Blogwatch 1 July: Late abortion 'bereavement payments' slammed

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Self-described 'conservative Catholic' Bernard Gaynor has criticised government 'bereavement payments' to women having late term abortions.

In a hard-hitting post on his blog, Gaynor, a former parliamentary candidate, lashed out at the policy which provides for the payments to women after late term terminations defined as 'at or over 20 weeks gestation':

What kind of society gives $5,000 lump sum payments to women after an abortion?

What kind of society pays out parental leave schemes to mums and dads who have willingly killed their child?

And, just for the record, I’m not talking about the early abortions here. I’m talking about late-term abortions, when limbs are formed, the heart is pumping, pain is present and the child is viable.

The answer to those questions is simple. Our society.

And he follows up with another post setting out government agency replies to his queries.

* * *

In the wake of a US Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, Monsignor Charles Pope of Washington DC has joined a chorus of people asking:

Are we coming to a point where we should consider dropping our use of the word “marriage?”

It is a simple fact that word “marriage” as we have traditionally known it is being redefined in our times. To many in the secular world the word no longer means what it once did and when the Church uses the word marriage we clearly do not mean what the increasing number of states mean.

I propose that we should exclusively refer to marriage in the Church as “Holy Matrimony.”

According to this proposal the word marriage would be set aside and replaced by Holy Matrimony. It should be noticed that the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to this Sacrament formally as “The Sacrament of Matrimony.”

* * *

John Dear SJ recalls an important anniversary by making 500 pancakes:

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Catholic Worker, the movement of hospitality to the poor and public peacemaking, which I consider the greatest gift of the North American church. These days, I'm spending a few weeks helping out at the Kelly Avenue Catholic Worker house in Half Moon Bay, Calif., while my friends Eric and Alice, who run the house, are away on a much-needed vacation. So I've been able to experience the Worker again firsthand and give thanks for this ministry.

* * *

On the boat people issue, John Menadue writes :

I believe Australians will respond to strong moral leadership.

The key to improved policies for asylum seekers is first to take action in source countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan to provide alternatives for people facing persecution so they will not have to take dangerous voyages by boat. The second is action with Indonesia and Malaysia, in full and active cooperation with UNHCR, to provide a regional framework for the holding and processing of asylum seekers.

But whatever we do, desperate people will not necessarily play by our rules. The desperate asylum seekers in Syria for example won’t wait for government policies. They will act to save the lives of themselves and their families.

The number of refugees in the world is increasing significantly. We must be realistic about that and accept greater responsibility. We cannot retreat into our shell.

The Gillard Government ran for cover on this issue. Hopefully the Rudd Government will give us humanitarian leadership, even if tinged by some political pragmatism.

In a guest post on John Menadue's blog, Frank Brennan argues that the solution is to create a real queue for genuine refugees:

With adequate resourcing, a real queue could be created for processing and resettlement.  Provided there had been an earlier, extensive advertising campaign, Indonesian authorities would then be justified in placing any returned boat people at the end of the queue.  Assured safe return by air together with placement at the end of the queue would provide the deterrent to persons no longer in direct flight from persecution risking life and fortune boarding a boat for Australia. In co-operation with UNHCR and IOM, Australia could provide the financial wherewithal to enhance the security and processing arrangements in Indonesia.  Both governments could negotiate with other countries in the region to arrange  more equitable burden sharing in the offering of resettlement places for those proved to be refugees.  Australian politicians would need to give the leadership to the community explaining why it would be necessary and decent for Australia then to receive more proven refugees from the region, including those who fled to our region fearing persecution in faraway places like Afghanistan.

Michael MullinsStefan Gigacz is preparing a PhD. at MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne, on the role of Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II.

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