A Catholic President

Yes, I think I must say something. The USA have a new President. Good news by comparison with his predecessor. And many of us would think how marvellous to have a Catholic president. And a public one too, with a life of devotion.

But I am not one of the many because he is clearly claiming to support the provision of killing babies in the womb. I could understand him saying that, in the light of his almost unbelievable predecessor, he would regrettably not interfere with the laws of the different States in the matter of abortion, despite his moral condemnation. I am talking about plain evil.

This is not simply disobedience to the teaching of the Catholic Church (don’t take a hoot about that!) but it is the intrinsic evil of abortion. Let me tell you a story.  My wife was carrying our fifth child in her womb, at ten weeks. I had taken the other children up to the Common for exercise. She miscarried. Notwithstanding her distress, physical and mental, she picked up her child and baptised him or her. And, throughout the rest of her life, she looked forward to meeting her child in Heaven – where she is at last now.

If you think that human beings are simply the outcome of evolution – and so can be dealt with in the same way as any animal life you may agree with Joe Biden. But if you believe that human beings are created by the Almighty to, eventually, be in Heaven, you will not. Of course, there is the question of at what point does humanity start. It seems clear to me that this occurs at conception when the two genetic elements come together – and start the process of development. A process, in my case, which continues into the eighth decade. Those genes have expressed and modified our individual development to the very moment that you are reading this, and I am writing it

About Quentin

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45 Responses to A Catholic President

  1. David Smith says:

    Quentin writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/ ) :

    // This is not simply disobedience to the teaching of the Catholic Church (don’t take a hoot about that!) but it is the intrinsic evil of abortion. //

    I entirely agree. Abortion is the deliberate killing of a child.

    By the way, I disagree with your assessment of Donald Trump. And it seems he might agree with both of us that abortion is evil. This is from the BBC in a web article dated 21 September 2020:

    // Mr Trump’s key message: We are making it harder to get an abortion now, want to overturn federal protections and would support a near-total ban. … Mr Biden’s key message: We will protect a woman’s right to choose and fight to keep access to abortion legal. //

    America has now had two Catholic presidents, neither of whom has been, in my opinion, much of a Catholic, except in name.

    • pnyikos says:

      Biden not only wants abortion to be legal for any reason or no reason up to birth, he also wants it funded federally.

      Biden has promised to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide their employees with insurance policies that pay for hormonal contraception that has an abortifacient effect sometimes. It was this kind of “contraception” that Hobby Lobby also was permitted to opt out of by the Trump administration. Hobby Lobby’s CEO isn’t a Catholic, and he doesn’t think of contraception as immoral, but he drew the line at abortifacient effects for religious reasons of his own.

      We are very lucky that the Supreme Court, at least, is very friendly to religious freedom. It would certainly draw the line at forcing health care professionals to participate in surgical abortion if it is against their religious convictions. It did rule that the Trump administration had the right to exempt the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby from “the contraception mandate”. But that would not protect them against Biden’s promise; that would have to be litigated from the ground up, resulting in more court costs for the people Biden would care about if he were morally opposed to abortion — but obviously is not.

  2. catherine says:

    I too am pro life with all that that entails i.e pro life throughout the human lifespan. What I find difficult to reconcile with being pro life is Nature’s way of disregarding it for example apparently 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage…why?

    With regard to Trump he had the backing of millions who must be given as much a voice as those who millions who voted for Biden. I don’t think Biden is up to that.

    • FZM says:

      What I find difficult to reconcile with being pro life is Nature’s way of disregarding it for example apparently 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage…why?

      In pre-industrial times about 50% of children born alive also died before reaching 17. Both of these things seem to be a consequence of human biology so there must be some goods inherent in human nature that can only be manifested by creatures with these vulnerabilities.

    • galerimo says:

      Good point!

      Nature seems very pro-choice – at the rate of one in four!

      A sobering thought for those who try to apply universal principles of morality based on “Natural Law”

      • FZM says:

        No human choice is involved in the end of those pregnancies. So why claim that Nature is pro-choice?.

