Donald DeMarco, Ph.D.

Man meets woman

Donald DeMarco, Ph.D.
By Donald DeMarco Ph.D.
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July 27, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - A recurring theme in Blessed John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” is that marriage is a “communion of persons” in which the man and the woman offer to each other the total gift of themselves. This gift is complete and unreserved. It represents personal, unalloyed wholeness.

“Gift” and “wholeness” are linked to each other naturally. In sports, athletes routinely boast that they give 110% of themselves. John Paul would settle for just 100% between just two people. Some stores advertise that they are open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.  A gift in which the batteries are not included will inevitably disappoint its recipient. A gift of one sock or a shirt with three buttons missing would prove insulting. Even “re-gifting” an otherwise decent gift is severely frowned upon since its purity is compromised by frugality. Gifts should be whole, thoughtful, and genuine.

Of all gifts, the reciprocal gifts of self in marriage should be the most whole and the most unsullied.

The wholeness of the woman can be terrifying to a man. After all, from the viewpoint of sexuality, the role he plays is very limited compared with that of his counterpart. Her sexual repertoire goes far beyond that of the male and includes conception, implantation, pregnancy, gestation, labor, delivery, lactation and breast feeding. She is like the Queen Bee in comparison to the male drone. How important it is, then, for the man to recognize, appreciate, and honor the highly diversified sexual wholeness of the woman.

There is a passage of extraordinary moral insight in James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of the most difficult to comprehend books ever written. In the “Oxen of the Sun” episode, a group of students are declaring their support for contraception: “Copulation without population,” they chant. But Stephen Dedalus, who is in their midst, disagrees with them because he is wary of separating sex from fecundity. He states, in typical Joycean fashion:

But, gramercy, what of those Godpossibled souls that we nightly impossibilise, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost, Very God, Lord and Giver of life.  In her lay a Godframed Godgiven preformed possibility which thou hast fructified with thy modicum of man’s work. Cleave to her!  Serve!

To contracept is to rebuke a woman for being a woman.

Fresh language can revive ideas that have gone stale. Joyce is trying to awaken us, perhaps even resurrect us from the dead. Dedalus (which stands for “Dead-all-of-us”, a judgment against the unthinking masses) does not want to free women from their fertility to make them more male-like; he wants to honor them in their extraordinary capacity for life-initiating, love-receiving and person-developing. A woman, in this physiological sense, is a true virtuoso. She commands profound respect. Therefore, the freedom that the immature students are urging is a false freedom because it makes the woman less free since it reduces her to something less than what she is. Contraception, therefore, is a deprivation.

Because the woman’s body is “preformed” by God, and because she is in touch with the “Giver of life,” to sin against the woman is also to sin against her God. Contraception, then, is both contra-woman as well as contra-God.

It is critical that the man honors the sexual breadth of the woman and not use contraception to cut her down to his size. As soon as a man has this respect, even reverence, for the woman, the use of the contraceptive becomes repugnant to him.

In view of a woman’s fertility and all that it encompasses, the man should be humbled in her presence. In this respect, the woman transcends him both on the horizon of time and in the prodigality of her procreative gifts. G. K. Chesterton was being both insightful and prophetic when he said that contraception “is a name given to a succession of different expedients by which it is possible to filch the pleasure belonging to a natural process while violently and unnaturally thwarting the process itself.” We have burned our cathedral to fry an egg, and blighted our future for a fleeting moment.

The great mistake contraception-promoters have made is to begin their philosophy with a mentality of convenience rather than a spirit of reverence. Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, in their book, The Art of Living, remind us of the primary importance of this essential virtue: “Reverence is the attitude which can be designated as the mother of all moral life, for in it man takes a position toward the world which opens his spiritual eyes and enables him to grasp values.”

If reverence is the mother of all moral life, then, its absence must be highly injurious to it. Contraception may be the wicked stepmother to more ills than we commonly realize.

Donald DeMarco, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow of HLI America (HLI), an initiative of Human Life International. He is Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario and adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He writes for HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum, where this article first appeared.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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