Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Full English text, from the Vatican Information Service, of the S. R. Congregation for Bishops’ Decree of Remission of the putative excommunications

Here is how the Vatican Information Service’s (V.I.S.’s) daily e-mail bulletin (January 26, 2009, received about an hour ago) reported the news—this is, as far as I know, the closest thing we have to an official English translation from the Vatican of the Decree of Remission and of Nullification of the juridical effects pertaining to the alleged excommunications:



VATICAN CITY, 24 JAN 2009 (VIS) - The Congregation for Bishops has published a decree signed by its prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, and dated 21 January, concerning the Pope's remission of the excommunication pronounced on four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988.

The complete text of the decree is given below:

"In a letter of 15 December 2008 addressed to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', Bishop Bernard Fellay once again requested - also in the name of the other three bishops consecrated on 30 June 1988 - the removal of the excommunication 'latae sententiae' formally pronounced by a decree of the prefect of this Congregation for Bishops on 1 July 1988. In that letter Bishop Fellay affirmed, among other things, that 'we continue firmly resolute in our desire to remain Catholics and to put all our strength at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept her teachings in a filial spirit. We firmly believe in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this reason the current situation causes us much suffering'.

"His Holiness Benedict XVI - in his paternal compassion for the spiritual discomfort expressed by the parties concerned, because of the excommunication, and trusting in the commitment they expressed in the aforesaid letter to spare no efforts in examining outstanding questions through the requisite discussions with the authorities of the Holy See in order to reach a prompt, full and satisfactory solution to the original problem - has decided to reconsider the canonical position of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, which arose following their episcopal consecration.

"With this act it is hoped to consolidate reciprocal relations of trust, and to intensify and stabilise the relations of the Fraternity of St. Pius X with this Holy See. This gift of peace, coming at the end of the Christmas celebrations, also wishes to be a sign to promote the Universal Church's unity in charity, and to remove the scandal of division.

"It is hoped that this step will be followed by the prompt attainment of full communion with the Church by the entire Fraternity of St. Pius X, thus demonstrating true faithfulness and true recognition of the Magisterium and authority of Pope with the sign of visible unity.

"On the basis of the powers expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, and by virtue of this decree, I remit the sentence of excommunication 'latae sententiae' declared by this congregation on 1 July 1988 against Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta. At the same time I declare that, as of today's date, the decree then issued is devoid of juridical effect".


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

On the celebration, commercialism and narcissism of same-sex parents


Also in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herod was a front-page article on a pair of sodomites, Mr. Trevor Elwell and Mr. Peter West, who are buying—yes, quite literally buying, virtually custom-made—twin baby girls from India. (Not that this represents any kind of commodification or commercialisation of human life or anything, of course! Perish the thought!) The article was interesting, firstly, for indicating just how well what would only recently have been widely regarded as (and, as far as I’m concerned, still is) a seedy counter-culture has now established itself in polite mainstream discourse. Not only was the article on the front cover, in the centre, with a large photograph of the sodomites shopping for baby paraphernalia (more on this picture in a minute), but also not once did the article use words like ‘homosexual’, ‘gay’, ‘same-sex’, whatever, to describe the pair; one might have thought that a specific denotation would have been appropriate for what is at least an unusual, and therefore noteworthy, relationship. So the Herald seems not to think that there are any moral and ethical problems with a sodomite-catamite parental pairing in addition to the problems already inherent in what is really an international market for human beings. Here we see that the so-called gay culture has succeeded in becoming just another identity in Australia’s ‘multicultural melting-pot’, as the sodomite activist Prof. Dennis Altman noted (presumably with delight) in a recent book review in The Weekend Australian.

The accompanying photograph was remarkable for how alike the two sodomites looked: both were portly fellows with close-cropped brown hair and tidy little goatee beards. Is this not more evidence of the narcissism of the so-called gay lifestyle? Does this not give the term 'self-selecting' new meaning?!

Certainly one can detect narcissism’s consequence, self-absorption, in the pair’s flagrant disregard for the grievous injustice that they are inflicting on these poor children by depriving them willingly of their natural father during their formative years and depriving them willingly of their natural mother forever (or of any mother, for that matter):

Only the genetic father's name will appear on the birth certificate. "[Says Mr. Elwell:] But we're a family unit and that's all that matters. Our children will know where they came from and who their father is when they are old enough to understand and we are determined to include their Indian heritage in their upbringing. My mother is already planning a mural of an Indian elephant for their room."
I suppose that that’ll make two elephants in the room then, boys: one painted garishly (like everything else in the so-called gay culture) on the wall, and the other THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE ROBBED TWO CHILDREN OF THEIR PARENTS AND IMPRISONED THEM IN YOUR OWN MORAL SQUALOUR!!!!!!!!! Surely I was not the only person in Sydney to react with righteous anger and deep disgust at what will amount to a permanent state of child abuse?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

Mr. Obama snubs annual American March for Life, sheds light on his own, and America’s, rationale for permitting abortion


The Sydney Morning Herod ran an interesting little article on Saturday, reporting on how the new American President, Mr. Barack Obama, has snubbed the annual March for Life:

For eight years, marchers had been greeted by a message from President George Bush, who supported their cause and appointed two Supreme Court justices sympathetic to it.

In contrast, Mr Obama issued a statement yesterday reaffirming his support for a woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy.
Even more interesting, though, was what that statement had to say, by implication, about why Mr. Obama upholds the supposed ‘right’ to kills one’s own unborn children:

Roe v Wade, the statement said, "not only protects women's health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters".
Fascinating. The paterfamilias’s right to privacy within and sovereignty over his own household was, of course, the basis for many ancient societies’ tolerance of infanticide, commonly by exposition e.g. tethering the infant to a post in some hostile environment and leaving him or her to die. One might have expected such an ‘advanced’ society as America’s to have moved on from this kind of (dare I say it, MgS?) absolutism, especially since that country’s very Constitution lists man’s rights, in descending order of priority, as being to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. (Note that, as should be well-known, I abhor that liberal and Masonic document, but of course I will uphold one person’s right to life against another’s right to privacy in such “family matters” any day.) A right to privacy clearly comes under either liberty or the pursuit of happiness (both of which the Americans misconceive, though), which are, according to the Americans, subordinate to the right to life, so one might have thought that, when there is a question of a conflict between one person’s very right to life and another’s right to mere privacy, a rigorous investigation would have to be made into whether or not the person is, indeed, entitled to his or her continued earthly existence. Apparently not, according to the august judges in Roe vs. Wade.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Holy See has remitted the putative excommunications of the S.S.P.X. Bishops


As you probably know by now, the rumour of a lifting of the putative excommunications of the S.S.P.X. Bishops has become a fact. No need for any further comment from me; His Lordship The Right. Rev. Msgr. Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society, speaks for me in the following press release:

The excommunication of the bishops consecrated by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, on June 30, 1988, which had been declared by the Congregation for Bishops in a decree dated July 1, 1988, and which we had always contested, has been withdrawn by another decree mandated by Benedict XVI and issued by the same Congregation on January 21, 2009.

We express our filial gratitude to the Holy Father for this gesture which, beyond the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, will benefit the whole Church. Our Society wishes to be always more able to help the pope to remedy the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world, and which Pope John Paul II had designated as a state of “silent apostasy.”

