Filed under: Medical/Bioethical Issues
Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath written about 400 years before Christ by the “father of modern medicine” Hippocrates? Are the modern replacement oaths more hypocritical than Hippocratic? You be the judge.
Admittedly, translations of Greek from 2400 years ago can offer legitimate variances, but overall various translations seem quite uniform. Below is a standard translation of one of the key tenets of the original Hippocratic Oath followed by a modern version of the corresponding section in a new oath written by Louis Lasagna in 1964:
“I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion.”
“Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play God.”
It seems quite clear that Lasagna is radically departing from the Hippocratic tradition along the lines of “situation ethics” and relativism. Using the Hippocratic wording as our starting point and relying upon the misguided spirit of Lasagna, below is a new Hypocritical Oath for those doctors devoted to ethical hypocrisy:
“I will give no deadly medicine to anyone unless asked by that person, or a relative, legal guardian or state authority. I am free of course to exercise my freedom of speech and may counsel the use of deadly medicines whenever I think it is a good idea. Furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion unless she asks, in which case, I will happily do so or give her a referral to an expert abortionist.”
God save us from the hypocrisy of modern medicine which views an unborn baby as a patient if the mother so directs or as a parasite if that is her “choice”.
Pope Benedict XVI at Auschwitz concentration camp, May 28, 2006
In September 2006, Pope Benedict addressed a conference entitled “Stem cells: what future for therapy?” While Pope Benedict praised and encouraged adult stem cell research – he strongly denounced embryonic stem cell research. Here are a few quotes from his address:
“History itself has condemned such a science in the past and will condemn it in the future, not only because it lacks the light of God but also because it lacks humanity.
I would like to repeat here what I already wrote some time ago: Here there is a problem that we cannot get around; no one can dispose of human life. An insurmountable limit to our possibilities of doing and of experimenting must be established. The human being is not a disposable object, but every single individual represents God’s presence in the world (cf. J. Ratzinger, God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002).”
“Progress becomes true progress only if it serves the human person and if the human person grows: not only in terms of his or her technical power, but also in his or her moral awareness” (cf. General Audience, 16 August 2006).
Filed under: Papal Quotes
She is a garden enclosed, my sister, my promised bride;
a garden enclosed, a sealed fountain. Song of Songs, 4:12
Here’s an interesting excerpt from Pope Benedict’s new book Jesus of Nazareth. We want to thank PhatCatholic for sending this to us. Following the excerpt I will make an observation.
“The mystery of God’s love is expressed with particular power in the Hebrew word rahamim. Etymologically, this word means “womb,” but it was later used to mean divine compassion for man, God’s mercy. The Old Testament constantly uses the names of organs of the human body to describe basic human attitudes or inner dispositions of God, just as today we use heart or brain when referring to some aspect of our own existence. In this way the Old Testament portrays the basic attitudes of our existence, not with abstract concepts, but in the image language of the body. The womb is the most concrete expression for the intimate interrelatedness of two lives and of loving concern for the dependent, helpless creature whose whole being, body and soul, nestles in the mother’s womb. The image language of the body furnishes us, then, with a deeper understanding of God’s dispositions toward man than any conceptual language could.”
We are shown here the connection between the power of Love and the mystery of Life, between the “womb-like” Heart of God and the “heart-like” womb of Mary (and every mother). In fact, part of the beauty of this intimacy which the Pope is mentioning is that the Heart should be understood as a Life-giving spiritual core of the human person while the womb should be understood as a nurturing sanctuary of embracing Love.
Of course, only the Woman has a womb. If we reflect on ‘the Woman’, that is, the noble woman who dedicates her brain to Truth, her heart to Love and her womb to Life, then ‘the Woman’ bears witness to a hidden spiritual triune mystery: Love-Life-Truth harmonized in her person.
Today is the Feast day of St. Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.), one of the greatest Fathers of the Church. In the following brief quote Augustine reflects on Christ “as servant” within the womb of His mother and at His birth as well.
