UK Legalizes Sex Selected Abortions

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It began — at least for me — when Public Catholic reader Manny shared this link.

That led me to a google search where I found links from

National Right to Life

Belfast Telegraph

Susan B Anthony List

Zenit

Breitbart

Statement from the Crown Prosecution Service

all of which say that Manny’s link is correct. The UK has done one of those this-is-how-we-interpret-the-law laws that now allows doctors to perform sex-selected abortions.

I’m not going to comment about this right now. I feel like somebody hit me and I need to get my breath back.

However, just for your reading pleasure, I’ll include one last link. It’s from a “feminist” group explaining how killing baby girls is … well … too “complex” to be illegal. They think that it’s basically ok so long as it’s the woman’s choice to kill her baby because the baby is a little girl.

That’s feminism???

To paraphrase Lily Tomlin, I try to be cynical folks. But I just can’t keep up.

Baby girl 2

Pope Francis and the Role of Women in the Church

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Pope Francis made a few comments today on one of my favorite topics: The role of women in the Church.

I think this is an area that needs a little work. My primary concern is the worldwide plague of violence against and exploitation of women. This evil is so endemic that we take it as a given. I have been praying for years that the pope — whoever the pope might be — would address this with the force and uncompromising moral clarity that it deserves.

The Holy Father did not address violence against women today, but he had a lot of other great comments, just the same.

From Catholic News Agency:

.- Pope Francis met with experts on women’s issues today in Rome, affirming that the Church must continue to work for a more profound understanding of women and their roles.

“Also in the Church it is important to ask ourselves: what presence does woman have? Can it be valued more?” the Pope asked.

He met with experts who had participated in a seminar marking the 25th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic letter, “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.” The two-day seminar was sponsored by the Pontifical Council of the Laity.

Pope Francis said the presence of women in the Church is “a reality that is very much on my heart.” He said he wanted to meet the seminar participants “and bless you and your task.”

He noted that John Paul II’s apostolic letter teaches that “God entrusts man, the human being, to woman in a special way.”

“What does this ‘special entrustment’ mean?” asked Pope Francis.

“I think it is evident that my predecessor refers to motherhood,” he explained. “And this is not simply a biological fact, but it involves a wealth of implications both for woman herself, for her way of being, and for her relationships, for a way of extending respect for human life and for life in general.”

The Pope then warned of two ever-present dangers, “two extreme opposites that degrade woman and her vocation.”

“The first is to reduce motherhood to a social role, to a task, however noble, but in fact sets apart woman with her potential, not fully valuing her in the construction of the community,” he noted.

The second peril is that of “promoting a type of emancipation that, in order to occupy the space stolen by the masculine, abandons the feminine with its priceless elements.”

He said women can help provide better insight into the nature of God.

Pope Francis: Mothers, go forth with this witness to the living Christ!

Pope Francis Washes Feet of a Muslim Woman in Unprecedented Easter Rite Pope Francis reached out to women in a powerful way during Holy Week. 

First, there was his wonderful action on Holy Thursday when he washed the feet of two young women. He spoke of women as the first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection during his Easter vigil homily and then on Tuesday, he spoke again about Mary Magdalene.

Yesterday, he delivered a powerful reflection on unique role of women as mothers.

Feminists have thrown motherhood over in many ways. I have sympathy for the reasons they did this. Pregnancy and motherhood was used as an excuse to limit women and to discriminate against them. This is true in some respects even today. However, instead of demanding change in this regard, they ended up settling for the horrible quick fix of abortion. In this way abortion became an accommodation to and an extension of misogyny.

Motherhood has always been degraded, or I should say, it always has in my lifetime. Women themselves degrade motherhood. We try to deny the demands it places on us for fear that we will be given short shrift in other areas of our lives. What too often happens because of this denial is that we end up doing the all-important job of mothering our children less well than we should.

Motherhood

In truth, motherhood is uniquely female. We are the life-bearers of humanity. We are the nurturers and shapers of each succeeding generation of people. Women are equipped for this work by temperament and talent. Yet our society has gotten so turned on its head that we not only devalue motherhood, we challenge women who do it.

