Judith Ann Limbourne Brown was born in Los Angeles, California on March 4, 1944. Her father abandoned his family a year and a half later, leaving her mother and her younger sister Sheila, who had just been born, to fend for themselves. Judie's grandparents took them in and were very influential in molding her character and resolve. They saw that she received the proper Catholic education and then paid for her to attend St. Mary's Academy in Inglewood, an all-girls Catholic school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her mother had remarried in 1952 and she came to love and respect her foster father Chester Limbourne Graduating from there in 1962, college tuition money scarce, and already having a promising job with Kresge's as a bookkeeper, she attended El Camino Junior College, receiving her Associated Arts degree in 1963. After two more years at UCLA and a degree in hand she was finding the business world enticing. By the time she turned 21 she was elevated to western regional office manager for K-Mart's western region.
It was actually with K-Mart in Seattle, where she had been transferred, while interviewing a young man named Paul Brown that she would get to know this applicant better than she ever suspected. They would fall in love and on December 30, 1967 - two days after the Feast of the Holy Innocents the couple was married in the same church in Hawthorne, California where Judie had received her First Holy Communion. Both worked for K-Mart at the time and Judie opted to stay home to raise a family. Their first child was Hugh Richard III born on November 23, 1968, followed by Catherine Marie. In 1973 the family found themselves transferred to Savannah, Georgia and Judie got involved with helping organizers of the Georgia Right to Life Group stuff envelopes and mail out material informing others of the culture of death in the aftermath of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that year that would open the door for millions of unborns to be slaughtered as holy innocents. Their third child Christina Lee was born on June 19, 1973 and eight months later the family moved again.
It was during their moves through Paul's assignments that the family came to truly understand Catholicism and the Church's strong stance on birth control and abortion. Their faith was enriched with every move, from Georgia to Kannopolis, North Carolina to Steubenville, Ohio where Judie came to the realization she had to totally commit herself to God's cause. Each step of her journey was executed by God Who was grooming her for the work ahead. With all who give their fiat to God, the Almighty brings them along slowly - baby steps at first, then larger ones. By her own admission in her book "It is I Who have chosen you", it took Judie a while to catch on to the signs, but once she did, she could only marvel at how wondrous His plans are.
The family was transferred again in 1976, this time to the nation's capitol Washington D.C. Here Judie began working with the National Right to Life Committee but resigned in March 1979 because she would not compromise as NRLC was doing in making exceptions to abortion. To her there could be no "if," "ands," or "buts" when it came to the life of an unborn child, especially where Congressional legislation would have to overrule the dastardly Roe vs. Wade decision of an amoral Supreme Court. Within a month of her split with NRLC, she began the American Life Lobby, which has been dormant since 1991, and the American Life League through contacts made by Paul who had previously founded the Life Amendment Political Action Committee or LAPAC. The whole purpose of the American Life League or ALL was to educate the public about pro-life issues and see the horror of abortion. She began developing ideas for ALL About Issues, the newsletter of the League. It was during the first year of ALL that Judie began to realize that she still had to let go and let God work through her. Until then the stress she undertook was taking its toll physically.
In March of 1981 Judie's mother passed away after ten years of suffering. All the while ALL was growing. It began in Judie and Paul's own basement and by September 1981 ALL moved into regular office space and began to get legitimate notice on Capitol Hill. This became evident in October of that year when ALL played a positive role in defeating the Hatch Amendment so that pro-life could be properly legislated. That same year saw Judie's realization, by the grace of God, that her true vocation was first and always as a wife and mother, then as head of ALL. It was a time of sacrifice for both Paul and Judie and their family, a time that brought forth a rejuvenated spirit, and a family renewed physically and spiritually.
Through the decade of the eighties she continued to defend and lobby for pro-life causes, even speaking personally to President Ronald Reagan at the White House. However, in 1985 after she and Paul spoke to Reagan again concerning RU-486 - the "death pill," Reagan did nothing to prevent the use of this "devil drug," but Judie never shirked her convictions. That same year of eighty-five saw Judie experience a real brush with ovarian cancer. But God intervened through surgery. The operation was successful, all cancer cells removed and Judie remains cancer-free today. In 1990, ALL hosted Unity 90 for the pro-life movement, a conference for the decade and it was a smashing success.
