You know things are really screwed up when the politicians don’t take care of themselves. Obamacare is a real disaster.
It also serves as a relevant reminder to the social justice clerics and lesbian religious in the Church who want to get into public policy debates, especially the bishops who pushed this thing a little too much. They need to take responsibility as well.
…The state no longer criminalizes a belief in transubstantiation, mainly because most people have no idea what that is. But they know what sex is, and, if the price of Pierre Trudeau’s assertion that “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” is that the state has to take an ever larger place in the churches and colleges and hospitals and insurance agencies and small businesses of the nation, they’re cool with that. The developed world’s massive expansion of sexual liberty has provided a useful cover for the shriveling of almost every other kind. Free speech, property rights, economic liberty, and the right to self-defense are under continuous assault by Big Government. In New York and California and many other places, sexual license is about the only thing you don’t need a license for.
Even if you profoundly disagree with Pope Paul VI’s predictions that artificial birth control would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality,” the objectification of women, and governments’ “imposing upon their peoples” state-approved methods of contraception, or even if you think he was pretty much on the money but that the collective damage they have done does not outweigh the individual freedom they have brought to many, it ought to bother you that in the cause of delegitimizing two millennia of moral teaching the state is willing to intrude on core rights — rights to property, rights of association, even rights to private conversation. In 2009, David Booker was suspended from his job at a hostel for the homeless run by the Church of England’s Society of St James after a late-night chit-chat with a colleague, Fiona Vardy, in which he chanced to mention that he did not believe that vicars should be allowed to wed their gay partners. Miss Vardy raised no objection at the time, but the following day mentioned the private conversation to her superiors. They recognized the gravity of the situation and acted immediately, suspending Mr. Booker from his job and announcing that “action has been taken to safeguard both residents and staff.” If you let private citizens run around engaging in free exercise of religion in private conversation, there’s no telling where it might end.
And so the peoples of the West are enlightened enough to have cast off the stultifying oppressiveness of religion for a world in which the state regulates every aspect of life. In 1944, at a terrible moment of the most terrible century, Henri de Lubac wrote a reflection on Europe’s civilizational crisis, Le drame de l’humanisme athee. By “atheistic humanism,” he meant the organized rejection of God — not the freelance atheism of individual skeptics but atheism as an ideology and political project in its own right. As M. de Lubac wrote, “It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man.” “Atheistic humanism” became inhumanism in the hands of the Nazis and Communists and, in its less malign form in today’s European Union, a kind of dehumanism in which a present-tense culture amuses itself to extinction. “Post-Christian Europe” is a bubble of 50-year-old retirees, 30-year-old students, empty maternity wards . . . and a surging successor population already restive to move beyond its Muslim ghettoes….(Source)
Mark Steyn gets it…and he makes this great observation:
When the president claims that “I am my brother’s keeper,” what he means is that the government should be his brother’s keeper. And, for the most part, the Catholic Church agreed. They were gung ho for Obamacare. It never seemed to occur to them that, if you agitate for state health care, the state gets to define what health care is.
Did the American bishops really believe that Obama was their Health Care Saviour. And that his support for infanticide was a “separate issue”? Good grief. But God has mercy on his people: the era of “social justice” bishops is thankfully coming to a close. If you want a sign of hope, just praise the Lord when you hear about another episcopal retirement.
The family only asked to bring Joseph home; but to do so would require Joseph to be capable of breathing on his own. This is why they requested that a tracheotomy be done. A tracheotomy is not a difficult procedure; it is not futile, burdensome or extra-ordinary. (Source)
This whole tragedy would have been avoided if the parents retained their proper authority in our current culture of death. And what stops the parents from exercising their authority in this matter?
