Universalis, About this blog

Saturday, August 15, 2009

One small step for euthanasia in Western Australia..

.. can be the start of a long trek downhill or off a cliff. A quadraplegic who laments "a living hell" of a life was allowed by the Supreme Court to starve himself to death. I have many objections about this, not least of which is that a judicial or legislative ruling can be easily seen -- or actively promoted -- as a moral statement. It also turns life on its head, with death per se becoming preferred over life, even an extremely difficult one. But this is not a case of a dying man refusing extraordinary care. Not that I have any idea how difficult his life is, but I can imagine how other quadraplegics might see themselves, or may be seen by others, in the light of this ruling. The cynical view of physical disability can be very catching, or can be actively promoted. After all, if there is nothing inherently wrong with suicide for a man who sees life as "a living hell", then there is nothing inherently wrong with terminating the life of anyone in that situation. It becomes, purely, a matter of choice. But the question of who makes such choices is very hard to pin down. How often are one's choices made for them by someone else? The state may take children away from their parents. The state may incarcerate those it considers too dangerous to society. Banks may repossess someone's assets. Family members may choose to pull the plug. Parents may choose to terminate their own child anytime during the pregnancy. If deliberately ending a life is no longer inherently wrong, then the safeguards against unjustly doing so are on wobbly foundations indeed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For Deveny: Love, not Tolerance

Amazing that a woman would write this:

 .. let us use our powers for good and brainwash our children with tolerance, acceptance, rational thought and unconditional love ..

and months later, write this:

 Time for Communion, when bread and wine is turned into the actual flesh and blood of Christ by the priest. Because he's special. They call it transubstantiation; I call it bullshit." ..
When it was my turn the priest picked up a wafer and said: "The body of Christ." The expected response is "Amen". Instead, I said: "I have three children and have never been married. I've used contraception, had an abortion, use the Lord's name in vain, think transubstantiation is a crock and I'm an atheist. And I'm not sorry."
Actually, I didn't say that. I wanted to, but I felt sorry for the priest.

Her notion of tolerance, acceptance and unconditional love apparently does not extend to religious people, especially Catholics. Yes, she just insulted every believing Catholic for believing transubstantiation. Not to mention the ones who've believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist for the last 2000 years. She also took Communion in contempt for it. Amazing what pride can do, such as convincing Ms. Deveny that she and some other "brights" alone can exercise rational thought, unlike the billions of Christians from 2000 years (and still going), numbering numerous theologians, philosophers, scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, engineers and fairly intelligent people from all walks of life. Pride has also lulled her into thinking that she has a right to hurl insults at others with impunity. Ironically, instead of rational discourse, her writing resembles more the reckless, malicious bravado of a stage heckler. That and the fact that she gets so much wrong about the Catholic faith that she obviously did not bother to do the homework about her subject.

I invite all Christians to take the best course of action possible: pray for Ms. Deveny and her children, that she may yet be converted back to God, that she may learn what love truly is, and live it.

The Archbishop is indeed human

But the latest news splattered around about uncharitable words allegedly uttered are incredible sad. I consider them "alleged" until I see the actual court documents, but that he apologized would mean that something uncharitable was uttered. Not that it was unthinkable; bishops are no more immune to sin than any of us. No one claims perfection in this life: the sacrament of Confession is a recourse to all Catholics, bishops included. At the beginning of every Mass, we all (priest included) admit to our sinfulness and appeal to God's mercy. The worst thing that could be happening now is that all the heat is fanned against the words of the archbishop, whereas they should keep their eyes on the ball: preventing future abuse, healing victims, and justice for all. If the current model is flawed, then something better is called for.

I wouldn't know what that is, though.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Did Government Intervention Do More Harm than Good?

Read this and, truly, weep. How can well-meaning government actions now be blamed for waywardness among our youth? When those actions contradict common sense, perhaps. Not to say that the alleged would-be terrorist is without guilt, but that giving a 17-year-old the free pass to override his family's authority was probably not a good idea.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Religious freedom versus equal opportinity

There shouldn't be a conflict, but people seem to be whipping it up. Hugh de Kretser states his case for equal opportunity at the expense of religious freedom to some degree, stating good intentions but missing the point, I think. There is a misunderstanding of what religion is, with secular mindsets looking at it as a private matter. Being spiritual or faith matters, they may well contend that they should not affect the real world. But that is not what religions is to Catholics. Faith is not faith if action does not match it. Religion is more than good words: it is about good deeds. When we send our kids to Catholic schools, not only should they hear about the Catholic faith, they should also see it in the community they are in. If we will hire as members of the community people whose lives contradict the faith we are imparting, how shall we explain that to our children? Will we stigmatize the employee and declare to our kids "oh he's living in sin" in order to remain honest while affirming our convictions? Or shall we bury our heads in the sand and let our kids interpret that as ambivalence about what is right and what is wrong? Removing the exemptions for hiring in religious communities puts us in an impossible situation. We shall either end up stigmatizing other- or non-believing employees or compromising the religious education of our children. Secularists will not understand, but religious education is at the core of the education we want for our kids.

It is reasonable to allow discriminatory hiring on religious grounds, just as it would be in a for-profit organization to do the same in order to protect its interests. In a recent scandal, a TV network took out a popular media personality because a stunt he pulled on-air would compromise the family-friendly perception of one of their most popular shows. How is this reasonable and that of religious groups unreasonable? The only difference is that their interests are distinct: one is sbout profit while the other is about eternal happiness. Perhaps it isn't discriminatory hiring that bugs the secular-minded, but religion itself.