From 1992 onward Judie and ALL have watched the horror show William Jefferson Clinton is orchestrating in allowing and promoting the slaughter of 4,000 preborn babies a day amid nearly eight years of double-speak and chaotic madness that has brought morality to a new low in America. Through it all, as frustrating as it has been, Judie has fought valiantly for the rights of the unborn and upholding Pope John Paul II's mandate to preserve the Sanctity of Life. Daily she continues her fight against the culture of death, meeting with congressmen, senators, lobbyists and other dignitaries to defend the moral and legal rights of All unborn children. It has been an uphill battle, fighting against the current of popular opinion and a decaying moral fiber that thinks nothing of killing a human being as long as means justifies the end. After all, it's the woman's body and she can do whatever she wants with her body. Wrong!!! And Judie's job for the last three decades has been to educate America to the evils of this thinking, to wake up the conscience of America before it is too late!
She has been showered with recognition and awards from Outstanding Young Women in America in 1979 and 80 to the Most Admired Conservative Woman Not in Congress in 1984 and 85; from the Knights of Columbus Service Award in 1976 to the Protector Award by the Pro-Life Action League in 1985; from the International Human Life Award by HLI in 1990 to the Solution of Hope Award in 1995 to mention a few of the honors she has received. But she would give them all back in a New York minute to accomplish her goals of preserving life for the innocent ones who have few to defend them.
God has chosen Judie for this unimaginably difficult assignment and Judie has given her fiat to fulfilling His Will. Because of that, the Almighty has nurtured her, bringing her to a total realization of the total, infallible truths of Pope Paul VI's inspired encyclical Humanae Vitae which was rejected by so many and misunderstood by more, including Judie by her own admission early in her marriage. She had even consulted a priest and a Catholic Doctor and they counseled her that IUD's were acceptable. It was only after prayer and pouring through pro-life documents and papal decrees, especially Humanae Vitae that she realized the majority of Catholics in America had it all wrong. Paul VI was right and so is John Paul II and we had better listen and heed their words that come from above.
She has crusaded for the Sanctity of Life in congress, in the senate, in the press, on radio and television, in forums - always proclaimng the personhood of the preborn child and intrinsic right to life for all. She has been a member of the Intercollegiate Federation for Life, Catholic Association of Scientists and Engineers, Scholars for Social Justice, Legatus, National Lawyers Association, Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia, and the Cardinal Newman Society. She has served as Advisor to Collegians Activated to Liberate Life (CALL) and U.S. Section Secretary for the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life as well as being a Lady of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and a member of Mother Angelica's EWTN Experts Forum.
She has written numerous articles, documents and published newsletters, a magazine and authored various books and booklets all with one thing in mind: to uphold the value and dignity of life in all its stages. Morning, noon and night she pours herself into the American Life League, which has existed for twenty years to serve God by helping to build a society that respects and protects innocent human life from fertilization to natural death without compromise, without exception, without apology, teaching all that every man and woman is uniquely created in the image and likeness of God and deserves respect from the time life begins at fertilization. You can find out more about ALL on their web site at www.all.org.
Judie's gifts have certainly helped her throughout the years, but it was her fiat that started ALL off and running. But along the way there have been many obstacles and several stumbles, but Judie and Paul have fearlessly kept the faith and kept on course, realizing the reality of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 in running the good race and prepared through fasting and the penance of realizing the pains of millions ripped from their mother's wombs with no defense. Her greatest suffering is that of a true mother who weeps at the loss of these harmless, innocent little ones who will never be given the opportunity of exercising free will because of the selfish free wills of those who do not treasure God's creation. But she is buoyed by the knowledge that she is in a race, which through, with and for God, she will endure and be victorious...but only in His time!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. There is a subject which is intimately related to the Sacrament of Penance, and which is especially connected to the celebration of the Jubilee: the topic is the gift of indulgences, which will be offered in particular abundance during the Jubilee Year of 2000, as described in the Papal Bull "Incarnationis Mysterium" and in the related instructions of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
This is a delicate topic, not lacking in historical misunderstandings which have had a negative impact on Christian communion. The Church recognizes how important it is in the current ecumenical context for this ancient practice to be well understood and accepted as the meaningful expression of the mercy of God which it was intended to be. In fact, experience tells us that indulgences have at times been used with superficial attitudes, which degrades the gift of God, obscuring its truth and values proposed by the teaching of the Church.
