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Ovaries and rosaries

Last Saturday five women chained themselves to a side altar in a church in Barcelona and unfurled a banner that called for “no steps backwards with abortion”. As I heard the story on the car radio, instead of sympathising with the pro-abortion protest I found myself thinking, ‘what a ridiculous waste of time’. All they had managed to do was to distract the congregation’s attention from Mass and steal the limelight from the happy couple whose wedding ceremony followed.

The group would have been much better off trying to make sure that the degree of influence the Roman Catholic church has on the Spanish Government is minimal.

OK, so the activists briefly managed to draw attention to the issue, but protesting about the Catholic Church’s attitude towards abortion is like asking a leopard to change its entire skin, let alone its spots. The Church is not likely to change its mind about abortion, homosexuality, contraception, women priests or anything that really affects today’s society (although it does seem to worry about more pressing issues such as the existence of limbo or how much money people have to make to be officially a sinner). But then why should it change? The Vatican lays down the law but it is up to each individual to decide whether to take any notice or not. And the more Rome sticks to its antiquated and often nonsensical ideas, the more credit it loses with society in general.

Even so this country remains predominantly Roman Catholic, although many use its services for no more than baptisms, first communions, weddings and funerals, but I think that in the majority of cases when a woman is faced with the decision of whether or not to have an abortion, for whatever reason, the local priest is hardly the first person she looks to for advice.

The Roman Catholic Church and Spain’s Ecclesiastical hierarchy must not assume they have a special (God-given?) right to influence the Government more than any other religion, group or association. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced before the March elections that in the next term of office he would revise the abortion law. Spain’s bishops gave the impression that the Socialists had decided to take away all the limits and conditions and they included the issue of abortion in their own campaign in favour of the right wing PP. They failed to sway the majority, however Catholic the voting public may claim to be, which all goes to show that when it comes to electing a new Government people go with their political tendencies, instinct and common sense rather than what their Church leaders are telling them.

So back to the five women in Barcelona, who wore false noses to symbolise their feeing like the victims of a witch hunt, and shouted out slogans such as “Take your rosaries off our ovaries” and “My body is not your temple”: they are wasting their breath shouting at the Church and should concentrate on the real lawmakers. They blamed the Church for criminalising women who had abortions but fortunately in today’s Spain the decisions about what is criminal or not are made elsewhere.

28 Responses to “Ovaries and rosaries”

  1. I take offense to your scathing assessment of the Catholics view of their religion, there are millions of Catholics around the world that agree with the Church’s view on abortion, homosexuality etc. Why not remind these women that they do have a way to prevent the need for abortion, educate themselves on the many available contraceptives and if that is too difficult try abstinance. Have you forgotten that the role of the Church is to follow God’s teachings and not give into every evil that society wants.?

  2. I think you’ve slightly missed the point. No one is commenting on what catholics want to do. I’m very happy that any person from any religion follows their religion’s dogmas:- muslims, jewish, catholic etc. etc. The problem is when these minorities try to impose their views on the rest of us. Obviously anyone can decide on whether they want an abortion or not.

  3. Letter to the editor

    Dear Madam
    Please permit me to comment on an article written by Rachel Haynes entitled “Ovaries and Rosaries” in which certain accusations were made against the Catholic Church.
    Ms Haynes believes that the Catholic Church has “antiquated and often nonsensical ideas”, she also has come to the conclusion that the Church “is unlikely to change its mind about “abortion, homosexuality, contraception, women priests or anything that really affects today’s society”.
    She is right in saying that the Church will not change its fundamental teachings, but it has nothing to do with being antiquated or modern. The Church was God’s invention, not man’s. Jesus founded his church and gave it authority to teach, preach, and even forgive sins in his name. The Catholic Church does not have the authority to change any of the teachings entrusted to her by Christ. That is why she cannot allow such things as divorce or women priests or homosexual sex (or the hating of homosexuals), however fashionable these things may become in society.
    The Catholic Church’s social and political morality therefore does not conform totally to any particular secular establishment. It is neither “Right” or “Left” or of any political position in the political spectrum. Nor can or does it compromise with any of them, or with the changing fashions of any human ideology.
    Speaking particularly on abortion, the Church does not judge the individuals. There are ministries in the Church that deal compassionately with women who have had abortions. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “Every abortion has two victims: the body of the baby and the soul of the mother.” The first is beyond repair, but the second is not. Abortion is not a complex issue. Few moral issues could be clearer. As Mother Teresa also said, “If abortion is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

    Thank you for your attention

    Brian Passano

  4. I might remind readers that one doesn’t have to be a Catholic to share its moral judgements on this and other issues. I wonder how many abortions there would be if ladies had transparent tummies? Very few I imagine. And what of the guilt trauma that follows? Furthermore if I might make a point, what of the father of the child? (it is not a blob of jelly) He is invariably regarded as an irrelevancy; his feelings dismissed?Abortion on a scale as witnessed today is nothing short of genocide.
    I recall the story of a doctor who when asked if he would arrange a termination by the young mother to be, responded thus.
    “It’s a messy, traumatic operation not without danger. Why don’t we just wait until the baby is born. Give you time to think about it. Then kill it?”

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