Links – Abortion, Nuns, John Cleese

  • Chilean Study Proves that Outlawing Abortion Does Not Lead to “Coat-hanger Deaths” – Leon H Wolf
    Indeed, only 12-19% of all hospitalization from abortion can be attributable to clandestine abortions between 2001 and 2008. These data suggest that over time, restrictive laws may have a restraining effect on the practice of abortion and promote its decrease. In fact, Chile exhibits today one of the lowest abortion-related maternal deaths in the world, with a 92.3% decrease since 1989 and a 99.1% accumulated decrease over 50 years.

  • John Cleese Reading C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters”

  • Vatican to sisters: Enough moving beyond Jesus – Mollie Hemingway
    The group was not cited in the Vatican document for focusing too much work on poverty and economic injustice. Far from it. They were actually praised for their work in this regard. In fact, on the first page alone is this line, “The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.” I read the eight-page document and certainly didn’t see anything coming even close to suggesting that the Vatican wants the sisters to focus less work on poverty issues. The document never indicates any problem with that work at all. Instead, it focuses on the sisters’ silence on other issues of social justice and fidelity to church teaching.

  • Where’s the Bacon? – Kathryn Jean Lopez
    During the current HHS controversy some have asked, “What kind of Christians would impose such a government mandate on our religious institutions?” In December, 1941, with Britain in mortal peril and America reeling after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill addressed the United States Congress. In that worst of times, he scorned the enemies of freedom and defiantly asked, ―What kind of people do they think we are! Today, with the same defiance, we can declare, “What kind of Catholics do they think we are!”

  • Partisan Pots and Kettles – Matthew Schmitz
    Commonweal magazine has criticized the recent statement on religious liberty by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a seemingly partisan document that makes the bishops ”sound more like politicians than pastors.” The Commonweal piece skirts around the substance of the matter, talking about the optics of the bishops’ statement rather than its actual merits, concluding that ”if religious freedom becomes a partisan issue, its future is sure to grow dimmer.” If one wants to obsess over optics, one obvious way to make the bishops’ effort “seem” less partisan would be for it to receive a vocal defense from a magazine closely identified with the Democratic party. A magazine, well, like Commonweal. Alas, I don’t think the editors’ commitment to non-partisanship extends quite that far.

Though it cost all you have, gain wisdom

Luck and my e-reader recently brought me to a little gem of a sermon by Jonathan Edwards. It is essentially a manifesto for the thinking Christian, explaining the vital importance of studying your faith. I find it about equal parts encouraging and discouraging that laxity in Christian education was a problem even back in the 1700s. Read it, then act on it:

All Christians should make a business of [improving their knowledge]. They should look upon it as a part of their daily business, and no small part of it neither. It should be attended to as a considerable part of the work of their high calling. … For us to make the improvement of this faculty a business by the bye, is in effect for us to make the faculty of understanding itself a by-faculty, if I may so speak, a faculty of less importance than others: whereas indeed it is the highest faculty we have.

Content not yourselves with having so much knowledge as is thrown in your way, and receive in some sense unavoidably by the frequent inculcation of divine truth in the preaching of the word, of which you are obliged to be hearers, or accidentally gain in conversation; but let it be very much your business to search for it, and that with the same diligence and labour with which men are wont to dig in mines of silver and gold.

And that is why I study (and even teach!) history, and why I read so many old books.

(FYI, you can download this sermon for your e-reader as well).