Science tests faith: Well known investigative reporter Michael Willesee rediscovers his faith in his 50s, through his personal experience and live reporting of miracles within the Catholic Church. In 1998 he made a report entitled Signs From God on the appearance of stigmata displayed by a woman, Katya Revas, in Bolivia among other miracles. Scientists put these miracles to the test live on TV hosted by the Fox Broadcasting Company.
In an issue as heated as abortion (or, ‘feticide’, to disrobe the politically-correct label for killing of the fetus), it’s important first to look at the hard cold facts.
|1st day||the child’s conception takes place|
|7 day||a tiny human implants in the mother’s uterus|
|10 days||the mother’s menses stop|
|18 days||the child’s heart begins to beat|
|the heart pumps own blood through separate closed circulatory system with own blood type.|
|the child’s eyes, ears and respiratory system begin to form|
|the brain waves can be recorded, skeleton is complete, reflexes are present, hiccoughs first occur.|
|thumbsucking has been photographed, startles first occur from 6-7 1/2 weeks|
|all body systems are present, isolated arm movements begin about 7 1/4 to 8 1/2 weeks after conception. Breathing movements begin during the eighth week. Stretches first occur during the eighth week.|
|the child squints, swallows, moves tongue and makes a fist. Rotations of the head also begin from the middle of the seventh week after conception to the middle of the tenth week.|
|Hand to face contacts first occur 8 to 10 1/2 weeks after conception.|
|spontaneous breathing movements, the child has fingernails and all body systems are operating. Jaw openings and forward head movement begin during 8 1/2 to 12 1/2 weeks after conception.|
|the child weighs one ounce|
|genital organs clearly differentiated, the child grasps with hands, swims, kicks, turns and somersaults (still not felt by the mother)|
|the vocal cords work and baby can cry|
|Kenya King’s birth, Florida, June 1985|
|the child has hair on its head, weighs one pound, 12 inches long|
|15% of babies survive premature birth|
|56% of babies survive premature birth|
|79% of babies survive premature birth|
The Catholic Faith project page has been updated, with a new logo and with the addition of several new sections. You are encouraged to download and disseminate the pdf booklets for you evangelical pleasure. From the About page:
The Catholic Faith project aims to assist the lay faithful – the ‘sleeping giant’ of the Church – to know, love, defend and proclaim the Catholic faith.
The greatest commandment given to us as Catholics is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). As such, we must first know our faith, for it reveals God – we cannot love what we do not know.
As we continue to grow in knowledge and love of the faith – which naturally includes living it to the full – the Scriptures also call us to, “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel [euangelos] to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and, “always be prepared to make a defense [apologia] to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). This is the work of evangelisation and apologetics to which we are all called, as part of the volitional faith that saves us and brings salvation to others (James 2:26, Matthew 25:31-46); but we must first know and love our faith – we cannot give what we do not have.
This is a not-for-profit (other than winning souls!), self-propagating (reader-distributed) project aiming to inform and equip the Catholic fathful for this glorious task at hand!
Death, as we know, is a horrible thing: why would God allow it?
In a debate with an atheist, the objection was raised that it is absurd to think that deaths in cases such as those in the recent Christchurch earthquake could be compatible with a benevolent God who would intervene to save some people.
Part of the difficulty would be the same problems faced from the presuppositions of philosophical materialism and their implications, one of which would be the finite nature of all embodied things. If human existence is limited to the material, of course it would seem that a benevolent God would have to intervene in order to safeguard people from an ultimate demise.
However, often, I would posit, the issue is not so much with the objective case at hand, but with the projections of such a philosophy and world view. Once the material-tinted glasses are put down, it might be seen that the difficulty is somewhat negated. As Socrates (who is, of course, a preeminent and pre-Christian Greek philosopher) states in Phaedo:
And the true philosophers, Simmias, are always occupied in the practice of dying, wherefore also to them least of all men is death terrible.
Although Platonic dualism is, as I understand it, not compatible with Catholicism, such a philosophical insight into the formal aspect of a living entity does touch on the truth of the possibility of life apart from the material part.
I would suggest that, if this is taken into account, the problem of death begins to resolve itself, at least at the philosophical level (psychological is another matter).
Beginning with the work of Dean Kelly in the 1970s, it has been empirically obvious that those religions which have experienced the greatest proportionate decline in membership are generally the most progressive or liberal in their teachings; conversely, conservative-oriented religions have fared comparatively well. The latest data from the Yearbook proves this to be true again.
