The time is ripe for a revival in devotion to the Sacred Heart
Contemporary evangelisation calls us to enter into a personal relationship with God. What better aid than the image of Our Lord's wounded Heart?
U.S. Cohabitation Law: Still Separate and Unequal
by Helen Alvaré Ordinarily, the news about cohabitation in the United States focuses on its increasing frequency, or its relationship to parenting and later marital instability. Occasionally, a story appears about a state that still possesses a law against cohabitation and has undertaken a rare enforcement action. Far less noted, however, is the fact that the vast majority of U.S. states continue to draw a sharp legal line between cohabitation and marriage, attaching important rights and benefits to the latter, but not to the former. This indicates that despite the growing practice and approval of cohabitation in the U.S., most state lawmakers remain uncertain or even wary of it. Since the beginning of this nation, marriage has been considered more than a private contract. Rather, it is always also a legal “status.” An old, but still cited U.S. Supreme Court decision explains the significance of granting legal “status” to what is also a consensual personal relationship. In the 1888 case of Maynard v. Hill, the Court wrote: The [marriage] relation once formed, the law steps in and holds the parties to various obligations and liabilities. It is an institution, in the maintenance of which in its purity the public is deeply interested, for it is the foundation of the family and of society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress. [As] expressed by the supreme court of Maine in Adams v. Palmer[citation omitted]: ‘When the contracting parties have entered into the married state, they have not so much entered into a contract as into a new relation, the rights, duties, and obligations of which rest not upon their agreement, but upon the general law of the state, statutory or common, which defines and prescribes those rights, duties, and obligations.’1 By distinction, in the U.S., entering into cohabitation does not automatically create legal rights and obligations respecting matters like property distribution or financial support or inheritance rights. Instead, cohabiting couples may attempt to arrange legal and financial matters between themselves by entering into contracts or opting to take property in joint names in order to clarify ownership. Most states have not articulated their reasons for declining to grant legal status to cohabitation, or even, in some cases, declining to enforce contracts made by cohabitants. States that have spoken on the matter express concerns about undercutting the significance of marriage. It is also possible, however, that their laws are simply a reflection of several basic differences between cohabitation and marriage. Cohabitation, in general, is more unstable than marriage; and the parties do not regularly intermingle their financial affairs. Furthermore, lawmakers are likely respecting individuals’ freedom to contract. This is a very important principle of U.S. law. If two people have not chosen to enter into a marriage contract, then lawmakers will not treat them as if they have. Some scholars have produced a steady stream of criticism of the state of U.S. law regarding cohabitation. They argue in the name of fairness for cohabitants who suffer financially when a relationship terminates, and point to the laws of more than a few foreign countries where cohabitants are treated more like married couples. Still, U.S. law concerning cohabitation has changed very little even during decades of rapidly rising cohabitation rates. An Early Question: Enforce Cohabitation Contracts? In the legal universe, cohabitation burst onto the scene in 1976 with the lawsuit against actor Lee Marvin by the woman who had cohabited with him for 6 years (and taken his name), Michelle Marvin. In that case, the question concerned whether or not Lee had made a legally-enforceable promise to Michelle to share property and to support her for the rest of her life, even after their relationship ended. In the years prior to Marvin v. Marvin, it was generally agreed that because cohabitation was not socially desirable, agreements between cohabitants regarding exchanges of money or property were unenforceable; they were tainted by the “consideration” (something valuable exchanged by one party for the performance or promise of performance by another) assumed to form a part of every cohabitation agreement: nonmarital sexual relations. The California Supreme Court’s Marvin opinion, however, held that sexual relations were severable from a cohabitation agreement about financial matters—unless the contract explicitly hinged on the exchange of sex. Of course, a partner seeking to enforce such a contract had to prove its existence; but California held that it would enforce not only written or express contracts, but also oral and implied contracts. Furthermore, even in the absence of a contract, the court was willing to employ its “equitable powers” to achieve justice. In other words, the court would rely upon principles of fairness to bring about a just result, even without relying upon a precise legal rule, if, for example, the parties’ behavior (e.g. provoking unfair reliance or receiving services for free) warranted it. While the Marvin court acknowledged some social concerns about cohabitation, it suggested in these early days of no-fault divorce and rising divorce rates that cohabitation might stabilize a later marriage. “This trial period, preliminary to marriage, serves as some assurance that the marriage will not subsequently end in dissolution to the harm of both parties,” the court wrote. It also concluded that social rejection of cohabitation was diminishing: "The mores of the society have indeed changed so radically in regard to cohabitation that we cannot impose a standard based on alleged moral considerations that have apparently been so widely abandoned by so many." Post-Marvin, most states agreed to enforce cohabitation agreements not founded on a promise of nonmarital sex. Different requirements were applied, however, with some states enforcing only written or express agreements. Still, a minority of states’ courts continue to refuse to enforce cohabitation contracts and treat cohabitants as legal strangers to one another for a variety of reasons. These include continuing uncertainty about the effects of cohabitation on marriage, and the desire for legislative, not judicial, intervention into so important a public institution. The legislatures in these states have not responded. Illinois is an excellent example. In its decision in Hewitt v. Hewitt, the Illinois Supreme Court concluded there are “major public policy questions involved in determining whether…and to what extent it is desirable to accord some type of legal status to claims arising from” cohabitation, primarily because of potential “impact of such recognition upon our society and the institution of marriage.” The court also realized that evaluation of such a question would require data analysis and investigation “best suited … to the superior investigative and fact-finding of the legislative branch in the exercise of its traditional authority to declare public policy in the domestic relations field. Even 36 years post-Hewitt, the Illinois Supreme Court continued to refuse to act judicially to recognize rights for cohabitants. It is likely that the U.S. difference on cohabitation law relates to scholarship continuing to highlight the relationships between marriage and family stability, marriage and child-outcomes, and the lived, practical differences between the expectations and experiences of cohabitants and spouses. Later Question: Treat Cohabitants Like Spouses? While there is no reliable recordkeeping on the subject, it seems likely that the vast majority of cohabitants do not enter into contracts about their mutual rights and obligations. This means that when their relationships terminate by means other than marriage, there could arise myriad disputes about rights involving property and ongoing financial support. Children’s right to support from their legal parents is answered by the law’s insistence that noncustodial parents provide adequate support calculated according to state law applicable both to married and unmarried parents. But the adults, with few exceptions and absent a contract, do not have enforceable rights and obligations to one another. State family codes speak at length about married couples’ rights and obligations during marriage, divorce, and in death, but they are nearly universally silent about cohabitants. One exception is Washington State. There, upon the dissolution of cohabitations meeting certain requirements of stability or longevity, property distribution is required. Even here, however, the rules applicable to cohabitants are not as favorable as those applying to the married. This is because the state legislature has not agreed that cohabitations are the “legal equivalent to marriages.” But in many other states (and again, absent an enforceable contract) cohabitants have to rely upon some other indicia of their intent to share property. This might include their having taken property in joint names or having made significant contributions to property titled in another’s name. A claimant might also insist that an account has been “co-mingled.” But absent such showings, states have been generally unwilling to apply marital-dissolution standards to cohabitation. Likewise, regarding standards applicable to ongoing relationships, states have maintained a bright line between marriage and cohabitation. For example, unlike the married, cohabitants do not obtain rights and obligations respecting inheritance or testimonial privilege. Nor are third parties required to treat currently cohabiting couples like spouses. Cohabitants, therefore, may not generally recover for wrongful death or loss of consortium (deprivations of the benefits of a family relationship caused by another person’s harming one of the family members). And cohabitants almost never receive private insurance survivors’ benefits or unemployment benefits related to a relocating partner. Health insurance companies are legally free to allow or disallow insuring a cohabiting partner as part of an employer-provided health insurance benefit. The federal government offers Social Security survivors’ benefits only to formally married spouses and not to cohabitants. States also regularly decline to grant survivor benefits for cohabiting partners of state employees. Proposals to Treat Cohabitation More Like Marriage States’ refusals to treat cohabitation more like marriage have not stopped legal scholars from proposing the opposite, but thus far, states have declined to adopt their proposals. In 2001, the American Law Institute (ALI) proposed a set of rules to create rights and obligations between cohabiting partners upon dissolution, without their express agreement, but in accordance with their actions. In the Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations, the drafters proposed a newly defined “domestic partnership” status, which would arise under limited conditions including sharing a primary residence and having a “life together as a couple.” The latter is determined by factors such as agreements, intermingled finances, relationship duration, the degree of dependence or interdependence in their relationship, couple’s reputation, and many other factors. Couples would have to opt out in order to prevent the law’s application. Again, no state has passed a law based upon this ALI model. Another recommendation offered by distinguished family law professor Lawrence Waggoner suggests legally creating a new status entitled “de facto marriage.” This would be available to the unmarried, who share a common household and a “committed relationship.” It would provide for rights and obligations not only at dissolution, but also during the ongoing relationship and at the death of a party; these rights and obligation are not only mutual but extend to some third parties, like the state. A “committed relationship” could be shown by factors concerning: the purpose, duration, and exclusivity of the relationship; intermingled finances; taking up formal legal obligations such as life or health insurance; or the shared parenting of a child. The law would presume a de facto marriage if the couple had shared a common household with a child for four years. Still, there would be no automatic legal determination that a de facto marriage existed. Instead, the status would always be a matter for judicial determination, and even the “presumption” mentioned above would be rebuttable in court by clear and convincing evidence. Furthermore, a couple could opt out of such a status by entering into an enforceable nonmarital cohabitation agreement that says they do not intend to be treated as married by the law. Contrast with Many Foreign Countries U.S. law’s degree of caution or uncertainty about cohabitation can be understood even more clearly in distinction with other countries’ choices to assign to cohabitation more of the rights and responsibilities granted to marriage. More than a few nations and countries have granted marital–like rights to cohabiting couples—if their relationship meets several criteria. These include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, and Scotland. At the same time, some countries, such as Italy, Poland, and Spain, and many countries in Asia and the Middle East, have opted not to extend such marital rights and responsibilities to cohabitants. Foreign laws granting legal status to cohabitation vary. They may assign financial rights and responsibilities only upon dissolution and not during an ongoing relationship. They may require opting in by registration with the state (e.g Norway or France ) or by contracting in an agreement approved by the state (Belgium); or instead, simply their behavior in cohabiting will result in a property distribution or support obligation being imposed upon them (e.g. Slovenia, Croatia). Various obligations may be incurred only after a prescribed amount of time (e.g. Australia and some Canadian provinces). However they differ, it is telling that so many foreign democracies have begun to assimilate cohabitation to marriage, while the U.S. has so far resisted this trend. There is no single theory to explain this. It is likely that the U.S. difference relates to scholarship that continues to highlight the relationships between marriage and family stability, marriage and child-outcomes, and the lived, practical differences between the expectations and experiences of cohabitants and spouses. It is also quite possible that U.S. law’s affection for individual freedom (and freedom of contract) is playing a role. Still, pressures to assimilate cohabitation to marriage continue, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s paean to marriage as found in Obergefell v. Hodges. Some scholars complain that this opinion further marginalized unmarried couples as insufficient. Undoubtedly, these sorts of arguments will continue to mount, but they have not yet coalesced into a vocal, well-organized movement to grant status to cohabitation that is likely to change existing U.S. law anytime soon. Helen Alvare’ is a Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law and the author of Putting Children’s Interests First in U.S. Family Law and Policy: With Power Comes Responsibility. 1. Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 211(1888).