      • pnyikos says:

        Most miscarriages involve gross genetic defects, including a large percentage where no embryo is present at all, just extraembryonic tissue: the result is what is illogically called a “blighted ovum.” In the following excerpt from a standard textbook, used in our university for first-year biology students, Dr. Terry Orr-Weaver, a distinguished researcher in genetics, explains one possible cause.

        “Twenty per cent of recognized pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage, and out of those at least half are due to a mistake during meiosis. … So about 10-20% of the time meiosis does not work properly in humans. In fruit flies, meiosis seems to occur inaccurately only 0.01 – 0.5% of the time. Even mice, which are mammals like ourselves, do much better than humans. So I would call this the second big mystery regarding meiosis: Why are humans so bad at it?”
        — Biology,
        by Campbell, Reese et. al., 8th ed, p. 247

  3. Iona says:

    “1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage…why?”

    We haven’t got a God’s-eye view of these very early, very young human beings. To us, this looks like a waste. For God, nothing and no-one is wasted.

  4. Iona says:

    As for Trump and Biden, I am very glad I do not live in, nor vote in, the USA, because I wouldn’t have known what to do. Trump is impossible, and Biden is a hypocrite if he claims to be a Catholic yet flies in the face of Catholic teaching on abortion. I gather he has been refused Communion in some churches.

    • pnyikos says:

      Yes, one example that made the national news took place in a small church right in Florence, South Carolina. We live in Columbia, SC, but our oldest daughter had a job for two years in Florence and went to Mass regularly in the very same church where this happened, but after she moved back to Columbia.

  5. John Thomas says:

    Quentin, I agree with you all the way … Trump: I’m no socialist, but I have much respect for the late Tony Benn – Wedgie – and he used to say (particularly at election time) “It’s not about personaities, it’s about policies (or should be)”. While Trump’s personality was disastrous, I think many of his policies (or those of his Administration) were good ones.. He rolled back the evil abortion industry more than any other president, and now it will come flodding back … which horrifies me; and his approach to Iran, China and N. Korea was perhaps more effective than those of any predecssor (Biden looks set to overturn, for example, Trump’s stance towards Iran; so, A- bomb soon, for the ayatollahs, then it’s goodbye Israel … alright, I’m pessimistic, but …). As for a supposedly-Catholic president aiding the vile abortion industry … what an evil hypocrite!!! (I’m not a Catholic myself, but believe in the value of life from conception to natural death, and support CFam and LifeSite, particularly needed now).

  6. pnyikos says:

    Here is a statement I made back in 1992, in a long letter that was published in Issues in Science and Technology, a publication of the National Academy of Sciences: When a developing human is beyond the point where it is capable of feeling pain, abortion ceases to be a religious issue and becomes a humanitarian one.

    I worded it that way because I was criticizing an article that claimed that abortion was “a religious issue.” Actually it goes on being a religious issue, but also becomes a humanitarian one that any thoughtful atheist or secularist can take a firm pro-life stand on. One example for many years was Nat Hentoff, who wrote for the otherwise abortion-friendly Village Voice.

    In other places, including a hearing of a bill in a subcommittee of our state senate, I have pointed out that we have laws against cruelty to animals — so why not laws against cruelty to unborn human beings? This was in a hearing of a bill banning the so-called “D & E” abortions, which the bill referred to as “dismemberment abortions” — the analogue of executions by drawing and quartering, which have long been outlawed as “cruel and unusual punishment”.

  7. galerimo says:

    President or not, how on earth can you judge a man by his religion.?

    It would be easier to determine your date of death based on your shoe size!

    If religion was the criterion for good, Jesus would have run for Jerusalem’ High Priest.

    No. Jesus’s criterion is how you treat others. Like people needing abortions.

    And God knows there are a large number of Catholics among them. Married ones too.

    Why do people assume that making abortion safe for women therefore makes it compulsory?

    Like same sex marriage. Making it possible for those who seek such a married life does not mean we all have to choose same sex partners.

    I want my head of state to take account of all citizens. Not just those who share my religious beliefs.

    And that entitles them, obliges them, to do things I don’t agree with.

    Neither morality nor religion is the measure of a man’s goodness. No such external view is ever possible.

