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New Orleans Archbishop Boycotts Commencement Over Abortion Issue

posted by nsymmonds

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) New Orleans Catholic Archbishop Alfred Hughes has told Xavier University of Louisiana he will not attend its upcoming graduation ceremonies because he objects to the university’s decision to award an honorary degree to Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic political strategist who supports abortion rights.
Hughes told Xavier President Norman Francis of his decision about the May 9 commencement by letter, expressing his disappointment with the university, even as he acknowledged its legacy of education among African-Americans.
In response, a statement from the Catholic university said, “From the founding of Xavier 84 years ago, our institution has promoted respect for the dignity, well-being and the protection of life for all persons.”
The controversy arises a month after Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (Ind.) announced he will boycott President Obama’s scheduled commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame because some of the president’s policies contradict church teaching.
Brazile, a Catholic and a native of Kenner, is a familiar advocate on behalf of Democratic issues, working at the national level in support of Democratic values that include defense of abortion rights and pursuit of embryonic stem-cell research.
The Catholic church opposes those policies, believing both take human lives.
“As a lifelong devoted Catholic, I am sorry the archbishop will boycott this celebration of the class of 2009,” Brazile said by e-mail.
“I will remain faithful to the Catholic Church and my Christian faith which keeps me grounded.”
Brazile will give the commencement address in addition to receiving an honorary degree.
Xavier’s decision to honor her breaks with Catholic bishops’ determination to present a consistent front of opposition to abortion rights.
Three years ago, Xavier awarded an honorary degree to President Obama, then an Illinois senator and rising Democratic star with a record for supporting abortion rights, without objection from Hughes.
But archdiocesan spokeswoman Sarah Comiskey said Hughes had not been aware of the honor to Obama, which came while the bishops’ common pledge was in force.
By Bruce Nolan and John Pope
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



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nnmns

posted April 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm


I suppose some people will miss the bishops, but the better part of the crowd won’t.
If those bishops looked at the list of things the RCC says it supports they’d surely find the Democrats are better on the majority of them. But they ignore so many of those things to obsess on a few and end up supporting Republicans who, on the whole, are more anti-life than Democrats by far. They get us into stupid useless wars that cost many thousands of innocent lives, they underfund food safety agencies and worker safety agencies and anti-pollution agencies thus costing lots of lives. They even oppose unions and workable minimum wages which definitely hurts families.
No if the officials of the RCC took their charge seriously they would not work for slimy politicians like they do. But I suspect they are pretty comfortable hanging around with those slimy politicians.



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pagansister

posted April 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm


I agree, nnmns. Most if not all of the crowd won’t really care whether the archbishop is there or not. The students will be getting their degrees and the families will be watching. The lack of the attendence of the archbishop will be of little consequence.



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G

posted April 24, 2009 at 8:35 pm


The Bishop should not just refuse to attend, that is too much like abdicating his position. He should excommunicate Donna Brazile a day before she is honored by the university and then he should take away the support of the church for Xavier University. Then no one would miss him but he wouldn’t be seen as being pushed around.
Supporting the killing 40+ million children worldwide is not just another issue, it is the main atrocity the church is opposing, and it will be seen by those generations not yet born as a most shameful blot.



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pagansister

posted April 24, 2009 at 8:56 pm


Sure G, like all that would have any effect on anything. Sex education, teaching about available birth control and yes, including abstinence, teaching responsibility, offering alternatives to abortion, will do more than yanking support for a university (does he speak for all the RCC? NO)like a child taking his ball and going home because they won’t play by his rules. Sure the RCC doesn’t believe in “artificial” birth control, but think about it…wouldn’t that be better than an abortion?
As for excumminicating Donna Braziel? That would only continue to prove that the RCC has NO room for a free thinking woman.



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Paul Bradford

posted April 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm


nmns,
You make an important point about Republicans supporting many ‘anti-life’ policies that the Church opposes. Typically, the Republicans take stands on immigration, the war, aid to the poor, the death penalty, the environment, universal health care and labor relations that fly in the face of Catholic Social Justice teaching.
As you point out, when the episcopacy focuses totally on abortion and stem-cell research they reward many conservative politicians who regularly undermine their mandate to advance the cause of justice; they also punish many liberal politicians who are more than eager to get behind a wide spectrum of Church issues as they pertain to human rights. We’re currently at an impasse, and both the Democrats and the Church take losses while the two sides face each other down. Imagine the distress of liberal Catholic Democrats! We have nothing to gain from this war of wills.
From my perspective, the best thing in the world would be for President Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Kathleen Sebelius to hold a joint press conference announcing that, from now on, they’re going to do everything they can to protect the youngest, and most vulnerable members of our society. If that happened we could stop fighting and return to the work of making the world a better place to live in.
That, at any rate, is my prayer.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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jestrfyl

posted April 24, 2009 at 9:05 pm


His loss. I am not sure anyone will notice his absence.



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Paul Bradford

posted April 24, 2009 at 9:11 pm


pagansister,
You say, “That would only continue to prove that the RCC has NO room for a free thinking woman.”
Room or no room, there are an awful lot of free thinking women who continue to show up. Nobody is excommunicating these women; but every now and then they lose heart and excommunicate themselves. When that happens, the More-Catholic-Than-the-Pope crowd and the devil join together to rejoice.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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pagansister

posted April 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm


Sorry, Paul B. The “devil” is certainly one of the more humorus scare tactics of some organized religions.
Let’s face it…the RCC has lost a lot of it’s control not only over women but men as well…and it’s not a happy camper. Progressive the RCC isn’t.



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nnmns

posted April 24, 2009 at 9:18 pm


Paul I sympathize with you but I certainly hope the defenders of women’s rights don’t suddenly fold up their tents.



