Monday, January 17, 2011

Sauce for the goose

I have castigated gay couples before for using paid reproductive prostitutes to manufacture children for them. It should therefore surprise no one that I'm going to do the same thing when a straight couple also pays a reproductive prostitute to help manufacture a child for them:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have added a second daughter to their family, born through a surrogate mother.

The couple announced Monday the arrival of Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, born on Dec. 28 at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital.

Kidman and Urban released a statement saying they are "truly blessed" and thanked everyone for their support, "our gestational carrier" in particular.

"Gestational carrier," you should note, is just a nicer way of saying "reproductive prostitute." But it doesn't change the reality.

Eventually wealthy, first-world women will get into the habit of paying poorer, third-world women to be pregnant for them. After all, pregnancy causes stretch marks, ugly varicose veins, and--horrors!--weight gain. Don't think that rich amoral women won't hesitate to exploit the poor women who desperately need the money the wealthy will pay for them to be living incubators. Don't think that this isn't going to turn very ugly, very fast.

The evil of treating children like bought-and-paid-for commodities is still in its infancy, and I'll denounce it regardless of whether same-sex or opposite sex couples are engaging in it. It's a terrible injustice and a hideous abortion of morality.


Patrick said...

"Faith Margaret": at least the baby'll become a nun, right?

I agree with the larger point, though. "Career women", too, who won't get married until late in life will be having to pay someone else to have the baby.

Anonymous said...

And it's so strange, because they made a very public deal of marrying the Catholic Church - why bother, when it's not what you intend to practice? Too bad, I hoped they were going to be more interesting than the average celeb couple.

L. said...

I was a "reproductive prostitute" for my husand -- i didn't want kids, but he did. Then I got stuck raising them! ;)

Red Cardigan said...

L., I know your "shtick" is to try to shock people, but you know my readers aren't all that shock-able. :) Honestly, you're getting rather predictable--and even a little dull, if I may say so in a kind way.

Because of some things you've shared here before, I think perhaps you have some unresolved pregnancy/miscarriage related issues. I know lots of women who have sought help for those kinds of issues and have improved their whole outlook on life, and become happier, more well-adjusted people as a result...I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

L, if I may be as kind as possible, I love your presence here! And where Erin has her own, overwrought and tedious passive aggressive schtick, I enjoy seeing your comments and your personality. Please know a lurker appreciates it, if not too actively giving mentions of such appreciation.

L. said...

Erin, I realize your suggestion is meant kindly, so I do appreciate it. I admit, I do now come to this blog entirely because I enjoy responding to your hyperbole with more hyperbole (and I am still enjoying it very much, even if you find it dull.)

I am trying to walk the very fine line/distinction between "troll" and "contrarian." I don't consider myself the former (which by definition are anonymous, whereas I do link back to my own blog, on which I have posted links to my full legal name).

I do find it rather amusing, though, that you think I have "unresolved pregnancy/miscarriage related issues." Many years ago, a counselor I once consulted for unrelated anxiety issues tried to tell me it all went back to "failing to properly mourn" my past miscarriage (and not my husband's pending overseas job relocation, problems with my own job, etc. -- those weren't important, he said). He said there is only one correct, healthy response to a miscarriage, and apparently my response was incorrect and unhealthy. Naturally, I quite disagreed with him, and still do.

Abortion is a big topic on your blog, and I admit my own strong opinions on the subject were affected by my personal experience.

You will have to take my word that my outlook on life is very positive, and I am a happy, well-adjusted person. I honestly would not change a thing about myself -- though if I hadn't met my particular husband, I might have remained childfree by choice. Motherhood really isn't for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Are we not missing the point?

Surrogacy is frowned upon by the church - thats not debatable as the theology behind the rejection is solid

But these ' career women ' may be very well working in a field in which motherhood might mean the end of the career

We are forcing women to choose and thats not a good thing

freddy said...

L., I appreciate that you don't want to be a troll, and I do think that you walk that rather fine line with a fair amount of grace, but your penchant for making Erin's topics, which generally concern societal issues, "all about you" or "all about someone you personally know" is rather tedious.