    A man is good if he can see the goodness in others.

    Can I see any good in Joe? – yes, I can.

    What a great choice he made in getting Amanda Gorman to recite her poem for all to hear. It was very inspiring.

    • FZM says:

      I want my head of state to take account of all citizens. Not just those who share my religious beliefs.

      So you have a head of state, the state can establish institutions like marriage and can extract tax revenue from its population to give to women for abortions, the authority of the state and ruler to do these things has no basis in Natural Law nor in religion but is superior to both.

      Now, to a lot of Christians (also Muslims, Jews, Hindus etc.) the authority of such a state would be a fiction. To Libertarians and people of that inclination as well.

      Neither morality nor religion is the measure of a man’s goodness. No such external view is ever possible.

      A man is good if he can see the goodness in others.

      What kind of property is goodness and how do we recognise it in another person given that morality and ethics and religion can’t tell us much about it? It seems to be basically mysterious.

      Is it all just based on a feeling you have?

  8. galerimo says:

    Quentin – why did you change back to the old picture at the top of your blog?

    I loved the one with the figure making their way along the path in the autumnal misty morning.

    And I love you story of how your wife baptised your beautiful stillborn child. When you tell it, I can think of a more magnificent celebration of Jesus’s great sacrament.

    Luther was under a lot of pressure to reject infant baptism. But he stuck to his belief in it based on God’s desire that all should be saved.

    No doubt a great basis too for believing that abortion should not become legal.

    ————-

    Everyone, please sign my petition for the restoration of the “wanderer along the autumnal path” scene for this blog!

    ————

  9. Geordie says:

    Abortion may be made safe for women but it is fatal for the child. The people against abortion are not anti-women. They are pro all human beings, especially those who are defenceless, like the unborn children.

    The “Right to Life” campaign is asking people to support Carla Lockhart MP, who has launched a parliamentary motion (Early Day Motion 1340) which highlights the latest science and developments on foetal pain and calls on the Government to urgently review official guidance in this area. Write to your MP or go on “The Right to Life” website and use their letter.

    Quentin, I hope you don’t mind me advertising this campaign on your blog.

  10. David Smith says:

    Joseph Biden is a very old man, well past his prime. I doubt he ever was much of a thinker. Most professional politicians – and I think that’s about all he has ever been, since the age of twenty-nine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden) – are exceptionally strong egotists with a flexible utilitarian morality. He was chosen by his party’s machine to run against Donald Trump in 2020 because, I suppose, he had a nice smile and, they hoped, would seem relatively harmless to the voters. In fact, he’s a figurehead. The brains behind his policies are those of the Democratic Party, which has an extremely progressive bent. Abortion, for them, is practically a sacrament.

    Not much over half the American voters elected in fact the Democratic Party to run the country for the next four years. Since the Democrats now control both houses of the federal legislature, they will rule unopposed.

  11. Hock says:

    Abortion is contrary to Catholic teaching except when it is convenient to silently agree to it. Take for example how Tony Blair was welcomed into the Catholic Church by no less a person that the Cardinal and leader of the Church in the UK at that time. This clerical leader of the Church gave his opinion as to what a wonderful statesman Tony Blair was at the time of his reception but carefully kept quiet on the fact that the same Tony Blair throughout all his political life campaigned for easier abortion and has never condemned it to this day.
    Was not a clerical ‘blind eye’ given to him receiving communion prior to his reception into the Church and also when his views were well known in favour of abortion. It was members of the congregation that successfully challenged the legitimacy of it , not the clergy.
    Incidentally are not Boris Johnson and his fiance baptised Catholics? I read somewhere that they were and so could be married in a Catholic Church. Despite the divorces of the PM ( and his support for abortion especially his own personal history in this regard.)

  12. David Smith says:

    Hock writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62653 ) :

    // Abortion is contrary to Catholic teaching except when it is convenient to silently agree to it. //

    A stark reality, and an inconvenient elephant always in the room with Catholicism. The institutional Church, most regrettably, is a hybrid creature, a cross between a moral teacher and a professional politician. It claims with a straight public face that there is no conflict between the two. Alas, that is self-evidently a lie.