…At the time, I remarked to peers in medicine and to groups I was invited to address that there had to be much more to this story than meets the eye. No Catholic hospital faithful to the ERD’s ad the Magisterium, within a stone’s throw of several other hospitals, makes such a decision, especially without consulting the local bishop. I opined, and was pilloried for it, that Sister McBride was presiding over a shadow healthcare system that was active in promoting an agenda that ran counter to the mission of the Church. Nobody commits first-degree murder as a first crime. No Catholic hospital administrator, especially a professed religious, signs off on such an abortion for the first time in the manner in which Sister McBride conducted herself. There was an arrogance, an independent and defiant air about it that pointed to something deeper and darker, something that would eventually come to light. This past week, Bishop Olmsted shared with the world the extent to which there has been a shadow system operating for over a quarter of a century, performing abortions, sterilizations, and dispensing all manner of contraception. Sister McBride, as it has now been revealed, is hardly the compassionate administrator who made a good-faith, though horrific decision…(Source)
Bishop Olmsted’s necessary and courageous action could very well jolt the Catholic Church back to life, and force the lavendar mafia in the Episcopacy out into the open to either declare themselves for or against the Catholic faith. In fact, it’s already started to happen. Sad to say but much of the Catholic Church is controlled by homosexuals, homosexualists, feminists, communists, socialists, eco-freaks, heretics, and limp-wristed, cowardly men.
It’s the truth and everyone knows it. On the bright side, however, if you want proof of her Divine origin, you only have to wonder in amazement how those who hold the levers of power have not been able to change her divine teaching.
In this country, we will continue to shine the light and turn up the pressure on Church officials – bishop and bureaucrat alike. No one is safe. And no one will be spared. No matter who they may be. (This is not hyperbole either. When one invites noted dissenters to the address the club, you know the club needs to be shaken and cleaned out.) If an allegation is true and any Church official is playing fast and loose with human life or going against magisterial teaching, we’re going after them with everything we’ve got. That’s not something that we like to do. It’s something we engage in with trepidation and a cold sobriety, but it is work that must be done nonetheless.
In Canada for instance, St. Joseph’s “Catholic” fetal euthanasia centre is still humming along on all cylinders, from what I can see. Has there been a change in policy there? I don’t think so. If there has been, there’s been no report about it. In fact, back in March 2009, Bishop Fabbro “ordered” an investigation into the anti-life practice of St. Joseph’s:
“The investigation is still in process,” Mark Adkinson, spokesman for Bishop Fabbro said. “The bishop does see it as a priority.” Fabbro has written to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the Church body responsible for maintaining Catholic doctrine throughout the world, to advise them of the situation. (Source)
March 2009. In a few months, it will be March 2011. Two years and we will still have not heard a word. Some priority.
2011 is going to be a year of shifting, purging and pain.
This past weekend, St. Maurice parish, showed what a Faith-filled community can do when it comes together. Our recent initiative called Light A Candle of Joy! raised close to $9,000 for a fellow parishioner who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Socon or Bust wishes to thank the modest number of Socon or Bust readers who also contributed to the pot.
Aside from the obvious benefit for this parishioner and her family, I was floored by the amazing sense of resolve, unity, and love displayed over the weekend masses. It has brought our parish together like no other event has. It was, in short, an act of God. There were many other “side stories” which came out of this wonderful event, too numerous to recount but, suffice it say, Light A Candle of Joy ended up blessing the parishioners who participated in it, as much as it did for the recipient of the parish’s generosity. This event will have ripple effects that will be felt well past this weekend.
For all of the clap-trap we hear about “social justice” and the scandalous and fraudulent waste of millions of dollars that has been blown over the past forty years by our official “social justice” agencies in the Catholic Church, this event has helped restore in me, at least, a sense of integrity and true charity in the local church’s mission. It has also taught me a rather profound truth concerning suffering: where love abounds for suffering persons, they can tolerate incredible pain, but where love is strangled, little suffering can be endured. A society that is moving towards Euthanasia is a society devoid of love. It is a society that is good for nothing, and will end up destroying itself, and hence fulfill the prophesy of Our Lord Jesus Christ who said “the meek shall inherit the earth”.
This weekend St. Maurice parish showed itself to be, once again, awake and alive in love.