I wonder if this couple sought in any way to educate themselves regarding this sordid and painful procedure for procuring a child. The term "gestational carrier" really says loads, doesn't it? That's a rather chilly, impersonal way of referring to a human being!

L. said...

Freddy, as I said, my opinions on many of the societal issues that come up on this blog are indeed shaped by my personal experiences. I think perhaps I feel compelled to state what is sometimes a minority view, particularly in a venue such as this. And I think that strong words such as "hideous abortion of morality" inspire me to speak up with strong words of my own.

Bathilda said...

I don't normally read up on Nicole Kidman, though I did see recently that she finally admitted to using botox---even though her seriously arched eybrows and freakishly smooth forehead have been giving that away for years... anyhoo...I'll presume that the so-called prostitute had Nicole's egg and Keith's sperm used. If so, you have to go through a lot of Hellish procedures to get that egg. injections, etc. the process of getting sperm is not so brutal, but it is a process. If that's the only way for them to have "their" baby, why not? If she is phyiscally incapable of carrying a pregnancy, I don't have a problem with it. I really don't think that women will make this a habit. I had two grizzly, vomiting, hives getting pregnancies, and still, carrying a child was amazing. I don't think many women, rich or otherwise, would give up that experience. I think that Nicole already has adopted two children (with Tom Cruise). I do agree that reproduction in a petrie dish can be a rather slippery slope, but I also know some in vitro children who are lovely little people. (catholics, too) However, I don't think it's immoral to use modern scientific methods to have a baby. I do have a problem with all of the "extras" sitting around in freezers.
L. --- Please don't stop posting.

scotch meg said...

There are many difficulties with using a "gestational carrier". First and foremost, because of the difficulty and expense of obtaining eggs (which is also, btw, dangerous for the health and fertility of the donor), it's rare to only create one baby at a time. Usually, the result is indeed "extras". In fact, that's the standard. In this case, because of Ms. Kidman's age, it is highly likely that the eggs involved are not her own.
Ethical problems? They include the attitude that it's OK to pay for gametes (and thus, pay someone for children), OK to rent a womb, OK to freeze "extra" children, OK to put two women through the risks of "assisted" fertility exercises (these risks are not inconsiderable!), OK to create a child who will have to wrestle with all of this...
Nope, nothing going on here.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Just the facts:
Nicole had a child with Urban back in 2008. She carried the child herself but did not reveal whether in vitro fertilization was used. Most people assume it wasn't because they are married but that didn't stop Angelina and Brad. I know you can't believe everything that is published online or everything that comes out of a celebrity's mouth but this child is reported to be biologically both Kidman and Urban's.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that Kidman had fertility problems which is why she and Tom Cruise had no biological children. Not that being unable to carry on your own makes the surrogacy any more respectable, even if you are using your own eggs. But I didn't think she had done it only for vanity, i.e., stretch marks.

I'm just bummed because I always thought Nicole Kidman came across as a decent person, a very good actress, and yes, a total babe. I'll have to fall back on Penelope Cruz now. Please don't ruin her for me. ;)


c matt said...

We are forcing women to choose and thats not a good thing

I thought choice was good?

Life is full of tough choices, many of them forced upon us. I also don't see where "We" are forcing a choice on anyone.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think it's immoral to use modern scientific methods to have a baby."

Is it hard being your own pope all the time?

Anonymous said...

"But these ' career women ' may be very well working in a field in which motherhood might mean the end of the career"

I cannot think of a single field in the modern, developed world where motherhood requires the end of a career. I've seen mothers' careers ruin their families... but not so much the other way around...

Charlotte said...

Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's only daughter (aged around 44 I think?), is having a child through a surrogate, but with no father in the picture. (Alexis is divorced.) Martha Stewart is said to be elated.

She's doing this after years of IVF, spending allegedly hundreds of thousands of Martha's dollars.

Oh, and by the way, I too am a little tired of "L." I think she should be welcome always, but I agree, it's starting to look like a schtick. Either you're interested in learning about *AND* moving toward the Catholic faith or you're not.

Charlotte said...

You know what? I have something else to say here.

