Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Newspapers are gasping

The past week has seen newspapers all over the world focusing on Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church in their front page articles. It is important to check out some sources on this phenomena.

First, the NY Times published an article in which it was stated that Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, intervened to prevent an American priest from facing the full onslaught of the charges of pedophilia that had been laid against him.

There followed an article by Christopher Hitchens, The Great Catholic Coverup , in the National Post.

Everywhere the mainstream media is persecuting Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church. This morning, on talk radio here in Halifax, I heard Andrew Krystal say "is it time to fire the Pope?"

Sheesh, where the heck is journalistic integrity? Facts are coming to light that show the NY Times had no hard evidence for that story and yesterday -

Fr Thomas Brundage, the former Archdiocese of Milwaukee Judicial Vicar who presided over the canonical criminal case of the Wisconsin child abuser Fr Lawrence Murphy, has broken his silence to give a devastating account of the scandal – and of the behaviour of The New York Times, which resurrected the story. -
Damian Thompson, in the Telegraph, March 30
As Father Brundage says: "The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself."

Journalistic integrity? Not.

The truth is that newspapers are a dying breed, and the New York Times has already been bailed out at least once before. Readership is declining quickly, as the internet is replacing the old-fashioned newspaper as the news media of the present. Not to mention the fact that all that paper surely must be bad for the environment. Where are the "green" folks when it comes to this topic of newspaper pollution?

What better story could a newspaper come up with really? I mean this is Holy Week, the most venerated week in the Catholic Church. And let's face it, the one organization that it is still okay to bash in these days of political correctness is the Catholic Church. The reason? The Catholic Church is the ONLY organization that speaks unrelentlessly about the paganization of our culture, in clearly stating the immorality of abortion, euthanasia, the practice of homosexuality, divorce, pornography. Despite her obvious failures, which Pope Benedict is readily admitting and working hard to correct. What other group is speaking so loudly and so clearly about what ails our society? The Church is ringing warning bells about where we are headed, and the media want to shut it up. Plain and simple.

This is what you can expect in a culture that has become pagan. So what we should expect next is outright persecution of the Church in the west. No, we won't be tortured physically or put to death, but we will see Catholics especially, as well as fundamental Christians, charged in kangaroo courts with hate crimes, with being intolerant. Some of the things we are already seeing are home schoolers being fined for removing their children from the public schools and the children's aid agencies dividing families and removing children from those who don't comply. We are seeing Christian pastors held hostage by human rights commissions because they deliver the Biblical message that homosexual activity is sinful and leads to death. We already know of one woman who has spent over 7 out of the past 15 years in jail for peacefully protesting abortion. Expect it all, it is coming. Unless there is a large scale repentance of our society.

A few months ago, a group of Bible-believing Christians and Catholics drew up and signed the Manhattan Declaration in which they stated that they would hold to their Christian principles despite the pressure of society upon them to relinquish those principles. Men of the calibre of James Dobson and Chuck Colson signed that Declaration, and I heard James Dobson say that he and his wife Shirley are prepared to go to jail if it comes to that. If strong-principled men like this are seeing evil times ahead, we should be paying attention and getting ready. Getting ready means nothing other than

Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming - Ephesians 6:10-17

There is some very good reading on this, here are some links.

A Response to the New York Times, Father Raymond de Souza

Scoundrel Times, by George Weigel

Thomas Peters, at American Papist

Damian Thompson, Blogs editor of the Telegraph Media Group

Mercator Net

David Warren

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Tyranny of Political Correctness

Ann Coulter, American conservative author and spokesperson, has been silenced in Canada. The reason given is that protests to her appearance were seen to be threats to security - that is a poor excuse for what is really going on in Canada - and that is the silencing of free speech.

Coulter Cancelled, Ottawa Citizen, March 23, 2010

Ms Coulter was warned by letter from the provost of Ottawa University that she should be careful in her remarks because she might be charged with "hate speech" in this country.

Francois Houle, Vice-President Academic and Provost, went on to advise the notoriously controversial conservative pundit to review Canada's hate speech and defamation laws before giving her talk at the university.

In response, however, Coulter has said she will be filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission alleging Houle targeted her as a member of an identifiable group (conservatives) and subjected her to hate speech.

“I’m sure the Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of it,” Coulter said to a crowd at the University of Western Ontario Monday, according to the Vancouver Sun. “I think I’m the victim of a hate crime here. Either what (Mr. Houle) did was a hate crime, or the whole commission is BS.” - LifeSiteNews, March 23, 2010

What is most disconcerting to me is that it is the student union of Ottawa U that objected most loudly to Ms Coulter's talk, whereas the administration was in favour of letting it proceed. Which group shows intolerance? It is a sad state of affairs when our youth think that politically correct statements are the only ones that should be allowed. They have been successfully brainwashed, not only by, but also into thought police.

