Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis Warns of a Throwaway Culture, Calls Abortion Horrific, Media Misses the Message
By Deacon Keith Fournier
January 16th, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The inference in many media reports is utterly absurd, that Pope Francis is speaking out on the intrinsic evil of procured abortion to somehow silence his conservative critics. Sadly, this lightweight narrative has been propelled in the media, secular and religious, since Francis assumed the Chair of Peter. The truth is that Francis is as passionately Pro-Life as his predecessors. In fact, he may, with his newest inspired turn of phrase, Throwaway Culture be giving the movement dedicated to protecting our youngest neighbors in the womb the fresh verbal and conceptual framework it needs at this critical time.VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Monday, January 13, 2014, Pope Francis gathered with more than 180 Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See from around the world. He gave his state of the world address, challenging every Nation to build an authentically human social and international order which promotes peace and fraternity.
We do that by recognizing, respecting and protecting the dignity of every human person, living out our obligation to one another in solidarity and responding to our duty to care for the poor in our midst, in all of their manifestations. When we live this way we also promote the genuine common good. It was a beautiful address which can be read in its entirety here.
Much of the international press missed what the Pope offered - a morally coherent, consistent and crystal clear affirmation of the dignity of every human person, the fundamental moral truth which is at the foundation of all Catholic Social Doctrine. Instead, they parsed the latest papal address and ran it through their absurdly simplistic political language filters, using charged labels such as conservative, liberal and progressive in their poor reporting.
The party line of much of the media was expressed by Philip Pullella in a Reuter's report entitled Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion horrific which claimed that - Since his election in March, the pope, while showing no signs of changing the church's position against abortion, has not spoken out against it as sternly or as repeatedly as his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II. Both of those popes often delivered sermons against abortion, which the church considers murder.
The inference in many media reports is utterly absurd, that Pope Francis is speaking out on the intrinsic evil of procured abortion to somehow silence his conservative critics. Sadly, this lightweight narrative has been propelled in the media, secular and religious, since Francis assumed the Chair of Peter. The truth is that Francis is as passionately Pro-Life as his predecessors. In fact, he may, with his newest inspired turn of phrase, Throwaway Culture be giving the movement dedicated to protecting our youngest neighbors in the womb the fresh verbal and conceptual framework it needs at this critical time.
The excerpt from the address which became the material for many of the articles came from this portion: Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed "the throwaway culture". Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as "unnecessary".
For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity. Nor can we be unmoved by the tragedies which have forced so many people to flee from famine, violence and oppression, particularly in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes Region.
Many of these are living as fugitives or refugees in camps where they are no longer seen as persons but as nameless statistics. Others, in the hope of a better life, have undertaken perilous journeys which not infrequently end in tragedy. I think in particular of the many migrants from Latin America bound for the United States, but above all of all those from Africa and the Middle East who seek refuge in Europe.
What Francis did in this address to the diplomats is what Catholic Social Doctrine does; he presented a morally coherent worldview. This morally coherent worldview recognizes the primacy of the human person and our obligations in solidarity within the context of the entirety of the spectrum of human life and the complete circle of social solidarity.
We begin this view with the dignity of every human person. Human Persons are created in the Image of God. They have an inherent dignity precisely because of that fact - at every age and stage of their lives. This foundational vision informs the Christian position concerning the respect for every human life whether that life be found in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center, a soup kitchen or on a refugee boat.
The Media does not understand the teaching proclaimed by the Church concerning the dignity of absolutely every human life. Nor does it understand that our insistence upon protecting the Fundamental Human Right to Life is not merely a matter of our adherence to our religious beliefs. It is a response to the truth revealed by the Natural Moral Law and confirmed by medical science.
The Child in the womb is our neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. The Pro-Life position is a solidarity position. The embryonic human person, the child in the womb, the disabled, the needy, the poor, the elderly, the refugee and the hungry are all members of our human family - and are all our neighbors.
