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October 1, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. The Bible talks about “trials and tribulations” we must go through. However, I read an obituary of a man who apparently led a wonderful and fulfilling life. Where were his trials? — J.B., Pennsylvania.
A. It is unlikely that the obituary would have mentioned the difficult and trying moments in that man’s life, which doesn’t mean that there weren’t any. Will your obituary mention the tribulations in your life? Our obituary will make it appear that we had a wonderful and fulfilling life, which we have had, but it won’t mention the baby we lost at two weeks of age, or the daughter who suffered a brain aneurysm (she has recovered), or the daughter who has breast cancer (she is recovering), or children who are not practicing the faith, or other trials which may still be in the future.
On a broader scale, will trials and tribulations be mentioned in the obituaries of persons who lost loved ones in Afghanistan, or in hurricanes or floods or forest fires? You don’t have to search very far to find many thousands of people today who are suffering terrible calamities in their daily lives, including losing their businesses and jobs due to the pandemic and the draconian rules imposed by government officials who never missed a paycheck.
In other words, there are trials and tribulations aplenty in our lives that might never be mentioned in an obituary.

Q. A Catholic friend has a daughter who was approached by two homosexual men, who asked her to donate some of her eggs to be fertilized by sperm from one of the men. She agreed, but did not want to carry the child, so another woman was asked to be a surrogate mother. She carried the child to term, and now the homosexual couple has a healthy baby boy. My friend is troubled about this and wants to know how the Church feels about it. What can I tell him? — D.G., Ohio.
A. That the Church considers such practices to be “gravely immoral.” In a 1987 Vatican document entitled Donum Vitae, the Church said that surrogate motherhood “is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity, and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world, and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological, and moral elements which constitute those families” (Part II, A, 3).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also rejects these procedures in these words:
“Techniques that entail the disassociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques . . . infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage” (n. 2376).

Q. I saw a Facebook post from a woman who had an abortion many years ago after the 12-week-old child she was carrying was diagnosed with a genetic blood disorder that would have meant death by age four. She said that the aborted child was “so loved and so desperately wanted,” but that she was “incredibly grateful that a safe and compassionate doctor was available to me.” She told her story, she said, because of the “Heartbeat Law” in Texas that prohibits abortion after six weeks. She is opposed to the law because “many, many abortions are undertaken for deeply individual reasons,” and she invited supporters of the law “to walk a mile in our shoes and understand that a decision to end a pregnancy is profoundly painful, and it should be left to the woman, her partner, and her doctors.” What does the Church teach about this kind of abortion? — M.S., via e-mail.
A. The Church has condemned direct abortion since the first century, when a collection of apostolic teachings known as the Didache said that “you shall not procure abortion. You shall not destroy a newborn child.” The strongest statement in recent times, and one that used language found in infallible pronouncements, came from St. John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae:
“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors, in communion with the bishops — who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who . . . have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine — I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium” (n. 62).
Now what about the Facebook post? On the surface, one feels sympathy for the woman, who was confronted with an agonizing decision. The woman talked about the pain she and her husband went through in order to spare the child “horrific pain every single day of its life,” but there was no mention of the pain suffered by the baby during the abortion, which either cut the baby into pieces or homogenized him or her into mush with a suction machine.
Were there no medical treatments available to lessen the pain that the child would suffer during the short time that he or she lived? The woman said that her aborted baby “was so loved and so desperately wanted,” so couldn’t she have showered that love on a handicapped child for just a few years? Those couples who raise children born with birth defects testify to the great love such children inspire in their parents.
Statistics show that abortion in these cases is only a tiny percentage of the tens of millions of babies killed since Roe v. Wade in 1973. And yet the Facebook woman said that she is opposing the Texas “Heartbeat Law” in order to “raise awareness that many, many abortions are undertaken for deeply individual reasons.” Is she unaware that most abortions are undertaken for shallow, pedestrian reasons, such as furthering one’s career, or covering up an affair, or the child is the wrong sex, or just for convenience?
In his book The Facts of Life, pro-life researcher extraordinaire Brian Clowes offered these comments on eugenic abortions:
“The birth defects argument is perhaps the most loathsome of all of the rationalizations for prenatal killing used by pro-abortionists…[who] see no hypocrisy in advocating abortion for babies whose only crime is that they are less than perfect. This is pure and simple discrimination. People do not abort a handicapped baby because he would be unhappy. Handicapped people usually are just as happy as those who have no handicaps. People commit eugenic abortions for selfish reasons, regardless of what they say — because the child would make them unhappy.”

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