Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-05-22 - Dr. John Bruchalski

Author Recorded Wednesday May 22nd, 2019

There are 45 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

When he began his OB/GYN career, Dr. Bruchalski practiced and promoted contraception, sterilization, abortion, artificial reproduction, and embryo destruction, and he was well-known for his late-term abortions. That all changed when his Catholic faith revived. • Support the CVS Podcast: • Be a guest on a livestream:

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good afternoon my name is dr. john grochowski and you are listening to catholic vs. Catholic so if you would just tell the listeners a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how you came to believe what you believe sure I am a 59 year old OBGYN practicing in Northern Virginia I run a large faith based practice of five doctors a midwife we do close to 700 deliveries a year we have a perinatal hospice we we do not refer for abortions or in vitro fertilization and we definitely don't use contraceptives for contraception however when I first started out in my residency program I did all of that I aborted sterilized referred and performed IVF as a resident for the first two years of my residency from 87 to 88 because I wanted to be the best doctor I could be and so I did first second and third trimester abortions when needed I built or helped build embryos and we were part of a contraceptive research and development team so I don't throw stones on this issue my heart has been on both sides of this issue and I grew up in a great Catholic family and over the educational system as you know I'm 59 like I said and in the 70s and 80s we learned situational ethics relativism and so everything became subjective there was very little objective truth Jesus was loved there were many ways to God climb the mountain whatever way you want but God is all mercy and he'll get you and I used that and my own college experience with Jesuits my high school experience with Silesians and then my secular medical training it was very easy to justify all the above ways of caring for women in ob/gyn so if abortion is healthcare so do it and do well if contraception is an absolute unavoidable just do it don't worry about you know you're there to provide a service for a patient economy you know and so therefore because of my mom's you know my once again I grew up in a great Catholic family my mom and dad prayed for me I got caught in the middle of that revolution after vatican ii i think and because of my mom's persistence i ended up going with a friend of mine to guadalupe probably an 86 and i internally heard something why are you hurting me but i blew it off and then in the winter of gush and the winner of I guess 89 90 my mom invited me on a pilgrimage with her to a place in Yugoslavia called Medjugorje I grew up in a very loving Catholic family we said the rosary every day for the conversion of Russia and the fall of the Iron Curtain and it happened in my lifetime so it was a little you know that sort of thought was part of my polish you know growing up and yes we went to Fatima when we were younger yes we went to shrines of Our Lady yes I was dedicated to Our Lady but our Lady became very minimalized as we went forward you just have a relationship with Christ don't worry about it and that there I was in residency and I was at an assembly of God Church I was praising and working at a Pregnancy Center at night and yet I was aborting contracepting being you know a good steward of God's creation quote-unquote during the daytime but I found myself schizophrenic I delivered a 500 gram baby which is just a little over a pound a doctor challenged me why are you giving me tumors and for the first time in my life I thought about what in God's name was I doing I thought I was taking good care of this mother and she then recommended going to measure Gloria I had no idea I wasn't interested my mother then a few days later got me to go and while I was there on the hill many things happened and my life has never been the same and so that's essentially where I was how I got here and on that mountain she said practice excellent medicine see the under serves and all women in your walk and by the way follow the teachings of my son's church if you do those three things you will help his holy spirit renew the face of the earth and medicine so how lukewarm did you get did you ever deny the existence of God or did you ever stop going to Sunday Mass like how lukewarm ideas oh please you know that the Jesuits convinced me that there was nothing special about the Catholic faith it's fascinating talk about schizophrenia my mom and dad took us on our way to sin and de beaupré north of Quebec to go visit the shrine there and I've been there every fall since maybe the age of six until the age of maybe 15 that was our family vacation on the way back we often stopped in ours ville New York the shrine of the North American martyrs well all of a sudden none of that mattered it was like not a big deal man I mean like you know no no no no no there's other ways to you know work and collaborate with all the different faiths because we're all kind of the same it's just a different pathway to the Godhead and so if you didn't have to be celibate you didn't have to do this and you didn't I left I was like give me a break you know I said the rosary every morning back when I was a kid so I always loved the idea of family I always loved the idea of genetics and I'm really good about listening to hormones stories and all my female friends just began to pour their heart out to me men god I'm on this pill and it's making me feel sick but I