Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fr. James Martin, S.J. On Bloggers, Sr. Margaret Mary McBride, Fr. Ladislas Orsy, S.J. And Bishop Olmsted

This is a small excerpt of a larger piece by Fr. James Martin, S.J. on the excommunication of Sr. Margaret Mary McBride by Bishop Olmsted.
And he (referring to a blogger) disagrees with Ladislas Orsy, S.J., professor of canon law at Georgetown University, who has also taught at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Fordham University, the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and is the author of numerous books on canon law.  Fr. Orsy wrote about the case in a Letter to The (London) Tablet.  
Link (here) to the full post by Fr. James Martin. S.J. at In All Things.

"An Unborn Child Is Not A Disease" Bishop Thomas Olmsted

In a medical crisis, the unborn child possesses the same inalienable right to life as an adult patient and must be treated with equal respect. Bishop Olmsted confirmed this point in a public statement issued last month.  
“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means,” stated the bishop.  
“We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care, not merely one.
Link (here) to the National Catholic Register article entitled, Questions Remain in the Phoenix Excommunication.


Maria said...

This article is superb and points to the tragic inability of many to trust in the providence of God,in ALL things.

TonyD said...

I, too, think these articles are superb -- and another confirmation of the huge distance between God and man.

Voiding excommunication based on Canon law arguments is as barren as excommunicating based on approving an abortion.

No wonder that Christians have historically found themselves an object of scorn by society. They still haven't understood how "love your neighbor" is more important - to God - than these other truths. I can only hope that the Church can someday figure this out.

They are blinded by their own interpretations.

Anonymous said...

TonyD: "Love your neighbor" applies also to your neighbor in the womb. The religious sister did more than "approve" of an abortion: in her role on the hospital ethics board it seems her permission and consent were necessary for the act to have occurred. That makes her a proximate formal cooperator with the grave evil of the abortion. Whereas you go around calling the Church "blind", it seems you are the blind one.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Bishop Olmstead was wrong on a couple of key things in this case.

Maria said...

All the erudite at America Magazine would do well to keep in mind the words of John Hardon SJ:

"And the more educated people become, the more academically sophisticated their minds become through years of education, the more they had better keep their minds in humble submission to the Mind of Christ".

Anonymous said...

"the more they had better keep their minds in humble submission to the Mind of Christ".

What makes you think they don't?

TonyD said...

> "the more they had better keep their minds in humble submission to the Mind of Christ".
> What makes you think they don't?

Because Canon Law and the Magisterium, by definition, are not the "Mind of Christ".
Yes, God can work through such writings, and can work through devout people, but that does not equate their analysis to God.

TonyD said...

This is God's world. He provides lessons -- often enforced with consequences.

Definitively, it is not our job to "construct" divine lessons. That is God's work.

Lacking divine revelation, how should we act when we observe suffering? Sometimes, relieving suffering will be fine, since the person has learned the associated lesson. Other times, relieving suffering will be inappropriate, since it will prevent the lesson from being learned.

So, without specific divine revelation, we provide any "service" to others at our own risk -- there are few worldly clues to the internal development of a particular person.

In the case of abortion, we know that life is important to God, and that life begins at conception. And we know that undermining God's lessons will cause more suffering for others, and probably for ourselves as a consequence. We don't know if God -- and the associated new life -- consider the lesson to be learned and the associated sacrifice of life to be worthwhile. Did that new being come into this world only to help the mother with a particular lesson? We don't know.

I've only laid out a few considerations. Sometimes, providing an abortion will have harsh consequences. Sometimes, not providing an abortion will have harsh consequences. We must try to be more humble in our acceptance of each other's moral uncertainty.

TonyD said...

An added note: This "service" vs. "real spiritual help" dichotomy also relates to prayer. I've found that when I prayed for particular results (to serve) I was often disppointed -- as a side effect of getting those results. Instead, I now pray for discernment first.

It seems that knowing the right questions to ask makes prayers easier to answer. Or perhaps it was the change in me that made the prayers easier to answer.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the "lesson" is for Sister McBride - active application of one's religious sense versus passive reliance on God to (miraculously) save or (highest probability) not. This assumes that God did not give us the understanding of medicine which we have now, that He did not allow us the tools that we have used to get this far in fighting untimely death and family-destroying tragedies. Choose to save the mother versus losing both, and you will necessarily be excommunicated from a Church which apparently has no patience with someone who will not sit by and pray, while both mother and child perish, instead of taking direct lifesaving actions within your capability.

God, on the other hand, will understand your choice (this is definitional, God understands all), and the mother's, to allow her to live and perhaps bear children when she is well enough, if it is her life path to do so -- or simply nurture children already in the world, if that is her path instead, and the urge to motherhood is not only for procreation but for making the world more "whole." I would bless Sister McBride, as the family affected by her decision does, for her charity, for the heart-wrenching decision that saved a family, at the cost of her association with the Catholic hierarchy.

TonyD said...

Humility does not mean that anyone gets to choose their favorite interpretation of God's will. The loss of two lives may be appropriate. Or it may be inappropriate. I know I'm getting repetitive - but I sure wish that more people would become worthy of getting direct assistance -- and getting a better understanding of the underlying values behind the rules.

With better understanding there would still be conflict. And genuine differences between people would still exist. But we could get to a much better place -- the place summarized by "love your neighbor" -- which requires serious consideration of your neighbor's values -- just as you would want them to take your values seriously -- especially if they believed that your values were "wrong".