Jan. 22, 2010, at 8:52pm
The Weekly Standard has an article today about the way ultrasound technology is changing minds about abortion. For decades the public has been effectively shielded from the reality of abortion by a campaign of disinformation and clever euphemisms. Abortion was not the killing of an innocent and defenseless baby, but a matter of “choice,” “women’s rights” and “reproductive health.” That’s getting harder for even the most ideologically committed and personally invested pro-abortionists to maintain.
[A]dvances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared.
The best antidote to a mind-gripping lie seems to be not argument, but an encounter with the reality of a good.
Another study, published in the October 1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions to abortion.
Let’s pray that those “negative emotional reactions” lead to positive moral changes! Let’s pray and work for the full and complete conversion of our society to a culture of life.
Sometimes I think that the "who you are" in "become who you are" refers to our acting and being--which are inalienable, really. So it's not really that we can ever be not ourselves, but we are less than fully ourselves when we abdicate responsibility for our actions, when we re-act rather than act, when we choose by failing to choose.
Which mean, I guess, that I am as fully myself in relationship as I am in a role or function, so long as I am fully present to the choices and persons around me, and fully choose to act out of my own gifts, abilities, and call to virtue. If I use a social construct, relationship, function, or even a 'vocation' as a prop, a layer of insulation against the terrible call to own my own actions and respond rightly to the goods around me, then they can be obstacles to my full development as "who I am."
I remember when Jen Fulwiler wrote about realizing that the best 'me time' is the kind that reinvigorates--which tends to be active: creation, exercise, service, self-development. These are responses to the goods in ourselves, the world, and others.
Aug. 28 at 1:40pm | See in context
Yikes! I would have done the same.
Aug. 28 at 11:48am | See in context
In the case of the apostolate I mentioned that I used to support financially, I twice sent emails expressing my concern. I got no answer. Then I noticed on facebook that many others shared my concern. The public outcry became strong enough that the head of the organization wrote about it. He didn't just defend his organization, he touted the Christian heroism of its members. He didn't just disagree with the critics, he chastized them for their lack of charity.
That's when I determined to disengage, which is to say (in this case), stop sending them money.
Aug. 28 at 8:07am | See in context
Thanks for your answer Katie. I can agree wholeheartedly. I would only hope that most folks wouldn't be too hasty in disengaging completely from something/someone without first letting the organization (or person) know what has happened and why. I suppose a healthy dose of discernment and prayer is also needed when things go awry. Thanks again!
Aug. 27 at 11:03pm | See in context
Internally, the leadership would have conducted an investigation, determined the facts, determined who was responsible for what, and called those employees on the carpet. He would have told them that their work was substandard and will have to improve.
That's the opposite of throwing people under the bus.
No reality-based person expects any organization or institution to be perfect.
But we can and do expect them to be responsible. Organizations (like individuals) that hide or deny or downplay their wrongs, or deflect all criticism back on to the moral character of the one making it—as if in order to fulfill their mission they have to have a perfect image—are dysfunctional.
My advice is: Keep away.
Aug. 27 at 9:28pm | See in context
Hi Sarah. Thanks for commenting.
When one/two people who work there make a bad decision, and the organization as a whole chooses not to throw them under the bus?
Throw them under the bus? That phrase usually implies scape-goating, viz. throwing blame on someone who doesn't deserve it to protect the interests and reputation of someone higher up. That's not what I'm talking about at all. The normal way to respond to bad acting is to correct it, right? In other words, to hold the ones responsible for it responsible for it. Depending on the case, if we're talking about a Catholic organization, say, that might mean a friendly reminder, a reprimand, a censure, a demotion, or a firing.
A sound organization has ways and means of adjudicating wrongs. A sound organization is willing and able to take responsibility for its acts and omissions as an organization. So, in the case of the apostoloate I mentioned, the leadership might have responded to critics by saying, "You're right. Our bad. In future, we will do better. Thank you for bringind this lapse in professional standards to our attention."
Aug. 27 at 9:25pm | See in context
I really like what you've written here Katie, and totally agree with you in regards to personal holiness. We should all be taking a good, hard look at our reactions to legitimate criticisms and explore our motives behind those reactions.
But I'm having trouble with this line of thought as it relates to Catholic organizations. Sometimes (usually?) organizations are run by more than one person - boards of directors, presidents, vp's, etc. How far does one go when supporting organizations? When one/two people who work there make a bad decision, and the organization as a whole chooses not to throw them under the bus? I suppose the question is highly subjective - what person, making what mistake, affecting how many people, etc., but I found your words harsh in respect to ceasing to support an apostolate that "did something bad". Apostolates, communities, movements - they're almost all doing a bad thing here and there amongst the good they're doing. I think it's very rare that you find an organization that is completely free of any error or wrong in their history - or bad reaction to an error or wrong. I'm just wondering where we draw the line.
Aug. 27 at 7:56pm | See in context
Well, maybe you're right. It's an interesting thought. My sense of what's normal among Christians might be distorted by the fact that I've spent so much of my life around what you're calling public Christians.
Aug. 21 at 1:25pm | See in context
I wouldn't say it is especially rare among Christians, but it may be rare among public Christians, those who are affected (infected?) by the "culture wars" narrative and envision themselves as courageous warriors against a hostile world. That narrative seems to attract people who value being right (ie. holding the 'right' opinions) as much (and often more) than doing right.
On the other hand, ruthless self-examination and consciousness of one's own faults may actually deter others from taking public or visible roles (or result in those people being actively discouraged).
The authentically humble, I suspect, don't tend to be all that concerned with looking holy or humble or counter-cultural. They are too busy working out their own salvation in fear and trembling. And so they aren't necessarily going to be one of those people or families or groups that make people on the outside say, "I want to be like ____. They've really got it together."
Aug. 21 at 1:01pm | See in context
That's a beautiful story! I'm glad you tell it often.
If being able to accept correction is a sign of a trustworthy person, being able to accept correction from someone you are in a position of authority over may be the gold standard.
I agree. At the same time, it seems to me strange that it's so rare among Christians, since it's so basic to the gospel. Humble yourself; the last shall be first and the first shall be last; let him who will be great make himself the servant of all...
This seems to me a major theme of Pope Francis' papacy too. If we want to help others, we have to present ourselves not as righteous ones, explaining to the others where they're wrong, but as sinners who have found help and grace.
Aug. 21 at 12:21pm | See in context
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