  13. galerimo says:

    We have to face reality. Abortion is a fact of life. And with all the benefits of our medical and social advances it has not disappeared or even reduced. In any human society.

    If we were to create a world order that welcomes the newborn with a supportive and nourishing environment. A system to make life safe and prosperous for families perhaps it would disappear.

    I think, working towards such a world order is the best way to address the issue.

    Shaking fisted rosary beads at the women who go to clinics, or abolishing legislation
    Clearly does not work. It was rampant prior to clinics and legislation.

    (I can’t imagine Jesus turning up at a stoning, held in accordance with the law, holding aloft a lighted Menora shouting out psalms at the top of his voice). No –

    • Getting control of the Corona Virus
    • Investing in economic infrastructure especially with the States badly hit by the Pandemic
    • Dealing with climate change
    • Dealing with the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter campaign
    • Immigration policy

    These are the five priorities Joe Biden has put forward and is evidently working on to improve the lives of millions of people.

    And a realistic and balanced Catholic view would acknowledge the real values contained in all of that to ultimately, make our world more receptive to the welcoming of the new born.

    Of course, we should never give up trying to eliminate the great evils of our time such as lying, hunger, human exploitation, degradation of our God given planet etc.

    But a mature and balanced approach is also a Christian approach. It will recognise all the ways of creating a better world as ways to eliminate abortion.

    Of course a Christian must use prayer, and never give up doing so, and hope and decent strategies that don’t involve shaming and putdown judgments.

    Geordie’s suggestion to support Carla Lockhart’s campaign is a good example of how an individual can work in an effective and respectful way in response to the highly emotional, often hysterical topic of abortion.

    And I think Joe Biden’s is also an honest approach, from a national and global perspective to do the same thing.

    • FZM says:

      We have to face reality. Abortion is a fact of life. And with all the benefits of our medical and social advances it has not disappeared or even reduced. In any human society.

      If we were to create a world order that welcomes the newborn with a supportive and nourishing environment. A system to make life safe and prosperous for families perhaps it would disappear.

      This is an important point, it seems that advances in medicine, social change and rising prosperity in the developed world have led to increases in the abortion rate, and that it doesn’t show much sign of decreasing. As conditions improve it is becoming more of a moral question, and a cause for reflection on human nature, than it has been at any time in the past.

      Perhaps counter intuitively, developed countries do not appear to provide a particularly nourishing and healthy environment for human families and some levels of prosperity seem to harm and undermine the capacity for family formation, rather than enhance them. This recalls the results of the famous ‘Mouse Utopia’ experiment, where the population of an experimental mice colony provided with abundant food and a perfect mouse environment, after an initial period of explosive growth, later began to manifest bizarre evolutionarily maladaptive behaviours that led to the extinction of the colony.

  14. David Smith says:

    The Catholic Church in America is riven in two, on abortion and on much else. Familiarly, the cleavage is on holding the line and on, um, bringing it thoroughly up to date.

    Very worth a listen: https://audioboom.com/posts/7784717-how-the-vatican-tried-to-suppress-criticism-of-the-new-president

  15. ignatius says:

    Just out of interest, what do you all think would actually happen if Joe Biden did actually try to ban abortion? What would be the outworking of his attempt?

  16. David Smith says:

    ignatius writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62708 ) :

    // Just out of interest, what do you all think would actually happen if Joe Biden did actually try to ban abortion? //

    Probably something like what might happen if the Pope were to announce he’d decided to convert to Islam. There’d be a media upheaval, then the poor man would be moved into the custody of reliable psychiatrists and the embarrassment would fade away and be relegated to history.

    • ignatius says:

      Yes, something like that. I would imagine intractable opposition from his own party and millions of others leading to a back down or a resignation. I’m not quite sure what anyone imagines he could do were he even to try. Also I agree that abortion isn’t at the top of most catholic agendas.

      • FZM says:

        I’m not quite sure what anyone imagines he could do were he even to try. Also I agree that abortion isn’t at the top of most catholic agendas.

