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posted by awelborn

A Catholic college commencement speaker brouhaha

The surgeon, author and former ABC medical correspondent was hours away from leaving her home in California when she received a fax from University of Saint Francis President Sister M. Elise Kriss.

The letter informed Snyderman that the offer to speak had been rescinded.

“The university recently received information from (D’Arcy) containing comments by you on the topic of abortion, and these comments appear to be contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,” the letter read. “As a Catholic university, we have no choice but to rescind our invitation.”

No keynote speaker will be featured at the event, but D’Arcy and U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, will receive honorary degrees and likely speak during the commencement.

Snyderman said she was disappointed by the school’s, and D’Arcy’s, decision.

“This is a poor step in my opinion, such a poor show of faith in a world where people aren’t even coming to the table to talk about their differences,” Snyderman said. “To assume you know what someone thinks or stands for is very dangerous.”

Attempts to reach Kriss and D’Arcy on Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

During the story on “Good Morning America,” Snyderman discussed a woman who had suffered from infertility, but then had become pregnant with septuplets, Snyderman said.

Paraphrasing her previous report, Snyderman said it “was imprudent to deliver seven babies,” and said many doctors will suggest “selective reduction” – using abortion to reduce the number of fetuses to two or three or four – to increase the chances of survival for the remaining fetuses.

But Snyderman, an Episcopalian, said it was a medical report, not an _expression of her personal beliefs.



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Sean Gallagher

posted April 28, 2004 at 1:29 pm


Ah yes, carrying on the old Anglican (and, perhaps, more broadly human) tradition of compartmentalizing our faith…



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Patrick Sweeney

posted April 28, 2004 at 1:31 pm


So why doesn’t Nancy let us know what she believes? Why didn’t Rebecca Green of the Fort Wayne Gazette ask?
You call that journalism?



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Nance

posted April 28, 2004 at 1:41 pm


And what if she had? Is there a checklist for commencement speakers — birth control / abortion / death penalty / Real Presence and so on? Get in line with the ideology or no podium for you? What about non-Catholic ones? Are they required to toe the Vatican line?
More to the point: Why was she even invited to speak if she’s going to be held to a standard that isn’t even her faith? If the University of St. Francis feels the need to keep their students in a Catholic cocoon until the very moment they’re handed their diplomas, they should have asked someone else to be commencement speaker. I nominate the bishop who pulled the plug and insulted a fine woman.



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Franklin Jennings

posted April 28, 2004 at 1:45 pm


Boy, you’d think a distinguished journalist would read the whole article.
The Bishop who pulled the plug will most likely be giving an address at the graduation, seeing as he is there to receive an honourary degree anyway.
It isn’t a matter of keeping them in a cocoon, but rather not handing a speaking platform to someone with decidedly un-catholic (I’d say inhumane to boot) beliefs.
Its rather like being shocked that Morehouse won’t be inviting David Duke anytime soon.



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Nance

posted April 28, 2004 at 1:54 pm


Boy, you’d think a distinguished contrarian like you, Franklin, might think things through a little more. Is a medical journalist who mentions abortion in a report now the equivalent of David Duke? To this crowd, I guess so. Having spoken to Nancy Snyderman professionally and privately, I can tell you that to even suggest a thing is not only ignorant, it’s pratically slanderous. Snyderman is not only a generous person and a fabulous speaker with a deep and abiding love for young people and her hometown, she has a great deal of wisdom to impart to others. If you knew the first thing about her, you’d know that her decision to continue an unplanned, out-of-wedlock pregnancy was one of the signal events of her life, one she’s written and spoken about often. However, knowing what I now know about the people who run USF, I’d say she’s much too good for the likes of them.



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S.F.

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:14 pm


Nance,
So…… Is she for or against legalized abortion?
Note: The acceptable answers are “for,” “against,” or “I don’t know.”



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Nance

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:18 pm


I don’t know.
My question for you: If it was so important, why didn’t the administration of USF ask that question of her when they extended their invitation two years ago?



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John

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:24 pm


Nance:
If you are not a Catholic, you should know that being pro-life is not a house rule but a doctrine as in ‘thou shalt not kill.’ Inviting someone with contrary beleifs to an important public event (an honor of sorts) at the collage would be a source of scandal for the faithful Catholic.
If you claim to be Catholic, time to see your spiritual advisor or just read the CCC.