We have then proved that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; now let us prove that it was the work of the Son also. Now what is the birth of the Son of the Virgin Mary? Surely it is His assumption of the form of a servant in the Virgin’s womb. Is the birth of the Son ought else, but the taking of the form of a servant in the womb of the Virgin? Now hear how that this was the work of the Son also. “Who when He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant.” (Phil 2:6-7) “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman,” (Gal 4:4) who was “made His Son of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom 1:3) In this then we see that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; but in that the Son Himself “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant,” we see that the birth of the Son was the work also of the Son Himself.
St. Augustine Sermons (51-60) On Selected Lessons of the New Testament/Sermon 2, point 11
Filed under: Pro-life
Today, August 27, is the feastday of St. Monica. Besides being the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monica is best known for her persistence in prayer. Her unfailing prayer has been credited as the reason for St. Augustine’s conversion.
“St. Monica was born of a Christian family, in Tagaste in Africa in 331. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370· He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life.
St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.” From Catholic Online
Persistent and urgent prayer is the lesson of St. Monica’s life. We should look to her example as we pray for the unborn. We had a post in May entitled JPII Says Pray Like Crazy . Here is in part what John Paul II said about praying for a culture of life.
“…a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” Evangelium Vitae, 100
To be pregnant is not an easy thing. There is often much suffering for the mother in whom the new life is growing. But, there is also wondrous beauty attached to pregnancy and the pregnant mother becomes a reminder of the greatest good and the strongest hope known to humankind. She is a messenger in a sense. She is called expectant, a term which underscores the reward of patient endurance.
Well, Christians share in something like pregnancy in that they carry a Life within them other than their own – it is the Living God Who has humbled Himself to come into their hearts and dwell there. This Divine Life grows within them and they are called upon to share this Life, to manifest it, to express it, in a sense to give birth to it.
And as the pregnant mother feels the baby stirring within her body, so the Christian feels the Spirit of God stirring within. In a clever twist of imagery, St. Paul tells the Christians of Galatia “…I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” (Gal. 4.19)
It is simple to see why God has provided us with the pregnant Mother of the Lord as a model. Her nine months of pregnancy were not easy but they were tremendously beneficial. As the Child God formed and grew in her, she was formed by Him and grew closer to Him. We too must allow God to be formed in us and grow in us so that we, like Mary, can likewise be formed by Him and grow closer to Him.
“Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith. Every soul receives the Word of God if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled.” St. Ambrose
“Blessed and true is that comfort which is derived inwardly from Truth.
A devout man everywhere carrieth about with him Jesus his Consoler, and saith to Him: Be with me, O Lord, in all places and at all times.” Imitation of Christ, chapter 16
“I kneel at the door of the empty stable and offer Thee my heart…but my body is not fit to be Thy temple and my heart is treacherous and faithless. I am ashamed to have so poor a shelter to offer Thee. If it were not that Thou didst ask for it, I dare not offer it. Oh! Thou Who didst not refuse the manger-bed, come to my heart, look at the contrition and…the aching longing to be what Thou dost want, and forget the faithlessness and the failures and the weakness. Come, my little King, incarnate for me, come and save me, If I were not a sinner I should not need a Saviour.” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi
Filed under: Poems
Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum
Aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.
No sudden thing of glory and fear
Was the Lord’s coming; but the dear
Slow Nature’s days followed each other
To form the Saviour from His Mother
—One of the children of the year.
The earth, the rain, received the trust,
—The sun and dews, to frame the Just.
He drew His daily life from these,
According to His own decrees
Who makes man from the fertile dust.
Sweet summer and the winter wild,
These brought him forth, the Undefiled.
The happy Springs renewed again
His daily bread, the growing grain,
The food and raiment of the Child.
(It is her feastday today.)
Filed under: Incarnation
Today, August 22, 2007 is the feast of The Queenship of Mary.