Canada has become a laughable excuse for a free democracy. When a respected writer and speaker comes here and should be allowed to freely state her opinions on current events, she should be welcomed with open minds. If her speech is the tirade of a wacky extremist, then her audience should tell her so. But we Canadians are being treated by our ever-invasive government like a class of kindergarten children who do not have the wits to figure out what is good and what is not, what is hate speech and what is not. We have to have it done for us by the nanny state.

Shame on this country and its policy of "political correctness" that is now accepted by most citizens as the right approach to everything. We have become a nation of weak people who can be pushed around by government agencies and human rights commissions, that are in fact being run by mediocre bureaucrats who wouldn't know black from white if they were asked.

Update: Coulter may file grievance with Human Rights Commission, Vancouver Sun

Let's hope she does!

Michael Coren has lots of things to say about Ann Coulter's visit to Canada and he has the letter of Provost Houle printed in full on his blog.
Michael Coren's blog

And if you want to watch Michael's exclusive interview with Ann, which was live on his show Tuesday evening, click here
Ann Coulter on Michael Coren

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good News, Congrats Mr. Harper

The Opposition motion to include abortion in the government’s maternal health initiative failed. 144 against, 138 in favour.
h/t ProWomanProLife

Hooray and thank you Conservatives.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Canada to Push Abortion in the Third World

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Harper has stated that a prime endeavour of Canada at the upcoming G8 conference to be held in Ontario, is to provide massive aid to the third world in order to cut the maternal mortality rate and the rate of new-born deaths. He promised that this policy would not include abortion and contraception, but would be aimed at providing medical assistance in child-birth, as well as clean water, food and immunizations for children.

Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party, has taken this as an opportunity to turn this into a political jousting match for himself with Mr. Harper. Ignatieff, backed by vocal feminists, insists that Canadian aid must include the full range of reproductive health measures, which is Planned Parenthood speak for contraception and abortion.

As if that will cut the death rate. It will cause it to soar, as mothers will die from infections, women will be given RU-486 without supervision, and countless unborn children will be torn from their mothers' wombs.

Tomorrow evening, at 5:30 pm, Bob Rae, now Liberal but former NDP premier of Ontario, will introduce a motion in the House of Commons which insists that the government initiative include the full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health [abortion] options’.

The logic of the Liberal motion is very odd. Let's save children's lives by encouraging abortion (killing them). It is clear that this motion is not primarily about women or children. This motion is trying to create a political controversy on a very divisive issue close to many Canadians' hearts. Instead of simply supporting a common sense initiative for clean water, good nutrition, and basic medical training, the Liberal caucus seems to be trying to use this pro-abortion lobby to divide Canadians. All this in spite of the fact that a CBC poll a few weeks back showed 64% of Canadians did NOT want abortion to be included in the G8 agenda.- Faytene Krsykow, 4 My Canada

Please write to your member of Parliament, asking him/her to stand against this usurping of a good measure by a pro-abortion lobby. Keep your email short and free from ad hominem taunts and Bible thumping, as that will simply get it deleted in short order. And write to Mr. Ignatieff telling him that this initiative by Mr. Harper has nothing to do with abortion and contraception, but has to deal with giving basic necessities to those who do not have them.

For a list of MPs and their email addresses, click here

What to write? even a simple email such as
Please vote against the Liberal motion to demand abortion be inserted into the G8 agenda for maternal and infant health.

Stupak Caved

Oh wait, he was never really 100% against federally-funded abortion in the first place.

If I like everything in the bill, except we had public funding for abortion, and we had a chance to run our amendment and we lost, okay? I voted my conscience, stayed true to my principles, stayed true to those beliefs of this district, could I vote for health care? yes I still could. - Bart Stupak in Cheboygan, MI

h/t Gerard Nadal

And what do the American Catholic bishops have to say about the Executive Order signed by Obama, that states funding for abortion will not be allowed under this health bill?

Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation. - Richard Doerflinger who represents the US bishops in Congressional dealings
- h/t American Papist

An executive order does not have the force of law and can be challenged by anyone who wishes to do so (the pro-aborts will do that immediately) and it can be rescinded by the President at any time. So how long will that executive order last?

I had great sympathy for Bart Stupak over the last few weeks, as I read that his life has been made a "living hell" (Stupak's own words) as his home phone was beseiged by threatening phone calls, his wife and family were threatened, he was harrassed on all sides for his pro-life position. But this morning, when I read that he had voted yes after getting Obama's word on this blocking of funds for abortion, and then read that he was also given a grant of $700,000 to make repairs at three airports in his congressional district, my admiration and sympathy flew out the window. Yes, his life must have been difficult, but how much more difficult is it going to be now that he has to live with this decision? And how many other congressmen have sacrificed their political careers over this bill? Next November will tell, if it isn't apparent even sooner.

