Pope Francis: 7 C-Sections is “Irresponsible” (Group Discussion)

Pope Francis: 7 C-Sections is “Irresponsible” (Group Discussion) March 30, 2020

This is a follow-up discussion of my paper, “Irresponsible” Pope Francis? (Woman Who Had Seven C-Sections) [1-23-15]. See also my earlier paper, Pope Francis and Catholics Reproducing Like “Rabbits” [1-21-15]. Words of various participants will be in various colors.

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[This is the “grunt work” of the apologist: the stuff that makes one very unpopular among those who disagree (dealing with the latest controversies). It’s part of my task. Let ’em fly! Once again, I have made my argument. If you disagree with it, then dismantle it using reason, rather than merely whine against it with empty polemics, contentless rhetoric, and emotion.]

Jesus Perez: Interesting article. Is your contention that the simple fact of having 8 C-sections irresponsible parenthood or that plus a number of other factors? I have difficulty with this.

Given the risks, yes (to your first scenario). I fully agree with the pope. We’re not talking one or two and being willing to have some risk, but 7 or 8! I also noted that since the pope rebuked the person herself, that he was likely acquainted with possible further elements of risk. But 7 or 8 c-sections would entail quite enough risk by themselves. What if the woman had died during her 8th c-section? Would that shut the mouths of the pope’s critics on this score? It’s not about having eight children, but about having eight c-sections. The two scenarios are vastly different from each other.

This is a tough one Dave. My wife has had three c-sections and we were told not to have more children after our second child. I don’t think we’re being irresponsible. We want to have more, and we know many faithful couples who’ve had multiple c-sections.

I would say that you weigh the risks by consulting a good doctor and exercise proper judgment. If the risks are relatively low, more power to you and your lovely wife (and your faith and godly desire to have many children). But three is not seven or eight . . .

Michael LiccioneEven granted that the Pope’s view of that particular woman’s choices is correct, I think it was an error to cite a particular individual. Doing that only caused some women with many children to sympathize with her and resent the Pope’s remark.

Was St. Paul also wrong to name names? The pope didn’t even mention a name, only a person without a name. We can choose to give into the zeitgeist, where all this sort of thing is “judgmental” or “intolerant” (or in a more sophisticated view), “not practical because of the likely reaction” or we can follow the biblical model (rebukes and sometimes by name).

David L. Alexander: Those are medical judgments, not strictly moral ones, and the Holy Father risks being outside his area of competence, much less his authority. Thus it is no surprise if “that only caused some women with many children to sympathize with her and resent the Pope’s remark.”

Medical judgments are necessarily entailed in applying the Humanae Vitae teaching about “grave” issues leading to moral decisions to space or avoid further children.

Just because that is not within the purview of infallible papal teaching does not mean that the pope can have no medical opinions at all, or that he shouldn’t render those opinions in a mere interview. Popes write about science, too, and they aren’t scientists anymore than they are doctors. I write about science as an apologist, not a scientist.

The fact is, that such medical knowledge is part and parcel of being a responsible parent, just as in my own marriage we had several grave reasons: very serious post-partum depression, increasingly difficult pregnancies, six miscarriages, and the low salary of a Catholic apologist.
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Three of those four factors are medical ones. But God blessed us with four wonderful children and He has provided for their needs and my family’s needs.

David Palm: Scott and Kimberly Hahn have six children and I think all of them were born via c-section. Were the Hahns irresponsible?

I assume that some situations are lesser risk than others. That is for doctors to determine. I think reasonable people can disagree on this. But if that is the case, by the same token, the pope’s opinion is a respectable one regarding “grave reasons” by medical criteria and shouldn’t be made fodder for the usual unbalanced criticisms that dominate in the discussion.

One can have a general opinion that eight successive c-sections are (all in all, broadly speaking) a risky thing without necessarily thinking that every single similar scenario entails the same risk. So, for example, in Kimberly’s case (and I heard her give a whole speech at Steubenville about the — my phrase — “great discomfort” of one of her c-sections), her doctor may have said, “you are able to have a c-section with very little risk; therefore another one is a fairly routine procedure.”

Risks in medicine are all about percentages. But even a 1% risk of serious complications is a likely actuality: by average one person in a hundred will suffer them. As I said, I also believe that the pope had further information about that particular case that he did not divulge in the plane interview.