In this age of democracies and wannabe or pretend-to-be democracies, many have forgotten that the New Testament contains numerous references to Christ as “King” (as well as to His Kingdom, His Reign, throne and so on). And again, many dismiss these titles as archaic and irrelevant in a time of such modern sophistication. It’s quite curious that the modern person pretty much disdains the concept of a monarchy.
So when Christians today come across a reference in the Bible to Christ as King many look at it as a mere symbolic concept not a real title connoting Power and Authority. But the personages who appear in the Book of Revelations seem to take His Kingship quite seriously! Christ is King! And we are most fortunate that He is our King!
Enter Mary, the Queen Mother. Does she further complicate the problem or further enhance the sublimity of the reality of Christ the King? The latter I wager. When Martin Luther discussed this briefly in his reflections on the Wedding Feast at Cana he states that the title ‘Queen of Heaven’ “is a true-enough name” but quickly adds that it “does not make her a goddess”. So in this I agree with Luther, the title “Queen of Heaven” is apt and Mary is human not Divine. No argument here. In the Book of Revelations the apostle John shows us Mary pregnant, with a crown of twelve stars upon her head (Rev 11:19-12:17).
By the way, all Christians have a little share in Christ’s royalty just as we have a little share in His Priesthood too. St. Peter says of Christians: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (I Pet 2:9). Does my tiny share in the priesthood of Christ diminish His Kingship? No, my humble participation is meant to point heavenward to His greater Glory! Does Mary’s Queenship diminish His Kingship? No. it is, in fact, His idea – see Revelations 11:19 -12:17.
Filed under: Papal Quotes
One hundred years ago St. Pius X, whose feastday it is today, was well aware of the struggle between the Christian and the State and wrote about it in an aptly named encyclical letter entitled Une Fois Encore (Once again). Today his words could be applied to our own struggle between those who want to excise God from state and culture and those who know that God is the author of all that exists. (The Culture of Life vs. The Culture of Death).
“Recourse to God, so infinitely good, is all the more necessary because, far from abating, the struggle grows fiercer and expands unceasingly. It is no longer only the Christian faith that they would uproot at all costs from the hearts of the people; it is any belief which lifting man above the horizon of this world would supernaturally bring back his wearied eyes to heaven. Illusion on the subject is no longer possible. War has been declared against everything supernatural, because behind the supernatural stands God, and because it is God that they want to tear out of the mind and heart of man.
The war will be bitter and without respite on the part of those who wage it. That as it goes on, harder trials than those which you have hitherto known await you is possible and even probable. Common prudence calls on each of you to prepare for them. And this you will do simply, valiantly, and full of confidence, sure that however fiercely the fight may rage, victory will in the end remain in your hands.” Points 4 and 5
St. Pius X, Une Fois Encore, Encyclical letter on the Separation of Church and State in France, January 6, 1907
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians
August 19th is the Feastday of St. John Eudes.
Here is how most people celebrate their birthdays!
But the great St. John Eudes didn’t look at it quite like that and wrote an extremely lengthy prayer for Christians to recite on their birthdays. Here are a few excerpts:
Prayer to Jesus for the Anniversary of Your Birth
“O Jesus, I adore Thee in Thy eternal birth and Thy divine dwelling for all eternity in the bosom of Thy Father. I also adore Thee in Thy temporal conception, and in Thy presence in the sacred womb of Thy most pure mother, for the space of nine months, and in Thy birth into this world at the end of that time. I adore and revere the great and admirable occurrence of these mysteries…
Again I adore and glorify Thee, O Good Jesus, as performing all these things for Thyself, and for me and for everyone in the world. On this anniversary of my birth I give myself to Thee, O my Dear Jesus, that I may now repeat the acts Thou didst perfect while dwelling from all eternity in the bosom of the Father, and for nine months in the womb of Thy mother…
Such, O my Lord, is the rightful homage I ought to have rendered to Thee, had I been able, at the moment of my birth, and indeed from the first moment of my life, that I now endeavor to render to Thee, although very tardily and imperfectly…
In Thy temporal birth, Thou didst render for me to Thy Father all the rightful homage I should have rendered Him at my own birth, and Thou didst then practice all the acts and exercises of devotion that I should have practiced. Be Thou blessed for ever!”