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JohnQ

posted April 24, 2009 at 9:59 pm


Well, this really ruins my year!
How sad that the entire educational achievements of the ~1,000 students is now down the drain because the archbishop will not attend. Not only will their diplomas be useless….but, no one will want to hire them. Further, their parents will not be able to show their faces in public. Their siblings will probably petition the state to have themselves legally removed from their families.
I guess the only thing left to do is to commend Xavier President Norman Francis for his choice to honor Donna Brazile and to have her as the commencement speaker. I am totally serious with this paragraph…the rest of my posts has as much value as the archbishop.
Peace!



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Paul Bradford

posted April 24, 2009 at 10:35 pm


nnms,
Who is the better ‘defender of women’s rights’? The one who protects her right to abort her own child, or the one who supports her capacity her to do right by her child?
I assure you, I take no pleasure in the thought of women losing their options, but don’t you ever get tired of the self-congratulatory pronouncements of these ‘defenders’ whose defense of mothers goes no further than to pretend that a mother can undo her unwelcome motherhood by prematurely ending her child’s life? The mother of a dead child is still a mother, even if you ‘defend’ her by convincing her that she’s not.
Everyone should make a prudent and judicious choice about whether and when to become a parent; but not everyone does. Is it wrong for me to point out that a big part of life consists of trying to make the best of a bad situation? I agree to help others cope with the consequences of their boneheaded decisions because the day will surely come when I need to rely on them to save me from the consequences of MY boneheaded decisions.
pagansister,
Even if there were no organized religions, the fancy of the human mind is such that we would certainly come up with some sort of metaphorical personification of evil. I use the word ‘devil’ because it’s more efficient than outlining a long description of the way people project their own destructive impulses onto others.
The day we all swallow the bitter pill of self-realization will be the day we do away with the devil. Meantime I am ‘scared’ of him.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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nnmns

posted April 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm


“Who is the better ‘defender of women’s rights’? The one who protects her right to abort her own child, or the one who supports her capacity her to do right by her child?”
Paul as I’ve said here many times, though not as I recall to you, it’s not a “child”. It’s a blastocyst or zygote or embryo or fetus (I use “bzef” for short). A “Child” is a young person and a person has been born, so a child has always been born. To talk of children being aborted is confusing, often intentionally confusing.
And while we might like to give some “rights” to these bzefs on their way to becoming people we need to remember there are real people whose rights must be respected, those being the women bearing these bzefs and their families, and since they are worthy of all the rights of humans, them being human and all, it’s insulting to them and worse, much worse, to manufacture rights for these bzefs and have them supersede the rights of these women and families.
It seems a more productive prayer for you would be for the high mucky-mucks of the RCC to get over their obsessing on abortion, stem cells and homosexual marriage and spread their efforts to those things which can help real people.



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Paul Bradford

posted April 25, 2009 at 5:36 pm


nnmns,
You say, “we might like to give some ‘rights’ to these bzefs on their way to becoming people”
I’m guessing here, but it seems to me that you’d like to assert that the rights of bzefs are something greater than ‘no rights at all’ but not as much as the rights of the born. Where do we place this ‘middle ground’? I’m trying to think of examples from history of beings who had some rights, but not the same rights as regular people. Would the unborn have the rights of a pet, a slave, a criminal?
I honestly don’t ‘get’ the middle-ground argument. The argument that bzefs have no more rights than fingernails is one I don’t buy, but I understand it, and I understand how one would rationally proceed from that opinion. But how does the middle-ground logic work out in real life.
Let’s look at the ‘typical’ situation in the US. An unmarried woman with an eleven week old fetus decides to procure an abortion because she has no desire to be a mother. What is she doing? Is she getting a tooth extracted (I’m not trying to be funny here), is she murdering her child or is she doing something more morally problematic than the first example but not as problematic as the second? As the bzef grows, you seem to be saying, an abortion becomes more morally distasteful. But who does the calibrating? How is that woman supposed to decide what is right?
The argument that really bugs me is the one that says, “each woman can decide for herself what the morality of her action is.” The person who makes that argument hasn’t even considered what morality is. Our morals tell us what is ‘right behavior’ between one person and another. If each person makes up her or his own morals there’s no morality at all, just a clash of wills.
One could, it seems to me, justify abortion if one asserted that the unborn have no rights beyond the rights of a pimple. But once you allow for a teensy-weensy bit of rights you’re going to have to allow for the right of existence, and there would then be a moral framework for determining whether the interests of a fetus in existing outstrip the interests of a woman to determine whether or not she wants to become a mother.
Morality assumes that we know what each other’s rights are. If we only grant each other the rights we ‘choose’ to give to them there is no morality at all.
By the way, if you argue that bzefs have NO rights then you have an excellent argument for claiming that many women who choose birth are behaving immorally. I’m convinced that we all have a moral obligation NOT to reproduce if we’re not ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising the child we bring into the world. If every woman has a ‘window of opportunity’ when she can decide whether or not to become a mother she has the responsibility to exercise that choice judiciously. A single mom with three kids on welfare has no moral right, by this moral reasoning, to do anything BUT abort!
I hope this example makes it clear to you why I don’t feel comfortable with the ‘everyone choose for herself’ argument.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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cknuck

posted April 25, 2009 at 5:38 pm


nnmns quote, “Paul as I’ve said here many times, though not as I recall to you, it’s not a “child”. It’s a blastocyst or zygote or embryo or fetus (I use “bzef” for short).”
Try as you might to dehumanize the birthing process even go as far as to make up your own name for the beginning of conception “(I use “bzef” for short).” It still adds up to taking a life for conveniences. The ugliest part of the act is that the baby (I use baby for short) is in its most helpless stage of life completely depending on it’s host (I call this mommy for short) for, nutrient, comfort, safety, and life. And somebody comes along and says that the baby is not human so just kill it.