can you know it's it's liberated me so I can have sexual relations with my friends oh my god my PMS is terrible I really need help and it's fascinating that right at the same time John Paul's talking about the theology of the body and when I finally had my shudder when I literally put my hand inside the side of our Lord and Savior and then he says let me introduce you to your mother it was as if my whole life came before me I saw everything that I did all the things that I was very lukewarm on keeping my mouth shut the god of the universe the god of quasars and black holes god of economics and love he became a man for us and then in John chapter 6 he gave us his body and blood to eat if that does not stop you in your tracks I you know you just wonder what will and I just wandered around life buddy I wanted to please men I wasn't a God pleaser I knew know nothing about the fear of God because by that point I was they were teaching us the Beatitudes and social justice and doing good for others and the question becomes you know was I any different than a social worker well when Jesus Christ died for us and he said that they will know you by your love your sacrificial love I began to see that I was just lukewarm I'd only give money enough to make sure I wasn't pinched yes I went to Appalachia because that's where the poor were and I wanted to go to Appalachian I worked in st. Charles Virginia for a few months this young lady goes so Johnny are you gonna stay with us and I said no no no I'm gonna go but she said I you're just like all the rest you're checking off a box and so whether you're a Catholic or a non Catholic brother and sister we check off boxes and rather than a relationship that totally pushes you over the edge to fall deeply in love and to give everything well you know we in my profession of Medicine Renee go peel the first guy that got knocked off in the North American martyrs he was a doctor he was teaching a young lady how to bless herself and her escort didn't like it so it took a big Rock tomahawk to the back of his skull crushed him and then threw him into the ravine right there in norrisville this is what I'm talking about those men and women who came to this country who you know brought the faith here at the Catholic faith my god they suffered there in the black robes they suffered immense atrocities all for the love of Christ and they never ever went back on their people who were offensive to them what an incredible gift we've been given I wanted to ask you about confession how long did you go how long did you go without confession what was the longest stretch and what was it like to go back into the confessional were you scared especially if you had participated in abortions were you scared to confess that how did that go for you and how did you feel coming out of the box you've got your finger on the pulse brother so I went back to confession I came off the hill in magic Oriya and I went directly to confession because that's what you know go and show yourself to a priest he said and I went down and it wasn't afraid anymore now I'm being honest with you Dave I'm a procrastinator I'm a man pleaser I don't like being caught up I don't like being pointed out I don't like being pushed back on and yet the good Lord talks and talks and talks about if they didn't love me they won't love you it's okay honor God fear God not men and that's the same issue whether you're Catholic or not Catholic and so what happens is that I came off that hill not a fear at all there were many times I thought I might go back to confession even though I wasn't even Catholic at the time and I was going to an assembly of God Church oh don't worry about it just confessed directly to Christ but those confessions I gotta be honest with you there was something missing and when I came off the hill and I found that priest and he heard my confession It was as if a billion pounds of weight that I was dragging around it was mostly black tar I would peel off me it was I called myself I was in the absolute muck I was in a pigsty and when that guy says I found myself in the slob I know what that guy felt like and when I went and just confessed my sins and I was crying so much and I confessed the abortions I got to be honest with you it just like scales came off my eyes it was instantaneous it was Johnny I love you so much just go and sin no more and just get on with the work that you've been given and that's what happened David and so I would say that I probably stopped going to confession in probably eighty three or four and I probably didn't go back until that winter or ninety so it probably was a close to eight years so all of you out in the audience who have who are in that predicament I'm with you I don't throw stones I was a real procrastinator and I always took the negative meaning it was always these are just men this is all made up let me explain to you so we've had a practice now Tepeyac OBGYN used to cookie called Tepeyac Family Center about three months ago I saw a 64 year old very angry woman who was menopausal and she was blaming her hormones and after listening to her she was a fallen away Catholic who had many male anger issues and those anger issues were at many times directed to a priest but she was a very very unfair loving engaging her heart was rented and so what happens is is that he asked her at the end of the visit I said you know I think you need to go back to confession she does what do you mean those are the people that chased me away I said listen that was a long time ago trust me it's not about the priest and there it's about your heart you are confessing to the one and only Jesus Christ no matter what he looks like or doesn't