Besides our gratitude towards the Holy Father and towards all those who helped him to make this courageous act, we are pleased that the decree of January 21 considers as necessary “talks” with the Holy See, talks which will enable the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to explain the fundamental doctrinal reasons which it believes to be at the origin of the present difficulties of the Church.

In this new atmosphere, we have the firm hope to obtain soon the recognition of the rights of Catholic Tradition

Menzingen, January 24, 2009

+Bernard Fellay

and also in His Lordship’s Letter to the Faithful:


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr, A.D. 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

What a day not to go on the Internet …

I didn’t have time to go on the Internet yesterday so I missed the big news (big rumour, at least) regarding the S.S.P.X. and I have several e-mail correspondents awaiting my response. Unfortunately I don’t have time at the moment and, as you know, I prefer not to go on the Internet on the weekend so I’ll respond to my correspondents on Monday and, perhaps, comment a little on the rumour. Enjoy your weekend,

Regainaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Raymund of Pennafort, Confessor, A.D. 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vees, triads, quads and the whole sick freak show: Good Weekend magazine on polyamory

There was a sickening article by Ms Louise France in The Sydney Morning Herod’s Good Weekend magazine on Saturday, reporting (largely uncritically) on the debauchery of Ms Jenny Block, an American woman with a husband and a live-in lesbian lover. What was most repugnant about the whole sordid story was the fact that Ms Block’s daughter lives in this moral cesspool. When asked about the effect that this living arrangement (and the publicity resulting from Ms Block’s book on it) would have on her daughter, Ms Block replied that

When she asks, I will tell her that people love in different ways and that Mommy and Daddy don’t think that sexual ownership is part of a marriage. People say she’ll hate me when she’s 12 but she’ll probably hate me by then anyway.
Vomit. How can this woman be so glib about the welfare of her own daughter? What I found heart-breaking though was when

the other day [the daughter] asked [Ms Block], ‘Do you love [the lesbian lover] as much as you love Daddy?’ And I replied, ‘Do you know? I do!’
Vomit, vomit, vomit.

The reporter asked Ms Block why, given her same-sex attractions, she ever married? Ms Block answered

“Well, in the first place I didn’t know this was going to happen.

But as Ms Block admitted earlier in the piece “[i]n her early 20s she’d enjoyed flings with women”, so it shouldn’t have surprised her that she would return ad vomitum during her marriage. Ms Block then says that

Second, I really like being with someone who says he will stick around, regardless of how kooky I am. It’s easier to navigate the world as a couple. I expect to grow old with him.”
So here we have marriage conceived of as accessorisation. No notion here of marriage being a total and irrevocable gift of oneself or anything. In one of her few critical insights the reporter wonders

if [Ms Block] is a lesbian who realised after she married and had a child that she prefers sex with women but is not willing to give up the conveniences of a heterosexual lifestyle.
Ms Block might identify as a ‘bisexual’ but she displays one of the widely-observable characteristics of ‘gays’ and ‘lesbians’: narcissism. It’s all about her, no matter what damage it might do to her illicit lovers or even her own daughter. (The article's title evoked this self-absorption quite nicely, though probably unintentionally: "He, she + ME", with "ME" in huge letters.) What repulsive individuals are Ms Block and those of her ilk. In a just society the only ‘swinging’ these degenerates would be doing would be from the gallows.

The article was interesting also for its information on the polyamorist lexicon:

In poly-speak this means she’s in a “vee” relationship (in which one person has two lovers who aren’t involved with each other) as opposed to a “triad” or a “quad” …
Now presumably ‘triads’ and what-not involve mutual relationships all round—spouse 1 with spouse 2 and 3, spouse 2 with spouse 1 and 3, and spouse 3 with spouse 1 and 2, and so on ad nauseam. Now recall my thesis that, once society has abandoned the perfect-complements model of marriage and parenthood in favour of the perfect-substitutes one (in which ‘two mums’ or ‘two dads’ are as good as one mum and one dad), all else equal, society cannot deny the possibility that the more ‘co-parents’ the better, and that fixing the number of spouses at two is arbitrary, ‘heteronormative’ (as they say) and discriminatory. Now the ‘gay marriage’ lobby might object that although ‘two mums’ or ‘two dads’ are as good as one mum and one dad, two is still the optimal number because parenthood must be founded on the love (really a parody of love in the case of gays and lesbians) between two individuals. But the Good Weekend article shows that there can be love (so they would say, though I reject it totally and it sickens me even to think of it) all round among more than two ‘partners’. How, then, can the Sodomites’ League and the liberals put limits on how ‘big’ people’s ‘love’ can be? How can they fix the number of co-parents at two? After all, the fundamental tenet of liberalism is that anything be permitted, save that which disturbs the public peace, and they’ve never shown any great concern for the present and future welfare of the children consigned to the kind of moral squalour in which the Sodomites’ League and the Bill Hensons of this world revel. So the inevitable logical consequence of ‘parent 1/parent 2’ birth certificates (as are now, appallingly, available in New South Wales) is simply birth certificates with a slot for ‘co-parents’ and one can list as many as one pleases! Sounds ridiculous? Sounds insane? Sounds laugh-out-loud absurd? You bet. But don’t forget that a mere twenty years ago, or even less, the very thought of so-called gay marriage would have been exclusively the stuff of one-liners. In the case of polyamory though it might be a good deal less than twenty years away:


Over to you now, Mr. Obama. 'Hope' doesn't come much more 'audacious' than this.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Agnes, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2009

Mr. Obama’s vision for change


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Agnes, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2009

MgS continues to show the true face of liberalism

Here are two comments that I submitted to MgS’s blog but which she has censored:


“There can be no question but that GLBT relationships enter the 'social sphere' …”
But the source specified a particular way of entry into the ‘social sphere’—“ In this sense ...” The husband-wife society is a society within civil society. Same-sex couples are not husband-wife societies. They do not participate in civil society in the same way. You need to work on your basic comprehension.

“if you are GLBT it is really just a delusion on your part.”

Not a delusion, a disorder. Given that sexuality is ordered towards reproduction, it’s entirely reasonable to speak of a permanent and exclusive same-sex attraction as disordered.

“I [MgS] think it is folly to claim that there is "one true" family, and that all others should be subject to legal inequalities and systemic discrimination.”
Since you have brought this up I think it is only fair to ask: what limits do you think the State might reasonably impose on family configurations? Are consent of the parties and the absence of any adverse impact on others your only criteria? In which case polyamory and incest are to be permitted?

“Yes, but acknowledging that GLBT people do form long lasting, stable families; and by a dozen different paths, there are children being raised in GLBT families all the time. If we are going to talk about insecure and unstable relationships, would someone care to explain to me why it is so many marriages break down, or one of the partners starts philandering about behind their spouse's back?”
A classic comparison of apples and oranges. You need either to compare successful conventional familes with successful (so you would say) unconventional families, or unsuccessful conventional and unconventional families. Alternatively you can argue which family form is the more likely to be successful. That might be difficult for you, though, given that even figures from pro-G.L.B.T. sources indicate that same-sex couples are more likely to experience domestic violence; see, for instance, ACON’s 2006-07 Annual Report, the section on same-sex domestic violence. Plus there are the far higher rates of serious infections, mental illnesses and drug problems.

