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Monday 15 December 2014

News from SPUC

Midwives who refuse to do abortions: verdict due Wednesday

London, 15 December 2014On Wednesday the Supreme Court will give its judgment in the case of two midwives who refuse to help provide abortions.

The Court has announced that judgment will be handed down in the case of midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood on 17 December at 9.45am. The midwives, from Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, have a conscientious objection to abortion. Abortions account for a very small proportion of the cases on the hospital's labour ward. The hospital has brought the appeal in an effort to ensure that all midwives working as labour ward co-ordinators can be required to oversee abortion procedures.

The hospital argues that the statutory protection of conscientious objectors in the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply to almost all of the functions of labour ward co-ordinators.

The decision will be relevant to the extent to which NHS bodies across Britain are required to recognise the moral rights of those who object to abortion. Mary and Connie are Catholics, but the Abortion Act refers to those who have a conscientious objection to abortion without reference to any religious beliefs, meaning that the judgment will be relevant to medical personnel, of all religions and none, who do not wish to take part in abortion.

Mary Doogan commented: “Connie and I became midwives to help mothers safely deliver their babies, and that is what we have always tried to do. I hope that through fighting this case we will help ensure that midwives in future are able to practice according to their conscience.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children have funded the midwives’ legal costs throughout the case.

Mary and Connie's fight to protect midwives' rights was opposed by the pro-abortion leadership of the Royal College of Midwives.

The case was heard on 11 November before Baroness Hale and Lords Wilson, Reed, Hughes and Hodge.

Pray for the dead.....thank God it is over this time  Among the dead a mother of three...killed right before we hear about those who perished?


Continuing with Jacob Perfection Series VIII Part XXVIII

Since the late 1970s, the section in Genesis concerning Jacob wrestling with God has been part of my spiritual life.

Some of you have read my second poem on this event.

Here is the Scriptural passage again.

Genesis 32:22-32Douay-Rheims

22 And rising early he took his two wives, and his two handmaids, with his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of Jaboc.
23 And when all things were brought over that belonged to him,
24 He remained alone: and behold a man wrestled with him till morning.
25 And when he saw that he could not overcome him, he touched the sinew of his thigh, and forthwith it shrank.
26 And he said to him: Let me go, for it is break of day. He answered: I will not let thee go except thou bless me.
27 And he said: What is thy name? He answered: Jacob.
28 But he said: Thy name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel: for if thou hast been strong against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men?
29 Jacob asked him, Tell me by what name art thou called? He answered: Why dost thou ask my name? And he blessed him in the same place.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Phanuel, saying: I have seen God face to face, and my soul has been saved.
31 And immediately the sun rose upon him, after he was past Phanuel; but he halted on his foot.
32 Therefore the children of Israel, unto this day, eat not the sinew, that shrank in Jacob's thigh: because he touched the sinew of his thigh and it shrank.

Raissa, being of Jewish descent, has a keen insight into this great event, which I have pondered on and off for years. I knew that Jacob's wrestling was the same as mine, or yours, in confronting God and demanding, after struggle, the blessing. 

I understood that this wrestling is part of each person's spiritual journey, as we encounter God with all our flaws and sins, having to be purified. I knew that we had to wrestle with God's Great Holiness in order to be made holy ourselves, to be blessed, and that frequently, this involves physical pain, not merely emotional or psychological pain. I knew, also, that as Jacob won the blessing, we too must win merit, with grace.

As I noted in my poem, the struggle is the completion of God's call of Jacob, which was initiated in deceit. But, Raissa adds this insight, making the struggle all the more real. "The eternal (spiritual) life, I understand this now, can appear as an enemy, risen up against our soul, our unique root-possession It fights against us in order to be conquered, that is to say won. Thus it is God who triumphs in the triumph of Jacob. For that was Jacob's victory: he won God by letting himself be vanquished by him."

Of course, God wins. But, each one of us wins God, "And Jacob," states Raissa, "won God by letting himself be mortified in his flesh."

I have been continually mortified in my flesh, by cancer, asthma, many other illnesses in the past, and just the aches and pains of getting old. I have not aged well, moving from being very attractive, to ugly, as someone told me in so many words yesterday, to my humiliation, but truth.

This mortification, of the dying of the flesh is absolutely part of the Dark Night of the Senses. One must become detached from one's own strength, (and I was very strong physically), and one's physical presence in the world. One learns one's complete physical reliance on God.