I’m at war with the world and they
Try to pull me into the dark I struggle to find my faith
In its glorious past (and hopefully in its glorious future), the Catholic Church in the West was really big on delivering genuine health care. We need only notice the names of many hospitals. Many religious congregations who established these hospitals dedicated them to a famous Saint. At one time, the Catholic Church considered it part of its evangelistic mission to treat the sick and to offer corporal acts of mercy. That seems like a long time ago.
Today, the Catholic influence in health care is in serious jeopardy, with many Catholic hospitals under pressure to compromise their principles with the culture of death. We have also lost the personal dimension of delivering this kind of charity with the rise of the secular state. Everything now seems to be one big bureaucracy. Everything is automated. Everything is sterilized. Everything is neat and tidy. Everything is measured in terms of “quality of life” – as in, if you are sick and your “quality of life” does not measure up to the Death Board’s standards, you’re out of luck. Family members are then promptly urged to expedite termination. And the bureaucracy gets its 20% cut in administration fees, too. When the Church loses influence and the State takes over, this is the sad result. Where the personal dimenion of charity and self-sacrifice is lost, true charity, good health care, and efficient delivery are the next casualties, after the patient-victim.
But we can change all that. We can bring back Catholic health care and charity to its personal, direct dimension which offers a Christian, personal contact and cuts out the inefficient bureaucratic layers.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta told us that charity begins at home. Catholics have been great at sharing their generosity in health care with the wider public, but now it’s time to look after our own, too. First in our homes, then in our parishes then, and only then, in our wider community.
In fact, that’s just what my parish at St. Maurice is going to do this weekend. It’s called, “Light a Candle of Joy!” We’re going to engage in some fundraising for a parishioner who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Health care in Ontario these days, after all, is not exactly that great, and it’s going to get worse because we don’t have the workforce to sustain the public system. You can blame abortion and contraception, for that, by the way.
The fundraiser is going to be a kind of raffle. Tickets are $2 each and there will be 30 Gift Baskets (perfect for this time of year). You deposit your ticket in the box in front of the desired basket(s). Buy many tickets and deposit them into as many baskets as you fancy.
All proceeds will go to the parishioner’s family to defray costs in treating her condition.
Please come on out and help us bring back Catholic health care to a personal level.
The government is not our Saviour in this life or the next. We need to stop believing it is, and instead believe in our Faith, in each other, and in the power of local church to touch those in our midst, to transform us into more humane people, and to renew our culture.
How they laughed! But what was striking was the thinking behind Obama’s line: that anyone can buy a truck for a slick ad, that Brown’s pickup was a prop – like the herd of cows Al Gore rented for a pastoral backdrop when he launched his first presidential campaign. Or the “Iron Chef” TV episode featuring delicious healthy recipes made with produce direct from Michelle Obama’s “kitchen garden”: The cameras filmed the various chefs meeting the first lady and then picking choice organic delicacies from the White House crop, and then, for the actual cooking, the show sent out for stunt-double vegetables from a grocery back in New York. Viewed from Obama’s perspective, why wouldn’t you assume the truck’s just part of the set? “In his world,” wrote The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, “everything is political, and everything is about appearances.”
Howard Fineman, the increasingly loopy editor of the increasingly doomed Newsweek, took it a step further. The truck wasn’t just any old prop but a very particular kind: “In some places, there are codes, there are images,” he told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. “You know, there are pickup trucks, you could say there was a racial aspect to it one way or another.”
Ah, yes. Scott Brown has over 200,000 miles on his odometer. Man, he’s racked up a lot of coded racism on that rig. But that’s easy to do in notorious cross-burning KKK swamps like suburban Massachusetts.
Whenever aspiring writers ask me for advice, I usually tell ‘em this:
Don’t just write there, do something. Learn how to shingle a roof, or tap-dance, or raise sled dogs. Because if you don’t do anything, you wind up like Obama and Fineman – men for whom words are props and codes and metaphors but no longer expressive of anything real.