“That's because …”

Interesting that you did not challenge how

“The cardinal simply underlined that homosexuality does not contribute favorably to the organization of individuals and of society.”
The fact is that, if one wants to look at it from the State’s perspective of the optimal organisation of individuals and societies, the conventional family is the way to go. Married (conventional) couples have within themselves the means of producing new citizens. Same-sex couples do not have this benefit, and in fact involve significant costs—things I have already mentioned, like the wildly disproportionate rates of serious, sometimes life-threatening, diseases and conditions, as well as the disturbingly high domestic violence rate.

As for your point about friendship, it’s pretty hard to see how sodomy and the other unspeakable things they do to each other can ever be anything other than grotesque parodies of conjugal relations; sexual intercourse tends to new life, while sodomy only ever tends to death—at a minimum, anal fissures and various faecal infections such as urinary tract disease and shigella. Read all about it with our friends at ACON.

“To assume that homosexual relationships are simply a "twisted friendship" is deeply insulting to the GLBT community as a whole …”
Poor babies.

“people who are surprisingly self-aware, …”

Self-absorbed. Same-sex attractedness tends inevitably to narcissism.

“articulate, …”

Vociferous. Celebrate our diversity or it’s off to court with you! It’s certainly happened here in Australia.

“and that form real, loving relationships …"

Loving relationships based on behaviour that is mutually destructive?
[Comment rejected from http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2009/01/theyre-just-obsessed.html]


“Before you wander down that little legislative path …”

I don’t think anyone’s fully thought out the implications of so-called gay marriage, but that hasn’t stopped you or those of your ilk pushing ahead with it.

“(1) … Does this mean that a woman who has a fertilized egg is guilty of either involuntary manslaughter, or 'failing to provide the necessities of life' should this happen?”
No. Consent of the will, whether directly or through gross negligence, is necessary for culpability.

“(2) Should a woman who has sex find herself suddenly obliged to stay away from alcohol, tobacco and other substances until her next period, or risk being charged with child endangerment?”
How could that come to the police’s attention?

“(3) Consider miscarriage (also known as a natural abortion) - has the woman then committed a criminal act?”
No. Consent of the will is necessary for culpability. Which goes for exercise as well (in your next point). Next thing you’ll be asking whether a baby whose mother dies in labour should be charged with homicide. Oh, wait, you already have. Come on MgS, surely you know that there is no culpability without consent?

“Suddenly the doctor is potentially facing lawsuits not just on behalf of the woman, but a second set of damages with respect to the fetus.”
That already happens. Doctors can be sued for culpable negligence resulting in the death of a foetus. But of course, with new laws allowing abortion all the way up to full term, the rationale for this disappears. Am I to infer that you regard a second set of damages for such cases to be unjust?

“What are the doctor's options when saving the mother damages the fetus? Or vice versa?”
The options come under the usual norms of lesser evil and double effect.

“The list is practically endless”

Throw a few more at me then.

“a pregnant woman is not considered to be able to make her own moral and ethical decisions about a matter that affects her as much as it affects the fetus.”
Says who? For the umpteenth time: prohibiting any given object of a choice does not imply the prior incapacitation of that faculty of choice.

“Labels: Abortion, Bad Policy, Stupidity”

So everyone who disagrees with you is, by the very fact of the disagreement, stupid. That’s a bit childish, don’t you think?

“The implications (in particular legal - which is clearly distinct from biological) of granting legal rights to a fetus opens a moral and ethical can of worms that I do not believe has been adequately thought through”
But you’ve got the sequence around the wrong way. In most Western countries abortion was on the statute books as a very serious crime up to the mid-twentieth-century; see the pro-abortion movie Vera Drake, for instance. In fact it is the process of the liberalisation of those laws that was not fully thought through, so we have apologists like you concocting all manner of wild justifications for it ex post.

“The so-called "pro life" crowd is not logically consistent - they are absolutist.”
Tu quoque. “Humanity creates morality, twit” is pretty absolute. We all have to start from an absolute.

“You cannot argue that the relationship that a pregnant woman has with the fetus she carries is substantively different than it with the toddler that fetus will be in a few short years.”
O the irony. For pro-lifers, the relationship is essentially the same during pregnancy as in infancy: the relationship of mother and child. But here you are implying that a pregnant woman is a pregnancy machine during the pregnancy and becomes a mother only afterwards!

“a fetus is in no position to exercise legal rights of any sort”

The possession of a right and the use of it are two distinct and separable things; the latter comes under liberty of action, the former under moral liberty. Being unable to exercise a right does not mean that one does not have that right.

“Foster care can be brought into the picture, which dramatically changes the context.”
What if the mother doesn’t want anyone else to take her baby? You uphold a woman’s right to let her newborn baby die, don’t you?

“That scraping sound is the goalposts moving.”

No, I’m pretty sure it’s you at the bottom of the barrel.

“Second, I can imagine that there will be a variety of circumstances which could arise where an abortion after 25 or 26 weeks is still an ethically valid choice.”
Now here we have the unquestionable inconsistency in your own premises. You assert as axiomatic that a pregnant mother is entitled to end her unborn baby’s biological dependency on her at any point during the pregnancy. But ending the biological dependency does not necessarily imply ending the child’s life, yet you appear to uphold not merely a right to end the pregnancy but a right to kill the child. The question of the fate of the child is distinct and separable from the question of the biological dependency; you will need to invoke an additional axiom in order consistently to uphold your principle of the mother having a power of life and death over her unborn children, even if that axiom is simply ‘That the mother can not only end the biological dependency, but also end, specifically, the child’s life.’ Is this indeed your missing axiom, MgS? A simple yes or no will do; I am not asking you to ‘dismiss’ anyone’s ‘narratives’ or explore the ‘complexities’ and ‘subtleties’.
[Comment rejected from http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-wonder-how-long.html]


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Agnes, Virgin, Martyr, A.D. 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ms Summers on the limits of tolerance and inclusion


Ms Anne Summers had an article in The Sydney Morning Herod on Saturday in which she made the following curious comparison:

Then there was Obama's decision that staunchly anti-gay preacher Reverend Rick Warren perform the invocation at his inauguration. No matter that he is to be "balanced" by Reverend Joseph Lowery, a civil rights campaigner and pro-gay rights advocate, performing the benediction. Gay groups have to accommodate themselves to Obama reaching out to a man who repudiates their very existence. Would Obama reach out in the same way to the Ku Klux Klan? Aren't there limits to tolerance and inclusion?
(my emphasis)
I think we all know what the limit is, though: the limit is when one stops saying what the Sodomites’ League wants one to say and starts pointing out awkward facts, like the fact that sodomy is a pretty unhealthy activity, that sodomites are inordinately likely to suffer all manner of ailments, that they are inordinately likely to have mental problems and abuse drugs, and that they are inordinately likely to be violent towards their respective ‘lovers’. Once one passes that limit one can expect some high-calibre messenger-shooting, as Mr. Williams and Mr. Marsh learnt after their recent, controversial appointments as Men’s Health Ambassadors.

And what a preposterous comparison it is to invoke the Ku Klux Klan! Unless Ms Summers has evidence that has not come to my attention, Mr. Warren has neither called for nor been involved in the lynching of sodomites or the fire-bombing of gay bars, so the analogy is completely invalid.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, A.D. 2009

Confutation of MgS’s final comment at her blog post on abortion


After a mysterious disappearance, MgS’s blog post on abortion has returned, but with comments disabled, so I will have to use my own blog for refuting her arguments (some of which have taken some rather bizarre turns, as you will see).

