Saturday, November 28, 2009

The moral problem with "early inductions" at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital

Following an earlier post of mine on the scandalous "early inductions" at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital, a very interesting discussion ensued in the comments section. This post is a synthesis of why I believe that the procedures at St. Joseph's are not morally acceptable.

What is happening at St. Joseph's

Before starting my explanation, I'll just repeat what exactly is happening at St. Joseph's: 
  1. A prenatal diagnosis test reveals a baby has serious birth defects.
  2. The doctors conclude that the mother is in some physical, psychological or psychiatric danger because of the baby's defect.
  3. Doctors wait until the baby reaches 21 weeks of gestation, the point at which it is considered "viable", in other words that it could theoretically survive outside the womb if it were given highly specialized intensive care treatment.
  4. The doctors then artificially induce labour so that the baby is born prematurely.
  5. They intentionally let the baby die.  They only provide palliative care to the dying baby. 

Why this is morally unacceptable

In this section I'll explain why this practice is so horrible.  Not only are St. Joseph's official guidelines - as written on paper - morally unacceptable, but their application is even worse because they're terminating babies when the mother's health isn't even in danger.

In the 5-point description above of what happens at St. Joseph's, you'll notice that the baby does not die of its deformity.  It dies due to prematurity.  Heck, even a perfectly healthy baby delivered at 21 weeks would not survive

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eagerly awaiting CCCB action on pro-life promises

Today, November 23, marks one month since the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) completed their plenary assembly.  At the end of this meeting, the bishops expressed their desire to be more involved in pro-life work.  Isn't that wonderful?

Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro (London) was part of a panel presentation on the topic.  He emphasized the importance for bishops to assume greater leadership in pro-life activities.

Referring to the recent debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as debates on other life issues, Bishop Fabbro noted the importance of being pro-active in framing the questions. “If Bishops don’t step up,” he said, “others will who may present a distorted view of the Church’s teaching. We need to inform our people on the foundations of our faith.”  

In his presentation, Archbishop Blanchet noted the tensions and difficulties that have emerged among individuals and groups involved in defending the right to life from conception to natural death. He stressed the importance being united in thought and action, and proposed a dialogue involving all parties in the “pro-life movement”. Such a dialogue, he said, would help lessen difficulties within the movement and also help establish common ground. 

In their reflections, the Bishops stressed there was an important link between the sacredness of human life and the quality of life. They also noted the importance of activities for life at the diocesan level.  (Source)

So just to recap, they seem to have three broad areas where they've committed to act:
  1. More proactive teaching on life issues
  2. Dialogue with pro-life groups
  3. More activities at the diocesan level

I'm very curious to see how all this will unfold. It sounds so promising, yet we haven't seen any action during the month that has elapsed since this commitment.

The bishops need to do more than issue a letter or press release condemning euthanasia and assisted suicide.  That's a start, but it's not nearly enough.  No offense, but very very few people read the press releases issued by the CCCB.  Moreover, the mainstream media often won't provide any coverage and most parishes won't mention them.

If the bishops are serious about this, they need to take more concrete actions from a pastoral perspective.  Here are some concrete examples:

  • They should reform marriage preparation courses so that the Theology of the Body becomes mandatory teaching.  They should also instruct engaged couples about the evil of contraception and abortion.  
  • They should encourage their parishioners to be active in the pro-life movement by volunteering their time and by making donations to good ministries like LifeSiteNews.  
  • Every bishop should participate in pro-life marches across the country each May because it isn't very difficult to book off 2 hours per year for a good cause. 
  • They should take a public stand against politicians who support abortion, telling them that they cannot receive communion. 
  • They should publicly rescind the Winnipeg Statement.

You think I'm too demanding? I don't.  Anything short of such actions will just be the same old, same old.  Anything short of such actions won't make a dent in the growing apathy among Canadian Catholics.  The CCCB made some strong statements on pro-life issues at the end of their plenary assembly and now they must follow through with some strong actions.  They've created big expectations; they shouldn't disappoint.


22,000 youth in a Eucharistic procession!!!

This is absolutely amazing!  You have to see the pictures!  Click here.

Praise be to Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar!

Dear clergy: please fulfil your calling

It's true that our Church is in bad shape. But God doesn't abandon His children. There are always some faithful shepherds who will give a good example. Today's news brings us another such instance.

LifeSiteNews reports that Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin instructed a pro-abortion politician, Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted Kennedy) not to receive communion because of his dissenting views. Now there are elements in the Church who think that such a statement by a Bishop is un-Christian, uncharitable, unloving, etc. If we had eyes to see the truth as God has revealed it, we would realize that such a statement by a Bishop is an extreme act of virtue and is of immense benefit to the Church in many ways:

  1. First and foremost, this directive by the Bishop sends a clear message to the recipient that he or she is endorsing a grave sin and that their eternal salvation is in peril. It is therefore a strong call to repentance and conversion, which is what the Gospel is all about.
  2. In cases where such a directive is made public, as in the current case, it also instructs the other faithful of the gravity of the sin that is being endorsed by the politician. It therefore gives them reason to pause and rethink in their own positions.
  3. It protects Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament from sacrilege.  Jesus gave us a priceless gift in the Eucharist.  Do we want to repay Him with love and worship or by offering Him a dwelling place that is full of filth and corruption?
  4. It prevents further sin by the politician by protecting him from the opportunity to commit sacrilege.
  5. It ensures the salvation of the Bishop's soul, because it is his responsibility before God Almighty to instruct the faithful and to call sinners to repentance. If he were to shun away from this responsibility, his own salvation would be in peril.  As St. John Chrysostom once said, “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

I sure wish that other bishops and priests would realize the benefits of this type of fraternal correction. It need not