I'm adopted. Adoption is a good thing, for the most part. I can't get into here all the details of why I'm saying "mostly," as it would take too long. But let me tell you that being adopted carries with it alot of conflicted feelings to work through. At age 40+ years old I'm still not totally at peace with the whole thing, and I am NOT one of those ungrateful adoptees who thinks it's terrible that I was adopted.

Many, many adoptees feel the way I do (or worse). So to act like being manufactured, whether via IVF or surrogate or whatever other technologies exist out there, is no big deal is to totally miss the mark in having any ounce of understanding about the fragility of the human experience. It is NOT normal to know and have to deal with the fact that you were "manufactured" in whole or in part in a clinical setting.

The Church is right about this. Period. Like I said just above, either you're Catholic or you're not. No one is entitled to a child.

Red Cardigan said...

Charlotte, thanks for the above comment; your experiences are valuable here, because they remind us, as you said, how fragile the whole of our relationships can be--and how important these are to our humanity.

"Donor" children already have a terrible time as adults--sometimes spending considerable time and money to track down a sperm donor father or egg donor mother only to be told that the person doesn't consider them a relative in any way and has no interest in them whatsoever. In this case, even if the eggs/sperm were Kidman's and Urban's, imagine the confusion of this second daughter someday: wait, so Mommy was pregnant with my older sister and gave birth to her, but she was never pregnant with me? Why not? Do you love my sister more? etc.

Considering that science is still learning about how much physical and emotional bonding takes place during pregnancy and how the prenatal environment really does make up a part of the piece of the eventual personality/individual puzzle, I think that surrogacy is hideously evil, plain and simple.

LarryD said...

I just read that Elton John and his gay hus/wife don't know who which one of them is the father of their child. And that it's not all that important to them to know who is. I can't find the link to that article right now - sorry.

It might be important to the child some day in the future, but what the hell do they care about the kid anyway?

Oh - and they're "working" on a second child, because they don't want their son to be an only child. Great - having siblings is more imporatant than having a mother. Disgusting.

Red Cardigan said...

Larry, a while back I wrote a post calling such children "genetic orphans," a term others have also used:

Children have a passionate need to know who their mother and father are. We can look at adopted children to verify this--they go through known periods of questioning, asking, discovering, and longing for that connection, even if they truly, deeply love their adoptive parents and are happy to be part of their families.

Sometimes, with adoption, information isn't available, and that can be difficult. But imagine how utterly selfish it is for two men to manufacture a baby through the services of a reproductive prostitute without even knowing which is the father? Nothing like saying to the child someday, "Your deep need to know and connect with your biological mother and father is just heteronormative bias; it's insulting to us, so you need to get over it."


Bathilda said...

anonymous, I'm not my own Pope. I can see how you think that I am, but you would be wrong. For those of you "Catholics" who think that everyone is either "catholic or not", you are wrong, too. I say this because every priest I have talked to regarding my beliefs, including not always buying what Rome has to say, has told me to stay. Not "stay and I hope you will eventually buy on..." but "stay, and it's okay to have your doubts and your own thoughts". Raised by Atheists, I was taught to question authority. While I was denied religion, I was at least able to celebrate my own free will and my own thoughts, doubts, opinions, etc. I'm glad that so many of you know every nuance and can say things with such absolute authority...but you are only spouting what someone else has shoved down your throat, WITH YOUR PERMISSION. The Church has never been wrong about anything? Sheesh, PUT DOWN THE KOOL-ADE, people.

Bathilda is out...PEACE!

Charlotte said...


I used to be EXACTLY like you, with my "Question Authority" bumper sticker on my car and all. (In fact, anyone who reads my blog knows that even while I am now an "orthodox" Catholic, I *still* question authority!)

I see nothing wrong with what various priests have told you - I think they told you rightly to "stay" and have your own process of questioning, etc. To do otherwise would go against human intellectual freedom, which the Church is definitely FOR.

But just because a priest encourages someone to question and think does not mean that they agree with beliefs and practices that are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. And if they ARE telling you such things are OK, then obviously, you're dealing with, at least, a liberal priest, or at worst, a heretic who is angry at the Church anyway.

It is my experience that folks like yourself only get upset when people are discussing issues that hit close to home, and for most people anything dealing with sexuality - and by extention, reproduction - hits close to home. People just don't want to be told that can't have sex anytime they want with whoever they want - and again by extention - they don't want to be told they can't create a child anytime they want, however they want.

