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Posts Tagged ‘Incest’

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“No exceptions. No compromise.”

That is the goal of every true pro-life citizen when it comes to abortion legislation. Rape, incest, and the life/health of the mother have been wedge issues that have been used to establish the principle for acceptable/legal abortion that have led to the more liberalized laws accounting for 55+ Million abortions over the past 40 years.

While “No exceptions. No compromise,” are the goal, the question arises as to an appropriate response to legislative proposals that have the standard exceptions language written into them. Can Christians in general, and Catholics in particular support legislation that seeks to limit the extent of this grave moral evil, without abolishing it altogether? Can it ever be acceptable to use the same language of rape, incest, and life of the mother to severely and immediately restrict abortion, just as they were once used to establish abortion?

To hear some in the pro-life movement, the answer is an emphatic, “NO!”

The powerful witness by many who were conceived in rape is a vital ministry and has won many hearts and minds by giving a face, identity, and human story to those who are singled out for destruction because of the circumstances surrounding their conception. But some use an emotional arm-twisting tactic, wherein they say that support of exceptions clauses means that the supporter would have had them aborted.

It’s flawed logic, and counter-productive. It’s meant to shut down opposition, but in reality it frequently shuts down productive and vital dialogue.

Nobody would support the rape that led to the activists’ conceptions, but that doesn’t mean that such a moral position means we are implicitly wishing they had never been conceived. In the same way, if it can be shown that it is morally acceptable to embrace pragmatic, incremental legislation as the best available means of limiting abortion en route to abolishing it altogether, it does NOT suggest an implicit endorsement of the abortions allowed in the exceptions clauses.

Here is where Pope John Paul II added much-needed clarity in his 1995 Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.:

A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

{Emphasis added, G.N.}

Thus, in the ordinary teaching of the Catholic Church, it is permissible to limit the grave evil of abortion if incremental legislation is the only currently available option.

For those who say, “It’s not up to me to say who lives and who dies,” my own opinion is that the polar opposite is true. What we must first realize is that the current liberal application of abortion is the default condition.

What we are offered, frequently, is a compromise law that would restrict, but not eliminate abortion. In other words, we are being offered the lives of the babies not conceived through rape and incest (which are the vast majority of abortions). For many who can’t see this reality, they turn down the opportunity to save tens of millions until the day comes when they can save the remaining thousands. In the interim, the millions who could have been saved perish with the thousands who could not.

This because some pro-lifers wanted an all-or-none reality. Such an approach would be intolerable in a police hostage negotiator, but in certain pro-life quarters it is the epitome of virtue.

Pope John Paul II helped us see that the moral Magisterium of the Catholic Church sees it differently.

We abhor EVERY abortion, but are loathe to ignore the lives being offered to us through less than perfect legislation. Along with the missed opportunity to save millions, there is another missed opportunity.

A derivative benefit of incremental legislation is the conditioning, or forming, of the public conscience about the sanctity of pre-born human life. Outlawing the majority of abortions becomes a societal statement that elevates the public conscience. It is precisely through that elevated conscience that society will come to an appreciation for the humanity of those conceived in rape or incest.

If, unlike Superman who is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we cannot achieve our aim in a single stroke, it remains for us to take the stairs.

Thank you, Pope John Paul II, for your enduring witness to the moral Magisterium of the Church.

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Further thoughts on the incest-as-entertainment at Rosemount High that I blogged on earlier.

The AP has a report on the incident with some pretty disturbing quotes from Principal Wallersheim, whose staff planned the event:

“This activity was intended to be fun, but some found it offensive,” he wrote. “We apologize to anyone who was offended by this activity.”

Incest was intended to be fun. Perhaps as long as it’s presented as a game, it’s really okay. It isn’t the abuse, so much as whether the abuse is turned into a game.

More from AP:

Wollersheim said he wasn’t considering any disciplinary action against the high school employee who came up with the idea. A district spokesman said Superintendent Jane Berenz was not commenting the matter.

Then comes the most appalling of all from Wallersheim:

Wollersheim said he had not received any complaints from the athletes or their parents.

Really?! Neither the offending parents, nor the abused children complained! Is this man for real?! When I read that comment, I immediately thought of this exchange in the movie, Ghandi, an exchange between General Dyer and a government board of inquiry after he ordered a massacre of men, women, and children:

Lord Hunter: General, did you realize there were children, and women, in the crowd?
Gen. Dyer: I did.
Government advocate: But that was irrelevant to the point you were making?
Gen. Dyer: That is correct!
Government advocate: Could I ask you what provision you made for the wounded?
Gen. Dyer: I was ready to help any who applied.
Government advocate: General, how does a child shot with a 303 Lee-Enfield “apply” for help?
Gen. Dyer: [silence]

I thought of this scene, because Principal Wallersheim’s responses evoke the same question for me:

Where is a child who has been sexually assaulted by its parent,
in the school and with the school administration’s consent and approval,
without police or social services intervention,
without spontaneous outrage by the town’s clergy–supposed to apply for redress??

The crime in Rosemount is that every authority figure in the town, civil and religious, has punted.

In Rosemount there is no one to weep for these children, to tell them that they deserved better, that their bodies are sacred, that their dignity forbids being held up to public ridicule and sexual misconduct directed their way. When the Gospels tell us that Jesus wept over Jerusalem, I never quite grasped why.

I get it now.

I get it.

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Please bear with me on this one. It comes with a warning. This is gut-wrenching and nauseating, but needs to be aired.