Why is America so polarized? Tocqueville has an answer
He admired the Puritan foundations of America, but also saw a profound weakness
Aussie prelate: Pro-life movement can’t be ‘so broad it’s meaningless’
ROME – During this week, 36 Australian bishops are in Rome taking part in the once-every-five-year pilgrimage to Rome all bishops around the world make to meet with the pope and heads of various Vatican offices, to talk about their local church. The Australians arrive at an especially difficult moment back home, as the country awaits a ruling in Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his December 2018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual offenses.” With many members of the Australian bishops’ conference notoriously active on Twitter, several have already shared some thoughts on the visit, from images of a beer on a hot afternoon after a day-long flight to Gospel quotes to mock one another. Yet few have the traction online of Bishop Richard Umbers, auxiliary of Sydney. Soon after their two-hour meeting with the pope on Monday, he went to Twitter to say that it had been a “brilliant audience” and very encouraging. “We spoke about everything and the Holy Father responded with such great pastoral wisdom. A true ‘incontro’ and accompaniment of the Australian bishops.” Last January, when he was in the United States leading a group of Australians who participated in the March for Life, he organized Twitter meet-ups with some of the people he’s met through social media, the closest thing to “online dating” a Catholic bishop will ever experience. “You can make new friends online, but then you have the opportunity to extend that to life outside the computer,” Umbers told Crux on Saturday. “People in the archdiocese were really worried, thinking I might be meeting up with a murderer or something, but it’s really interesting.” Umbers will be in D.C. again next January for the annual March for Life, an event he hopes to replicate in Sydney in the near future focused on the defense of life from the moment of conception. “I think that we do need to focus on abortion, though there’s been a lot of debate over this, with the seamless garment idea and so on,” he said. “I do think that we need to be targeted because if not, it can become so broad that it’s meaningless.” This doesn’t mean that it would have a single-issue focus: “We do have to be pro-immigration, pro-dignity of all sorts of people. I’m not taking away from that, but I do think that you need to give it a focus.” Umbers would like to have a broad spectrum of people participating, not only Catholics or Christians, but followers of all religions and even non-believers, since, he says, the matter of life beginning at conception is a “scientific fact.” Crux spoke with Umbers on Saturday, the day the bishops’ spiritual retreat ended and before their meeting with the pope. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. Crux: Most of you arrived in Rome early, to participate in a spiritual retreat. How was it? Umbers: It was really something. We went to the same place where the Holy Father did, the same chapel, the same everything. It was very, very simple. No TV, no air conditioning … No, none of that. But it was very interesting because we went through the exercises of St. Ignatius, it was a Jesuit discernment retreat, led by a brother, and we did a lot of sharing. It was a bit touchy-feely, but we got to know each other very well. We’re always at meetings, catch up at the end, maybe share a drink. But this was an amazing time to actually open up and share our concerns and worries. I think that some of the bishops were really taken by the fact that they could speak what’s in their heart and feel understood by the brother bishops, in a way that is not always possible when you’re doing ‘business.’ You don’t always know what it’s like to be out in the country, in a broke diocese… We could all listen to each other in a very deep way. I think it brought us very close together, so we’re ready for our meeting with the Holy Father. You’re in Rome for an ad limina visit. What is that? I’m going to find out! I’ve never been before… But, every five years, the Holy Father receives bishops form a particular country and we prepare a report, and we bring our questions … The main thing is that we get to be open with the Holy Father and hear his thoughts. During the retreat, we were in the same place with the bishops from Angola, who had just been with the Holy Father. It was just a free-for-all, you know, ‘Tell me what you want to hear, what do you want to talk about?’ You’re meeting the pope on Monday. Do you know what you’re going to tell him? People have been asking me that question… If you get to sit next to the Holy Father, what are you going to tell him? But I don’t think that’s going to happen. There are 36 of us! But if I had a chance, I would probably talk about social media, I’m pretty sure. I’m also a parish priest, and everyone in the parish was asking me to tell the Holy father that ‘we pray for him, we care for him.’ I actually got to meet the Holy Father last year, and I told him that, in Spanish. As he was moving on, he asked someone, ‘Where’s this guy from?’ Because it’s odd to find an Australian who speaks Spanish. That’s an Opus Dei element of you… I learned Spanish in Rome, when I went to the seminary, because everyday life is in Spanish. It’s only since becoming a bishop that I’ve actually started learning Italian. You were just talking about the importance of social media, and about this being something you want to ask the pope about. There’s a lot of people out there who’ve been talking to me about the possibility of having an online diocese, even a personal prelature. Do you think the Church needs something like this? That’s probably getting too far ahead of yourself. I think what would be interesting would be to see particular charisms developing of religious and even lay people getting together and seeing how they can coordinate that kind of apostolate. Let’s translate that, because “charism” sometimes is a big word and not really saying much. What do you mean by this? It’s like saying ‘special’ I guess. They would dedicate time to being online, but they would need a good deal of formation and a good deal of time offline as well. Because to be useful online, you have to be elsewhere: in front of the Holy Sacrament, reading spiritual books, actual books, so you can bring something different. The problem is when you can read internet, speak internet, but all you do is regurgitate what’s being brought forward elsewhere. You need to have something new to bring, and that comes from your life in prayer and classic spiritual reading. There’s also the fact that evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, we don’t actually live our lives online. No, please God! Or we shouldn’t anyway. But that’s where Twitter meet-ups and all the rest can happen. You can make new friends online, but then you have the opportunity to extend that to real life. When I visited the States, in Washington, I met up with all sorts of people. People in the Archdiocese [of Sydney] were really worried, thinking I might be meeting up with a murderer or something, but it’s really interesting. Much like online dating, you don’t always know what you’re going to encounter … Yes. But I met with a lot of college students, people from all walks of life. It was very interesting. You were in the States this year for the March for Life in Washington. Are you going back next year? And will you be having another Twitter meet-up? Yes! In fact, meeting people is half the fun. I even have some Americans asking if they can join the Aussie tour. Last time we had two giant inflatable kangaroos. Why do you go to the March for Life in D.C.? When I was there in January, it was the first time. And to see half a million people, families, youth, so joyous … Yes, there were a few nutcases, but they were drowned by the others. To bring that forth, to bring Australians to see that, it was a big step forward in understanding the issues behind pro-life that are often taken for granted. Going to the conferences before and after organized by university students was really something. I would like to organize something like that in Australia, but to get there you need to basically energize people and get activists who’ve seen it in operation elsewhere doing the groundwork. The March for Life in the United States was born as a response to Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the United States. Why the importance for having the March for Life in Australia? There’s a very infamous Australian philosopher by the name of Peter Singer who’s at Princeton and other places, having an enormous influence in practical philosophies at university, despite being very controversial. I think we need to be confronting that kind of ideology head on: he wants to remove the image of God from our society. He’s quite explicit about that, and at a time when we see euthanasia legalized, when everything is about utilitarianism, preference utilitarianism, which is pretty much Singer’s thing, we need to respond in a very strong way about the importance of seeing the image and likeness of God in every person, from the moment of conception until natural death. When you say you want to have a pro-life rally in Australia, will it be centered on abortion, or will it have a broader scope of the meaning of pro-life? I think that we do need to focus on abortion, though there’s been a lot of debate over this, with the seamless garment idea and so on. There’s a group I met called Re-Humanized. I loved that they gave a very pro-feminist defense of life, on the grounds that age is not grounds for an abortion, violence, we’re not violent, why would you introduce violence to the women. I would love to bring them to Australia. But above all, I do think that we need to be targeted because if not, it can become so broad that it’s meaningless. We do have to be pro-immigration, pro-dignity of all sorts of people. I’m not taking away from that, but I do think that you need to give it a focus. That said, even though it involves a lot of people, the March for Life in the U.S. is pretty Catholic, and I would love to see a broader representation of Protestants and people of other faiths. We do have a very good relationship with other religions in the Archdiocese of Sydney, and it’s pretty much the work of Sister Giovanni, a Josephite sister, who’s amazing and who’s responsible for a really wonderful relationship built with Muslims and Jews and people of Eastern religions. We meet often and she’s been the catalyst for that. But I would like to build on that, so that it becomes evident that this is not just a Catholic issue. That’s been something interesting I saw during the debate of the legalization of abortion in Argentina, where you saw a large confluence of different religions coming together in the defense of the unborn and the mother, including many atheists who insisted that they were participating in rallies or debates because of God. One of the persons I met from Re-Humanized is an atheist, and he told me that the argument being put forth is that it’s a scientific fact: from the moment of conception there’s a human life. But I would still ask the question: what sort of society we want to see ourselves in: one in which we’re supportive or is it a throwaway culture, where we get rid of things that are an inconvenience. What kind of society do we want to live in? That’s the message I would like to get across, for people to reflect on. Follow Inés San Martín on Twitter: @inesanma Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. 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How the Gates Foundation Harms, Not Helps Human Development