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Henrietta22

posted April 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm


Paul Bradford, Pro-life Catholics for Choice. What does that mean? You keep arguing to nnmns, and women you have no inkling of knowing personally and want to take their choice away from them. You want to make your understanding of morality their morality. What gives you the audaucity to do this? Is it your Catholic background? For thirty-seven years women have managed to make their decisions with WadevsRoe. The world is still going, lovely little babies are still being born, and you didn’t know any of them. The entire world is not Catholic, thank God. My Lutheran upbringing has served me well, and other peoples religions have served them well and will keep serving them well in the future. So why do you sign your name as being pro-choice and then argue against it?



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pagansister

posted April 25, 2009 at 7:49 pm


As much as it makes some folks upset…the right to NOT be a mother for reasons only known to the woman, should never be eliminated. As I mentioned above, teaching responsibility, respect for one’s body, along with available birth control methods (with abstinence included) and alternatives to abortion should an accidental pregnancy happen, is much better than having an abortion. However if in the end,a woman decides that she needs to terminate, then she should be allowed to have a safe, clean abortion without being made to feel she has committed a crime….because she hasn’t…she has done what is best for her. It is, after all, HER body.



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nnmns

posted April 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm


Paul from a side comment “while we might like to give some “rights” to these bzefs” you constructed quite a structure. You have convinced me it would be dangerous to give rights to them. You will be happy to know, I presume, that Roe v. Wade gives states the right to grant more and more protection to them as they get nearer to birth. I believe this is appropriate and I find Roe v. Wade to be a very well constructed decision. I realize it’s standard among anti-abortionists to call it anything but good, but of course that doesn’t affect me.
“If each person makes up her or his own morals there’s no morality at all, just a clash of wills.”
In case you really hadn’t noticed, that’s the way the world works. Each person does make up their own morals. Some may be influenced by a church or a philosophy or a friend but probably no two people’s morals are identical. And laws are made through politics which could reasonably be called a clash of wills. But yet there is morality. Imperfect morality (not that we’d agree on what perfect morality would be) but enough that we have friends we trust, transact business, drive on and cross roads and so forth.
“If we only grant each other the rights we ‘choose’ to give to them there is no morality at all.”
We grant people rights in our informal transactions as we see fit and vice versa. Through laws we as groups grant formal rights, enforceable by governments. And it’s people, in groups acting politically, who do that as surely you and certainly the bishops and such know. It seems to me it’s anarchy you fear more than immorality, and anarchy is to be feared but fortunately that’s not what we’ve got.

By the way, if you argue that bzefs have NO rights then you have an excellent argument for claiming that many women who choose birth are behaving immorally. I’m convinced that we all have a moral obligation NOT to reproduce if we’re not ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising the child we bring into the world. If every woman has a ‘window of opportunity’ when she can decide whether or not to become a mother she has the responsibility to exercise that choice judiciously. A single mom with three kids on welfare has no moral right, by this moral reasoning, to do anything BUT abort!

An interesting statement. Let me propose a married couple, both laid off, two children already and she’s concerned about becoming pregnant with a child they clearly could not afford to raise. The rhythm method of contraception is known to be highly imperfect. Would you support her and her husband using a more reliable method of contraception, like the pill or some other form of “artificial” birth control? What about sterilization without the pleasant fiction of solving a health problem?



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nnmns

posted April 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm


cknuck: “(I use baby for short)”
You’ve just redefined “baby” and if people go around defining words as they see fit then language becomes meaningless and we lose whatever advantage we have over the other animals.
Look at it this way: A lot of people realize abortion is often necessary and thus allowable. Heck, many of the most anti-abortion denominations have members going off to other states or countries for abortions regularly. If you manage to convince them abortion is killing a baby (which it is most assuredly not, but people like you keep saying it is) then knowing abortion is allowable and abortion is killing a baby the obvious conclusion is that killing a baby is allowable.
I don’t find killing a baby allowable and I’m sure you don’t but the result of your debasement of language is very possibly to convince many people that killing a baby is allowable.
Think about the consequences before you re-define words at your pleasure.



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nnmns

posted April 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm


cknuck: “It still adds up to taking a life for conveniences.”
cknuck every time you have a hamburger or piece of bacon you’ve participated in taking a life for convenience. I have more respect for the concern vegetarians have for bzefs than I do for meat eaters. The cow or hog or chicken you or I ate today has intelligence and it has every opportunity to experience panic as it nears death and it will feel some pain, perhaps a lot depending on how it’s butchered. None of those can be said for a blastocyst or zygote and it’s very questionable about an embryo. Even a fetus has little time to feel panic or pain. I really don’t know how much intelligence one has but it’s reasonable to assume it’s similar to very young babies. Not, surely, as much as an adult hog, cow or chicken.
So with your immense concern for the bzefs you might very reasonably want to think about becoming a vegetarian. It would be more consistent. And if done well it may be healthier.



