Monday, January 07, 2013

St Raymond the Unborn UPDATED

Today is the feast of St Raymond of Penyafort, the Dominican patron saint of Canon Lawyers (let the law jokes commence!). On this day, I am always reminded of another St Raymond (not a Dominican but a member of the ancient Order of Mercy). This Raymond was known as  "Raymond the Unborn" (
Raymond Nonnatus) since he was delivered by an emergency procedure after the death of his mother. St Raymond (patron of the Diocese of Joliet, IL)  is, reasonably enough, invoked when medical crises arise during pregnancy. I've been praying to him and to Bl. John Paul II these days for uber-blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who is just being released from the hospital (again) and is under continuing treatment for multiple pulmonary embolisms. She is expecting her sixth child (it's a boy!) and has had to undergo daily shots during each of her pregnancies because of a blood-clotting disorder.  So she's a candidate, if ever there was one, for St Raymond's intercession. (UPDATE: There is now a Paypal donate button if you would like to help the Fulwilers pay for Jennifer's hugely expensive injections. Part of the issue with her unusually rough time this year may be related to the fact that this year she was using a generic version of the medication; all her previous, relatively uneventful pregnancies were helped along with the name-brand medicine. I hope her insurance company has learned a lesson about cost-cutting now that they have two hospitalizations and a three month follow-up to contend with.)

Jennifer started the year, as she has for a few years now, by programming a random patron-saint generator. Spin the wheel, so to speak, and get assigned a special saint for the new year. She dialed up St. Michael, and the next day found herself in the hospital. "Defend us in battle," indeed. But that situation got me thinking. With her own well-being threatened, along with that of her unborn son, wouldn't Jennifer need to be "defended in battle," not just in a fight for health, but the fight against the temptation that surely some people in the medical profession were muttering under their breath,  "Just 'take care of it' so you can go back to your family. You already have five kids who need a mother..." Abortion seems to be the first treatment option many women are offered when a pregnancy-related complication threatens them. Isn't the health of the mother a valid reason?

The weird thing is that in first world nations where abortion is legalized or restrictions loosened, maternal survival rates worsen. Ireland, which has (up to now) extremely strict limits on abortion (it is legal, but only within carefully defined circumstances), has the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. It is #1 in terms of maternal health. You know where the US stands? Somewhere around #34, right up there with Bulgaria. When Chile outlawed abortion in 1989, their maternal mortality rate dropped so far, so fast, that their maternal survival rates are the best in Latin America.

What is going on? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that access to abortion dulls the medical community's interest in researching the real problems that threaten pregnant women and the unborn. As abortion becomes the default recommendation for difficult cases, the wisdom of earlier generations is not handed down. Less energy and resources are invested in truly understanding the underlying causes and remedies for serious issues that continue to threaten women's health, especially during pregnancy.

If that is so, today would be a good day to pray to St. Raymond "the Unborn" for medical researchers in the specialized areas of maternal health.


Nancy Shuman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The cost of medicine over there seems very high.

She has a lot of friends which is nice but it was sad and surprising to see one of the not so nice comments get through.


Anonymous said...

Forget my last post..Apparently it was a dry sense of humour that was written and i didn't see.. and i myself should have known better seeing that i provide it myself..hehe.

Maybe i should look at the bright side of death more..Like the song in "Life Of Brian" :)


Anonymous said...

I've changed my mind again..The folks in her comments area are a bunch of arseoles and i dont care if you dont want to publish my stuff..Just because i was critical of somoene joking about Sandra Fluke i'm suddenly a troll to them..Well i don't care..As i told them i might look like a troll but i consider myself more of a Gollum ..plagued with guilt..

Prayers do not work and money and medicine work better..That is a fact because it's quite obvious what the results were.Saying that, i hope she gets better...Why is it you all have to tell each other or someone like me that you are praying for them?.Why not say nothing and assume people are praying?.It just makes you and them feel better that's all..And in your delusion, it pleases your god.

If you want to believe in your myth and it makes youi feel better then go ahead..Many of you know the truth deep down or are unsure yourselves anyway..Its just the easy option after all,if you believe you got nothing to lose whether its true or not.

And some god eh? You still didn't confirm how a real unbeliever has to go to eternal damnation simply for not believing..You can worm around it by talking about those who unknowingly somehow don't believe or are unfamiliar with jesus but most people are, especially in our day and age.... He said only those through HIM can go to your heaven


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Dear Simon,
I believe that in one of my first responses to you I told you that we do not believe that sincere unbelievers can be damned. Only those who knowingly (and willfully) reject a truth they know is true exclude themselves from enjoying the fullness of Truth when they die.