…With the exception of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and to some extent the American Baptist Churches, all the other churches with declining membership hold liberal views on abortion and gay rights. Moreover, the smallest decline among the Baptist churches was registered by the most conservative among them, the Southern Baptist Convention (down .42). By sharp contrast, all the religions that experienced a growth in membership are pro-life and pro-marriage (normatively understood).
Orthodoxy (among the conservatives, in this case) flourishes, because we are made to know and seek the truth.
As the article claims, this is consistent with the past findings, tracked by ad2000: for the Crisis magazine (2007);
The better-known orthodox bishops and dioceses – such as Archbishop Chaput (Denver) and Bishop Bruskewitz (Lincoln) – ranked well, while long-time liberal dioceses, such as Milwaukee, Albany and Rochester, fared very poorly. Not all dioceses fitted this pattern, due to other factors, but there was an evident correlation between success and strongly orthodox leadership.
Ziegler’s analysis took account of factors like the selection processes in different dioceses, the numbers accepted from other dioceses or overseas, the effects of clerical sex abuse scandals and rapid changes in population. However, these did not substantially affect the likely ingredients of success.
Successful seminaries were linked for the most part with strong, orthodox episcopal leadership, the witness of devout, enthusiastic clergy, focus on the indispensable role of the priest, effective programs in schools and parishes, and spiritual practices such as Eucharistic adoration.
2. The proportion of diocesan priests in orthodox dioceses has remained steady, while the number of diocesan priests in progressive dioceses has been continually declining for four decades. In orthodox dioceses, there were 1,830 diocesan priests per million active Catholics in 1956, and 12 percent more (2,057) in 1996….
1. There are currently nearly five times as many ordinations of diocesan priests per million active Catholics in orthodox dioceses as there are in progressive dioceses (53 vs. 11); and
2. The rate of ordinations of diocesan priests in orthodox dioceses shows a strong upward trend, while the rate in progressive dioceses, relatively low four decades ago, continues to decline. In orthodox dioceses, there were 34 ordinations of diocesan priests per million active Catholics in 1986, and 53 in 1996 – an increase of more than 50 percent. In progressive dioceses, the rate was 16 in 1986, and only 11 in 1996 – a one-third decrease.
This is consistent with the claims in Goodbye Good Men, which notes that the vocation crisis is artificially created by dissenting factions who turn away orthodox candidates as being “rigid”. Such dissenters forget that “liberal” flexibility and open-mindedness are, again, “values” that are relative and limited; by their very nature, they are never, nor can they ever be, absolute as to supersede universal truths.
“It is true that there is no truth, and it is absolutely the case that everything is relative.”
These are the kinds of underlying premise and thought-patterns underlying the contemporary cultural milieu. Yet, there is something very strange going on behind the veil… yes, the strangeness of a madman, even.
It is often the case that evil is self-defeating. A cheater compromises his own integrity before he does the system; a murderer kills his own soul before he does his victim, and; Satan is defeated by his own act of crucifying the God-man.
What evil does for goodness, error does for truth; before undermining other truths, it defeats its own foundation, be it the statement itself or the very basis for rationality. If everything is relative, then so is that statement. If there is no truth, then such a truth-claim is also impossible.
This is adapted from a comment I made in ‘The Modern Holocaust‘ post.
If abortion is the modern holocaust, can one do what the Americans did to the Nazis, and abort the abortionist? Weelll, let’s see…
When I equate abortion to the holocaust, it comes with the broadened correlation normal in a comparison, but I think it’s a fair analogy. When judging a moral act, there are three aspects in consideration, all of which contribute to the morality of it: object (the objective act itself), end (subjective intent) and circumstance (context and factors which situate it in degree and quality). Objectively speaking, yes, the acts involved are comparable; it involves, like the Nazi holocaust, the killing of innocent human beings. Subjectively speaking, it can vary to an extent; women who choose abortion are often taught to think of the baby as part of her body (which is scientifically erroneous, as you are aware from the difference in DNA, blood type, etc.). Circumstance does not play such a great part here, since it deals with an intrinsically evil act in its object – it’s always wrong no matter how, when, or where it’s done.
Now, in relation to the use of violence, the use of violence is always the last resort, usually in the form of self-defence, in order to preserve innocent life in face of an unjust aggressor. Even though abortion would qualify in the self-defence category, it would not seem to fulfill others that the Nazi case would have. These can be enumerated under the ‘just war’ theory (CCC #2309):
– The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
– the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
– all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
– there must be serious prospects of success;
– the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
So, can one abort an abortionist? Although it is not intrinsically impermissible (for the sake of defending the innocent life of the child – not for the sake of wanting the abortionist abortion!), there are no present situations in which this would be ethical.
In any case, the exhortation for Christians remains, as always: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:21)