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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is the abortion debate steering off course?

The latest abortion-related issue is concerning Catholic hospitals. The debate on the parliamentary floor is on decriminalizing abortion completely, and extending abortion beyond 24 months upon the say-so of two doctors. Pretty soon the debate will likely be about partial-birth abortion. Nothing new here as this has happened or is still happening elsewhere. No one even blinks an eye anymore that a US presidential candidate voted against protecting newborn infants who survive an abortion. Abortion has become so mainstream that it is a wonder how its advocates are not even looking at the overwhelming evidence of abortion's devastating consequences to women, families and society at large.

What bugs me is that all these things are peripheral to the real problem: that deliberate abortion is wrong. The Catholic hospitals issue is already in itself a concession to a society that has legalized abortion. No society that legalizes abortion has ever really confronted the fact that abortion is unjust. Nor has it been seriously considered that other options are far more ideal, such as providing sufficient state support for women to see the pregnancy through to keep the child or have the child adopted. Women deserve better than abortions, but governments refuse to investigate further.

As it stands, with so many people getting it wrong on abortion, including Catholics, the job of the Church is to go on the offense: educating people. And this is a truly critical task. For we can now see far too many Catholics, including lawmakers, repeat the anti-Catholic lines about Church control. They're not even aware that their very dissent proves that the Church CANNOT exercise the draconian control that they are protesting. Ironically, the current debate is actually about how the State threatens to wield such dictatorial authority over Catholic doctors and nurses, who view abortion as murder, but will be compelled to be complicit to murder through referrals.

Update: Found this article with some data on late term abortions for psychosocial, no health-related reasons. This supports a separate thesis of mine, that people are not paying enough attention to where this is all going. Yesterday, restricted abortions. Today, if Morand has her way, unrestricted abortions, tomorrow, partial birth abortions?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Age Polls: Should Catholic hospitals be forced to comply with the new abortion laws?

I'm not sure what new abortion laws they speak of here, since the Abortion Law Reform bill has not yet been legislated. It has passed the Lower House, but must still go through the Upper House in a few weeks.

In any case, the poll as it stands now is a big "Yes", obviously from non-Catholics who find nothing wrong with the State dictating over the doctrines of the Church while at other times (when it suits them) crying "separation of Church and State". Please visit the poll and make your views count. Polls are a dime a dozen, but in this day and age, many people actually let polls shape their principles. Tragic, I know..

Update: this abortion law is about forcing hospitals to refer women seeking abortion to abortion providers. Our Archbishop has spoken out against this. We refer to this as cooperating with evil, which in itself is a grave and objective evil, given the nature of what is at stake (murder). The government would use the term "collusion" or "aiding and abetting" in other situations, but obviously not when it is an abortion.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stop the Abortion Law Reform Bill

Someone from the university has kindly prepared several PDF documents containing contact information about specific members of parliament and the legislative council, as well as letters urging them to oppose the Abortion Law Reform Bill here in Victoria. It is probably preferred that the letters are given a personal touch, but note that whatever is written must be given in charity and respect. These people are not enemies: they are public servants whom we should pray for and assist in their decision-making. Our role is not berate them, but to voice our concerns to them, in the hope that we will influence their understanding. Marcin (who prepared these documents) sends along this explanation for the various documents in the zip file linked to above:

  1. find out what your Legislative Council Region is by seeing "list_of_council_members-3.pdf" (Clayton is in the SouthEastern Region)
  2. open the PDF for your Council Region (western, northern, etc.) and fill out the forms with your Name and Address up the top and Name down the bottom (copy and paste will do the trick) for all FIVE members.
  3. find out who's your Assembly MP by seeing "assembly_members-4.pdf" and filling out and printing ONE of the letters in that PDF
  4. sign and send them (each in separate envelope with name of MP on the front) to Parliament House, East Melbourne, Vic 3002
  5. Or type up your own letters. Or, even better, hand write them. Or even better visit an MP or two in person.

This fight isn't about condemning women who obtain abortions. It's about saving lives: the mother's, the father's and the baby's.

Sydney lab cleared to clone human embryos

It did not involve the creation of a human life. "We are not creating an embryo for reproductive purposes," Dr Stojanov said.

-- The Age (online), 17 September 2008

So... creating an embryo does not involve the creation of human life? And these guys are IVF professionals? What's their batting average then??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One body

First reading today from Corinthians 12,12-14.27-31.

 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And came a Jehovah's witness a-knocking at my door

.. and fool that I was, there I stood chatting with him at the doorway, leaving my work undone. :-) It was a pleasant enough chat, though it took almost an hour, it seems, and plans to bring the family to a barbecue were abandoned. I should have held my tongue, but I cannot do so when told that there is no immortal soul, that there is no eternal punishment, that the kingdom of God on earth started less than a century ago. Oh and the 144,000 in Revelations is taken literally, but not Christ's words about eternal punishment. Hmm... And my Evangelical wife stayed wisely indoors. But I didn't have the heart to hurry the man along. He was old enough to be my father, and kindly, and obviously sincere, if a bit inconsistent in exegesis.

The Glory of the Cross

Today we celebrated a feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Glory to God in the highest whose mercy and kindness was graciously given to us not only in spite of but through death and horror. As the poisonous serpents were foiled by the serpent raised up on a standard, so was the torturous horror of crucifixion foiled by the Savior crucified. O happy cross, too, that foiled thereby the wages of sin through the innocent Lamb who took the penalty of sin unto his own flesh!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Authority and Reason

Today's Gospel reading (Luke 4:31-37) relates the amazement of the Lord's audience at his authority to teach and command. He taught at the synagogue with authority, and he commanded the unclean spirit to depart the man it was afflicting. Behind all this is the divine power which is God's alone; I think divinity is the basis for authority. Perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to consider that it is also the basis for reason, for what can be rational if it is not based on unassailable, perfect, eternal (and thus divine) Truth? What can be logical if it is not based on objective and true premises?

The commentary cited by DailyGospel.org from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) is worth repeating here:

  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI]
Lenten sermons 1981
"What is there about his word?"

The moment that the Bible calls «the beginning» points us to the One who had the power to create what is and to say: «Let there be...!» and it was (Gen 1,1-3)... That phrase «Let there be..!» did not bring mindless chaos into existence. The more we get to understand the universe, the more we discover a rationality in it whose ways, interpenetrated by thought, amaze us. Through them we find again that creator Spirit to whom we, too, owe our reason. Albert Einstein wrote that the laws of nature: «Manifest so superior a reason that all other rationality of human thought and will seem, by comparison, to be an absolutely insignificant reflection of it.»

We note that the infinitely great universe of stars is ruled by the power of Reason [Logos]. But we learn even more concerning this from the infinitely small, the cell, the fundamental elements of living things. There, too, we discover a rationality that astonishes us, so that we have to say with Saint Bonaventure: «Anyone who cannot see this is blind. Anyone who cannot hear it is deaf. And anyone who does not start praying and praising the Creator Spirit at this point, is dumb»...

Through creation's rationality, God himself confronts us. Physics, biology, all the sciences generally, have offered us an account of the new and unheard of creation. Such great, new images help us to know the Creator's face. They remind us, yes, that in the beginning, and in the depth of every being, stands the Creator Spirit. The world has not issued forth from darkness and absurdity. It resonates intelligence, freedom, the beauty that is love. Seeing all this gives us the courage that makes living possible and makes us able to take up confidently on our shoulders the adventure of life.