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Franklin Jennings

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:37 pm


Actually, according to the writer of the article, Snyderman admits that she herself said on ABC that it “was imprudent to deliver seven babies”. She then says that doctors will reccomend “selective reduction.” In the interview, she makes a very clear distinction between her own opinion and that of “many doctors.”
I will note that in your response to me, you never even begin to posit that she is, indeed, pro-life. Merely that she herself chose life once, and for that she should be applauded. But when the question is “Is she pro-life?”, an answer that talks about her love for young people and the wisdom she has to impart is no answer at all.
Good try though. I do find it interesting that you almost never come out of lurker mode unless it is to comment on abortion. I know why I have a one-track mind (mmm…doughnuts.) Why do you?



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amy

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:45 pm


Now, Franklin.
Nance is also a Fort Wayne person….although she’s had a sabbatical this year. So there’s a connection.
And one has to wonder how this emerged at this point, when plans have been made for ages.



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Franklin Jennings

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:45 pm


According to the University’s statement, the information ont he ABC report was provided by Bishop D’Arcy himself. Now, maybe the good bishop decided to sit on it until the last minute to inconvenience Ms. Snyderman, or to embarass the University. Or he only recently learned of her comments and acted with all possible haste.
In charity, I’ll assume the latter until one of the former is demonstrated.



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S.F.

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:47 pm


Nance writes, “If it was so important, why didn’t the administration of USF ask that question of her when they extended their invitation two years ago?”
It probably wasn’t so important to them until a few pro-lifers complained to the bishop, and he told them to disinvite. Next question.



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Franklin Jennings

posted April 28, 2004 at 2:48 pm


As for the Fort Wayne connection, I am very much aware. However, that does not explain, in the least, the posting pattern I have noticed since coming to your blog. Nancy Nall certainly owes me no explanation, but I think I am well within my rights to ask such a question, not only after noticing it myself but another poster commenting on it in a thread several weeks (months?) previous.



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Annie

posted April 28, 2004 at 3:20 pm


Ms. Snyderman’s comments on GMA do not seem, on the surface, to warrant her disinvitation.
On the other hand, one of the greatest obstacles in teaching young people about the mortal sin of abortion is that so many pleasant, educated, reasonable people regard abortion as a compassionate service. People think, “If that person thinks it is okay, it must be”. Having these people receive honors from a Catholic school muddies the water and the thinking even more.



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Cheryl

posted April 28, 2004 at 4:22 pm


As Franklin points out, the article says, “paraphrasing her previous report, Snyderman said it “was imprudent to deliver seven babies.” Yeah, Snyderman is a medical journalist, but she also promotes herself as a surgeon and expert on “women’s health over 40.” When a surgeon and women’s health expert says something like “imprudent to deliver seven babies,” it seems pretty clear to me what she thinks ought to happen. And beyond that, if Snyderman believes otherwise and was merely demonstrating unbiased reporting in her capacity as a “medical journalist,” why is she bemoaning the dis-invitation as a “poor show of faith in a world where people aren’t even coming to the table to talk about their differences”?
A commencement address, Dr. Snyderman, is not a forum in which people come together to “talk about their differences.” It’s a one-way communication in which one person imparts their words of wisdom and hundreds (or thousands) of young people and their families listen. Should the powers-that-be at this little university have done their homework better before inviting her? Probably. But you could also argue that they did the right thing when they found out about her public comments, albeit embarrassingly late.
You may have noticed, Nance, that when the Catholic Church takes its stand on abortion, it doesn’t say that only Catholics should be against abortion. Therefore, the fact that Snyderman is Episcopalian is irrelevant. Beyond that, I’ll just say that Franklin isn’t the only one who notices your lurking and delurking habits. Not to mention classic Nance comments like “toe the Vatican line”…”keep them in a Catholic cocoon”…” and, of course, my personal favorite in this latest exchange: “…is a medical journalist who mentions abortion in a report now the equivalent of David Duke? To THIS CROWD, I guess so.”
That crowd would be those of us who toe the Vatican line in our Catholic cocoons, right? Oh wait. I must be mistaken. You’re a tolerant and unbiased journalist yourself, correct?