        I think if Biden supports abortion up to birth on demand, and if he supports the removal of protection for conscience clauses that can exempt healthcare workers from involvement in performing abortions, he should distance himself from the Catholic Church.

        I normally wouldn’t put abortion issues at the top of my own list of concerns but this changes when positions like those I just mentioned are being promoted. I was familiar in the past with what I think of as Kantian or old secular liberal arguments for abortion, the kind which are centred on the status of the foetus as a person and the relative rights of the mother and the embryo but they can’t provide a justification for the new position Biden seems to favour (and which seem to be the new norm or goal of the pro-choice movement). In a secular liberal polity the Kantian arguments seemed to me to be defensible, but the others don’t; they may indicate a push toward a new moral/political order.

        These policies on abortion were more commonly defended by Marxists and they didn’t usually identify as practicing Catholics. I’m not sure how long it has been since the Church had to deal with a statesman who presented himself as Catholic but promoted positions similar to these.

  17. David Smith says:

    FZM writes (

    // the famous ‘Mouse Utopia’ experiment, where the population of an experimental mice colony provided with abundant food and a perfect mouse environment, after an initial period of explosive growth, later began to manifest bizarre evolutionarily maladaptive behaviours that led to the extinction of the colony //

    The absence of existential challenges frees the mind to wander into little more than pleasure seeking: “Brave New World”, where keeping humanity alive is the only goal of society, and its implementation has been given over to technicians.

  18. Geordie says:

    Biden is not being asked to ban abortion. However he is being asked to alter his attitude towards those in the medical profession being told to take part in abortions or lose their jobs. There are also near birth abortions in some states. Biden is not just tolerant of abortion he is pro-abortion which is in direct opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

  19. David Smith says:

    Geordie writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62730 ) :

    // Biden is not just tolerant of abortion he is pro-abortion which is in direct opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church. //

    And he knows that in that he’s of the same opinion as a great many other professing Catholics. Unfortunately, institutional churchmen are, like the President, professional politicians, which means that they’ll fit their messages to their listeners, the magisterium be damned.

  20. Hock says:

    From Hock
    Galerimo would appear not to see the awful irony of the slaughter of the innocents in the womb as a ‘fact of life’ (of life ! )
    The point of somehow fixing the world’s problems so that in the meantime abortion can go on unchallenged until some halcyon date in the future when all the evils of the world are mended so that abortion can neatly fall into a place where it will never be needed, is one that is regularly promoted and is of course, a complete fallacy.
    Galerimo list the ‘targets’ that should be aimed for. Why aim so low ? Lets have an end to all wars, an end to world poverty, the end of food shortages, plenty of clean water, a cure for all all diseases until we have heaven on earth. The we can look at the abortion rate and decide at that point if it still a ‘fact of life.’
    I find the comment of ‘shaking fisted rosary beads at women’ as repugnant. Those prepared to stand in the areas of abortion clinics are really doing what those of us who are opposed to abortion are afraid to do. Those persons now risk arrest , imprisonment and fines for doing so. There is already a bill before Parliament that so far has majority support, to have a six month sentence of imprisonment for anyone praying quietly in public within the ‘perimeters’ set down by local authorities. This when there has not been one single case of harassment of anyone using these clinics. One of these areas covers an area of a public park. perhaps the benches should have a warning on them. ‘Not to be used for prayer!’
    Easier abortion leads to ‘partial birth abortion, ( killing a child as it leaves the womb, partial birth abortion – what a chilling procedure, is promoted as an act of charity! ) In parts of Western Europe they have already moved to the next inevitable stage of killing a child after it has been born if they can find some justification for doing so. Wrong sex would seem to be justification enough,
    In one of the Nordic countries they ‘pride themselves ‘ on total eradication of Downs. No, they don’t have a cure, they insist that if there is any possibility of a child in the womb being Downs then it must be aborted.
    This is a ‘fact of life’ and hence supposedly worth ignoring.