But the Church DOES tell us how to handle those situations. It tells us all that for our own good, not to restrict our fun or freedom. Life (which comes from sex) is not a toy to be played with. One of the cardinal beliefs of the Church is that life is precious and to be respected. You cannot follow that precept without also following the precept that the MEANS by which life comes about also be respected and somewhat regulated (again, for our own good.) It's pretty basic stuff, not rocket science.

I say all that I do here as someone who slept around, once got pregnant out of wedlock, and had, shall we say, some rather alternative sexual preferences for quite some time. I'm not embarassed to say so, either. At some point I realized that all the hot water I had gotten myself into would have been prevented if I had just followed a few simple rules, which ironically were "Christian" rules.

In the case of IVF and surrogate parents and gay "parents" adopting or manufacturing kids, trust me, the same applies. Hot water is coming and people will wish they had never went there in the first place. You cannot thwart God's natural order without repurcussions. It's not brainwashing. It's common sense.

Anonymous said...

The use of the term "reproductive prostitute" is bothersome. One definition of prostitution is:
"the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money"

Generally surrogacy does not involve promiscuous sexual relations, so use of this term must be all about the money.

From what I can find online, the pay for surrogacy is enough to live on during the period during which the medical procedures that result in pregnancy take place, and the pregnancy itself with some recovery time. Granted, some surrogates may continue a regular day job during the pregnancy, or may use the money to stay home raising other children, but the term seems harsh and inaccurate. It presumes the motivation for the surrogate is always the money, which cannot be determined.

I'm not a fan of the technology nor of the possibility of wombs becoming another "resource" for the rich to exploit, but correct terms, free from clutch the pearls hand-wringing, seem desirable as a way to conduct the conversation. Calling people names doesn't add anything helpful.


L. said...

I think Elizabeth above echoes what I was trying to say with my first flippant comment above: the term "reproductive prostitute" seems to mean "using one's body for reproductive purposes for money."

Think about how many wives throughout the centuries to whom this has applied, who bore children only because the men to whom they were betrothed wanted heirs. Surely many women did so willing, but how many did it just to secure the means of support for themselves, in eras when women didn't have their own incomes or property (and sometimes in fact were considered property themselves?)

In our modern age, women can have both property and careers, and have more of a say in whether to reproduce or not. But how many women who don't like babies agree to have one -- perhaps because they love someone who wants them, or perhaps to secure some kind of material support?

Choosing to have a baby in such circumstances is a transaction, pure and simple.

Also, the point above, about children's confusion ("... imagine the confusion of this second daughter someday: wait, so Mommy was pregnant with my older sister and gave birth to her, but she was never pregnant with me? Why not? Do you love my sister more? etc.") -- I'd bet this does come up, in such families, being naturally curious. But blended families are as old as human history -- people have adopted children into families with biological children. Much depends on how the children's questions are answered.

My great-grandmother (oh, here I go, with another of my personal examples!) had four biological children and also raised the daughter of neighbors who moved away and abandoned the little girl. She used to say something like, "My children are like my five fingers. They're all part of me, and they all hurt equally if I cut them."

Red Cardigan said...

Elizabeth, I use the term "reproductive prostitute" to highlight the inherently exploitative nature of the relationship between a surrogate and the people for whom she is manufacturing a baby.

I think of prostitutes as women who are trapped in exploitative and demeaning lifestyles; though they may develop many coping mechanisms including drug and alcohol abuse, the reality is that the nature of what they do for money is inhuman, demeaning and demoralizing.

The same thing is true for those who sell their eggs or sperm for cash, or for those who rent out their womb space as if it is an apartment. This reductive view of humanity and of the origins of human life is so horrifically mechanistic that I can't really understand how anyone can fail to find this trend alarming in the extreme.

The potential for abuse is great--and it is more than potential. Consider how many surrogate pregnancies are now being "manufactured" in India--and the huge possibility of exploitation of women and babies:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation, Erin. I get the drift and, if you re-read the last paragraph of my previous post, please note that I am in full agreement regarding the potential this form of biotechnology (how I hate the very concept) for abuse.