As Socon or Bust readers know, Fr. Michael Prieur has had a long history of unorthodox beliefs in the area of sexual ethics, including his support of the infamous Winnipeg Statement which effectively opened the floodgates of abortion in Canada through its dissent from Humanae Vitae. Furthermore, Fr. Prieur’s moral theology is rooted in proportionalism, which maintains that it is not possible, in many cases, to formulate an absolute prohibition against certain types of behaviours or actions which are inherently evil. In 1993, Pope John Paul II condemned this thinking in his monumental encyclical Veritatis Splendor:
“But as part of the effort to work out such a rational morality (for this reason it is sometimes called an “autonomous morality” ) there exist false solutions, linked in particular to an inadequate understanding of the object of moral action. Some authors do not take into sufficient consideration the fact that the will is involved in the concrete choices which it makes: these choices are a condition of its moral goodness and its being ordered to the ultimate end of the person. Others are inspired by a notion of freedom which prescinds from the actual conditions of its exercise, from its objective reference to the truth about the good, and from its determination through choices of concrete kinds of behaviour. According to these theories, free will would neither be morally subjected to specific obligations nor shaped by its choices, while nonetheless still remaining responsible for its own acts and for their consequences. This “teleologism”, as a method for discovering the moral norm, can thus be called — according to terminology and approaches imported from different currents of thought — “consequentialism” or “proportionalism”. The former claims to draw the criteria of the rightness of a given way of acting solely from a calculation of foreseeable consequences deriving from a given choice. The latter, by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation.” (Veritatis Splendor, 75)
Indeed, this proportionalism is the consistent, underlying philosophy which undergirds much of Fr. Prieur’s theological and moral positions on a whole host of issues. The following paper will examine three of Fr. Prieur’s public and problematic positions: the Winnipeg Statement, the Fetal Euthanasia policy of St. Joseph’s hopital in London Ontario, and Fr. Prieur’s position on stem cell research as proposed in a paper he co-authored in 2006.
Fr. Michael Prieur has been a stalwart defender of the Winnipeg Statement, the pastoral document issued by the Canadian bishops shortly after the release of Pope Paul VI’s monumental encyclical Humanae Vitae which rejected contraception as a form of birth control. Despite repeated requests for Fr. Prieur to recant his position by faithful Catholics including the ever vigilant Msgr. Vincent Foy, Fr. Prieur refuses to do so and continues to maintain that the Winnipeg Statement, which told Canadian Catholics that they could contracept “in good conscience”, is consistent with Church teaching. In addition to this scandalous position, LifeSiteNews broke the 2008 story of the fetal euthanasia policy of St. Joseph’s hospital where Fr. Prieur serves as chief ethicist. After it was revealed that early inductions of babies with “lethal anomalies” was being conducted to hasten their deaths, a subsequent controversy ensued which necessitated a further investigation by the Diocese of London. The final instalment of Fr. Prieur’s troubling moral positions involves his approval of the use of embroyonic stem cell lines, derived from destroyed IVF embryos.
“…It is scandalous that the Canadian bishops, in particular the bishop of London, Ronald Fabbro, have done nothing to stop this. Bishop Fabbro launched an investigation in March, eight months ago, but nothing has happened. The fact that he launched this investigation after pro-lifers started raising a stink tells me two things: 1) there is likely something wrong about these practices; 2) pro-lifers can make a difference when they take action against injustice.
Actually, Steve, I think that the Vatican has already responded. I just think the ecclesiastical authorties haven’t released the answer because it will overturn the applecart, and lots of humble pie will have to be eaten.
We know what the answer is going to be. Catholic Morality 101 already tells us. And it’s not going to change.
My suspicion is that we will never get an official answer from the Diocese of London. They’re just hoping the whole thing blows over. But it’s not going to blow over. The blogosphere is not going to let this go until St. Joseph’s either conforms to Catholic morality or stops pretending to be a Catholic hospital.
A Tennessee hospital is facing a possible emergency injunction after Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed legal papers today to save the life of nine-month-old Gabriel Palmer. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says it may abandon his medical care, resulting in the child’s death.
Baby Gabriel was born prematurely with a genetic abnormality, club foot, and narrow airway, but he flourished when he went home from the hospital in June.
There, he grew, played, and received physical therapy while going to regular doctor visits. He was fed through a tube and received some oxygen and medications.
