There is a good interview with Mark Shea over at Ministry Values on the topic of torture. Mark has become the preeminent spokesperson in the Catholic blogosphere for defending the Church’s condemnation of torture. An excerpt:
We asked Mr. Shea, how the policy of torture or enhanced interrogation found its way into official government policy. The obvious answer was of course everything changed after 9/11. Protecting our citizens at all cost became paramount but what we found interesting was his identification of the philosophical under pinnings of the moral justification for torture.
Mr.Shea gave an impassioned discourse on the ideal of “consequentialism” a philosophy that is the intellectual foundation for those whosupport “enhanced interrogation methods” . Simply put”Consequentialism” is “let us do evil as long as it results in good” or better known as “the end justifies the means”.
Mr. Shea assured us that this “ideal” of “consequentialism” has been fully condemned by Pope John Paul II and others. Mark Shea’s view on this issue he admits is not popular these days with many of his conservative friends.
In the days leading up to the March for Life, I kept meaning to blog my appreciation for Metropolitan Jonah’s strong encourgement to his fellow Orthodox to take a public stand for Life. The Orthodox Church has always stood strong in condemning abortion, but they have unfortunately been mostly silent in this country in fighting legalized abortion (with Frederica Matthews-Green being a very notable exception). But this year Metropolitan Jonah urged all Orthodox – from bishops to the lowliest layman – to attend the March and to work against legalized abortion. I thank him for that effort.
But what reminded me was seeing this photo over at Byzantine, TX:
(Metropolitan Jonah is in the center in white).
What struck me about the photo was seeing my former classmate Jeff Fortenberry (second from left). Jeff was in the Masters of Theology program with me at Franciscan back in the mid-90′s and we worked together in the campus computer lab during that time. Jeff is now a congressman from Nebraska (quite a step up from assisting students and faculty in using MS Word!).
It seems as if we live in a world which the prophet Isaiah warned us about:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
The Church’s clear teaching on moral issues has been challenged in all corners, and unfortunately, even by its own members. Actions which should be unthinkable to any decently-formed Catholic must now be explicitly condemned, such as the killing of innocent babies and the idea of same-sex “marriage”.
And recently, another clear moral teaching has been challenged: the intrinsic evil of torture. Many Catholics – including many who proclaim that they are pro-life – are working to justify torture even though it has been condemned in no uncertain terms by the Church.
Erin Manning has begun a new group called “Coalition for Clarity” which works to defend the Church’s teaching in this area. I have proudly signed up as a listed member of this Coalition, although I admit that I find it sad that we have to distinguish ourselves simply by our acceptance of Church teaching.
In a few hours I’ll be leaving for the March for Life. It has been almost 20 years since my first March back in 1991, and I have now been to Marches under 4 different presidents. My oldest child is actually much closer to my age at my first March than I am. But as I march, I always try to remind myself why I go.
I don’t march because I want a Health Care bill that doesn’t fund abortions (although of course that would be great).
I don’t march because I want the President to be pro-life (which of course would be better than the alternative).
I don’t march because I want Congress to pass pro-life laws (although of course I would rejoice if they did).
I don’t march because I want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade (even though of course that would be a great thing if it happened).
No, I march for one primary reason: because those I want to see protected by law and loved by society – the unborn – cannot march. They are silent victims of a terrible holocaust, and they cannot speak for themselves. They cannot stand up for their own rights; they need us to do that for them.
By marching, we are reminding everyone that every day innocent children are being ripped from their mother’s wombs, and this occurs under the full protection of the law and the complete acceptance of our society. By marching, we can be the voice for those who have not yet developed their own voices.
I am attending the March for Life tomorrow with four of my children, and I hope anyone who can make it comes as well. I have been going off-and-0n since 1991, and I am always very encouraged by all the people I see – especially all the young people (I was one of those young people back in 1991!).
If for some reason you can’t make it, you can always attend the Virtual March for Life. Just don’t make that an excuse for not attending the real one if you can.
Also, the bishops have declared January 22nd a day of penance: whether you go to the March or not, be sure to pray and fast tomorrow for the end of legalized abortion.
After 34 years in the abortion business, the Mahoning Women’s Center in Youngstown, Ohio, permanently closed its doors on January 12, 2010. The owner has retired and the building will be sold. The closure leaves the community of Youngstown abortion-free.