Here is an article that dramatically backs up the pope’s position: “Multiple C-Section Complications” (Sandi Busch, Hello Motherhood, 6-13-17). Excerpts:

C-sections are generally considered safe but they are associated with risks and those risks continue to increase with each c-section. . . .

According to information from the Harvard Medical School, adhesions are common in people who have had multiple abdominal surgeries. Every time another c-section is performed, more adhesions are created. After three or more c-sections there could be so many adhesions that it would take 10 to 60 minutes for a surgeon to cut through them. Adhesions cause abdominal pain and may cause organs to stick to one another or to the abdominal wall. In rare cases they result in infertility. . . .

The risks for placenta previa and placenta accreta increase with repeated c-sections. Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta partially or totally covers the cervix. Placenta accreta results when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterus, making it difficult for the uterus to detach normally. Both conditions can result in bleeding that puts the baby’s or mother’s life at risk. Over 60 percent of cases of placenta accreta occur in women who had multiple cesarean deliveries. . . .

The chances of needing an emergency hysterectomy go up with the number of c-sections. While the risk of a hysterectomy is only 0.42 percent during a second c-section, it jumps to 2.41 percent after the fourth c-section and to 8.99 percent after a sixth, . . .

In the July 2006 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as study by Nisenblat, Barak et al compared women who had two c-sections with those having three. Excessive blood loss occurred in 3.3 percent of women with two c-sections but went up to 7.9 percent with a third cesarean delivery. . . .

Research by Beena Kamath, M.D. at the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that babies delivered by repeat c-section are nearly twice as likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit and have an increased chance of breathing problems that require oxygen.

My paper that we’re discussing contains links to many additional articles of this sort. If someone wants to dispute the overwhelming medical data, have at it. Be my guest.

But I wholeheartedly agree, as I have said, that every persons’ case has unique attributes. Medical assessments of the dangers of a given procedure (of the sort that are made in formal medical studies, published in professional journals) are general ones, based on determined percentages of risks involved. The judgment of the doctor and a particular patient is a different thing. Therefore, there can be exceptions to the rule, as is almost always the case with just about anything.

My late mother had to have an operation shortly before she died, where the risk of death was put at 20%. Of course we agreed to it because if she hadn’t had it, there was a stated “1%” chance of surviving long. That was a clear choice. But if a person was otherwise healthy and wanted to undergo a non-necessary operation with a 20% risk of death, the rational choice would be (in most cases) to decline it.

We don’t go through life on an 80-20 basis. So, for example, in a hypothetical where someone had a one in five chance of being killed by crossing a battlefield during a battle, they wouldn’t usually decide to cross it (if it weren’t necessary). The risk would be too great. Yet 80% of the time they would have lived. We don’t take risks like that. I exaggerate to make a point, but it’s a valid general point.

Brendan MaloneDave, I love your work, but I’ve got to disagree with you on this one – as others have already said here, the issue is whether or not it was appropriate to actually publicly utilise that woman, and that specific scenario as an example of parental irresponsibility. Surely her human dignity demands more than to be treated as an object lesson in irresponsibility for all the world’s media?

(Oh, and I’m a fan of Pope Francis by the way, so I’m not one of those types who is given to fits of anti Francis rage anytime Pope Francis says or does anything).

One other thing – I know of two very responsible and faithful local Catholic families who have been really hurt by the fact that Pope Francis used their specific family situation as an example of parental irresponsibility in front of the world’s media.

That’s fine, Brendan. Now please answer for me: was St. Paul also wrong when he called out Hymenaeus and Philetus by name, and also Alexander the Coppersmith: not only for that time but for all posterity thereafter, to be read in the Bible?

Was he wrong when he used the sinner in the Corinthian church as an “example” of how to stigmatize a person in sin, for his own good (and then receive him back after his repentance and reform)? Was St. Luke wrong when he mentioned Simon the Sorcerer in the Book of Acts as a terrible example of trying to buy God’s grace?

Please explain to me the difference in essence or principle. No one else has yet done that. I make these extensive biblical arguments and it seems that for those who disagree with my opinion, they just disappear into thin air as if I had never brought them up. The Bible is our model. St. Paul is a model to imitate. If the pope was wrong, it seems to me that Paul and Luke were also wrong, in inspired, infallible Scripture.