2. The point of departure for understanding indulgences is the abundance of God's mercy, made manifest in the cross of Christ. Jesus crucified is the greatest "indulgence" that the Father has offered humanity, allowing the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of filial life (cf Jn 1:12-13) in the Holy Spirit (cf Gal 4:6; Rm 5:5; 8:15-16).
However, this gift, in the logic of the covenant that is the heart of the entire economy of salvation, does not reach us without our acceptance and correspondence.
In light of this principle it is not difficult to understand how reconciliation with God, freely offered and rich in mercy, implies at the same time a laborious process, which involves man's personal responsibility and the Church's sacramental mandate. For the pardon of those sins committed after baptism, this process is centered on the sacrament of Penance, but is also developed after its celebration. In fact, man must be progressively "cleansed" of the negative consequences that sin has produced in him (and which the theological tradition calls "penalties" and "residues" of sin).
3. At first glance, speaking of penalties after sacramental pardon could seem inconsistent. The Old Testament, however, shows us how it is normal to undergo reparation penalties after the pardon. In fact, after calling himself a "merciful and compassionate God ... who forgives faults, transgressions and sins", God adds: "but not without punishment" (Ez 34: 6-7). In the second book of Samuel, the humble confession of King David following his grave sin obtains for him the God's forgiveness (cf 2 Sam 12:13), but not the suppression of his punishment (cf 2 Sam 12:13). The paternal love of God does not exclude punishment, though it is always included within a merciful justice which works for the good of man by re-establishing the order violated by sin (cf Eb 12:4-11).
In this context, temporal punishment expresses the condition of suffering of he who is both reconciled to God and still marked by the "residue" of sin, and thereby unable to be fully open himself to grace. Precisely in view of this complete healing, the sinner is called to embark on a road of purification towards the fullness of love.
On this road the mercy of God meets us with its special assistance. The same temporal punishment is "medicinal" according to the extent that man lets it work towards his deep conversion. This is also the meaning of the "satisfaction" required in the sacrament of Penance.
4. The meaning of indulgences must be understood within this horizon of the total renewal of man in virtue of the grace of Christ the Redeemer, through the ministry of the Church. Indulgences have their historical origin in the ancient Church's awareness of being able to express the mercy of God by lessening the canonical penance required for the sacramental remission of sins. However, this mitigation was always balanced by personal and communitarian responsibility, which would take on, by way of substitution, the "medicinal" function of the penalty.
Now we can understand how indulgences were intended as the "remission before God of the temporal punishment for sins, the blame for which already having been removed, that the faithful, duly disposed and according to the determined conditions, acquire through the Church's intervention. The Church acts as the minister of redemption, authoritatively dispensing and applying the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the Saints" (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, Normae de Indulgentiis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1999, p. 21; cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471).
Therefore the Church has a treasury from which it "dispenses" by means of indulgences. Such "distribution" is not meant as a sort of automatic transferal, as if they were "things". It is rather an expression of the Church's full faith in being heard by the Father when -- in view of the merits of Christ and, as his gift, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints -- it asks Him to mitigate or annul the sorrowful aspect of the penalty, stressing the medicinal aspect of the way of grace. In the unfathomable mystery of divine wisdom, this gift of intercession can benefit even the faithfully departed, who receive its fruits in according to their condition.
5. It is therefore clear that, far from being a sort of "discount" for the obligations of conversion, indulgences instead are an aid to carry out those obligations more quickly, generously and radically. To receive a plenary indulgence a spiritual disposition is required that excludes "every affection towards all sin, even venial" (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, p. 25).
It would be a mistake to think that this gift can be received by simply carrying out some exterior deed. On the contrary, the deeds are required as an expression and support on the road to conversion. In particular they manifest the faith in God's abundant mercy and in the wonderful reality of communion that Christ has realized, indissolubly uniting the Church to Himself as His Body and His Spouse. ZE99092920