28 December 2009

Holocausts and the Holy Innocents

Not long ago, at Sunday Vespers in the Oratory, the pews in front of me were filled with swarms of little girls and a boy or two; that is, a young couple with six small children. I felt quite outdone; Pam and I only managed five ... and we aren't often outdone.

I hope the young woman has a sympathetic Catholic GP. When we were proli-fic in the '60s and '70s, the medical profession already got very heavy-handed with women who entered upon four or more pregnancies - even if the women concerned were highly intelligent graduates who might be presumed to be capable of thought and of rational decision. I just hate to think how dirigiste this overweening (do I mean bloodthirsty?) profession must by now have become.

Among the things one notices if one holidays annually in Ireland is the sight of people with Down's Syndrome. It is no more remarkable to see them in the streets than to see, say, a West Indian or someone in a wheel-chair, in Britain. When you get back to Blighty, the streets seem suddenly strange because there aren't any. Then it dawns on you why there aren't any. Rather as, just after the cattle trucks had rumbled off to the East, it must have been strange ... and then disconcerting and very frightening ... to wander round a German town and see no Jewish faces. Ugly, isn't it, that the role performed in Nazi Germany by Gestapo or SS is performed in Britain by members of Caring Professions whom we each of us have to visit, especially as we get older, for our aches and infirmities. If anything, ours is a spookier ... well, let's be frank ... an even more evil society ... than Hitler's; one in which the Evil has dug its roots even deeper than it had in his Germany, because it is internalised among more people and more groups and more classes and more structures; and has been so manipulated that, far from being concealed, it is publicly appauded by our Media; and because the killing is, by a Diabolical masterstroke, disguised as Caring and performed by men and women whom we take for granted to be gentle. And yet, throughout my ministry, I've felt that I ought to discipline myself not to mention abortion too often in sermons lest people decide I am fixated on only one thing; or lest I traumatise women who've had abortions. How evil does infect us all.

Spare a prayer for brave young women who embark upon a willed pregnancy and have to face some medical bully. Spare more prayers for those put under enormous pressure to have 'tests' to see whether their 'foetus' is 'abnormal'. Find some more prayers for those who are assured, by kind and sympathetic people who only want to help them, that it would be wholly irresponsible to encumber the world with a Down's Syndrome human being. And don't forget, in your prayers, those other victims; the women who have already been deceived and seduced into complicity in the killing of their own children.


Malcolm Kemp said...

I have noted that people with Down's Syndrome are often exremely happy, kind and helpful and contribute greatly to the local community. There is a well known place in north Norfolk where this is most obvious.

Friends of mine have a 3 year old daughter with Downs. She is greatly loved abd valued not only by her family but by all who come into contact with her, including the students at the prep school (linked to a school well known to Fr H) where her father teaches.

Ttony said...

Bravo, Father!

johnf said...

Well said indeed. With your permission (and of course an acknowledgement) I would like to post this on our Parish website (I am sure our Parish Priest would agree)

Our downs syndrome grandson was born on 15th November. The first thing the midwife said to my daughter-in-law was "didn't the test show this up?"

Yes there was a test earlier on which showed nuchal fold thicker than expected, but my son and his wife decided that was not going to be an issue.

Soon after Malakai was born I found in my papers, this article which I had drawn down from the internet some years ago from the Washington Post

the abortion debate no-one wants to have

The author, Patricia Bauer concludes that prenatal testing is making your right to abort a disabled child more like "your duty" to abort a disabled child.

Here's the link en clair in case my manipulation of the html doesnt work

Anonymous said...

One of my dear children has a "genetic abnormality" and we wouldn't replace him for anything. There are many who think it's a weakness to be tender-hearted toward souls whose bodies bear more obviously the sin of our first parents: though these calloused ones are themselves the ones to be pitied.

Fortunately, here in the USA we have had much support from both friends and medical professionals. It is also encouraging to note that, at least here in the USA, the percentage of babies affected by trisomy has remained steady since the introduction of cheap and easy abortions; indicating that very few "normal" mothers can bring themselves to murder their "abnormal" child.

The irony of Nazi eugenics (it is true our present society makes Nazis look like paragons of virtue) is that the eugenics culture began in Germany during the Weimar Republic - contraception and abortion and were all the rage. Even more ironic, Jews are the tip of the sword in modern day eugenics. It is a little known fact that the book Abortion (1966) by Lawrence Lader (a Jew) was relied upon heavily by the US Supreme Court for the legalization of Abortion in Roe v. Wade. Lader wrote in his book, "Although Judaism has no central authority, and its congregations are organized into three branches, Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed, often differing in interpretation of Jewish tradition, its position on the beginnings of human life contrasts sharply with Catholic theology....Judaism has never been concerned with the concept of soul and the moment of its infusion in the fetus; nor does it treat the fetus as a human entity apart from its mother."

Malcolm Kemp said...

Pray also, snd give thanks, for those parents who, with full knowledge of the medical facts, choose to go ahead with the birth and bring up a Downs child, well knowing the problems - including loss of wage earning potential by the mother - that they will encounter en route.

Anonymous said...

I'm the father of a severly Autistic son & have found that my former church treated Peter as a problem rather than a disabled child.

He is less troublesome than one of the "normal" children (whose parents are police officers) who used to bite other children and crawl under the pews ..... little was ever said about his behaviour, then again middle-class kids have to be okay, right?

