12 December 2008

Is Blair really pro-choice/pro-abortion?

Just stepped back into my room from listening to Cherie Blair speak here at the Angelicum. . .

I will give a full report when I have had a chance to read the text of her talk.

Initial observations:

Great historical survey of human rights as they relate to women.

Good intro to the secular philosophy of the Declaration on Human Rights.

Good job placing the Catholic Church in the history of the struggle for recognition of human rights, though she said that the Church was not involved in the human rights struggle until well into the 20th century. Dominicans from the University of Salamanca fought against slavery in the New World in the 17th century using primitive notions of human rights and dignity.

Made several predictable and annoying points about "women's rights" in the Church; e.g., "more women in the curia would give the Church different priorities." The Church has one priority regardless of the sex of those who work in the curia: preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

From her remarks and her answer to questions afterward, I must conclude that Blair is pro-contraception but not pro-choice on abortion. This is a tentative conclusion on my part. I want to read the text itself before saying anything too firmly. Her political and charitable associations would make it very difficult to conclude that she is not pro-abortion; however, she seemed to reject outright any difficulty with Church teaching on this issue.

More later. . .

19 comments:

  1. eewww

    vedy interesting.

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  2. Many thanks for your observations, Father. Do you know when and how (e.g. online text, audio/video) the talk might become available?

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  3. Anthony, I don't know for sure. The media were there in force...I was interviewed by LifeSiteNews...

    I will keep everyone posted...

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  4. Anonymous8:00 AM

    I thought much was said when she, herself made reference to the grave injustice of the disproportionate number of abortions of female babies in India & other countries. Her own words (at least spoken) were "dignity of the human person from the moment of conception". She also said, "while I am on the record as one having difficulty with the Church's position...", she did not say she challenged any of the Church's positions on contraception. We'll have to wait for her text. It seemed to me her positions are a work in progress. Let's hope Church leaders can continue to engage her and challenge her.

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  5. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Fr.P.

    Would you please check out this story. I can't beleive it!

    http://www.crystalair.com/content.php?id=1320081200

    Claire

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  6. Claire,

    CAP News is a parody site...sort of like the Onion...

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  7. Did someone challenge her properly? That is, did someone ask her directly, "Since you are in favor of unlimited babykilling, why do you pretend to be Catholic?"

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  8. Anonymous8:47 AM

    I attended Mrs. Blair’s remarks and left quite disappointed. While I initially thought the invitation to Mrs. Blair was problematic, I backed down after reading Sr. Helen’s response. The attempt to create – in an academic setting – an opportunity for dialogue between representatives of opposing points of view is certainly an appropriate activity.

    That is not what happened today. There was no dialogue. Although many hands were raised when the time came for questions, only three were allowed, and these were all in the form of support for Mrs. Blair.

    Mrs. Blair spoke movingly about being the mother of four and a Catholic. Except for the tiring lament that “equality” consists in more high-profile jobs for women, and a helpful acknowledgement (twice) that abortion is increasingly used to “weed out” female fetuses, I heard nothing profound about the cause to advance women’s rights.

    Neither in her prepared remarks nor in the “Q&A” that followed did Mrs. Blair shed light on the shameful discrimination against women around the world or how “religion” might serve to improve the situation (which was her topic). I am not sure what her talk was meant to achieve.

    I was also saddened by those on the panel and in the audience who “bashed” Catholic media for expressing concern about Mrs. Blair’s appearance at the Angelicum. Having witnessed this morning’s session, I am now of the opinion that those who questioned the Angelicum’s decision to invite Mrs. Blair were right to do so.

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  9. Patrick, I had that very question all typed out and neatly tucked into my notebook and every intention to ask it...until she said that she is not pro-choice...

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  10. Ha ha ha ha ha! So Mrs Blair says she is "not pro-choice"? You've got to remember that she is a lawyer, so when she is making such a statement she will have her own definition of what being "pro-choice" is - perhaps it will be something like supporting abortion for any reason throughout the 9 months of pregnancy. By her definition, then, if somebody believes there should be any restriction - whether a cut-off point a week before birth is due, or a concern about aborting girls in India - then that person is not "pro-choice."

    Did she say unambiguously: "I am pro-life; I acknowledge that life begins at conception, and that every life should be valued and cherished and protected from conception." I doubt it. And until she does, the pressure should be maintained on her and her pseudo-Catholic husband.