“You are wasting your life,” I was told when I was a stay-at-home mom. “Your kids are too dependent on you,” I heard when my toddlers clung to me in strange situations or ran to me when they skinned their knees.  These sentiments are ubiquitous throughout our society.

Back when many mothers stayed home with their children every mother had a built-in support group, right there in her neighborhood. Now, stay at home moms are isolated islands, all alone in seas of empty houses while everyone else is off at work. What that means in practical terms is that stay at home moms have it harder now than they did in any generation before. They do not have the coffee klatches and the over-the-fence conversations that mothers in earlier generations had to sustain them emotionally during the long days alone with small children. Their husbands, who are poorly equipped for it, have to meet this need for human interaction and girl-talk all by themselves.

We have isolated our families with moves and chasing jobs so that many times the husband and wife are going it alone in a big city just as much as a pioneer family living in a soddy out on the prairie ever was. In a fractured society which has lost its sense of community, children need to be more tightly bonded to their mothers and their homes, not less. We live in a society that is hell bent (I meant that literally, by the way) on its on deconstruction and moral unraveling. Our media pushes it on us. Our schools teach it to our children.

Without families, without mothers and fathers, children will be raised by this dishonest, sick, larger culture. They will themselves become sick and dishonest.

It is not enough to shuttle our children from one lesson, one activity, to another. It most certainly is not enough to live in the “right” school district and dress them in the latest fashions. Children need their parents. They especially need their mothers. They don’t need chauffeurs. They need mothers who read to them, talk to them and are with them.

Pope Francis spoke of this during his reflection Wednesday. At one point, he departed from his prepared text to say, “Mothers, go forth with this witness to the living Christ.” I didn’t hear it, but I like to think that he was referring to the fact that women were the first messengers of the risen Christ when Mary Magdalene took the news of His resurrection to the disciples and that the pope is urging mothers everywhere to be the messengers of the risen Christ to their families, in particular their children.

The Holy Father gave a beautiful reflection on women and the value of mothers in the world.

Here is part of it from Vatican Radio, emphasis mine:

Today, however, I would like to dwell the second, on testimony in the form of the accounts that we find in the Gospels. First, we note that the first witnesses to this event were the women. At dawn, they go to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, and find the first sign: the empty tomb (Mk 16:1). This is followed by an encounter with a Messenger of God who proclaims: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, he is not here, he is risen (cf. vv. 5-6). The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves. They cannot contain the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart. This should also be the same in our lives. Let us feel the joy of being Christian! We believe in the Risen One who has conquered evil and death! Let us also have the courage to “go out” to bring this joy and light to all the places of our lives! The Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty, it is our most precious treasure! How can we not share this treasure, this beautiful certainty with others! It’s not just for us it’s to be transmitted, shared with others this is our testimony!

Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness! What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however! Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his hands. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.

After the apparitions to women, there were others: Jesus becomes present in a new way: He is the Crucified One, but his body is glorious; He did not return to an earthly life, but a new condition. At first they did not recognize him, and only through his words and deeds were their eyes opened: the encounter with the Risen Lord transforms, it gives new strength to faith, an unshakable foundation. The Risen Christ also reveals Himself to us with many signs: Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the other Sacraments, charity, these gestures of love bring a ray of the Risen One.

Let us be enlightened by the Resurrection of Christ, let us be transformed by His power, so that through us the signs of death give way to signs of life in the world! I saw that there are many young people in the Square! Young boys and girls, to you I say bring forth this certainty the Lord is Alive and walks beside us on our life’s journey! Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope that comes from heaven! Be anchored and bring forth the hope! You witnesses of Christ bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and sin! Go forward young people! (Read the rest here.)

Mother Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

I have never been a traffic cop, a test pilot, or a lion tamer.

But I have been a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I think that qualifies me to be any of the above.

The Mommy Wars have raged ever since Betty Friedan told us about the “problem with no name.” Her apt description of the ennui of the enforced stay-at-home-momism of the mid-twentieth century was enough to launch a sociopolitical movement. It was also the first shot fired across the bow of full-time, stay-at-home mothering as a profession and way of life.

