By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator  

When disregarding signs and warnings that they are going down a wrong road, people make many twists and turns before they stop and ask in dazed confusion, “Where are we?” and “How did we get here?”  

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Father Jeff Bayhi


The same is true concerning the challenges our nation faces today, according to Father Jeff Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary and founder of Metanoia Manor, Inc., which provides refuge for victims of human trafficking.   

At a meeting of Women in Spirit Feb. 28 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, Father Bayhi spoke about how the steady decline in the dignity and respect for human life has led to the spiritual problems that leave people asking in exasperation, “What’s happening?”  

Beginning with the introduction of birth control by Margaret Sanger there has been a breakup of the family, Father Bayhi said. He noted Sanger advocated eugenics, which would “purify” the gene pool by breeding out undesirable traits or by disposing of undesirable human beings, individuals, ethnic groups or whole races.  

Father Bayhi said when he was a student at St. Aloysius School at Baton Rouge during the 1960s there was only one child he knew of whose parents were divorced.  

“Marriage and family life up to that point was certainly a lot more stable than it is today … it’s changed a great deal,” he said.  

Along with the decline in family life came the increase in violence, according to Father Bayhi.   

“When I was a kid we got into fistfights. I might get my nose broken. There was teenage testosterone,” he said. “But there wasn’t the violence there is today. Then Roe V. Wade comes along and we start to see a lot of things happening. Kids are getting killed for their sneakers. They get a pair of Michael Jordan sneakers that their parents bought for them and somebody wants them and they get killed for sneakers or athletic jackets.”  

He then referred to the chilling rise in school shootings.  

“What is going on?” thundered Father Bayhi. “Where have we lost it?”  

He continued, “Then one of the most outrageous offenses against the dignity of the human person is this recent legislation (allowing) a child to be born, (and keeping) it comfortable with the help of ‘compassionate people.’ And meanwhile his mother and doctor decide if that child’s going to live or die.”  

Society has “slouched” against the violence against a human person.  

“We now see human life as a matter of profit, pleasure or possession,” he said.  

“Unfortunately, it goes on past that,” said Father Bayhi, noting that pornography is a multi-billion dollar business.   

Father Bayhi said pornography has become “a huge problem. You have grandpas – everybody – married men …”   

“One thing I tell people. ‘Do you have children? Grandchildren? I want you to put their pictures on the screensaver of your computer and the next time you go there to look at (porn) I want you to think about what you would do if your child was the star of that show you’re getting ready to watch.”  

He spoke of a girl from Baton Rouge who was abducted and sold into the sex trafficking and porn industry through Snapchat. When she was rescued the girl remembered doing an average of 30 sexual favors a day.  

It’s not always strangers who sell the children. According to Father Bayhi, statistics show that 40 percent of children sold into the sex trafficking industry are sold by a parent or primary caregiver.  

“We’ve got a lot of changing to do,” Father Bayhi said.  

Speaking of the work in Metanoia Manor, Father Bayhi said the Sisters of the Hospitalier are the “heroes,” serving as mothers to the girls as they struggle to better their lives.  

Father Bayhi said, “Ultimately, Metanoia Manor is a mission, a response to the call of God.”  

For more information about Metanoia, visit  or call 225-615-7085.