MgS says that

Your argument is overly preoccupied with the "rights of fetus" which you people have invented.
Who, exactly, are ‘you people’?!? The rights of the unborn child have a much, much longer pedigree than the recently-concocted absolute right of a mother to an unrestricted power of life or death over her unborn (and, increasingly, new-born) children. The interesting thing, though, is that, as I have stated repeatedly, the mother’s right to control over her own body is a perfectly legitimate one, but one that is subordinate to any other person’s right to life, whereas MgS completely rejects any rights of the foetus whatsoever.

Then, with exquisite absurdity, she goes on to demand

Speaking of those rights, what do you do when the mother dies in childbirth? Charge the infant with homicide?
To which one can only respond with another question: has MgS completely lost all ability to make simple logical inferences? How can a baby be held responsible for something that he or she did not will to happen? She goes on to say that

if the fetus has rights distinct from the woman bearing it, then you raise all sorts of other legal conundrums.
But raising ‘legal conundrums’ has never stopped those of MgS’s ilk concocting all manner of preposterous ‘rights’ (has anyone fully thought out all the legal conundrums that so-called gay marriage raises?). The problem here is that refusing to recognise any rights for the unborn child has legal conundrums of its own: presumably, by MgS’s principles, a crime of assault on a pregnant woman that results in the death of the child should attract no harsher penalty than is fitting for whatever damage is done to the mother only? And if MgS excludes everyone else—including the father—from having any right to intervene in an infanticidal mother’s decision, than I take it that no-one else, including the father, has any corresponding duties or responsibilities in the matter either? The problems just keep on mounting.

Later on, MgS asserts that

If you cannot understand the distinctions between a biological dependence and an economic dependence, then your logical faculties are severely limited.
It must first be noted that the course of the discussion, traced from the original post to MgS’s last comment, is a classic case of MgS backpedaling from her original principles. In the post she asserted that her fundamental principle was that “"he who has the gold makes the rules", she who pays the price, makes the decisions.” Then in a later comment she says that my

argument disregard entirely the absolute dependence of the fetus upon the woman carrying it.
Then, still later, she says that

During pregnancy the fetus is entirely dependent upon the pregnant woman's body for sustenance.
You see the gradual backpedaling going on here? Finally MgS introduces an arbitrary and artificial distinction between biological and economic dependence which I do indeed dismiss because whether the dependence is biological, economic or whatever, it is still what one might call a mortal dependence—the baby will die without his or her carer.

Later we get to my hypothetical case of a woman who requests an abortion and her doctors agree to it, but the pregnancy has gone on so long that the doctors determine that the only way to ensure the safety of the mother is by delivering the baby alive. Unsurprisingly MgS becomes hung up on the supporting evidence that I provide, which was only intended for showing the plausibility of the scenario; no request for a judgement, or even a comment, on what MgS pompously calls “the mother’s own narrative” was required. (Let me express here my contempt for MgS’s incessant undergraduate-speak; we’re not in a Gender Studies 101 tutorial here MgS, you’re not going to impress us with your syllable multiplication; just call it a ‘story’.) What I was asking for with that hypothetical case is a simple application of MgS’s principle that, once out of the mother’s body, a baby begins to enjoy the right to life. That MgS refuses to make such a simple application tells us all we need to know.

Finally, we have the sad image of MgS appearing to renouncing even simple consistency:

We do not live in a world where "consistency" exists as an absolute - humanity is far too subtle and complex for that to be the case.
Yes, of course, the subtlety, the complexity, the shades of grey, blah blah blah. Remember, by ‘consistency’ all I mean here is that there be no contradictions in or among a set of axioms. ‘Consistency’ here is really just another word for reasonableness. If only the atheists and humanists promoting their desire to ‘Celebrate Rationality’ in the pathetic advertising campaign on British buses would apply a bit of rationality to morality. Now MgS goes on to try to salvage some semblance of consistency:

In recognizing that the moral and ethical obligations respecting the individual change as the individual's status changes is not logically inconsistent.
But the change, for the baby, is only an external one, a change of environment; the baby’s status in him- or herself has not changed.

MgS concludes by asking

Why is it so hard for you to accept that with birth, comes a change of status?
The answer is that the point of birth is just a random variable with a mean of about nine months, and I refuse to base a human being’s right to life on a random variable. MgS might feel no discomfort about the situation whereby in any given hospital one might find one premature baby being kept alive whatever the cost while another with the same chance of survival but lacking only the mother’s desire to see him or her live is left to die, but I certainly feel a great deal of discomfort about it. Actually, discomfort is a completely inadequate word for my feelings about such a grievous injustice; disgust is more like it.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, A.D. 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MgS’s struggle to defend her false and absurd pro-abortion principles takes an Orwellian turn

Now I know that it can be a bit clichéd or over-the-top to denounce someone or something as ‘Orwellian’ but it’s hard to see how what MgS has done now would have elicited anything but warm approval from Big Brother. You see, rather than simply blocking me out of discussion, she has shut the discussion down altogether and deleted the post and all its comments! Last night (early this morning, technically) I sent the following two comments to her blog post at
(the first comment is a response to someone new to the discussion, and the other is a response to MgS herself):


Firstly, I'll respond to SB:

SB, if shouting and trotting out silly (childish, MgS?) slogans about 'forced birth', 'subjugation' and 'pregnancy machines' is the best you can do then I'm not sure that there's any point in you joining this discussion.

You scream that

"YOU [me, the commenter Cardinal Pole] ARE NOT FREE TO IMPOSE THOSE BELIEFS ON OTHERS."
Which beliefs can I, and the State, impose though? Can I impose my beliefs opposing polyamory and incest? If mere consent of the parties is all that's necessary then how can you possibly reject polyamory and incest?


Now, back to you MgS:

You say, again (and again, and again ...) that

"in my books that doesn't hold water because it removes the ability from the woman to make her own moral and ethical decisions with respect to the pregnancy."

"he merely seems to think that once a woman is pregnant that she loses any and all right to make her own moral and ethical decisions regarding her pregnancy."
How many times do I have to refute this? Whenever the State prohibits any behaviour, the State doesn't presume that the offender has completely lost his or her moral and ethical faculties, but that the offender has, for whatever reason, reached a decision that is contrary to the common good.

"During pregnancy the fetus is entirely dependent upon the pregnant woman's body for sustenance. Once born, the baby can be cared for by others in all essential respects."
Once again: if you want to assert that as axiomatic then we can only agree to disgree. What I have shown, though, is that this creates the absurd situation where two babies are identical in all respects except that one has been born prematurely and the other is still in the womb, yet one has the right to life and the other does not.

Furthermore, you have asserted repeatedly that the mother's right to decide whether his or her child has the right to life arises from the child's condition of dependency on that mother. Now I'll say it again: a newborn baby is every bit as dependent on other people as a pre-born baby is; without carers he or she will die. So I take it, then, that if condition of dependency confers power of life and death that this power is transferred to whoever the carers are, up till the child is old enough to fend for him- or herself? In other words, your assertion that "Once born, the baby can be cared for by others in all essential respects" only transfers the power of life and death to the new carers.

"Second, this is something of a red herring to the topic ..."

