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Why Lutherans Who Support “Abortion Rights” and Condone the Practice of Abortion Should Refrain from Holy Communion

February 18th, 2013 1 comment

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OK, so this is an article specifically written about Roman Catholic politicians and/or laity, but in my opinion, this is equally as true for us Lutherans. This an interview with Cardinal Burke, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church’s highest ecclesiastical judicial body, it’s “Supreme Court,” if you will.

The 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade has just passed which legalised abortion in America under the auspices of “health care”. Could you comment on the devastation and misery which this has brought to thousands of women and also why abortion is a crime which should never be decriminalised?

The celebration of the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade underlines for the United States of America the incalculable harm which has been done by the legalization of abortion. Abortion has nothing to do with healthcare, the infant in the womb is not a disease but a gift of new human life. Over 50 million lives have been taken since the handing down of Roe vs. Wade, a decision which practically permits the taking of the life of the infant in the womb up to the very moment of birth. It is not possible to comprehend all of the devastation worked by procured abortion on demand during these past forty years. There is, first of all, the devastation of the loss of innocent and defenceless human life in such staggering numbers. At the same time, there is the tremendous suffering of the women who have undergone an abortion and who have come to understand that they have violently taken a new human life conceived in their wombs. To commit abortion is contrary to the deepest being of a woman. The taking of an innocent and defenceless human life can never be right, can never be justified. Therefore, to decriminalize abortion is a contradiction of the most fundamental principle of the legal system, the principle that human life is to be safeguarded and defended at all times. It is clear that, in the United States of America, the decriminalization of abortion has resulted in millions of deaths, in the loss of respect for woman and in the ever greater violence which sadly marks American society today.

The tragic death of Savita Halappanavar has triggered a frenzy amongst abortion activists in a similar way to which deception and lies were used in the case of Norma Jean McCorvey’s pregnancy in 1973. What lessons can the Irish government learn from the McCorvey case to prevent the Savita Case becoming Ireland’s Roe vs Wade?

The death of Savita Halappanavar is indeed tragic. It is, however, contrary to right reason to hold that an innocent and defenceless human life can be justifiably destroyed in order to save the life of the mother. The Irish people, and especially the Irish government, should be very alert to the kind of argumentation which will be used by the secular media and by secular ideologues, in general, claiming that the destruction of the new human life in her womb could have saved the life of Savita Halappanavar and, therefore, would have been justified. Such an argument is absurd in itself. Even though, if the reports are correct, Savita Halappanavar requested an abortion, her request would not have made it right for the law to permit such an act which is always and everywhere wrong.

Catholic bishops have been criticised for saying that abortion introduces a “culture of death”, also some politicians have complained that Pro Life groups have sent them information including images detailing the horror of abortion. They appeal for what they call a “civilised” and calm debate. Is there anything civilised about abortion and does the use of graphic imagery help create awareness of the gravity of the evil which occurs when an abortion is committed?

With regard to the complaint of some about the language of “culture of death,” and also about certain images which portray the horror of abortion, one must observe that we have a habit in society today to use language which helps us to avoid the reality about which we are speaking. Blessed John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter The Gospel of Life, insisted that such evils as abortion and euthanasia must be called by their proper names and not by euphemisms which tend to keep from our consciousness the objective reality of the evil involved (cf. no. 58). Therefore, the use of the language of “culture of death,” is not only accurate, but it is also most helpful, for it draws our attention to the pervasive effect of abortion on demand on society in general. In other words, the practice of abortion on demand leads to multiple forms of violence in the family and also against our fellow citizens who have grown weak, either under advanced years or because of special needs which they have or because of a grave illness.

With regard to the use of graphic images, in the context of the plea for a civilized debate with regard to abortion, certainly one must be careful not to use graphic images for the sake of being graphic. On the other hand, our fellow citizens should know what an abortion actually is. Images of the act of abortion or the results of abortion, when carefully presented to the public, can help the public, in general, to recognize the grave evil which besets us and to take appropriate action.

What is the duty of a Catholic politician when faced with this type of legislation and can there ever be a situation where he may vote for abortion even if he believes it to be restricted?