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Whether NFP always works or not isn’t directly related to this latest controversy, as far as I can tell. The point was continuing to have children via c-section, despite the grave risks involved.

People take everything personally. This is the problem today. No one can utter any criticism. It’s always regarded as judgmental and intolerant, and whoever dares to utter a public criticism as a big bad meanie and insensitive brute. This comes (ultimately) straight from the “PC” secular / liberal mentality. It has crept into the worldview of even millions of Christians now.

I see it all the time in doing apologetics. When people disagree with something I contend for, they get all hurt and hot and bothered, and start saying insulting things, and block me, etc. I’m just doing my job. I didn’t sign up for this work that God called me to (way back in 1981) in order to win a popularity contest or to cause everyone to have warm fuzzy feelings towards me all the time.

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As I have stated several times now, it is likely that there are individual exceptions to the rule. This doesn’t refute the pope’s point at all, since it is understood by thinking people that there are such things as exceptions to rules and specific anomalies. Neither the pope nor any other practicing Catholic in this debate that I have seen, object to large numbers of children per se.

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My friend Paul Hoffer wrote in agreement:

I had the opportunity to read the actual remarks of the Pope in context with other things that he said in the conversation. All the Pope was saying is that we have an obligation as Christians to exercise prudence in our lives, whether it be in our conversations with others, when expressing our opinions, or when pro-creating. Some of the folks here have brought up that they, too, have had to resort to multiple c-sections in connection with the birth of their children.

Hopefully, such folks weighed that probability and the risks involved, and discussed it with their spouse before engaging in sexual intercourse, let alone deciding to have another child. Because there are so many factors involved (or should be involved) in making such decisions, we cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to judge each person’s decision based on a single comment made by the Pope ,but we should take away from it a heightened awareness that being Christian means exercising prudence and humility in all aspects of our daily lives. We should not tempt God, as the Pope said, by acting without exercising such prudence and humility.

People have brought up how they have had no problem with c-sections and having multiple children. Well, in my family situation, we had to exercise prudence by waiting seven years between children because of life-threatening health issues arising from my wife’s pregnancy. We did not simply keep on having children, leaving it up to God whether my wife lived or not through another pregnancy. Along with much prayer, many cold showers, saving up financially in case of complications, we worked with her doctor to optimize the probability that our second child would be born healthy, safely and with both parents. It took us seven years between children but in the end, my wife and I have two wonderful children and the equally wonderful prospect of growing old together.

So, in the end, if people take a moment to read what the Pope said, prayerfully reflect on it, determine whether what was said has applicability to one’s own situation, and, if necessary, take the time to attempt to reconcile what the Pope said with previous teaching when there seems to be dissonance those words and what we believe the Church teaches, they would be happier, less stressed and healthier (since their blood pressure won’t be so high). Further, we all should take the time to correct others when they attempt to use Calvinist proof-texting methods to create a sound bite to make the Pope out to be some sort of knucklehead who is totally out of line with previous popes or with magisterial teaching.

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[there was much discussion — deleted for brevity’s sake — about the difficulty of abiding by the rules and principles of Catholic Natural Family Planning]

Yes, it is difficult, especially if a woman is irregular in her cycle. I know, because my wife was very irregular, and (like Paul) I had to take a lot of cold showers, too (if you know what I mean). Plus, on top of that there was serious depression involved and adverse side effects of an anti-depression pill (that didn’t help things, to put it very mildly).

Thus I am not one to minimize the difficulties of NFP. It is often very difficult, just as the Catholic and disciples’ life are in general. This calls for love and compassion towards those who struggle, and they shouldn’t be made to feel inferior. But I think we can all agree that these things aren’t a basis to either reject Church teaching or leave the Church. When we were struggling with it, we never once thought that the Church’s teaching or NFP were to blame. We understood that our specific case was difficult because of irregularity.

This is the problem sometimes: people want to blame the Church or God. That’s the flip side of people blaming couples who struggle with applying NFP. Both judgments are wrong. There has to be a happy medium. The blame game never works. We all have to play the “education game.”

Being open to life doesn’t mean being ecstatic over a surprise pregnancy that comes at a bad financial or health or emotional time, but being “open to life” (exactly what it says): recognizing in an act of will (not necessarily of the emotions) that God willed for this new life to come into being and that He will, therefore, make a way to provide for him or her. That’s a matter of faith, which is from the will, not the emotions. That is difficult, too, but the principle still holds.

