Benedict XVI: "Medicine is not a profession, but a mission"
"What it means to be a human person in light of God’s plan with implications for bioethics?"
Research in Finland published in the journal “Human Reproduction” collected data from all 300,858 first-time mothers in Finland between 1996 and 2008, LifeNews.com reported on Sept.6. The results showed that women were three times more likely to have a very premature baby, born before 28 weeks, if they had had three or more abortions.
How Can We Accompany the Dying, and Those Who Suffer While Living Life? by Prof. Etienne Montero of the University of Namur, Belgium
I would like to share a very interesting testimony by Archbishop Samuel Aquila, the new archbishop of Denver, where he recalls his own personal experience with abortion.
The commemoration of World AIDS Day is an initiative that emerged from the World Health Organization (WHO) and was first celebrated in 1988. The goal of the day, according to its organizers at UNAIDS and the WHO is to provide “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.” According to data from the WHO, 33.3 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2009, with about 2.6 million people being newly infected and 1.8 million dying from the disease that year.
To a large extent, World AIDS Day has become a kind of World Condom Day. For many, it’s still hard to forget the images of the large obelisk in the center of Buenos Aires that was covered with a giant “condom” on World AIDS Day in 2005. Based on a 2004 report widely considered to be the most authoritative study on the effectiveness of condom usage in preventing HIV/AIDS, when condoms are used consistently, they provide an 80 percent risk reduction in HIV infection. This is where the finger gets pointed at the Catholic Church. If condoms are 80 percent effective, shouldn’t the Church—as her critics claim—be fully supportive of doing anything possible, including promoting condoms, as a real solution to stop the spread of HIV?
In Light of the World, Seewald asks Benedict to respond to the claim that “Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.” The ensuing controversy around the Pope’s remarks focused on a singular statement that: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.” Meanwhile, his following sentences were ignored by almost all major accounts of the interview: “But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality. . . . She [the Church] does not regard it as a real or moral solution.”
This “humanization of sexuality” was precisely the focus of the Pope’s remarks on the HIV/AIDS crisis. For Benedict, and the Church at large, responses to HIV/AIDS must address the needs of the entire person—and this is exactly what does not happen when one is reduced only to his or her biological capacities. This is why Benedict was also quick to point out that the Catholic Church has done more than anyone else to help with the crisis—either through its hospitals that provide on the ground contact with those suffering from the disease or be it through orphanages that care for the children who have been left parentless from the pandemic.
If, according to the Church, condoms are not the solution, what then is a proper response that respects the dignity of all persons affected by the disease? Lessons can be learned from the “ABC” approach that led to the steep decline of infections during the nineties in Uganda. “ABC” stands for Abstinence–Be Faithful–Condom Usage. This is a tiered response that focuses first and most importantly on prevention. Abstinence allows individuals to avoid risk entirely, and then as a secondary next step, being faithful focuses on avoiding multiple, concurrent partners and practicing fidelity. As a last resort, condom usage is named—though not as a solution, but instead, as a means of harm reduction—not risk avoidance (which is possible if the first two options are followed). Unfortunately, agencies such as UNAIDS are wary to call on individuals and communities to focus on behavior change and have spent the last thirty years of the crisis avoiding the real issues. For Benedict and the Church, an 80 percent success rate in preventing HIV infection is not enough. This number fails to recognize that all persons are worth protecting—and that all persons have the ability to take the necessary steps to achieve 100 percent risk avoidance. Benedict’s call to a “real humanization of sexuality” may seem out of touch with reality, but hard facts and science are on his side. Even the Centers for Disease Control notes that “Condom use cannot provide absolute protection against HIV. The surest way to avoid transmission of HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner.” Until 80 percent reaches 100 percent, the Church will refuse to accept such piecemeal solutions to the problem. On this World AIDS Day, let’s hope the rest of the world will demand the same."
More at The Catholic Church and World AIDS Day | First Things - http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/12/the-catholic-church-and-world-aids-day
Christopher White is the International Director of Operations for the World Youth Alliance, an NGO headquartered in New York City that works to promote human dignity in policy and culture.
*See also report by the Administrative Board of the U.S. Catholic Conference: "The Many Faces of AIDS: A Gospel Response" or by US Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Called to Compassion and Responsibility: A Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis in 1989".
