Monday, 17 September 2012

“Therefore We May Kill”

A very good post by Deacon Nick Donnelly of Lancaster, about Bishop Lang's withdrawal of the invitation to Professor Tina Beattie to give a talk at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol.

Deacon Nick reprinted a paragraph from an article by Professor Beattie which was published in The Tablet.  Here it is:
‘Given that in Christian theology the understanding of personhood is fundamentally relational because it bears the image of the Triune God, it is hard to see how an embryo can be deemed a person before even the mother enters into a rudimentary relationship with it. As many as one in four pregnancies may spontaneously abort during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, often without the woman knowing that she was pregnant. As some Catholic ethicists point out, the logical corollary of this position is that a woman should baptise every menstrual period – just in case.’
After calling into question the personhood of the embryonic child, the paragraph closes with what appears to be a serious flaw in moral reasoning, a flaw which has implications far beyond the subject of early abortion.

Leaving aside the relationship argument which Professor Beattie puts forward, and the statistics which are more a matter of supposition than of factual data, I draw from these words a simple inference:

“Some die naturally, therefore we may kill others.”


Anonymous said...

Excellent inference! Thank you.

Mike Cliffson said...

Also if none knows you, you don't exist.
wasn't that the basis of the limerics etc regarding Bishop Butler:
Must find it exceedingly odd
If he finds that the tree
Just ceases to be
when there's no-one about in the Quad.
I suppose trees have more rights to exist, even mentally, than people these days.Go hug.
Mutatis mutandis, even when one first cell, being orders of magnitude beyond the weirdo pop-in-and-out world of quantum mechanics,
God knows baby even if Mum don't.
Or perhaps , some catholic ethicist is sugesting God is a human evoltionary social construct, I wouldn't put it past them.
Do idetect here, without the original article, echoes of the ensoulment rubbish Priests were taught in prevat2 seminaries etc, only a person AFTER inplantation?

Dorothy B said...

Thank you for your comments, Pastor and Mike. Early speculation on ensoulment is often brought up, isn't it? Judging purely from this paragraph, however, the professor seems to be coming at the subject from a different direction.

I think the text in question has associated particular Church teachings, and other more secular turns of phrase, to create an impression of a flow of argument, when I don't think they can bear the weight of such association.