Openness to Life is at the Center of True Development Solving the world’s problems – serious poverty, hunger, war, disease, etc. – is a complicated business, to say the least. To make even a tiny, lasting dent in a single one of these problems typically requires vast amounts of careful thinking, planning, research, money and time. Even then, there’s always the risk that a seemingly “brilliant” plan will go tragically awry when it comes face-to-face with the unforeseen complexities of the concrete world, or that an approach that works well in one locale will fail catastrophically when applied somewhere else. It’s no wonder then, that even well-intentioned philanthropists often fall prey to the temptation of the “short-cut” – the cookie-cutter, one-size fits all, blanket “solution” to some enormously complex problem. Unfortunately, the consequences of giving in to this temptation are often disastrous…or worse. Nothing demonstrates this reality more bleakly than the long and gruesome trail of horrors left by the eugenics movement. Many early eugenicists were well-meaning people, who sincerely desired to reduce or eliminate human suffering. However, enamored by the newly-discovered science of genetics and new technologies, and a grossly over-simplified or erroneous understanding of human nature and human rights, they pursued the diabolical path of eliminating suffering not by eliminating the source of the suffering, but rather by eliminating the people who suffered. In the end, the eugenicists also increased suffering. The systematic murder of the mentally handicapped, or physically disabled, in Nazi concentration camps is clearly the starkest example: but we ought not to forget the suffering (still ongoing in places like China and India) of the countless poor and vulnerable who were forcibly sterilized, or forced to abort their unborn children; not to mention the suffering of the innumerable unborn babies murdered in their mother’s wombs in the name of a better world. Those considered “unfit,” including thousands of children, were euthanized in clinics by the Nazis. Methods ranged from starvation to poison gas. Picture of Vienna’s Am Spiegelgrund (“the playing ground”) clinic was one such centre, picture courtesy of Courtesy of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance.Melinda Gates’ “Soft” Eugenics Unfortunately, the demon of eugenics has not yet been exorcised from Western thinking. It has only gone underground or assumed more “compassionate” guises. The basic temptation is still with us: for it is still true that it is far easier to eliminate the poor and the suffering, than it is to eliminate the complex and tenacious sources of their poverty or their suffering. These thoughts have been on my mind as I have been reading about the misguided philanthropic efforts of self-proclaimed “devout Catholic” Melinda Gates and her husband, Microsoft-founder Bill Gates. Earlier this month, thousands of participants took place in the fifth Women Deliver Conference, self-described by the organizers as the “world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century.” As in past Women Deliver conferences, Melinda played a prominent role at this year’s event, and gave several interviews to media in conjunction with the conference. Melinda has also been in the public eye quite a bit lately, due to the recent release of her new book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.” Melinda, and her husband, have made “women’s issues” one of the top priorities for their philanthropic work. A portion of what they do involves truly valuable and praise-worthy efforts to improve the lives, well-being and health of women. Unfortunately, some time ago Melinda also made the decision to elevate contraception-promotion and population control as arguably the single-most important part of her work. In 2017, the Gates Foundation pledged $375 million for “family planning,” with the goal of providing contraception to 120 million women around the world, particularly in developing countries. This was merely the latest of the many hundreds of millions that the Gates Foundation has previously spent on promoting contraception. Melinda defends her foundation’s emphasis on contraception by claiming that there are hundreds of millions of women with an “unmet need” for contraception. In other words, she claims that she is merely providing something that women are demanding, and that her foundation’s efforts always respect women’s freedom. Melinda Gates and her husband advocate contraception en masse as a “solution” to povertyHowever, it’s long been known that statistics touting an “unmet need” for contraception are totally bogus: they’re an invention of contraception-providing, pro-population control activists and organizations to justify their overwhelming emphasis on providing plastic and pills, rather than the nutrition and healthcare that many women in third world countries are actually demanding. Included in UN-generated “unmet need” statistics, for instance, are women who could easily access contraception if they wanted to, but who don’t want to, whether for personal or religious reasons. What a joke! Unfortunately, Melinda has also repeatedly and publicly touted her status as a “devout” Catholic, while simultaneously dismissing Catholic moral teaching on sexual matters as outmoded, and even fatally dangerous to women. In an interview earlier this month with David Rubenstein, for instance, Melinda described contraception as “the greatest anti-poverty tool we have,” and repeated the misleading claim that “200 million women” are asking for contraception, stated “we weren’t delivering it.” In response to a question about how she squared her decision to focus on contraception with her Catholic faith, Gates responded that “it was a difficult decision for me because of my Catholic roots.” “I am still Catholic,” she said. “But when I met so many women around the world, and they would discuss with me that this was literally a life and death crisis for me as a mom … I had to wrestle with my Catholic faith and ask myself, what do I believe in? I believe in saving lives. So, this was the right thing to do.” To listen to Ms. Gates then, the Catholic Church must not believe in saving lives, because allowing women to have the children many wish is somehow a “life or death crisis.” What the Catholic Church Teaches It’s unfortunate that Melinda has such a shallow understanding of her Catholic faith. Two things are worth pointing out: In the first place, in cases where couples have a reason to postpone having another child, Church teaching permits, and even promotes, the use of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Not only does NFP respect God’s moral law and foster growth in virtue when used in accord with the Church’s guidelines, but the Church always presents it as part of a broader message. NFP respects and promotes the natural integrity of the sexual act, the health and well-being of the woman’s body (no need for the woman to ingest unhealthy levels of artificial hormones), the nature of marriage as oriented towards procreation, the intimate cooperation of husband and wife, and the moral truth about sexuality. Recently, even many secular healthcare organizations have begun to promote natural methods of fertility regulation, recognizing how harmful artificial contraception has been for women. Unfortunately, however, the overwhelming bulk of money and effort is still being poured into dangerous contraception that also erodes the moral fabric of society. There is a great need for significant investments to be made in developing the science of NFP, as well as creating and disseminating educational programs to instruct couples in how to use natural methods. Pope St. John Paul II emphasized this exact point twenty-six years ago while speaking to a group of teachers of NFP, boldly declaring that “the moment has come for every parish and every structure of consultation and assistance to the family and to the defense of life to have personnel available who can teach married couples how to use the natural methods.” HLI training in NFP in Kitwe, South Africa, 2019. HLI trains all year round in NFP.If Melinda truly cared about women and her Catholic faith, she could have done enormous good by putting some of her billions of dollars towards such programs that truly empower women and respect their freedom, health, and dignity. In the second place, the Gates’ emphasis on blanketing developing countries with artificial contraception for which women aren’t asking for reeks of social engineering and paternalistic eugenicist thinking. The fact that couples in developing countries often desire and value large families means nothing to many Western elitist philanthropists: the not-so-subliminal underlying presumption is that women who desire large families simply don’t know what’s good for them. As such, they need to be educated and “encouraged” with large-scale, foreign-funded advertising companies and other forms of soft coercion. In his encyclical Caritas in veritate, Pope Benedict XVI warned against this kind of poisoned “development.” “Openness to life is at the center of true development,” he wrote, warning that “when a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.” “One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples,” he added. Benedict XVI specifically denounces the fact that “some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion.” “In economically developed countries legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.” (That certainly sounds familiar!) The Holy Father also denounced non-governmental organizations such as Planned Parenthood International and other agencies for working “actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned.” Pope Benedict XVI warned that “to consider population increase as the primary cause of underdevelopment is mistaken, even from an economic point of view.” As he explained: “morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people. On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates.” Indeed, Melinda Gates’ chosen method of international development is breathtakingly short-sighted. It is true that many of the wealthiest countries also have the lowest birth rates. However, correlation does not equal causation! The mere fact of having fewer children does not guarantee wealth. Furthermore, as many Western countries are learning, or about to learn, the hard way, fertility reduction comes with its own grievous consequences: collapsing birth rates are going to lead to painful reductions in available workers, with the inevitable result that tax revenues will fall, costly social programs will have to be slashed, and the elderly and sick will be left with no one to care for them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. My ardent hope is that Melinda Gates will examine the moral teachings of the Church she professes to belong to, and the truth about what women are truly demanding in third world countries. Complex problems require complex solutions: solutions that respect local cultures, the freedom and dignity of women, and moral truths. Blanketing the world with hormones and latex may make Melinda feel that she is “making a difference.” What she fails to take into consideration are the unforeseen consequences that always come of violating the moral law and the truth of human nature. With a better understanding of both, Melinda could do enormous good for the world: putting her billions to work in providing things like better gynecological care, training in natural methods of fertility regulation, hygienic living conditions, nutrition, and education. That’s something we could all get behind. The post How the Gates Foundation Harms, Not Helps Human Development appeared first on Human Life International.