On an October weekend, when the baby’s regular doctors were unavailable, Catherine Palmer took her son to the ETCH emergency room because of breathing problems. After interventions by the medical staff, the baby went into shock, developed pulmonary vascular disease, and was placed on a respirator.
ETCH recently began giving up on Baby Gabriel’s care, and on Nov. 13, the head of ETCH’s PICU, Dr. Kevin Brinkman, told Palmer that the hospital was going to stop feeding him milk and giving him his medications, as well as disconnect his respirator, because the staff considered his care “futile.”
Brinkman said a formal “ethics panel” meeting today would determine whether to stop treating Baby Gabriel, but he noted that the decision was already a foregone conclusion.
Ethics panel members have already said they will decide to cease the baby’s care despite his mother’s objections. ETCH’s policies declare that treatment can be withdrawn over the family’s objections as soon as the ethics panel makes its decision.
After doctors decided that Baby Gabriel was not worth treating, ETCH started discriminating against him by denying his basic care. Staff stopped bathing him, ceased applying cream to alleviate his chapped skin, reduced his diaper changes, and have not allowed his physical therapy.
ETCH doctors have also discouraged Palmer’s attempts to have her son transferred to other medical facilities where he could receive treatment.
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an emergency motion in court this afternoon to save Gabriel’s life.
“A disability should not be a death sentence. No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is not worth saving,” ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told LifeNews.com.
“Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital need to do the right thing and make sure Baby Gabriel gets the treatment he needs to live. He is loved by his mother, is in stable condition, and could live for a long time. The hospital’s treatment–or lack thereof–of this helpless little boy is simply inhuman,” he said.
Bowman indicated the hospital did not change course after a letter sent Friday by an ADF-cooperating attorney on behalf of Catherine Palmer which urged hospital officials to continue his medical treatment.
Hospital staff told Catherine Palmer that they will no longer provide medical care for her baby despite her objections.
Although the baby is on a respirator and medications to treat pulmonary vascular problems, he is stable and a doctor says he could live for a long time.
An ETCH doctor determined he could live “a long while.”
ADF indicates Gabriel is alert, active, and responsive when not sedated. In recent days while awake, he spent time kicking his feet, tried to play with his stuffed animals, listened to his mother and grandmother, and responded to his favorite music.
ADF filed the motion for restraining order and injunction in Palmer v. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Association with the Chancery Court for Knox County, which has set a hearing before Chancellor Darrel Fansler for later this afternoon.
ADF-allied attorney John Threadgill of Knoxville is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit. (Source)
Late last year, LifeSiteNews.com broke the scandalous story of the early induction procedures at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in London. In the context of this story, the “early induction” procedure relates to the induction of labour in pregnant women in cases of diagnosed “lethal fetal anomalies”. In an “early induction”, the mother is induced into labor at a point so early in the pregnancy that even a healthy child would be unable to live outside the womb without specialized intensive care; under such circumstances, a severely disabled child would likely not live more than minutes.
“It is clear that before ‘viability’ it is never permitted to terminate the gestation of an anencephalic child as the means of avoiding psychological or physical risks to the mother. Nor is such termination permitted after ‘viability’ if early delivery endangers the child’s life due to complications of prematurity. Only if the complications of the pregnancy result in a life-threatening pathology of the mother, may the treatment of this pathology be permitted even at a risk to the child, and then only if the child’s death is not a means to treating the mother”.
The U.S. bishops recognized that a child may be permitted to die in a medical procedure only in circumstances which follow a clear set of moral conditions encapsulated in the principle of “double effect”:
1) The action contemplated be, in itself, either morally good or morally indifferent;
2) The bad result not be directly intended;
3) The good result not be a direct causal result of the bad result (i.e. evil may not be used to cause good);
4) The good result be “proportionate to” the bad result. (Note: the context of “proportionalism” understood within the context of all four conditions stated here is not the same situation condemned by John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor which sought to condemn this principle when applied apart from other moral considerations).
The most common application of these moral principles is in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. In the case of an ecoptic pregnancy, an ethical approach is to remove all or part of the fallopian tube i.e. salpingectomy, and to not attack the unborn child directly. See discussion of this approach here.