  21. ignatius says:

    FMZ writes:
    “I think if Biden supports abortion up to birth on demand, and if he supports the removal of protection for conscience clauses that can exempt healthcare workers from involvement in performing abortions, he should distance himself from the Catholic Church.
    I normally wouldn’t put abortion issues at the top of my own list of concerns but this changes when positions like those I just mentioned are being promoted…”

    Good points. Also Hock:
    “..I find the comment of ‘shaking fisted rosary beads at women’ as repugnant. Those prepared to stand in the areas of abortion clinics are really doing what those of us who are opposed to abortion are afraid to do. Those persons now risk arrest , imprisonment and fines for doing so. There is already a bill before Parliament that so far has majority support, to have a six month sentence of imprisonment for anyone praying quietly in public within the ‘perimeters’ set down by local authorities. This when there has not been one single case of harassment of anyone using these clinics. One of these areas covers an area of a public park. perhaps the benches should have a warning on them. ‘Not to be used for prayer!’…”

    These are issues for which I would certainly turn out on protest about if requested to by the Church.

  22. Hock says:

    Another aspect of a term of imprisonment being a possibility is that it will be represented as a criminal conviction but framed within some kind of public order legislation. So the conviction will not show that it was for ‘praying in public’ but for ‘public disorder’ or similar. This will then be part of a person’s public record that they will have to declare on applications for employment or voluntary positions in activities such as helping out in your local school.
    No Head Teacher would risk having a volunteer in their school with such a conviction. Remember what is behind this conviction, it can be a simple as carrying a rosary bead in a hand.

  23. David Smith says:

    Hock writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62743 ) :

    // Another aspect of a term of imprisonment being a possibility is that it will be represented as a criminal conviction but framed within some kind of public order legislation. So the conviction will not show that it was for ‘praying in public’ but for ‘public disorder’ or similar. This will then be part of a person’s public record that they will have to declare on applications for employment or voluntary positions in activities such as helping out in your local school. //

    I’d not thought of that. Thanks. The establishment have begun to legally punish those who oppose the official party line for actions that until very recently would have been out of bounds to them. The traditional notion of freedom to speak and act is being radically revised. In fact, it’s being defined away. All they need to do, apparently, is call it something like “a threat to public safety” and they’re safe from effective opposition. Theoretically, courts can resist, but they’re powerless to do anything other than publish pieces of paper. As we’ve seen with lockdowns, politicians will simply ignore them.

  24. John Nolan says:

    Biden has incurred censure from US bishops for his pro-abortion stance, but also praise for his environmental policies. However, I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that the two are connected. I watched the last episode of David Attenborough’s ‘Perfect Planet’ series and there seemed to be a clear subtext – Earth would be perfect without human involvement.

    This is profoundly unChristian. The creation of man in God’s image is the greatest act of Creation. A hymn I remember from school had the lines:

    ‘Beneath Thy hand the formless earth
    And ocean roll’d asunder,
    And in Thy likeness man had birth;
    Thy crowning work and wonder.’

    Eco-warriors would support anything which reduced the human population, including of course abortion. Kill babies to save the planet. It’s a form of neo-paganism which has infiltrated the highest echelons of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis not excepted.

  25. David Smith says:

    John Nolan writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62761 ) :

    // I watched the last episode of David Attenborough’s ‘Perfect Planet’ series and there seemed to be a clear subtext – Earth would be perfect without human involvement.

    This is profoundly unChristian. The creation of man in God’s image is the greatest act of Creation. //

    Yet, I see what Attenborough’s aiming at. The image, too common in this age of over-communication, of a natural world despoiled increasingly by human waste and wastefulness, is aesthetically offensive to many of us. The orderly logical mind is attracted to neatness and cleanness and repelled by clutter and waste and spoilage. It’s obvious that mankind, en masse, have treated the Earth like a self-emptying garbage bin. The orderly logical mind rebels, wants to clean it all up and put it off bounds to future despoliation. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, an instinctive grasping for an easy answer, an impulsive reaching for the blunt instrument of government fiat and force.

    • pnyikos says:

      When one sees all the evil in this world caused by human folly and malice, it is easy to sympathize with Attenborough’s sentiment. Without the belief that we were put here for a divine purpose, one might well hope that the human race will make itself extinct and that a kinder, gentler species will evolve to our level of knowledge and understanding (but a much higher level of wisdom) in millions of years.