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Tom

posted April 25, 2009 at 11:28 pm


fe⋅tus
   /ˈfitəs/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [fee-tuhs] Show IPA
–noun, plural -tus⋅es. Embryology.
(used chiefly of viviparous mammals) the young of an animal in the womb or egg, esp. in the later stages of development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind, in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.
Also, especially British, foetus.
Compare embryo (def. 2).
Origin:
1350–1400; ME



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cknuck

posted April 25, 2009 at 11:30 pm


nnmns quote “You’ve just redefined “baby” and if people go around defining words as they see fit then language becomes meaningless and we lose whatever advantage we have over the other animals.”
What advantage over other animals do we have in the killing of our young? Or do animals have an advantage over us not going inside of their own bodies and killing the new life within?
Funny you comment on the vegetarian thing I just spent a whole week eating nothing but veggies and I’m having split pea soup tonight. I’m not a vegan I am just accommodating my guest who is staying with us, but even f I do return to eating meat it won’t cost a human their life.
I’m reading Polkinghorne’s “Chaos, Quarks, and Christianity” the book Nate W recommended it just arrived in the mail yesterday.



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nnmns

posted April 25, 2009 at 11:44 pm


Well Tom I suppose it had to happen with all those people using it that way. I still say it’s debasing the language. Now people will have to start putting an adjective on “baby” to distinguish between the actual baby and the fetal baby. But you notice it doesn’t mention the embrial(sp?) or zygotal or blastocistal “baby”.
cknuck: “even f I do return to eating meat it won’t cost a human their life.”
And an abortion doesn’t cost a person its life either. But it will cost a thinking creature its life.



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Tom

posted April 26, 2009 at 10:05 am


Embryonic, and very few embryos are ever aborted (up to 8 wks gestation in case you were wondering). No blastocysts or cytosists are ever aborted as I’ve said B4, but it’s hard to give up such cool ebonics slang (bzef) when you’re building up your street cred I guess.
The women we have helped counsel to cary their babies to term hardly seem to think that their decision costed them their lives, so perhaps they’re dellusional (or disillusioned). It’s called taking responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions; look into it. Is that some kind of atheist dogma (abandon ye all hope who carry unexpected pregnancy to term?) Very few things in life have the capacity to astound me these days, but this narrow mentality has proven to be an exception.



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nnmns

posted April 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm


Well Tom does it surprise you that carrying a baby to term often doesn’t result in death for the mother? That just shows that evolution works.
As for earlier abortions, why all the resistance for morning after treatments then? Are you acknowledging that those aren’t abortions?
Now as for taking responsibility for one’s actions, are you chasing down the fathers of those babies and hauling them into court to pay child support?
I think it’s great for those pregnant women who want to, to carry to term. Where we differ of course is those who don’t want to should not have to.



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pagansister

posted April 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm


Thanks for introducing the morning after pill, nnmnsm to this discussion. I’m totally pleased that permission has been granted by the “powers that be” allowing 17 year olds access to the morning after pill. That in itself will solve a later possible crisis…OOPs pregnant, now what? There won’t be a pregnancy if used within 72 hours. No different then birth control pills, yet another good thing.



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PAC5

posted April 26, 2009 at 2:15 pm


This is my first time visiting this site. Abortion is always going to be controversial. No matter what everyone believes or what religion they are; life is life and death is death! I worked in a Clinical Lab while going through college, at 19 yrs. old. I am 55 now. At that time I didn’t have much of an opinion on abortion. My religion was against it so I guess I had to be too!I knew that but didn’t know much about abortions at that time. Sometimes physically seeing an aborted fetus can fill one with questions. A doctors office had sent a jar containing “Products of Conseption” but forgot to place a net in the jar to catch the specimen. Curious as I was I peeked around the jar. I noticed a little hand pressed up against the glass jar. Probably not more than an 1/2 inch or so long. I looked inside the jar and saw a fully developed fetus with arms,fingers, legs, toes and body fully formed. It was very small and labeled 10 wk. fetus. (it also was a boy.)I cried to myself and wondered WHY! It seemed easier to abort “it” cause someone didn’t want this baby. I now work in NICU taking care of little babies born too early.Babies born as small as 400grms and 23 weeks.They all have a very difficult time surviving life out of uterto and some do good- some don’t. But to me no matter how small and sick they are I do my best to help them as well as my co-workers do, too. I wear a little pin of Little Golden feet, barely 1/2 cm, which represents the size of feet of a 10wk. fetus.Also, the heart starts beating 10 days after conception. We all have choices and these are all facts. Only God can judge us but sometimes I wonder when people have had a few therapeutic abortions for convienence -sometimes when they really want a baby- we end up going to their delivery of prematurity or some other defect of the “Wanted Child”. My thoughts ar ” GORK” which stands for God Only Really Knows… God Bless the Children……



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nnmns

posted April 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm


Oh those cute little feet! PAC chickens have beating hearts and minds we know work. As do cows and pigs and turkeys.
I’m glad you are motivated to do the important work you do; just remember that doesn’t have anything to do with the rights women and families need to have to meet their needs.
Oh, and remember NORKiTaG, No One Really Knows if There’s a God. And WJNtDtBWC, We Just Need to Do the Best We Can.
I think NORKiTaG is more catchy.



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Your Name

posted April 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm


The only difference between humans, poultry et al. is humans/fetus’ have a soul and are in the like of Jesus Christ.Plus, most of us have higher I.Q’s. As for the rights of women and families I do agree the government should stay away from making personal choices for the populus. Oh, by the way (btw), you could get rubber bracelets made with “NORKITaG or WJNtDtBWC”, you know like “WWJD” what would Jesus do…. Ha! Thanks…



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JohnQ

posted April 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm


Interesting that the archbishop is making a fuss over a speech. I wonder if he boycotted our former president who condoned torture.
Or, perhaps there is something noble in boycotting a president who believes in personal rights……but, ignoring a president that condones torture while lying to the America as well as the world stating that the USA does not torture.
Peace!



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pagansister

posted April 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm


JohnQ:
Maybe the archbishop did approve of the former man that claimed to be president, because after all, he was against abortion. Torture was used to keep us safe so it was OK.