In regards to the principles listed above, they play out this way:
1) The act of removing the fallopian tube is morally neutral.
2) Removing the fallopian tube is for the purpose of directly helping the mother; not for killing the baby which is an unintended result.
3) The good result of saving the mother’s life is not caused DIRECTLY by the death of the unborn child. It is caused by the removal of the fallopian tube.
4) Saving the mother’s life is proportionate to saving the life of the child.
In the case of St. Joseph’s hospital, its guidelines on this subject do not even really broach this area, however, because the reasons for hastening the death of the child was not to address the pathology of the mother as in the case of an ectopic pregnancies, but rather the pathology of the child, so-called lethal fetal anomalies like anencephaly and trisomy 18. These are two separate and distinct areas for moral consideration and application. St. Joseph’s guidelines do not apparently make this distinction, and therefore they represent a significant point of departure from Catholic teaching. [Other pathologies affecting the mother include preeclampsia, pregnancy inducted hypertension, and other issues related to preeclampsia, such as eisenmenger’s syndrome and ballantyne syndrome. Other pathologies of the child include cardiac myopathy, fetal alcohol syndrome, turner syndrome, fragile X syndrome, triple X syndrome, etc.]
In point of fact, “early induction” for lethal fetal anomaly has been condemned as illicit by the US Bishops’ Doctrinal Committee and called “direct abortion” by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC). A more accurate description, however, of this procedure is to consider it fetal euthanasia as it is hastening the death of an unborn baby. As Dr. John B. Shea explains:
It should be noted that the fact that a fetus has a lethal fetal anomaly is not associated with a threat to the life of the mother. “Fetal viability” is the age beyond which the fetus has a good chance of surviving delivery. The normal fetus rarely survives at less than 22 weeks gestation, at which time it has a 10% chance of survival. In fact, he or she has difficulty surviving at less than 28 weeks. Estimation of fetal age is not precise and, depending on when tested for, can be plus or minus 2 to 3 weeks above of below the true fetal age.
Furthermore, the diagnosis of fatal fetal anomaly is not always correct. Since there is no risk to the mother’s life, the diagnosis of fetal disease may be inaccurate, and early induction cannot help the fetus with ‘lethal fetal anomaly’. Early induction is equivalent, not to abortion, but to euthanasia, if the baby does not die until after birth. If the infant dies as a result of the early induction before birth, early induction is an abortion.
On the information released so far by St. Joseph’s Hospital, their practice of early induction does not appear to be justified. (Source)
Charles Lewis tries to present Fr. Prieur in a favourable light, and of course, to the ignorant among his readership, he’s done a commendable job. However, the facts and the brutal truth, both about Fr. Prieur’s moral theology and the euphemism of “early inductions”, indicate a different story.
Let me take a moment here to comment on some of the more salient points in Mr. Lewis’ article.
A pro-life Catholic Web site, LifeSiteNews.com, launched a stinging attack and accused Fr. Prieur, along with colleagues at the Diocese of London and St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, of secretly performing abortions over the past two decades.
The story, launched late last year by an online group whose views are considered extreme by many Catholics, went off like a bomb.
Bishop Ronald Fabbro wrote to the Vatican to say he was ordering a full review, though the Vatican had yet to express any concern. Seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary, where Fr. Prieur teaches, were asking questions. A London anti-abortion group received calls from across the country trying to find out what the real story was. Fr. Prieur is still fielding calls.
Why is it necessary to call LifeSiteNews.com “extreme”? Indeed, if it was so “extreme” why would it be necessary for the Bishop to order a “full review” of Fr. Prieur’s actions? While Mr. Lewis is certainly within his journalistic boundaries to point out the general ignorance, and, in some cases, hostility to legitimate Catholic news sources, it is disingenuous to paint a news organization who has done nothing but fairly report on what the Catholic Church teaches on matters of sexual ethics as “extreme”. He might as well be saying that “many Catholics” view the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “extreme”, which is closer to the truth, although, admittedly, it doesn’t serve Mr. Lewis’ brush quite the same way for his article.
