Saturday, May 3, 2014

Background - The Jansenism of Pascal


Blaise Pascal was a genius – he made grounding breaking discoveries and inventions in maths, physics, fluid dynamics, the natural and applied sciences.  He had an intense and close relations with his father , a tax collector in Rouen.   As a child prodigy his father was to mentor him, and even as a teenager he invented the mechanical calculator. Later on he was to make a significant impact in geometry and his work on probability theory, strongly influenced the development of modern economics and the social sciences.  However, when he was 23, in the winter of 1646, his 58-year-old father broke his hip when he slipped and fell on an icy street of Rouen.  In the 17th century this was a very serious accident and would often prove fatal. Pascal chose  two of the finest doctors in France, who happened to be local to treat his father, which they did successfully over three months. During which time they became close family friends.

Both doctors were Jansenists and became very influential which lead to a sort of "first conversion"  of Pascal who began to write on theological subjects in the course of the following year.  His father was to die 5 years later and soon after that his sister Jacqueline announced that she would become a postulant in the Jansenist convent of Port-Royal. Pascal was devastated but eventually with a heavy heart was to allow her to leave. This involved him signing over half of the inheritance and meant that he viewed the convent suspiciously at first – claiming it to have a cult like control over his sister.

However all this changed when on 23 November 1654, between 10:30 and 12:30 at night, Pascal seems to have had an intense religious vision.  It had such an impact on him that he  immediately recorded the experience – opening his notes with the following words  "Fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars..." and concluded by quoting Psalm 119:16: "I will not forget thy word. Amen." So important was this he carefully sewed the document into his coat and always transferred it when he changed clothes;  it was discovered only by chance after his death.  It renewed his belief and religious commitment and soon he was to make a two-week retreat at Port-Royal. He was to become a regular visitor and began writing his Provincial Letters which was effectively a systematic attack on the Jesuits from a Jansenist perspective.  They proved to be hugely popular, widely disseminated and very damaging to the Society.

Reflection - Compassion & Rigor in Religious Life

PictureIgnatius the Pilgrim

At the heart of the dispute between the Jansenists and the Jesuits was the question of salvation - The theological principles of Cornelius Jansen emphasised predestination, denied free will, and maintained  that human nature is incapable of good. Jansens was influenced by a particularly strict reading of St Augustine, which emphasises God’s gratuitous predestination and efficacious grace.  This grace was dispensed to some by God, thus bringing about their salvation whilst leaving others to damnation due to the lack of this grace.   This rigorism had strange echoes of Calvinism and the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone. 

On the other hand, the Jesuits – and the Church itself – taught the importance of free will in the matter of salvation.  There was less emphasis on the effects of the ‘fall’, a view of humanity that wasn’t hopelessly corrupt but on the contrary sought for and affirmed man’s residual goodness.  Many Jesuit theologians had been tasked by Lainez, the General in 1558, to find a theology that was suited to the needs of the times.  The Spanish Jesuit, Luis Molina, did just that, rather than predestination he spoke of divine prescience, that God foresaw the merits and demerits that we freely chose to earn by our actions.  In tune with the burgeoning spirit of Renaissance Humanism, Molina and the Jesuits were much more optimistic about human nature.  This approach became known as Molinism. Thus Jesuit confessors were not insisting that their penitents showed  a radical conversion but rather a conforming of ones life to the Ten Commandments and the Church’s Precepts.

Against this background, one side was to accuse the other of moral laxity, whereas the other was to condemn an over rigorous approach.  It is interesting to note that the autobiography of St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, had emphasised the mistakes that the young Ignatius had made by being overly rigorous in his self-imposed penances and practices.  Ignatius who had physically damaged himself by these excesses would urge a prudent moderation to his successors. He had realised that his excesses were not what God was looking for, but were rather more about himself trying to be perfect for God.  The more we relied on external signs of conversion, the more distracted we become from the heart of the matter – the healing and saving power of God’s love.  God does not want spiritually macho men and women, but simply those with a humble and contrite heart.  

March 27 1708 - Pope Clement Supresses Port Royal

PicturePope Clement XI

Cornelius Jansen, the bishop of Ypres, wrote a theological work in Latin calledAugustinus, which was published posthumously in Louvain in 1640.  It was the start of a theological movement called Jansenism. Three years later, Pope Innocent X condemned 5 propositions taken from the work that concerned the relationship of grace and nature.  We have covered the theology in slightly more depth here (LINK).  Essentially they were accused of having misinterpreted St. Augustine.  However  condemnation was against the five statements and not directly against Jansenism.  Eventually in 1713 the bullUnigenitus, unequivocally condemned Jansenism.  Anticipating that, on this day in 1708, Pope Clement XI suppressed the abbey of Port Royal which was a hotbed of Jansenism and thus attacks on the Jesuits.