St. John Eudes, The Life and the Kingdom of Jesus in Christian Souls
Filed under: Pro-life
The Gospel reading at Mass today, August 18, 2007, is from Mt 19:13-15: “…Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”
At the base of the Statue of Liberty, in upper New York Bay at the mouth of the Hudson river, the famous words written by poet Emma Lazarus are inscribed: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
The statue featured in the above photo is called Christ the Redeemer and it overlooks Rio de Janeiro. Last month this statue was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by the non-profit New Open World Corporation (NOWC). The two attributes associated with this marvelous statue by NOWC are: “welcoming and openness”. The statue, standing 130 feet tall, was completed in 1931.
Today’s Gospel reading epitomizes the “welcoming and openness” of Jesus to children. Perhaps we can link this statue and Gospel in our mind’s eye and even picture this verse engraved at the base of this Rio Wonder of the World:
“Give Me your unborn infants and newborns unwanted,
All those children most rejected and forsaken,
Yearning to be born and welcomed by loving hearts.
Send these, the hidden and lowly ones to Me and Mine,
That they may find true rest and solace upon my Heart.”
There is a powerful threshold-like verse in the Old Testament that is rather striking. Moses, the law giver, speaks the Lord’s words to the people: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live…” (Dt 30:19)
We today – every day – must also choose life! Here are some of the daily choices that Christians face: God or mammon (Mt 6:24), Christ or Anti-Christ (II Jn.7), Gospel of Life or a so-called gospel of death, a Culture of Life or a culture of death, and finally Incarnation or abortion.
This last choice is purposely posed in unusual terminology for several reasons. Jesus came into the world as an unborn baby, starting His human life at conception like the rest of us. And like the rest of us He was birth-bound, Bethlehem-bound, on a journey of development and growth. But He later put these nine months into a different light when He taught us: “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). When a child is conceived, God has an immediate interest in the temporal and eternal welfare of that child (I Tim 2:1-4). When a child is conceived, Christ Incarnate identifies Himself with that little one right from the start. Just as the Incarnation is a gift to all humanity, so the life of a little child is also a little gift to us all.
Genevieve Kineke has pointed out in her blog that the Pontifical Council for the Laity is encouraging the faithful worldwide to observe the 20th anniversary of John Paul II’s document Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Woman) in the coming year (2008). For more information go to The Dignity of Woman website.
Here are two beautiful quotes from this document that speak of the Annunciation in beautiful and human terms:
“It may be easy to think of this event (the Annunciation) in the setting of the history of Israel, the Chosen People of which Mary is a daughter, but it is also easy to think of it in the context of all the different ways in which humanity has always sought to answer the fundamental and definitive questions which most beset it. Do we not find in the Annunciation at Nazareth the beginning of that definitive answer by which God himself “attempts to calm people’s hearts”?” # 3
“Grace never casts nature aside or cancels it out, but rather perfects it and ennobles it. Therefore the “fullness of grace” that was granted to the Virgin of Nazareth, with a view to the fact that she would become “Theotókos”, also signifies the fullness of the perfection of “what is characteristic of woman”, of “what is feminine”. Here we find ourselves, in a sense, at the culminating point, the archetype, of the personal dignity of women.” #5
Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, John of Damascus talks about the greatness of the Incarnation in the first quote and links it to the Assumption in the second quote:
“The Father predestined her, the prophets foretold her through the Holy Ghost. His sanctifying power overshadowed her, cleansed and made her holy, and, as it were, predestined her. Then Thou, Word of the Father, not dwelling in place, didst invite the lowliness of our nature to be united to the immeasurable greatness of Thy inscrutable Godhead. Thou, who didst take flesh of the Blessed Virgin, vivified by a reasoning soul, having first abided in her undefiled and immaculate womb, creating Thyself, and causing her to exist in Thee, didst become perfect man, not ceasing to be perfect God, equal to Thy Father, but taking upon Thyself our weakness through ineffable goodness. Through it Thou art one Christ, one Lord, one Son of God, and man at the same time, perfect God and perfect man, wholly God and wholly man, one Substance from two perfect natures, the Godhead and the manhood.” John of Damascus , Sermon I On The Assumption
“To-day the living ladder, through whom the Most High descended and was seen on earth, and conversed with men, was assumed into heaven… To-day the heavenly table, she, who contained the bread of life, the fire of the Godhead, without knowing man, was assumed from earth to heaven, and the gates of heaven opened wide to receive the gate of God from the East. To-day the living city of God is transferred from the earthly to the heavenly Jerusalem, and she, who, conceived her first-born and only Son, the first-born of all creation, the only begotten of the Father, rests in the Church of the first-born: the true and living Ark of the Lord is taken to the peace of her Son. The gates of heaven are opened to receive the receptacle of God, who, bringing forth the tree of life, destroyed Eve’s disobedience and Adam’s penalty of death.”
