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Wednesday, April 28, 2010



Abortion is indeed a tragedy and scandal. I will not say otherwise. Still, aren't women tempted to abortion through dire circumstances, such as a perceived inability to care for the child or the remote possibility of dying in childbirth?


I should have added, "That is most likely the complexity to which they refer, whether disingenuously or earnestly."

Clare Krishan

A good analysis of our conundrum - now we know "right" how do we "go" right? For if knowledge is relationship [not an atomized "moral" or "immoral" redaction of acts categorized by some impersonal acolyte of the hobby of collecting moralisms] as the Holy Father tells us (quoting a snippet of an earlier posting)

"In his homily at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, Benedict remarked: "Much to our surprise, we are told that life is knowledge. This means first of all that life is a relationship. No one has life from himself and only for himself. We have it from others and in a relationship with others." When I know something, I know that what I know is related to the thing that is known. I know what it is. And I also know that what it is is not something that I placed in it, but something I discovered already in it."

Jurist Mary Ann Glendon proposes, in keeping with established European legal theory, that we cannot "know" the status of a foetus before about 10 weeks, since we must rely on visible cues to gestation that only appear after the mother's body adapts to the growing new person within. Before that we are obliged to cooperate with her "knowledge" of development and also perhaps a putative father's corroborating evidence - his testimony on where he was at time certain. Most young people intuit an empathy with the developing baby recognizing the nurture owed it by its parents and "go" from there "How can we help you in sharing that burden?" whereas older moralists (right or left) identify with the deficits of the parents and pursue a remedy of aborting the product of conception or removing it from the care of the negligent parties by adoption. IMHO neither of these breaches can be construed as "relationship" in the natural sense, only as legal remedies to social dysfunction or felonies.

Perhaps the youth in their innocence have a better way, a more humble sense of our impotence in the early weeks of pregnancy, and we should all focus on the direction the morals are tending in, towards the good, averting the bad, reconizing our own vulnerability in the vulnerability of all nascent life we are seeking to protect? If pre-born life is so very precious to us, lets press for more pastoral care for women suffering early miscarriages? Liturgical innovation may even be necessary, to emphasize the developments in embyology wrought by science. Faith and reason must mean something to the foetus, no, regardless of when it ceased to live? When is a soul a precious soul, only when the parents say so and ask their priest for a burial?
Are we still interring immature life outside the cemetery gates like Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbevilles?


"Liturgical innovation may even be necessary, to emphasize the developments in embyology wrought by science."

Like what, Clare? This is an interesting statement.

I agree in general with some of your comments, Clare. We should be more consistent in how we apply the fact of life beginning at conception to our lives and our worship. The thing is that changes in collective understandings are often (but not always) relatively slow-going. The things we know about the development of life now would have been unthinkable during most of the 20th Century. These things take time.

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