St. Joseph’s performs early inductions when the fetus has a lethal anomaly, a situation that poses grave risks for the mother and child. One of the most common anomalies is called anencephaly, a disorder in which a major portion of the brain and scalp of the fetus fails to form. There are other situations in which vital organs – lungs and kidneys, for example – fail to develop, making life for more than a few minutes or hours impossible after delivery. The closer the fetus moves to term, the more likely there will result in another serious condition that could seriously injure or kill the mother, especially with anencephaly. One-third of the deaths of pregnant women is caused by lethal fetal anomalies.
But Fr. Prieur worked out during that very first moral struggle, 24 years ago, that it was not abortion because the child would not be killed in the womb, but rather, delivered early…So I decided to travel around the world. I consulted with theologians. I went to Rome, Belgium, India, Australia. Each place I went I said, ‘I need one hour with your top moral theologian.’ Eighty per cent were in agreement with what we were doing at St. Joseph’s. The other 20% said it was only lawful [under Church teaching] if the woman was about to die – the risk factors have to be that serious.”
But as part of the effort to work out such a rational morality (for this reason it is sometimes called an “autonomous morality” ) there exist false solutions, linked in particular to an inadequate understanding of the object of moral action. Some authors do not take into sufficient consideration the fact that the will is involved in the concrete choices which it makes: these choices are a condition of its moral goodness and its being ordered to the ultimate end of the person. Others are inspired by a notion of freedom which prescinds from the actual conditions of its exercise, from its objective reference to the truth about the good, and from its determination through choices of concrete kinds of behaviour. According to these theories, free will would neither be morally subjected to specific obligations nor shaped by its choices, while nonetheless still remaining responsible for its own acts and for their consequences. This “teleologism”, as a method for discovering the moral norm, can thus be called — according to terminology and approaches imported from different currents of thought — “consequentialism” or “proportionalism”. The former claims to draw the criteria of the rightness of a given way of acting solely from a calculation of foreseeable consequences deriving from a given choice. The latter, by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation. (Veritatis Splendor, 75)
In fact, we see proportionalism all over the ethical guidelines of the hospital in this case. St. Joseph’s policy on the matter states: “An early induction may be permitted after viability for a proportionate reason which can include grave physical, psychological or psychiatric considerations.”
On Dec. 11, 2008, LifeSite ran an explosive story under the headline: “Exclusive: Twenty Years of Eugenic Abortion at Ontario Catholic Hospital.”…”We’re smarting under the article,” Fr. Prieur said. “We’re pro-life. Early induction is not abortion.”
Fr. Prieur is “smarting under the article” because the article was an accurate description of what he has been doing these past 35 years and it’s very clear that the euphemism of “early induction” just isn’t holding up with Catholics. If a medical procedure is inducing babies with the express purpose and intent of ending their lives (even prematurely) for so-called “proportionate reasons”, that practice qualifies as abortion.
Father William McGrattan, rector of St. Peter’s Seminary, and another member of St. Joseph’s ethics committee, concedes there are some people within the pro-life movement who come to a “premature conclusion and judgment that this is direct abortion.” “But the action being done is not an action that is direct killing of the child,” he said. “It is an action that is trying to recognize that the life of this child is dying and we’re trying to support that process in a natural way and balance that with the complications to the health of the mother.”
Excuse me? Trying to support the process in a “natural way”? What kind of “natural way” is that? By definition, “induction” is something OUTSIDE of the natural order, otherwise it would not be called induction. It is morally unlawful to use another human being – whether that is killing him or ending his life prematurely (even by one second) – so that another good may occur. In other words, there are some acts (i.e. “early induction”) which are disordered by their very nature and no intention or consequence (however positive) can change their disorder, as John Paul II said in his encyclical:
Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that “there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object”. (Veritatis Splendor, 80)
Reformulating the moral scenario at the hospital, consider this situation: Two men stand before you. The first man is going to die within a week. The second man is sick and in need of an organ which only the first man can supply, but he must have it now to avoid serious complications in the future. Should we “induce” the first man to his death to help the second man? After all, he’s going to die in a matter of days and the second man can be saved serious problems in the future if things are “expedited” along.