If you will consider, however, that most people who hear "prostitute" think of it as a woman of low morals and don't blame the Johns or the pimps or, heaven forbid, the background of girls and women who end up in the sex business.

I'd rather we find a similarly withering and accurate description of people who rent wombs out than even appear to blame the victims (and I'm aware that not all surrogates can be described as such, but enough...).

Thanks. Happy Wednesday.


Red Cardigan said...

You're right, Elizabeth: to me the word "prostitute" connotes a person for whom I have deep sadness and who I definitely see as a victim, but it's true that society often doesn't see it that way.

As for the similarly withering and accurate description of people who rent wombs--you're absolutely right. We need a term for people who think that it's okay to commodify their children and exploit other people to get them. I'll have to think about that.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

For once I agree with cmatt; every choice we make has its price, and no choice is cost free. Neither the State nor any Bill of Rights can free us from that reality.

My cousin, whose mother was Presbyterian and her father Irish Catholic, has grown up to be a comfortably Episcopalian librarian, who observes, quite accurately, that our culture does not value children. Bearing and raising children is hard work, it takes resources, which in our economy cost money. Employers, guidance counsellors, media, et. al. treat the subject as an irrelevant sideline to life, rather than as one of life's most important obligations, opportunities, joys and heartaches.

I generally sympathize with couples who cannot conceive and bear a child, but who want a child of their own genes, and pay for a surrogate. But, the implications Erin sets forth are real dangers. It would be hard to legislate that hiring a surrogate is a crime, unless the couple hiring are infertile.

As for unmarried and same-sex couples, nobody in life can have it all. If you don't want to marry a person of the opposite sex and engage in the only process that conceives children, you made your bed, lie in it.

A basic flaw in the program of unions for teachers and prison guards is that the "raw material" being "processed" are other human beings. This makes rights and tenure very different matters than when factory workers are being paid to process inanimate objects. A similar objection lurks when the "right" to have children is invoked.

L. said...

The only problem, Siarlys, is when you substitute other words for "same-sex couples."

I.e., "..nobody in life can have it all. If you don't want to marry a [person without physical infirmities] and engage in the only process that conceives children, you made your bed, lie in it."

So couples who are disabled, or turn out to be barren, should have to remain childless? Is this really what you mean to say?

eulogos said...

To have a baby with your husband is part of the state of being a wife. If you refused to do it, your marriage would be no marriage at all. If for some reason you can't enjoy being pregnant, giving bith, and having children, which is sad, then it is right to do it as your duty.

It isn't prostitution! For one thing, you can't sell something which already belongs to the other person, and when you are married your body, including its reproductive ability, does belong to the other person. That is the full self donation which marriage implies.

On another note, has it occurred to you how your children will feel if they ever come to read, "I didn't want to have children, I did it because my husband wanted them, and then I got stuck raising them."? How would you feel if your mother said that about you?
Honestly, if you feel that way I think you should resolve that no one will ever ever know it. With the exception of a priest in confession, which you don't do, or a therapist. Other than that I think it is a feeling which should stay buried so deep that neither your children nor anyone else would ever suspect it.

Not all feelings are acceptable just because they are your feelings.
Susan Peterson

LarryD said...

We need a term for people who think that it's okay to commodify their children and exploit other people to get them.

How does "selfish bastards" sound?

L. said...

Susan Peterson, why ever would you think it is not just mentally unhealthy but an actual SIN, that needs to be confessed, to honestly admit that I originally didn't want children?

All feelings are acceptable. Not all actions are acceptable, and I agree that not all feelings should be expressed in all situations -- but all feelings are acceptable, and I don't think the Thought Police have any business telling people that their very feelings alone can ever be sinful.

Also, the "I got stuck raising them" part wasn't true -- thank god for daycare, and boarding school! Seriously, no one needs to worry about my kids, because the older two have inherited my sarcastic sense of humor, and the youngest one is a tough little monkey.

You know, I could not disagree with this statement more: "when you are married your body, including its reproductive ability, does belong to the other person. That is the full self donation which marriage implies."

