Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mid-Week News Items: Irish Homes for Unwed Mothers, Religious Freedom and Abortion, Legacy of Humanae Vitae

A selection of snippets from news articles and commentary that have caught my eye in the last day or so — these all on Catholic-related themes. First, several about the ongoing discussion of the story of homes for unwed mothers in Ireland:

The Irish Catholic bishops announced yesterday

We welcome the announcement today of a statutory Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland.

For the Irish Independent, Niamh Horan interviews Father James Good, who headed an Irish adoption agency in the 1950s, and who says of the home for unwed mothers in Bessborough, Co. Cork, 

And we were fairly sure the nuns weren't obeying the adoption laws. Various things about the signing of consent. We just kept our distance. 

Andrew Sullivan repeats his critique of the theology that appears casually and cruelly to have consigned children born out of wedlock to a life of misery, because of the circumstances of their birth:

I repeat my view that when a doctrine begets this evil, there is something deeply wrong with the doctrine itself. When it leads to an inversion of Christianity’s deeper call to empathy, care for the vulnerable and love of children, it is objectively disordered.

And then re: other matters:

Patricia Miller notes that National Catholic Reporter, "by far the most liberal of the semi-official Catholic publications," has refused an ad for her book Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church. NCR's spokesperson tells Miller that publishing such an ad giving space to abortion dissenters would be like publishing an ad promoting polygamy. Miller responds:

Underlying the bishops' moral authority on the issue is the church's unified opposition to abortion. But this is the result of decades of suppression of opposing views. How should we evaluate claims made by an institution that engages in energetic censorship and then presents itself in democratic assemblies seeking concessions to that position or asserting its right to "religious freedom"? 

Fred Clark reads the minority report of Pope Paul VI's commission on family and birth control — the report of the minority of commission members who urged the pope to keep the ban on artificial contraception — and finds it the stupidest thing he has ever read. Stupid, because it doesn't reason. It declares

Fred concludes:

Men who are terrified of losing their sexual control over women really can’t be trusted for the "presentation of moral teaching … in sexual matters." Their teaching on such matters will inevitably be shaped by that fear and that thirst for power over women — which is to say that such 'moral' teaching will be not just untrustworthy, but actively immoral.

So it goes on this feast day of St. Barnabas, who, though like Paul, was born a Jew, defended the extension of the Christian church to the Gentiles, supporting Paul in his insistence that the good news of Jesus Christ could be separated from the rigid cultural, ethnic, and moral particularities of its Jewish roots, as the gospel was planted in non-Jewish soil.

(And National Catholic Reporter should be royally ashamed of itself. Catholic publications worth their salt foster and don't suppress respectful free discourse about moral and political issues that demand such respectful and free discussion.)

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