Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Silence as a Response to the Culture of Death.

A professor at the Jesuit University and a member of the Committee for Life of the Seoul  Diocese reports that in recent years more people are taking a pragmatic approach to life. Words like practicality, efficiency, utility are becoming part of our everyday thinking. The practical thing is thought to be the right thing to do, and morality need not be considered.The pragmatic attitude is probably good for the economic health of the country but not so good when applied to more basic goods such as life and love; they are put on the back burner.

The experiments performed by a  professor on embryos, and the subsequent publicity that got the world's attention and praise--until the deception was uncovered--is a particularly distressing example of the pragmatic approach. Supporters admitted that it was an infringement on the right to life, but for the progress and advancement of the country, they felt  the experiments should continue:  morality had to yield. Another example would be the women who were being asked to give ova, for a price, so the experiments could continue. This was against the law but for the sake of science and to be seen as trailblazers in this new field, the researchers' working premise was utility.

Although gene therapy in the womb is now impossible, the government has sanctioned the procedure--another example of efficiency at work.  Laws are made to be  useful, but what is sometimes not sufficiently considered are  the value and respect for life and its protection.

Pope John Paul, in his encyclical letter, "The Gospel of Life," puts it this way:
" In the materialistic perspective described so far, interpersonal relations are seriously impoverished. The first to be harmed are women, children, the sick or suffering, and the elderly. The criterion of personal dignity, which demands respect, generosity and service, is replaced by the criterion of efficiency, functionality and usefulness: others are considered not for what they are, but for what they have, do and produce. This is the supremacy of the strong over the weak."

The Seoul  Committee for Life regularly has an essay in the Peace Weekly that explores different issues of the culture of life, explaining problems we are likely to encounter. The easy way out of the problems is to accept the now pervasive solution of the culture of death. One of these essays wanted us to consider ourselves as accomplices to what has happened in society.  One of the principles often used and accepted by many is that silence means approval. To agree with this principle would make many of us responsible for the way the culture of death has been accepted by so many.

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