For the euphemists on this question of “early induction” of unborn babies, the answer to the above hypothetical scenario is in the affirmative. It is no surprise, therefore, that this is the type of thinking which leads to euthanizing our elderly population. It’s all about squeezing out the undesirables and the consequent sacrifices from our meaningless lives. It’s all about eugenicizing us.
There are no specific Church guidelines in Canada when it comes to early induction. So LifeSite looked to guidelines laid out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. National Catholic Bioethics Center to draw a judgment about what was going on at St. Joseph’s. It cited Directive 45 of the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which states: “Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo.” The St. Joseph’s guidelines for early induction says the same thing: “Procedures whose immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability are considered direct abortions.” The hospital’s guidelines also tackle the extremely rare situation in which intervention is necessary before the fetus is viable. “Medical treatment is permitted to prevent or cure a grave illness in a pregnant woman that cannot be deferred until the unborn child is viable even though the pregnancy may be endangered … even though they will result in the foreseen but unintended death of the unborn child.”
So, in other words, “early induction” is only performed on “pre-viable”, disabled babies, but not on viable, healthy babies. Is this not a form of eugenics? Of course it is.
But just to be clear, the Catholic Church’s position is unmistakable. In 1996, the US bishops issued a statement titled “Moral Principles Concerning Infants with Anencephaly” that declared, “it is clear that before ‘viability’ it is never permitted to terminate the gestation of an anencephalic child as the means of avoiding psychological or physical risks to the mother. Nor is such termination permitted after ‘viability’ if early delivery endangers the child’s life due to complications of prematurity. Only if the complications of the pregnancy result in a life-threatening pathology of the mother, may the treatment of this pathology be permitted even at a risk to the child, and then only if the child’s death is not a means to treating the mother“.
This, of course, correctly draws on Humanae Vitae where the Church definitively proclaimed the absolute prohibition on abortion, in particular so-called “therapeutic abortion”.
Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (Humanae Vitae, 14)
This “therapeutic” justification of “soft abortion” (i.e. inducing the child’s death) is the same one that is being used by St. Joseph’s. What is the MEDICAL REASON for inducing the child? It’s certainly not in the child’s best interest since it would hasten death, and it’s most likely not in the mother’s interest either, all things considered.
The Church uses the same kind of absolute language about the inviolability of the child from the moment of conception in other documents dealing with sexual ethics and the transmission of life. There is therefore no mistake or confusion on the question:
From the moment of conception, the life of every human being is to be respected in an absolute way because man is the only creature on earth that God has “wished for himself ” and the spiritual soul of each man is “immediately created” by God; his whole being bears the image of the Creator. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves “the creative action of God” and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being. Human procreation requires on the part of the spouses responsible collaboration with the fruitful love of God; the gift of human life must be actualized in marriage through the specific and exclusive acts of husband and wife, in accordance with the laws inscribed in their persons and in their union.
Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life. This doctrinal reminder provides the fundamental criterion for the solution of the various problems posed by the development of the biomedical sciences in this field: since the embryo must be treated as a person, it must also be defended in its integrity, tended and cared for, to the extent possible, in the same way as any other human beingas far as medical assistance is concerned.(Donum Vitae, 1)
The Catholic Church’s teaching is very clear and very simple. It involves accepting the principle that every human being has eternal and unfathomable and timeless dignity. To deprive or diminish the life of a human person even for one-millionth of a second – and even if it were to advance another good, no matter how wonderful or commendable – would be an attack on the Creator and His Creature WHO IS MADE IN HIS IMAGE FROM THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION and whom He loved from the beginning of its existence.
One need not be a bioethicist or a theologian or a bishop or a main stream media reporter to understand this teaching and its application to this case.
Sadly, as this case of St. Joseph’s hospital aptly demonstrates, these days, judging by the kind of advice that is being given and being permitted to be given, it is safer for one’s immortal soul to be none of the above.