Again, we know from experience ourselves (and God has provided, even given my meager full-time apologist income).

People who see the pope’s remarks as somehow against the “openness to life” approach or ethic are wrong. Responsible parenting is the other aspect of that. We’re not all obliged to have 15 or 20 children or to not “plan” at all. After all, it’s in the very terminology: “Natural Family Planning” . . .

Responsible parenthood entails giving serious thought to numbers and timing of children, within the pro-child ethic, and consultation with a doctor to ascertain physical risks. The pope’s rebuke remains a quite rational and sensible one with regard to multiple c-sections, but there can be exceptions to the rule.

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Benjamin BaxterPart of the problem is that this explanation adds suppositions which, while plausible, Pope Francis isn’t mentioning. He’s leaving a lot to guess at. It is certainly a failure of communication (as a remark made to everyone.) Pope Francis is not a good public speaker. He’s a personal communicator, one-on-one. Trouble is, he’s speaking publicly.

Now, being a good communicator is not a requirement for sanctity. However, being a good communicator has been a quality of the papacy for the last thirty years. People listening to the pope and expecting that are understandably distressed.

Bottom line: The role of someone who “gets the Pope” is not to condescend or assume hostile motives but first to recognize that someone is angry and, more likely than not, has a very understandable reason for it.

Someone I know talked about these remarks as brilliant. They aren’t. They’re likely interpersonally effective in the moment but they are publicly scandalous because they are shared around the world. If someone is going to speak to “the little ones” about Pope Francis, recognizing the genuine distress is a huge first step, and recognizing it as a legitimate distress is the most important second step.

Talking about Pope Francis’ comments from interviews is more like a counseling session than an apologetic argument.

Once again (like most of the pope’s critics that I’ve seen) you are engaging in the subjective endeavor of talking about [the pope’s] talking rather than engaging the actual matter at hand, to determine if he did anything wrong.

I do the latter (and further, ground it in the Bible with modeling examples from same). Most of the pope’s critics do the former. It’s the typical outlook today, in our postmodernist world: the subjective overcomes the objective every time.

Everything (in this approach) has to do with impression and PR and perception (“failure of communication”) rather than truth and tradition and a Catholic / biblical worldview.

Let’s try this: Is it possible or is it not possible for a person to have, in good faith, difficulty with what someone says because how it is said is unclear? I would submit that yes, it is possible.

[I agree.]

It is not so much the “postmodernist” realm I’m trying to explain but the “popular.” I mean here that when explaining something objectively true it is nonetheless absolutely necessary to take the perspective of the “little ones” listening when explaining it. This has full biblical warrant. (Matthew 18:6).

I would like to be clear, too, Mr. Armstrong, that though I came on a little strong myself, I do appreciate the thought you put into why the Pope might say what he said, and the significance of it. I do say that your reconstruction is plausible and likely and so far the best explanation; I didn’t realize the significance of the “C-section” element of his comments, for example.

Thanks!

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Congratulations to you guys who want to criticize the pope up and down on this. Quite predictably, the rabid anti-Catholic Protestant polemicist, Steve “Whopper” Hays has now exploited your words for his nefarious ends (“Rabbity Catholics”), as those of “normally loyal Catholics” while I am honored to be called a “Papal lackey.” Note that he only records the criticisms; never my responses. That would be too fair and accurate.

Get it? If you defend the pope you are a “lackey”; if you criticize him you are disloyal. We can’t win in his eyes, but the point is that it is fodder for exploitation to be used to discredit the Church, because even the hostile, dim-witted anti-Catholic can see a disconnect when so many Catholics are trashing their leader in public.

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Kim Bishopdoesn’t matter what anyone says, you will support the pope no matter what he says or does.

Right. You’re getting to be like a broken record, Kim. I already stated to you that I am not likely to agree with an encyclical that bolsters the usual flawed global warming theories (if it does). I disagreed with past popes about the Iraqi war and capital punishment (mildly). I already noted these things . . . but believe what you wish.