look like in that confessional and I promise you that if you go in with an open heart not condemning the priest or condemning the church or condemning whomever and be as angry as you want but also examine your conscience examine your heart I saw her just last week four months later and she said to me I confessed my sins it had been a long time but it was different this time I want to go back I want to receive the Eucharist now and something's different I think it's not about the confessional and about them it's about us meaning David you and I are the enemy the only way we're going to affect this world is by witness because words no longer have meaning when I say divine mercy care and they say mercy killing I'm thinking of a perinatal hospice and they're thinking of aborting a 30 weaker because they have down syndrome words no longer have meaning we're totally at the Tower of Babel and yet what an opportunity for us because we have to do it by example I am so grateful but I'm talking to Catholic versus Catholic on a David Ross production because you are affecting the community that you live in praise be Jesus Christ it's about our heart not his he's loving he's merciful we're the ones that sold him short when you examine yourself you don't say well I wish he was more liberal or more conservative you know with all the IVF stuff I really want to baptize those embryos because I feel like they're in a burning house and there's you know they're gonna die anyway and so many of my friends are like no no no you can't do that that I did forget the intellectual part of it where is my heart on this issue am i still lukewarm do I still want to take the short road well that's something that I can talk about myself because I do know myself you can't kid yourself in that little place when Ignatius and the rest of them say examine make that examine generally and specifically they're not joking you know when you ask our lady for help when you ask Saint Joseph please help me understand you right now my spiritual director is helping me come to know st. Joe just like I know the Blessed Mother what the church says but also in my prayer life and that's the most beautiful part about it it's about my heart in the confessional so I'm just telling you folks out there there is a new way of looking at things I grew up in New Jersey where we have the best homegrown Tomatoes on the planet and those tomatoes in New Jersey are farm-raised they're big in their juicy once you eat them you'll always know the difference between that and a hothouse tomato and I can tell you that I've been to many many confessions where they basically said that's not us and that's not a sin Jesus is all loved Jesus's mercy you know what one of my Protestant friends by the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer he talked about cheap grace where you live your life as if God didn't die for you well we're now having a world of cheap mercy I can keep sinning because Jesus understands me he knows where I am and I just have to do my best well there's a little bit more to it you've got to figure out am I really any different today than I was yesterday and if I'm not why not did Jesus's death on the cross did the church that we belong to the Eucharist that our baptism did it matter was it just a formality and until we become the new st. Paul's and the new men and women in the book of Acts I pray every day for a new Pentecost in our church in our land in our world I pray for a new Advent I pray for a renewal what he talks about in revelation 21:5 I make all things new and I don't want to hear the churches of Sardis and of Laodicea you know people think you're alive but you're really dead inside that's a criticism of me and my development and so I just want to encourage you that if you open up your heart to our Lord in that confessional and just to take the grace that's really the sacrament of Health and once again I believe health is based on relationships found in community medicine is an act of mercy confession is a real tool of the physician christ the lord of the body and soul me as a doctor of the body and priests were a doctor of the soul together we can use the language of your body whether it's natural fertility awareness whether it's hormones whether it's psychosis whether it's whatever but when we unite it to the cross of Jesus Christ through his church and sacraments people get healthy and that's just the way it is maybe not on our timetable but over time it does not fail and I'm an old polish guy if it worked with me man it can work with your audience you know I'm in Montreal Quebec and I did not know that yeah okay so here we have a great Saint Saint brother Andre Bessette I don't know if you've heard of it oh listen we used to say brother Andre sister Mary electa and Padre Pio those were our three intercessors standing in front of Our Lady's statue in our little home growing up from the age of five to fifteen and brother Andre Brissette was an all-star oh so you've been to the oratory I'm imagining I've only been there once and I don't ever have to go back again it basically gave me Johnny be a doorman I tell you David in my practice I try to listen to people with one ear to they stethoscope and one ear to the Lord Andre Bessette is a saint for us because he did everything seeing the face of Christ and I'm telling you I I asked him for intercession because I've got to give a talk tonight at Saint Veronica's parish here in town and it's all about the face of Jesus and I think he did it so well little things with a lot of love seeing the face of Christ and everyone who we met a lot of the atheists that I engage with because most of my listeners are atheists a lot of