling news, things just happen.

The news of a few days ago prompted me to think of children, wee babies, babies now in utero indeed, and indeed, frankly, far more seriously than ever I had done before.

Those of you who have previously tried to corral my thoughts know that, let’s just say for some quirky reason, my mind often adds a ‘soundtrack’ to my thoughts or impressions.

Typically, that just happens, spontaneously, like the sunrise and sunset, and without any conscious effort on my part to do so.

In this case, the sweet, no, idyllically sweet, music that forced itself into my mind was itself the story of small innocent children.

As the theme began to trail in my head, I received a one-line email from a colleague in Europe:  “Poland: Redux 1941?” with a weblink.

In other words, this seemed to be an obvious reference to Nazi-controlled, and an almost by then- obliterated Poland.  Here’s the text of that link:


Poland Considers Banning Abortion After Baby Born Alive Dies Screaming for an Hour by himself;  24-week-old died in agony with no medical care

WARSAW (ChurchMilitant.com) – After a baby in Poland born after two botched abortion attempts was allowed to die after screaming for an hour, a national debate has re-opened over whether abortion should be banned in the country.

Witnesses say an abortion performed March 7 at Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw resulted in the birth of a live 24-week baby, who was left to scream in agony for an hour until he died.


Personnel did not help the child in any way.

After the baby survived the administration of abortifacients on Friday, the doctor induced birth on Sunday, leaving the unborn baby on the changing table crying alone. No anesthetics or other care was given to the baby.

Anna Wiejak, the Polish reporter who broke the story and who is a member of the SOS Foundation to Save Unborn Children, told ChurchMilitant.com:

“The scream of this child was so traumatic for the personnel that they declared that they will never forget it.”

One of the medical staff reported the incident to Fr. Ryszard Halwa, a Catholic priest and director of the SOS Foundation. According to Wiejak, the employee desires to remain anonymous because of fears he may lose his job “just like a former director of this hospital, professor Bogdan Chazan, who was fired over a year ago because he refused to abort a baby.”

The SOS Foundation then informed the media and legal authorities about the incident, which has now exploded in international media.

The hospital insists it acted within the law. Spokeswoman Dorota Jaslowska-Niemyska said tests on the patient, who was near the end of her 23rd week of pregnancy, showed the unborn child had Down Syndrome. The spokeswoman claims the dignity of both mother and child were respected. She refused to comment further as to the details of the procedure.

In a statement issued shortly after the event broke in the media, the Polish Bishops Conference condemned the incident, affirming, “We believe that every person, especially one who is completely helpless and dependent on us, should be of particular concern. This is a concrete way of realizing the commandment to love one another.”

And [Archbishop] Henryk Hoser of Warsaw, through his metropolitan Kazimierz Nycz, is considering removing the name “Holy Family” from the hospital. “With great regret I received the information [about the baby],” said Nycz, “which significantly undermines the sense and the right to maintain such patronage” by the hospital.

Poland bans abortions except in the case of rape or where the mother’s life or health is in danger. It also permits abortions in the case of fetal abnormalities only up till the point of fetal viability.

The SOS Foundation along with other pro-lifers in Poland are calling for criminal charges to be brought against the hospital for its failure to save the child’s life. The Polish Doctors Code of Ethics states that an unborn child is a patient deserving of medical care, and the Polish Criminal Code deems a newborn a “child” with legal rights and protections.

The prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the hospital to see if proper procedure was followed during and after the abortion. On Friday, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, Michael Dziekański, said the investigation would examine whether there was a criminal violation of the law, which requires that medical care be given where “the fetus has become capable of living outside the pregnant woman’s body.” Such a crime would result in up to eight years’ imprisonment for the offender.

Pro-lifers are also holding demonstrations outside the hospital calling for justice and for an end to abortion.

Catholics are hoping the recently installed conservative government will revisit the issue and ban all abortions. Since coming into power last October, the ruling Law and Justice Party has issued reforms more in line with traditional Catholic teaching. Its latest plans involve banning prescription-free morning-after pills as well as in vitro fertilization. Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin commented that using morning after pills amounts to “express abortion.”

In response to the outrage and after being approached by the SOS Foundation and the Polish Federation of Pro-life Movements, the Polish parliament has agreed to create a special committee to draft a pro-life bill.

According to Wiejack, “The main problem is that the prime minister, Beata Szydło, is going to defend the present law, which is called abortional compromise, but I believe that if we have a chance to speak with Mrs. Szydło, she will change her mind.”

She continued, “Besides, this government really needs the support of the citizens, and over 70 percent of Polish society is pro-life. … [M]ost politicians of the Law and Justice party are pro-life. … [T]hat’s why I think it shouldn’t be a problem to gain the majority to pass the bill prohibiting abortion.”

Abortion was first legalized in Poland in 1932, when it was permitted under limited circumstances. That law was expanded under later Communist rule to allow abortion on demand. After the fall of Communism, abortion was outlawed in 1993, with the three exceptions above remaining.

Poland remains a predominantly Catholic country, with approximately 90 percent of Poles describing themselves as Catholic.

“The impact of this case was unprecedented,” Wiejak told ChurchMilitant.com. “There were even conversions.”