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Cazacliu Paul Alexandru

posted April 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm


It’s an issue of commonsense,every life is sacred,some are claiming that every women has the right to choose between the termination of the life they have conceived and to deliver that life out when they are ready,in layman terms,to choose between life and death.What about the right of the unborn children whom cremated bodies are given as offering to the Evil One,the main one who hates the most the life and the love.Think a moment what would be,if you are believer,if Our Creator,and if you are pagan,if the Mother Nature,decides to abort us from this world ? Most of the media is considering the intimate relations between women and men too easily,not insisting enough on the possible consequences.Too many are craving for the pleasures while to few are ready to take responsibility for their action.It’s time to grow up and face the life as responsible adults.Life is wonderful,why to not give to it a chance !?



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pagansister

posted April 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm


PAC:
Happy that you work in the NICU. It must be rewarding and sometimes very sad.
Unless you are a woman in a situation where continuing a pregnancy to term is totally out of the question (and there are circumstances where that does happen) then the right for that woman to terminate should be available. Am sure it was disturbing to look in that jar, but you did. It seems to have changed you life. That’s fine, and good for you. I’ve seen pictures. But it isn’t up to me as a woman to tell another woman what to do with her body.



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cknuck

posted April 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm


pagan the truth please! Most abortions have little to do with anyhting more than convenience.



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nnmns

posted April 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm


One person’s desperation is another person’s “convenience”.



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pagansister

posted April 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm


cknuck: “Most abortions have little to do with anything more than convenience.”
And you’re a woman who has experienced that procedure for “convenience”? The women I know who have had one, believe me, didn’t do it for “convenience”. It was a painful but necessary decision, and the right one considering the circumstances. One made the decision due to an abusive husband, who she finally left. However before she did, he had almost killed her a couple of times. Bring a child into that situation? I don’t think so. So don’t feed me the “it’s for “convenience” line. Admittedly there are probably some women do it for that reason, but that is still their right.



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cknuck

posted April 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm


nnmns being a new life and the act of coming into the world are acts of desperation. Desperate to live and be cared for, so forgive me if I see the act of cutting that life short because it might complicate a person’s life as an act of convenience but that’s how I see it.
Of course you and pagan don’t believe in God but I do and suppose God decided we inconvenienced Him and He wanted to get rid of the inconvenience.



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pagansister

posted April 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm


“….suppose God decided we inconvenienced Him and He wanted to get rid of the inconvenience.” cknuck
Then I expect He would do so…and we simple humans wouldn’t be able to prevent it. :o)



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nnmns

posted April 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm


So you let your fear of a hypothetical god infect you and cause you to try to take away the rights of women and families everywhere. Not surprising.
What if that god actually wants people to stop eating its creatures? Or to stop fouling its planet? You may very well be obsessing on the wrong fight, assuming there’s a god out there that wants you to fight at all.



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Tom

posted April 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm


Perhaps some people don’t have to deal with a ‘hypothetical’ god, an assumption too many atheists tend to make. Just because you don’t have a personal relationship with a transcendent being doesn’t mean others don’t.



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nnmns

posted April 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm


“Perhaps some people don’t have to deal with a ‘hypothetical’ god”
Happily, no and it’s growing.



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Your Name

posted April 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm


nnmns the rights of women and the duty to act responsibly when it comes to sex seems to be one sided in your world.
The rights of women and the privilege of procreation in my view should be considered before pregnancy.
How God loves and cherishes a life form inferior to Him is the model we should consider when strangling out the life force from living being (a relative no less) incapable of defending itself. Death hurts weather it is done chemically or physically.
But of course if you have the right to say who is human and who is not then that would relieve some of the guilt. There have been men like that before who ruled who was human and who was not.



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nnmns

posted April 27, 2009 at 12:11 am


“There have been men like that before who ruled who was human and who was not.”
Yes and some of them were very ugly, dangerous people. And of course some of those were religious.
So I propose a simple test: if it’s been born (to a human as opposed to some other animal), it’s human. Pretty simple, not subject to the kind of horrors you refer to.
And it preserves for the woman and family the right to decide her fate. What we should all be doing, instead of trying to take away this right, is to insure everyone access to real sex education and to effective birth control. That will cut down the need for abortions, which I think everyone can endorse.



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JohnQ

posted April 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm


For a religious leader or a political leader to boycott a commencement ceremony because of a guest speaker seems to me to be very disrespectful.
Do the archbishops who are boycotting Brazile and Obama think they have to agree with everything another person says or believes? Really?
If that were the case, I would not be able to listen to the Pope, any RCC bishop/archbishop/cardinal, our last president and VP….the list could go on and on and on.
Or, perhaps the archbishops are concerned that maybe their own belief systems are wrong…..and, they jeopardize their ability to maintain their beliefs by listening to someone with a different pov.
I do not understand why some people become so outraged about one person speaking and others listening.



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Billie R

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm


Its not a surprise that the Archbishop declined. Good for you Archbishop! Christ is Risen!



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pagansister

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm


If the archbishop is as rude as it seems over the fact that the speaker happens to not follow the RCC’s line, or agree with it, then he is extremely narrow minded. Yes, it’s a Cathoic university…but does that mean that the soon to be graduates aren’t allowed to hear a speaker who thinks differently (ie thinks for themselves)? I have a strong feeling that most if not all of those graduates have been getting “outside” ideas for a VERY long time. The archbishop is just plain RUDE…but as I said above…I doubt if anyone really cares that he won’t be there. They could care less. So is he hurting anyone? NO!



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JohnQ

posted April 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm


pagansister-
You are wrong. My life will never be the same knowing that the archbishop will not be there.
Just kidding of course!
Peace!