      The novel Green Mansions , by William Henry Hudson, is seen by some as suggesting that once there was such a species, wiped out by humans.

      In the Classics Illustrated comic book adaptation, the editor says, “We also feel that Hudson wants to tell us in this story that, long before this present meat-eating and destructive race took over all the world, there was a race of beings on the earth – beautiful, innocent, and bird-like, who lived in peace with nature and themselves, and of whom Rima and her mother were the last”.[3]
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mansions

  26. Geordie says:

    Well said John Nolan. I can’t watch Attenborough on TV. It just makes me angry and it is not very scientific. If the planet was perfect before human beings came along, where are the dinosaurs; who caused the ice ages; and what about all the movements of tectonic plates?
    It’s depressing to hear the Pope talk about saving the planet, when so little is said about saving souls.

  27. galerimo says:

    Sometimes we make the perfect, the enemy of the good.

    In a perfect world there would be no life ever, cut off.

    But ours is not a perfect world, and it is one within which we pray “your will be done on earth”.

    The good that we can do in raising the standards or living, providing loving space, physically and emotionally and helping people through their pain, all this forms part of the good we can do.

    Joe Biden is someone who knows the impact of losing life. From the death of his young wife and little girl when he was just starting out on his political career, to the death of his greatly loved son, Beau, in recent years, from brain cancer. Lives cut short too.

    Could such a man ever, in his heart, want to bring pain and grief of loss of life to anyone else? I don’t believe so. Including the unborn.

    But by trying to raise the standards of living in his programme for reforms, even coming back from his personal grief to offer an alternative presidency, are life enhancing goods that are admirable – whatever the context of the party politics involved.

    There is a huge emotional price to pay when standing at the bedside of loved ones who are terminally ill. A person would do anything, even change places to give up their own life in exchange. But it is not possible.

    Witnessing the death of the newborn is similar at least in one way. The feeling of helplessness for those who witness but feel powerless to stop it, fully.

    I think the resolve to live a caring life helps people in the face of their powerlessness – a debt some decide to owe to their deceased loved ones.

    Perhaps there is a lesson here too for those who feel a sense of helplessness in the face of abortion.

    It is always possible to weaponise grief, there are elements of anger within it too. But to face to problem of abortion there is a real need to look within at the motive.

    Any projections of our own guilt or anger, or need to suppress this thing and “wipe it out” is dangerous. Because it is a problem much more complex than that.

    We have seen violence outside clinics. But guilting, condemning and forcing is not the way of the good.

    I admire those people to seek to make our world a safer and more loving place in their own practical ways as a response to the reality of aborting human life in all its many forms.

    • pnyikos says:

      “We have seen violence outside clinics,” Galerimo? Who is “we”? Does it include you?

      The only violence I have seen outside a clinic was against peaceful, prayerful blockers of clinic entrances by police, and that was almost 30 years ago. “Operation Rescue,” which organized such blockades, has completely reinvented itself since the pro-abortion Left made it a felony, punishable by half a year imprisonment for a FIRST offense, two years for subsequent offenses, to participate in any kind of clinic blockade.

      Biden is a dedicated, totally unfeeling accomplice of the radical pro-abortion Left. Your argumentum ad misericordiam on his behalf is misplaced, to say the least.

  28. John Nolan says:

    Having lost loved ones in a car crash one might have thought Biden would have had more sympathy for Harry Dunn’s family, but already he has ruled out the extradition of Anne Sacoolas. Yet the US is pressing us to hand over Julian Assange. Perhaps we can arrange a swap?

  29. David Smith says:

    Pnyikos writes ( https://secondsightblog.net/2021/01/25/a-catholic-president/#comment-62799 ) :

    // The novel Green Mansions , by William Henry Hudson, is seen by some as suggesting that once there was such a species, wiped out by humans. //

    Thanks. Reading it now. Lovely thought, harking back to the biblical image. Does that image appear in other old religious traditions?

    There is something profoundly unnatural about the present majority culture’s divorcing the sex drive from the creation of children, and especially in the official approval and even encouragement of killing children to keep the divorce intact.

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