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Dave McDonald

posted April 28, 2004 at 4:34 pm


Land-a-Goshen!
What a loving inspiring crowd. My cup runneth over. Every discussion here seems to turn out exactly the same.
A litmus test to be elected…
A litmus test to receive communion…
A litmus test to deliver a commencement address…
Here’s an idea! Why don’t we all get tattoos on our foreheads concisely describing which core beliefs we hold so that the priest can quickly review them whenever we present ourselves for communion.
A real time-saver!



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Mike Petrik

posted April 28, 2004 at 4:56 pm


Hey Dave,
So the Catholic Church has no business telling (i)a slave-owning Jew killing Nazi that he should refrain from Communion or (ii) voters not to vote for such a person or (iii) Catholic schools that it should not invite such a person to deliver a commencemtn speech, right?
Now you may say that abortion is not the same because it is no big deal, but you see we know it is. We oppose the targeted deliberate killing of helpless innocents. We are funny that way.



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Joanne

posted April 28, 2004 at 4:59 pm


Great points by Annie.
Just curious though: I am not inclined to agree with Nance, but what difference does it make on what topics she posts?
And Dave, sarcasm does not elevate a discussion. It is sometimes a bad habit of mine too and I am trying to change – especially when I see how unattractive it is in people.



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Maureen

posted April 28, 2004 at 5:08 pm


Generally, a commencement speaker is supposed to be someone admirable. I would say that good moral character and a respect for human life are prerequisites for being considered admirable. Beyond that, of course, you must have done and/or said many admirable things.
Now, it is true that even the most admirable persons may turn out to have feet of clay. However, it is unwise for someone wishing to be a commencement speaker to take off one’s shoes and go bareclay on a national talk show. It would be equally unwise for the university to pretend that such a thing did not happen, as it could only result in humiliation for both the speaker and school. Moreover, graduation is an occasion which is supposed to focus attention on the achievement of the students, with the speaker doing her best to inspire the students. A controversial commencement speaker would make herself and the controversy the center of the day, not the students.
Anyway, if someone asked me not to do a commencement speech, I wouldn’t be talking to the press about it. Whether I were “disappointed” or not, it would be the university’s decision to invite or uninvite me. I would scarcely want to publicize the matter.



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Diane

posted April 28, 2004 at 5:29 pm


Franklin Jennings,
“lurker mode”? Because I mostly read and comment little I’m considered a lurker? I don’t like that – I guess I’ll stop reading and “lurking”.



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Annie

posted April 28, 2004 at 5:35 pm


Some people see a conflict between Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God being open to all people and the Catholic Church having “litmus tests”. I would not characterize condemning the act of promoting abortion as a litmus test, however.
Perhaps it would be better to think that the while the Kingdom of God IS indeed open to all people, it is not open to all behaviors. We keep ourselves out by our own behaviors and attitudes. It is not about punishing people, but about bearing witness to the Truth that Jesus shared with us.
And, yes, that Truth is often at odds with our own desires and plans.



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Maclin Horton

posted April 28, 2004 at 6:08 pm


Diane–
“lurker” is not a derogatory term, at least it didn’t use to be in the old Usenet days, which is where and when I think it originated. It was just a somewhat humorous term for someone who reads but doesn’t post. Everybody knows that people have all sorts of good reasons for “lurking,” ranging from simple diffidence to political considerations (e.g. “my boss might see this & hold it against me”)–although I guess the latter is less of a problem where it’s easy to be anonymous (which it wasn’t on Usenet). Anyway, don’t let it discourage you.



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Steve M.

posted April 28, 2004 at 6:43 pm


Speaking as a longtime (and proud) lurker, I will quote from “Casti Connubii.” Here is Pius XI on Who applies the “litmus test”: “Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent…Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother’s womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven.”



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Diane

posted April 28, 2004 at 7:05 pm


Thank you MACLIN HORTON, I think I’ll go google you now – I guess I am a lurker at heart.