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pagansister

posted April 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm


Yes,JohnQ, I knew you’d be upset by this turn of events!! Hope you can deal. :o)



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Paul Bradford

posted April 28, 2009 at 11:11 am


Yowza! I go away for a day and miss 30 commments! I’d like to respond to Henrietta22:
Paul Bradford, Pro-life Catholics for Choice. What does that mean? You keep arguing to nnmns, and women you have no inkling of knowing personally and want to take their choice away from them. You want to make your understanding of morality their morality. What gives you the audaucity to do this? Is it your Catholic background? For thirty-seven years women have managed to make their decisions with WadevsRoe. The world is still going, lovely little babies are still being born, and you didn’t know any of them. The entire world is not Catholic, thank God. My Lutheran upbringing has served me well, and other peoples religions have served them well and will keep serving them well in the future. So why do you sign your name as being pro-choice and then argue against it?
Thanks for writing to me, and I’m sorry you have to wade through so many posts before you see my response.
I believe that women should have the choice to not become mothers (or to not become mothers again). If women who don’t want a child are empowered not to conceive a child, their choice is exercised. That’s where most of our efforts must be directed. Some people say, “parents must begin to care for their children when they’re conceived” I say, “parents must begin caring for their children LONG BEFORE they’re conceived.” We should all care enough about our children to not bring them into the world when we’re not ready, willing and able to raise them properly. That’s my belief. It’s what I believe about the nature of human beings — not simply what I believe about proper behavior for Catholics.
This whole line of thinking begs the question “When is it too late to make the choice? When is parenthood a ‘done deal’?” For most of the time human beings have been walking around this planet even birth didn’t confer the rights of personhood onto a baby — that’s because for most of human history infanticide was common and acceptable. Now we’re horrified at the thought. Now we’re all convinced that a mother does have responsibility toward a child she’s given birth to — either to care for it or to find someone who will.
Most of us consider it evidence of moral advancement that we once found infanticide acceptable but no longer do. We all agree that a newborn should be protected and even though we have laws against hurting a newborn, it isn’t laws that protect the them (often we don’t prosecute perpetrators, believing that they are too disturbed to be held responsible for their actions) it’s the force of societal pressure. Infanticide isn’t simply illegal (like avoiding taxes) it’s morally repugnant.
How young, and how vulnerable can a person be and still enjoy the protection of societal pressure? That’s for the society to decide. It can’t be decided individually. Our society is in conflict with itself because we haven’t come to a consensus on this matter. It will never be acceptable to claim that the ‘consensus’ is that every one can choose for herself whether she’s responsible for her unborn child.
Do I want to make ‘my understanding of morality’ to be the same understanding that ‘women I don’t know’ should have? I do; and the more you think about it the more you will see that you do too. A society has to some sort of agreement about the issue of who gets protected by the society. Morality isn’t personal — it’s about the relationship between people.
What give me ‘the audacity’ to want to participate in the process of helping my society to make moral choices? It comes from a belief that I have that human beings have a need to distinguish between right and wrong — we have an individual need to do this, and we have a collective need to do this.
The Catholic Church is, in one sense, an independent organization that independently makes up its own mind which regulations should apply to its members. I am as opposed as you are to the idea that the Church should take responsibility to regulate those who are not its members on religious issues. The abortion question is different, however. The Church, like many organizations that are a part of our society, has the right and the responsibility to stand up for justice. Standing up for justice simply means that you try your best to make sure everyone is treated fairly. I try to stand up for justice and I bet so do you. I may be committing an injustice that you notice and we would all be better off if you demonstrate ‘the audacity’ to call me to task on it. That isn’t you running my life for me — that’s you making the world a better place to live in.
Sadly, I’m afraid I’ve posted too late. Probably you will never see this response.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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nnmns

posted April 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm


I am as opposed as you are to the idea that the Church should take responsibility to regulate those who are not its members on religious issues. The abortion question is different, however. The Church, like many organizations that are a part of our society, has the right and the responsibility to stand up for justice. Standing up for justice simply means that you try your best to make sure everyone is treated fairly. I try to stand up for justice and I bet so do you. I may be committing an injustice that you notice and we would all be better off if you demonstrate ‘the audacity’ to call me to task on it. That isn’t you running my life for me — that’s you making the world a better place to live in.

The thing is, Paul, the RCC and you use religious reasoning to decide it’s justice to demand a blastocyst, zygotte, embryo or fetus must have priority over the woman carrying it. There’s nothing obvious about that. It’s based on the arbitrary decision of recent popes that ensoulment happens at conception. Earlier it had been quickening.
And in fact there is no logical requirement that conceptuses must have any rights. I’m in full agreement with you that infanticide is immoral. I think a line needs to be drawn and the obvious place, to me, to draw that line is at birth. That gives the woman and her family the freedom they need to control her, and their fertility. And Roe v. Wade gives the states increasing rights to safeguard the increasingly human-like conceptus.
You also draw a line, at conception. And you give the conceptus rights that are prior to any the woman and her family may have. I find that wrong and, coming from a male-dominated religion, hypocritical.
Think about it.



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pagansister

posted April 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm


Paul B:
“I believe that women should have the choice to not become mothers (or to not become mothers again).”
Does that mean that you, as a Catholic, believe in artificial birth control…not just the most untrustworthy “natural method” advocated by the RCC?



