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Saturday, September 23, 2006


I'm in the course of struggling over a lecture on the dignity of motherhood and what better place for astute comments than our lectores dilecti... My audience will comprise gynaecologists and my plan is to argue that we need to affirm the dignity of motherhood right down the line - not just at the point of threats to life itself, but also where how it is lived - whether humanly or inhumanly - is in question... I want to argue that further to abortion, conceding to contraceptive practices, IVF etc. is also out of line with the requirements of dignity of motherhood, fatherhood, humanity. Contraceptive and in vitro practices are as far from being human as veterinary practice is from being medical practice. It makes sex and the whole realm of procreation, how human life begins, into a commodity we can dispose of at whim, stripping it of its human meaning and leaving only the animal outer shell. Conversely, as to the positive norm, the dignity of motherhood requires that mothers and women are respected, that the love a mother shows to her child is cherished and appreciated, that a mother's experience is treated with sensitivity, her motherhood revered. Revered as a crucial shade of the radiance of God's fatherhood. As Cardinal Wyszynski put it, a mother's touch is one of the most beautiful, astounding things as it is the first way by which a child encounters the love of God the Father - it is through the mother's hand that God's fatherly love first reaches out to a newborn, first strokes its head, first guides its movements... And the role of doctors assisting at these crucial moments, the role of fathers standing close by, is really one and the same: it is the St Joseph role to strengthen, secure, struggle, affirm, take responsibility, protect and learn... to love. laodicea