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Ann HeneghanDave, I’ll just make a few points about your defence of Pope Francis’s private rebuke and subsequent public criticism of this woman. It seems a weak argument to say that he didn’t actually *name* her. There can’t be many women who were (a) pregnant with eighth child, (b) after seven caesareans, (c) a few months ago, and (d) in a position to speak to the Pope around that time. Her friends will guess who she was. Her family will guess. Even people who don’t know her well might be able to guess. If you travelled to Rome and had a private audience with the pope, in the course of which he rebuked you for something, and then he told the media about rebuking a man who had come to Rome from the US, and mentioned how many children you have and how many books you have written, would you *really* feel he had completely respected confidentiality?

A large part of my point in saying he didn’t name her was that he was less “mean” than St. Paul, who did name several people whom he rebuked. Was Paul wrong? No one has yet answered that question.

You may have seen Edward N. Peters’s comment about cautioning seminarians, as future priests, “against ever commenting publicly on pastoral advice given to private persons, especially if information is included in one’s later comments by which the person can be identified.” Most lay people would start getting very jittery in the unlikely event that a priest started talking from the pulpit about the girl who came to Confession just before Easter, and said she had had an abortion two years earlier, and had been dumped by her boyfriend shortly after, and had become so depressed that she had dropped out of university, even if the priest didn’t name the girl. But even if it’s not a case of sacramental confession, and the “seal” is not involved, we still rightly expect that private pastoral advice given to us will not be subsequently broadcast by the pastor to the whole world in a way that puts us at risk of being identified. The cases of Alexander the Coppersmith, Hymenae’us and Phile’tus, and the man living with his stepmother were not cases of private people who had been given pastoral advice in private.

That’s a decent argument, Ann. I reply that the Bible also includes the notion of a more or less private situation becoming public: in Matthew 18:

Matthew 18:15-17 (RSV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Note how it keeps becoming more and more public. The Bible talks about ostracizing the unrepentant sinner and excommunicating him if needs be, for reform purposes. Paul expressly taught this. That’s totally public stuff.

Imagine today King Henry II (I think it was II: the guy during Thomas a Becket’s time) being publicly flogged for penitential purposes. We can’t even mention a person anonymously anymore . . .

Our posts crossed, but my second post does address the fact that the cases you mention were *not* cases of pastoral advice being given in private and then broadcast to the whole world. The man living with his stepmother was guilty of public scandal. (If he had slept with her, unknown to anyone, and had then sought out St Paul in private for advice on how to get back into a state of grace, then it would have been a different matter. And I presume you are not suggesting that a married woman whose eighth pregnancy, though a risky one, was presumably from her lawful wedded husband, was deserving of public excommunication. There can be times when something is very grave and public, that a shepherd should make the rebuke a public one. This was not one of those cases. He could have made the same point – that it can be more responsible to avoid pregnancy in cases where there are several children and serious risks – without publicly embarrassing and humiliating a pregnant or post-partum woman, who was not guilty of grave sin or of causing public scandal.

Point well taken. I think that is a reasonable position. I’ve thought all along, myself, that there were more factors here than the pope necessarily mentioned. Someone said she may have made it a point to say that she just trusted God (the pope alluded to that), as if she had no responsibility to make sensible childbearing decisions.

Nor did the Holy Father specify whether it was an entirely private encounter. He just said it was a woman “in a parish.” It may have been in, for example, a public Q & A scenario. If so, your point loses most or all of its force.

I accept that the Bible does allow for a rebuke becoming more and more public. But I don’t think it applies to pastoral advice given to a pregnant woman. Nor had the woman sinned against Pope Francis. Nor is there any suggestion that she refused to listen to him the first time. (I doubt if she’s already in her ninth or tenth pregnancy!) Nor did he go back a second time and third time. Yes, we can make our grievances more and more public, but I think it would have to be a case of someone guilty of an injustice, not merely of being irresponsible with her own health. Incidentally, my spiritual director some years ago used to be extremely strict about any kind of abuse of health, like not getting enough sleep when there was no good reason. But he didn’t announce from the pulpit, “I recently rebuked someone . . .”

So if he had said, ” a hypothetical woman who has, say eight c-sections and says that she trusts God and has no concern for health risks . . . ” and mentioned no specific person, then it would have been fine with you? I still disagree with you but you have made some good points and articulately present your case, minus insult, which I always respect and appreciate.

What I’m noticing is that some of the people who support what he did are just adding little bits to the story – things that may or may not be true, but that are not supported by the transcript of his words.”

