Friday, 23 May 2008

Victor Lams Podcast

Hey, Victor Lams has a podcast! Now the musical products of his deranged mind can come directly to my iPod. Nice

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Just for the record...

...Catholics don't all think alike. Q.E.D.. I can't remember the last time I respected an opinion less.

Hybrid Embryos

Dave did a blog about hybrid embryos. I assume my comment will show up at some point in the future; Dave moderates them.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


I was talking with, or rather I was listening to - I wasn't in a talkative mood at the time, someone who, though concerned in a general sense about the issue of abortion, was agnostic as to when abortion would be sinful, being sceptical about the Catholic teaching that life should be defended from conception. Naturally this was in reference to the HFE Bill, and those proposing a change to the time limits based on scientific data about the development of an embryo. They opined that conception seemed to be an arbitrary point at which to draw the line.

I don't recall having an opinion about abortion before I had any faith in the teaching authority of the church, but one of the things that I find most strange about the "debate" is the lack of concern about the potential evil. The Church considers abortion as the murder of an innocent human life. I don't see how uncertainty from other parties as to when life really begins makes it acceptable to proceed. This procedure may be murder; how, when it may be murder, could anyone not shrink from it? You really need a watertight case that an embryo is not human before you could contemplate it's termination with a clear conscience. If you were presented with a locked room, in which there may or may not be a man or a woman, and a lever which released poison gas into the room, would you think it was okay to pull the lever? After all, there's no way of knowing whether or not there's a human life in there.

I think it's quite natural to assume that life does begin at conception, though I don't claim to be able to prove it. At conception, you certainly have a genetically distinct individual with 46 chromosomes, neither the mother nor the father. Give them oxygen, give them nutrients, and they will grow to be an adult. Up to what point would it have been acceptable to abort those cells/that person who was to become Jesus of Nazareth? This is obviously a special case, but that does not make it illegitimate. God had a plan for that birth, he had a plan for Jeremiah (Jer 1:5) - are we sufficiently confident as to think that in any given abortion, we are not directly thwarting the will of God? I think the answer to that is obviously no, at least if you are a theist.

People sometimes assume that abortion is a modern phenomenom as well, and that the Church therefore condemns abortion as an innovation. This is simply not true, which is worth pointing out. There are documents contemporary with the New Testament canon which condemn it outright.

I was also thinking, and forgot to blog it, that viability is a more arbitrary marker than conception. Viability as I understand it, is the stage at which it would be possible to preserve a life outside the womb. I'm not really sure what viability has to do with anything. That would be the stage at which medical care could substitute for the protection of the womb. A child needs the care of their mother from conception, although the form of that protection is quite different from that which is required after birth. A baby abandoned at birth will most likely die, but that's no argument for not caring for them.
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Thursday, 15 May 2008

Paradidomi - The Son of Man delivered into the hands of men

I'd been wondering about this for a while:
At the consecration of every Mass, the priest says: "Take this all of you and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you." "Given up" is perhaps a less than ideal translation of the Latin tradetur which means "will be handed over" and is the Latin equivalent of the Greek verb paradidomi. So, in the Eucharist, the Body of Christ is also "handed over" to us. And we, in turn, collectively as the Body of Christ in the Christian community are expected to continue that handing over of ourselves in the service of the Gospel and the promotion of the Kingdom.
I don't believe I've ever seen an English translation (from the Greek) in which it is rendered "given up" rather than "given", so I was wondering where it came from.

I also happen to know that paradidomi is related to paradosis, which is a biblical term for tradition, both in the sense of the proscribed "traditions of men" but also apostolic tradition, as in what St. Paul "delivered as of first importance". It's the same kind of delivery as the Son of Man, delivered into the hands of men, which is very apt of course.

Sunday, 11 May 2008



Today being Pentecost, it's the obvious time for celebration for our local group of cuddly Catholic charismatics, the Emmanuel Community. Our housegroup is with them, and yesterday we were all charismatic and prayed for one another, laying on hands and generally welcoming the Holy Spirit. When someone felt that they had a piece of scripture for someone, they made it known, so I thought I'd share what was passed on for me:
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. - Luke 12:27-32
He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." - Luke 13:18-19
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. - 1 Peter 3:3-4
'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island." - Acts 27:24b-26
And one from Monica's mate the nun:
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth. - Psalm 34:1