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chris K

posted April 28, 2004 at 7:43 pm


“imprudent to deliver seven babies,”
um … did I hear her say that it is also “imprudent” for physicians who treat for infertility to intentionally set a minimum of several “babies” when experimenting with those powerful drugs?? Or … for in-vitro clinics to be storing thousands of “babies” with no recourse to ethics in their treatments for the results?? Both of those instances are also against Catholic teaching. We’ve got a few other people involved here I’d say.



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Joanne

posted April 28, 2004 at 8:49 pm


Amen, Annie (again), and Chris K.
Chris, I agree that in spite of a potential good outcome, ie, an infertile couple conceives a child, there is not a whole lot that is ethical about overimplanting when you know you probably will have to eliminate the surplus, if the “product” you’re talking about is a human life. Those “seven babies” didn’t just appear there out of the blue. They were put there by a very deliberate process.
And what about those who “make the cut” in the selective reduction process? How would you feel knowing that your parents eliminated some of your siblings in utero? I’d feel some betrayal, as well as resentment that my parents took brothers and sisters from me. I’d also feel creeped out by the notion that it could have been me that was eliminated!



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Todd

posted April 28, 2004 at 9:36 pm


Peace, all.
Charity seems alive and well on this thread. So wonderful to see the solid line on abortion well defined and defended while everything else erodes around it.
It would seem to me that Bishop D’Arcy has blundered a possible teaching moment in return for saving his PR behind with rad pro-lifers. One easy task to do (easier than footing the bill for an unused plane ticket and attempting to spin a PR fiasco) would be to simply call Snyderman, humbly present his dilemma, and request a clarification. That, my friends, it what liberals call dialogue. Amazingly enough, it can be meaningful, as well as educational. Not to mention polite, charitable, and respectful.
Regarding the speaker’s comment, “To assume you know what someone thinks or stands for is very dangerous,” all I can say is it would be interesting if Snyderman were a Catholic, and D’Arcy’s cancellation were the cause of scandal to a person who indeed might be pro-life. A canonist might have a field day with the resultant fisking. Even Rod Dreher might show up for that display of episcopal haplessness.



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michigancatholic

posted April 28, 2004 at 10:20 pm


I suspect they didn’t think it made much difference before the **** hit the fan in the last year or two. It DOES make a difference at a school that’s supposed to be Catholic.



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michigancatholic

posted April 28, 2004 at 10:22 pm


Indeed, some people are realizing how much it actually does count; some people are playing lip service to how much it counts; and some people (look up a bit) are just fighting tooth and nail because they think it counts that we are as heretically confusing as possible because they like it that way!! It makes em feel “cutting-edge-cool,” vicarious sin, I guess….go figure.



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john hearn

posted April 28, 2004 at 10:25 pm


“Rad prolifers” Todd? So I guess that makes you a “moderate prolifer” who only gets moderately upset when the clinic down the street kills its 100th baby this week? Or maybe you only get “concerned” about these things once in a while, and then go on and worried about the social justice aspects of the Church’s ban on condom use in South Africa. Or maybe you’re just a little prolife like John Kerry, who never lets his personal scruples against abortion interfere with his political career. All of these are good just so long as your not “rad prolife.”



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Puzzled

posted April 28, 2004 at 10:52 pm


The term “lurker” comes from the ’90s S-F TV show Babylon 5.
It isn’t a term of derogation.



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James Kabala

posted April 28, 2004 at 11:17 pm


This is a no-brainer. This isn’t someone who can claim to be “personally opposed” or that abortion is wrong but should remain legal because of “our pluralistic society,” or “prudential reasons,” or some such garbage. This is a woman who pointed to a specific case and said of some real, not hypothetical children – “It was imprudent to deliver them” – i.e., “these children should have been aborted.” I wonder if the children whose murder she publicly called for would consider “a fine woman.”



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James Kabala

posted April 28, 2004 at 11:20 pm


Joanne -
Nance is a friend of Amy who apparently reads the blog regularly out of genuine friendship, but who nonetheless only comments to make snide and sarcastic remarks about pro-lifers and believers in traditional sexual morality. So, it’s not surprising that some other posters are less than fond of her.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 29, 2004 at 5:46 am


Aside from his “rad prolifer” reference, I agree with Todd’s second paragraph. How things are handled matters. Diplomacy and charity should not be abandoned. One sees chanceries act officiously rather than pastorally all too often. The decision to disinvite may well have been appropiate (indeed it probably was), but it was handled badly.



