Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Cows ruminate.

6 + 8 = Ethical Debate

There's been some fuss about a mother of 14 recently. A fuss because she had 8 (octuplets) by in vitro fertilization on top of a previous 6, also by in vitro. Because she is unwed.

I can't say that I agree with Ms. Suleman's initial decision to implant embryos, she unmarried and without a father's support (and as the father of 1.5 children, I have to say that that support is needed). However, I think it wrong for Christians to be making too much of this.


1) We are called upon to aid the widow and the orphan. She lacks a husband (and a visible means of income) and her children lack a father. There is a need for help, and it the rôle and bounden duty of Christians to come to the aid of our neighbours.

2) Whatever her initial reasoning, Ms. Suleman did the ethical thing. With embryos left over from her IV session, she had the option of discarding them. Christians call this murder - infanticide or feticide - and the "option" the devil's sophistry. But she didn't take the easy route; she chose life instead.

I am concerned that in our all-too-human rush to rebuke Ms. Suleman for her ill-advised actions, we may punish a mother and her children. ... We may lose sight of the persons behind the drama.


I've always been fairly confident in my intelligence. [In the Orthodox world we call this pride.] That was before the Internet and the advent of blogging.

To my surprise, there are many lucid thinkers out there, and more than lucid. There are thinkers whose depth and breadth of knowledge are so vast I find myself not so much swimming through the streams of thought as frantically treading water.

I am glad these writers have seen fit to stroll the agora of the Internet, to chat in her cafés. But still, it has been an adventure.

Daunting, exhilarating, stretching ... formational. Humbling.


To come: Priestly bloggers.

- V.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: Ethical debate. I heard a story on Catholic radio of a young single woman counselor in a Catholic school somewhere in the U.S. who recently was fired based on a morals clause when she got pregnant out of wedlock.

In our urgent need sometimes to condemn a sin we can condemn a sinner, which is God's right. As one priest often says, that's a management issue and I'm in sales.

In the case of the counselor, they didn't want to appear to condone the behaviour to the students, yet by removing her means of support at such a time, they did a greater evil and in a world where abortion is readily available they may have helped at some future date, to make the case for abortion in the mind of one or more of their female students. Pregnancy=fired from job.
Moreover, their compassion shouldn't have allowed them to put the woman on the street, even if they wanted to remove her from counseling.

Like the woman with the fourteen children who has some moral issues, no doubt, in real life and in more occasions than we care to admit, there must be a ranking of evils, and we often have to find a way to tolerate a lesser one, without condoning it, to prevent an even greater one.

Bottom line, life trumps, and if we are like Christ we are compassionate.