No it isn't--you have asserted repeatedly that the mother's power of life and death arises from the baby's condition of dependency on her. So in fact the question of whether the dependency is absolute or relative is of vital importance. Consider the following situation: a woman seven months pregnant requests an abortion (such a situation happenened recently in Australia when a woman found out that her unborn baby had dwarfism; the abortion was performed in a hospital). Now at seven months development, one way or another, whether the baby is killed while still in the womb or not, the baby needs to be delivered, whether by labour or by c-section. So I take it that if the doctors determine that the best way to proceed is to deliver the baby alive, then once the baby has been delivered and hence the condition of dependency has ended I take it that you want to see the baby's life preserved? (The situation of babies being delivered alive and then left to die has happened something like fifty-four times in Victoria, Australia, so it is not at all implausible that doctors might determine that the best way to proceed is with a live delivery.) I would be very interested to see how you would reason about this kind of hypothetical situation. It will show whether you are consistent in your reasoning on the basis for the mother's asserted power of life and death.

"One final point, your arguments hinge upon the assumption that a fetus receives/deserves the same rights that you and I possess as independent beings."
Of course they do--in every other situation in society one looks at the characteristics of the subject of the right (the one who has the right, in this case, I argue, the baby) in order to judge whether he or she has the right. These characteristics are empirically verifiable. But the cornerstone of your argument is that the mother confers the right to life irrespective of the baby's characteristics--the right to life is in the mother's gift at eight months gestation every bit as much as at, say, two months gestation.

"I [MgS] do not believe such a structure is either practical or meaningful, as it disregards the biological dependency during pregnancy ..."
Of course it disregards it, otherwise consistency demands that the baby's right to life post-birth is also to be conferred at the pleasure of his or her carers.


I returned to MgS’s blog later today in order to see how the discussion was going, but the blog post was nowhere to be found. So I went directly to the U.R.L. and found the following mysterious message:

Page not found
Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog The Cracked Crystal Ball II does not exist.
Now it is not altogether clear whether this disappearance is permanent or whether MgS has just sent the post off to Winston Smith at the Ministry of Truth for a bit of his famous creative editing. Whatever the case, if MgS is unable to win a debate on the merits of her point-of-view then perhaps she should do us all a favour and let her entire blog pass into non-existence as well.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Epiphany, A.D. 2009

Another example of the cynicism with which the Sodomites' League views the ordinary taxpayer


In The Sydney Morning Herod on Saturday there was an article on a 'gay war widower', Mr. Edward Young, who has succeeded in having the war widow's pension's extended to sodomites or, as the case might be, catamites. Mr. Young took his ignoble little 'fight' to the U.N., and

In September 2003 the UN concluded Australia had breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Mr Young was "entitled to an effective remedy, including the reconsideration of his pension application without discrimination based on his sex or sexual orientation".
Let's be clear, though: this was an example of discrimination based on sex, not on 'sexual [dis-]orientation'. And accordingly the reader is entitled to ask: was that a case of just or unjust discrimination? The answer is that it is perfectly just discrimination, because the rationale behind a war widow's pension is presumably that the deceased husband was the breadwinner, so it is perfectly reasonable to deny this pension to a 'spouse' who is himself a breadwinner. So in other words this is a case of gays winning superior rights, not just equal rights.

And in fact Mr. Young confirms my logic in the following charming remarks:

"I didn't really need the pension," he said. "I didn't even really want it. What I wanted was to take on the little man, [the former prime minister John] Howard, and fight."
What an obnoxious individual, providing another example, shortly after Ms Horin's recent article on gays complaining about receiving equal status with opposite-sex so-called de facto married couples, of the contempt in which the Sodomites' League holds the rest of us.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Epiphany, A.D. 2009

More on MgS's false and absurd pro-abortion principles

Firstly, I am going to try to put MgS's principles as succinctly as possibly, then prove, with citations, that they are indeed her principles, then finally refute them as briefly as possible, and offer some concluding thoughts.

Here are her principles:

1. An unborn child's (the object of the pregnancy) 'right' to life is not a proper right, but is, rather, a gratuity to be bestowed by the mother (the subject of the pregnancy) at her will, irrrespective of any objective (pertaining to the object) characteristics.

2. To deny 1. is to assert that the mother loses, at conception, the ability to make moral and ethical decisions.

3. The power of life and death of the mother over the unborn child as described in 1. arises from the child's condition of dependency on the mother.

Now in case anyone should dispute that these are a fair representation of MgS's principles, here is proof for her belief in each of them:

Proof that MgS holds 1.: "In short, both of these questions fall firmly into the domain of the pregnant woman - it is her decision and hers alone to make." The "questions" of which MgS speaks are: Does the unborn baby begin to enjoy the right to life at any point during his or her gestation? and: If not, how long after his or her birth does he or she begin to enjoy the right to life? (http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2008/12/base-squirmeth.html)

Proof that MgS holds 2.: "Anything less [than 1.] presumes that a woman is incapable of making moral and ethical decisions of her own the moment she becomes pregnant." (http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2008/12/base-squirmeth.html)
Further evidence, all from http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2007/11/hypocrisy-of-pro-life-politics.html:

"the absolutist view of 'abortion as evil' lands smack in the same space, as it disregards the status of woman as a moral, intelligent human being capable of understanding and making difficult decisions."

"The second problem with such absolutes [as "protecting life at all costs"] is that it presupposes that a woman who is pregnant is unable to make moral (or ethical) decisions for herself regarding her pregnancy, its progress and its conclusion."

"It seems to me that the absolutist view of 'abortion as evil' lands smack in the same space, as it disregards the status of woman as a moral, intelligent human being capable of understanding and making difficult decisions."

Proof that MgS holds 3.: "You can argue until you are blue in the face about "when life begins", and frankly it is irrelevant to the fundamental fact that bearing the child has a significant biological cost for the woman. Paraphrasing the old adage "he who has the gold makes the rules", she who pays the price, makes the decisions. All the way up to birth." (http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2008/12/base-squirmeth.html)

Now for a confutation of each principle:

Confutation of 1.: as I have said before, to uphold this principle is to create the absurd situation (but one that is all too real in present-day Western hospitals) where there can be two essentially identical babies, A and B, but with baby A having a right to life at point x because of being born, prematurely, before point x, while baby B has no right at the same point simply because not yet born.

Confutation of 2: this is simply false, a straightforward non sequitur. It is not a principle of Catholic bioethics, it is not a principle of any other anti-abortion bioethical system, it has never been asserted by any serious anti-abortion thinker or activist, and it does not follow logically from 1.—no State-enforced prohibition presumes a disabling of the transgressor's conscience, just that the transgressor reached a judgement that was contrary to the common good. The best MgS can do is to direct me to a theme from a science-fiction novel!

There is also another serious problem with 2. This problem is that the fact of someone having or not having a right is a distinct question from the question of whether it is moral or ethical to suppress that right. That is, it is a pure assertion on the part of MgS; it does not follow from her fundamental axiom that "Humanity creates morality, twit". A right is something that is owed in justice but which can be suppressed in prudence. Even liberals such as MgS would acknowledge that their cherished right to 'freedom of speech' can be suppressed when it threatens to disrupt the public peace.

Confutation of 3.: if one holds 3., then given that a newborn baby is also completely dependent on others, one must, for consistency, argue that the power of life and death is transferable between whoever happens to be caring for him or her once born, all the way up until such time as he or she can fend for himself.