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Charles R. Williams

posted April 29, 2004 at 6:42 am


I doubt that we know the full story here. After all what we have is a short article from a newspaper.
What is clear is that a physician who tolerates the practice of induced abortion or speaks of abortion in terms of choice and prudence – as if the practice were tolerable – is not the sort of person a Catholic institution should honor in any way.



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted April 29, 2004 at 6:52 am


Quite frankly, I’m surprised to see a chancery act at all, let alone “officiously” or “pastorally.”
Is Snyderman pro-life or pro-abortion? Is she telling? Or were we supposed to discover this in the midst of her commencement speech at a Catholic college? I agree that this has been badly handled, and the vetting process leaves much to be desired. But there is a bottom line here, and it is about Catholic morality, especially now, when so much attention is trained upon Catholic reactions to the question of abortion.
In light of so many people wanting to tell off the Church [even in this blog], and many having no qualms about how public that would be, when we have had an entertainer come to the Vatican to perform and then use that venue as a pulpit for an anti-Church tirade, I can understand the uneasiness and defensiveness of Bishop D’Arcy. While his timing and means are crude, I can understand his decision. I find it less than amusing that in these times when there are still so many Catholics who are very clearly confused about moral issues [and I really don't think we need to rehash about why they are confused; save the ironical pose about the bishops' ineptitude], here we have a bishop who acts to pre-empt any continuance of confusion, and we have people speaking on behalf of tolerance, open-mindedness. Well, it’s that tolerance and open-mindedness that gives us such shining lights in the pro-life movement as Sens. Kerry, Kennedy, Dodd, Durbin, et al. If that’s what some want, why not call for replacing Snyderman with one of those politicians? I can understand the bishop’s suspicion of members of the media, who certainly come across as having more in common with those aforementioned politicians than they do with the Magisterium.



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Maureen

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:00 am


Actually, the term “lurker” on Babylon 5 (a sort of homeless person not paying money for station services, like air or roomspace) was a deliberate reference to the term “lurker” on Usenet and other computer networks and bulletin boards.
And indeed, it is not derogatory to say that someone is a “lurker” on a particular newsgroup, page or comment board, because all it means is that such a person reads the group but does not comment, or comments only infrequently. When one does comment after a long time of silence, it is called “unlurking”.
http://people.kldp.org/~eunjea/jargon/?idx=lurker
The Jargon File definition of “lurker”



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Cheryl

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:54 am


I guess it was “imprudent” of me to wield the word “lurker” as I did when I admit I’ve lurked here and elsewhere more than a few times myself. (..and speaking of “imprudent,” I wonder if Dr. Snyderman also addressed the prudence of availing oneself of technology that can create seven babies in the first place in that medical report that got her disinvited as a speaker? I’m guessing not… but I digress.)
So anyway, who am I to judge someone who generally only swoops in to these comment boxes to leave disdainful little missives about “this crowd” and “Catholic cocoons.”
I hearby apologize to Nance and anyone else who took offense. It was really quite judgmental and intolerant of me.



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Maclin Horton

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:30 am


I can’t believe I’m posting this in an otherwise serious discussion, but “lurker” was common usage on the ‘net in the ’80s. (Yes, I’m an old techie–why do you ask?)
Is there a Thomist among us who can express formally the idea that lurking is intrinsically neither good nor bad and its morality is determined by the uses to which it is put?



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Todd

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:59 am


Peace, all.
Actually, the entertainer in question criticized the bishops, not the Church. From what I recall of the media reports of the incident, she was specific in her critique, and most Catholics has no reason to feel personally insulted. I’m sure Rod Dreher applauded her commentary.
And John, I think it is possible to lose perspective on an issue. I can be critical of the tactics of the anti-abortion movement and not lose my affinity for the pro-life cause. I think you and others are just bothered that I don’t conform to your view of what a Faithful Catholic (TM) does and says.