In 1709, when Louis XIV was king, two hundred archers had been sent to disperse the remaining sisters of the Port Royal, because they had refused to sign a document declaring tendencies in Jansenism as being heretical.  Two years later in 1711, the abbey was razed to the ground, bones were exhumed and the land returned to its arable state.  The ‘Sun’ King had a Jesuit Confessor, Father Le Tellier, who had given this drastic action his blessing.  The Jansenists had proved themselves politically unpopular as they were fierce critics of Cardinal Richelieu’s foreign policy, which seemed to favour the Bourbon Dynasty and sacrifice the hope of a Catholic re-conquest of Europe.

Jansenism had followed an interesting path of growth, condemnation and then persecution.  It was with their backs to the wall, realising that they had to defend themselves that they became fixated on the Jesuits.  They had to appeal to the public for support  and they did so very effectively with the writings of Blaise Pascal.  The Jesuits often wrote in Latin, and wrote very learned treatises that systematically pointed out the errors in Jansenism.  Their writings were thorough, dense and the style was academic, ecclesiastical and philosophical.  Pascal on the other hand wrote in French, and his wit and eloquence disguised that fact that the substance was often lacking.  His appeal to populism made him feel close to the people, whereas the Jesuits were often portrayed as being aloof. 

Background - The abbey of Port Royal


Founded in 1204 by Mathilde de Garlande, seventeen miles from Paris, Port Royal was originally a Benedictine abbey.  It suffered greatly during the English invasions and the wars of religion, and as a result by the beginning of the seventeenth century its discipline was completely relaxed.  In 1608 it was reformed by Mère Angélique Arnauld, with the help of St. Francis de Sales. It became a center of reform, nuns trained at Port-Royal then spread all over France. By 1626 Port-Royal, a victim of its success was crowded and unhealthy.  It migrated to Paris, and renouncing ancient privileges granted by the popes, the new abbey placed itself under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Paris. The nuns, devoted henceforth to the worship of the Holy Eucharist, took the name of Daughters of the Blessed Sacrament.

A lifelong friend of Cornelius Jansen, Duvergier de Hauranne , the priest of Saint-Cyran, became their spiritual director.  It is due to his influence that the abbey became a centre for Jansenism.  He would eventually be arrested by Cardinal Richelieu, who saw him as a threat and imprisoned. The atmosphere of serious study and Jansenist piety attracted a number of prominent cultural figures to the movement. Various ‘solitaries’ such as Pascal, and also a brilliant barrister Lemaistre and the politician de Fosse all gave up their careers to take up lives of asceticism and contemplation around the abbey.  Perhaps even more strikingly, several important persons of the court were close to Jansenism due to the influence of Port Royal in Paris, such as the Duke of Luynes or the Duke of Liancourt and members of the influential Arnauld family, one of them a Minister of Louis XIV.

The abbey promoted the practice of refraining from the Eucharist until an interior renewal had been affected. Their schools or ‘the petites écoles’  had many impressive features.  Breaking with the traditions of the Jesuits and the University, who taught in Latin, they taught in French. The child learned the alphabet in French, and was instructed in the mother tongue before studying the dead languages. They wrote in French before writing in Latin. Not everything in their system of education is worthy of admiration, but they contributed to the progress of pedagogy against the older Scholastic methods.  In some ways the Jesuits with their hugely successful Ratio Studiorum were made to look dated for the first time. Therefore their successes only gave rise to greater competition with the Jesuits. 


29 March 1848 - Fr General Roothans flees Rome in disguise


 Jan Roothans would become the 21st General of the Jesuits succeeding Luigi Fortis.  He is credited with preserving and strengthening the internal spirit of the Society, publishing new edition of the Spiritual Exercises and the Ratio Studiorum, restarting the work of the Bollandists and launching  La Civiltà Cattolica was started. Missionary work, particularly in Africa, flourished under him.  However in 1848 - the 19th year of his period as Fr General, was marked by the most widespread revolutionary wave in Europe, beginning in France and ultimately ending in parts of Latin America. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation among the revolutionaries in different countries. The revolutions based on the  demands of the working classes demanded more participation in government and democracy.  This extraordinary year also marked an upsurge of nationalism. In Italy the revolutions spread up the country from Sicily and focused their energy on getting rid of the Austrian presence in the North.