So MgS's principles are simply untenable. If examined consistently, they produce the indisputable implication that children have no right to life until they are about school age or older. Pro-abortion, according to MgS's principles, truly does mean pro-infanticide. This much is clear. Now you might be wondering: why am I spending so much time refuting MgS's principles? She's just a 'Gender Studies' blogger from far-off Canada who cannot write elegantly, argue logically, nor even discuss civilly, right? Why bother? My reason is that these principles are not just MgS's, but, I suspect, those of most citizens in Western countries. I suspect that U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Ms Nancy Pelosi spoke for the silent majority when she made the incredible, unforgettable assertion that

We don’t know [when life begins]. The point is it that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to chose.
So the fundamental principle for the pro-abortion movement isn't consistency, but the principle of 'out of sight, out of mind'—one set of axioms for when a baby is concealed within the womb, and another set of axioms for when the baby is out of the womb. And I venture that the reason why consistency is so under-valued in the pro-abortion movement is that this is not a matter of principle, but of expediency. That is, it's a bunch of selfish, irresponsible, promiscuous people—men as well as women—looking at those among them who have been less successful in avoiding the consequences of their actions and thinking 'Well, if my contraception failed I wouldn't want to be punished [their words, see Mr. Obama, for instance] with a baby, so we'll all just turn a blind eye to what amounts to industrial-scale infanticide'.

But what of those of us who do value consistency? As far as I can tell, the only two bioethical systems for thinking consistently about abortion are the Catholic one and the preference-utilitarian one. That is, if one wants to be pro-abortion and consistent then one has to follow preference-utilarian ethics, and if one wants to be anti-abortion and consistent then one needs to follow Catholic bioethics. Each system has the following three fundamental premises, each of which is just the opposite of each of MgS's premises:

1. An unborn child's (the object of the pregnancy) right to life is a proper right, not a gratuity to be bestowed by the mother (the subject of the pregnancy) at her will, but, rather, one that depends on objective (pertaining to the object) characteristics.

2. To uphold 1. is not to assert that the mother loses, at conception, the ability to make moral and ethical decisions.

3. The right to life described in 1. is owed irrespective of any condition of dependency.

These principles are no more complex than MgS's (and, in the absense of reference to God or external, objective morality, no more arbitary), but are more consistent than hers, and so they are to be preferred to hers, all else equal (which is indeed the case, if we agree, for the sake of argument, to ignore the Divine natural law). Catholic bioethics and preference-utilitarian bioethics diverge so widely in their implications, though, because for Catholic bioethics the key objective characteristic is the infusion (or presumption, according to the deer hunter principle, of the infusion) of the rational soul, while for preference utilitarians it is the object's ability to make preference orderings over different states of natures. So to adhere to Catholic bioethics is to reject abortion at all stages of pregnancy, while to adhere to preference-utilitarian bioethics is to accept infanticide well into a child's early years. But instead of something as rigorous as either of these two systems, society sacrifices consistency (and, worldwide, millions of babies a year) in favour of something much simpler: out of sight, out of mind. And just shout down, or shut out, anyone who defies it.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Epiphany, A.D. 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

On the funny way that liberals show how much they value 'freedom of speech'

In the finest traditions of liberalism, the Canadian blogger MgS has started to block completely (or almost completely--more on this in a minute) my comments, despite the fact that they contain nothing blasphemous, obscene, libelous or seditious. That's liberalism for you, folks: upholding 'freedom of conscience', as long as you think how they think (cf. new abortion laws coming in around the world, such as the recent Victorian Abortion Law Reform Bill), and upholding 'freedom of speech' as long as you say what they say. And blocking you out of discussion isn't censorship, of course (the Enlightened are incapable of that 'injustice'); I suppose it's just 'destroying the diversity in order to celebrate it'.

Now I say "almost completely" because MgS has done me the small favour of deigning to publish, in a blog post update, two questions that I have put to her regarding the right to life:

1. Does the unborn baby begin to enjoy the right to life at any point during his or her gestation?

2. If not, how long after his or her birth does he or she begin to enjoy the right to life?

She directs me and her readers to another blog post (which I will refute in a moment), and then offers a little summary of that post. She makes the incredible assertion that

In short, both of these questions fall firmly into the domain of the pregnant woman - it is her decision and hers alone to make.
So the expecting mother decides whether her unborn baby enjoys the right to life. Note carefully the choice of the word 'decide'--not discern, but decide, so the mother actually creates her child's right to life (cf. MgS's stunning earlier assertion that "Humanity creates morality, twit"). Now this is really quite dumbfounding, isn't it? The notion that one person confers the right to life on another, as if it were a gratuity to be bestowed, not a right to be owed.

If you think that's pretty incredible, wait till what MgS says one sentence later:

You can argue until you are blue in the face about "when life begins" ...
But this is the crux of the the whole matter; it cannot simply be dismissed. So MgS says the mother creates her child's right to life. Does MgS concede, though, that once the baby is out of his or her mother's body the right to life is to be recognised? Surely she must (I hope yes, but wouldn't be surprised if no). If yes, then to assert that the right to life is in the gift of the mother creates the absurd situation whereby a prematurely-born baby has the right to life, but not one of the same age (and hence same objective characteristics) who happens still to be in his or her mother's womb. So the notion of the right to life as the will of the mother is to be rejected on the basis of its inconsistency. If human life, and hence the right to life, does indeed begin at some objective (but, for the materialists, unknown) point then the will of the mother is totally irrelevant. Anyway, so far this is all pure assertion on MgS's part. She goes on to explain what she regards as its basis, though, by appeal to the "fundamental fact"

that bearing the child has a significant biological cost for the woman.
So? The mother continues to bear a significant biological cost afterwards, too--she still has to breastfeed him or her, and that's to say nothing of the other costs of clothing and sheltering him or her. If the cost of dependency is the deciding factor in the right to life then presumably no right to life can be recognised until the child is old enough to be independent.

She concludes by saying that

Paraphrasing the old adage "he who has the gold makes the rules", she who pays the price, makes the decisions. All the way up to birth.

Anything less presumes that a woman is incapable of making moral and ethical decisions of her own the moment she becomes pregnant.

Regarding the first sentence, if he or she who bears the costs makes the rule (what a sickeningly materialistic principle), then why just "All the way up to birth"? Why not all the way up to adolescence? And no, MgS, "Anything less" then your pure positivism is not to say "that a woman is incapable of making moral and ethical decisions of her own the moment she becomes pregnant". All it says is that her decisions could be wrong.
Now to refute her earlier blog post on this topic:
Now she begins by examining what she calls "the notion of "protecting life at all costs"". She says that "Okay, that's fine - to a point", which is interesting, since it is a variation on her more extreme views in the more recent post. What she seems to be implying here is that protecting unborn life is a legitimate norm, but that it is subordinate to the norm of one's control over one's body. The problem here, though, is that if protection of life itself is subordinate to protection of the body then we have the absurd implication that one can use lethal force licitly to repel an aggressor whose aggression is non-life-threatening. In any other situation but abortion MgS would agree, presumably, that that level of response would be disproportionate.

MgS, in her usual style, goes on to draw the following non sequiturs from the premise of "protecting life at all costs":

(1) Absolute prohibition on abortion effectively changes a woman's status when she becomes pregnant from social equal and participant in our society to that of "vessel of procreation".

(2) The second problem with such absolutes is that it presupposes that a woman who is pregnant is unable to make moral (or ethical) decisions for herself regarding her pregnancy, its progress and its conclusion.

