måndag 9 mars 2009
Worst Catholic anti-abortion nightmare
The Catholic Church is firmly opposed to abortion in nearly all circumstances. Abortion is regarded as murder, because an individual human life is considered to commence at the moment of conception.
This is difficult to accept because at that point the human consists of what looks like a blob of jelly. At a later stage, the developing child looks like a tiny baby but is still an appendage of the mother. Only gradually does it appear to become sentient, though no-one is sure when this happens. The difficulty is that it is impossible to identify any specific moment other than that of conception when the individual human life begins.
There are many cases of abortion where the procedure is carried out for quite trivial reasons because it would be merely awkward for the mother to have the baby. But a recent case of in Brazil tests the Catholic Church's stance to destruction: a nine-year-old child was pregnant with twins, after having been raped by her stepfather, and a doctor considered it life-threatening to allow the pregnancy to proceed. These would have provided the best possible grounds for having an abortion. However, it was ruled that the excommunication was automatic in the particular circumstances, for which clear lines are laid down.
What can one say? The situation should of course never have arisen in the first place, but how should it be dealt with once it had? The abortion having been done, events will follow a particular course. What if it had not? We shall never know.
But I read a novel recently called Simon och Ekarna (Simon and the Oaks) by Marianne Fredricksson. Simon was not wanted by his natural mother who gave him away to her cousin almost as soon as he was born. He was very much loved by the family who brought him up. It sheds more light on this subject than any amount of philosophising.
These Amazon reviews summarise the story. Simon Larsson is a pensive and thoughtful boy growing up in Sweden during World War II, fortunate to be safe within a remarkably loving and cohesive community. Half Jewish, he is being raised by his Scandinavian aunt and uncle, who adopted him as their own at birth. In a novel rich in mystical overtones, his adoptive parents take on truly archetypal dimensions. Karin's deep love and compassion is matched by Erik's understated strength and stoicism, and together they create a firm family base from which 11 year-old Simon can grow and dream. But Simon, who doesn't know the story of his birth and adoption, seems set apart from his Scandinavian world by his dark hair and olive complexion, and he often retreats into fantasies to alleviate his feelings of disconnection.
Simon loves his parents - beautiful but sorrowful Karin and kind, practical Erik - but he knows he is different. Dark-eyed, bookish and given to flights of fancy, he worries that they might want an 'ordinary boy'. War is declared. Neighbouring Norway and Denmark are invaded by the Nazis and his parents' fear and agitation seem greater than is warranted even in these grim times. At school Simon is called names, names that he at first can't understand. What is a Jew? What is a bastard? Then the family befriends a Jewish father and his emotionally scarred son fleeing from Nazi Germany and through this friendship Simon learns the truth about himself and his origins.
kl. mars 09, 2009
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