Does that "donation" ever end? Is it a wife's "duty" to bear as many babies as her husband wants? As a matter of fact, I did refuse to bear any more babies with my partner, even though he really wanted more -- but I already know that our marriage is "not a marriage at all," according to some people. (And if unlimited reproduction is a requirement of a "real" marriage, then all I can say is, thank god for that.)

LarryD, "selfish bastards" is good, but another "b" word works better for women -- as Barbara Bush once put it, it rhymes with "rich."

Charlotte said...

Erin, sorry, but I just *have* to say something to L!

L, you do not get it. While your experiences and feelings and opinions and viewpoints are all to be respected (for the sake of respect), they don't necessarily have to be accepted or honored around here.

WHY do you come here and express stuff that is almost always contrary to Catholic teaching to an almost 100% crowd of uber-Catholics? All we do is roll our eyes and shake our heads at you. It would be one thing if in expressing these mostly non-Catholic and somtimes heretical viewpoints we could see any interest or attempt to try and learn/understand the authentic Catholic teaching on things and change your life accordingly. But it's another to come here an almost flaunt anti-Catholic sentiments in our faces.

In my opinion, you are definitely a troll. Worse, I think you're totally getting your jollies off this. Either that or you are lonely and feel some sense of comraderie with the people here, even if it's a comraderie based on opposition and contrarian views.

Sure, Erin accepts alternate viewpoints and encourages discussion. No one wants this commbox to be a chorus of 100% "Yes Erin! I totally agree!" But on the otherhand, over time, it seems really clear that you have no interest in authentic Catholicism and only serve to act like everyone else here is off their rocker.

What gives?

Red Cardigan said...

Charlotte--no apologies necessary.

L., I would like you to answer Charlotte's question. I have had a discussion offline about you with a regular reader and friend, who is finding your commentary so unpleasant that she fears I will be losing readers and commenters if you are not banned.

I don't like to ban commenters; as Charlotte says, I do not seek an echo chamber. But in a way, you seem to be using these comment boxes as a way to discuss your feelings and personal experiences to a degree beyond the scope of this blog (which is about ideas, not feelings, anyway).

Please answer Charlotte's question; it will help me decide what, if anything, I ought to do regarding your comments in future.

L. said...

Red Cardigan, I enjoy reading your blog, and I enjoy responding to the points you raise in your posts. I found this blog at the time of all the "pants" posts -- an issue I followed with great fascination, and would not have even known about if it weren't for the blogosphere.

Your blog allows me a glimpse into a world and a way of thinking quite alien to my own, and often in polar opposite to what I deeply believe. My comments reflect this.

I will tone down my sarcasm, if you like -- but I would also be honored to be banned from your blog. I've never been banned anywhere before, and perhaps it's about time.

eulogos said...

Is there a length limit to comments? I just wrote a long one and when I hit
publish, I got a "blogger is unable to perform your request." And I lost the comment. I am disheartened.

L. said...

Yes, Susan, there is. Long comments need to be broken up into two parts. And Blogger can be glitchy, too -- I also learned the hard way to ALWAYS paste my comment somewhere else before hitting the "publish" button.

L. said...

Further reflection on Charlotte's comments -- yes, I admit, I do "feel some sense of comraderie with the people here, even if it's a comraderie based on opposition and contrarian views." I am a regular commenter on several other blogs, some of them almost entirely in line with my opinions, some of them less so. I am not lonely, but in real life, I tend to go around trying not to offend people, so perhaps this is why I do enjoy spirited discussion -- get my "jollies off this," so to speak -- here on blogs. If this makes me "definitely a troll," then there is nothing I can say to that.

And in return, what do I offer? Well, obviously, a glimpse into a world and a way of thinking quite alien to those of some other commenters, and often in polar opposite to what they deeply believe.

Charlotte said...

You'd be surprised how many of us here have lived lives of mind-blowing fun and sin before we had a change of heart and mind. I'm definitely one them.

I used to minor in women's studies, marched in gay rights parades, and lived with a professional drag queen. Plus lots more. Shall I go on?

It might not be all of us, but trust me, many of us are familiar with the "alternative" perspectives you claim to have. (In fact, I despise child-rearing, if truth be told, but I agree with Susan that you get it off your chest, move on, and carry your cross, so to speak, and try to grow in virtue and holiness while you do it, even if under your breath you're saying "This f'ing sucks!")