(3) Biologically speaking, pregnancy is a very expensive process for the woman. It is also a very risky process that can, in some circumstances be quite dangerous as well. The question of protecting life in a case where a woman's life is endangered by being pregnant raises the question of just whose life are we to protect?

(4) There are circumstances where a woman may become pregnant through no fault of her own - rape comes to mind as one possible scenario. How many women would want to carry a child forced upon them by a man they would never choose to mate with?
Now (1) would only be unreasonable if there were a double standard with regard to the care of children owed by mothers (and, for that matter, fathers) before birth and another afterwards, when in fact there is not: if the mother is indeed, temporarily, a "vessel of procreation" for the term of the pregnancy, then she and the father remain afterwards vessels, as it were, of protection. So yes, the status of a pregnant women is different to the status of a non-pregnant woman, just as the status of a man with dependent children is different to that of a man without dependents.

As for (2), I have dealt with that already: no-one is saying that pregancy impairs a woman's conscience, only that the decisions of that conscience might be wrong.

I have also dealt with the first part of (3) (child-rearing is expensive for a newborn, too), and as for the second part, this is covered by the norm that one may never will evil, but one may will to permit evil in order to avert a greater evil.
As for (4), this is in fact an evasion if intended in the context of determining when the right to life begins, since, according to MgS, the right to life is the gift of the mother. But even taken in itself it is still irrelevant, since whenever the right to life does indeed begin, it has nothing to do with the circumstances in which conception occured.

But MgS is by no means done with her trademark non sequiturs; this beauty follows:

The view that women are primarily vessels for producing babies echoes throughout human history. This view has given rise to some pretty horrible behaviours - such as "rape as a right of conquest", seen most publicly in the aftermath of the conflict the region of Serbia in the 1990s.
What does misuse of one's reproductive faculties have to do with the right to life? Immediately afterwards she reiterates her grand overarching theme:

It seems to me that the absolutist view of 'abortion as evil' lands smack in the same space, as it disregards the status of woman as a moral, intelligent human being capable of understanding and making difficult decisions.
But no-one is denying that an expecting mother can still make difficult decisions; it's just that those decisions might be wrong. But as if suffering from some kind of verbal tic, she repeats the same error again:

Clearly, if we devolve woman to the status of "vessel" when pregnant, it is quite trivial to justify absolute proscriptions on topics like abortion, as we no longer recognize the validity of the woman as a discrete individual.

Can MgS cite a single anti-abortion individual who has said that the woman's capacity as child bearer is mutually exclusive of her capcity as a moral individual? I've certainly made no such assertion; this is just a big straw man.

Whither her argument leads next is interesting for a couple of reasons:

First, I would argue that a woman is unquestionably in full rights to control what is done with her body.
But one might argue that abortion involves someone else - the unborn. Few women do not take their ability to bear children seriously. (there may be some, but there are always exceptions) The notion of terminating a pregnancy is a deeply emotional decision, filled with implications both short term and long term. The reasons for terminating a pregnancy, and the point after which a woman will not end a pregnancy are going to differ, based on the experiences of that individual.
But as I have said before, control of one's body is a legitimate norm, but one that is subordinate to the right to life. That "abortion involves someone else" is undeniable, and MgS gives no sound reason for why the right to bodily control should trump the right to life. And I find it interesting for two reasons that MgS brings up the point that "terminating a pregnancy is a deeply emotional decision". Firstly: I thought this was a question of morality, not emotion. Secondly, we now have MgS herself elevating the woman's emotions over her reason!

Then she says that

Second, a woman has an implicit right to be in control of her ability to reproduce.
Again she brings this up. It is problematic for two reasons: firstly, because carrying the baby to term is not a matter of reproduction--the baby has, indisputably, already been produced, and is simply continuing along his or her course of development. Secondly, even if one were to assert a reproductive dimension for a baby who has ALREADY BEEN PRODUCED, it still does not overcome the fact that 'reproductive rights' are subordinate to the right to life itself.

Then she trots out the rape argument again:

How many are going to be thrilled with paying the biological price for bearing a child as a result of rape?
Few, I expect, but that has nothing to do with the right to life of the product of that rape. Next we have a bit more 'thoughtful hand-wringing', an invocation of the 'shades of grey' so beloved of the pro-abortion movement:

We entrust parents (and women in particular), to make subtle and complex decisions for their children on a daily basis.
Yes, of course; and when those parents fail in their respective duties the State intervenes. Why not for unborn children too? Then she brings in another straw man:

What on earth makes anyone believe that a woman who is carrying a child doesn't think about what it means for her and the fetus growing inside of her when she considers allowing the pregnancy to run its course or to end it?
Again (how many times will it take?), no-one is saying that an infanticidal mother reaches her decision lightly, just that she reaches her decision wrongly. And we must keep in mind also that this is not a matter of a process that is yet to produce its output--the child has already been produced; he or she is just waiting, so to speak, for the right time to be born.

Then, once again, she brings up the question of balancing the rights of mothers and babies:

The next problem with absolutism in the topic is the obvious clash between the interests of the mother and that of the fetus.
It's no problem at all: one may never will evil, but one may will to permit evil in order to avert a greater evil. All that needs to be done is to follow this simple norm; there is no need to try to determine whose life is more valuable. MgS might object to this for two reasons: for one, she might simply reject this norm--she might have no problem with willing evil. If so then we can only agree to disagree. The other reason would be the question (from MgS's point of view) of whether the baby has attained the right to life yet. But she rejects any objective (that is, pertaining to the pregnancy's object, the unborn child) criterion for determining the right to life, so presumably this whole question of balancing interests is, for her, totally irrelevant--it is, for her, not a question of weighing up which is the lesser evil, but of the mother simply positing whether the abortion is any evil at all.

Finally, she takes a superficial look at the theme of 'consequences':

The whole notion of "consequences" ripples through the puritanesque anti-abortion arguments. It fails to acknowledge that the only person who pays the "consequences" they are talking about is the woman. If you think in these terms, then the whole notion of "she was dressed provocatively" once again becomes a valid defense in rape cases - a very troubling notion that few would argue is a desirable outcome. (and those who would probably should be subject of further investigation themselves!)
Really? "It fails to acknowledge that the only person who pays the "consequences" they are talking about is the woman"? Presumably the mother didn't reproduce asexually; what about the father? And what a pathetically invalid comparison it is to bring up the consequences of 'provocative dressing'; naturally she fails to explain how this could be anything other than a pitiful category mistake.

So, in conclusion, I would summarise MgS's errors as follows:

1A. The right to life is subordinate to the right to bodily autonomy.
Disproof: to assert this is destroy any sense of proportion between the two norms; both of them are legitimate norms, but the true priority is reversed for MgS. Surely even a materialist like MgS would not deny that one's very continued earthly existence (which is, for MgS, one's entire existence) trumps another's right to protect his or her body from non-lethal harm.

2A. If bringing her unborn baby to term were certain to be fatal for the mother then it is legitimate for her to procure an abortion.
Disproof: one may never will evil, in this case, the death of the unborn baby, but one may will to permit an evil, in this case the death of the mother, in order to avert a greater evil, in this case, the evil of the baby's death plus the evil of procuring an abortion (at first glance this last bit might seem like double counting, but it is not: the evil of positively consenting to his or her death is something additional to the evil of the fact of that death).