The duty of a Catholic politician when he is faced with anti-life or anti-family legislation is to support all of those measures which will most reduce the evils which attack human life and the integrity of marriage. Sometimes it is not possible to eliminate at once completely the evil. The Catholic politician cannot vote for any legislation which would confirm the evil or even advance it, but, at the same time, if there is some legislation which will reduce the practice of the evil, he would be justified in supporting that legislation, as long as he also acknowledges the intrinsic evil of the practice involved and the need for his constituency to take appropriate action to eliminate the practice altogether.

It is clear from Canon 915 that abortion is a mortal sin and a collaboration with evil, can those who claim to be Catholic vote for it and remain full members of the Church? Also what is the role of the local bishop with regard to this matter?

With regard to Canon 915, it states that those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to receive Holy Communion. There can be no question that the practice of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins and therefore once a Catholic politician has been admonished that he should not come forward to receive Holy Communion, as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion. In my own experience, when I have informed Catholic politicians who were supporting anti-life or anti-family legislation not to approach to receive Holy Communion, they have understood and have followed the discipline of the Church as it is set forth in Canon 915.

Depending on the situation, the Diocesan Bishop may be involved directly in admonishing the politician, but it is also within the pastoral care of the parish priest to admonish anyone in his congregation who is persisting obstinately in manifest grave sin not to approach to receive Holy Communion. The local Bishop should teach clearly in the matter and also encourage his priests to make sure that the Church’s discipline is observed, in order to avoid the grave sin of sacrilege on the part of the Catholic politician who approaches to receive Holy Communion when he is persisting obstinately in grave moral evil, and to prevent the scandal which is caused when such individuals receive Holy Communion, because their reception of Holy Communion gives the impression that the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is not firm.

In your book, Divine Love Made Flesh, you explain that Catholics who support abortion legislation should refrain from receiving Holy Communion not only because of the public scandal but also out of love for Our Lord. Could you explain?

In response to the last question, surely the consideration of public scandal must be in the mind of those who approach to receive Holy Communion unworthily. However, at a much deeper level of faith and of personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, a person obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin will refrain from approaching to receive Holy Communion because of his love of our Lord and his sorrow for the grave sin which he is commiting against our Lord and His Holy Church. In fact, it is the recognition of the grave offense against the Lord which will most inspire a conversion of heart in the Catholic politician who publicly supports anti-life or anti-family legislation. One recalls here the words of Saint Paul in chapter 11 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, in which he addressed a situation of the sacrilegious receiving of Holy Communion among the faithful at Corinth, Saint Paul wrote that the person who receives Holy Communion unworthily sins against the Lord and therefore brings about his own condemnation. The passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians reads: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

Categories: Sanctity of Life

So What if Abortion Ends a Human Life? Rare Candor from the Culture of Death

February 1st, 2013 1 comment

end the culture of death

 

Great blog post by Dr. Albert Mohler:

Is an unborn baby “a life worth sacrificing?” The question is horrifying, but the argument was all too real. In a recent article, Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com conceded what the pro-life movement has contended all along — that from the moment of conception the unborn child is undeniably a human life. And yet, Williams argues that this unborn human life must be terminated if a woman desires an abortion. The child is a life, but, in her grotesque view, “a life worth sacrificing.”

The abortion rights movement has always had a problem with language. The average American still hears the world “abortion” with some degree of moral revulsion. Activists did not need sophisticated marketing analysis to understand that much. Early on, the abortion rights movement shifted its public argument to the language of choice — a woman’s “right to choose.”

But to choose what? No legal revolution was necessary in order for a woman to have the right to carry her unborn child to birth. What was demanded was the right to choose to kill the unborn child. This is the moral reality that was clouded and camouflaged by the “pro-choice” language.

In recent weeks leaders of Planned Parenthood disclosed that they are moving away from the pro-choice language because it just isn’t working. Mary Elizabeth Williams agrees, saying that the change is “long overdue.” She argues that the pro-abortion movement has fallen prey to the “sneaky, dirty tricks” of the pro-life movement — a movement she says has controlled the life issue for too long.

Then, in chilling candor, Williams proceeds to affirm that every single unborn child is a human life. But, her argument is not pro-life. Far from it.