them focus on intelligence reason argumentation logic and I just dismiss them I say look the problem is not intellectual it's militia kn'l you don't love as you should love you love yourself unto contempt of God you're supposed to love God and contempt of self as st. Augustine famously said so can you talk about that how does the heart find a way to change the emphasis in a conversation which is so much about status and education and intelligence so let me just give you an example if I go give a data-driven talk at Harvard they will immediately have their data I have my data and it becomes a data battle so when people say evidence-based medicine they're just picking and choosing whatever data supports their ideology because remember if words have no meaning then facts have no meaning and that means that data has no meaning so we're now the age of information and data but we have no wisdom and so when I go to them and say listen I don't want to throw stones at anybody here abortion is legal I think that's fine but I can no longer do abortions the reason why abortionists are so few is because it's so brutal on the human psyche it's brutal that's why most people don't become abortionists they may be ideologues and I know lots of young women who are incredibly pro-abortion but when they try to do abortions they can't do it and so I've taken a page out of John Paul's work and I'm more of a phenomenologist now I believe that everything has an objective reality and we apply our subjective turn to it and so you can deny all you want that the fetus is a member of our family but it's actually a matter of love and what's happening is is that remember what's the number one problem in sexual mores today we're having no sex do you understand that we've gone through the gamut of multiple partners animal partners selfish partners were now at the point of no partners and no sex Japan did this ahead of us now it's happening in this country it's this way throughout the world and you can see I think there was an article in The Atlantic Monthly that had it and so what's happening is people are looked deep inside in that small quiet place once you've been bombarded by data once you've been bombarded by noise once you've been bombarded by life and you end up empty and you're still popping pills you're still taking drugs yours still seeking for love in all the wrong places you're still making the same mistake as a woman screwing around with bad men who just want to use you or you start experimenting with same sex which whatever it is you want to find something meaningful and when they meet someone like you me or somebody else you become an oddball to the extent of he's happy why is that and so sadly I believe that since words no longer have meaning and data no have no longer has meaning the only thing left is hate the disease love the patient when I say that at Harvard when I said that across the country here they all agreed with me they believed abortions a living option then try it you'll see it's not they almost have to experience it in order to see it and what's going to happen here is that if they can experience your joy even when they attack you and you're still joyful and you open your heart to them and see how broken they are I think that we're at another time the same thing that got the church out of Jerusalem to Antioch and to all over the world is going to be the same thing now it's going to be not martyrdom but martyrdom it's just going to be where they're gonna not understand and we're gonna have to go the extra mile that's it really in order to show them the love of Jesus Christ and we really need to you know have a Magisterium that teaches the truth because I could find any priest or any pastor whether in my Catholic or non Catholic days where I would just whatever they whatever I wanted him to agree with that's what I found and once again the Magisterium of the church the teaching of the church over to that is merciful it's absolutely merciful because you know just like the what is it the Ethiopian eunuch in acts 8 he needed someone to explain things to him so I have to you know go to my friends and I have to run this by what the church says not because I think it's separating faith and reason it's because I need wisdom to handle the data because left to my own devices I've made a mockery of it I came to the church through philosophy so when I encountered the real live church today with people in the pews and the priests that are of a wide variety of quality I was well grounded in the Saints the writings of the Saints in the Bible and in the two thousand years of tradition in the church so I was well grounded and I was not deterred by some of the scandal but some people come into the church they're not as grounded in the history and they tend to get turned off by scandal and these sorts of things and they get turned off if one Pope is a little bit too right for their tastes or a little bit too left for their tastes and all this sort of thing I never suffered from that but can you talk just from your own perspective about how to avoid that if you're not given to study and reading as I am or does everyone have an obligation to study and read the history of the church in the lives of the saints well if you say that you are a Christian you must study Christ and you must study the scriptures because ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorant of Christ and there are many different interpretations out there some 2000 years some 300 years and so I think as you go through this you are obligated somewhat but the beauty of the Catholic faith is that if you just simply pick up your rosary for instance my mother my mother smoked unfiltered