Surrogacy

babyGammyThe story of baby Gammy’s abandonment by his biological parents for having Down syndrome has opened up a wide discussion around surrogacy.

As the days go on, more information is being revealed about the biological parents of the 7 month old boy and the circumstances of his birth.

We know that Gammy and his twin sister were born as a result of a surrogacy agreement between an Australian couple and an Indonesian woman, Pattharamon Janbua, who is 21 and already the mother of two children.  Her husband agreed that the cash she would receive for being a surrogate (or gestational carrier) would help them out considerably.  That fee was reported to be $AUS11,700.

It was discovered about three months along that there were twins, and more money was offered to Pattharamon.  However, a month later tests revealed that one of the babies had Down syndrome – that baby was Gammy.

Pattharamon says that the Australian biological parents asked that Gammy be aborted, but because of her Buddhist believes she could not do it.

When the twins were born, the Australian couple took the little girl, who we know very little about, but who obviously did not have Down syndrome, leaving Gammy at the hospital.

According to Indonesian law, Pattharamon is Gammy’s legal parent.  Gammy has medical issues, in particular a heart condition which needs surgery – a complication that is reasonably common in those with Down syndrome – this has led Pattharamon to go public and to ask for assistance.  More than $200,000 has been raised and this little boy will have the surgery he needs.

In a new twist to the story, it is being reported that the biological father has a “conviction for indecently dealing with a child under 13 and has served jail time after being found guilty in 1998.”

The story raises many points to discuss around parenthood, surrogacy, IVF, infertility, abortion and disability, too many for this post.

Infertility, or the inability to carry a child because of the lack of a womb is a tragedy that brings great heartbreak for many people.  It is natural for people, and women in particular, to desire to have a child.  There is something innate in us that wishes to carry on a part of yourself.  Love between a man and a woman is at its best when it multiplies to include children.

But at what point does the desire to have a child become a want, a need a must have possession at all costs?

So many couples today are experiencing infertility and generally the response is to deal with it by approaching a fertility clinic such as Fertility Associates.

IVF (in vitro fertilisation – the creation of a new human being in a petri-dish) is very common place.  It is often not talked about for many reasons.  Those of us who oppose it on the grounds that it creates children outside of the marital embrace and removes the dignity of human embryos by freezing the excess and discarding the imperfect, tend to keep quiet so as to not offend friends who desperately wish to have a family.

Pregnancy is sacrosanct.  One must be able to have their own genetic child at all costs – and it costs a lot.  (Private treatment costs with Fertility Associates is so complex that they have developed a Fertility Cover plan where payment can be made for three cycles with 70% being refunded if no baby results).

Often donors are required to fulfill the “dream”, complicating the situation further.

Then there is surrogacy.  Which is how baby Gammy now finds himself the subject of much debate.

Out of his biological parents desire to have a child at whatever cost, they chose to have another woman carry their child to birth, entering into a contract, an agreement, and paying money for “services”.  The desire to have a child and the subsequent agreement was only ever for the delivery of a “perfect” child.  That is what they paid their money for.  That is why they asked for little Gammy to be aborted when it was discovered in utero that he had Down syndrome.  That is why they were able to walk away from him, tearing him apart from his twin sister.  He, in their eyes, was not perfect and a child with Down syndrome was not what they had invested in.  To this couple Gammy has no worth because he is a defective object that doesn’t fulfill the contract made with the surrogate mother.

We should not be shocked.  The attitude that pregnancy is a right if one chooses it has permeated society to such an extent that a mother has a right to terminate the vulnerable life within her if she so chooses.  Why would it be any different when she pays money for another to carry that child to birth?  Abandonment after birth is only an extension of the desire to abort an already living human being in the womb.

How many pre-born children, diagnosed with various fetal anomalies are aborted each year not only here in New Zealand, but throughout the world, because they do not meet the expectations of perfection?

As a society we must see children as gifts, not as objects that can be manipulated in the science lab.  We must see that all children have worth and dignity and cannot be “terminated” or abandoned simply because they do not measure up to our standards of perfection.  If we do not, then little Gammy’s life has taught us nothing and we will find ourselves discussing situations even more graver than this.

 

 

Note:  I have noticed that an alternative spelling for the surrogate mother’s name is being used – Pattaramon Chanbua.  I have also seen quoted an alternative amount paid by the Australian couple – $AU$16,000.

The Pope praises Humanae Vitae

ImageEarly this week an interview of Pope Francis was run by a major Italian newspaper. As is typical with Pope Francis, he is relaxed with the media, and shows a great deal of skill and honesty with his answers. He’s not afraid of the tough questions, and says he even welcomes them when it’s a chance for dialogue.

The interview didn’t avoid any tough questions, it covered the sexual abuse scandal, divorce, remarriage and civil unions, globalisation, Marxism and many other topics.

He also touched on several topics of interest to the pro-life movement, including contraception, and end of life treatment.

He was asked on non-negotiable values, he was adamant that these values are essential. He rejected the idea that these values are like trading cards, which can be swapped and traded, while keeping a few favourites. He compares these ‘values’ to parts of his own body. In his own words:

I never understood the expression “non-negotiable values.” Values are values and that’s that. I can’t say which of the fingers of the hand is more useful than the rest, so I don’t understand in what sense there could be negotiable values. What I had to say on the topic of life I have put in writing in “Evangelii Gaudium.”

The Pope expresses much about values and morals in Evangelii Gaudium. He says that individual doctrines of the Church must be understood as part of the gospel, and joyfully expressed. This links these values to the whole of the Church’s teaching and to the person of Christ himself. So these ‘values’ are no longer dry doctrines, but a living, breathing expression of a Christian’s joyful faith.

The Pope praised Humanae Vitae:

It all depends on how the text of “Humanae Vitae” is interpreted. Paul VI himself, towards the end, recommended to confessors much mercy and attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, as he had the courage to go against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to apply a cultural brake, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism.

Pope PauI VI certainly had the courage to go against the majority. With more than 40 years of experience with contraception, it’s now obvious the damage that it’s causes. When Paul VI wrote Humanae vitae, that damage was much less obvious. But the Pope predicted it accurately. And despite this bold and prophetic proclamation of the truth, document is very gently written, with the heart of a pastor. I think it’s this that resonates with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis reminds us of the need for confessors to show “much mercy and attention to concrete situations”. This is reminiscent of the much misrepresented comments of Benedict XVI on condoms. It’s not a dilution of the teaching, but working with people to bring them to a full understanding of the truth. In many cases, it will not be an instant conversion. We don’t need to change any teaching or approve of any sin.

Pope Francis is also asked about end of life care for the people in a ‘vegetative state’. The Pope reiterated the Church’s teaching on end of life care. He also acknowledged that he isn’t a bioethicist, and the need for palliative care.

In these answers, Pope Francis has demonstrated that he is a “son of the Church”. He follows and protects the doctrines of the Church, but more than that, he wants to show us that they all come from the person of Christ. He wants to make these doctrines or ‘values’ make sense and have a meaning and purpose in the faith of the Christian.

And one year on into his Papacy, the world is still watching and taking notice. Let’s hope that they truly hear the message he preaches.

St John Paul II, Pope of the family

ImageThis last weekend was historic. It has been described as the day of 4 Popes. Pope Francis canonised two of his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and John Paul II, while Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was present.

For us in the pro-life movement, the canonisation of Pope Saint John Paul II is particularly special. He was a fearless defender of human dignity, human life, and the family. And his insights into human interpersonal relations, including sexual relations was profound, and has been described as one of the Church’s best kept secrets.

Pope Francis in his Regina Coeli address after told the pilgrims of Bergamo and Krakow “Dear ones, honour the memory of these two holy Popes by following their teachings faithfully.”

St John Paul II’s life was remarkable.

He grew up in the town of Wadowice, Poland. A town with a large Jewish population, some of which he counted as his close friends.

It’s ironic, but the “Pope of the Family” lost all of his family by the time he was twenty. An elder sister died before he was born. His mother died when he was eight years old. His older brother when he was twelve, and finally his father died when he was twenty, leave the future Pope as the only surviving member of his family.

At the time of his father’s death, Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany. He had to take manual labouring work at a mine, and then a chemical factory to avoid being deported. He is also credited with protecting many Jews from the Nazi authorities. It was at this time that he began to feel the call to the priesthood. He started his studies for the priesthood in an underground seminary and eventually had to go into hiding from the Nazi authorities until the end of the war.

As a priest he became popular with young people and as Pope he started World Youth Day, which he and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta are now the patrons. As a bishop, he was involved in Vatican II, and had a role in preparing influential documents for the council. He also published his important book “Love and Responsibility”. As Archbishop he was influential in the writing of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

He was a walker, runner, kayaker and skier. As a cardinal he was asked if it was becoming for a cardinal to ski, his reply was, “It is unbecoming for a cardinal to ski badly”. He continued to run and weight train in the Vatican during the first few years of his pontificate.

His election as Pope was a surprise. He was the first non-Italian Pope in over 460 years. His energy and achievements as a Pope were outstanding. He travelled to 129 countries and fearlessly preached to all who would listen. Dictatorships fell after his visits, notably in Chile and Haiti and Paraguay. His support for the solidarity movement in Poland was the catalyst that brought down communism in Poland, which started a chain reaction in the eastern bloc countries.

St John Paul II sent out a call to defend life, faith and family before the Cairo conference on Population and Development, and as a result the attempt the make abortion a “human right” failed.

Wherever he went he attracted large crowds, as many as 5 million attended the 1995 world youth day in Manila, the Philippines. His funeral attracted 4 million to Rome, with over 250 000 within the Vatican.

Defence of life, faith and family was his personal mission. His weekly angelus audiences for the first years as Pope were devoted to the “theology of the body”. It’s a teaching that is slowly gaining popularity within the Catholic Church, and recently within other Christian Churches too.

St John Paul II was a priest, Pope, theologian, writer, poet, actor and sportsman. He wrote 14 encyclicals, beatified 1340, canonised 483 and improved relations with Judaism, Islam and other Christian denominations. He was shot and critically injured, but survived, then meet and forgave his attacker.

But he will be remembered as Pope Francis said, “the Pope of the family”.

Frozen with an expiry date

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November 22nd this year will be a bad day to be an embryonic New Zealander in vitro.

That’s the first deadline of the 2004 HART (Human Assisted Reproductive Technology) act. All embryos in New Zealand that have been frozen for 10 years or more will be destroyed on that date, unless their parents obtain specific permission by May this year. That permission to extend frozen storage must be granted from an ethics committee, not the facility storing the embryos. One chain of fertility clinics says 350 couples or women will be affected at this deadline. And with over 10 000 embryos in storage in New Zealand, it’s only the start of this issue.

So why are there so many frozen embryos?

IVF has a relatively low success rate per cycle and per embryo. This is particularly true for older women. So to achieve a birth, many embryos and several cycles of IVF may be needed. As there is the expectation that several cycles of IVF may be needed, many oocytes (eggs) are removed from the women and fertilised at once. The ‘best looking’ ones are used for the first cycle of IVF and the remaining embryos are frozen as backups if the first cycle isn’t successful, or if the couple want subsequent children.

The process of removing eggs from a women is very invasive and carries real risks for the women. So it’s not something that the medical staff want to put the woman through repeatedly. It is possible to freeze unfertilised eggs rather than embryo, but currently frozen eggs are far less successful for achieving pregnancy. Embryos survive freezing much more successfully, so the clinics fertilise the extracted eggs, both to implant into the women and to store frozen.

If a cycle results in a live birth, the remaining embryos are left in frozen storage, unless the couple wants another child, or they decide to destroy the embryos.

So it’s the inefficiency and risks of the process that results in the temptation to make ‘excess’ embryos. Most of the embryos that are created don’t survive. Some are discarded after fertilisation. Some don’t survive the freezing and thawing, and are discarded. And many that are implanted don’t survive to birth. And many just remain in storage, with their parents not knowing what to do with them.

Throughout this process, and particularly when the embryos are in frozen storage, they are considered property. And tied to this is the attitude that parents have the right to have children.

The Church considers children to be a gift, not property or something that the parents are owed (CCC 2378). She also teaches that a child’s origin should be an act of love between his or her parents. In this way the child’s interests are put first. And as the weakest party, it should always be the child’s interests that are considered first.

This doesn’t mean all infertile couples are condemned to be childless. IVF isn’t the only answer that medicine has for infertility. Originally it was to be the last resort for couples who had trouble conceiving. It has now all but replaced the more conventional approach of diagnosing the specific problem and providing a therapy for that problem, where possible.

But the result of this attitude to children is the large numbers of embryonic children are in frozen storage in New Zealand and around the world. For most of them, it’s a death sentence. The ones that survive are treated for at least some of their life as possessions of their parents. Unfortunately this feeling of entitlement to children is spreading, and was very evident in the recent marriage legislation debate.

For the sake of our children, we need to defend the right of a child to be born from an act of marital love, and to parents known to him or her.

Getting the marriage conversation right

family black and whiteMercatorNet took the opportunity to interview William B May regarding the language surrounding redefining marriage.  William May is an advocate for not using the terms “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage”.  There is only one way to describe marriage, he says, and that is that “marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.”

Attendees at Family Life International NZ’s Conference “Rise Up Together in the Service of Life” this coming 27th to 29th September will have the opportunity to hear William May speak first hand about “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right”.

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Getting the marriage conversation right

MercatorNet: People trying to defend marriage know that “same-sex marriage” is a contradiction in terms, nonsense in fact, but isn’t it just shorthand for referring to an issue? What’s the harm?

William B May: The only reason there is a debate about the legal definition of marriage is because of confusion about its true meaning and purpose. Without truth about marriage, people take positions based on emotion and sentimentality. To restore the truth about marriage we must witness it in a way people can understand.

The first thing to consider is that no one is really proposing to put something called “same-sex marriage” in the law. They take “a man and a woman” and replace it with “two people.” That has consequences that people are not considering. So be careful not to oppose something that is not there.

When they eliminate “a man and a woman” from marriage laws it eliminates the only civil institution that is specifically geared to unite children with their moms and dads – the sole reason for marriage being a privileged institution in the first place. That exposes the hidden agenda and the truth about what is at stake.

Opponents argue that they don’t want to change marriage, and men and woman can still get married, so what is the big deal. The problem is that men and women are not getting married, and this has created a crisis with increasing fatherlessness and associated consequences, and an increasing number of children living in poverty. Removing this child-centric institution from the law removes authority to actively promote the unique value of men and women marrying before having children. It makes it illegal for public institutions to do so and makes it legally discriminatory for anyone else.

What should we say instead of “same-sex marriage”?

Using the term “same-sex marriage” is one of the traps we fall into. It implies the issue is about participation in it by same-sex couples and makes us sound like our only motive is to oppose their aspirations. It is critical to educate people that the issue is redefinition, not participation and that redefining marriage has consequences. Redefining eliminates the only civil institution that is geared to uniting children with their moms and dads. The issue should be whether or not we need such an institution.

Why do the terms we use matter so much? Are there implications we are not seeing?

We live in a relativistic culture in which words mean different things to different people. For example when you talk about children needing a mother and father, or say that a married mother and father is good for children, that statement may be true, but different people have different understandings of what children need and what is good. This invariably leads to a debate about outcomes for children and competency in parenting, and who can do a better job, which escalates emotions. Ironically this has little to do with the meaning and purpose of marriage.

Being born into a family with mom and dad united in marriage is a human right, as the Catholic Church teaches, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child implies (in Articles 7 and 9 ). Our moms and dads are part of our identity and we carry their flesh for all of eternity. With every right there is a corresponding duty to promote respect for that right and in this case to promote civil marriage as the foundation of the family of common ancestry.

It is also important for people to be able to distinguish between a real human right, that can only be recognized by law and never created, and a claimed individual right or license. A human right applies to each and every person without exception. The human right of children to know and, as far as possible, to be loved and cared for their moms and dads is a right that can be known by both reason and our own desire for connection with the man and woman from whom we originated. This is also an experience of God’s plan for creation, but is not dependent in belief in God.

What definition of marriage do you recommend we should use in debating this issue?

“Marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.” That is what marriage is; that is what it does. The trouble is that children and family have been disconnected from marriage.

Factors include no fault divorce making it adult-centric, the separation of sex from procreation and marriage, having children becoming a life-style choice for personal fulfillment, and the increasingly accepted practice of intentionally depriving children of their moms or dads or both through assisted reproductive technology (sperm and egg donation, and surrogacy).

Considering these factors, it is difficult for people to understand marriage by discussing complementarity, procreation, motherhood and fatherhood, etc. It must be expressed in its totality. In reality, marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union. It is a fact, something that the law can only recognise, not change. If the word is redefined in the law, marriage will still exist, but will be no longer recognized in law as such. It becomes discriminatory to advocate that is has any unique value to society, at least under the name of marriage.

What do you think of the term “traditional marriage”? Is it useful?

I just use the word “marriage”, but I am careful to use it in a context so people know what I mean. “Traditional marriage” communicates what we mean but nothing about its true meaning and purpose in a way people can understand. Traditional has a connotation of connection with and holding onto the past. However, marriage is about the future.

How does this work out at the ballot box? How are referendums worded?

I have felt that defining marriage between a man and a woman in law does not go far enough. The law in some way needs to imply its public interest; clarifying that its purpose is more than recognizing loving, committed relationships between men and women. Perhaps it should state something like, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognize. All public institutions must promote its unique value as the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers.”
Opponents will object because it reveals the real meaning and purpose of marriage. They argue that children raised by same-sex couples have a right to married parents, but this changes the subject because every child in this situation has lost their mom, dad or both. Arguments that this could provide stability for such children implies that marriage is merely a human creation for some sociological objective. Marriage is about the free choice of a man and woman to make themselves irreplaceable to each other in preparation to receive life as a gift. Marriage is the foundation of the communion of irreplaceability we call the family.

Opponents cause further confusion by saying marriage can’t be about procreation because not all married man and woman have children. That may be so, but every child has a mother and father and has a right, as far as possible, to be born into a family with them united in marriage. All married men and women engage in the same conjugal act, which is a commemoration and renewal of the marriage vows. Even sociologists from across the political spectrum agree that it is important to reestablish a norm for men and women to marry before having children.

How can we stay on the front foot in debates on this issue? Can we ever avoid being labeled “bigot”?

When we use the term “same-sex marriage,” it immediately tells people we are against someone and the so-called “rights” they are advocating. It’s an unfortunate tactic of our opponents to attribute motives to those defending marriage in an effort to seek sympathy, discredit, and intimidate. Avoiding the use of the term and instead focusing on what we are for will help greatly.

We can understand the sincere desire of some people to have same-sex relationships recognized, but marriage would have to be redefined in the law in a way that eliminates the only civil institution that unites kids with their moms and dads. How can anyone justify that? This issue is not about homosexuality at all. It is about whether marriage is a reality that not only unites a man and a woman with each other, but with any children born from their union.

What opponents are really proposing is that marriage be redefined in the law to be merely an institution for recognizing committed relationships for the benefit of the adults. What is the public interest in that? We love talking about other people’s sins, so it takes discipline to avoid getting drawn into a conversation about sexual ethics and personal behavior and stay focused on the reality of marriage.

Actually, the marriage redefiners seem to agree with you. They don’t use “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage” either, but talk about “marriage equality”. Why do you think that is?

Their research shows that 58% of people in the US already believe that the purpose of marriage is to recognize committed relationships for adults. So all they have to do is to say same-sex couples want to marry for the same reason anyone else does.

The current understanding of marriage is one of the factors contributing to the fact fewer people are marrying and more than half of children born to women under 30 are outside of marriage. This is a crisis that is touching almost every family. The focus must be on changing current ideas about what marriage is for the benefit of society and our own families instead of focusing on why same-sex couples don’t qualify.

I imagine that marriage redefiners don’t want to use the term “same-sex or gay marriage” because their current approach is more effective, and the terms conjure up “anti-gay” feelings.

William B May is president of the United States organization Catholics for the Common Good and played a prominent role in the Proposition 8 effort that successfully restored the definition of marriage between a man and a woman in California – since overturned by the courts. He is the author of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, a Guide for Effective Dialogue .

Redefining marriage ‘an arrogant act of cultural vandalism’: New Zealand family leader

by Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
Reposted from LifeSiteNews.com

AUCKLAND, NZ, August 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – More than 30 same-sex couples have “married” over the last 24 hours, as New Zealand’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act has come into effect.

Despite little debate, and strong opposition, politicians chose to pass the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill 77 to 44 in April. Marriage now lawfully means “the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

Louisa Wall, the Labour MP who presented the bill that redefined marriage, was present at a lesbian couple’s wedding at the Auckland Unitarian Church in Ponsonby. She said it was an “amazing day to be here to celebrate” the couple’s “commitment they have to one another and the institution of marriage.”

But others say the new law defies the national mood and common sense.

“Despite their grandiose view, the politicians never had the authority to redefine marriage,” said Bob McCoskrie, the national director of Family First NZ. “They committed an arrogant act of cultural vandalism with no clear public mandate.”

Many people have commented on the bias in reporting on the day’s events. The mainstream media featured laudatory coverage of the weddings themselves, giving little attention to opponents’ views.

Australian couple Trent Kandler and Paul McCarthy were flown from Australia to Wellington by Tourism New Zealand, where a “wedding” was held at the national museum, Te Papa. The company hopes to stimulate wedding tourism from same-sex couples around the world.

Several organizations took advantage of the moment by offering free prizes to homosexual partners.

Air NZ provided an in-flight “wedding” ceremony for a lesbian couple, Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau, where Jesse Tyler Fergusson from the TV series Modern Family was present. The package included a honeymoon at a Palms Spring Resort in the U.S.

Lance Huxford is calling for people to complain to the media, saying he is “shocked at the unbalanced coverage of the same sex marriage law coming into effect on both TV 1 and TV 3.”

Pro-marriage groups and most churches continue to promote marriage as being between one man and one woman despite an ever-increasing attitude that marriage is simply about happiness and love.

“We must continue to speak up for marriage as uniting a man and a woman with each other and any children born from that union” Dame Colleen Bayer, national director of Family Life International NZ, said. “For the sake of our children, we cannot stand by and let marriage be mocked.”

For more information on how to make a complaint and the grounds under which a complaint can be made visit Broadcasting Standards Authority, visit http://www.bsa.govt.nz

Complaints may be addressed to the Chief Executive of the broadcaster:

TVNZ
P O Box 3819
AUCKLAND
Phone: (09) 916 7000
Fax: (09) 916 6864
http://www.tvnz.co.nz

TV3
Private Bag 92 624
AUCKLAND
Phone: (09) 377 9730
Fax: (09) 366 5999
http://www.tv3.co.nz

Redefined marriage becomes a reality today

Same-sex couples all over New Zealand are legally marrying today as the law which redefined marriage comes into effect.

The media is abuzz with the news that 31 same-sex couples will marry today.  Images of same-sex couples dressed in traditional wedding attire are being posted on all online news sites and there is a real sense of celebration in the air by those who see this as a victory for equality.

But is this new look marriage really what marriage is all about? Is it speaking the truth of marriage?  And ultimately will the move to redefine marriage be a good step for New Zealand society?

The language couched around redefining marriage is all about feelings, love and equality.  But love is only one aspect of marriage, albeit a very important aspect.  Is love really the sole reason why societies all over the world for centuries have protected marriage between men and woman?

William B May, author of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right explains that there are two conflicting understandings of marriage in society today.  The first is that

marriage is the public recognition of a committed relationship between a man and a woman (or two adults) for their fulfillment.

This is what most people believe marriage to be now.  It is why the love and equality arguments ring true with so many people, in particular with Church-going Christians who are misguided in their understanding of sexuality and marriage.

The second definition of marriage is

marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.

This second definition is what most people would refer to as “traditional marriage”.  May goes on to say “that is what marriage is, and that is what it does.  It expresses God’s plan for creation but is not dependent on belief in God.”

Somehow, in our romantic notions of love and marriage we have forgotten this truth.

By redefining marriage, our lawmakers have eliminated the only institution that united children with their mothers and fathers.  They have said that no one in a child’s life is irreplaceable.  They have said that equality, feelings and the fulfillment of adults is more important than the stability of the natural family and the welfare of children.

But how did we get here?

Leighton Smith from Newstalk ZB had some home truths to tell Christians today on his talk back show.  He explained that Christians do not have a real understanding of what marriage is.  He reminded us that Christians have embraced certain aspects of the sexual revolution – divorce, the acceptance of cohabitation and children being tossed around from one parent to the other.  “How can you argue against the gay marriage thing?” he asked.

And he is right.

Too many Christians have embraced aspects of the sexual revolution.  Divorce and contraception and sterilization are widespread.  IVF is a commonplace treatment for couples who experience infertility.  Many Christians have brought the lie that marriage is about the fulfillment of adults.

Smorgasbord Christianity has contributed to the demise of marriage and family in society.

Faithful Christianity will build marriage and family back up again.

As William May says “The focus must now be on rebuilding a marriage culture and protecting, as far as possible, the rights of children and the best interests of society for the future.”
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William B May is the President of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for the evagelisation of the culture based on the social teachings of the Catholic Church.  He will be speaking in New Zealand at the “Rise Up Together in the Service of Life” Conference, September 27 to 29th at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna.  His book “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right” can be purchased through Family Life Catholic Gifts.