“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Lk. 1:42-45)
A few thoughts on today’s feast.
First, from my friend Bill Donaghy via Facebook last year:
Two women, pregnant with new life, whose great Yes to God’s proposals would literally change the world. And people say the Church is patriarchal? She’s matriarchal to the core! Happy Feast of the Visitation!
From a pro-life perspective I am usually caught up in St. John the Baptist’s in-utero gymnastics on the feast of the Visitation. Recently, however, I also find myself focusing on Elizabeth greeting Mary as the “mother of my Lord” while she is but a few weeks pregnant.
I was particularly struck by this a while back when a friend of mine announced her first pregnancy on facebook by declaring, “I’m going to be a mom (after the baby is born) in May!” To which I could not help responding, “You already are a mom – right now! That baby is alive inside you and you are already caring for him and mothering him – providing him with the vital nutrients he needs to live and grow and get ready to greet the outside world in nine months.”
Mary’s role as the Mother of God reveals the dignity and sacredness of motherhood (mothers are so special even God wanted one!) – a role that begins at the moment of life’s inception.
That is all :-)
In the last episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I discussed transhumanist images in several popular movies and television shows. One of those was an animated film called Robots. Rebecca called it a great movie for kids (rated PG) with a prophetic message about where Transhumanism will lead us.
In the movie, a power-hungry robot takes over one of Robot City’s biggest industries and ceases production on spare parts for the city’s residents in favor of shiny new “upgrades”. “Why be you when you can be new?” is the company’s new slogan and those who cannot afford to upgrade are collected and turned into scrap metal.
Shortly after we recorded that episode, I actually came across this movie in the $5 bin at my local WalMart. After watching it again, I highly recommend it, both for it’s cultural significance and because it’s just an entertaining little movie.
In her latest commentary at the National Catholic Register, Taylor explains what’s so prophetic about this quirky little flick:
Consider a recent story in The New York Times about a new hearing aid that is controlled by an iPhone app. The story begins with a 65-year-old hearing-impaired man going into a noisy night club.
He is able to adjust his hearing aids with his iPhone so that he can carry on a conversation in the middle of a torrent of background noise. The new hearing aids that can be fine-tuned for every environment are a great advancement for those with hearing loss, but the Times story does not stop with the therapeutic benefits. The author of the piece tried the hearing aid for himself. He wrote:
“Wearing these hearing aids was like giving my ears a software upgrade. For the first time, I had fine-grain control over my acoustic environment, the sort of bionic capability I never realized I had craved. I’m 35, and I have normal hearing. But if I could, I’d wear these hearing aids all the time.”
The author’s glowing endorsement included the “slight exaggeration” that these advanced hearing aids are “better than the ears most of us were born with.” The title of the piece is “Conjuring Images of a Bionic Future.”
As Rebecca notes in her article and we noted in BioTalk, it’s time for us to discuss this stuff, with each other, with our children.
LIFE.com recently published some sweet pictures of nurses caring for premature babies 75 years ago.
These images were published online in connection with their larger story in the June 2 issue, Saving Premies.
A lot has changed in 75 years. Medicine and technology has advanced significantly. But, premature birth is still a serious health risk for nearly 500,000 babies born in the United States every year, accounting for more than a third of all infant deaths.
The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. –Douglas MacArthur
Image: Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, July, 1863
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn. 15:13)
For all those who have lost loved ones in battle I pray, in the words of Abraham Lincoln:
that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
For our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines past and present, known and unknown (including military chaplains); for those who died in battle and for the many veterans and other service men and women we have lost over the years:
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
Béatrice Fedor comments on the recent trend among abortion advocates to share “positive” abortion stories in order to “break the silence” and “remove the stigma”.
You can’t “remove” abortion stigma and shame but you can face what happened honestly and start to heal. There would be no stigma if what we call “abortion” were a beautiful, good, fulfilling life event. But as it is, abortion is a violent, destructive, demeaning, traumatic event that we (more or less freely) agree to. That’s why we feel guilt and shame. We are not whole anymore but we are told that we should be thankful because this is supposedly one of the greatest achievements of the women’s rights movement.