Dropping my Daughter Off at Day Care
by Michael Wear (@MichaelRWear) Editor’s Note: This essay is a condensed version of a longer essay that appeared in Michael Wear’s “Reclaiming Hope” newsletter on June 6, 2019. You can read the full essay and subscribe to his newsletter here. This abridged version is published here with permission. Melissa and I have been truly fortunate in these first months with our dear [daughter] Saoirse. Melissa has had paid leave from her employer. I have work that provides far more flexibility than the norm, and my organization and co-workers are beyond accommodating. We are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had with Saoirse at the very beginning of her life, opportunities that are not afforded to most babies, parents, and families in this country. Today, Melissa’s leave came to an end, and she returned to work. I delayed taking Saoirse to day care until the work I had to do became impossible with her at home. It was dreadful. I want to comment in two areas: policy and personal. On the policy side, it’s important to note that my interest in family policy is longstanding and predates having a wife or child of my own. I wrote for The Atlantic about how family needed to be at the center of our political discourse. I worked on a range of family-related policies in The White House and coordinated the rollout of a platform of policies in my time with the president’s re-elect that were family-centered. Parents and families need and deserve the flexibility to make the care decisions that they know are best for them, but we do know that real options help children and families: options of workplace flexibility, paid leave, excellent child care, and the option to stay home. The mother-child relationship is essential, but as a recent story in the New York Times suggests—and as we already know—so, too, is the relationship of father to mother and father to child. I will write about public policy more seriously in the coming days and weeks, but for now, I just want to say that the state of the family right now is a choice we are making as a society. It is a choice we feel is made for us, but it is, in fact, a choice we are making. We have absorbed, as a given, the choice that our families must revolve around our work. We have accepted a culture that justifies an unnatural relationship between work and family. Billion-dollar companies make decisions about benefits as if it is a decision about how generous they are willing to be, when they need to understand that employing someone inherently necessitates accounting for their personhood, for the fact that people have families. I recently heard a story of a woman who accepted a job and found out that she was pregnant a few days after. She said that she felt “guilt” and “shame” that she put her employer in such a situation. I’ve heard CEOs complain about the hardships of having staff with lives outside of work. The guilt and shame should be on us for allowing a culture where family can be openly discussed as an inconvenience. A healthy society shares responsibility for the flourishing of families. This should be our assumption. Ideas of work and family have not just political implications, but also social and cultural implications. Women’s lives and choices have been affected by such a narrative, of course. For many women, they have received a message of an outright idolatry of family that says they could have no other purpose other than to be a spouse and mother (Katelyn Beaty has written an excellent book on this). I am sensitive to that and want to be clear that I am not speaking to women and mothers here, who are operating under a very different set of cultural expectations and impositions, and certainly carry no judgment for any parent. We’re all just trying to make it. It is holding Saoirse that feels like the height of my contribution to the world. I do want to speak to the situation of men and fathers though, who have been subject to the other side of these narratives. If women of a particular era absorbed a narrative that their value could be fully summed up in their familial roles, men have absorbed the narrative that their familial role can largely be fulfilled through and justified by their work. But I’ll tell you, this morning, after I delayed taking Saoirse to daycare at 8 AM and instead laid next to her as she woke up and transitioned to joy and smiles and noises seamlessly, as if emerging right out of a wonderful dream; after I postponed taking her to daycare at 9 AM and instead fed her and changed her and sent a picture of her in her outfit of the day to her mother; after I reasoned that she was content enough playing on the floor at 10 AM that I could get some writing done; after she seemed tired enough at 11 AM that I could let her sleep on my lap as I took a conference call; after she cried when I tried to put her in her car seat at Noon, so I took her out and fed her another bottle; after I finally arrived at the daycare and handed my child to someone else who I could hope would soothe her cries and understand her needs, but who I knew would never meet them as her parents would; after all of that, I returned to my car alone. I tried then to recite the national masculine creed: that what I just did was for the greater good, that I was providing for her, that this is what a man does. I do believe, really believe, that work is a gift from God. I believe that there is a dignity in and from work and that we are called to work. But our dignity does not derive from our work. Professional success has never made me feel like more of a man, though creative work felt at times like an expression of my humanity, of my dignity. But I knew then, as I know now, that I did not feel like a man handing my child to someone else. It is holding Saoirse that feels like the height of my contribution to the world. Wiping milk off her milk-goblin face, laughing and struggling while her feet find her packed diaper as I change her, whispering in her ear and singing her to sleep—these things feel like an affirmation of my manhood, my humanness, that I do not deserve. We all have to live in the world as it is. I am grateful for the work that I do. I am excited about projects I have on my plate and astounded that I get to do work that both allows me to earn money and feel like my work is contributing to the good of others. But there will always be a tension, and we must begin to acknowledge that the tension is one that is not wholly inevitable. My experiences are, in light of what I know to be true for so many others, relatively trivial. I’m not sure if it’s entirely avoidable that someone else will have to watch my child for some period of time, and in the long-term, I’m not sure that avoiding such a thing is possible, appropriate, or even desirable. What I do know is that what I felt, the unnaturalness of it, is compounded ten-fold, a hundred-fold, for the mother without the access or resources to receive essential prenatal care; for the retail worker who is expected to be back at her job within days of giving birth; for the parent whose request for leave to take care of their sick child is denied; for the lawyer whose path to becoming a partner at their firm will get derailed if they are home to put their child to bed every so often. These are choices we’re making that set up our lives and our society this way. We can make different choices. Michael Wear is Chief Strategist at The AND Campaign, a Christian civic education and advocacy organization. He is the founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, a consulting firm that helps businesses, non-profits, foundations, and Christian organizations at the intersection of faith, politics, and culture. Wear directed faith outreach for President Obama's historic 2012 re-election campaign and was one of the youngest White House staffers in modern American history. He is the author of the book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America.