"I have copied below Fr. Kavanaugh's obituary from the St. Louis city newspaper, the Post-Dispatch for those of you who knew or never met Fr.Kavanaugh.
Rev. John Kavanaugh dies at 71; acclaimed philosopher and eloquent preacher at St. Louis University. The Rev. John Kavanaugh spent part of his year of prayer as a young Jesuit priest working in Calcutta for Mother Teresa. She took him to the House of the Dying, a former temple she had converted to a home for women and men found dying on the streets. Father Kavanaugh washed and fed those patients, most of whom would never leave the facility alive. He recalled how he and others had tried but failed to help a man who was close to death. But when Mother Teresa took the man's face in her hands, his eyes opened and she was able to engage him. She had a powerful ability to connect with the poor.
It was a transforming experience for the young Jesuit, Father Kavanaugh recalled later. He went on to become an acclaimed philosophy professor at St. Louis University and an eloquent preacher who delivered powerful homilies. He gained attention for his opposition to the death penalty and the war in Iraq. The Rev. John Francis Kavanaugh died Monday (Nov. 5, 2012) at St. Louis University Hospital. He had been on medical leave from the university while doctors tried to determine the cause of a mysterious blood disease he had come down with earlier this year, his order said Tuesday. Father Kavanaugh specialized in the study of ethics. He taught a course in medical ethics and founded the Ethics Across the Curriculum program at the university to help faculty members incorporate ethics into their own studies and courses. He wrote an ethics column for the Jesuit publication "America Magazine." Earlier this year, his column described how both political parties had become rigid and "driven by the rhetoric of extremists." He had voted for "the hope" promised by Barack Obama four years ago, he wrote. He was disgusted, he said, with those who he said had slandered Obama with outright lies. But he went on to condemn the president for his use of drone missiles "and the horror they bring to innocent people." He compared it to torture and rewriting the principles of a just war. He concluded by suggesting that he couldn't vote for either the Democrat nor the Republican and planned to write in a third candidate.
Father Kavanaugh was reared in St. Louis and was ordained a priest in 1971. He earned a degree in philosophy at St. Louis University and a doctorate at Washington University in 1974. The next year, he went to India for a year of tertianship -- prayer, reflection and service. He returned in 1976 to St. Louis University, where he spent the next 36 years. He became the spiritual guiding force for generations of young Jesuits. He wrote books and syndicated columns on consumerism, advertising, faith and culture. His most famous book, "Following Christ in a Consumer Society," was first published in 1981 and was reissued twice. In 2001, he opposed the death penalty for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh saying, "we will have become just a little more like him." Father Kavanaugh was a soccer player at St. Louis University High School and a handball fanatic. He played the guitar and performed traditional ballads with a half-dozen members of his family who traced their roots to the counties Galway, Kerry and Mayo in Ireland."
* More at http://www.americamagazine.org/content/column.cfm?id=25 ; http://www.slu.edu/x68221.xml.
Summary of key points from Choose Life: From the moment of conception, every human life is beautiful, every human life is precious and every human life is sacred. Government does not have to provide for abortion in Ireland to comply with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. Legislating for abortion denies the humanity and dignity of the child in the womb and violates the most basic human right of all – the right to life. It is never necessary to target the life of the baby in the womb to save the life of the mother. Ireland, without abortion, is consistently one of the safest countries in the world in which to be pregnant. Many women who have had abortions speak of their deep regret, and research also confirms the harm that abortion can cause women. International experience shows that once abortion is legalised, even in apparently very limited situations, it becomes more widespread than was first intended. ---
Choose Life: Prayer for the Child in the Womb Lord Jesus, you are the source and lover of life. Reawaken in us respect for every human life. Help us to see in each child the marvellous work of our Creator. Open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift. Guide the work of doctors, nurses and midwives. May the life of a mother and her baby in the womb be equally cherished and respected. Help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death. Give us wisdom and generosity to build a society that cares for all. Together with Mary, your Mother, in whose womb you took on our human nature, Help us to choose life in every decision we take. We ask this in the joyful hope of eternal life with you, and in the communion of the Blessed Trinity. Amen. ---
www: Choose Life Web site - http://www.chooselife2012.ie/ --- Source: http://www.zenit.org/article-35685?l=english