Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
March 28, 2010

At the beginning of this, the most solemn week of the year, the Church asks us to focus our hearts and minds on the sufferings and death of Our Lord, on His battle with Satan for the souls of men. Let's make this truly a Holy week with some special works of penance and with fervent prayer, in the earnest hope that all the suffering that Christ endured for you and me will not have been in vain. As I remarked in my homily last Sunday, St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (2:12) admonishes us to work out our salvation "with fear and trembling", just as he reminded us in I Corinthians (9:27) that he himself needed to chastise his body to bring it under subjection, lest "after preaching to others", he himself might become "a castaway". If so stalwart a warrior as St. Paul did not consider his salvation "a sure thing:, so much the less can we. Hell is real. Hell is eternal. Once that door slams, that's it! It STAYS shut Forever. That is why the Son of God was willing to drink to the dregs His cup of pain-to give us the vision and the strength that we must have if we are not to end up on the wrong side at the judgment.

In this holiest of weeks let us also make use of the Sacrament of Christ's mercy, the Sacrament of Penance, so that our souls can be what He wants them to be: a throne where He reigns. Additional hours for confessions have been scheduled here at St. John's this week. (Consult the Holy Week Services schedule printed in this bulletin). I urge you to avail yourselves of this opportunio-for the restoration of grace, if need be, and certainly for an increase of holiness, an increase of devotion and
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And even as we meditate this week on Christ's sufferings and death, the horror of  federally subsidized abortion will now, so it seems, constitute a new stain and burden  upon our national conscience, with still further intensification of the slaughter of Chyist's littlest ones. If we take seriously Our Lord's words "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to Me," then the fact cannot be evaded that Christ in His members is being crucified again. And certain prominent politicians who describe themselves as Catholic are helping to pound in the nails. The president's last-minute promise to issue an "executive order" forbidding the federal funding of abortion offers no real protection at all. If there is no EXPLICIT 
prohibition of such funding-and there isn't-in the Senate bill
(which the House has now voted to accept verbatim and which President Obama, by the time this bulletin is printed, will have signed into law), the EXISTING RULINGS FROM THE SIXTH COURT OF APPEALS (not to mention anticipated rulings from Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare), will MANDATE such funding. If the prohibition of such funding isn't in the STATUTE, an "EXECUTIVE order" is irrelevant.

In which context may I present for your reflection as Holy Week begins, a report on what may be the next step forward in the assault on human life. Is this perhaps what Speaker Pelosi had in mind when she informed bloggers a week ago that "Once we kick through that door"--getting House approval for the Senate's bill- "there'll be more legislation to follow"?
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ObamaCare and Eugenics
From: The Wall Street Journal/ Best of the Web Today.
   By: James Taranto
   March 15, 2010

National Review's Bob Costa catches up with Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who, although not opposed to ObamaCare, has said he and a dozen or so like-minded colleagues will vote "no" IF it includes subsidies for abortion. [On March 21st he voted "yes".]

Stupak notes that his negotiations with House... leaders in recent days have been revealing. "I really believe that the ... leadership is simply unwilling to change its stance," he says. "Their position says that women, especially those without means available, should have their abortions covered."  The arguments they have made to him in recent deliberations, he adds, "are a pretty sad commentary on the state of the... party."

What are ... [the] leaders saying? "IF YOU PASS THE STUPAK AMENDMENT, more children will be born, and therefore it will COST US MILLIONS MORE.      That's one of the arguments I've been hearing," Stupak says. "Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue-come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we're talking about....

What Stupak is hearing from his colleagues is not the pro-choice argument that the government should permit abortion as a matter of individual liberty. Rather, they claim that the government SHOULD ENCOURAGE ABORTION as a social expedient-. AS A COST-CUTTING MEASURE.

The first thing one must say about this position is that when stated categorically, it is nonsense. Sure, babies are expensive. But from society's standpoint, that expense is a necessary investment-the only way to produce the next generation of productive adults. A society in which babies are a net long-term cost-in which the average person consumes more over his lifetime than he produces-is unsustainable. A policy aimed at reducing the NUMBER of babies born would be economically ruinous, because within a few decades it would result in a shortage of workers and taxpayers [which is exactly what is happening in Europe today].

But as a matter of cold cost-benefit analysis, not all babies are equal.  Some are costlier than others, and not all grow into PRODUCTIVE adults. In particular, certain disabilities and diseases are very expensive to treat and limit productive adulthood by causing either early death or lifelong dependency.

In order to be effective, a policy of using abortion as a COST-CUTTING measure would have to aim at preventing the birth of babies with such pre-existing conditions. The goal would be not a reduction in the number of babies, but an "improvement" in the "QUALITY" (narrowly defined in economic terms) of the babies who are born. This is known as eugenics.

Getting government into the eugenics business would have disturbing implications for reproductive liberty. What would happen to a woman who received, say, a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? She would be free (as she is today) to exercise her right to have an abortion. But would she be free to exercise her right NOT to have an abortion?

Presumably the goveniment could not directly force her to abort, as this would provoke political outrage [at least for a while] and run afoul of Roe v Wade and subsequent rulings. But one can easily imagine SOFTER forms of coercion coming into play. A government-run insurance plan, for instance, could deny or limit coverage for the treatment of certain conditions IF diagnosed BEFORE fetal viability, on the ground that the taxpayer should not be forced to pay the costs of the woman's choice to carry her child to term.  Perhaps the courts would find this an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose, but that does not strike us as an open-and-shut case.

Pro-choice advocates have argued that even persuasive measures aimed at curtailing abortion are objectionable, although the Supreme Court has disagreed. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court by a 7-2 vote upheld a Pennsylvania law mandating "that counselors provide women seeking abortions with information concerning alternatives to abortion, the availability of medical assistance benefits, and the possibility of child support payments."

It's not hard to imagine the federal government's establishing COUNSELING protocols designed to ENCOURAGE abortion in certain situations-for example, informing a woman after a Down syndrome diagnosis of the burdens (but not the joys) of  rearing a child with that condition. This seems no less an infringement of reproductive liberty than the Pennsylvania law to which the pro-choice side objects.

For Bart Stapak, who believes abortion is a form of homicide, opposing subsidies is an easy choice. But those who are pro-choice-as opposed to [or more precisely, as distinguished from] pro-abortion-should object as strongly to government policies designed to encourage abortion as to those intended to discourage it. "Keep your cost-cutting measures off my body!" may not become the new pro-choice rallying cry, but it should.
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