The American people have had enough of this non-democratic government. Obama promised to conduct business in a new way, without all the backroom deals. Well he is even worse than his predecessors and the man simply cannot be trusted.

The fact that Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, sent out a statement that called the executive order a "symbolic gesture" says it all.

Today, monumental progress was made toward achieving these goals with the passage of historic health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, despite a symbolic gesture, in the form of an Executive Order, to anti-choice Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI), which has diverted attention from the central goal of health care reform - controlling costs and extending coverage....
As a trusted health care provider to millions of women and families across the country, Planned Parenthood applauds the fact that this legislation would extend health care coverage, including family planning, to tens of millions of women and families, guarantee access to affordable life-saving screenings for cervical and breast cancer and other serious health problems, protect women against gender discrimination by private insurers, end the practice of dropping coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and significantly increase access to reproductive health care.
The proposal also includes a commonsense provision to expand family planning under Medicaid, which would significantly increase access to essential preventive health care for millions of women....- Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood

h/t Jill Stanek

As Thomas Peters, of American Papist, says:

The health care battle has made crystal clear the sharp divide between Catholics when it comes to the prudent application of the Church’s social teaching on the most important issues of our day. This is a service because these groups, leaders and pockets of dissent are now out in the open. They have played their hand. We know where their fox holes lie. - American Papist

Dissident nuns wrote to Congress stating that Catholic nuns were in favour of this bill; as Father Frank Pavone says, their statement showed the support of ... exactly 59 nuns, not the thousands of other nuns who do not support federally funded abortions. Nor do the dissident Catholics, or Catholycs as Peters calls them, represent the Church even though they think they do. On several occasions, the American bishops have stated that this bill cannot be supported if it provides funding for abortion and denies the rights of medical practitioners to follow their conscience.

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue is a man who doesn't mince words:

...a communist-styled president sits in Ronald Regan's office and rules with a tyrannical iron fist with the help of his Congressional counterparts. Our once-free nation has slid down the path of totalitarianism faster than if we could have been conquered by the Soviets in 1980.

March 21 did indeed change life as we knew it. The tax payer will be forced to fund abortion that will now increase, ration health care, cut benefits to seniors, and pay higher taxes. Especially hard-hit will be small business owners and middle-class American families. The new law will force all Americans to buy insurance or suffer fines and create over a hundred new government bureaucracies.

Now we can add our nation's health care system to the list of once private enterprises now under government control along with the banks, manufacturing, housing, and insurance companies. - Operation Rescue

At least, we can see more clearly the battle lines now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Prayers for the US Today

This email came into my inbox this morning, from Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life in the United States. Please pray that this bill will not be passed by Congress without first eliminating funding for abortion.

On Sunday morning, March 21, members of Congress and their spouses will hold a prayer service in the US Congress, and I have been asked to deliver a homily. The purpose of this gathering is not political or legislative, but rather religious: to express our dependence upon God as a nation. In the early days of our Republic, prayer services were held in Congress. Many have long since forgotten that, and Sunday’s service will be a reminder that worship is not incompatible with the legislative chambers of our government. Please pray along with our lawmakers, that they will have wisdom, especially as they cast the important vote on health care reform, and in all the other decisions they need to make.

Many thanks!

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director

Open Letter to Congress: The Health Care Vote and Abortion

March 20, 2010

Dear Members of Congress,

As you prepare to cast your vote on health care reform, abortion again has emerged as a momentous and defining issue in this debate. Some consider it a distraction or an unwanted obstacle to authentic health care reform. But the fact is that the abortion debate is bigger and more important than the health care reform debate, and the apparent inability of our nation to avoid wrestling with the abortion issue is another sign that until we resolve the abortion debate the right way, we will not be able to make the progress we need to make on health care or any other matter of social justice or human rights.

Today, therefore, along with countless other Americans, I urge you not to try to look beyond the abortion debate, but to look at it directly, to wrestle with it honestly, and to realize that it is the question that surpasses all others, because it involves the principle that underlies all others.

As a public servant, you are responsible to know the difference between serving the public and killing the public. The first responsibility of government is the protection of human life. To fail to do this is to fail to serve. To violate the right to life is to fail to protect every human right, including health care.

The service that we are all called to carry out to humanity embraces life at every stage and in every circumstance. To fail to respect a human life at any stage of its development is to break the principle that holds it sacred at every stage of its development.

That is why one may never use our duty to life at one stage to justify destroying it at another. Some have tried to do this in the health care debate, by their willingness to expand child killing in the process of helping adults get medical treatment. This approach is self defeating, because as soon as we tolerate the killing of children, we undercut every rationale to provide health care to both children and adults.