Pope Francis, the echoes of a past discussion
Concluding an ad limina visit of Swiss Bishops on Nov. 9, 2006, Benedict XVI stressed: “I remember, when I used to go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to grant interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion, and other such constantly recurring problems.” The Pope emeritus added: “If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few, somewhat antiquated, convictions and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears.” The issues raised by Benedict XVI in 2006 are still current. The last working document of the Synod of Bishops highlights the possibility of ordaining married men as priests, in certain cases, and for specific circumstances. The proposal is part of the longterm discussion on the so-called viri probati (men proven virtue) though the working document on the Special Synod on the Pan-Amazonic region never uses those terms. In the meantime, Sr. Joland Kafka, recently elected as the new president of the Union of General Sisters Superiors, said that she intends to publish the report of the commission on deaconesses. Pope Francis shared the final report with the sisters, as the commission was set up after they made a specific request to the Pope in their 2016 general assembly. Pope Francis said that the commission did not arrive at a unanimous conclusion. The Pope asked the commissioners to keep studying it on a personal basis. Would it not be the case that publishing the report is a means of influencing the discussion? Last year, St. Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae was questioned, coinciding with its 50th anniversary. It was reported that a commission had been set up to re-interpret what was Paul VI’s last encyclical and to change the teaching on contraception and sexual morality. The commission was, in fact, a study group, which led to the publication of a book curated by Gilberto Marengo. This book underscored that Humanae Vitae was not the fruit of St. Paul VI’s sole judgment. These three cases show how the discussion on these issues is vigorously carried forward. These issues were, however, already settled under St. John Paul II. The Polish Pope addressed the issue of viri probati in two speeches delivered during his trip to Peru in 1985 and the final speech of the 1990 Synod of bishops on priestly ministry. To sum things up: John Paul II echoed the Synod’s discussion, underscored that celibacy was a characteristic of the Latin rite and that the lack of priests must not be countered with the ordination of married priests, but rather with a renewed pastoral vocation, with an exchange of priests from dioceses wealthier in vocations to dioceses poorer in vocations, and developing the notion of family as a “domestic Church.” For what concerns Humanae Vitae, a 1989 text by L’Osservatore Romano, published with no byline, reiterated the teaching of Paul VI’s encyclical. The article underscored that spouses in difficulties deserved “respect and love,” especially if “for various circumstances of life they cannot observe the moral norms on sexuality.” However, the article stated, mercy cannot be detached from truth. The speeches on viri probati and the article of L’Osservatore Romano made reference to media campaigns, propaganda, and pressure on the Church coming from outside. It is striking that these documents are not considered nor discussed, although only 30 years have passed by. It is as if John Paul II and Benedict XVI never existed. The media campaigns of 30 years ago are still current and have regained headlines under Pope Francis. The real question now is, what does Pope Francis think? There is no easy answer, as Pope Francis’ thoughts are hard to interpret. On the doctrinal side, Pope Francis is a conservative: Pope Francis himself described himself as such in the interview he granted to Televisa. The Pope has been a conservative in many issues: during a conversation last year with priests from Lyon (France), Pope Francis underscored he did not favor abolishing priestly celibacy, and he reiterated this during his flight back from Panama. On abortion, he has always been adamant, to the point he compared abortion to hit jobs by hired hitmen. Pope Francis is also pragmatic, in the way parish priests can be. Parish priests providing spiritual direction know that life is messy, that things can happen, and act accordingly. Certainly, a Pope that shows pragmatism can also put at risk some principles of doctrine. If the Pope opens up discussions, he is perceived as a Pope doubtful and eager to change the tradition. The issue is not whether the Pope wants or does not want to do that. The mere idea that he could, reignites the discussion and puts everything on a different track. As Benedict XVI said, these discussions end up in identifying the Church with some commandments or prohibitions. The ongoing debate does not show the greatness of faith. The Church seems to be clinging to pragmatic and bureaucratic positions, while some call for more decision making power. It is as if the Church were a company. Priestly celibacy is a choice, and no one is obliged to become a priest. When a man becomes a priest, he responds to a higher vocation and faith. Living chastely as spouses, as requested by Humanae Vitae, is a faith choice to live a thoroughly Christian life. The role of women in the Church can be critically important even without any formally recognized role, as the diaconate to women. All of these issues are forgotten. The debate then presents a political Church that uses a secular vocabulary. These are old debates, originated after the Second Vatican Council, that seem hard to come to an end.
New book looks at why the 7 deadly vices still matter
[Editor’s Note: David Cloutier and Jana Bennett are the editors of Naming Our Sins: How Recognizing the Seven Deadly Vices Can Renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Cloutier is Associate Professor of Moral Theology/Ethics at Catholic University of America, while Bennett is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Dayton. They spoke to Charles Camosy about the new book.] Camosy: You both have a new edited book out to which I was blessed to contribute: Naming Our Sins: How Recognizing the Seven Deadly Vices Can Renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can you tell us a bit about the genesis of this book–perhaps with attention to why you think the sacrament of reconciliation is in need of renewal? Cloutier: Catholic moral theology has long been tied to the sacrament of reconciliation, but it is no secret that the collapse in the practice of the sacrament after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) has shown little sign of recovery. Without that sacramental practice, there aren’t parish-based sources of contact between the work theologians do – especially lay theologians – and everyday Catholic life. Jana and I both recognized that a crucial aspect of the problem is the awkwardness and limitations Catholics like us experience when trying to name our sins in terms of what we call “code violations.” The form of the sacrament (rightly) requires us to confess our sins – we agree strongly that this is an essential part of the sacrament – but moral theology since the Council has sought to escape from this legalistic view of the moral life. Even St. John Paul II, in his major encyclical on moral life, Veritatis Splendor, emphasized the centrality of the call to discipleship, rather than only thinking about following or breaking commandments. Sometimes we do “break the rules,” but a lot of the time the ways we are unfaithful in our lives and don’t live up to our baptismal call look less specific. And just as importantly, moral theologians across the spectrum have recovered the importance of thinking of the moral life in terms of the virtues. So the key “translation” task here is to take the richer language of the virtue/vice tradition, that gets at the deeper roots of the moral journey as Catholics, and help us “name our sins” in confessable ways. We reached out to some great colleagues to help, and were fortunate that all seven of our authors accepted our invitation to undertake this task, supplemented by the reflections of two experienced priests who share their experience of hearing confessions with the readers (of course, not sharing their actual confessions!) Implied in the title is that we have lost our ability to recognize the seven deadly vices. How did we come to be in this place? Bennett: We have come to this place for many reasons. In part, we’re here because we modern people don’t really quite believe we can sin. We rationalize actions as being good that, in previous ages, might have been named as sins. We think we’re basically nice most of the time (Christian Smith’s “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” is a sociological description of how we think the main thing is to be nice.) That kind of rationalization was bolstered in the 1970s and 1980s by pop psychologies that saw sin as troubling for good self-esteem and ego development. Similarly, many Catholics quite simply don’t believe that some things the Church names as sins, are sins. A key example is using artificial contraception, as discussed in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. David and I discuss in the book how that encyclical is one that really takes the academic field of Catholic moral theology by storm, but it also greatly troubled many lay Catholics. In addition, maybe partly because of the response to Humanae Vitae, there’s been an expansion of perceived moral absolutes in our collective moral language, going far beyond contraception and sexual activity. Now moral absolutes are the kinds of language we use to describe participation in political and economic life generally (for example, voting), not just limited to a few moral norms. That’s quite a change from the generations of moral theologians working in the earlier manualist tradition. While the manualists emphasized code violations in their naming of sins, their manuals also enabled priests to navigate the nuances of each person’s sins, to recognize mitigating factors. A single-minded focus on absolutes doesn’t work well in the tradition of the seven deadly vices. That’s not because there aren’t absolutes, but because to live virtuously, people really have to do the hard work of discernment and reflection about their own lives – which is also in line with that call to discipleship that David discussed earlier. We can name that the seven deadly vices, broadly speaking, cause problems for us humans. What that looks like in our lives gets much more complicated. Sometimes it’s actually good to be angry, so while anger is a deadly vice, it doesn’t always have the characteristics of a deadly vice. So part of our book is trying to get readers to think deeply about the ways the vices take hold in their lives, in ways that might even be unexpected. How does this book balance retrieval of the tradition on the deadly vices vs. addressing growing edges in moral theological research? Cloutier: There’s two “growing edges” I’d want to highlight. Of course, all of our authors enter into their reflections by drawing on some of the greatest authors of the tradition, from Augustine to Dante to Aquinas. But a unifying theme across the essays – one I don’t recall that we planned – is an attention to the specific forms the manifestation of vice can take in contemporary social settings of everyday life. That is to say, there’s a sophisticated attention to how social contexts distinctively shape how these sins manifest, and thus the specific “sins” we need to name in the sacrament. For example, Jason King identifies three contemporary social “scripts” that each manifest the vice of lust, and Beth Haile’s chapter pays particular attention to the complex forms gluttony can take in a culture where not only are we surrounded by food all the time, but we are also surrounded by messages about thinness and ideal body images. Your chapter on pride pays special attention to how polarized political partisanship can lead to unique sinful acts that manifest pride in a classic sense – and that Augustine or Aquinas couldn’t have thought of, since they did not live in media-saturated democracies! To say “all ethics is social ethics” is not to deny individual responsibility – otherwise, why would we confess sins? – but it is to recognize that our habits and the sinful choices that proceed from them occur within structural and cultural forms. The other “growing edge” is that, like much moral theology today, the chapters are all written by laypeople whose own experience will hopefully reflect the day-to-day challenges of readers. I’m sure the chapter on “Pride” is your favorite! But besides that one, did a particular chapter or insight stand out to you? Maybe both of you can answer this one? Cloutier: Of course, editors are supposed to say, “they’re all great”!! And they are – every time we read these over on the way to publication, we were more impressed. I’d particularly note the chapter on sloth by Julie Hanlon Rubio. As other contemporary writers have also recognized, sloth is a particularly challenging vice to understand in a culture that prizes activity. Julie’s analysis not only helps all of us make sense of this, but also addresses the particular challenges that women face with this vice when they live in the context of an egalitarian society where they are often told that, if they “lean in,” they can “have it all.” Bennett: Yes, I second David’s insights – I found this collection of essays to be impressive and I have learned much from my colleagues. I’ll highlight two insights here. One is simply the way that Beth Haile opened up the vice of gluttony, which we so often associate with overeating, to consider things like being overly “delicate” about our food preferences, but also how our eating habits relate to care of the environment. Another is Dana Dillon’s essay on envy, which examines the ways we “sorrow” at the good our neighbors receive. Her chapter included some terrific examinations of Dante and Shakespeare, and she reminds us yet again that because something good happens to a neighbor, that doesn’t mean something bad is happening to me. Yet so often we live in that worldview. If Crux readers would like to learn more about the tradition on the deadly vices, what resources would you suggest? Bennett: Thomas Aquinas lays out capital sins in Part II of his Summa Theologica, and it’s definitely worth reading his accounts of the deadly vices, maybe even as you read our book. Our authors do a good job, I think, of making Thomas accessible, but still being true to his theological language and discussion, so a person could definitely go more in depth with Thomas as desired. Also: Dante’s Inferno and C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. Most of our authors cited Rebecca DeYoung’s book Glittering Vices (Brazos Press, 2009), which offers a more philosophical discussion, but which still emphasizes the vices in contemporary context. Crux is dedicated to smart, wired and independent reporting on the Vatican and worldwide Catholic Church. That kind of reporting doesn’t come cheap, and we need your support. You can help Crux by giving a small amount monthly, or with a onetime gift. Please remember, Crux is a for-profit organization, so contributions are not tax-deductible.