An interesting ingredient in Italy was the popularity of Pope Pius IX. He was considered a liberal and aroused the hopes of political liberals and of the poor both in the Papal States and throughout Italy. He began numerous political and economic reforms. Most dramatically he immediately pardoned hundreds of political prisoners, creating a sensation. He raised high hopes for greater popular influence in the papal government and for Italian unification. These high hopes were to give way to severe disenchantment.   Pius IX then refused to lead an Italian war of liberation against Habsburg Austria, because it was a Catholic stronghold. A violent uprising in Rome forced Pius to flee in November 1848.

Preceding the Popes exile by seven months, the Jesuits had to flee after the Pope regrettably informed them that he could no longer guarantee their safety.  The shifting mood in Italy had been anticipated by the General.  He had received from the Dutch a passport under the name of Franciscus Flamand.  Wearing a dark wig and the cassock of a secular priest,he prayed a long time at the tomb of St Ignatius and then visited the tombs of the Generals in the vaults of the Gesu, wondering if he would ever return.  At 3pm, a carriage of Lord Clifford, an English friend, arrived to take him to St Peters.  There he boarded a papal mail-coach which took them to the port of Civitavecchia, where they arrived to late for a steamer departing for Marseille.  They waited three days to board a steamer to Sardinia.

April 1 1758 Cardinal Saldhana appointed to visit Portugese Jesuits


Pope Benedict XIV was a dying man when Pombal (Carvahlo) expelled the Jesuit confessor from the Palace and ordered an investigation into the Jesuits. Pombal claimed that there was an alleged Jesuit lust for power and greed for gold and land, citing their Paraguyan adventures as evidence.  The Pope, under pressure to acquiesce, ordered a canonical investigation and appointed Cardinal Francisco Saldhana to visit.  Saldhana had only entered the College of Cardinals due to the patronage of Pombal and so , even though good natured he was considered indebted to Pombal.  He began his visitation on May 2 in the professed house of Sao Roch in Lisbon, met the community and immediately left. The next day, back in Rome, the Pope was to die.

Pombal and Saldhana made good use of the power vacuum created by the ‘Sede Vacante.  It was a considerable vacuum as the next Pope would be elected two months later.   The Pope had given Saldhana power to correct any small evils immediately and on the ground, but if anything significant was uncovered it was to be kept secret and only reported to the Pope, with all information, so that Pope may consider it at his leisure.  Ignoring these restrictions,  a fortnight later Saldhana issued an edict accusing all Jesuit communities of being centres of scandalous commercial transactions.  Pombal used this to put pressure on the Patriach of Lisbon to remove faculties of preaching and confessions from all the Jesuits working under his jurisdiction.

The papal Nuncio – Fillipo Acciaioli – was on the ground and witnessed this travesty and the lack of any serious attempt at an investigation.  In a moment of delicious satire he congratulated Saldhana on an edict that was an excellent document,  “ save for one slight omission”…….. the evidence.  Without evidence, according to Acciaioli,  the document could only be classified as a calumny.  His satirical comments couldn't protect the Jesuits .  The King felt free to declare them rebels and traitors, and Saldhana released a pastoral letter warning the faithful to have nothing to do with the Jesuits.   

April 2 1767. Charles III enraged by forged Jesuit letter

Background on Charles III


Charles was the fifth son of King Phillip V of Spain. In 1734, as Duke of Parma, he conquered the kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily, and was crowned king. In 1738 he married Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, an educated, cultured woman who gave birth to 13 children, eight of whom reached adulthood. When his brother died he succeeded to the Spanish throne in 1759, abdicating the Neapolitan and Sicilian thrones in favour of Ferdinand, his third surviving son, who was to become a strong advocate for the Restoration of the Society.

Perhaps the most impressive ruler of his generation in Europe, the example of his actions and works was not without effect on other Spanish nobles.  In his domestic life, King Charles was regular, and was a considerate master, though he had a somewhat caustic tongue and took a rather cynical view of humanity. He was passionately fond of hunting. He was a very sincere Roman Catholic but had a difficult relationship with Popes.  He reduced the number of reputedly idle clergy particularly of the monastic orders and emasculated the Spanish Inquisition. Many of his reforms proved short-lived and Spain relapsed after his death.