In her words:

“When we on the pro-choice side get cagey around the life question, it makes us illogically contradictory. I have friends who have referred to their abortions in terms of “scraping out a bunch of cells” and then a few years later were exultant over the pregnancies that they unhesitatingly described in terms of “the baby” and “this kid.” I know women who have been relieved at their abortions and grieved over their miscarriages. Why can’t we agree that how they felt about their pregnancies was vastly different, but that it’s pretty silly to pretend that what was growing inside of them wasn’t the same? Fetuses aren’t selective like that. They don’t qualify as human life only if they’re intended to be born.”

Williams skewers the “pro-choice” evasion. The fetus is a human life, she asserts — every fetus, wanted or unwanted by its mother, planned or unplanned as a pregnancy. She even affirms that life begins at conception. But, she quickly argues, the fact that the unborn child is a human life doesn’t mean that it should not be aborted.

She explains:

“Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”

So the mother and the child are both fully human, fully alive, and fully recognized as human life. But the mother can abort that human life within her for any reason or for no stated reason at all. Williams argues that the mother is an autonomous agent, whereas the unborn child is not.

In premeditated candor Mary Elizabeth Williams declares that the unborn child is a human life, but not a human life worthy of respect or protection. As Williams insists, “I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life.”

She candidly calls the unborn child a human life, and then ends her argument with this —  ”a life worth sacrificing.”

The Culture of Death is rarely so candid, but this is the undisguised logic behind the case for abortion rights. The unborn human baby is just “a life worth sacrificing.”

Read it and weep.


I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/albertmohler

Mary Elizabeth Williams, “So What if Abortion Ends Life?” Salon.com, Wednesday, January 23, 2013. http://www.salon.com/2013/01/23/so_what_if_abortion_ends_life/

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Obama Administration’s Revision of Controversial Birth Control Provisions: Good News for Churches?

February 1st, 2013 1 comment

President Obama Contraceptive Coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2013
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Administration issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on recommended preventive services policy

The Obama administration today issued proposed rules for public comment regarding contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing under the health care law. The proposed rules provide women with coverage for preventive care that includes contraceptive services with no co-pays, while also respecting the concerns of some religious organizations.

Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reflects public feedback received through the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in March 2012.  In addition, these proposed rules are open for public comment through April 8, 2013.

“Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women’s organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals.”

The proposed rules lay out how non-profit religious organizations, such as non-profit religious hospitals or institutions of higher education, that object to contraception on religious grounds can receive an accommodation that provides their enrollees separate contraceptive coverage, and with no co-pays, but at no cost to the religious organization.

With respect to insured plans, including student health plans, these religious organizations would provide notice to their insurer.  The insurer would then notify enrollees that it is providing them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.

With respect to self-insured plans, as well as student health plans, these religious organizations would provide notice to their third party administrator.  In turn, the third party administrator would work with an insurer to arrange no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.

Insurers and third party administrators would work to ensure a seamless enrollment process. The proposed rules lay out how the costs of both the insurer and the third party administrator would be covered, without any charge to either the religious organization or the enrollees.

Additionally, the proposed rules simplify and clarify the definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement.  These employers, primarily houses of worship, can exclude contraception coverage from their health plans for their employees.

The proposed rules are available here: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx

A fact sheet on today’s proposed rules is available here:
http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/factsheets/womens-preven-02012013.html

For more information on women’s preventive services and the Affordable Care Act, visit:http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/08/womensprevention08012011a.html

NOTE: From the Fact Sheet:

Exemption for Religious Employers

Group health plans of “religious employers” are exempted from having to provide contraceptive coverage, if they have religious objections to contraception.

Today’s NPRM would simplify the existing definition of a “religious employer” as it relates to contraceptive coverage.

The NPRM would eliminate criteria that a religious employer:

  1. have the inculcation of religious values as its purpose;
  2. primarily employ persons who share its religious tenets; and
  3. primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets.

The simple definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption would follow a section of the Internal Revenue Code, and would primarily include churches, other houses of worship, and their affiliated organizations, as defined by Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii)

This proposed change is intended to clarify that a house of worship would not be excluded from the exemption because, for example, it provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths.  The Departments believe that this proposal would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption beyond that which was intended in the 2012 final rules.

 

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Bird, Turtle and Fish Eggs Have More Protection in the USA Than Unborn Human Beings

January 24th, 2013 6 comments

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Categories: Sanctity of Life

Why Not Infanticide?

