Monday, May 14, 2007

Every Child´s a Blessing

I saw this video over at Fr Tim Finigan´s blog and decided to post it on our parish blogspot to encourage parents who are put under appalling pressure to terminate a pregnancy because someone in a white coat has decided their child shouldn't be allowed to live. Here´s the accompanying article:

In our parish we are blessed with very many births each year - as anyone who has attended the 10am Mass on Sunday morning will have experienced for themselves! Sometimes, sadly, the great joy of parents expecting a new addition to their family can be turned to distress and heartache when they hear that there is a possibility their baby may be unwell. Often great pressure is put upon them to terminate the pregnancy at an early stage even though, as many of our brave parents have discovered the prognosis itself lacks accuracy. We have many healthy children in the parish whose parents were recommended a termination because their child was diagnosed as having Downs Syndrome or some other disorder.
Not every diagnosis however is so shaky and sometimes the child is indeed unwell. The pressure put on parents to end the life of that child can be unbearable. One mother in our parish was accused of being `cruel´ because she refused to agree to an abortion. It is not unusual for parents to be told that the baby will live for such a short time that 'it´s not worth' continuing the pregnancy. I'm grateful to Fr Tim Finigan for drawing my attention to this short video:


Kate said...

As is shown on the BBC - - identical twins, one thought too small to survive, but who is doing nicely now!

Anonymous said...

Very noble, but how is this related to Southwark Vocations?

Fr Stephen said...

Thanks for the link Kate.
Anonymous, I suppose it relates to vocations in two ways. Firstly because priests have to promote the culture of life. The second reason is that as priests we will often meet couples who are in distress over a pregnancy - I currently have two in the parish. For me this short film is an encouragement because it is the 'proof' of what I tell couples about all children being a blessing. What do you think?

James said...

I worry that the abortion issue, albeit an important one, is somewhat overplayed at the moment. Of all the social evils, the termination of pregnancy seems to get a lot of press. I'm also concerned that there is an increasing number of 'one issue' Catholics out there who seem to have taken it upon themselves to demonise abortion at the expense of other important problems and sometimes distorting both the scientific and theological facts.

I feel it important to point out that I am in no means pro-choice. The sanctity of life should be paramount. I'm just worried that this issue is occasionally driven by fanaticism.

Fr Stephen said...

Hello James thanks for your comments. I agree that abortion isn't the only issue but it is an important one: the direct, intentional killing of an innocent human being is a serious violation of the moral law.
I think however it is natural to expect that different people will struggle to highlight injustice in a variety of areas according to their own insight and talent. It's also important that they all be given the freedom to do so without being criticised by those working to right wrongs in other fields. Personally I feel that in England we could do more to promote the culture of life. However, my reason for putting up this video is a pastoral one. I have a large and very young parish (the average age at Mass is 26). Each year we have parents who are recommended terminations because their unborn child is deemed unworthy of life. Sometimes indescribable pressure is brought to bear on distraught parents (one mother was asked how could she be so 'cruel' as to allow the pregnancy to continue). At present I have two mothers in a similar situation, one of them was a hair's breadth from going ahead with the termination when she came to see me absolutely distraught.
This video makes an important point: a child may be born with disabilities, but he is still the child of his parents and is still a tremendous blessing.
It is interesting that in the parish people the video has been really well-received and people have thanked me for putting it up. I posted it here because as priests we sometimes have to face these issues.

alacet said...

enhorabuena Stephen

Fr Stephen said...