We haven’t stopped squabbling since. Gallup Polls recently added kindling to the fire with a survey that they say shows full-time stay-at-home moms are unhappier than their working counterparts. I could show you tables and data, but I think I just summarized the whole shebang in the previous sentence. If you’re a data wonk, just follow the link and enjoy.

The central question for me is why we as a society have latched onto the premise that personal satisfaction of the moment is the key to good living and the value by which we judge everything we chose to do with our lives. Why, in short, do we think that our own little personal momentary happiness trumps every other value or outcome our behavior might create?

This is a salient question for parents. Having babies isn’t always easy. Contrary to what they told us back in the pre-sex-education age, we don’t find them in the cabbage patch. It takes months of nausea, bloating and achy backs to make a baby. They are the sweetest little things that ever was, but babies are not always easy to come by.

Once we get them here, they’re also not always easy to raise. One of the goofier new words we’ve pushed into our language in the last few decades is “parenting.” What is that? I understand “raising” kids. But parenting? Nope. Doesn’t resonate.

I raised my kids. And as I said, it wasn’t always easy. To begin with, they cost money. Since I quit my job to stay home with them, this added expense came at a time when we’d just halved our family income. In addition to the money thing, raising kids is not an 8 to 5 job. You can’t just park them somewhere and go home to child-free life. A parent is a parent from the moment their baby is conceived until said parent crosses out of this life into the next. Maybe after that. I’m don’t know. But I do know that you never, so long as you live, stop being a parent once you’ve become one.

Nothing gets you out of it. If you kill your baby in an abortion, if they die through illness or accident or war, they are still your child and you are still their parent. I have friends who’ve lost a child, and they will tell you, “We have nine children; eight here and one in heaven.” That’s how they think of it. That’s how it is.

It is a relationship that neither time nor circumstance can sever. Nothing; not divorce, abandonment, adoption or medical chicanery can change this. If you participate in the conception of a human being, you are a parent. And you always will be.

I fear I’m making child-rearing sound like it’s some sort of punishment that we should sentence criminals to in hopes of ending recidivism. In truth, my years as a full-time, stay-at-home-mom were the best, most rewarding years of my life. I am grateful to the bone that I had them. They were also my most challenging years.

Raising children full-time is harder than any job I’ve ever had. It took every bit of ingenuity, grit and strength that I could muster. I learned to pray, really deeply pray, when I was a full-time mom. I also learned everything about humility that anyone ever needs to know.

I’m not surprised that a random survey that snapshots stay-at-home-moms in the now shows that they are not as “happy” as their working-mom counterparts. As hard as holding down a job is, it’s still a breather from the much harder and more demanding work of raising little children. Add to that the fact that mothers don’t get any respect, that stay-at-home-moms are almost universally dissed, insulted, talked down to and scorned, and you have a recipe for disgruntlement.

I don’t quarrel with the results of this survey. What I do disagree with is the way we all seem to think that momentary happiness for its own sake is the primary goal of life and that it trumps every other consideration. I have a news flash for those who are interested: Anything worth doing is going to be hard. Anything you do that makes the world a better place, that involves commitment and self-sacrifice and love of others more than yourself is going to also extract some pain, angst and work.

The irony is that if you make happiness your goal in life, you will end up in a pit of ennui that makes “the problem with no name” that Betty Friedan talked about look like deep fulfillment. The only way to be happy — to find contentment and inner peace — is to give yourself away.

That’s what being a Christian is. You give yourself away. You stop living for yourself and begin living for Christ and through Christ, for other people. Nothing in this life comes as close to the love of Christ as a mother’s selfless giving herself away to her children. I experienced it from my mother and I gave it to my own kids. My hope is that my grandchildren will know the same love.

I am not writing this to advocate for mothers to stay home with their kids. I have friends who worked while their children grew up and the kids did great. The reason is that these mothers gave themselves away to their kids just as any other mother does. You can work and raise your kids successfully. You can also stay home with your kids and have a great career later. I’m proof of that.

But whether you stay home with them full time or you go out to work to support them, you will fail as a parent if you make pleasing yourself and living a life that chases after some transitory bubble of happiness as your goals. The way to be happy is to forget about yourself and love other people enough to care for them, stand by them and be there for them.

Backwards as this sounds, when you give yourself away, that is when you find yourself for real.


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