Despite the views of some in political office, abortion is not an aspect of health care. In fact, this destructive and violent act does not even deserve the name “medical procedure.” After all, a medical procedure is supposed to help the body to do what it is trying to do, but is having trouble doing. Abortion is just the opposite: it stops the body from doing what it is supposed to do and is doing very well. And in stopping the life of the child within by an unnatural and cruel method, it introduces numerous complications for the health of the mother. Abortion is not health care, it is not respectable, and it deserves the same kind of rejection by society as slavery, segregation, and terrorism.

We who are part of the vast pro-life movement in America call upon you, our legislators, and all our fellow citizens to listen carefully to what the practitioners of abortion say about the procedure itself.

Abortionist Martin Haskell, in describing, under oath, the suction curettage abortion procedure, said , “The fetus passes through the catheter and either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the suction bottle after it’s actually all the way out” (1).

The same abortionist describes the D and E procedure by saying, “We would attack the lower part of the lower extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the knee and then finally we get to the hip … Typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece…" (2)

Abortionist Warren Hern writes in his medical textbook Abortion Practice, “A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…" (p.154).

We ask you, our legislators: When you say the word abortion, is this what you mean? Is this the kind of activity you want to fund?

We in the pro-life movement also listen to and give voice to the women and men who have lost children to abortion. Their experiences, shared through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, draw attention to the physical and psychological damage abortion does. These are voices we cannot ignore.

Some prefer to ignore, trivialize, or relativize abortion. Others, represented by the pro-life movement, declare not only that it is wrong, but that it is a show-stopper, a deal-breaker.

It is a show-stopper precisely because the principle it breaks is the show-starter for every effort and struggle on behalf of human rights, including the great experiment in freedom and self-governance that is the United States of America.

As Pope John Paul II explained, "The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination" (3).

The United States Catholic bishops expressed it this way: “Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. … But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the "temple of the Holy Spirit" -- the living house of God -- then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house's foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person's most fundamental right the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand” (4).

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, when he was Archbishop of Chicago, explained “the consistent ethic of life,” showing that issues like health care are connected to issues like abortion and every other issue. He also explained, "A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing). But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions” (5) He also said, "The fundamental human right is to life—from the moment of conception until death. It is the source of all other rights, including the right to health care" (6).

Today, you stand again in the crosshairs of this debate whether you choose to or not. Some will continue to dismiss our concerns. Others will echo them, declaring that we can no more pay for the destruction of innocent children weeks after their life begins than we can do so years after their life begins.

Today, you have the opportunity to decide whether you will contribute to our nation’s blindness about abortion, or whether you will be part of a new awakening, by which our nation will see the abortion debate as the civil rights issue of our time and again apply its founding principles to its youngest citizens.

Fr. Frank Pavone,
National Director, Priests for Life
President, National Pro-life Religious Council

(1) Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.

(2) Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.

(3) Christifideles Laici, 1988

(4) Living the Gospel of Life n. 23, 1998

(5) A Consistent Ethic of Life: Continuing the Dialogue, The William Wade Lecture Series, St. Louis University, March 11, 1984.

(6) The Consistent Ethic of Life and Health Care Systems, Foster McGaw Triennial Conference, Loyola University of Chicago, May 8, 1985.

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
F: 718-980-6515

Friday, March 12, 2010

You Gotta Love It!

or a seal, or a turtle, or a bald eagle .....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Abortion is the Issue

Following upon the post with respect to the seamless garment theology, this post is an attempt to put into words something that I feel in my gut.

Three years ago, I became aware of the grisly reality of abortion and of the massive extent of abortion throughout the world. Where I was before that, I really can't say because abortion had not really entered my consciousness in any way that affected it strongly.

For some reason, a simple attendance at one talk on abortion changed all of that. And from that point, I began to read. I plan on listing the books I have read on abortion and rating them, because some have had a marked effect upon me and I think some are worth reading more than others. But that is for another day.

Something in the last book I read has stuck with me. The book was Who Broke the Baby?, a pro-life classic by Jean Staker Garton. In the very last chapter, entitled The Choice, she writes about the effect that the choice of legalized abortion has and is having upon society. And something became extraordinarily clear.

The legalization of abortion, forty years ago in this country of Canada and 37 years ago in the US, marked the beginning of a cataclysmic change in thinking. This was the point at which we decided that we, as human beings, could have the last word about the value of life. Before that, every life was granted equal value - - it was even written in the American Constitution.