Well, so did you: assuming it was initially a private “pastoral” encounter! When I did so, I specifically said that it may have been the case, this, that, or the other, that simply wasn’t mentioned in a press conference.

The problem with so much pope-criticism that goes on lately is that the Holy Father isn’t given any benefit of the doubt: which lacks charity and respect. People even assume he doesn’t understand the most basic theological tenets.

But if we’re trying to argue about whether or not he was correct, I think we should stick to the verified parts of the story.

I’m happy to do that, but the trouble is when people start rashly criticizing and speculating, then there are speculative factors that might be relevant in giving the pope the benefit of charity: things that were not mentioned but may have been relevant factors in fact.

In other words, when the pope decides to say something, I think it is reasonable and respectful to assume that he knows why he is doing so, and has reasons at his disposal that he need not always communicate to us. Once he is second-guessed and trashed by some, then we have to delve deeper as to why he said what he did, and that is where the “unspoken” factors take on more importance.

We routinely do that in life all the time. If our spouse or good friend does something that baffles us, if we are charitable, we will think, “they must have had a good reason to do so that I am unaware of . . . ” The one who acts less charitably just blurts out that what was done was stupid or wrong, before inquiring as to reason and motivation. No one likes a friend or spouse like that. They wanna be trusted.

Popes oughtta be trusted, too: that they know what they are doing.

Others, who probably don’t like him, have said it was a “harsh” rebuke.

The problem today is that the very notion of rebuke is no longer understood. It’s automatically considered “intolerant” and “insensitive.” This is part and parcel of the increasing secularization or liberalization or anti-traditionalization (if that is a word) of everything.

Dave, I’d have had no problem with a reference to a hypothetical woman, if he had stated that this hypothetical woman had suffered some serious complications from her last caesarean and had been given reliable medical advice that further pregnancies would be putting her life at risk, but felt that God would protect her, and took very irresponsible risks. (I like some of the Cure of Ars’s sermons where he mentions that labourers who are paid to do heavy physical work should not perform extra fasts. I would not have liked it if he had mentioned “a man I rebuked last week, who works for a farmer in a neighbouring village.”)

However, while my main problem is that I feel that it’s unprofessional (if you can use such a word for vocations), indiscreet, insensitive, and inappropriate for pastors to comment publicly about having rebuked a private person, I also feel that it was problematic because he didn’t say that doctors had warned her not to get pregnant again. He didn’t say that the caesareans had caused special complications. I’ve already read Facebook comments from women who have had several caesareans (or from people who know such women), and who had wanted all these children, and whose doctors had said that would be fine; some of these women feel hurt by what he said; some feel that he has left them open to criticism from others (they get enough of that anyway, even from total strangers), even though they were able to cope with an eighth child. I would imagine that every woman is different and every case is different, which is probably why the Church, while condemning artificial birth control, has never said how many children a couple should have.

Yes, every case is unique in medicine; nevertheless it is not wrong to make general statements. Both things are simultaneously true. Every medical calculation of risk of a particular surgery assumes by definition that it will happen to some and not to others. Thus, the determination of “acceptable risk” remains — bottom line — a question between the woman and the professional advice of her doctor.

That said, it’s still perfectly sensible to question (as a general opinion) the idea of having repeated c-sections, when there are very serious risks involved, and usually more, the more c-sections are performed. And it especially is sensible if it is a situation where a woman has a silly “just trust God and don’t consider the risks at all” sort of mentality . . .

Lots of unknowns, but in any event, you have argued your point of view very well, and it has been a real pleasure dialoguing with you, Ann.

Thank you. And likewise. 

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Amy FioriMy daughter Sicily would have died if I hadn’t had one. The Pope overstepped.

The pope was not condemning all c-sections, so merely citing one incident is irrelevant to the propriety of what he said. Of course you needed to have it in those circumstances.

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My friend Rebecca Bratten Weiss added in agreement:

Very easily: if you are practicing NFP you know exactly when you will almost certainly get pregnant. If pregnancy would be risky, you tend to find something else to do on those occasions, like sit down and read a good book.

Obviously the pope was not condemning c-sections! At all! He was stating that one should not feel obligated to get pregnant if it is likely to be a risk. I am a little alarmed by how many people totally misread his pretty clear statements.

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(originally 1-23-15 on Facebook)

Photo credit: [public domain / Wallpaper Flare]

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