Those who are saved are, whether they know it or not, saved through Jesus, because--yes--"no one comes to the Father except through Me." Think of Jesus as an "elevator." You can be rising from floor to floor in an elevator, but not paying attention to the elevator. It still gets you to the top!

So unbelief in and of itself is not an issue. Faith is a gift, and no one can be judged for not receiving something they have no other way of possessing.

Damnation is not as big a part of our belief system as you seem to, um, believe. It is a serious reality that we acknowledge and sincerely hope not to experience, but it is not the focal point at all. We just do not give it that much attention. Why do you?

Anonymous said...

How would someone know what is true when many,if not most Christians believe that you go to hell if you don't believe and that is final to them?

Do you think i know what is true? I doubt you do either seeing that many different denominations have different interpretations.

And so what if i rejecting him knowing the truth anyway? Does that entitle him to let me suffer for all eternity?

Why do i give it attention? Because whether or not i know the so-called truth or not does not mean your loving god has a right to send people i love and those millions who also reject him to eternal fire...

I do not care what happens to me and the fact i don't believe in is irrelevant..The fact that many knowingly accept the fate of those non believers whether they know the so called truth or not is to me, very wrong, and downright nasty...You can't simply say one Christian is wrong and the other is right without proof of it.

BTW, i'm stil waiting for my questions on whether you are symbolically married or not and what you would do to all the thousands of women who have abortions if you think it is murder?..Remember, you'd be sentencing not only those who are about to do it but those still living..Oh,and where do they go when they die if the don't believe in HIM?...

If you really don't want to answer just say so.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Okay, here are my answers, cut and dried.

If a person knowingly rejects someone--let's leave God out of it for now--and the rejected person accepts the fact and goes away, who has "condemned" whom? Even if the person who made the rejection ends up suffering for the rest of his/her life in loneliness, with no one who cares or is involved with him/her--that is just their own choice, playing itself out. It is exactly the same with God and the suffering of hell. God does not send people to hell; hell is the rejection of love and truth. And that is not a "sentence," it is a choice.

Yes, there are other Christians who do not accept the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Some 30,000 distinct denominations. As a Catholic, I believe that God actually took care to prevent this sort of thing from happening; it was only after the Protestant Reformation, when the teaching authority of the Church was rejected, that Christian "denominations" began to rise and multiply. That only goes to show how much an actual "authority" is needed.

Every baptized person is "espoused" to God: called to share God's life. Nuns are just symbols of what everyone is called to; we express it in a more dramatic way by not taking an earthly spouse.

We are forbidden to "sentence" anyone to hell for any offense whatever. That would be the sin of rash judgment. Each individual answers to God alone, who knows the human heart. Besides, God sends no one to damnation (see above about the person who rejects an offer of love).

If this does not satisfy you, so be it. But I urge you, Simon, to get out of the house, get off the Internet and find something else to do with the time and energy that you do have. Gradually bring your body's clock back to living according to daylight/evening. This irregular pattern of life is doing you no good whatever. It is just sending you down the rabbit hole.

If you have a home, a family, a Mum, think of ways you can devote more of yourself, your time, your attention, to them. Your life will be much better for it.

Anonymous said...

I still don't think i fully understand you...I am saying this honestly and not in this case, to sound flippant.

What exactly happens to me if i don't want to join god even if i know about him? His kind of love might not conform with mine..There are many ways people can show love..And, Just because an Atheist doesn't believe in that particular it doesn't mean they should be punished for it, even if they know it to be true..The truth itslef might not neccesarily be good in the eyes of the rejector...You and your faith don't make the rules i'm afraid..Firstly it might not even conform with another god or gods and secondly i would never follow a god who sole aim is to first nicely advise me to submit to him and then if i don't send me into detetion or worse.

What exactly is your concept of hell then? Can it be, for me, that if i reject him, even after knowing what he is, just be given nothingness, which i would like?

If i put aside god too and say this as an example...I say to you i really love you and want to be with you for the rest of my life.I tell you i believe that this is the truth and you cannot reject it even if you reject me because now i have told you the truth....You say you don't love me, so i after being rejected, i punish you for not believing or adhering to my TRUTH...Is that how it is?

So be it then? I don't mind..I do interect with family but i choose to stay inside where i believe i'm safer..Safer for myself and for others..I am happy this way..