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Paul Bradford

posted April 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm


nnmns,
At least I can have a rational discussion with you!
You should know that the Church does not base its objection to abortion on the premise that ensoulment takes place at conception. The Church believes that it’s not simply a soul that has dignity and rights — the living body has rights all its own. The Church argues, and I find the argument compelling, that the body I currently have is the same body that existed as a zygote when I was conceived. I certainly didn’t have consciousness then, or will, or desire, or intelligence or any of the things people think of when they think of a ‘soul’. I did, however, have a body and I have the same body today — it has developed and aged but it’s the same body.
I might tell you that I have a soul and you might choose to believe me, but you’d have to take it on faith because there is no ‘test’ for the existence of a soul. If I tell you that I have a body, however, you can run a few tests to find out for sure. You don’t simply believe I have a body, you know it; and you know you have no moral right to harm my body even if you have doubts as to the existence of my soul. That’s the argument. We might have all sorts of disagreements about God or scripture or the afterlife or any of a hundred religious questions, but we can find some common ground around the definition of a body and we can agree that its immoral to hurt a living human body.
If I take recourse to a discussion of the soul I’m compelled to make arguments that are essentially religious. I’ll lose that argument for sure. For that reason I don’t want to talk about the soul with respect to the abortion question. I want to talk about the body.
As long as we Catholics insist on dragging the Bible, or Papal Encyclicals, or the Catechism into our discussions with non-Catholics we are never going to be able to win any rights for the very young. I would not say to you, “The pope says life begins at conception so you better believe it!” I would, instead, constrain our discussions to matters that we both understand in the same way.
Is it ‘obvious’ that a zygote is a human body as truly as a fully developed man or woman has a human body? Sadly it’s not. The truth of that assertion is clouded by prejudice and misunderstanding. What is obvious is the fact that if we deny that a zygote is a human body our lives will be much easier to manage. If we include zygotes, blastocysts, embryos and fetuses among the bodies we have to treat with care and respect we will have to constrain ourselves. The mothers of those ‘bzefs’, of course, will be enduring the greatest constraints.
Do zygote’s rights take priority over women’s rights? That’s not the argument. The argument is that one person’s right to life takes priority over another person’s ‘right’ to be rid of responsibilities she doesn’t want. Am I saying, “She’s only getting what she deserves!”? That’s not my style at all. I don’t have any simple answer to the question of why people sometimes get stuck with annoying and painful responsibilities they don’t want. As I have said earlier I strongly support the right of people to choose not to become parents if they don’t want to do that. What if someone becomes a parent even if she doesn’t want to? Is she being punished by God? I don’t think so. I think she’s someone in need of support. Mothers have responsibilities to their children, and the society has responsibilities to distressed mothers.
You suggest that we become more human-like as we develop from conceptus to neonate. I don’t think our bodies can ever become more or less human-like than they already are. Human is human. There aren’t degrees of humanity.
You also say, “Think about it.” Would it surprise you to learn that I actually do spend a great deal of time thinking about the fact that the Church has such a lousy reputation with regard to women’s issues that people disregard what she has to say even when she’s speaking an important truth?
I’d be interested to hear your response.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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Paul Bradford

posted April 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm


pagansister,
I also appreciate the way you conduct your discussions!
You may want to read what I wrote about the Pope and condoms:
http://www.usatoday.com/community/profile.htm?UID=5d811832a16fbcb1&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a5d811832a16fbcb1Post%3a4f5b2e7b-0e04-4cf6-b80f-777a7b756567&loc=interstitialskip
Then again, you may decide that the URL is so long that you don’t want to bother!
Why should we fight battles about contraception use as long as the issue of human rights is at stake?
As far as ‘believing’ in artificial birth control goes — I believe that it can be effective but not completely effective. People who use birth control while they have sex lower their chances of becoming parents, but they don’t eliminate the possibility entirely. No woman should become a mother against her will — that would be wrong. I’m all for such women doing everything they can to avoid becoming mothers.
Sadly we live in a world where things don’t always turn out as they should. I think society should mitigate the pain of things turning out wrong — but I don’t see artificial birth control as a panacea. There will still be cases where women who don’t want to become mothers have become mothers. In those cases I think we serve women best by assisting them in fulfilling the responsibilities they wish they didn’t have.
It seems to me that women don’t really want to have life ripped out of their wombs. As far as I can figure, women are motivated to abort by desperation — maybe severe desperation, maybe a milder case. I support measures that promise to relieve desperation rather than aggravate it.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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nnmns

posted April 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm


“we can find some common ground around the definition of a body and we can agree that its immoral to hurt a living human body.”
But we disagree on what’s a fully human body. And I find the emphasis on “body” without mentioning or concern for “mind” a little disconcerting. Perhaps it’s because you know you’d lose the mind argument for many bzefs and for Terry Schiavo and such cases. But mind has importance for me. I agree it’s nice to be able to have reasoned arguments but I don’t think this one holds much hope of changing either of us.



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pagansister

posted April 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm


Paul B:
Perhaps I should have asked if you “approve” of the use of artificial birth control…instead of “believe” in it. Anyhow, it sounds like you are not against a woman using non-natural birth control methods, the pill, insisting on condoms, IUD’s etc. I think, however, that they are more reliable than the “natural” method the RCC feels is the only acceptable way to prevent pregnancy. I certainly realize that the pill, IUD’s etc. are not totally fool proof,(they worked perfectly for me…2 kids and that’s it) but(always a “but”)they are preferable to having an abortion, I expect you agree.
OK, now for the question I probably know your answer to…but will ask you anyhow…is there any situation where you would agree that an abortion would be acceptable? The women (3 relatives among those) I know didn’t decide on their abortions easily. Circumstances were such that it was the only choice for them. I wouldn’t use the word desperation/depression to describe their mind sets when they came to the decisions.
The RCC has in it’s marriage vows that the couple is supposed to accept any children God gives them. How then is it possible to be accepting of any form of birth control…including the church approved method…(which I would think would be hard to follow if a woman has irregular periods) and still follow the vow to have as many children as possible?
I plan to go to the web site you posted…in a couple of minutes. So if I asked something you had already answered in that web site…sorry about that!
Yes, this has been an interesting for me also. Informative. :o)