What it’s like being a missionary on Wall Street
Stephen Auth talks to Francis Phillips about his work saving souls in New York's financial district
Friday Five 281
by Bill Coffin (@billcoffin) Stepdad or Mom's Boyfriend? Brian Knop & Lindsay M. Monte, U.S. Census Bureau Changing Families: A Preventative Intervention Perspective Carolyn Pape Cowan & Philip A. Cowan, Family Relations Fathers’ Work and Family Conflicts and the Outcomes for Children’s Mental Health Liana Leach, Australian Institute for Family Studies Reforming Child Support to Improve Outcomes for Children & Families Vicki Turetsky, The Abell Foundation More Than Half of the World's Poor Are Children Katharina Fenz & Kristofer Hamel, Brookings Institution
The Incarnation Doesn't End with the Resurrection
In the climactic chapters of John’s Gospel, Jesus shows himself alive to the eleven apostles (20:19-23), invites doubting Thomas to probe the scars in his hands and side (John 20:24-29), and eats bread and fish with the disciples on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14). Christians have historically understood such passages to affirm that Jesus is risen to life in his crucified body. However, David Bentley Hart, in a recent article in this journal (“The Spiritual Was More Substantial than the Material for the Ancients”), argues for a very different reading. For Hart finds in 1 Corinthians 15, and throughout much of the rest of the New Testament, a conception of resurrection—both of Christ and of the faithful—involving the replacement of the corruptible body of flesh with a new “spiritual” or “celestial” body composed of the imperishable substance of spirit (the nature possessed by angels and spirit beings). According to Hart, when Paul, John, and other New Testament authors speak of Jesus or the faithful being “raised” to life, this involves “the transformation of the psychical composite into the spiritual simplex—the metamorphosis of the mortal fleshly body that belongs to soul into the immortal fleshless body that belongs to spirit.” It was, Hart claims, in such a “spiritual” body, “purged of every element of flesh and blood and (perhaps) soul,” that Christ rose. How can one square such a conception of resurrection with John’s reports of Jesus eating with his disciples and inviting them to touch his hands and side? Hart argues there is no inconsistency. He readily admits that “no other gospel places greater emphasis upon the physical substantiality of the body of the risen Christ” but maintains that even this is perfectly compatible with his claim that Jesus arose in a body composed of spirit rather than of flesh. The key, Hart asserts, is to grasp “the ancient view of things”—a worldview foreign to moderns but shared by all the New Testament authors—according to which “spirit” (Greek: πνεῦμα) was not immaterial or incorporeal, but a substantial, material, physical entity. The disciples can touch the risen Christ, Hart argues, not because he any longer has flesh, blood, or soul, but because the “spiritual simplex” of which he is composed is also a material reality. Out of touch with such a world of thought, modern Christians mistakenly assume that such physical encounters of Jesus with the disciples must mean that he has risen from the tomb in his body of flesh and bones. Ancient readers, by contrast, would have immediately understood (or so Hart contends) that it was not in his crucified body, but as a “wholly spiritual being” that Christ encountered the disciples, having once for all shed the corruptible and irredeemable flesh. As all of Hart’s work, the essay in question is written with wit and verve. Hart is a brilliant polymath who is always worth reading. Nonetheless, the thesis of Hart’s article, which concerns a core belief of the Christian faith, is not sustainable. Moreover, the historical claims regarding the ancient world on which he founds this thesis are misleading. Hart’s essay thus calls for a sympathetic but critical response. The first point I wish to discuss is the ramifications of Hart’s thesis for Christian faith. Hart maintains that his understanding of the risen body of Christ as a body composed of spirit, purged of flesh and blood, contradicts “not so much Christian dogmas as indurated habits of thought and imagination.” A reading that affirms the reality of the fleshly embodiment of the risen Lord is, Hart insists, the result of a peculiarly “Protestant picture of the pagan and Jewish worlds of late antiquity,” entirely out of touch with “the age of the early church.” Such a claim is in strong need of correction. Contrary to Hart, it is the insistent and consistent teaching of the ancient Church, and of her classical theologians such as Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine, and John of Damascus, that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven with the same body of flesh and bones in which he was crucified, his body now glorified and made incorruptible. I will cite only a very few representative passages (although, as every student of the ancient Church knows (I could cite hundreds more): For I know and believe that he was also in the flesh after the resurrection. And when he came to those with Peter, he said to them, “Take, touch me and see that I am not a bodiless spirit.” And immediately they touched him and believed, mingling with his flesh and his blood (Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrneans 3.1-2). Christ arose in the substance of flesh, and showed to the disciples the marks of the nails and the opening in his side. These were the proofs of his flesh, which rose from the dead. In the same way, says the apostle, “he will raise us up through his power.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.7.1). The Lord said “Touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” [Lk 24:39], and he said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and behold my hands, and reach your hand here, and put it into my side; and don’t be unbelieving, but believe” [John 20:27]. So we, too, after the resurrection will have the same members that we now use, the same flesh and blood and bones. For in holy Scripture it is the works of these, not their nature, that is condemned (Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 28). We understand the right hand of the Father to be the glory and honor of the Deity, in which the Son of God, who existed as God before all ages and is of one essence with the Father, and in the fullness of time became flesh, is seated with his human body, his flesh sharing in the glory. For as one Person, together with his flesh, he is worshipped with one adoration by all creation (John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith 4.2). Certainly the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven with the flesh in which he rose, is now proclaimed and believed in the whole world (Augustine, City of God 22.5). These Fathers also explicitly reject as heretical an interpretation of resurrection in the New Testament that excludes the body of flesh and blood from participation in eternal salvation. And they one and all insist that this is not an insignificant question of doctrine, but essential to the Christian deposit of faith: And there are some who say that even Jesus himself was [after the resurrection] in a spiritual body only, no longer in the flesh, but provided only the appearance of the flesh to the disciples. By this teaching they seek to defraud our flesh of the promise of salvation (Justin, On the Resurrection 2). The very concept of a “resurrection” without flesh and bones, without blood and members, is a contradiction in terms (Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 31). At the resurrection the soul will not resume a celestial or ethereal body, or the body of some other creature, as certain people falsely invent. No, it will resume a human body composed of flesh and bones, and furnished with the same members of which it now consists (Aquinas, Compendium of Theology 153). The crucial character of this aspect of the Christian gospel is evident from its important place in the Church’s historic creeds and liturgy. In the Apostles’ Creed, Christians confess their belief in “the resurrection of the flesh” (carnis resurrectionem). On Thomas Sunday, Orthodox Christians sing: “Verily, Christ called unto Thomas, saying, ‘Probe as thou wilt, thrust in thy hand and know me, that I have earthly flesh, bones, and body. Do not be doubtful, but believe.’” And Jesus’s resurrection in the flesh is, of course, fundamental to the belief of both Catholic and Orthodox Christians that the body and blood of the risen and ascended Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. In short, Hart’s interpretation of the resurrection narratives of the Gospels is not, as he contends, without import for “Christian dogmas,” simply a healthy corrective of a mistaken “Protestant picture.” It is an interpretation that is not consistent with the historic teaching of the Church, East and West. But what of Hart’s claim that this thesis of a Christ risen not in the flesh but “in an angelic or spiritual condition” is entirely consistent with the physical palpability of Jesus’s body in the resurrection narratives of the Gospels, because all ancient persons (including the New Testament authors) regarded “spirit” as a material, tangible substance? Although he goes too far in attributing this view to “all the ancients” (for there were a variety of views on the subject), Hart is certainly correct that many ancient philosophers understood “spirit” as a corporeal or material substance (a viewpoint especially associated with the Stoics). However, the critical point Hart fails to grasp is the kind of corporeal substance they believed “spirit” to be. This is the background against which any ancient person would have read the descriptions of the resurrected body of Jesus in the Gospels (whatever their views about the corporeality or incorporeality of “spirit”). For all were in agreement that spirit (πνεῦμα; Latin, spiritus), in contrast with the coarse, dense, tangible human body, is as a fine air or breath, incapable of being touched or handled, entirely intangible and impalpable (see: Seneca, On Mercy 1.3.5; Epistles 50.6; Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 7.375; Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta 2.439-440; Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 2.116-117). So in the Jewish context, it was a given that angels or spirits cannot be touched or grasped, and cannot eat or drink (Tobit 12:19). That is why the resurrection narratives in the Gospels are so powerful. Everyone in the ancient context would have immediately understood that the Jesus so described could not have a body composed of spirit. For, they knew, a spirit was incapable of being handled or touched, or of bodily acts such as eating and drinking. Any ancient reader would have grasped what kind of body this is: the same earthly, fleshly body in which Jesus was crucified, but now glorified and transformed to be imperishable. "Touch me and see, because a spirit (πνεῦμα) does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Luke 24:39). Much of Hart’s essay is devoted to an analysis of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul’s great “resurrection chapter.” Hart dismisses the conclusion of New Testament scholar N.T. Wright that this passage is consistent with the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh. Instead, Hart maintains, Paul in this chapter envisions an ethereal resurrection body of celestial substance rather than of flesh. Hart finds proof of this in Paul’s reference to the risen body as a “spiritual body” in 1 Corinthians 15:44. Hart imagines that this constitutes firm evidence that Paul “thought of ‘spirit’ as being itself the substance that will compose the risen body.” Let us examine Hart’s translation and interpretation of this crucial verse. In 1 Corinthians 15:44, the “spiritual body” is the second element of a contrasting pair, the σῶμα ψυχικόν and the σῶμα πνευματικόν, terms which Hart translates respectively “psychical body” and “spiritual body.” Hart’s translation of σῶμα ψυχικόν as “psychical body” reflects that fact that ψυχικός is an adjective related to the Greek word “soul” (ψυχή or psyche). Likewise, Hart’s translation of σῶμα πνευματικόν reflects the fact that πνευματικός is an adjective related to the Greek word “spirit” (πνεῦμα or pneuma). Hart’s translation is unique, perhaps a bit strange to the ears—but remarkably precise. It is certainly the best translation into English of Paul’s contrasting terms that I have seen. For Hart’s rendering brings out clearly, what other English translations more or less obscure, that Paul in this verse contrasts, not flesh and spirit, nor body and soul, nor materiality and immateriality, but soul and spirit. What is the point of Paul’s contrast? Hart’s answer is founded upon another key claim regarding ancient thought. Hart asserts that in the ancient view of things “soul” (ψυχή; Latin, animus or anima) was “the life-principle proper to the realm of generation and decay,” confined to the earth and inherently mortal and corruptible. By contrast, “spirit” (πνεῦμα; Latin, spiritus) was an ethereal or celestial substance, “the element that was imperishable by nature,” having its origins in the heavens and thus “not confined to any single cosmic sphere.” This “central opposition between the two distinct principles of soul and spirit,” Hart asserts, was a core assumption of all the ancients, including Paul and the other authors of the New Testament. Reading 1 Corinthians 15:44 in this light, Hart understands Paul to contrast the “coarse corruptible body compounded of earthly soul and material flesh” with a risen body composed of celestial spirit, which has shed “every element of flesh and blood and (perhaps) soul.” However, Hart’s interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:44 is mistaken, for the assumptions regarding ancient thought on which his interpretation is based are wrong, and (one must say) egregiously so. First, in utter contrast to Hart’s portrayal, ancient pagan thinkers did not regard ψυχή or “soul” as the life-principle of earthly decay, but as divine and heavenly in its origins. Platonists believed that, unlike the perishable body, the soul (ψυχή or animus) was eternal, immortal, and imperishable (see Plato, Timaeus 41d-43a; Phaedo 80-107; Phaedrus 245; cf. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 1.53-71). Similarly in Cicero’s famed account of the “Dream of Scipio” in his book 6 of the Republic, Scipio learns that the origin of the human soul is among the stars (“human beings have been given their soul from those eternal fires, which you call stars and planets,” 6.15). Likewise for the Stoics, the soul has its origins and true home in the celestial regions (Seneca, To Helvia 6.7-8; Epistles 102.21-28; To Marcia 24.5-26.7). Second, Graeco-Roman thinkers did not use “spirit” (pneuma) in contrast with “soul” (psyche), as Hart claims. Platonists and Peripatetics used pneuma (Latin: spiritus) straightforwardly of the “breath” and “air” exhaled by the lungs. The Stoics used the word in this way as well, but they also used it of the divine spirit or pneuma that they believed pervades the universe and subsists as the soul (psyche) within each person. The Stoics therefore regularly used “soul” and “spirit” synonymously (Diogenes Laertius 7.156-157; Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta 1.135-140). A similar synonymous usage is common in Jewish and early Christian texts with reference to the “soul” or “spirit” of individual persons. Unlike the Platonists and Stoics, they did not think of the human soul or spirit as divine, or having its origin from the stars, but as created by God. But in this different context they also regularly use the terms “soul” and “spirit” synonymously. A good example is Luke 1:46-47: “my soul (ψυχή) magnifies the Lord, and my spirit (πνεῦμα) rejoices in God my savior” (see also LXX Daniel 3:39; LXX Job 12:10; Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; Josephus, Antiquities 11.240; Philo, That the Worse Attacks the Better 84). Other ancient Jewish and Christian texts relate the human soul and human spirit closely, either leaving their precise relation unstated (1 Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12; LXX Daniel 3:86), or understanding the spirit as the essence of the soul (Philo, Who is the Heir? 55; Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 6.2; On the Resurrection 10). So then, we see that ancient pagan authors never use ψυχή and πνεῦμα in contrast in the way Hart suggests, and often use them more or less synonymously, and that this synonymous usage is also common in ancient Jewish and Christian literature. However, in certain distinctive passages within ancient Jewish and early Christian writings, ψυχή and πνεῦμα (or their related adjectives) are set in contrast. This is, as we have seen, something that never occurs in pagan literature, and is contrary to the usual collocation of “soul” and “spirit” in Jewish and Christian texts. This contrasting usage in certain passages within these texts is therefore a striking fact that calls for an explanation. The explanation is that these passages do not speak of the human soul and spirit, but contrast the human soul with the divine Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14-15; Jude 19; Philo, Spec, 4.49; Virt. 217). And it is this usage that provides the key to Paul’s meaning in 1 Corinthians 15:44, where he contrasts the present “psychical body” (“psychical” = ψυχικός, related to ψυχή or “soul”) and the risen “spiritual body” (“spiritual” = πνευματικός, related to πνεῦμα or “spirit”). Paul had already introduced this pair of adjectives in chapter two of the same letter, where he contrasted “the psychical (ψυχικός) person, who does not welcome the things of the Spirit of God” (2:14) with “the spiritual (πνευματικός) person” (2:15), inhabited and illumined by the Holy Spirit (2:16; 3:16-17; 6:11; 6:19). In chapter two of 1 Corinthians, Paul’s opposition between the “psychical” and “spiritual” person is the contrast between the person untouched by the Spirit and power of God, and the person transformed by the presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jude likewise defines the “psychical” (ψυχικός) person as “not having the Spirit” (Jude 19). When, then, Paul uses these same terms in 1 Corinthians 15:44 regarding the body, it is clear that Paul’s contrast is between the present body animated only by the soul, and therefore mortal and corruptible, and the risen body which will also be energized by and infused with the Holy Spirit, and thus transformed to be glorious and imperishable. This is, in fact, the precise way in which the ancient interpreters of the Church read this passage: [Expounding 1 Corinthians 15:44:] The psychical [animalis] bodies [to which the apostle refers] are those which partake of the life of the soul [anima]. When they lose this life, they perish. Then, rising through the power of the Holy Spirit, they are made spiritual bodies, that is, having a permanent and everlasting life through the Spirit [Spiritus] (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.7.2). [Again explaining 1 Corinthians 15:44:] The body, which because it is born with a soul and lives by means of the soul [anima], is fittingly called “psychical” [animalis] by the apostle, will become what he calls “spiritual” [spiritualis], because through the Spirit [Spiritus] it will rise to eternal life (Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.10). In sum, an analysis of Paul’s language in 1 Corinthians 15 within its authentic ancient context reveals that Paul proclaimed a bodily resurrection in continuity with the Easter faith evident in the resurrection narratives of the Gospels. Finally, the reader may wonder: why is Paul so adamant that “this mortal body must be clothed with immortality, and this perishable body must be clothed with imperishability” (1 Cor 15:53-54)? Why do the Gospel narratives so strongly stress the flesh-and-bones nature of Jesus’ risen body? Why has the Church, in her theological writings, creeds, and worship, so emphatically insisted on the resurrection of the flesh? Why would Irenaeus even assert that those who deny the salvation of the flesh “despise the entire economy of God” (Against Heresies 5.2.2.)? Simply put, apart from the resurrection of Jesus’s crucified body from the dead, there is no good news. If the hope of resurrection in the New Testament involves nothing more than entry into a “spiritual existence” apart from the earthly body, as Hart claims, then the apostolic gospel offered merely one more expectation of spiritual afterlife among many in the ancient pagan world. On Hart’s view that Jesus rose as a disincarnate “spiritual being,” the Incarnation was only a temporary episode. As for Jesus’s human body, born of the Virgin Mary, the power of Rome had the last word about that. Such a narrative, as Hart freely admits, “involves no particular affirmation of the goodness of fleshly life.” Indeed, Hart claims that in the thought-world of the New Testament “flesh is essentially a bad condition to be in,” belonging inescapably to “the realm of mutability and mortality,” and so the goal of salvation can only be to “shed the flesh.” This is not redemption, but Simone Weil’s de-creation. On this reading of the Scriptures, the original creation of human beings as embodied creatures of flesh and blood can hardly be “very good,” as we read in Genesis, but is instead tragically flawed in its original design, as the Gnostics claimed. Within a narrative in which Jesus has shed his “flesh and blood and (perhaps) soul,” the Church’s conviction that in the Eucharist she partakes of the very “body, blood, soul, and divinity” of her Lord can have no place. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who sleep” (1 Cor 15:20). To an ancient world for which death was the everlasting sorrow, unconquerable even by the gods, the resurrection of Jesus’s crucified body from the tomb brought the good news of the true God’s victory over death. Moreover, the same body that was cruelly tortured and murdered by the rulers and authorities of this world is now enthroned at the right hand of God in universal power and dominion, and the one who possesses that body is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead. “In the Incarnation creation is fulfilled by God’s including himself in it” (Kierkegaard). Jesus’s resurrection did not end the story of the Incarnation, as Hart contends. Instead, Jesus’s bodily resurrection and ascension continued the story of the Incarnation. For in the resurrection, Jesus’s body, born of Mary, was not shed, but glorified (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:21). And Jesus’s second coming, in the same body in which he was crucified and rose again, will complete the narrative of the Incarnation, and so fulfill the story of creation. For the full outworking of Jesus’s resurrection, Paul affirms, will bring about the glorification of the whole created order (Rom 8:21). And this is the context in which the Church’s celebration of her central Mystery has its home: the communion of the faithful with the body and blood of Christ as “the medicine of immortality,” assuring their own bodily resurrection to everlasting life on the last day. “The goal of the work of the Spirit is the salvation of the flesh” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.12.4).