John of Damascus, Sermon III On the Assumption
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians
Today August 14 is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died in Auschwitz. Here is a quote from him which pro-lifers could apply to our personal and world situation and a prayer he wrote praising God for the Incarnation:
“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hecatombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?” Saint Maximilian Kolbe in the Knight —Final Edition
“I adore you, O our heavenly Father, because you placed in the most pure womb of Mary your only-begotten Son. I adore you, O Son of God, because you condescended to enter the womb of Mary and became truly her actual Son. I adore you, O Holy Spirit, because you deigned to form in her immaculate womb the body of the Son of God. I adore you, O most Holy Trinity, O one God in holy Trinity for having ennobled the Immaculate in such a divine way…”
St. Maximilian Kolbe, Complementum Ss. Trinitatis… pp. 196-203.
Jean Heimann has an interesting post on Catholic Fire called St Max, Mother Mary, the Pro-life Movement and Me
Filed under: Pro-life
Our story begins, not surprisingly, in the middle of a body of water, where our hero has mysteriously been found. For some reason he seems agitated. As he swallows the amniotic fluid he seems to have the hiccups. This unidentified unborn baby has been discovered – but what will happen next?
He is still in the first trimester; “The (Un)born Identity”. Suddenly his identity is being questioned, challenged really, “He’s not really human”, “just a blob of cells”, “it’s okay to kill him since he’s not alive”. This little baby has to fight, not only for his life, but also for his very identity. There seems to be a virtual conspiracy against truth, and in this case, the truth concerning his identity. This unborn baby seems to be the victim of a metaphysical identity theft.
Organizations are working feverishly with two goals: to hide his real identity and to kill him. There are so many groups involved it is hard to keep track of them: International Planned Parenthood (IPP), the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the National Organization of Women (NOW) and many more. Wow. The action is fast and furious as they locate his whereabouts and line him up in their sites.
But marvelously he has made it into his second trimester; “The Born Supremacy”. But still there is confusion – is this a supremacy of those who are already born against the unborn or is this the supremacy of nature and basic morality that seems to be dominating, winning back the day? Those with the power are clearly against the unborn. But our hero seems undaunted, his struggle to survive takes on epic proportions. Will he make it? To be born or not to be born, that is the question.
Is it a miracle or what? He makes it to his third trimester; “The Born Ultimatum”. While he was having dreams of his intrauterine experiences (noises, extreme buoyancy, touching, sucking his thumb and so on) even in his second trimester, now these dreams (almost flashbacks) are gaining in intensity. He has but one ultimate mission now – to be born. Of course it’s all in his mother’s hands (and God’s). Her decisions have been crucial all along.
Smiles all ‘round, two thumbs up, our baby has been born and we are happy. A mother’s love wins the day. Well, not everyone experiences happiness – IPP, AGI, NOW are all in disarray. But that’s okay – the rest of us are all happy!