After having worked for seven years with teen prostitutes at Covenant House in the 1980’s, I honestly thought that I had seen it all. It’s tough to live with the memories of all that I saw, especially as I am now a father and understand the fragility of children from the perspective one can only develop as a loving parent. Mostly I try to forget, because the memories are all the more horrifying when I think of my own children. Some of the most damaging experiences our kids at Covenant House had experienced, and from which they were running, were those of incest.

Teen prostitution, incest, abortion, IVF. What do they all have in common?

Control. Callous Disregard. Objectification. Commodification.

I guess I haven’t seen it all. On their blogs this weekend, both Elizabeth Scalia and Deacon Greg Kandra covered a horrifying incident in Rosemount High School, Minnesota. From the Star Tribune:

A prank on some blindfolded Rosemount High School athletes — they were unknowingly and at times amorously kissed by their parents during a recent pep fest — is collecting YouTube views by the tens of thousands and has the principal apologizing for what happened.

Here’s how the practical joke, originated by school staff members, played out during the assembly on Dec. 8:

The captains of the school’s winter sports teams — boys and girls — were lined up and blindfolded. They were told they would be kissed and then asked to guess who was on the other side of their lips.

Some of the parents during the 59-second YouTube video are seen holding the kisses for several seconds, cupping their child’s faces or embracing and swaying.

One mother moved her son’s hand down to her behind during the encounter. Another mom has her son down on the gym floor to the delight of two male students nearby.

The hoots, screams and laughter rolled on as the students pulled off their blindfolds to realize it was Mom or Dad they were smooching.

Read the rest here.

See the video here.

The story goes on to tell how the principal apologized because some people were offended (not because anything intrinsically immoral, illegal, or psychologically and developmentally damaging had occurred on his watch).

The article goes on to say:

Principal John Wollersheim said he received e-mails and phone calls soon after the pep fest from people who said they were offended by the display. This week, he said, the feedback he’s received has been more supportive.

The focus here should be on the giddy delight of the crowd in the video, and the general support of the principal.

We have imploded as a civilization.

Children are not viewed as autonomous human beings from the very earliest stages of their lives, with parents freezing dozens of their embryonic babies in IVF labs, mothers and fathers (married!!!) aborting their less-than-perfect babies with poor prenatal diagnoses, and now incest-as-pep rally fare.

At its core is the view of the child as property to be disposed of at will. They have ceased being persons to their narcissistic parents and school administrators, and contrary to protests from people around the blogosphere, this is NOT an isolated incident.

The cheers of the crowd and the preponderance of support for the principal tell us just how bad this has seeped into the collective consciousness of society. Need more proof?

The Star Tribune story is most notable for what it DIDN”T report: The arrest of the parents. The firing of the school personnel responsible. The involvement of child protective services. It didn’t report these things because they didn’t happen. Even if these students were beyond the age of statutory rape, what of the younger children present for whom incest was offered as wholesome pep rally entertainment?

When we come to the broader culture with an anthropology that values all human life with an intrinsic dignity from its earliest stages and we make little headway, we need to look at the impediments to our message in the broader culture.

This story, in all of its sordid dimensionality, is a chilling and sobering look into the soul of a civilization that has completely imploded. If we are to be successful in our life apologetics, we will have to take all of this into account. We need to rebuild from the ground-up, and it can’t be done without evangelizing with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

God have mercy on us all.

Part II Here

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I didn’t write yesterday. I couldn’t. It wasn’t a day for writing. It was a day for processing all that I saw and heard at a United Nations conference the day before. The first session that I attended was conducted by a panel of eight women and one man who were conceived in rape, and in one case, incest. These were the very people whose conception is held out as the ultimate justification for legalized abortion. Executing the child for the father’s crime.

There are those moments in life when another person allows us into the inner-sanctum of their being, that sacred ground where the reality of soul and eternity become the very substance of the encounter. Yesterday was such a day for me. I’ve met plenty of young women conceived in rape and incest in my seven years on staff at Covenant House. I know all too well the shame and worthlessness, the self-destructiveness that comes to many who live with the unresolved struggle of identity. Yesterday was different. Yesterday was Easter; the resurrection, the glorified bodies, the light of love shining in the filth and blackness that has become the United Nations, which promotes abortion on a scale that simply beggars the imagination.

Yesterday Lent simply vanished. Yesterday I was treated to death being swallowed up in victory.

First up was Juda Myers, who challenged the attendees. “Look around. You can’t tell who was conceived with wine and roses and who was conceived on a street corner.” Juda shared her testimony, (on her site in the link in her name above). She made a great point when she observed that we save generations by saving one life.

Rebecca Kiessling is perhaps the most widely known of all the presenters whose stories are all listed on her site. Click on her name above. Rebecca said what so many others said in so many ways when she stated, “My mother’s rapist is not my Creator. God is my Father.”

Click here to watch Rebecca’s story. It’s worth the entire 9:59:

Read the stories at Rebecca’s site. Watch the videos. This woman and her cohort are demolishing the argument over rape and incest. When you go to Rebecca’s site, be sure to read Liz’s story. After the meeting yesterday, Liz ( a young college student) told me that the only thing worse than the rape she endured would have been an abortion. She admitted that her pregnancy was a psychological hell, but that her baby changed all of that. Encountering him in the open adoption that she has with his adoptive parents, this tiny child has been her healing and salvation. “He was soooo worth it,” she cooed over and over, emphasizing ‘so’ each time.

Tony Kiessling (no relation to Rebecca), a fellow scientist, an Organic Chemist (They’re gods to me), said it all when he quoted Romans 8, “ALL things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”

More in the weeks to come.

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