The traditional Western ethic has always placed great emphasis on the intrinsic worth and equal value of every human life regardless of its stage or condition. This ethic ... has been the basis for most of our laws and much of our social policy. The reverence for each and every human life has also been a keystone of Western medicine. - A New Ethic for Medicine and Society, California Medicine, Official Journal of the California Medical Association (Sept. 1970)

Never has any society shown such humane consideration for human life, manifested in social policy, in the law, and in the treatment of the sick and dying as the culture of the western hemisphere, rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

Legalized abortion changed all that. Since we decided that a woman can decide whether or not her baby's life has value and she can therefore decide to terminate that life if that value is not sufficient for her, now all life can be subject to the scrutiny of individual judgment. Abortion changed our thinking that life is intrinsically valuable, and since we allowed the doubt that some lives are not valuable, we opened the door to all the other ways in which life can be devalued. Embryonic stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization which chooses some fertilized embryos and discards the rest, induced labour and the subseqent death of disabled infants, euthanasia of infants as is performed in Holland, euthanasia and assisted suicide for those whose lives at the other end of life don't seem worth living. All of these issues became possible because we allowed abortion.

The devaluing of new life in the womb has opened the door for the devaluing of all life that is not deemed worth living. Before legalized abortion, we thought that all life was worth defending, that life itself was the value. Since legalized abortion, only life that is regarded by others as valuable is worth defending. The sick, the marginalized, the abandoned, the terminally ill, the depressed, they all are now potential suspects and victims on our scale of human value.

Abortion is the cutting edge, the initial wedge, for "the new ethic." It is the tip of the iceberg in the proposed revision of what it means to be human. Despite all the rhetoric about abortion being a matter of private morality, it has far-reaching public implications. If what we are interested in is a stop-gap measure, then abortion seems reasonable. If what we desire are results, then abortion seems like an answer. But it is an option that does not exist in a vacuum, for it involves the sacrifice of not only the unborn child but a way of life, an entire ethic... In the acceptance of abortion-on-demand, there occurs a subtle but profound shift in the attitude of society toward all people who are unwanted, imperfect, and dependent.... When we choose to offer death as an alternative to suffering, the list of those who qualify under "the new ethic" expands greatly. - Who Broke the Baby? by Jean Staker Garton

Twice in the last week, I have come across two completely different people who spoke of abortion's effect upon society as similar to the mushroom cloud of Hiroshima. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, no one anticipated the aftermath of that event. No one was prepared for the numbers of people who would survive but live lives with irreparably damaged bodies, with cancers caused by the radiation; no one anticipated the numbers of medical personnel that would be required to look after those affected by the bomb; no one was prepared for those who would suffer psychologically from this event, living with constant nightmares and held imprisoned by fear.

The same is true of abortion; seen as a measure to help women solve their problem of an unexpected pregnancy, abortion leaves in its wake damaged and broken women, men who feel guilt and regret at their lost fatherhood, siblings who know or feel the loss of brothers and sisters and the guilt that comes from knowing that they are the survivors of the abortion holocaust. We are only just beginning to see the effects of the abortion epidemic: breast cancers that may be traced to induced abortion, subsequent premature deliveries of babies who may have disabilities, infertility in many women who have had induced abortions, and that is not even mentioning the numbers of individuals we have lost to society, people we will never know because they didn't get a chance to live.

And perhaps the worst fallout from this mushroom cloud of abortion is the hardness of heart that has developed in us as human beings, our indifference to the tragedy.

Evil, suffering, violence - all these are bad in a society, but what is far worse is becoming used to them, tolerating them, and learning to live with them. Then apathy becomes appealing; withdrawal becomes enticing; silence becomes tempting. We become as the crowd around the cross at Golgotha. We recognize the injustice, we see the suffering of the innocent and abhor the violence of the act, but like those on the day of Christ's crucifixion, we do nothing. - Who Broke the Baby? by Jean Staker Garton

Yes, abortion is the issue because it is the point at which we cast aside our respect for life; by allowing the small, dependent life in the womb to be terminated at will, we declared open season on all life. In effect, we said "It's your call."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Follow the Logic

No matter on which side of the abortion debate you are, you must be logical. This can not be simply a shouting match, with screaming on both sides. That is completely counter-productive and exhibits crass intolerance, hatred, and the absolute refusal to listen to others.

Being pro-choice means that you believe that the woman has the right to decide to do whatever she wishes with her body, even if she is pregnant and carrying another body. The latest term I have heard for this is physical integrity, meaning that every person has all the rights over his/her body.

Now pro-choicers don't like to get into the argument that there is a second body present when a woman is pregnant, although there actually is. Medical science has determined this without a doubt, another human body with its own distinct DNA, its own bodily functions, its own brain, heart and all vital organs, and all the biological equipment necessary to propel its growth ever forward. They still claim that the woman has the right to abort that other being; that, if it comes to the rights of the woman versus the rights of the fetus, then the woman's rights trump those of the fetus.