3.1A The child's right to life is not a proper right but a gratuity to be bestowed at the will of the mother.
Disproof: to ignore the objective characteristics of the baby at point x after conception, granting the mother a veto to unborn children but no veto over born children, is to uphold the inconsistency of there being two objectively identical babies, A and B, but with baby A having a right to life at point x because of being born, prematurely, before point x, while baby B has no right at the same point simply because not yet born.

3.2A This power of life and death over her baby arises from the cost of dependency of the child of the mother and ceases at the point of birth.
Disproof: if cost of dependency confers power of life and death then there is no reason to uphold a right to life for anyone who is in a condition of dependency.

4A. To uphold the right to life of an unborn child is to reduce a pregnant woman to the status of an Axlotl tank (!)
Disproof: citation please! That is certainly not a principle of Catholic bioethics!

As far as I can tell, the only way to reason consistently about the right to life is from the following premises/axioms:

1B. The right to bodily autonomy is subordinate to the right to life.
2B. One may never will evil. (By 'evil' is meant something that offends reason, such as the denial of something that is owed to someone--life itself in this case.) One may, however, will to permit an evil in order to avert a greater evil.
3.1B The child's right to life is not a gratuity bestowed by the mother (or by any other individual, for that matter) but is properly a right owed by nature--that is, owed on the basis of an objective characteristic of the subject.
3.2B This right to life is unimpeded by any condition of dependency on the part of its subject.
4B. Pregnant women's consciences are not disabled by their pregancies, but like all parents pregnant women have certain duties towards their respective children, born or unborn.

If any readers can see any problems arising from these axioms then please let me know.

As for MgS, I am going to submit a comment to her on this but don't expect her to publish it, so readers might like to pay her a visit and stand up for babies' right to life. Her usual reaction to a confutation of her premises and their implications is, firstly, to bring in new premises (one thinks of that famous Marx Brothers line: 'those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... I have others'!), and then, when those new premises are shown only to compound the inconsistency, she'll protest that she has 'outgrown the need for certainty'--as though not being able to defend what one stands for (or even being sure of one one stands for!) were something to boast of!

Reginaldvs Cantvar
2.I.2009 A.D.

Two of my comments that MgS has censored

Here are two comments that I submitted at MgS's blog but which she has censored (more on this in the next post):


“Oh lovely - from this, one might conclude that rape is acceptable behaviour - after all the rapist is merely trying to procreate.”
You appear to have lost completely the use of logic. I wish you a speedy recovery, and offer the following observations that might be helpful:

1. Good consequences do not justify evil actions.
2. Does the rapist, in fact, will to procreate? You’re a ‘gender theorist’; isn’t rape all about power?
3. Later, you say that H.H. The Pope

“makes the horrendous mistake of assuming that sex == love”

(I take it that a double equals sign signifies ‘identically equal to’). So are you accusing the Holy Father of saying that sex is identical with love or identical with procreation? Despite my attempts to help you in that post on refusing Holy Communion, you appear to have made no improvement in getting your premises straight.

“We should also consider that sex does not necessarily result in pregnancy …”
Mmm, yes, so easy to forget.

“If it were purely procreative, then one would expect that the probability of conception as a result of sexual intercourse would be a lot higher.”
Pure assertion. “Probabilities happen, get over it”, as someone once said. If every or almost every occasion of sexual intercourse resulted in conception then over-population alarmism might actually make sense.

“The Pope said behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations is "a destruction of God's work."”
If you deny that the various kinds of sexual misbehaviour are destructive for their participants then you are at odds not only with Catholic teaching but also with information available from the various pro-sodomite health advisory organisations. In Australia we have one that laughingly calls itself the A.I.D.S. Council of New South Wales (ACON); spend fifteen minutes browsing its website (http://www.acon.org.au) and disabuse yourself of the notion that sodomy is merely a harmless substitute for sexual intercourse.

“So, as I have repeatedly pointed out in the past, what about intersex individuals?”
What about them? It’s pretty hard to deny that maleness and femaleness are essential at the level of the humans species; we can’t reproduce asexually, after all. That doesn’t mean that any given individual can’t suffer from hormonal or anatomical defects, though.

“Anyone with any real experience in an adult relationship will have long ago realized that love is quite apart from any sexual relations involved.”
Do you seriously mean to imply that the Holy Father thinks that sex is the only way of showing love in a relationship?

“"The Vatican has already reinforced its anti-gay reputation by strongly opposing a UN declaration calling for an end to discrimination against gays”
But there is just discrimination and unjust discrimination; banning a practice that accounts for something like 90% of new H.I.V. infections and 88% of new syphilis infections (figures from ACON, Annual Report 2006-07) seems pretty reasonable. (And these figure come after twenty years of the failed ‘safe sex’/‘harm minimisation’ philosophy). In any case, legal prohibitions on sodomy are completely non-discriminatory, since they apply to sodomites regardless of whether they are hetero- or homosexual and to catamites regardless of whether they male or female.

“this latest Papal outburst is clear evidence of an obsession about homosexuality which is tantamount to paranoia."”
How ironic; given that His Holiness made no reference to homosexuality, but, rather, challenged gender identity theory (is it even a theory? Judging from the hysterical reactions I would infer not), who is the one with the obsession?

“Now then, given that this Pope has repeatedly shown himself to be overtly hostile towards GLBT people, is it any surprise that when he says something that can be interpreted as hostile, it is seen as such?”
So criticising G.L.B.T. doctrine implies hostility to G.L.B.T.s as individuals. I take it, then, that your critiques of Catholic doctrine imply hostility to Catholics as individuals? (Go on, surprise me, say yes!)

P.S. Why did you censor my second comment at your original post on this topic? (This time you can’t accuse me rehashing things that I’ve already said, since in the previous comment you told me I hadn’t said them!)
[Comment blocked from http://crystalgaze2.blogspot.com/2008/12/when-denial-goes-wrong-very-wrong.html]

“Of course, the forced-birther crowd keep trying to treat the fetus as distinct from the woman who is carrying it …”
Not just the ‘forced-birthers’. You study or work in, or at least have access to, a university, don’t you? Go to the library and consult a couple of up-to-date embryology textbooks. There you will find that the foetus, once conceived, is a unique (=> distinct) organism. The only controversy is over the definition of conception; the two main alternatives appear to be

1. The fusion of the outer walls of the two cells
2. The fusion of the respective cell nuclei

(This controversy isn’t of great relevance to the abortion debate though, since there is only about twenty-four hours between the two, and obviously expecting mothers only find out well after twenty-four hours)

“and in doing so [the “forced-birthers”] would remove from the woman the right to control her own destiny the moment she becomes pregnant.”
No, MgS, and you ought to know it. It’s a question of balancing the rights of the woman carrying and the rights of the man or woman being carried.

“To these people, women are little more than an Axlotl Tank - an unthinking, unaware female that solely exists to gestate.”
???????????? Forced-birthers; axlotl tanks; we must be really behind with the pro-abortion (go on Véronique, take the bait) terminology in Australia, because they’re new to me. Our ‘narratives’ must need a good updating here.

A couple of questions MgS, which, of course, you are under no obligation to answer:

1. Does the unborn baby begin to enjoy the right to life at any point during his or her gestation?

2. If not, how long after his or her birth does he or she begin to enjoy the right to life?

(I suspect that you’ll refuse to answer these questions on the basis that you ‘don’t frame the matter that way’ or some other evasion. By all means, then, let me know how you would frame it.)
Reginaldvs Cantvar
2.I.2009 A.D.