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Franklin Jennings

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:40 am


Is there a Thomist among us who can express formally the idea that lurking is intrinsically neither good nor bad and its morality is determined by the uses to which it is put?
Not I, but I sure hope someone would.
Joanne,
I meant no offense by the term “lurker”, as many have explained. I was commenting on the proclivity to delurk only to throw barbs at pro-lifers, but CHeryl explained that far better than I could.
In fact, Joanne, I would give anything to be able to just lurk, or only delurk on occassion. When my will power breaks and I go on a binge (literally) of posting in various places on various topics, I wind up eventually hurting others, and in turn, myself. This is not the best medium for the kinds of discussions we have here, or at least it isn’t for me. I suppose it’s a tin-ear of sorts. What sounds perfectly reasonable and civil to me leaves some others livid, or deeply hurt. In fact, I have been thinking today of going back to the state I was in during Lent, not even lurking. It avoids the conflicts and bad feelings at least. So if I disappear, I’m likely ok, I have merely decided I shouldn’t be here.



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Liberal Pro-lifer

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:44 am


“Charity seems alive and well on this thread. So wonderful to see the solid line on abortion well defined and defended while everything else erodes around it.”
Gosh, where does snide sarcasm fall on your caritas-meter, buddy?
I mean, I’m a snide SOB, but I don’t act all sanctimonious and Chruch Lady, and scold other people for lacking the milk of human kindness, ya know?
“It would seem to me that Bishop D’Arcy has blundered a possible teaching moment in return for saving his PR behind with rad pro-lifers.”
I don’t think the two ends cancel each other.
The bishop seems to have saved his butt with … pro-lifers, AND had a genine teaching moment.
I’m sure Dr. Snyderman learned something.
She learned that when one calls an action imprudent one is naturally seen as implicitly endorsing its opposite.
And let’s face it, she didn’t have laryngitis (she was “hours” away from making a speech,) so it would have been easy to say these words.
“I am unequivocably pro-life and anti-abortion.”
It’s easy. It’s a lousy 6 words.
ANYONE can say them.
Even you.
Common, try it. Say it.
“I am unequivocably pro-life and anti-abortion.”
You can do it.
Look, I’ll help you out here, I’ll go first — I am unequivocably pro-life and anti-abortion.
So what the Sam Hill is this “rad pro-lifer” in your definition?
I would have thought it was epople like me, who believe in the doctrine of the seamless garment, instead of the cafeteria pro-lifers (“well, yeah, we’re all made in the image and likeness of God, but some of us bear less resemblance to Him than others, so it’s okay to kill them, you know, babies who might be born disabled, or Iraqis, or criminals, or the unborn babies of non-fornicators.”)
Well, I guess if you’re not in my camp, your a RELATIVIST pro-lifer?
“would be to simply call Snyderman, humbly present his dilemma, and request a clarification.”
I agree, the fax? COOOOOOOLD, man.
But the Bishop didn’t send it, did he?
The article says the university president did.
So what was she up to? Having trouble finding Snyderman’s phone number? Really didn’t want the speaker in the first palce and was gladd of the way out? Looking to embarrass the Bishop?
It would be interesting to know.
“”To assume you know what someone thinks or stands for is very dangerous,””
Yup, can be, but probably not unless that someone is TRYING to obfuscate, TRYING to obscure what he thinks or stands for.
It is impossible to ever know that kind of thing for certain, but human social intercourse is based on our meaning what we say, and others drawing logical inferences from what we say (we are free to say MORE, and clarify if something we have said has been misinterpretted.)
I think it is imprudent not to drink human blood.



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CB

posted April 29, 2004 at 1:31 pm


Striking! Not one commentor, lurker or regular, has asked what might be the consensus medical approach to this medical situation?
And if MS Snyderman gave it, isn’t
that her professional duty?
In the old Soviet Union, ideological correctness always trumped scientific consensus or honest opinion. I sure hate to see
Catholics follow that path.



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Eutychus Fell

posted April 29, 2004 at 3:07 pm


I think the consensus medical approach is clear and needn’t be stated to be understood. For ten or fifteen thousand dollars a pop, they’ll remove a batch of eggs, fertilize them, freeze some and implant a batch into your womb. If none catch, they’ll take another ten or fifteen grand and try again. If one or two or three catch, great, you got what you paid for. If four or more catch, they recommand “reducing” your blessings. That a Catholic website holds opinions consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic faith doesn’t seem Soviet Unionistic. I don’t begrudge anyone their successful in-vitro baby or babies. Since science cannot currently control when, or if, or how many babies result, perhaps ideology _should_ trump consensus. Just my honest opinion.