I still think you miss the point entirely. For example, I'm sure Erin and I don't see eye-to-eye on alot of stuff (and some stuff, absolutely we do.) But the difference is that I'm making a concerted, good-faith effort at trying to love according to Church teaching. I'm not sure you are. Which is OK for awhile - we're all on our own path and God is good, patient and merciful in letting us come to Truth in our own good time. But there's walking that path, and then there's hopping along whipping the bird to everyone along the way........

L. said...

Well, I honestly don't think I'm "whipping the bird" -- I can't think of any time I have attacked another commenter personally.

And believe it or not, I was a teenage Catholic pro-life choir girl, so I am quite familiar with 180-degree changes.

It is absolutely true that I am not trying to live according to some Church teachings. But naturally, I believe my own ideas and opinions are just as valid as yours, or I wouldn't be living my life the way I am.

Charlotte said...

You can't have it both ways.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

A few brief notes on several long comments:

A lovely lady about my own advanced age has taken three years and counting trying to decide if I'm worth marrying. I've been thinking about Paul's admonition that 'your spouse's body belongs to them and not to you.' I would never claim that as MY RIGHT from her, but its something I would freely offer her, and if she doesn't feel she can freely offer the same to me, maybe she is right not to say yes. It is not about what you MUST give me, its about what we EACH freely offer. If its not, then in a sense there is no marriage.

As for people with disabilities L, you may recall I said I had sympathy with people who want a child and can't conceive one. Many disabilities would make it dangerous to bear a child at all, but each individual situation is different. That's why it can be dangerous to issue hard and fast rules as a matter of law.

Still, it is a biological fact that sexuality exists, in any life form more complex than a sponge, as an inducement to procreation, and if there were no males and females, sexual urges would probably not exist at all. That it has a higher significance in humans almost all religions teach, and many atheists choose to believe.

Same-sex couples are, in an objective mathematical sense, a deviation from the biological norm, quite independently of whether their actions are an abomination unto the Lord. As to the latter, I have no opinion -- God can deal with that as He sees fit.

The quaint American notion that "I want it all, and its not fair if I can't" is not a rebellion against God, it is a rebellion against reality. There is no condition where we can have it all.

Finally, some people posed questions about whether L is trying to learn the teachings of the RC church. I for one am not, but I am trying to explore what it means that Catholics have a civilly recognized right to practice their faith, just as rigorously as LarryD talks about, but, I have a right not to give the slightest deference to it. How does a hierarchical church exist within a pluralistic polity, without one having to destroy the other?

The late Lee Sherman Dreyfus, before being elected governor in Wisconsin, told Cardinal Carol Woytyla, before he became Bishop of Rome, that American youth "are good Catholics, but they think like Protestants." I appreciate that, Larry doesn't. Do they HAVE to think like Protestants to respect the First Amendment. I'm not sure they do. But that's what I'm here to explore.

L. said...

Siarlys Jenkins, if you are indeed of an "advanced age," then perhaps childbearing is no longer an issue for you? In any case, I don't believe that "there is no marriage" if a woman decides to withold her fertility from her partner, and puts an end to their childbearing.

Charlotte, I honestly don't know what you mean by "both ways." Based on what you've said about your personal history, I do understand why you might find my comments particularly abhorent, since I probably represent many of the views you have come to reject.

L. said...

And I agree that "The quaint American notion that 'I want it all, and its not fair if I can't' is not a rebellion against God, it is a rebellion against reality." Even from a stricly secular viewpoint, it is usually impossible to "have it all" -- but you can't blame anyone for trying.

Anonymous said...

I think you should not ban L. Here's why: IMHO you don't have enough participants who challenge each other or your posts. (Don't take it personally, most blogs suffer from the same problem). Spirited debate is an important way of learning about each other and trying to understand each other in the hopes of living in some kind of harmony. I recommend that when L or anyone oversteps the line, point it out and ask him/her to shape up. But PLEASE see the value in logical thoughtful arguments that challenge the status quo. That's my 2 cents. Thanks.