February 29th, 2012 14 comments

For a number of years, when debating abortion, I’ve challenged those who defend the mother’s right to choose to end her unborn child’s life to tell me why the mother should not have the right to kill her newborn? After all, a newborn is no more able to sustain his/her own life than the unborn child is….so why not?

Well, apparently, a group of bioethicists have reached the conclusion that infanticide should be an option. Their conclusions have been published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

You can read more about this here.

Abstract
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

As the authors note, an examination of 18 European registries found that between 2005 and 2009 only 64% of Down’s syndrome cases were diagnosed through prenatal testing, leaving about 1,700 infants to be born with the condition. Since the mothers would have likely killed the child in utero, why should we not permit them to kill the child afterthe birth?

Sadly, this is not a reductio ad absurdum intended to show the illogic of abortion but a serious philosophical argument made in defense of infanticide: “. . . we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

This article—which, it should be noted, was published in a respected journal—shows that once we discard the Christian principle of inherent dignity of humans, anything we decide to do to an infant becomes “ethically permissible.”

HT: Gospel Coalition

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Response to President Obama

February 15th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Killing Babies is Awesome! (Just Don’t Tell Anyone, Could be An Uncomfortable Conversation)

August 17th, 2011 11 comments

Read this chilling article in the NYT about a couple who decided they really didn’t want one of the two babies the woman was pregnant with. Chilling stuff. Now, here’s my challenge to all us: Do we hear enough in our congregations warnings from pulpits about using reproduction technologies that result in multiple pregnancies and how often there results the death of children? Not using a “fertilized egg” means a baby dies, you don’t even have to go as far as this couple did.

Here’s the link to the article and here’s a snippet from the article:

Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” she told me, referring to the reduction. She and her husband worked out this moral calculation on their own, and they intend to never tell anyone about it. Jenny is certain that no one, not even her closest friends, would understand, and she doesn’t want to be the object of their curiosity or feel the sting of their judgment. This secrecy is common among women undergoing reduction to a singleton. Doctors who perform the procedure, aware of the stigma, tell patients to be cautious about revealing their decision. (All but one of the patients I spoke with insisted on anonymity.) Some patients are so afraid of being treated with disdain that they withhold this information from the obstetrician who will deliver their child.

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Bunnies in a Blender

March 10th, 2011 4 comments

Categories: Sanctity of Life

“My One Pound Boys Could Fit in the Palm of My Hands” — A Mother’s Witness Against Abortion

October 25th, 2010 2 comments

A friend of mine, Deaconess Kim Schave, shared powerful words recently on a discussion forum where the topic of abortion had come up. She had the courage to speak up, and out, in defense of the unborn and then shared her own, agonizingly painful, but beautifully powerful, account of her twin sons, born prematurely. She gave me permission to share her comments here. The photo is a picture of the grave of her two sons.

“For anyone who is interested, allow me to share how I moved from being a pro-choice feminist to the woman I am today.

“I grew up outside the church, finally convinced my parents to begin attending an ALC church close to our home where my mother had attended as a kid. I was baptized and confirmed at the age of 18. My parents and I attended off and on until I graduated and left for Army basic training later that year. It was nice to know I was in the club if I happened to die, basically. I grew up somehow believing in God and being taught about Jesus on the occasion that I went to church with friends or a VBS at a local church. I remember one time deciding with a friend that we’d memorize the Lord’s Prayer together from the little Gideon Bible we acquired from somewhere. She wasn’t a church-goer either. Those were my only experiences with God as a kid.

“Both before and after my baptism I participated in helping friends make decisions to get abortions. At that age, the world is ending if you don’t solve your immediate problem . . . you certainly can’t see that this too, shall pass. My particular circle of friends at certain times didn’t have parents they felt they could trust or pastors to turn to for wise counsel. There was still actually shame in the 80’s for being known as sexually active, which isn’t exactly the case these days in most secular circles. Abortion was fine in my mind, what difference did it really make, it’s just a blob of tissue that gets vacuumed out in a procedure simpler than having your tonsils taken out, right? More power to any woman who wants to exercise her right to choose what’s best for her body.

