Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Life Issues

God's blessings to you all!

Last Thursday, my husband and I attended the annual dinner for the local Right to Life group.

We went to this a couple of years ago and had a nice time. We were away last year, but when I heard that Michael Coren was speaking this year, I HAD to go!

Michael Coren is a journalist who is a syndicated writer for some Canadian newspapers. He is also and author, and a recent convert to the Catholic Church.

He did not disappoint! He is an entertaining speaker, and definitely lets us all know how he feels on the issues he addresses.

In the case of this dinner, the issues were Life issues...abortion, and euthanasia in particular.

I cannot speak for the denominations present, but I would like to address the Catholic teachings on these issues, as I understand them.

The Catholic Church is the only mainstream Christian church which has consistently taught that a) Life begins at conception (not implantation, as is often argued) b) We do not have the right to deliberately end a life, either at its beginning or at its end, therefore induced abortion and euthanasia are not something the Church permits for any reason.

That life begins at conception is part of the reason the Church also cannot allow the use of abortifacient forms of birth control, such as The Pill, IUDs and diaphragms. (The Church does not allow any other form of deliberate pregnancy prevention either, but the other forms do not fall into the abortifacient category, so I will not deal with them here).

Euthanasia is often touted as humane or compassionate. As God is the author of life, only He has the right to end life. We do not have to look far to find examples of people with no 'reason' to be alive. They may have been chronically ill, severely handicapped or mentally incapacitated. But in this group are also those who have given and received great love. There are those who, although mentally affected, are used by God to teach the "wise" great lessons. Some have even become canonized Saints.

Families have stories of their elderly members who, although weakened by age, managed to dispense wisdom to the other family members, sometimes despite chronic pain. These people are often the 'praying arm' of their families and parishes.

Who are we to decide when to end a life? Who can know the mind of God? Is this degeneratively ill person here in order to allow someone to learn how to love him or her? Is someone in need of lessons in compassion? Is the ill person themselves in need of lessons in humility? Patience? We don't know.

To my mind, abortion is a self-evident evil. I know, however, that I seem to be far from the majority in this. It is certainly not reflected in our national lack of ANY regulation concerning abortion. Imagine! In Canada, a small person can be aborted, killed, up to the very last days of in utero development!

People do not realize the connection between abortion and birth control. It is relatively recently that countries have allowed access to abortion. Some still do not allow unrestricted access.

What people also do not realize, is that NO major Christian Church (and I'm not aware of any minor ones either!) allowed any form of birth control until the Anglican church allowed it for grave reasons. This happened at the Lambeth Conference of 1930.

I would like to point out that the Muslim religion does not allow birth control or abortion either. And they're supposed to be the 'bad guys'?

At this point in time, the only major Christian Church to withstand public pressure to give in to abortion and birth control is the Catholic Church. I will add here that I do know that there are many non-Catholic Christians who, as individuals and in some cases parts of their denominations, also eschew BOTH abortion and birth control...but usually birth control is not seen as an evil.

So what is the issue with birth control? Well, as mentioned above, some forms are abortifacient (they cause a very early abortion by allowing the woman's body to shed the fertilized egg before it implants). These would be seen as abortion is seen.

Other forms of birth control are still interfering with God's work of starting and ending life. It is strange to me that people who strive to have God in control of their lives, will not allow Him to be in charge of their reproductive lives! But in a society which can allow the death of a child within its mother, why should we see the value of children outside their mother?

It strikes me as sad that when someone is talking about the value of planning their family naturally, they lose credibility when it is found that they have more than three or four children!

What people do not understand is that many people WANT lots of children and view them as gifts, not problems.

Even when I was at the doctor expecting my last child, they asked what form of birth control I was using. I said none. Then I clarified that we had used Natural Family planning, but this pregnancy was not a failure of the method. They don't have a category for that, I don't think.

This is a rather scattered view of some life issues. I will explain Natural Family planning another time. Good night!