cigarettes at the age of 14 when she went to work for her father in the butcher shop and then she went to work at the beer factory my mother was teased as a young lady when she spoke polish in a public school class because polish was the first language at home and she never learned to really read well she liked reading tabloid stuff but because of her mother she said the rosary every day of her life my mother had more faith rend your heart not your garments faith not an intellectual eyes faith but a faith nonetheless she had more faith than anyone I knew and because of her daily rosary when I saw my world crash before me on that hill with our Lord and our lady in my psychotic break so to speak I saw my mother and father praying the rosary for me the intercessory prayer so for all you non intellectuals out there pick up your rosary learn the mysteries and walk with them in the mysteries and I guarantee people it just brings you a para makes the church come alive and then you can pick and choose where you want to go for all of you intellectual types definitely pick up the lives of the saints there's a saint for everybody whether you're a philosopher or I think we just celebrated Saint Isidore a farmer and find real stories about them not the hagiographic while you know the stuff it just this is just the way we this is just the way they lived and they lived simply brother Andre Bessette you know my wife sometimes can't tell you the difference between Pope Pope John Paul the 1st and Pope John Paul the second but my wife when she converted she always knew Christ loved her she always knew that there was a true church even though she wasn't a part of it she converted to Catholicism she has more faith in the Eucharist she knows about forgiving her enemies she knows about Father forgive them for they don't know what they do she knows that we are family and that our lady and our Lord and that were all we all have brothers and sisters my wife who's not the intellectual has more deep-seated faith that sure practical kind trust in Jesus Christ but there are so many Saints in the Catholic tradition of all stripes I'm telling you man there's something for everybody because it all hangs together and so the philosophical system of whether it was Aquinas you know once again natural law even though I love it it doesn't hold water today in medical school classes we're like three generations removed there has dumbed down as you can get so arguments I say it's blue you say it's red and they're going to say well you can't no color anyway because it's just a reflection and so what I found is is that you challenge them on many levels I thank god we've had ultrasound to show the humanity of the fetus and the baby of the unborn child thank God there are hormones that we now can interpret through the language of the body of natural fertility awareness to actually figure out how to listen as men or women we don't have to take blanket sexual my gosh I mean we just label people and then we demonize them and I really think that a real philosophy and once again I'm more of a phenomenologist now because it makes more practical sense to me about how you integrate subjective and objective realities and maybe there's another way we can talk about this offline but I have to tell you I'm learning so much from my friends who are into the natural law well let me say for instance let me give you a quick example a couple who's infertile they want to go to in vitro fertilization they're kind of middle-of-the-road folks they just want to go to IVF because they promised of fifty to sixty percent success rate they're going to stimulate the woman make a bunch of eggs then get the husband to give them some sperm mix it all together make a bunch of embryos put a few back and then hormonal II get that embryo to fetus to baby well I simply tell them the first thing you have to do before you go there is is that embryo they they're going to make is it your child or is it your property do you love it or do you own it now I have to tell you today David the answers are not what I'm interested in I'm actually interested in doubt we are such an arrogant I I'm fifty nine I don't know how old you are but I think you're I think you're a younger whippersnapper than I am forty nine oh my gosh okay you look much more you look a lot younger than I do and so and that's a compliment by the way but I want you to know David I can and out in people cuz once again there is no truth anymore brother there is trust of course there is we know it is the truth is Jesus Christ but that's what it ain't happening so if I can plant doubt in their conclusion I do that and then I get my little intercessors I get my little Poor Clare nuns who pray for me to pray for the people on speaking with because I really think we're in a whole new world today when we talk about the Benedict option and trying to you know preserve what's true good beautiful and all that I think the worlds are friggin cessful so I've kind of come at it from a little more phenomenon logical way and I also plant doubt that's why that's the best I can get and then accompanying people to walk with them if they ask questions and they want to continue on the journey then I kind of walk with them because they'll you know it just like you do I'm listening to you going you're radicalness is nothing more than what we all should be doing the universal call to holiness is real thank you very much I know you're tight on time so you probably have to wrap it up right I do yeah I'm going back to see patients I've I'm a doctor man I'm a clinician dude I really appreciate you taking the time take care god bless and we'll talk soon god bless you buddy talk to you