The Culture of Death Advances

Henry Furman

It is no secret that the culture of death has set its sights beyond the child in the womb. The elderly and the handicapped are under threat by euthanasia. But now, the forces of death are extending their reach to the newborn child.

Columnist George Will wrote an article in Newsweek earlier this month, (October 2nd issue), addressing the issue of babies who survive abortion. The question arises, does a baby who survives an abortion have the right to life? Does the constitution protect a child born alive, or, because the mother wanted an abortion, should that child die? Congressmen in Washington debated just this issue recently, listening to testimony about born-alive babies being discarded in soiled hospital linen, their hearts still beating and limbs still moving.

While the House Committee passed a bill in favor of the child, when the Senate debated the issue, some senators would not agree that a child separated from his mother has a right not to be killed. The question involved partial birth abortion, during which a baby is delivered feet first until all but a portion of the skull is outside the mother, then its skull is punctured and vacuumed, then collapsed. What if the child slips all the way out of the birth canal? Should killing the baby be a permissible choice then? Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey would not say "no." Nor would Sen. Barbara Boxer of California under similar questioning.

Will then presents these facts: in June, the Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Stephen Breyer, declared unconstitutional Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortion. The court's reasoning was that although gruesome, this procedure might be safer than the common procedure of using instruments to dismember the child in the womb. Breyer wrote, "the use of instruments within the uterus creates a danger of accidental perforation and damage to neighboring organs. Sharp fetal bone fragments create similar dangers. And fetal tissue left behind can cause infection and various other complications.

Will then observes, "but if avoidance of those dangers justifies killing an almost entirely delivered baby, why not be even safer and just deliver the baby and then kill it or let it die? After all, even partial birth abortion requires insertion of some instruments into the woman."

Thus Mr. Will demonstrates how the debate about abortion has moved insidiously to threaten the child outside the womb. If a child born alive has a right not to be killed, then why exactly did he lack that right a few inches and moments earlier?

Abortion is the central issue of our day. We ignore it at our peril. The warped philosophy behind it will continue its march of death from the pre-born to the newborn to the infant, and onward to the next vulnerable group. So, if abortion doesn't make you squeamish, and if your conscience has been so numbed that even partial-birth abortion doesn't turn your stomach, perhaps these latest developments will awaken you to the advancing powers of evil and death. Let us pray that God will lead us out of this tremendous darkness, and that as a nation we will awaken to the sacredness of life.

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Divine Instructions For Daily Living

Reverend Ray Harris

The call to be a follower of Jesus is given to persons of every age. No one receives an exemption while they are in college. Besides the disciplines of worshipping during Sunday Mass and devoting some time each day to prayer, we need to read the bible. It contains divine instructions for daily living.

The acronym, "WWJD?" (i.e., "What Would Jesus Do?"), seems popular. However, this question becomes a dangerous and subjective slogan unless it is backed up by the substance of listening to what Jesus says, seeing what Jesus does, and hearing what Jesus teaches through the Church. Otherwise the question, What would Jesus do?" becomes the subjective statement, "What I would want Jesus to do!"

If you do not have a Bible, then the first thing that you have to do is obtain one. The Office of Campus Ministry and Community Service has bibles for sale at a minimal cost ($5.00). I recommend using the translation that is read during Mass, which is the New American Bible with Revised New Testament. Do not confuse this translation with another one that is called, "The New American Standard Bible." Other acceptable translations that are traditionally used by Catholics are the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, and the Revised Standard Version.

You may defeat yourself if you decide that you will start at the Book of Genesis and go through the entire Bible. You may stop at the Book of Numbers and loose interest. I suggest that you read the Scripture lessons for the next Sunday. We list these readings in the Sunday bulletins that are distributed before each Mass. Try this schedule for reading: Monday (First Reading), Tuesday (Responsorial Psalm), Wednesday (Second Reading), Thursday (Gospel Reading). You may want to read some of the verses before and after the reading to understand the context.

I suggest this fourfold method for reading. PRAISE GOD - Thank God for His love and ask Him to open your life to receive His word. PROCLAIM THE READING - Read the Scripture lesson. It may help to read it out loud. Read it again. Then again. PONDER ITS MEANING - What is happening in the passage? Is any word, phrase, or sentence intriguing to you? How does this passage relate to what is happening in your life? Any lessons learned from your time of meditation? PRAY - We cannot live out the lessons that we have learned without remaining in communion with our God.

It may be helpful to share your reflections with others by forming a small group. The Office of Campus Ministry and Community Service will be encouraging the formation of Bible Study groups. 

(In the next issue, Fr. Harris will have an article on the importance of learning what Jesus teaches us through the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) 

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