The more I hear Pope Francis speak, both through his prophetic actions and his messages, the more I am convinced that he will go down in history as one of the great Pro-Life Popes of this age. In fact, I predict that his expression throwaway culture will soon inform the entire human rights movement that is called called Pro-Life.He stands on the shoulders of giants.
In 1995, Blessed John Paul II issued an encyclical letter on the inviolable dignity of every human life entitled, in Latin, Evangelium Vitae. It is referred to in English as The Gospel of Life and has become one of the primary sources of teaching to defend the Pro-Life position, in its entirety. Within that letter he used the expressions Culture of Life and contrasted with the Culture of Death.
Under the expression Culture of Death John Paul coalesced many of the current social evils; from procured abortion (which is always and everywhere intrinsically evil); to modern slaveries, (including pornography and drug addiction); disdain for the poor and a cheapening of all life as well as the foreboding momentum toward a misguided use of new medical technologies; to active and passive euthanasia and the return of eugenics in the use of new technologies of selective birth.
Blessed John Paul II made clear that legalized abortion was only one aspect of the evil unleashed by a culture which has rejected the dignity of every human person as its baseline of compassion and its understanding of human rights. Any time human persons are treated as products to be used rather than gifts to be received, we witness the advance of a culture of death and use. Any time human persons are aborted, discarded, manipulated, enslaved, traded, and made a means rather than an end, we find the advance of the culture of death and an open assault against what he called the Culture of Life and Civilization of Love.
By positioning procured abortion within the realm of evil at work in and which is running rampant through what Francis calls a throwaway culture, which values things over persons, he has given all of us a fresh framework for our work and repositioned the entire pro-Life movement. In the United States, as we prepare for the March on Washington to mourn the infamous Roe and Doe decisions of the Supreme Court which removed the protections of the Right to Life from our youngest neighbors, we should all pay close attention. What we are marching to expose, oppose and replace is a throwaway culture.
In September of 2013 I reported on a newborn baby found abandoned in a trashcan in Jersey City. A newborn baby was intentionally placed in a trash bag and then left in a trash can behind a five story apartment building on Kensington Avenue. Throwaway culture. Obviously, the child was left to die by a mother who did not want him or her. It causes a reaction of disbelief or anger doesn't it? It should also cause us to examine who we are becoming.
Fortunately, teenage boys were hanging out behind the apartment building that Saturday afternoon. They heard the baby cry and saw a trash bag moving. They ran inside to tell the building superintendent, Arturo Rivas. He called 911. Accompanied by his wife, Rebecca Womers, they ran outside, ripped open the bag, and found the little baby boy. Those teenage boys saved a child.
The boys told the couple, "We hear something crying, we see something moving."After running outside to the trash can, Rebecca Womers said "I opened the bag from the bottom and it still had the umbilical cord attached". She cleaned up the baby. He had trash all over him. After all, he had been thrown away as trash. She was able to see movement in his chest indicating he was breathing. They awaited the arrival of the emergency vehicles. The couple, along with their two little girls, visited the little baby boy in the hospital that weekend.
The superintendent noted that he has kicked the teenage boys out of the alley in the past but was certainly glad they were back there over the weekend. New Jersey has a Safe Haven Infant Protection Act which allows a person to give up an unwanted infant safely, legally and anonymously within thirty days of their birth by dropping the baby off at a police or fire station, or a hospital. However, this baby boy was simply thrown away in the trash. In fact, he was treated as trash.
In 2011, I wrote concerning an incident which took place in New York. In that case the mother self aborted her child and then threw the dead baby in the trash. She drank an herbal mix which was considered an abortion-causing tea. Let's call the concoction what it really was, child killing poison. It's now become common practice and is called a medical abortion.