It was during Charles' reign that Spain began to be recognised, and recognise itself, as one nation rather than a collection of kingdoms and territories with a common sovereign. He oversaw iconic works such as the creation of a National Anthem, a flag, and a capital city worthy of the name, and the construction of a network of coherent roads converging on Madrid.  He chose the colours of the present flag of Spain; red and yellow.  Juan Carlos I, Spain's current monarch, is a direct male line descendant of Charles by four of his great grandparen

April 6th 1850 - First Edition of La Civilita Cattolica Appears

April 10 1836 - Antthony Kohlmann SJ dies, giant of restored society


Today we remember the death of one of the outstanding figures of that first generation of the restored Society.  Anthony Kohlmann, born in France - fled to Switzerland due to the French Revolution where he was ordained a priest.  He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Russia in 1803 after the publication ofCatholicae Fidei by Pius VII allowed it. Very competent and versatile he was soon sent to Georgetown in Washington DC, after an appeal for Jesuits.  Straight away he became the assistant Novice Master.

The former Jesuit and now leader of the US Church, John Carroll, was keen for good men to help him re-establish order in the church.  The crucial city of New York, the first port of call for so many immigrants, many of them Catholics, was experiencing a financial depression and the church there was in chaos.  Carroll appointed Kohlmann to take charge as an apostolic administrator - he was to lay the foundations of the first version of the famous St Patricks Cathedral, establish a school for girls run by Irish Ursuline Nuns, and also found a successful classical school - the New York Literary Institution.  His most important legacy was to safeguard the seal of the confessional in law.  He had persuaded a penitent to return stolen goods, but refused to identify the perpetrator to the owner, even in court.  The case drew nationwide attention and led to the judge ruling in his favour.

Returning to Georgetown when a bishop for New York was found, he was to found the Washington Seminary and take charge of Georgetown College from 1817-1820.   Soon his talents were requested by Rome - where Pius VIII had restored the Gregorian University to the care of the Society.  He became Chair of Theology, teaching amongst others the future Pope Leo XIII.  Two successive Popes Leo XII and Gregory XVI  relied on his advice, making him a consultant to the College of Cardinals and appointing him to several important Congregations.  He was  sought out as a confessor at the Gesu,  and contracted pneumonia during a heavy Lenten season - perhaps a martyr to the Confessional, appropriate for the man who safeguarded the Seal throughout America. 

14 April 1931 - Professed House in Madrid burnt down


It is important to remember that political instability and turmoil for the Society didn't end with its universal restoration.  Even the the next century is peppered with stories of exile and return, with destruction and rebuilding.  The great depression of 1929 had brought mass bankruptcy and unemployment.  Fascist dictators and totalitarian regimes were sprouting up as an answer to this.  In Spain, municipal elections in 1931 gave rise to the Second Spanish Republic which bought power to an anticlerical government. Articles 24 and 26 of the 1931 constitution had banned the Jesuits.

The most sustained intellectual onslaught against religion was probably that of Miguel de Unamuno and his denunciation of the 'degenerate sons' of Ignatius of Loyola. The house of 'professed' Jesuits, a residence where - in a spirit of radical poverty - no member has a stable income, was attacked and burnt down on April 14th 1931.  It is claimed that some of the relics of St Francis Borgia, the 3rd General of the Jesuits were destroyed during this attack. A month later  after provocations from monarchists, anticlerical and republican mobs burnt convents and wrecked more than a dozen churches in the capital. Similar acts of arson and vandalism were perpetrated in a score of other cities in southern and eastern Spain. 

These attacks came to be referred to as the "quema de conventos" (the burning of the convents). The burning of the convents set the tone for relations between the Republican left and the Catholic right and came to be seen as a turning point in the history of the Second Republic. The history of the Society in Spain in the twentieth century is remarkable for its resilience. The five Spanish Provinces were shattered and their numbers decimated by the Spanish Civil War which ended in 1936. However by 1945 the recovery was so complete that a sixth province was in the process of formation. 


15 April 1778 - Catherine requests to open novitiate

17 April 1761 - Pope resists French pressure to change Jesuit Constitutions

Reflection : Protecting the Constitutions


St Ignatius legacy to the world and the church is immense and almost impossible to measure in a meaningful way.  However there are two works of his that we can focus on.  Firstly the Spiritual Exercises have changed the lives of  hundreds of thousands of people. Because of the incredible influence of the Exercises, the second great  written legacy of Ignatius, the Constitutions are often left in the shade.  Ignatius spent 15 years of his life working on the Constitutions in Rome, editing and refining.  When a Jesuit takes his final vows, amongst the sacristy vows is a vow never to change anything in the Jesuit Constitutions about poverty--unless to make it "more strict". 