Jacob won God's love and the blessing of the covenant through suffering the humiliation of being attacked by God in the night. We not only offer our things and relationships to God, but also our very bodies. One loses confidence in this battle, which I am sure Jacob lost, as he limped for the rest of his life. But, God does not want us to have confidence in our own physical or spiritual abilities--only in Him.


I have had sciatica for exactly 40 years on and off. To endure the continual reminder of mortification of the flesh is part of the wrestling with the self, the ego.

We cannot be perfect without losing some bodily perfection, and so, God in His goodness, allows those of us who are more stubborn long lives to give back to Him daily. Jacob learned the hard way to become one with God. A not-so-good priest told me years ago that humility was not humiliation. Nope, he was wrong. We are humiliated in the realization of our limitations in order that God's strength shines forth through us, not our own. God allowed Himself to be humbled through gross humiliations. He willed that men would beat him, He willed the crucifixion, and that He would be naked on the cross. God was in control, and He is in control of our lives as well. "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53)

Jacob's wound was an indication, as Raissa notes, that God won the wrestling match. But, Jacob won God's heart as well, through the death of his ego.

to be continued....

Synchronicity, Perfection Series VIII Part XXVII The Old and The New Law

Just the other day, I was meditating on the life of David, who is one of my favorite persons in the Old Testament. His heart, it is said, was like unto God's, full of love.

My thoughts centered on the fact that after God disciplined David for killing Uriah, by taking away the baby of Bathsheba, David was still allowed to keep his soul-mate, after a series of serious sins.

God forgave murder, adultery, lying, arrogance, and most likely, pride. David obviously was playing God by taking Uriah's wife and killing him.

Yet, as Raissa points out in my reading of her today, God was "displeased" with David, forgave him and let him keep Bathsheba and the kingdom of Jerusalem.

Raissa notes several points with regard to this mystery which I merely was pondering a few days ago.

One, God's mercies are clear in the Old Testament.

Two, the Old Testament is written after the facts of history and with a perspective of God's mercy.

Three, the law of the Old Testament is NOT as severe as that of the New. (We have Christ Incarnated, the Church, the sacraments, grace in abundance, 2,000 years of teaching and so on, I add.)

That we are held to a higher level of expectations becomes a revelation like a strong light in our lives. One must, as I wrote yesterday as well, move away from even venial sin, not merely the gross sins of St. David. We are called to put on the Mind of Christ. And, we have all we need from baptism and the other sacraments in order to do this.

Raissa goes on to say that when our time in the Church is written, (and I am not sure it will be), our time will be seen as a time of great mercies.

to be continued....

Footnote to yesterday's post on marriage

I used the short quotation on marriage from Raissa, but I want to expand using a footnote of Jacques regarding the perfection of the species as one of the reasons for marriage.

He writes this: "For the perfecting of the species, that is to say in order that the highest exigencies of the natural law with regard to the human species should be recognised and supernaturally confirmed and that the rigour which is thus demanded from each one should raise the moral level of the species."

This type of idea is why I keep saying that lay people must stop blaming the clergy and nuns for the lack of faith among the laity.

We are all called to the perfection of the species, and marriage is one way in which this is done.


For each person to come to perfection demands that rigour noted by Jacques. That following of God's moral law is absolutely the duty of each one of us. All humans experience natural law, even in this perverted world, which denies natural law, even as a basis of human law. as we see with abortion laws, for one example, as human laws in contradiction to natural law.

The Ten Commandments are merely an extra clarification of natural law. Jacques is noting that those in marriage relationships, in families, need to see how their individual and group actions inform the larger world. First, the couple and family recognize natural law and then take the next step, which is putting it into context of the soul, heart, mind, the very reason why people were created in the first place.

This supernatural confirmation happens in virtue training, in the formation of character, in cooperation with the graces received in baptism. Parents have this duty to lead their children into the life of virtue, but of course, they cannot lead where they are not willing to go themselves.

The moral level of the species has dropped and this is the fault of the laity, as well as the clergy and other religious. No one is exempt from blame, or repentance and accepting the duty, the call of God to perfection.

What Raissa expressed so beautifully, Jacques summarizes, like the excellent philosopher he was, the whole point of the perfection of individuals in marriage leading to the perfection of the species.

Follow the tags for many of my posts on virtues and virtue training.

To be continued....

Update from Australia

Manager of Lindt cafe says there are 50 hostages, including staff. 

from The Guardian

from Bloomberg news

I predicted this months ago on this blog