In 2010, I reported on the discovery of seventeen babies thrown away as trash. The article was entitled Children Found in Dumpsters in Two Cities: When our Children Become Trash They had been placed in medical zip lock bags with the names of their mothers labeled on the outside. They were found in a dumpster at the Womans Choice abortion Clinic in Lansing, Michigan. Under Michigan law abortion facilities can place aborted babies in the trash as long as they're dipped in formaldehyde beforehand. They are considered biohazardous waste.
That same month two newborns were found in a trash container in Calgary and rescued. They had been placed in plastic bags by their own mothers, not by abortionists. I asked a question back then which I now repeat today - what is the difference between the babies found in the trash behind abortion clinics and the babies found in the trash who survive the attempt to kill them? Two very important things; first, they were still alive, and second, they were rescued.
Every procured abortion kills a child through the injection of poison, saline burning, the collapsing of their skull, or the severing of their limbs - and we do not hear about it. We have closed our eyes to the truth of what is going on in our Nation. Babies are treated as trash in our throwaway culture.
Stories like the one out of Jersey City call us to examine what we are becoming as a result. We are killing our children based upon the sole criteria of convenience and whether they are wanted. Then we are throwing them away as trash. That is the true effect of legal abortion on demand. It is certainly not about choice for the child. They have none. Not only are they losing their lives, we are losing our national soul.
Thousands of children are routinely killed every day in the United States. You can watch the numbers here. Usually, the disposal of their little bodies is hidden from our eyes as they are thrown away as trash. After all, if we saw what we were doing we would react like we did to the story in New Jersey. We do not ever see what an abortion really looks like. When people try to show us graphic images of the remains of a child killed by abortion, they are called extremists. In fact, what is extreme is the violence being committed against the victim child. Oh, and let's talk about Rights. His or her fundamental Human Right to Life is now disregarded.
Our unwanted children are being aborted and thrown into dumpsters as medical waste! In addition, in some instances, children who are not wanted after birth are being placed in dumpsters as was done in New Jersey. This situation amounts to a modern resurgence of the ancient pagan practice once called exposure. Exposure was practiced in the cultures into which the early Christian church was sent on mission. Unwanted babies were left out on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or taken by slave traders. It was the Christians who saved them and transformed those cultures from cultures of death into cultures of life.
These contemporary examples substitute a trash can or a dumpster for the rock. We must take up the task of rescuing them in this hour. We must also be honest about what is happening. Children are being treated as trash. That young woman who killed her baby with poison or the one who stuffed her baby in the trash bag in New Jersey causes us to respond in horror for a good reason. We know it is wrong. It is so obvious. However, every procured abortion kills a child. It is done through the injection of poison, saline burning, the collapsing of their skull, the severing of their limbs and we do not hear or read about it.
The truth concerning the humanity of the child in the womb and their fundamental Human Right to be born is beginning to win the hearts and minds of more people daily. Medical Science is a true Pro-Life ally. Sonograms showing us a film of our first neighbors in their first home in the womb have become commonplace. We watch these children smile, play, feel pain and grow. The images are showing up on television commercials, and being sent over our smart phones. This is a sure sign in a consumerist culture that this technology is having at least one positive effect. Only a deceived person can see that child in the womb as anything other than just that, a child, a human person, and our neighbor.
Physicians are routinely operating in utero -to help these children in need - and placing them back in the first home of the womb to be delivered full term. Parents are playing music to children in the womb. Psychologists encourage communication between parents and their child in the womb. In August of 2013 the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that babies in the womb hear what their mothers say to them when they are in the womb. They also remember it once they are born.
The findings demonstrate that children in the womb can actually learn. The efforts to use dehumanizing phrases to hide the perfidy of procured abortion are now failing and the tide is turning. Medical science and technology confirm what our conscience told us all along, the child in the first home of the whole human race is our neighbor and it is wrong to kill innocent neighbors.
Pope Francis, the Pope of Human Dignity and Solidarity, has given us a new phrase which will help us in our human rights struggle - throwaway culture. Hear his words, incorporate them, and pray for his vital ministry.
Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)