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Paul Bradford

posted April 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm


pagansister,
You’re almost, but not quite, right about what the Church teaches with regard to marriage and family. A couple entering into marriage should be willing to have children and is supposed to understand that life is a gift from God and not something they have the power to bestow upon their offspring. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of exercising prudence.
For one thing, a couple should exercise prudence in determining whether they are actually ready, willing and able to do a good job of raising children before they enter into marriage. For another, they can use Church approved methods of birth control, or even abstinence as long as they’re not precluding the possibility of having any children. It is no sin to observe that a couple might be in a position to do an excellent job of raising two children but a poor job of raising eight.
Back in the ‘sixties, when Vatican II was in session, there was absolutely no doubt that abortion was anathema to the Church and its leaders. There was, however, a great deal of speculation that the bishops were ready to approve the use of artificial birth control for married couples. I think that if it had been put to a vote there would have been a different result than we got when Pope Paul VI took matters into his own hands and forbade them to take the matter up for discussion. Less than three years after the Council completed its work, the Holy Father promulgated ‘Humana Vitae’ which reaffirmed the Church’s position against artificial birth control and disappointed many liberals in the episcopacy. It also turned most of the American laity into hypocrites since 95% of us use birth control that’s not approved.
Some people believe that Paul’s successor, Pope John Paul I, wanted to liberalize regulations but he died about a month after he was installed. His successor, John Paul II, was very conservative on this issue and — since everyone has short memories — we’re all led to believe that Jesus himself spoke out against the pill and the Church has never wavered in her opposition to it.
The only situation I see where abortion would be acceptable is if both the mother and the fetus were bound to die if the pregnancy wasn’t terminated; but that doesn’t mean I believe that we should have abortion restrictions that are as restrictive as they are in the Philippines. You talk about the women you know who’ve had abortion and say that circumstances were such that that was their only choice. The goal, then, is to provide these ‘only choice’ women with MORE choice rather than less.
Protecting the unborn is about strengthening the relationship between mother and child. That’s the way the problem should be approached. I’m very skeptical about schemes to criminalize abortion. When abortion was legalized in 1973, the birth rate among unmarried women (who account for 80% of all abortions in this country) only went down by 3%. If there had been a significant number of women who were having babies only because they couldn’t access abortion then there would have been a significant drop in the birth rate once abortion was legal. The fact that there wasn’t tells me that abortion restrictions weren’t pushing distressed women toward childbirth — they were pushing them toward illegal abortionists. I don’t think that’s any kind of way to protect the unborn.
Roe did have one big effect. The pregnancy rate of unmarried women went up 44% in six years. I don’t believe that from 1973 to 1979 unmarried women got 44% more careless with birth control. I believe that unmarried women were saying ‘yes’ to unmarried men 44% more often. Roe did more to ‘liberate’ men than it did to liberate women.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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pagansister

posted April 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm


Thank you, Paul B., for a very informative post. I most certainly didn’t know that the Vatican was on the edge of allowing artificial birth control for married couples during Vatican II. That would have been a plus. Too bad circumstances and later Popes didn’t allow that to happen. Certainly won’t happen now with this Pope. I did know that many Catholics use artificial birth control… and have no guilt about it. Certainly the Vatican knows this. Do the folks there really think married RCC folks with 2 childen are totaly trusting the RCC’s natural method for their entire fertility life?
It is a pleasure to post with a liberal thinking Catholic. Thanks for the conversation.



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Paul Bradford

posted April 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm


nnms,
I agree we have come to an impasse. I certainly don’t want to disconcert you so I will mention and consider the importance of ‘mind’ as it concerns an individual’s right to live. Obviously, we leave the realm of science and enter the world of philosophy when we take up the question of what ‘mind’ means as it pertains to the mind/body dichotomy or when we speculate on the nature of the soul. We can’t collect evidence about the mind — except to the extent that everyone seems to have the subjective certainty that they have a mind.
We do, however, know something about the brain and we know how much neurological development is required to execute the sort of computations that we associate with certain cognitive abilities. Our understanding of the brain leads us to realize that very young fetuses or embryos don’t have sufficiently developed brains to do the kind of thinking that would allow them to perceive or to reflect. That may not prove that they don’t have minds, but it does indicate that their minds can’t be experiencing the sort of things our minds experience (by the way, an infant’s brain isn’t sufficiently developed for its mind to experience what our minds experience).
Neither a blastocyst nor a Terry Schiavo has a functioning brain. They don’t have the ability to do the mental things that you or I can do. That’s a scientific statement. A moral statement would be, “Only people with a certain level of mental ability have the right to live.” It’s a statement I’d disagree with. I believe that there is no mental prerequisite for having the right to live. I think that every living human has the human right to live. People with disabilities are still people. Undeveloped people are still people. People who can’t advocate for themselves or make sense of their situation are still people. I’m convinced that we humanize ourselves by granting human rights to those who lack the abilities we enjoy. I think we dehumanize ourselves when we put ourselves above those who can’t do what we do.
You use the expression ‘fully human body’. Do you mean fully developed body? Isn’t an undeveloped human still human? I actually like reflecting on the fact that my dignity isn’t dependent upon my level of development or accomplishment — the only way I have to assert that dignity for myself is to grant it to others.
I don’t know how people are going to resolve these moral considerations but I think it would help if we realize that scientific understanding isn’t going to shed any light on the moral problem.
Paul Bradford, Pro-Life Catholics for Choice



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