She commented on the meaning of this case for the abortion agenda:

This case has shown something which was covered by silence — I mean the scream of a baby dying in pain because of abortion. Every abortion means pain for the child killed in the womb. … Abortionists really do know what they are doing. They really do know, and they lie in saying that the unborn child is only a bunch of cells, that it doesn’t feel anything. This scream of a baby that we heard in Poland exposed all these lies. People are angry — angry at the medical doctors, angry at the politicians, angry at media because of pro-abortion propaganda, angry at the whole political system. They really do want change. [End Quote]

Now, as I said at the outset, you understand why normally I do not write on such topics.  Today is an exception.

Remember I mentioned that when I first read this, I’d had a musical theme running in my head?

My thoughts were of the German legend of Hansel and Gretel, and one of the sweetest melodies ever penned, or so say I, by the German composer Englebert Humperdinck, for his opera of the same name.

[To avoid any confusion, my thoughts were of the real German-version born in Germany not Arnold Dorsey, a Welshman, born in Wales, and who chose ‘Englebert Humperdinck’ as a stage name for some odd-to-whacko reason and in competition to his fellow Welshman, Tom Jones.]

In the second act of the opera, while out picking berries, Hansel and Gretel find themselves not only lost in the woods, but, worse and far scarier still, as nightfall looms.

“When Hansel calls out, “Who’s there?” only an echo replies.

Gretel thinks she sees ghostly figures coming for them and cries out for her parents. Out of the mist, a little man appears with a sack on his back. It’s the Sandman, and he sprinkles his magic sand on them to help them sleep.

The children say their Evening Prayer (“Now I lay me down to sleep”) and fall into a deep sleep as not merely one, but rather fourteen (14) angels appear to watch over them.

Enjoy this version of ‘Abendsegen’ (‘Evening Prayer’) from “Hänsel & Gretel” sung here by Juliane Banse, soprano as Gretel, & Elisabeth Kulman, mezzo-soprano, as Hansel:


[If this fails to play, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91h8uxAUOKI&sns=em]

Abends will ich schlafen gehn,
vierzehn Engel um mich stehn:
zwei zu meinen Häupten,
zwei zu meinen Füßen,
zwei zu meiner Rechten,
zwei zu meiner Linken,
zweie die mich decken,
zweie die mich wecken,
zweie die mich weisen
zu Himmels Paradeisen.

The wonderful English translation, of both first and second verses, is here:

When at night I go to sleep

Fourteen angels watch do keep

Two my head are guarding

Two my feet are guiding

Two are on my right hand

Two are on my left hand

Two who warmly cover

Two who o’er me hover

Two to whom ’tis given

To guide my steps to heaven


Sleeping softly, then it seems

Heaven enters in my dreams;

Angels hover round me,

Whisp’ring they have found me;

Two are sweetly singing,

Two are garlands bringing,

Strewing me with roses

As my soul reposes.

God will not forsake me

When dawn at last will wake me.

When at night I go to sleep

Fourteen angels watch do keep

Two my head are guarding

Two my feet are guiding

Two are on my right hand

Two are on my left hand

Two who warmly cover

Two who o’er me hover

Two to whom ’tis given

To guide my steps to heaven

May there have been at least fourteen angels guiding that wee Polish baby boy, who had the temerity to arrive, flawed, as he did, back to Heaven and into the arms of a God who, just perhaps, will not forsake him.




Article by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D., March 24, 2016; http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/abortion-debate-sparked-in-poland-after-baby-born-alive-dies-amidst-agony  Twitter: @ChristineNiles1

The performance of Humperdinck’s “Abendsegen & Traumpantomime” (‘Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime’) you saw was given as part of the “Festliche Adventsmusik aus Dresden” (“Ceremonial Advents Music Festival from Dresden”), shown on ZDF-2 Television (Zweites Deutches Fernsehen) on 1 December 2012 by the Sächsiche Staatskapelle Dresden in the beautifully restored, utterly divine Frauenkirche (Church of the Our Lady) of Dresden, Germany, under the baton of Maestro Christian Thielemann.

FYI – As of this writing, Maestro Thielemann does not have a website.  When many have asked him why, his reply is classic:  “von Karajan didn’t have one!

Juliane Banse, soprano  Website (English):   http://www.julianebanse.com/index.php/en/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Juliane-Banse-official-site/121254641303115

Twitter: @Enailui1

Elisabeth Kulman, the Viennese mezzo-soprano, contralto
Website (English): http://www.elisabethkulman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elisabeth.kulman.fan

Twitter:  @ElisabethKulman

Staatskapelle Dresden, making gorgeous sound and splendor since 1548


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Staatskapelle-Dresden/100631256653018?v=wall

Twitter: @StaatskapelleDD

Frauenkirche Dresden, constructed during the years 1726-1743, then hugely damaged by bombing in World War II, now beautifully restored

Website:  http://www.frauenkirche-dresden.de/startseite/

Website (English): http://www.frauenkirche-dresden.de/en/home/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frauenkirche.dresden

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FrauenkircheDresden

Twitter: @frauenkirche_dd

‘SOS Foundation to Save Unborn Children’ or, in the original Polish language,

‘Fundacja S.O.S. Obrony Poczętego Życia’
nr KRS 0000215438
ul. Nowolipie 9/11, lok. 75
00-150 Warszawa, Poland
Tel./Fax. (0-22) 831 28 06
E-mail: biuro@fundacjasos.pl
Website: http://fundacjasos.pl/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fundacjasos

Mr. Englebert Humperdinck   Web: https://www.engelbert.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Engelbert-Humperdinck/110968478992995

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheENGELBERTChannel