Thursday, May 09, 2013


People on all sides of the abortion-rights debate are appalled at the practices at Kermit Gosnell's clinic -- but now Father Frank Pavone, the self-promoting head of an organization called Priests for Life, has declared that his group has the right to name the clinic's dead fetuses and babies:
... In the case of Dr. Gosnell, we have heard of the 45 babies retrieved from the clinic. And we have read the Grand Jury Report and heard the witnesses speak of "Baby Boy A," "Baby Boy B," Baby C, D, E, F and G.

But now it's time, in our collective journey through this nightmare, to connect with these children more directly. It's time to name the children. We have no evidence that anyone else has given them a name or was interested in giving them a name.... As Pope John Paul II wrote, "God ... has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters" (Evangelium Vitae, 76). From the point of view, then, that we are one human family called into being by God, these children are also ours. And that's why we can name them when nobody else has.

This is what Priests for Life has done. On Ascension Thursday, May 9, 2013, a simple ceremony was held in the chapel at the headquarters of Priests for Life in Staten Island, NY. We heard the Word of God, prayed for these babies, their families, and those who participated in their deaths. And we then named them. I chose the name "Adam" for "Baby Boy A" ... I named "Baby Boy B" Michael....

Most of the other names are gender-neutral, since we do not have information on the genders of most of the babies....
A question for the padre: Who the hell asked you to do this? As you note, the women who went to these clinics never, as far as you know, sought to do this sort of naming. The possibility exists that they've done it themselves. I assume you simply don't know.

I support abortion rights, but I can understand that a woman might choose, after an abortion, to give a name to her fetus. Maybe she'd be more inclined to do so after experiencing the ugly nature of Dr. Gosnell's practice. I don't know. And it's none of my damn business. If a woman wants to do that, it's her choice. If she wants to do it in conjunction with someone from her religious community, it's her choice. But no meddlesome SOB should run around naming her fetus for her.

This is the worst sort of paternalism (All your fetuses belong to us!) combined with a typical anti-abortion desire to portray the unborn as specially innocent so that that innocence can be appropriated, in the hope of getting some sort of reflected glory from it.

Father Pavone, by the way, is a well-connected right-wing operative who gave the invocation at a 2005 inaugural eve gala sponsored by the Traditional Values Coalition and attended by Karl Rove. He met privately with John McCain in the summer before the 2008 election as part of McCain's Catholic outreach efforts. He's affiliated with Father Paul Scalia, who's also an anti-abortion (and anti-gay) activist and who's the son of Antonin.

Father Pavone is best known for his frequent vigils at the bedside of Terri Schiavo, after which he repeatedly claimed to have made eye contact with her. He went on to publicly call Schiavo's husband a murderer. Father Pavone's work was recently curtailed for a year by the bishop of Amarillo, Texas, who grew weary of the lavish spending by Priests for Life. Pavone has friends in the Vatican, however, so he's free again to continue his work.


UPDATE, FRIDAY: What Pavone has done wins the K-Lo seal of approval.


Victor said...

What heavenly purpose did naming them accomplish?

Let me ask the Catholics out there something - from what little I know of Catholicism, isn't it true that if you aren't batized, and given your last rights, then, name or no name, you're not getting into Heaven?

In other words, was naming them just grandstanding, as I suspect? Or, was there some mechanism by which naming them, helps their souls get to Heaven.

Not that I believe in any of that nonsense, but, to each his/her own - as long as you respect those of us who have different beliefs, or don't believe at all.

So, was this just grandstanding?

UncleD said...

To Victor: The Catholic Church teaches that baptism is necessary to reach heaven, but trust in God's mercy and love to allow those who through no fault of their own died without being baptized. Every person deserves to have a name to recognize that he or she is a person, no matter how small. Is showing respect grandstanding?

Uncle Mike said...

In honor of this, I will start naming each of my sperm as I climax.

Victor said...

I didn't know, so that's why I asked.

Imo - it's all mumbo-jumbo anyway, but thanks for explaining the doctrine for it.

Believe away, folks...

aimai said...

It is obviously not showing respect to grandstand on the bodies of women who are not Catholic--the woman who died was Nepali--and pretend to a right to name and claim any portion of their bodies or their suffering. The arrogance of Pavone is unbelievable. There are literally thousands of children right now who need help but the Catholic Church is refusing to help them because they are gay, or the children of gay parents--they already have names. There is something truly sick about Pavone but we've seen that the Catholic Church is unable to police itself so what can we expect?

Ten Bears said...

That's right - none of my god-damned business. My personal opinion tends to the "life" side, I am a man and while I certainly have the "right" to an opinion I do not nor does anyone on this world have the "right" to impose that opinion on a woman. To impose an opinion on another. Chuck Grassey, of all people, said something a couple of weeks ago that I've only seen attention to in the tabloids: (paraphased) "Why are we wasting our time with this? Men shouldn't even be talking about it..."

The Jew/"Christian"/Muslim/Mormon Cult of Male Domination, right along with those god-damned Indians raping four year old girls to death, leaves it quite easy to see the mass of humanity as maggots.

No fear.

BH said...

If only one could summon up Bismarck for a salutary dose of Kulturkampf.

SmartStatistic (Laurie Bertram Roberts) said...

Thank you for this post!