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Healing of the family tree (letter)

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 Contents - May 2003AD2000 May 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The significance of the Resurrection - Peter Westmore
Events: Carnivale Christi 2003 - A tale of four cities - Anthony McCarthy
News: The Church Around the World
Surge in priestly vocations confounds secular culture - Joanne Grainger
Why priestly vocations are up in Perth Archdiocese - Debra Warrier
Brisbane archdiocesan synod: challenges needing to be addressed - Peter Howard
Liturgy: Latvia shows the way on liturgical renewal - Cardinal Janis Pujats
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002): How faith survived in a Communist prison - Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
Architecture: 'Re-ordered' and 'new' churches - symptoms of a wider spiritual malaise - Marie Cassey
Language: The forgotten language of adoration of God - through words and actions - Audrey English
Letters: Definitive teachings (letter) - Jerome Gonzalez
Letters: Infallible (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Teachings promoted (letter) - Pat O'Brien
Letters: Role of bishop (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Healing of the family tree (letter) - Anne Lastman
Letters: Friday Abstinence (letter) - Leo Leitch
Letters: Teilhard de Chardin (letter) - Stuart J. Blackwood
Letters: Praying for priests (letter) - Denise Kelly
Books: Life-Giving Love: Embracing God's beautiful design for marriage, Kimberley Hahn - Leanne and Michael Casanova (reviewer)
Books: Christianity On Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Review: The Mysteries of Light: Rosary for Children and Youth on cassette - Colleen McGuinness-Howard (reviewer)
Books: Essentials of the Faith: A Guide to the Catechism / Pastoral Answers - Michael E. Daniel (reviewer)
Review: Spending The Day With Mary: The Rosary on CD and Tape - Joe Padero (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: St Francis on individual confession and receiving Holy Communion - Fr Sebastian Camilleri OFM

As a post-abortion grief counsellor, I wish to take issue with Fr Peter Joseph's article on healing of the family tree, in the February issue of AD2000.

While I appreciate the Vatican's paper on the New Age movement is welcome and timely, the response should not be to throw out the baby with the bath water.

I understand and believe that God exists in the eternal now, and if this is so, then maybe one of my ancestors who died say 70-80 years ago, (long before I was even a thought) with perhaps an unrepented sin, may have a need for some future kinswoman/man to help expiate that sin.

Like Fr Joseph I think that too much effort can be placed into trying to unravel the inscrutable ways of God and to seek explanations for all things - including why this sickness and why this death, etc. However, this is not what "healing the family tree" is all about.

Healing of "family tree", or possible intergenerational, intragenerational or transgenerational influences, is about looking into one's own family and if something exists, to take this thing that exists to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and implore his mercy and forgiveness. It is he who effects the healing and changes.

Fr Joseph says that God can and does bring great good from evil and taking this cue I would like to speak about my work as a post-abortion grief counsellor.

For approximately seven years I have listened to stories about this reason and that reason for abortion (s). I have encountered sometimes overwhelming grief - even for me as counsellor - and over the years begun to see different patterns emerging.

Even in the grieving of some post-aborted women there was a difference. There were/are some so overwhelmed by grief, so self-destructive, so self-sabotaging, that I began to ask a new set of questions.

It was in the asking of these new questions that I began to see a different picture from what I had imagined. Not only were current family histories perused but past histories as far as comfortably possible without invention of stories.

The trail of sabotage extended to the third and fourth generations - the trail of abortions, abandonment, suicides, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, and the list continues.

The healing of intergenerational or transgenerational wounds shouldn't scandalise us, but instead humble us. That our God would use the creature to help bring healing to another one of His own is the mystery and not the scandal.

Vermont South, Vic

[Editor: Anne Lastman's detailed response to Fr Joseph was much too long to publish in full. Anyone wishing a complete text of her response should contact Anne at PO Box 6094, Vermont South, Vic 3133, tel (03) 9887 7669, 0408 175 033]

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 4 (May 2003), p. 14

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