“Fast forward about eight years to 1995 when I was blessed to be carrying the future left and right guards for The Ohio State University as my husband and I would so lovingly joke. It was totally out of the blue; twins do not run in either of our families. Twin boys were on the way, and my husband couldn’t be more proud as a dad. The big items were purchased, the nursery was ready, we hadn’t quite gotten to the point that we had showers scheduled, yet out of the blue at work one day I started feeling rather ill and subsequently lost a lot of fluid. I was 24 weeks’ into my pregnancy, we had known for only about 2 weeks we were expecting twins, and the dream all came crashing down in just one day. I met my doctor at Christ Hospital (I cherish this hospital name yet today), then was transferred by ambulance to the nearest research hospital for an emergency C-section . . . it was too late to stop labor. I found much comfort in the Biblical number of 7 on that July 7, 1995, day.

“The only recourse for a mother at that point is to beg and plead with God to save her children. I think I bargained in every way I could think of with him while I was still conscious on the operating room table. I offered to dedicate them both to His service if God would allow them to live (I’m guessing the readings at church that week must have been based on 1 Samuel and were fresh in my mind, I don’t know). In the end, He would not grant that (or so it seemed at the time).

“My one pound boys who could fit in the palm of our hands, named Joshua and Zachary, lived for one day. My husband has better recall than I do of all that happened in those 24 hours. I tried to get down to the NICU once and ended up throwing up all over; I never made it back to see them. Today I think it’s because God was protecting me from the memories I’d still have today of how fragile they must have looked hooked up to all the equipment. My perfectly formed little blessings each had 10 perfect little fingers, 10 perfect little toes, handsome little faces, quite a bit of hair, and were simply created perfect in every way. I wanted these little babies more than anything in the world, and for whatever reason, God said “no.” To say I was a little angry with Him would be an understatement! Our faithful pastor baptized the boys in my husband’s presence in their little incubators; I was not able to witness it, but I cling to the assurance of this gift nonetheless.

“When it was time to take them off life-support, they were lovingly swaddled and brought to us so we could say good-bye. I had to that point never seen anything in my life as precious as those little bundles. We had about an hour or so to check out their little fingers and toes before we knew it was time to say good-bye. There is a discoloration that takes place when the oxygen levels decrease as babies die, and that point had come. Their tiny little noses started bleeding, and I’ll never forget wiping them with the greatest amount of love a mother can muster. My favorite scene in the Mel Gibson “The Passion of the Christ” movie is when Mary is wiping up her son’s precious blood from the ground with a stark white piece of cloth. His blood was simply not fit to be left there. From the perspective of a mother, this just cannot be described, only experienced.

“In the weeks following, after my father-in-law took down the nursery before I came home, after the tombstone and burial plot were picked out, after the graveside service, after the negotiating of final hospital bills, my pastor kept me focused on a very loving Father who allowed His own Son die to for my sake. This Father had the power to stop the abuse His own son would endure, but He loved us so much that He chose not to stop it. Oh, that pastors in all church bodies, especially the ELCA as this pastor was, would recognize the gift of Life. He had lost his own child to cancer and knew all too well what we were experiencing. Losing a child certainly gives you perspective on how much our society has come to devalue life. Right around the time of my loss, the newspapers were awash in the story of Susan Smith drowning her children. The unfairness of it all . . . one kills her sons while I want nothing more than for mine to live.

“But wait, what about those years I didn’t really seem to care so much about the lives I had so easily told my friends not to concern themselves with? I had some tough lessons to learn in those months and years following my loss, but despite the harshness of those lessons, God was there at every turn with the assurance that only comes through His Word, and for every deceitful whisper I’d hear from Satan, God’s Word came through all the more loudly.

“THIS is why I’m an ardent defender of the unborn. For another person to have to go through what I did to learn this lesson, well, I just wouldn’t wish it on anyone. For generations of women, men and children who haven’t been taught how precious the gift of Life is, I dedicate my remaining years to try to help others come to understand it.

“In the end, God did allow my sons to live. They live eternally with a loving Jesus because of God’s gift of grace through the waters of Holy Baptism. My insistence on helping others view Life with the same regard that I have come to have is my way of dedicating their lives to something important, I suppose. They did not live nor die in vain if I am able to help one mother save the life of her own baby (and also save her from a lifetime of pain). This is why I’m not afraid to call abortion a sin. This is why I am pro-baby, pro-mother and pro-father (and ultimately, pro-God).”

Deaconess Kim Schave, M.A., C.P.A.

Categories: Sanctity of Life

How Many Lutherans Think In-Vitro Fertilization is Ethical?

October 5th, 2010 13 comments

I wonder how well we have done teaching people that using in-vitro fertilization to become pregnant is wrong because of the fact that the process necessarily results in “extra fertilized eggs” [read: human beings!], which ultimately are usually either frozen or destroyed. But, even if the process would not involve this result, it would still be wrong because it separates pregnancy from the act of the one man, one woman, one-flesh union. This story from ENI is interesting to read in light of this:

Catholic condemnation of Nobel Prize stirs Italian press reaction
ENI-10-0673

By Luigi Sandri
Rome, 5 October (ENI)–Vatican authorities have strongly criticised the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine to Briton Robert Edwards, stating that the scientist’s work on in-vitro fertilisation does not help in the defence of life.

At the same time, a number of editorials in the Italian press attacked the Roman Catholic position.

Vatican Radio carried an interview with Lucio Romano, president of the Science and Life Association, on 4 October in which he said, “The award was for a technique which reduces humanity to a product. The assignation of the Nobel Prize to Edwards ignores all ethical issues linked with IVF.”

Romano argued that Edwards did make a big impact on modern science because he extrapolated techniques used in the breeding of livestock and applied them to human beings.

“This absolutely does not represent progress for the human person,” said Romano, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Frederick II University in Naples, Italy.

The president of the Vatican-based International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, José María Simón Castellvi, said, “Although IVF has brought happiness to the many couples who have conceived through this process, it has done so at an enormous cost. That cost is the undermining of the dignity of the human person.”

Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, admitted there were some merits in Edwards’ discoveries but underlined that with artificial insemination from a person who is not a woman’s mate, motherhood and fatherhood are “trivialised”.

“There are scientists more worthy than Edwards of the Nobel Prize,” Carrasco told the Rome-based La Repubblica newspaper.

Still the same newspaper ran a comment saying that the Holy See is unable to accept “a scientist who dares investigate what for millenniums was an inscrutable mystery, the mystery of procreation”.

The editorial recalled that in October 1964, during the Second Vatican Council discussion on birth control, the Belgian Cardinal Leo Suenens, told more than 2000 bishops, “I pray, fathers: let us avoid a new process against Galileo.”

The Italian scientist Galileo Galilei, the “father” of the modern astronomy in the 17th century was condemned by the papacy because he stated that the sun, and not heaven, was the centre of the universe.

“The Vatican condemns the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Edwards,” declared the Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper, noting, “It was the time to award a Nobel Prize for Medicine to Edwards. It’s a prize richly deserved. Those who contest this choice are not taking into account that Edwards has made a fundamental contribution to the promotion of life.”

In giving the prize to Edwards, Sweden’s Nobel assembly in Stockholm said: “His contributions represent a milestone in the development of modern medicine.” It said, “His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity, including more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide.” [492 words]

© Ecumenical News International

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Abortion Survivor Speaks: Stunningly Powerful

September 28th, 2010 8 comments

I had not seen this before. Thanks for Pastor Messer for putting this on his blog site. Watch this, and then let me know what you think.

Categories: Sanctity of Life

When You Reject Natural Moral Law, Totalitarianism is the Inevitable Result

January 29th, 2010 2 comments

Archbishop Raymond Burke, in a homily given in Phoenix, Arizona:

In our culture, “the law more and more dares to force those with the sacred trust of caring for the health of their brothers and sisters to violate the most sacred tenets of their consciences, and to force individuals and institutions to cooperate in egregious violations of the natural moral law,” he said. “In such a society, the administration of justice is no longer a participation in the justice of God, an obedient response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but a façade cloaking our own selfishness and refusal to give our lives for the sake of the good of all our brothers and sisters. It is a society which is abandoning its Judeo-Christian foundations, the fundamental obedience to God’s law which safeguards the common good, and is embracing a totalitarianism which masks itself as the ‘hope,’ the ‘future,’ of our nation. Reason and faith teaches us that such a society can only produce violence and death and in the end destroy itself,” Archbishop Burke warned.