So let's carry this position to its logical conclusion. If you hold to this belief that the woman has the final decision about her fetus, then you have to give her that right throughout the entire pregnancy and in all circumstances. You can't just give her that right some of the time and not all of the time.

So, here enters some problems for pro-choicers. It is now a known fact that the majority of abortions are done on girl fetuses and on ethnic minorities. In India and China, women abort female fetuses because the culture prefers boys. This has been done so much that there is now a huge imbalance in the sexes in those countries.

A new United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report released March 8, entitled "Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific," and coinciding with International Women's Day, highlights the fact that sex-selective abortion continues to increase the gender imbalance in developing countries.

Under the heading "more women than ever are disappearing," a press release from the UNDP announcing the new report says, "The problem of 'missing girls' in which more boys are born than girls, as girl fetuses are presumably aborted, and women die from health and nutrition neglect - is actually growing. Birth gender disparity is greatest in East Asia, where 119 boys are born for every 100 girls."

The report found that "China and India together account for more than 85 million of the nearly 100 million 'missing' women estimated to have died from discriminatory treatment in health care, nutrition access or pure neglect or because they were never born in the first place."

"Females cannot take survival for granted," the report said. "Sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and death from health and nutritional neglect in Asia have left 96 million missing women ... and the numbers seem to be increasing in absolute terms." -
LifeSiteNews, March 9, 2010

It is not only pro-life sources that are stating these statistics. Lest you think that it is only pro-life, "religious" media that are putting forth these stats, I quote from author, Karin Evans, a journalist who adopted two girls from China.

In 1996 there were 36 million more males than females in China, a figure that could just keep climbing, some said, reaching 70 million by the year 2000. The population was already so out of balance that demographers reported in the 1990s that five of China's thirty provinces had 120 boys for every 100 girls. By 1998, according to research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the overall ratio of boys to girls had climbed to 120 to 100.
It is not only the girls of this generation who are missing today. By broad estimates, 30 million females in China - a number equivalent to the entire population of Mexico City, say, or a full 5 percent of China's population - are missing. Gone. (China, by the way, is not alone in this phenomenon. India's statistics also reflect a vast number of missing females, and worldwide, according to Betsy Hartmann, author of Reproductive Rights & Wrongs, more than 100 million females who should, by normal expectation, be alive and well on the planet are missing.)
Where are the lost women of China? "Some were killed at birth in the 1930s and '40s and so are not present as elderly women today," writes China Wakes co-author Sheryl WuDunn. "Some died as girls because they were not given adequate food, clothing, and health care. Some died in the 1958-1961 famine because their parents saved the rice for the brothers."
Others, the victims of ultrasound, were conceived but never born. Some were born but didn't make it past infancy, and others may have just eluded official recognition... Whatever the mix of explanations, an enormous number of little girls has disappeared - largely to the world's indifference. As New York Times writer Bob Herbert declared: "There has never been the kind of international outcry that there should be over the girls who are missing from the population of China. The world has largely closed its eyes to this immense tragedy." - The Lost Daughters of China, by Karin Evans

And an even more recent article on sex selection abortion and the spreading problem of male/female ratio is Gendercide, The War on Baby Girls in The Economist, March 4, 2010
h/t Pro Woman Pro Life

Pro-choice logic cannot stop sex-selection abortions; women have to accept the fact that women will abort their own sex, if they choose to do so. This is truly a dilemma in which they find themselves, because to object to abortion on the basis of sex-selection is to remove the "freedom to choose" from women. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, if you ask me. After all, what "choice" does the female fetus have in all of this?

Sex selection is not the only problem for pro-choice advocates. Aborting disabled infants certainly flies in the face of positive action for those who are disabled. I mean, why make all your sidewalks wheelchair accessible if what you really want is to eliminate those disabled people before birth? You cannot take both sides; aborting the disabled infant sends the most alarming message to the disabled in our society, many of whom are living very fulfilling lives (just ask them if they would prefer to have been aborted).

Recently, Michael Coren was invited by the pro-life group at Queen's University to give a talk there to students. The usual protestors were anticipated and they did show up. Michael, however, addressed them first and asked if they would allow him to speak or were they simply going to show intolerance and shout him down? They complied and listened to his talk politely.