Reflecting on the series of crises that preceded the Suppression and similarly the crisis that surrounded  the first General Congregation of the Restored Society - it is interesting to not how much pressure was resisted to change the Constitutions. Even before then, only two years after the death of Ignatius, in 1558, Pope Paul IV overrode the Constitutions insisting that Jesuits must chant the office in common and that the generals term must only last 3 years.  He was to die in the next year - and Laynez, General at the time, received the opinion of 5 distinguished canon lawyers that the Popes orders - verbally given - yielded at his death to legally promulgated bulls of earlier Popes and therefore ceased to carry any further obligation. 

As well as the pressure put on by the Gallicanists in France to change the Constitutions, resisted by the Fr General Ricci and the Pope, at  General Congregation 20, the first one after the universal restoration of the Society had to deal with a crisis around proposed changes to the constitutions.  Fr Luigi Rezzi, a fractious Sicilian tried his hardest to delay the start of eth Congregation so that he could control enough votes to make changes to the Constitutions.  His strategy to delaying the beginning of the meeting was to question the validity of those who took vows in Russia.  When the congregation elected Fr Luigi Fortis as General he (Rezzi) was expelled from the Society.

20 April 1842 - Jesuits return to Canada


Today in 1842, Peter Chazelle was named Superior as the Jesuits returned to Canada.  Chazelle was an outstanding and enterprising pioneer, who stood out amongst that 'refounding' generation of  Jesuits after the Universal Restoration of the Society in 1814. Chazelle  served for a fruitful fourteen years in Louisiana, Kentucky, Montreal, Toronto and Wisconsin, laying the foundations for four provinces. A key moment in his apostolate (before arriving in Canada) was when he accepted St Marys seminary near Bardstown Kentucky from a secular priest and turned into a Jesuit School.

The success of this mission in Kentucky turned out to be a  stepping stone into New York.  Following an invitation from Bishop John Hughes, Chazelle was asked to take over th e running of ST Johns College which he sat up in the Fordham area above New York City.   This gave the Jesuits their most important centrer on the Atlantic seaboard from which to expand, thirty three years after Kohlmann closed his New York Literary Institution.   After these successes Chazelle was invited by the Bishop of Montreal (Bourget) to conduct a retreat for eighty three priests.  On the back of this retreat Bishop Bourget received requests from all sides for a return of the black robes to Canada.

The Bishop wrote his famous Appeal to the Jesuits in 1841 and sent it to Fr General Roothans.  Invoking memories of the heroism of Brebeuf and Jogues, he requested the return of the French Jesuits to the land of St Lawrence.  In response Chazelle led a party of six priests and three brothers.  They created new mission posts, and more and more Jesuits followed in Chazelles footsteps and extended the Church's presence into the great wilds of Canada.  By 1907, Fr General Wernz set up the Canadian Province which by 1914 numbered almost 400 men. 

24 April 1774 - Letter from Archbishop of Paris in Support of Jesuits


Christophe de Beaumont, the Archbishop of Paris, wrote a letter today in 1774 regretting the Brief of Suppression and stating his refusal to promulgate it in Paris.  Famous for his austerity, and a lack of desire for the trappings or glory of office, he was an outstanding churchman, respected far and wide.  When the Jesuits had been exiled from France in 1762, he was quick to publish a pastoral letter condemning the encroachment of civil authority into the realm of spiritual authority.

He was famous and consistent in defending the authority of the Church. After his pastoral letter of 1763,  the Gallicanist Parlement was furious and in a spasm of violent indignation they summoned the Archbishop before them.  To save him from this indignity the King ordered him to temporally disappear to the famous Cistercian monastery of La Trappe in Normandy.   The Jesuits appreciated the support but realised it would not affect any change in their perilous situation. Frey de Neuville said the bishops praise 'will at least make a fine epitaph for us'.  It must be remembered that in the absolutist political climate of France - order and justice ultimately relied on the King.  It was to the misfortune of the Society that they were at the mercy of the languid and irresolute Louis XV who happily abdicated his authority on many issues.

