Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

US Bishops against killing; Anglicans not so sure

USA Today reports that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has voted to urge the U.S. to ‘”…look for effective ways to end (troops’) deployment at the earliest opportunity” consistent with contributing to a responsible transition.’

Now, that last clause didn’t appear in quotes in the article, but if it accurately portrays the bishops’ statement, then they have said precisely nothing.  

No one wants us to be there forever, but how can we best ensure we don’t leave behind a bloodbath (or a safe haven for terrorists)?  The bishops are asking the U.S. not to leave too soon, or too late.  Oh, and to make sure we leave behind a free and happy people.

We’ll get right on it, Your Excellencies!


Meanwhile in Britain, Anglican bishops have decided that disabled babies should be allowed to die.

The headline for the Daily Mail article reads, “Outrage as Church backs calls for severely disabled babies to be killed at birth,” but that’s not entirely fair.  Nowhere do the Anglican bishops say it’s all right for babies to be murdered.  Just that they shouldn’t be treated.

This can be a tricky subject, depending on what is meant by “treatment.”  If the baby has no hope of long-term survival, then feeding and caring for it would be enough.  It is morally acceptable in circumstances where death is inevitable for nature to be allowed to take it’s course.  But too many people think that food consitutes medical treatment, and if the Anglican church thinks that “imperfect” babies should be allowed to starve, then the Anglican church is wrong.

Why is this being debated in Britain?  Because their National Health Service is going bankrupt:

The Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, who is the vice chair of the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, has also argued that the high financial cost of keeping desperately ill babies alive should be a factor in life or death decisions.

Butler says:

“The principle of justice inevitably means that the potential cost of treatment itself, the longer term costs of health care and education and opportunity cost to the NHS in terms of saving other lives have to be considered.”

People in this country complain about the rising cost of medical treatment, and agitate for universal health care.  What definition of “universal” excludes sick babies?


One last thing.

Would it be too much to expect that reporters and/or their editors have some clue about religion before they write about it?  I’m not talking about the history of the Albigensian heresy, or the details of Zoroastrian creation legends.  I mean basic Christianity.

In the first article I linked to, among other topics the U.S. bishops were discussing were guidelines for faithful Catholics on when they should, and should not, receive Communion.  The writer described it as:

A document on Communion spelling out who is “worthy” to receive the Eucharist and telling believers not to seek Communion if they knowingly violate church teachings.

The Church teaches that no one is worthy.  Using that specific word.  Anyone who has ever attended a Catholic Mass knows that before receiving Communion, everyone present says, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.”  There is a theological difference between being aware that, as a human being, one is not worthy to be in the Lord’s presence and being aware that one is personally living in a state of mortal sin.

In the second article, about the Anglican bishops, I came across this line:

Christians have long argued that life should preserved at all costs… (sic)

At all costs?  At all costs?  I’m not even going to bother to produce a counter-example.


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