Michael wrote about his experiences with university students in the latest edition of The Interim , a newspaper devoted to pro-life issues. I found his concluding paragraph to be a real clincher:

At the end of another university speech, I chatted with a pro-abortion student who, unlike most of her friends, was at least willing to dialogue. She told me she was gay. I said to her, "I'm not going to debate homosexuality with you, but let me put to you a proposition. Let us suppose for a moment that a gay gene was found and could be detected in unborn children. I do not believe this to be plausible or possible, but for the sake of argument, let us pretend. Then let us suppose that many people decided to abort their baby if it had such a gene and was gay. Would that be choice, would that be acceptable?"
A long, long pause. Then tears came into her eyes and she backed away, Perhaps, God willing, we are changing some people some of the time. No shame in that at all. - Michael Coren in The Interim, March 2010

Follow the logic, you cannot both be pro-choice and make exceptions. Either abortion is right or it is wrong; it cannot be both.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What's Wrong with the "Seamless Garment" Theology

This subject is very dear to my heart, because I am often caught in the confusion that results when one's thinking is not crystal clear in this area. And it is so easy to become full of doubts about one's beliefs when accused of being a "single-issue" person, or of being someone who makes others feels uncomfortable, or when told not to talk about certain things because it will cause disunity. Since all of those accusations have been levelled at me over the past year, I found this article by Archbishop Raymond Burke absolutely affirming.

The article is long, but well worth the read. I have lifted a few paragraphs that I found particularly enlightening.

Archbishop Raymond Burke is the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the "supreme court" of the Catholic Church) and the article is Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life

For Christians, the acceptance of others who are not of the Christian faith is not a matter of tolerance, but of love which adheres to the truths of the faith while respecting the beliefs of those who are not Christian, as long as those beliefs are coherent with the natural moral law, that is, coherent with the respect for the "inalienable rights" with which God has endowed every man. Christian love does not have its foundation in blind tolerance of others and of what they think and say and do, but rather in the profound knowledge of others and their beliefs, and the honest acknowledgment of differences of belief, especially in what may compromise the life of the nation.

The attack on the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act. The error maintains that the artificially altered conjugal act retains its integrity... The so-called "contraceptive mentality" is essentially anti-life.

Through the spread of the contraceptive mentality, especially among the young, human sexuality is no longer seen as the gift of God, which draws a man and a woman together, in a bond of lifelong and faithful love, crowned by the gift of new human life, but as a tool for personal gratification. Once sexual union is no longer seen to be, by its very nature, procreative, human sexuality is abused in ways that are profoundly harmful and even destructive of individuals and of society itself.

Regarding the faith and political life, there has developed in our nation the false notion that the Christian or any person of faith, in order to be a true American citizen, must bracket his faith life from his political life. According to such a notion, one ends up with Christians, for example, who claim personally to be faithful members of the Church and, therefore, to hold to the demands of the natural moral law, while they sustain and support the right to violate the moral law in its most fundamental tenets...It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself politically in this manner.

Denying the right to profess one's religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development.... Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development.

When those who profess to be Christian, at the same time, favor and promote policies and laws which permit the destruction of innocent and defenseless human life, and which violate the integrity of marriage and the family, then citizens, in general, are confused and led into error about the basic tenets of the moral law.

Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin (Lk 17:1-2)
It is clear that Our Lord taught as a primary responsibility, with the gravest of consequences, the avoidance of scandal, namely, of any act or failure to act which could lead another into sin. Our Lord's words are nothing less than vehement.

To ignore the fact that Catholics in public life, for example, who persistently violate the moral law regarding the inviolability of innocent human life or the integrity of the marital union, lead many into confusion or even error regarding the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, in fact, contributes to the confusion and error, redounding to the gravest harm to our brothers and sisters, and, therefore, to the whole nation. The perennial discipline of the Church, for that reason among other reasons, has prohibited the giving of Holy Communion and the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist, after admonition, in the grave violation of the moral law (Code of Canon Law, cann. 915; and 1184, § 1, 3ยบ).

Pope Benedict on "human ecology":
If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other (Caritas in veritate, no. 51).

One of the ironies of the present situation is that the person who experiences scandal at the gravely sinful public actions of a fellow Catholic is accused of a lack of charity and of causing division within the unity of the Church...What causes wonderment in such a society is the fact that someone fails to observe political correctness and, thereby, seems to be disruptive of the so-called peace of society. Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth with love. The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life. Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities.

At the root of the confusion regarding the moral law is a form of distorted moral reasoning called proportionalism or consequentialism. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II addressed the error of proportionalist moral thinking in his Encyclical Letter Splendor veritatis. At root, the error places all moral issues on the same level, failing to distinguish between intrinsically evil acts, that is, acts which are always and everywhere wrong, and acts which may or may not be wrong, depending on the objective conditions required for the act to be morally right. It is also given to the confusion of ends and means, judging the goodness of an act by the end it achieves, without reference to the immorality of the means used to achieve the end.