Any friendship i should come across is fleeting anyway whether online or otherwise i will always doubt if it comes from a believer especially because i feel they are doing it first and foremost for their god and not what's inside...Also, i really dislike the idea that some christians think that we unbelievers who might do good are doing it because of your god and that we don't yet realise it and that the good side comes from him...That sounds arrogant to me..

..If someone says love others as yourself how far does one take that love and friendship? Simply saying i'm your brother and sister in christ doesnt cut it for me if true friendship is more important...Anyone can pass someone on the street and respect them as a human being, atheist or whatever and that to me is not nesccarily true friendship and love.

You say we answer to god alone? Who the hell is he to judge us when we can,in turn judge him also?
The end result is the same then..You answer to him whether you like it or not..that is wrong, especially if you dislike him.


Anonymous said...

"Every baptized person is "espoused" to God"

I was baptised and i am not "espoused" to your god..He does not rule over me in this life no will in any other should there be one.

I didn't even have a choice at the time..No, you lot always talk about free will but uts rubbsh becaus ein the end that free will gets thrown ot the window..Just like its done numerous times when he intervenes to help he "special" ones, whether its to help them kill others or to save them from death at the expense of others, as was the case with Herod.


Anonymous said...

As i said before, you can ask me to go and i will because i feel already that you're tiring of me by telling to go forth and out.

I still say this though..Even if the end result is good, i wonder whether a Christian is really doing good from their heart(mind), which isn't god's property or invention.

I have given to charity before knowing i was feeling good about it..Not for god but for my own satisfaction..I'm honest about it too..I think though, that what matters most is the end result, which is to help others.

I could always give more but don't..I understand that giving with that self-satisfaction might be wrong but i can't help it.


Anonymous said...

Mornin Sister,

When you have the time i'd really like an answer to my devil questions and also what one would do with women who have abortions, even if it were banned and were still being practiced for example.

While i was on Jennifer's site i managed to go through some of her writings and noticed one about pride.

I , myself am not someone who feels much pride but then i thought about it a bit longer..I mat be boastful much,indeed, i may even be very much lacking self-esteem.I do like winning at video games and show off to my brother when i beat him,fairly of course.... When i think of it though i can be stubborn, sometimes insisting this or that is right and thats final.

What i'm trying to say is that none of us are perfect as you well know. Why you could say you're proud to be a Catholic right? You can hold marches in pride and admiration for saints for example- As they do in Malta.

So, may i ask, what is wrong with being proud to be an atheist? As long as it doesn't harm anyone i see no problem with it as i personally see no problem with Nativity scenes and the such in some public places.

As long as it isn't hateful in a direct way then i see no problem with having atheist pride stickers on your car...You may have your car covered in crucifixes and pics of saints if you like right?

Danger of atheist pride? Whithout adressing ones own possible Chrsitian pride as well? That doesn't sound right does it sister?
Surely even you, at your age would not associate Atheists as say, communists for example..And i mean the old soviet stories we may have grew up with in our time, not the possible benefits there may also be with socialism, if handled right..I don't honestly know much about these things but any idealism can be mistreated as we see with capitialism too.
I don't associate everything bad with Christianity although i admit i do sometimes say something sarcastic about it, especially wehn confronted with someone who think that not only is their god right but that all others are wrong...And,if i'm honest with myself and you, i do get angry.

As long as it is non-violent and doesn't go overboard like the WBC then i see nothing wrong with it.

I think i heard a song once by someone who sounded Irish singing "I'm proud to be a Catholic" , i can't rememebr it fully but i remember the line went something like that.

So, after all that i really wanted to say was we all have some sense of pride, whether it be good or bad is open to interpretation...For a Catholic to point at the dangers of atheism is truly hyocritical, don't you think?

The late Chtistopher Hitchens once said that "Religion poisons everything"..I wouldn't agree with him necessarily but i would myself warn the Christians who go around pointing fingers at atheists to get their own house in order first.


Anonymous said...

"That only goes to show how much an actual "authority" is needed."

I found that interesting. So if i presume that authority is god, then why doesn't come down at least once to set the record straight?

Actually, he could also have done that pre- christianity and judaism when people had already established religions or beliefs...In fact there a number of Jesus-like stories about someone being killed and then rising from the dead to save people..There are even stories of virgin births associated with some of the above i think.


Sr Anne Flanagan said...

No, the authority is the Pope. He's easy enough to find. You can even follow him on Twitter @Pontifex.

As for the myths with some imagery that "sounds" like the Jesus story, only some of the key words are the same. No myth ever had a pre-existent infinite deity abandoning his divine status and prerogatives to actually become human.

And now I bid you adieu, Simon. Give it a rest!