Eleven years later - when the Pope finally succumbed to the pressure to universally suppress the society - the consistent and forthright Archbishop de Beaumont wrote these incredible and strong words to Pope Clement XIII.  "This brief which destroys the Company of Jesus is nothing other than an isolated and particular judgement, pernicious, reflecting little honour on the Papal tiara and deleterious to the glory of the Church and to the glory and propagation of the orthodox (i.e. Catholic) faith….. Holy Father, it is not possible for me to commit the Clergy to the acceptance of the said brief. I would not be heard on this point were I wretch enough to lend my ministry to it, which I should be dishonouring"

7 April 1859 - Jesuit banished from Florence due to Freemasons


The Jesuits  were born during a period of great change in Europe marked by the Renaissance. Their rebirth after the Suppression was also marked by a great transitional period  - that of the industrial and democratic revolutions of the 19th Century.  It was more difficult to adjust to the changes after their rebirth - particularly as a widespread current, inherited from the French Revolution was the de-christianisation of the state.  One of the most potent groups trying to secularise the state were the Free Masons,  where a speculative and naturalistic deist point of view had become influential.

In the 18th century, especially in France, an alleged rivalry between the Freemasons and the Jesuits had arisen. Intellectual attacks on Jesuits were seen as an efficient rebuttal to the anti-masonry promoted by conservatives. Conspiracy theories flourished and persisted into the 19th century as an important component of French anti-clericalism. It was, however, largely confined to political elites until the 1840s, when it entered the popular imagination through the writings of the historians Jules Michelet and Edgar Quinet of the Collège de France, who declared "la guerre aux jesuites", and the novelist Eugène Sue, who in his best-seller Le Juif errant depicted the Jesuits as a "secret society bent on world domination by all available means"

In the 19th century the population of Florence doubled. A foreign community came to represent one-quarter of the population in the second half of the 19th century. In 1859 Austrian rule was to end in defeat at the hands of France and the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont.  In the shift of power - the protection that Austria had offered the church was lost, and one of the first anti-Catholic acts was to banish the Jesuits, allegedly due to masonic influence.  Tuscany became a province of the united kingdom of Italy in 1861 and then 4 years later Florence replaced Turin as Italy's capital in 1865.  Various Popes published objections against Freemasonry. The first in 1738 was Pope Clement XII In Eminenti the most recent  Pope Leo XIII in 1890 Ab Apostolici. The 1917 Code of Canon Law stated that becoming a Freemason entailed automatic excommunication (Code 1399).   

Friday, May 2, 2014

Baby's kick dissuades pregnant model from abortion

London, England, May 1, 2014 / 07:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A 19-week pregnant model who had said she would have an abortion to further her career in U.K. reality television now says that feeling her unborn baby kick made her turn away from an abortion clinic.

“I just couldn’t do it,” Josie Cunningham told U.K. tabloid The Mirror. “I really thought I would be able to but I couldn’t. I’d felt the baby kick for the first time 24 hours earlier and I couldn’t get that feeling out of my head.”

Cunningham already has two sons, ages six and three.

“I’d forgotten what the feeling was like. It was magical. It was like the baby was telling me not to go through with it.”

She said the kick “took me totally by surprise” and was “a real boot.”

“I never imagined how hard it would be to have an abortion after that.”

Two weeks ago, the 23-year-old model had said she was a candidate to appear on the U.K. reality show Big Brother, but started considering an abortion after the show’s producers “suddenly turned cold” when they learned she was pregnant.

“This time next year I won’t have a baby. I’ll be famous instead,” she said.

Her remarks about wanting an abortion in order to pursue other offers to further her career, fanned by the media, had triggered a backlash against her in social media and criticism from other media personalities.

However, the day before her appointment, Cunningham felt the baby suddenly begin to kick. That night, she began watching videos of abortions of unborn babies close to Britain’s 24-week legal limit.

“What I saw horrified me,” Cunningham told The Mirror.

She said she felt “physically sick” in the taxi drive to the London abortion clinic the next day; she was shaking and “burst into tears.”

“I wanted to throw myself out of the moving car to get away. I had my hands on my bump and I had the strongest feeling I couldn’t let anyone take my baby away,” Cunningham said.

“As soon as I realized I was going to keep the baby, I felt happy – like a weight lifted.”

Cunningham is still angry with those who criticized her plans to have an abortion, saying “no one had the right to threaten me and publicly humiliate me the way they did.”

However, she added that her mother is supportive and excited by her decision to keep her baby.

“I lost control and I wanted to be famous so badly I lost sight of what matters,” she reflected. “I’m disgusted with myself and I’m sorry – not to the haters but to the child I’m going to have. Now I’ve made this decision I am determined to be a good mother just like I am to my other children.”

John Padberg on the Suppression and Restoration of the Jesuits: Part 1

"The Jesuits Are Still at It: 200 Years of Restoration and Renewal, 1814...