According to the proportionalist way of thinking, procured abortion, which is always and everywhere wrong, is placed on the same plane with acts of war which may or may not be wrong...According to the proportionalist way of thinking, each of us has the right to choose what are the most important moral issues. Ultimately, it lacks any relationship to the objective truth of actions. It fails to realize that unless the fundamental moral goods are safeguarded, that is, human life and the sanctuary of marriage, other moral issues, while having an importance, lose their ultimate meaning. In such a way of thinking, for instance, one can accept a program of universal health care, even if it includes the compulsory provision of abortion and the rationing of health care to the benefit of those considered to be "productive," while providing for the hastening of death for the aged, the weak and those with special needs, that is, for those considered to be "unproductive," according to the reasoning of whoever has political power.

Whatever the good intention of using the image of a seamless garment to talk about the moral issues regarding human life, it has become identified with the proportionalist way of thinking in which, for example, acts of war, the use of the death penalty, procured abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and euthanasia are viewed as matters of equal moral weight. In other words, the image covers over the distinction between intrinsically evil acts and acts which are not evil in themselves but can become evil, if unjustly taken. The moral questions pertaining to the safeguarding and fostering of human life are all related to one another but they are not of the same weight. To use the image of the garment, they are not all of the same cloth. The use of the metaphor of the seamless garment, while it may have been intended to promote the culture of life, has, in fact, been used to justify the acceptance of acts essentially contrary to a culture of life for the sake of attaining some seeming good. Whatever good intention those who have developed the "seamless garment" argument may have had, it falsely places intrinsically evil acts, that is, acts which are always and everywhere morally wrong, on the same plane with acts which, according to prudent judgment, may not sufficiently safeguard human life.

Sometimes, we hear that we as Christians or as apostles of the Gospel of Life must be careful to get along in society, not to separate ourselves or to appear to be counter-cultural. One wonders how such language squares with the essence of the Gospel, that is, to be "a sign of contradiction" (cf. Lk 2:34). At the same time, one cannot help but think of what Christians getting along and being politically correct has meant in other nations whose leaders had embraced an agenda of death and the totalitarianism which advanced it.

When insistence on the elimination of legalized abortion in our nation is dismissed as a kind of "single-issue" approach, as the obsession of the "religious right," which fails to take account of a whole gamut of moral issues, then we have lost the sense of the horror of destroying a human life in the womb. In a similar way, when the denial of nutrition and hydration to the gravely ill is seen as a "single issue," then we have lost a sense of the horror of failing to give basic care to a brother or sister who has grown weak for whatever reason. It is not a question of a single issue but of what is fundamental to life itself and to society.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Mercy Killing, Plain and Simple

Today, Alex Schadenberg sent out a link to an online poll on euthanasia, asking his readers to answer the question with a firm NO.

I clicked the link, thinking that these polls probably have no effect upon anything whatsoever, read the question, hit NO, then scrolled down to the see results thus far. I was shocked.

Here is the question:

Should doctors be allowed to hasten the deaths of terminally ill patients?.It's a situation too agonizing to contemplate — a child dying and in pain. Now a small but provocative study suggests that doctors may be giving fatal morphine doses to a few children dying of cancer, to end their suffering at their parents' request.
- MSNBC on newsvine.com

And the results 33.8% voted NO, 2.5% voted DON't KNOW, and 63.7% voted YES.

I was shocked. This is the first poll that I have read where the overwhelming majority voted for euthanasia.

But you know the question is very slanted. It is written in such a way as to make you think that the compassionate response is to "morphine" the patient to death. As Herm Wills, president of Campaign Life Coalition here in Nova Scotia, says: "Are we now in the eleventh hour? More and more the polls are softening on euthanasia. The media is framing the debate and the mindset of fellow citizens."
What the question doesn't say is that this is giving control over life and death to a person, and the last time I checked, people are notoriously bad when it comes to those types of issues. They simply cannot be trusted.

Isn't this why Hippocrates wrote the Hippocratic Oath?

I swear by Apollo the Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods, and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art–if they desire to learn it–without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken the oath according to medical law, but to no one else.

I will apply dietic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep myself holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
- Wikipedia

This is what doctors used to swear when they became doctors; I have heard that certain parts have been removed from the text now (the bit about abortion for instance) and I think there are some schools where this oath is not even part of the graduation ceremony at all.

Without such an oath, what do we have to hold doctors to be men of integrity? What reference do they adhere to when making life and death decisions - their own conscience? formed by medical schools filled with instructors who have unformed consciences as well?

We have lost all reason in this debate. It began with abortion and the right-to-lifers knew what they were saying when they predicted that it would be a slippery slope to euthanasia. We have been, over the years, guided by the emotions of the masses into thinking that euthanasia, mercy killing, assisted suicide are all okay. We have really lost the sense of duty about protecting life at all costs. It has been cheapened to this point, where we deem it more merciful to kill dying children rather than show them true mercy by making their last days filled with care and love.