Read the entire story, as reported by CNA.

Imagine the Potential

January 24th, 2010 Comments off

Categories: Sanctity of Life

We shall not be weary. We shall not rest: On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Remarks offered by Rev. John Neuhaus at the 2008 National Right to Life Convention

We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest

Once again this year, the National Right to Life convention is partly a reunion of veterans from battles past and partly a youth rally of those recruited for the battles to come. And that is just what it should be. The pro-life movement that began in the twentieth century laid the foundation for the pro-life movement of the twenty-first century. We have been at this a long time, and we are just getting started. All that has been and all that will be is prelude to, and anticipation of, an indomitable hope. All that has been and all that will be is premised upon the promise of Our Lord’s return in glory when, as we read in the Book of Revelation, “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be sorrow nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And all things will be new.

That is the horizon of hope that, from generation to generation, sustains the great human rights cause of our time and all times—the cause of life. We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us.

We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.

Against the encroaching shadows of the culture of death, against forces commanding immense power and wealth, against the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child, against what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of the present time, this convention renews our resolve that we shall not weary, we shall not rest, until the culture of life is reflected in the rule of law and lived in the law of love.

It has been a long journey, and there are still miles and miles to go. Some say it started with the notorious Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 when, by what Justice Byron White called an act of raw judicial power, the Supreme Court wiped from the books of all fifty states every law protecting the unborn child. But it goes back long before that. Some say it started with the agitation for “liberalized abortion law” in the 1960s when the novel doctrine was proposed that a woman cannot be fulfilled unless she has the right to destroy her child. But it goes back long before that. It goes back to the movements for eugenics and racial and ideological cleansing of the last century.

Whether led by enlightened liberals, such as Margaret Sanger, or brutal totalitarians, whose names live in infamy, the doctrine and the practice was that some people stood in the way of progress and were therefore non-persons, living, as it was said, “lives unworthy of life.” But it goes back even before that. It goes back to the institution of slavery in which human beings were declared to be chattel property to be bought and sold and used and discarded at the whim of their masters. It goes way on back.

As Pope John Paul the Great wrote in his historic message Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) the culture of death goes all the way back to that fateful afternoon when Cain struck down his brother Abel, and the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And Cain answered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said to Cain, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.” The voice of the blood of brothers and sisters beyond numbering cry out from the slave ships and battlegrounds and concentration camps and torture chambers of the past and the present. The voice of the blood of the innocents cries out from the abortuaries and sophisticated biotech laboratories of this beloved country today. Contending for the culture of life has been a very long journey, and there are still miles and miles to go.

The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed. I expect many of us here, perhaps most of us here, can remember when we were first encountered by the idea. For me, it was in the 1960s when I was pastor of a very poor, very black, inner city parish in Brooklyn, New York. I had read that week an article by Ashley Montagu of Princeton University on what he called “A Life Worth Living.” He listed the qualifications for a life worth living: good health, a stable family, economic security, educational opportunity, the prospect of a satisfying career to realize the fullness of one’s potential. These were among the measures of what was called “a life worth living.”

And I remember vividly, as though it were yesterday, looking out the next Sunday morning at the congregation of St. John the Evangelist and seeing all those older faces creased by hardship endured and injustice afflicted, and yet radiating hope undimmed and love unconquered. And I saw that day the younger faces of children deprived of most, if not all, of those qualifications on Prof. Montagu’s list. And it struck me then, like a bolt of lightning, a bolt of lightning that illuminated our moral and cultural moment, that Prof. Montagu and those of like mind believed that the people of St. John the Evangelist—people whom I knew and had come to love as people of faith and kindness and endurance and, by the grace of God, hope unvanquished—it struck me then that, by the criteria of the privileged and enlightened, none of these my people had a life worth living. In that moment, I knew that a great evil was afoot. The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed.

In that moment, I knew that I had been recruited to the cause of the culture of life. To be recruited to the cause of the culture of life is to be recruited for the duration; and there is no end in sight, except to the eyes of faith.

