Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Not being frightened of the terrible

Pope Benedict XVI, presiding at vespers for the first Sunday of Advent in St. Peter's Basilica this past weekend, spoke movingly about the value of all human life, giving every human being:  "the right not to be treated as an object to be possessed or as a thing that can be manipulated at will, not to be reduced to a pure instrument for other's advantage and interests."  Further, "In regard to the embryo in the maternal womb, science itself provides evidence of its automony, capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growth in the complexity of the organism.  It is not a matter of an aggergate of biological material, but of a new living, dynamic and marvelously ordered being, a new individual of the human species."

I came away from the recent Princeton abortion conference last discussed on MOJ here (I think) profoundly discouraged, precisely because I was confronted with how radically we, as a society, have rejected the truth of what the Holy Father was saying last Saturday.  This is demonstrated by the myriad ways in which we have organized our medical practices, our laws (or lack of laws) governing 'reproductive rights' and medical interventions in conception, and our expectations about child-bearing.  It seemed to me, coming away from that conference, that the train is already so far from the station on so many fundamental issues related to the abortion debate that there is simply no way to correct course.  Iwas very discouraged about the prospect of an inevitably ever-more frightening world.

The same time I read Pope Benedict's sermon, though, I also received an e-mail with this quote from Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche.  Maybe it's comforting?   I'm not sure, but it seems perhaps true.

In twenty years you’ll probably find a world which is even more beautiful and even more terrible, because that’s the history of humanity. There’ll be more and more people coming together across the boundaries of ecumenism and interfaith, but also more and more terrible things. So the question is not to be frightened by the terrible but to believe incredibly in yourself and to be part of the beautiful.



Schiltz, Elizabeth | Permalink

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