On Malcolm Kemp's comment: I agree. My children went on a total of 8 days holiday in 2009- the first "proper" holidays they have had in 5 years solely by help from a charity as I'm the sole bread-winner in my home.

Ernest said...

This is not of course only a matter concerning Down's Syndrome children; it is a very much broader phenomenon.
For instance, the author of a piece on the disabilitymatters blogsite discusses one other example (among so many) of this western death culture.
In the USA there is now an "end-of-life booklet" called “Your Life, Your Choices.“ It is published by the Veterans Association, now known as the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
> The document, written by the Clinton Administration, was reintroduced by the Obama Administration this past February ....
It’s a disturbing document, because woven among many paragraphs that are informative and clear, is the rather ominous notion: Veterans’ lives might, at some point, not be worth living.
Yes, you read that correctly.
A powerful branch of the Obama Administration, the [Veteran’s Administration], is now clearly in the business of helping citizens decide whether they should live or die.
Lest I be accused of “fishy thinking,” let’s go to the actual document, p. 21, where your government asks our sick veterans:
What makes your life worth living?
Think I’m stretching things? Read on.
After asking this question, What makes your life worth living?, the document tries to “help” Vets answer it. To do this, the VA thoughtfully provides a series of sub questions to be answered on a scale from
Difficult, but acceptable, to
Worth Living, just barely, to
Not worth living.
Here’s a sample of the sub questions to be answered through the scale above:
d. I am in severe pain most of the time.
p. My situation causes severe emotional burden for my family (such as feeling worried or stressed all the time).
q. I am a severe financial burden on my family.
I am not making this up ....
There's plenty more of the same in its 54 pages.
There have been other governments who have defined groups of their citizenry as having lives not worth living.
Is the current administration populated by a bunch of Nazis? No, the only people who were Nazis were the Nazis.
However, there’s no question that our government, at least as far as its war heroes go, officially acknowledges that under a whole bunch of circumstances, some citizens’ lives might not be worthy of living.
I wonder which group will be next?
Because, for governments unchecked, there’ll always be a next group, trust me. <

Gideon Ertner said...

Very true, Father. Abortion and all its associated evils: euthanasia, embryonic research, contraception and same-sex 'marriage' + adoption have penetrated our society like a deadly virus. Common to them all is that they banalize and degrade human life. I think perhaps one of the reasons why it is difficult to build a concerted reaction against it is that the ideology behind them has no well-defined name. 'Liberalism' does not provide a proper description. We ought to find one.

I am set to graduate as a doctor this summer, but I am already questioning whether there is anywhere in Europe I will be able to work without risking to compromise my integrity in some way or another.

Kiran said...

rev'd up, on the other hand, in more recent years, Rabbi Sacks has argued (as did his predecessor, Immanuel Jacobovitz) that, apart from certain well-defined cases, Jewish and Catholic positions are very close to each other. This is expounded in some detail here. Recently, Israel's Chief Rabbinate made the same point.

The problem though, seems to be that abortion amongst Jews is in the same position (and I am not comparing the two, just using an analogy) as, say, usury amongst Catholics: something that is wrong and taught as such, but where the liberal position has come to be held almost exclusively.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kirin, but a few isolated rabbis don't establish anything; especially against the fact that Jewish individuals disproportionately fill leadership positions in pro-abort organizations worldwide. Abortion also facilitates fetal stem cell research which the OU (Orthodox Union, providing the bulk of kosher certifications) is an avid proponent of. So does buying kosher promote abortion? It would seem so, at least indirectly.

This is not opinion, these are facts and they are confounding. It is better for us to not to deceive ourselves. Catholics have no allies excepting a few Protestants in our war against murder of the unborn. And the war is going to really heat up in the coming years; we would be fools not to suspect a fifth-column.

BillyD said...

"Abortion and all its associated evils: euthanasia, embryonic research, contraception and same-sex 'marriage' + adoption..."

Funny - I know a lesbian couple who adopted two children with multiple handicaps; I understand that it's not uncommon for same sex couples to adopt "hard to place" children.

They're Jewish, too.

Kiran said...

rev'd up, but it is hardly a few isolated rabbis. It is the Chief Rabbis of Britain and Israel. I think Orthodox Jews in general are closer to us than otherwise. I agree that it is a matter of degree, but it is still there. We shouldn't be complacent, but neither on the other hand refuse an outstretched hand on the plea that it is not close enough.

Sui Juris said...

On the subject of the culture of medicine, my wife and I have just had a baby (last Monday) and I've been struck again how much the whole business is felt to belong to the professionals rather than to the parents. (I confess this is only our second child!)

Particularly on the subject of prenatal screening the fact that we didn't want any of the tests was treated with disbelief. "Why not have these scans?" they say; to which the answer is "Lead us not into temptation." Happily a bit of middle-class assertiveness, especially in a cut-glass accent, does wonders in this country. But heaven help the poor.

Sirian said...

A good and refreshing post. If only more Anglo-Catholics spoke out on these issues...

Adeodatus49 said...

If one were to use the illogic of imperfection to abort a child in the womb, then we all should have been aborted. All of us are scarred by Original Sin. Our behavior outside the womb demonstrates this imperfection quite effectively.

Abortion is just plain evil.