Perhaps you, too, can specify such a moment when you knew you were recruited. At that moment you could have said, “Yes, it’s terrible that in this country alone 4,000 innocent children are killed every day, but then so many terrible things are happening in the world. Am I my infant brother’s keeper? Am I my infant sister’s keeper?” You could have said that, but you didn’t. You could have said, “Yes, the nation that I love is betraying its founding principles—that every human being is endowed by God with inalienable rights, including, and most foundationally, the right to life. But,” you could have said, “the Supreme Court has spoken and its word is the law of the land. What can I do about it?” You could have said that, but you didn’t. That horror, that betrayal, would not let you go. You knew, you knew there and then, that you were recruited to contend for the culture of life, and that you were recruited for the duration.

The contention between the culture of life and the culture of death is not a battle of our own choosing. We are not the ones who imposed upon the nation the lethal logic that human beings have no rights we are bound to respect if they are too small, too weak, too dependent, too burdensome. That lethal logic, backed by the force of law, was imposed by an arrogant elite that for almost forty years has been telling us to get over it, to get used to it.

But “We the People,” who are the political sovereign in this constitutional democracy, have not gotten over it, we have not gotten used to it, and we will never, we will never ever, agree that the culture of death is the unchangeable law of the land.

“We the People” have not and will not ratify the lethal logic of Roe v. Wade. That notorious decision of 1973 is the most consequential moral and political event of the last half century of our nation’s history. It has produced a dramatic realignment of moral and political forces, led by evangelicals and Catholics together, and joined by citizens beyond numbering who know that how we respond to this horror defines who we are as individuals and as a people. Our opponents, once so confident, are now on the defensive. Having lost the argument with the American people, they desperately cling to the dictates of the courts. No longer able to present themselves as the wave of the future, they watch in dismay as a younger generation recoils in horror from the bloodletting of an abortion industry so arrogantly imposed by judges beyond the rule of law.

We do not know, we do not need to know, how the battle for the dignity of the human person will be resolved. God knows, and that is enough. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta and saints beyond numbering have taught us, our task is not to be successful but to be faithful. Yet in that faithfulness is the lively hope of success. We are the stronger because we are unburdened by delusions. We know that in a sinful world, far short of the promised Kingdom of God, there will always be great evils. The principalities and powers will continue to rage, but they will not prevail. In the midst of the encroaching darkness of the culture of death, we have heard the voice of him who said, “In the world you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world.” Because he has overcome, we shall overcome. We do not know when; we do not know how. God knows, and that is enough. We know the justice of our cause, we trust in the faithfulness of his promise, and therefore we shall not weary, we shall not rest.

Whether, in this great contest between the culture of life and the culture of death, we were recruited many years ago or whether we were recruited only yesterday, we have been recruited for the duration. We go from this convention refreshed in our resolve to fight the good fight. We go from this convention trusting in the words of the prophet Isaiah that “they who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The journey has been long, and there are miles and miles to go. But from this convention the word is carried to every neighborhood, every house of worship, every congressional office, every state house, every precinct of this our beloved country—from this convention the word is carried that, until every human being created in the image and likeness of God—no matter how small or how weak, no matter how old or how burdensome—until every human being created in the image and likeness of God is protected in law and cared for in life, we shall not weary, we shall not rest. And, in this the great human rights struggle of our time and all times, we shall overcome.

Richard John Neuhaus, who passed away January 8, 2009, delivered these comments at the July 2008 convention of the National Right to Life Committee.

Categories: Sanctity of Life

Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Quits: “I can’t do this anymore.”

November 4th, 2009 3 comments

Watching an ultrasound of an abortion changed Abby Johnson forever. She is now prolife and has quit her job as director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. Johnson describes her conversion this way:

“I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that’s it.”

She also says that there was pressure on her to increase revenues for Planned Parenthood by increasing the number of abortions. She explains in The Houston Chronicle:

“Definitely the most lucrative part of their business was abortions. One of the things that kept coming up was how family planning services were really dragging down the budget, and family planning services include education about contraceptives. It was a drain on the budget, but abortion services were really running up the budget and that was keeping the center afloat.”

What a story. It just goes to show that pictures do matter. It’s hard to deny the humanity of the unborn when you are staring a human in the face in an ultrasound image. Hearts and minds are won with pictures. The images are tragic, but this is a wonderful conversion.

HT: Denny Burk.

Categories: Sanctity of Life