Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical Reform: “Two things that have to happen in order for the pro-life movement to be effective, and they aren’t happening anywhere in the world in any systematic way”.

First, and prior to making gains in legislation, “the population has to be convinced of the humanity of the unborn child, early in pregnancy. And the population has to be convinced of the inhumanity of abortion, early in pregnancy.”

He pointed out that the gains made in public opinion have been in support for abortion restrictions only in later stages of gestation, when abortion is already much less common. Most US and British opinion still favours largely unrestricted abortion in the first trimester, when the great majority of abortions are conducted.

“Most people hear the word ‘embryo’ and in their minds that term is synonymous with ‘blob of tissue’ or ‘blob of cells’. And they see abortion perhaps as evil but as the ‘lesser of two evils’ at worst. Certainly not evil enough to justify putting anyone in prison who performs abortions.”

“Nothing is going to change until we persuade the population that the baby really is entitled to developmental rights of personhood from the moment of fertilisation. And that abortion is an evil of sufficient enormity to justify criminalising the act. By which I don’t mean putting women in prison, I mean putting doctors in prison,” he continued.

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Why does the court ban the pictures but allow the decrepit underlying conduct?

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday to not review the case of Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness, a case that involved a lower court banning display of explicit abortion images from being shown where children are likely to view them.

The New York Times recalled that the case originated from a 2005 pro-life outdoor protest on Palm Sunday at an Episcopal church in Denver. The protestors were apparently unhappy with the church’s pro-abortion stance, and protested by showing large pictures of aborted fetuses, upsetting some of the 200 children who were present.

After the church sued Kenneth T. Scott, one of the people behind the protest, the Colorado Court of Appeals placed a ban on “displaying large posters or similar displays depicting gruesome images of mutilated fetuses or dead bodies in a manner reasonably likely to be viewed by children under 12.”

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Why the old prohibition against “graven images” does not apply to authentic Catholic statuary and religious art

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

476     Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ’s body was finite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate.

477     At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.” The individual characteristics of Christ’s body express the divine person of God’s Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted”.

Editor’s note: When the Eternal Word took on flesh and became the corporal image of a heavenly thing, the old prohibition against graven images became moot, since nobody with even a bit of sense would ever choose to worship a lump of stone or wood or clay … once they had actually seen the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, made man for us … or his authentic, church approved, holy image.

Saint John says as much, here:

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

For people of grace, there is simply no mistaking it … and there also remains very little “room” for foolish and sinful idolatry.

On of the great joys of the Feast of Christmas … at least for faithful and properly educated Christians … is finally being able to identify (and personally address) the previously unknowable, ineffable God … who is Christ, the Lord.

To know him is to love him. And that is the primary thing!

Did you know: The United Methodist Church is officially pro-abortion?

Story and related links

The Salvation Army also approves of abortion in certain circumstances.

This Week’s Ask Alice: “A Buddha statue in Catholic home” (Click on the included links for a comprehensive Lenten Catholic study)



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
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Chickie writes: While visiting the home of a terminally ill Catholic friend, I was surprised to find a large “Buddha” figurine prominently displayed there.

This seems like paganism and idolatry, and it really bothers me. It also makes me wonder if the presence of this idol might be somehow nullifying the prayers we have been offering up for her recovery.

I feel like I should say something to my friend, but she’s so sick right now, that it might just make things worse.

I’ve also considered writing a note to her husband about it, but I really don’t know if that would be a good idea, either.

None the less, I can’t imagine why good Catholic would have such an image in their home.

I’ve recently been praying hard on this. What do you think I should I do?

Alice answers: Does your Catholic friend have a crucifix or picture of Jesus in her house? If so, that is a good sign.

Since she is terminally ill, the present time is not opportune for arguing about the Buddha figurine in her home. Sick people and their caregivers are suffering much pain and can become upset easily. You are correct in thinking that your well-intentioned comments might make things worse. You don’t want your friend and her husband to slam the door on your future visits.

A Buddha statue cannot harm a baptized, faithful Catholic. The mere presence of the statue will not nullify prayers for her recovery.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha (563-483 B.C.) was a spiritual teacher who founded the Buddhist religion. He was a human being, not a pagan god. If you saw a statue of Abraham Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King in a Catholic home, you would assume that the family felt deep respect for a good man. You would not worry that they were worshiping idols.

(Important note: The Buddhist religion typically incorporates many elements of two pagan belief systems known as Pantheism and Brahminism, which are both in serious conflict with many/most authentic Catholic/Christian beliefs and practices.)

If you feel compelled to speak, simply ask where your friend got the Buddha statue. If she received it as a gift from an Asian friend or purchased it as a decoration for her home, then the only problem is that your taste in decorating differs from hers.

If your Catholic friend said that she prays to Buddha, then she is mixing religions, which is definitely wrong. However, no demonic influence is likely to result from her misguided efforts, since she faithfully prays to our Triune God.

Please don’t allow a figurine to separate you from your sick friend. By arguing over Buddha, Satan might work his wiles and alienate your friend. Instead, ignore the Buddha while visiting, then say a prayer privately that the statue will be removed from her home. If your budget permits, you might buy a crucifix or statue of Jesus and wrap it up as a gift for your dear friend.

Above all, please stay focused on your mission to “visit the sick” and “pray for the living and the dead,” which are Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)

You are doing wonderful work in supporting your dying friend and her husband! Your charity pleases God (the real one). Just keep doing your job (prayerful visits) and leave your worries about the Buddha statue to God. That’s His job.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

More about statues and images

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth, Ark Imagery and the Fathers


Mary as the Ark of the Covenant in Patristic Sources

First, let me establish the assertion I made above, namely, that patristic writers linked Mary with the ark. A few citations will do. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive survey.

Hippolytus (c. a.d. 170–c. a.d. 236): “At that time, the Savior coming from the Virgin, the Ark, brought forth His own body into the world from that Ark, which was gilded with pure gold within by the Word, and without by the Holy Ghost; so that the truth was shown forth, and the Ark was manifested….And the Savior came into the world bearing the incorruptible Ark, that is to say His own body” [Dan .vi].

Athanasius of Alexandria (c. a.d. 296– c. a.d. 373): “O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides” (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin).

Gregory the Wonder Worker (c. a.d. 213– c. a.d. 270): “Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, ‘Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary.’ For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary” (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary).

John Damascene (c. a.d. 676–c. a.d. 749): “This day the Holy and Singular Virgin is presented in the sublime and heavenly Temple… This day the sacred and living Ark of the Living God, who bore within her womb her own Creator, took up her rest within that temple of the Lord that was not made with hands… And David her forefather, and her father in God, dances with joy…” [Oration on the Glorious Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God the Ever-Virgin Mary, 2].

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Images and significance of various types of trees, as mentioned in the Bible


The sycamore, the “ficus sycomorus,” belongs to the same family of the fig tree. Its name comes from the Greek “sicon,” fig and “moros,” blackberry bush. That is, the sycamore has leaves similar to the blackberry bush and fruit similar to the fig. In Jesus’ time there were a great number of sycamores in the Holy Land. Its wood was commonly used because it is harder than that of the fig tree. Today, it is a rare tree in the Holy Land. We can find sycamores in Jericho and in Gaza. One of them in Jericho is 15 meters high. Let us remember that the fig tree is never higher than 5 meters.

During the time of King Solomon, “the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the lowlands” (I Kgs. 10:27).

The fruit of the sycamore was considered as humble food. It is confirmed by the prophet Amos, shepherd of Tekoa: I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets. I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, “Go, prophesy to My people Israel’ (Amos 7:14-15).

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