Abortion is not a victory, it’s a wound and a loss. The “positive abortion” movement is not telling the whole story and is not helping women. Encouraging us to pretend that nothing major happened keeps us in the darkness. Women who lost a child to abortion need to be restored and walk in the light.
Béatrice, herself, is a member of Silent No More — an awareness campaign in which women also share their abortion stories, but with a slightly different goal in mind: to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings women and help them to find healing.
Here she is sharing her abortion testimony in front of a thousand people at the Stand up For life March and Rally in 2009 in Columbia, SC:
Beatrice blogs at 400 Words for Women where she shares her reflections on her journey and on our broken culture.
• A 64 year old Chinese woman had twins through IVF in 2010. She holds the record as the oldest mother in China, having given birth at 60.
• T Maureen L. Condic explains why reprogrammed cells are not the same as embryos. Namely, they lack the ability to complete an organized development. In other words, if they were to be placed in a womb, such stem cells would create tumors, not a fetus.
• Jessica Cussins writes at the Center for Genetics and Society about the “cultural relevance” of the new Johnny Depp movie Transcendence. It’s ambiguity, she says, makes the subject matter compelling and may be what the movie gets “absolutely right” about the real-world tension created by radical biotechnologies.
• Speaking of Transcendence, if you missed it, be sure to check out the latest episode of BioTalk for more transhumanist images in popular movies and television shows. If nothing else, they help generate a conversation worth having.
This is really pretty fascinating.
What an exciting possibility for stroke and spinal cord injury victims!
It’s certainly a legitimate use of such technology. After our last BioTalk discussion, though, I’d still be a little nervous having it implanted into my body!
Human cloning is here. After years of effort, scientists manufactured human life using the same process that created Dolly the sheep. There is no way around it: The age of human cloning is here—unless we act now to prevent it.
Why outlaw human cloning? As the United Nations General Assembly decided in a nearly 3-1 vote in 2005, each country in the world should “prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.”
Some countries do outlaw human cloning. Germany is a good example. But most—like the USA—have done nothing to address this technology legally.
That’s a problem: That which is not illegal, is legal. Hence, human cloning—including the creation of the cloned embryo and gestating it through to birth are currently legal acts.
Heh. I remember writing, back in 2009 when the first human embryos were cloned, “We Need to Ban Cloning ASAP!” Knowing then that there will be no stopping this train once it picks up steam.
Wake up and smell the clones, folks! It is time to stop pretending that this is a problem for our children and grandchildren. This is our issue to tackle. Now.
Cute baby blogging is one of my favorite things to do here. So much of what I post is not very uplifting, to say the least, so a cute baby face is a nice palate cleanser. More than that, though, I see new life as new hope for a better and brighter future.
Even when it comes in less than desirable circumstances (rape, fornication, adultery, incest and various technical procedures), new life is a light shining in the darkness, a reminder of how God brings good out of the worst situations and has not given up on humanity, even when we turn our backs on him.
Anyway. On to the cuteness!!
My sister sent me this video of Cruz making silly baby noises last week. It’s way too cute and funny not to share. What a crazy kid.
His cute silliness makes up for her vertical video syndrome.
Cute baby bonus:
• A British woman is suing the American couple she agreed to become a surrogate for after they allegedly backed out of the deal because she is carrying twins. The couple only wanted one child and demanded that she abort one of the fetuses She refused and wants to put the twins up for adoption.
• The International Medical Travel Journal reports that Cancun is attracting attention as a hot destination for the discerning international fertility tourist – seeking in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation, and surrogacy services.
• The Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, famous for cloning “Dolly” the sheep, lost a bid to get a US patent protection on their cloned animal. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that, instead of being a “product of human ingenuity,” Dolly and other cloned animals like her are just genetic copies of naturally occurring beings.
• Twin births are on the rise in the United States. Now, one out of every 30 babies born is a twin. This increase is largely due to an increase in infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization and “ovulation stimulation medications.”
• BioEdge reports on the intensifying debate over “moral bioenhancement.” A special issue of the American Journal of Bioethics last month explores the benefits and dangers of Persson and Savulescu’s 2013 publication Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement.