In August, police made the gruesome discovery of 35 late-term aborted babies in a freezer at abortionist Steven Brigham’s (pictured right, speaking with one of his attorneys) Elkton, MD, mill.

According to Cecil Whig reporter Jacob Owens, with whom I spoke this morning, one of the babies was claimed by a Canadian family.

That left 34. Rev. Joe Piekarski of Immaculate Conception Church in Elkton applied to the MD Board of Medical Examiners to receive those babies.

Pro-life leader Jack Ames expressed to Fr. Piekarski via 2 in-person conversations,  a phone call, and an email the pro-life community’s wish to hold a large memorial and burial service for the babies.

This would be akin to paying proper respect to martyrs, fallen soldiers, or Holocaust victims.

A large service would also help the public understand that abortions kill babies. And it would give pro-lifers who feel these tragedies so deeply a proper chance to mourn.

Ames told me Piekarski at first was amenable. Meanwhile, he held a Mass of Remembrance on October 21, before receiving the babies. But he quit taking Ames’ calls.

Ames and East Coast pro-lifers (and me) were thus shocked, saddened, and angered to learn yesterday that Piekarski held a secret burial service for the babies this past Monday.

Piekarski didn’t announce the upcoming service in the parish bulletin Sunday nor from the pulpit. He alerted no one in the pro-life community. There was no funeral Mass. The babies were buried together in 1 adult coffin.

Piekarski did notify a priest from the only other parish priest in Cecil County, who alerted a few of his members late Sunday. And despite their apparent best attempts, Owens from the Cecil Whig also got wind and showed up, providing the only record through a short story and YouTube video. In all, 30 people attended the cemetery service, which lasted 20 minutes according to Owens.

A receptionist at Immaculate Conception told me, “They didn’t want the notoriety. They didn’t want the press involved.”

To which pro-life leader Monica Miller told me she would have responded, “Why not?”

Miller is orchestrating November 20 yet another of many funerals she has overseen since the 1980s of aborted babies. She wrote on this very topic in a chapter of her hopefully soon-to-be-published book, Graphic images – the untold story of the abortion war:

A religious graveside ceremony would draw attention to the reality of the violence and tragedy of legalized abortion. It would affirm to the world, as nothing else could, that these unborn children, killed by abortion and now laid to rest alongside the bodies of other human beings, were indeed full members of the human race.

Monica told me she is encountering less resistance these days to large public services than in the past. Interestingly she said the first large funerals for these babies, usually retrieved from the trash, were held at Protestant churches.

She wrote in her book she has determined there are many reasons pastors are resistant. Writing about Cardinal Bernardin’s refusal in 1987 to hold a public funeral for 500 aborted babies she wrote:

I had received definite vibes from everyone I’ve talked to in the Chancery Office about why the babies were buried in secret, why the Cardinal and the chancellors were entirely ill at ease at the thought of making a big deal about the fact that the babies were found in the trash and buried by the Church. I’m trying to find just the right words to explain their peculiar attitude.

I think the archdiocese refused to make the burial a public event – a vehicle for preaching against abortion, etc. – because it was afraid it would look as if the Church was exploiting or merely using the babies’ bodies, taken from the trash, in order to promote its “sectarian – narrow” beliefs that abortion is wrong. Somehow the Church did not want to be perceived as using this “abortion find” to preach against abortion. Somehow they found “exploiting” the situation repugnant.

Also I believe part of this repugnance flowed from a refusal to allow pro-lifers (especially us radical activist types who would actually dig in garbage dumpsters to find aborted babies) to “use the Church” as an instrument to condemn abortion because we happened to find the remains of the murder victims in the trash….

Somehow they got the weird idea that the public condemnation of these babies’ deaths and being thrown into the trash was a crass exploitation of the babies…. Indeed I know from chancery people I’ve talked to that many priests and employees down there… believed that us pro-lifers didn’t really have any care or reverence for these babies’ remains…..

Finally, the whole thing resides in churchmen not really understanding that abortion is not an abstract issue. It’s real – so real that you can actually get your hands on the bodies of the murder victims. But because abortion has not really broken the heart or gotten under the skin of the bureaucrats, they really didn’t know what should have been done when the babies’ bodies were right in the palm of their hands! Instead of preaching against abortion from rooftops and pulpits – and taking a leadership voice – they treated these 500 murder victims with no more real consideration than if they had died in their sleep.

Ultimately, as Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue told me this morning, “that secrecy always works to benefit the abortionists because it keeps all their dirty business out of the public eye.”

As an aside, Owens told me 11 of the babies were issued death certificates, which means they were either considered viable or aborted alive and allowed to die or killed. Operation Rescue is working on getting to the bottom of that now.

[Brigham photo via The Star-Ledger; funeral photo via the Cecil Whig]

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