Monday, June 17, 2013

ON QUOTING THE POPE

Letter to the Editor of the Marianas Variety, Guam. Published 6/16/13.

Click here to link to the online edition or here if the link no longer works to a pdf copy of the published letter. The text of the letter with links for documentation follows:

In “ben’s Pen” (Marianas Variety, June 13, 2013) Senator Ben Pangelinan includes a paraphrase of a quote by Pope John Paul II: “The measure of a country's greatness should be based on how well it cares for its most vulnerable populations.” 

 It’s a curious quote for Pangelinan to use, for the context of the quote was a May 2000 address to the new ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See in which the pope carefully took the ambassador to task for his country’s persistent opposition to legal protections for the unborn and New Zealand’s near world-leading abortion rate.

 The pope had actually gone on to define those “vulnerable populations” as the “unborn and the dying”. Here’s what the pope actually said: “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

 I call Pangelinan’s use of the quote “curious” because no sitting senator has been more vociferously opposed to legal protections for our society’s “most vulnerable” - the unborn - than Senator Pangelinan. 

 His opposition to Bills 54-30 and 52-31 on the session floor is a matter of record, and both speeches were impassioned assaults on any attempt to intervene on behalf of the unborn by giving the mother a simple pamphlet outlining the potential risks of abortion, her rights, and her alternatives.

 Both bills called for the availability of information already called for by the U.S. Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v Casey and by the laws of the majority of U.S. states. 

 But Pangelinan has remained adamant that Guam women should not be given information that might change their minds about proceeding with an abortion, even though nearly 10% of pregnancies on Guam now end in abortion and two thirds of those are of Pangelinan’s own ethnic group. (Guam Medical Records)

 Senator Pangelinan also criticized the lack of implementation of the Health Care Exchange called for by the Affordable Care Act. At a public forum held last July by the Guam Medical Society, local health insurers confirmed that the Exchanges would fund abortions. 

 Several states, having discovered the abortion funding mechanism, have chosen to opt out of the Exchanges. Due to an oversight in the Affordable Care Act, Guam would have to opt in. Apparently that’s what Senator Pangelinan wants us to do - and once “in”, Guam residents would be forced to fund abortions.

 Since Senator Pangelinan quotes John Paul II, so will I: “(T)o safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person...is the principal duty of every public authority...(and) laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual.” (Evangelium Vitae, 71-72)

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