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Fr. Rob Johansen

posted April 29, 2004 at 5:39 pm


The “medical consensus” is hardly a reliable guide to make moral decisions. That consensus shifts at least as much on ideological grounds as it does on scientific or clinical grounds.
50 years ago, it was the consensus of the medical community that abortion was a grave crime, and something no reputable doctor would involve himself with. The prohibition on it went back to the Hippocratic Oath (which, interestingly enough, doctors no longer take anymore, at least in its original form).
Now, a medical student who lets it be known that he won’t perform abortions will have a hard time graduating from medical school. That change in “consensus” had nothing to do with medicine or science, and everything to do with ideology.



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CB

posted April 29, 2004 at 10:24 pm


Eutychus: That’s your opinion-diatribe,
not the medical consensus.
Fr Rob: Do you really expect a non-Catholic
Physician, as is MS Snyderman, to use
the same guide to moral decisions you
do? Or a atheist, Jewish, Muslim,
etc, physician? Isn’t that just
silly?
An anecdote for you: Some years ago I took an lonely elderly neighbor to a movie, whose subject was family life. Returning, he startled me by commenting that between two older and two younger children, he and wife had aborted one. ‘Twas the Depression, he was out of a job, didn’t feel they could handle it.
I inquired how they did it, since it was illegal then. He said it was, but was nobody else’s business, just a private matter between them and their family doctor. Apparently a common viewpoint in that time and place.



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James Kabala

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:44 pm


CB:
I think that the wrongness of abortion should be obvious to almost anyone who is really willing to look at the matter honestly (as it is to many people of all the faiths you mentioned.) I don’t understand why people don’t seem to understand that pro-life Catholics oppose abortion because that really believe that it is a moral horror, not just because they enjoy following orders.
And by the way, one last remark for Nance: I have never heard of USF before, but if it is like the vast majority of Catholic colleges, I think that it is highly unlikely that the students have been living in anything even remotely resembling a “Catholic cocoon.” They’re probably fortunate if they still have their faith.



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Poppi

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:44 am


CB,
You write: “Fr Rob: Do you really expect a non-Catholic
Physician, as is MS Snyderman, to use
the same guide to moral decisions you
do? Or a atheist, Jewish, Muslim,
etc, physician? Isn’t that just
silly?”
Why is that silly? Is the Catholic “guide to moral decisions” something limited to Catholics only? It seems a little arrogant, not to mention “silly”, to suggest that Jews or Muslims couldn’t possibly understand, much less agree with Catholics on issues of morality.
Doesn’t it say somewhere in Natural Law theory that God wrote his laws in our hearts? I think it means everyone’s heart.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:54 am


CB,
Much like slavery in a different time and place.



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Whitcomb

posted April 30, 2004 at 10:58 am


Re Father Johansen:
Don’t most medical schools have an opt-out provision on abortion training? I don’t think you can be compelled to learn how to perform abortions, but I certainly could be wrong.
Yes, 50 years ago the medical consensus was that abortion was something no reputable physician would do. I would say that even today, it carries a tremendous stigma.
Why do I say that?
You don’t hear of many young med school graduates trumpeting that they’re going to open an abortion practice. Most abortion practitioners today are in their 50s and 60s. Their ranks are not being replaced by many young doctors. In fact, this development is a lament of the pro-choicers.
So the supply side seems to be waning.



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c matt

posted April 30, 2004 at 2:20 pm


“A litmus test to be elected . . .”
Or appointed? As in “I will only appoint pro-choice justices”? Hmm… now who was it that trumpets THAT litmus test?



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c matt

posted April 30, 2004 at 2:42 pm


To make sure that you understand me correctly -
I am in favor of litmus tests for elections, appointments, Catholicism, etc. Only an idiot would not use some criteria (i.e., a test) to evaluate someone’s position on various issues – what, only totally ignorant and valueless voting is laudable? Everyone has their litmus tests (liberals even more so than conservatives), we just have different ones.



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