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  11. Did Mrs. Blair convert to the Faith like her husband or is she a cradle Catholic? As much as that shouldn't matter (Catholic is Catholic, no matter when you figured that out!), I'd be surprised if she's a convert; at my Confirmation I had to say before the whole congregation that "I believe and profess all that that Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and claims to be revealed by God." If she's a cradle Catholic, though, I could more easily *understand* her erroneous position.

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  12. Fr. Philip Powell,

    I'm also a student of the Angelicum - I had mixed emotions about the talk to begin with; again, not because there was a possible mass conversion to take place post-talk, but because of the possible scandal caused by such, as well as the 'conditions' of the talk itself. I think that now, post-talk, the real problem lies in the comment Williams issued to Cherie Blair. Now, i am not certain that Fr. Bruce knew all the facts about Cherie, (as I can vouch that Morerod did not), but had he (Williams) known the facts and purposefully obfuscated them, this is cause for concern. Cherie did not in response to the comments by Williams, although it seemed less like a nod than a nervous anticipation of having to actually answer the arrival of a question which never came.

    I would like to know your take on this, and any insight you may have, with regard to my having overlooked a detail, would be appreciated.

    In Christ,
    Michael

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  13. tempus putationis8:04 PM

    Father, may I add a brief point of information regarding the Church and human rights? The 17th century Dominicans from Salamanca were not the first Catholics to oppose slavery: Pope Paul III in Sublimus Dei (1537) defended the right of 'Indians of the West and the South' and of 'all other people who may later be discovered' to liberty, property and freedom from slavery.
    Yours in Christ.

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  14. Tempus,

    Thank you...I got my centuries mixed up in this post...really mixed up!

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  15. Dear Fr Philip,

    Here's my latest comment on the Cherie Blair talk:

    Pray that Barack Obama, Tony & Cherie Blair, change to become ambassadors for the unborn

    Yours sincerely in defence of life,

    John Smeaton
    National Director
    Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
    London, UK

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  16. In Brian Tierney's book The Idea of Natural Rights the reader will see conclusively prooved that the theory of the rights of individuals began in very early Medieval times in the Church Courts where Canonists were constantly faced with various every-day legal problems. I think I recall upon reading that some very early cases established the right to marry who one loves as opposed to being forced to marry who one does not love. This right was extended to women and men, but I believe it was especially meant to protect women. The theory of indiviudal rights including women's rights began at least in seed form in the tradition of Canon Law and did not begin with Modernity. While Tierney's position on "subjective" rights is ultimately anti-Catholic his historical assesment is invaluable to contest those who do not know about legal history and attribute the development of rights only to modernist sources when in reality these things began in the Church's legal tradition. A modern day product of the marriage rights tradition dating back to very early Medieval times is the current day Canon 1058 that reads "All can contract marriage who are not prohibited by law."

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  17. Fr Philip, you ended your post saying "More later..." Will there be any more? From what I have heard of the Angelicum event, Cherie Blair was not held to account at all for her views, and Fr Williams seems to have grotesquely misrepresented the objections to her being there.

    Was Fr Williams just being naive? Does he not know that politicians (which is essentially what Blair is) always want you to believe that they are on the same side as you. My Member of Parliament tells pro-lifers that he "sympathises with the pro-life cause and cannot see why anyone would think abortion is a good thing" while telling pro-aborts that he "sympathises with the plight of women pregnant in difficult circumstances and believes the abortion law reflects the opinion in both parliament and the country."

    Where was the pro-life assertion in Cherie Blair's speech? It is a standard trick of pro-abort politicians to tell pro-lifers that they oppose late-term abortions, or that they think there are too many abortions, or (as Blair opined) that they are concerned about the gender imbalance resulting from abortion.

    When Cherie Blair speaks at a pro-life conference in England, promoting the pro-life cause, then I'll believe she is pro-life. If she were truly as pro-life as Fr Williams has suggested, why has she so conspicuously aligned herself always with the pro-aborts and never with the pro-lifers?

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  18. Cathy, I only just this afternoon rec'd a copy of the conference talks. I will be posting my reflections tomorrow at the earliest. I cannot speak for Fr. Williams...only myself and what I heard and hold.

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  19. Thank you Father. I look forward to reading your reflections. Are you able to post the conference talks too? Or will they be available elsewhere?

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