Friday, January 20, 2012

My Take on the News: Down Syndrome; Religious Freedom; the Vatican's News Service, Beta Version

I don't see a point in believing that something's true, and not acting as if it is. I believe that:
  • Human life is precious
  • Folks should be free to say what's on their minds
  • Having another source of news is okay
Which is pretty much what I'm writing about today:
  1. Defective People and 'What Will the Neighbors Think?'
  2. Religious Freedom: All Week
  3. Vatican News: Beta Version

1. Defective People and 'What Will the Neighbors Think?'

I've seen 'improving the race' and 'what will the neighbors think' give way to 'my choice' and 'every child a wanted child' as reasons to kill people who fail to conform to some physical standard, or are in the way.

That's wrong, because
  • Human life is precious
    • Sacred
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258)
  • It's wrong to deliberately kill an innocent person
    (Catechism, 2258-2262)
    • "Innocent" doesn't mean "perfect"
When the victim is innocent and defenseless, I get more than a little peeved.
"Extreme abortion rate for disabled leads to DC conference"
Michelle Bauman, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (January 19, 2012)

"An upcoming conference in the nation's capital will address the staggering 90 percent abortion rate of babies with disabilities, while emphasizing the often unknown joys of caring for the disabled.

"Many people have a 'complete misunderstanding of the gift of a disabled baby,' said organizer Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

"At the Jan. 21 'Council on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Intervention,' speakers will raise awareness about the dignity of all human life, including those with serious disabilities...."
What I see as good news in this article is that as many as 15% of people with Down syndrome aren't killed before birth. Given the sort of pressure on young parents to produce high-quality stock: that's doing pretty well.

Easy, No: Good, Yes

Culling 'defective' people from the herd is something I tend to take personally, since I was born with substandard hips. I've never lived a 'quality lifestyle,' from the point of view of someone who enjoys outdoor sports: but I'm rather glad to be alive.

Glitches in my brain's biochemistry didn't get diagnosed until recently: and even now, knowing that I've lived with major depression and ADHD-inattentive for most of my life, I'm glad that I'm alive. I've been over some of this before:
No, I don't understand from personal experience what it's like to have Down syndrome, or have someone with that particular deviation from average in the immediate family. On the other hand, I know a family who does, and they seem to be doing pretty well.

Back to that article:
"...A study published last October in the American Journal of Medical Genetics revealed that 99 percent of adults with Down syndrome reported being happy with their lives.

"The majority of parents and guardians surveyed also said they had a more positive outlook on life, and most siblings said they believed they were better people because of their family member with Down syndrome.

"Yet babies who undergo 'poor prenatal diagnoses' are among the most targeted groups for abortion, amounting to what Monahan described as 'essentially genocide.'

"Current estimates indicate that between 85 and 90 percent of Down syndrome babies are aborted, which shows the dramatic need for pro-life genetic counseling programs across the country, she said...."
(CNA)
I think that killing nine out of every 10 people with Down syndrome is a bad thing. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2268)

There's hope, though. One out of every 10 parents whose child doesn't live up to society's standards - resist pressure to kill that child. Considering how long we've been told that the unfit and unwanted should die, that sort of resistance is remarkable.

2. Religious Freedom: All Week

I'm a practicing Catholic, so I have to value religious freedom (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109) For everybody. (Catechism, 2106)

I also think it's a good idea to live as if God matters: to do something about what I believe. (James 2:19-20; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1021) There's more to being a Catholic than 'going to church on Sunday.'
"Pope warns of 'grave threat' to religious freedom in US"
David Kerr, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (January 19, 2012)

"Pope Benedict XVI warned today of a 'grave threat' to religious liberty in the United States that requires American Catholics to respond with intelligence and courage.

" 'It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres,' he said...."
I think two key words there are "intelligence" and "courage."

Courage

It takes courage to say "no" when authorities expect us to say "yes." When government authorities, medical professionals, and socially powerful people say otherwise, it's not easy to say that killing a defective child is wrong, or that caring for the sick is right. (Catechism, 2268-2275, 2276-2279)

Intelligence

Despite the cultural assumption that religion is, by definition, unreasonable: the Catholic Church says it's okay to use our brain. Actually, we're expected to use human intelligence. And wisdom. (Catechism, 156, 158-159, 1954-1960)

Conscience: Seven Days a Week

"...Meanwhile, other bishops raised the 'worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship' without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

"At present, the Obama administration is considering imposing a contraception and sterilization mandate that would require all insurance companies to provide those services free of charge. The regulation has a religious exemption clause, but it provides very few exceptions for Church organizations.

"Some states are also pushing Catholic adoption agencies out of business or severely limiting their work because they refuse to compromise the Church's beliefs on same-sex 'marriage.'..."
(CNA)
Despite what 'everybody knows' in some circles, the Catholic Church doesn't hate homosexuals. And I've been over this before:Moving on.

Be Different: Make Sense

One of the reasons I became a Catholic was that what the Church says makes sense. What the Church teaches isn't always easy, and I didn't want some of what I was learning to be true. But I finally had to admit that some of the best minds of the last few millennia were right. And that's another topic.

Making sense is one thing. Getting heard is another. I think it's easier for someone with another 'end times prophecy,' or the secular equivalent, to get attention.

Happily, the Internet lets folks share ideas: without the approval of some editor or review board. That's a sort of good news/bad news situation.

Online, I've run into everything from the Vatican's website to a warning that squirrels are plotting to enslave humanity. I'm fairly confident that, given a level playing field, the marketplace of ideas will separate fact from silliness. Then there's SOPA, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

Back to what the Pope said:
"...Pope Benedict said these issues highlight the need for an 'engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.' The American laity must have the 'courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate,' he said....

"...To read Pope Benedict's full address, please visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=1059"
(CNA)

3. Vatican News: Beta Version

"Vatican pleased news website is popular"
David Kerr, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (January 17, 2012)

"The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications says it is very happy with new figures that show over 10,000 people are using its online news site every day.

" 'I think that for an initiative that is only a few months old these results are really quite positive,' said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the communications council, in a Jan. 13 interview with CNA. The site, www.news.va, went live in June 2011...."
NEWS.VA's English-language page is listed as a Beta version, as are the Español and Italiano ones. If you think the English-language page seems to pay overly-much attention to what's happening in the English-speaking world: you're probably right. I checked, and the three home pages feature different articles.

For example, the second item on the right on the English page is "METHODIST VIEWPOINT ON ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE." On the Spanish page, it's "SE ULTIMAN LOS PREPARATIVOS DE LA MUESTRA CON DOCUMENTOS ORIGINALES DEL VATICANO II." (I think that's something like 'Preparations were completed - Sample with the Original Documents of Vatican II') The Italian page has "IL CATECHISMO IN EBRAICO" in that position. ("The Catechism in Hebrew," more or less)

I suppose I could fuss about how 'unfair' that is: but that would mean claiming that everybody's supposed to be interested in the same things. Instead, I'll see the different mix of news for the three languages as a reasonable effort to serve folks who don't all live in the same neighborhood.

I've added the English home page of NEWS.VA to this blog's "blogroll/Catholic Links page, under Media.

Related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Since you're referring to the family as a singular unit, the corresponding verb should be singular as well: "I know a family who do"

Extra word, or perhaps the wrong word? "the unfit and unwanted should be die"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

You're probably right with the who-do thing. And "extra" it was.

Thanks!

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.