After the Peace Cross ruling, is religious freedom more secure?
The Supreme Court seems to be developing a new test that respects transcendent principles.
Argentina Doctor “Guilty” for Not Aborting Child
In Argentina, demonstrations are growing in support of doctor Leandro Rodríguez Lastra, who was found guilty by the justice system for failing to perform a 22-week pregnancy abortion. Dr. Leandro Rodríguez Lastra: “I would do it again.”The Case On April 2, 2017, Dr. Leandro Rodríguez Lastra was called to see an emergency patient at Moguillansky Hospital, Cipolletti in Río Negro, a province of Argentina. As head gynecologist, the case presented to him was a woman, pregnant at 22 weeks’ gestation, with an abortion in progress caused by the intake of misoprostol. The abortive drug had been supplied by the clandestine abortionist group “La Revuelta”. The woman reported having been raped (for which she never made legal complaint) and asked the doctors to perform an abortion. As shown on ultrasound, the baby was perfectly formed and his weight exceeded 500 grams or 1.1 pounds. The mother’s symptoms, however, included respiratory issues, contractions and fever, for which Dr. Rodríguez Lastra provided treatment and medication. He did not administer the second course of the abortion medication. Thus he was able to completely reverse damage caused by the abortive maneuvers. At the patient’s insistence she wanted an abortion, the doctor informed the health authorities in the province of Río Negro of the situation. According to the expert advice of her physicians – provided in a report at the court case –if the abortive process had been allowed to continue, the woman’s health would have been jeopardized. In addition to the symptoms exhibited needing emergency treatment: “The mother’s possible risks if ending the pregnancy at 22 weeks are rupture and perforation of the uterus. (…) Other complications in the interruption of pregnancy in the 2nd quarter are bleeding and infections that can lead to hemorrhagic shock and septicemia. Another complication in the interruption of pregnancy in the 2nd trimester is related to anesthesia.” Otherwise phrased, Dr. Rodríguez Lastra followed the protocol he felt best for his patient according to his specialty in gynecology and best for the obstetric symptoms presented by the patient. Also, he followed the constitutional law of Argentina, which forbids abortion. Delivering the baby at such a premature stage is sometimes possible but here not a good solution; chances of the child surviving would likely have lead to a host of possibly lifetime health issues. Such was the opinion of the forensic Corp of the Judiciary, stating in its long list that potential side-effects could range anywhere from eating disorders to mental retardation or even cerebral palsy. This opinion was seconded by the Ministry of Health. Image courtesy of Aciprensa.comThe Complaint Based on the facts described, a provincial deputy named Marta Milesi, known for her pro-abortion activism, filed a formal complaint against Dr. Rodríguez Lastra and another doctor on her team, accusing them of noncompliance with the duties of a public official for not having performed the abortion. The second doctor was dismissed in the case, leaving Dr. Leandro Rodríguez Lastra as the sole defendant. On behalf of her client, the patient, she alleged the doctor “did not comply with the law” in completing the abortion, because his [stabilizing] treatment “applied medications to inhibit the contractions that the young pregnant woman was having.” Despite having no medical training Ms. Milesi ignored the symptoms with which the patient presented, such as breathing issues which had to be addressed. A mother and child’s health are intertwined during pregnancy. Only a medical professional should be making these determinations after evaluation of the patient’s symptoms. There are more health risks with abortion than with delivery. His first duty was to stabilize the patient, not adhere to the patient’s demands for the treatment she as a layman wanted, which were not in her best physical interest. No patient anywhere can seek a physician’s help and demand a particular treatment. The Legal Framework: There is No Legal Abortion in Argentina In order to fully understand the case it is necessary to address two issues. The first is the current Argentine legislation in the field of defense of life, and the second is the illegality by those who promote anti-life policies. To start, the law takes its cue from Argentina’s highest rule of the land, the National Constitution (1994), which provides protection of every life from the moment of conception. Then in 2015 the new Civil and Commercial Code went into effect, with Article 19 expressly stating: “The existence of the human person begins with conception.” At the provincial level, the Constitution of Río Negro in Article 59 states: “Health is an essential right and social good in accordance with human dignity.” It continues, “Health care “Includes managing biological and socio-environmental risks of all people from conception, to prevent avoidable illness or death.” That is to say, that the entire Argentine legal system is ordered to defend the right to life. However, Article 86 of the Argentine Penal Code (1921) establishes cases where so-called therapeutic, sentimental or eugenic abortion is exempt from prosecution. This norm, which in no way speaks of “legal abortion”, has long been questioned, and today there is no doubt that it does not supersede constitutionality. Bear in mind the first treaty on the subject was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Obviously if a lower norm, such as the Penal Code, violates a later and higher standard, such as the U.N. treaty, it is the latter that must prevail.Yet despite the primacy of the Constitutional right to life, pro-abortion forces continue to attempt to decriminalize abortion on the basis of the above-mentioned Article 86 of the Penal Code or human rights treaties. In addition to this subversion of the nation’s legal order, they furthermore try to expand upon Article 86, so as to label all abortion legal with these “justifications.” This abusive interpretation of Article 86 came to the fore in 2012, when the nation’s Supreme Court in the ruling of F.A.L. (Fallu Fuentes Aurora Luisa) delivered an unconstitutional ruling, seeking to force third parties to perform abortions, resulting in criticism from jurists and legal scholars alike. Some provinces are following in the footsteps of this ruling, in trying to use it as a basis to establish abortion. Abortion is Illegal…but Legal Cases based on Article 86 of the Penal Code, the F.A.L. ruling, and protocols allowing legal interruption of pregnancy and provincial laws on the subject, are obviously unconstitutional. However, since many judges adhere to anti-life practices, an appropriate judicial resolution in this sense is not always obtained. And this despite the fact that in Argentina, prohibits legal abortion. On August 8, 2018, after the bill to decriminalize abortion obtained a half sanction in the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate rejected this project, still preventing any abortive practice. The Media Taking into account the interest this case has raised in the media, it is wise to recall that the information conveyed is often presented out-of-context and manipulated. So we hear repeated in headlines a “doctor who refused to do legal abortion” – despite the fact Argentina has is no legal abortion and no doctor is required to perform an abortion. The Judicial Verdict On May 21, 2019, the criminal judge hearing the case declared the guilt of Dr. Rodríguez Lastra for having committed the crime of breaching the duties of a public official (Article 248 of the Argentine Criminal Code). Yet he complied with the constitution of the country. Article 248 of the Criminal Code expressly states a public official has a responsibility to comply with the law, even when he is ordered to perform “contrary to national or provincial constitutions or laws.” A ruling is expected sometime in July. The accused is already expected to repeal. Demonstrations are being held in support of Dr. Lastra. Image courtesy of: Con La Gente NoticiasReaction by the Pro-Life Community From the start, pro-life citizens and entities have expressed their support and solidarity with the doctor, denouncing this sentence. During the days of the trial, numerous people in the vicinity of the courthouse accompanied Dr. Rodríguez Lastra and his family, waiting hours while holding posters, reciting prayers, and singing songs. We pray in the end, Rodríguez Lastra’s verdict is overturned and he is exonerated, and that the judge orders the payment of his legal costs by the other side. As we lawyers say, we desire justice. Gabriela Quadri, Esquire, is an Argentinean lawyer and also HLI’s Auxiliary General Advisor at the Organization of American States. The post Argentina Doctor “Guilty” for Not Aborting Child appeared first on Human Life International.
The Knights of Malta’s Mass ban is hardly chivalrous
Benedict XVI hoped that liberating the Old Mass would heal divisions. But not everyone shares his view