“This is such great news for the people of Ohio and all Americans. It means that lives will be saved,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We know from experience that when abortion clinics close, many women who would otherwise have opted for abortion will instead happily keep their babies or release them for adoption.”
The closure follows a well-documented national trend. In 1991, there were nearly 2,200 abortion clinics, but today there are 712. Since 1991 over two-thirds of all abortion clinics have permanently closed. That trend reflects the shifting attitude of Americans toward the pro-life position.
Although mentally disabled in some ways, Peek’s mind could do things that were simply unbelievable. For example, you could name a date, any date, and he could tell you the day of the week it fell on and what happened that day in history
Peek and others like him remind us of two things:
1) We only have a very limited understanding of how the human brain works.
2) All of God’s creatures, no matter their disabilities, are amazing works of the Lord that should always inspire a sense of awe and wonder.
As our culture works to eradicate the non-perfect from our world, we should remember the joy and wonder that people like Peek bring to it.
Here are some videos about the real-life “Rain Man”:
Pray for Peek and Peek’s father, who cared for him throughout his life.
South Korea has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world, even though abortion is technically illegal there except in a few rare circumstances. According to official government figures, there are 340,000 abortions each year, although one parliamentarian has estimated that there may be as many as 1.5 million. At the same time, Korea’s birth rate is the second-lowest in the world – 1.19 births per woman — and some Koreans fear that their very survival as a nation is in doubt.
That is the background for a courageous decision by a 50-year-old Seoul obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Sang-duk Shim, to stop doing abortions and to lobby the government for a dramatic reduction. He has even received death threats for his stand.
Could you explain the goal of your activist group of doctors? What is its name? How many members do you have?
Dr Shim: This movement is the Korean Gynecological Physicians’ Association, or “Gynob”, and is an organization consisting of obstetricians and gynaecologists. Currently we have about 680 listed members. Of course, Gynob is not an organization designed only to resolve the problem of abortion, but is intended to improve the distorted medical enviroment in which OB/GYNs work. It does not mean that all of the members of Gynob actively participate in Gynob activities. Our movement is led by a group of about 30 activists.
The goal of our movement is a Korea without abortions. To be more specific, our immediate goal is to reduce the number of abortions to 100,000 cases within ten years — one-third of what it is today — and to eliminate all forms of abortion except when necessary to save the life of an expectant mother.
How long did you do abortions? How many did you do?
Dr Shim: It has been about 20 years since I obtained my qualification as an obstetrician. I have been involved in abortion for almost 20 years until I discontinued it in October, as part of my commitment to the anti-abortion movement. I do not have any written record of the abortions I did. However, I had about 20 cases a month, which means a total of 4,000 cases over the period of 20 years.
Why did you stop? Has it been a big sacrifice for you?
Dr Shim: Practicing abortion violates fundamental ethical values for medical doctors and I have suffered pangs of conscience for a long while. Over time, I have noticed that society as a whole and the medical services sector in particular did not try hard to reduce the number of abortions. Rather abortion was encouraged and the basic issues have been left untreated. Simply because of financial pressures on obstetricians, it became clear that abortion has been encouraged and generally accepted.
Read the whole interview here and be sure to pray for Dr. Shim. He is not a believer, but he might very well follow the path of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who went from abortionist to atheist pro-lifer to Catholic.
I blogged previously about the efforts of the Montgomery County (MD) Council to force pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to advertise that their clients must go elsewhere for medical advice, in spite of the fact that no actual clients of these centers have ever complained of poor or deceptive practices on the part of these clinics.
A few days ago there was a hearing on the matter, and Msgr. Mark Brennen, a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, pastor of St. Martin Catholic Church here in Gaithersburg, and former member of the Board of Directors of Shady Grove Pregnancy Center gave the following excellent testimony:
Please pray for all pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and especially those here in Montgomery County.
I was teaching my 11-year-old daughter about the 8th century in Church history yesterday, and I was explaining the expansion of Islam in the East. I went on to talk about the fear in Europe that Islam would overwhelm the West like it did the East. This fear was present for almost 800 years (and is a major, yet under-appreciated, factor in the calling of the Crusades). This map does a great job of showing the spread of the major religions around the world – see how quickly Islam grew:
In my class with my daughter, I ended up going on a tangent about the fact that Islam might be able to succeed today through demographics where they failed by force during the middle ages. It should be common sense (but unfortunately isn’t) that those cultures which have a lot of kids will eventually overtake those who do not. Europe, are you listening?