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Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Holy Innocents

In 07 Observations on 2013/12/27 at 12:00 AM

“When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. There was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more”(Mt. 2, 16-18).


The entrance antiphon of the Mass reads: “These innocent children were slain for Christ. They follow the spotless Lamb, and proclaim for ever: Glory to you, Lord.”Theme: tiny children live out heroic, silent sacrifice (unwittingly) and win the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, there is heroic virtue in small objective things because it takes place on the level of the subject making the gift of self.Then-Cardinal Ratzinger remarked about notorious, heroic virtue on the occasion of the canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva:“Knowing a little about the history of saints, and understanding that in the causes of canonization there is inquiry into `heroic’ virtue, we almost inevitably have a mistaken concept of holiness: `It is not for me,’ we are led to think `because I do not feel capable of attaining heroic virtue. It is too high a goal.’ Holiness then becomes a thing reserved for some `greats’ whose images we see on the altars, and who are completely different from us ordinary sinners. But this is a mistaken notion of holiness, a wrong perception which has been corrected – and this seems to me the central point – precisely by Josemaria Escriva.“Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint performs a type of `gymnastics’ of holiness, something that normal people do not dare to do. It means rather that in the life of a person God’s presence is revealed. – something man could not do by himself and through himself. Perhaps in the final analysis we are rather dealing with a question of terminology, because the adjective `heroic’ has been badly interpreted. Heroic virtue properly speaking does not mean that one has done great things by oneself, but rather that in one’s life there appear realities which the person has not done himself, because he has been transparent and ready for the work of God. Or, in other words, to be a saint is nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend. This is holiness” (Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, “Letting God Work,” L’Osservatore Romano, October 6, 2002)

Commentary: Let’s complement the underlined above, suggesting that heroic virtue, in the spirit of St. Josemaria Escriva, does nothave to do with having “done great things by oneself,” but in not having done great things at all. Rather, it is a case of “non loquendo sed moriendo” – not making boast of but dying in the small things of daily, quotidian life. St. Josermaria would affirm:It is heroic to fulfill the acts of piety each day, punctually. It is heroic to pour ourselves out, working for others, never thinking about ourselves. It is heroic to finish our work well, when we are tired and exhausted. It is heroic to continue our ascetical struggle in the points indicated to us, with humility and determination. “You ask me, `Why the wooden Cross?’ And I quote from a letter: `As I raise my eyes from the microscope, my sight comes to rest on the Cross – black and empty. That Cross without a Corpus is a symbol; it has a meaning others won’t see. And I, tired out and on the point of abandoning my work, once again bring my eyes close to the lens and continue. For that lonely Cross is calling for a pair of shoulders to bear it.” (1)The heroism asked of us is an everyday heroism of silent and hidden sacrifice. We can never feel vainglory for things so small. The sacrifice of deeds in very small things is the act of self-mastery whereby with God’s love as “grace,” we hone ourselves by service to others into the figure of “another Christ.” We wash feet and by so doing affirm persons. With this, God makes our lives fruitful. We irradiate fatherhood by engendering life (“life” as Zoethat is Trinitarian Life [Gift]). Since we act out of love, our sacrifice is a willing one that seeks no applause; we don’t even call it a `sacrifice.’ We receive each day’s annoyances without complaint, as coming from God’s will, with respect and love, with joy and peace. And we strive to fulfill the duty of each moment willingly, although it is hard, since it is God’s will for us.

St. Josemaria wrote to his children: “My children, are you and I determined to live a life that serves as a model and lesson for others? Are we determined to be other Christs, to behave like children of God? It’s not enough to say it; we have to prove our determination by our deeds… Are you happy with how you have behaved up until now? You, who are another Christ, who are a child of God, do you deserve to have it said of you that you have come to do and to teach, facere et docere (Acts 1, 1): to teach others by your behavior to do all that is good, that is noble, that furthers the Redemption?”

(1) Josemaria Escriva, “The Way,” Scepter Press #277.

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Protect Your Children in this Electronic Age

In 07 Observations on 2013/11/06 at 12:00 AM

 (Romereports.com) How safe are children on the web? What social networks are safe to use and why? How can they make the most of the electronic devices they use? The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops has teamed up with the Greek OrthodoxArchdiocese of America to launch ‘Faith and Safety‘, a new website to help parents keep their kids safe on the web.

The site is full of tips on how to secure devices and networks, but it also features thought provoking advice. Social networks and websites are reviewed one by one and their use is recommended on an age based scale. Facebook, for example, is suggested for 13 year olds or older.

The website even grades the presence of sexual content, violence and consumerism.  ‘Faith and Safety’ also reviews cellphones that are made especially for kids that can block unwanted calls, set time limits for phone usage and those that allow parents to find their children through a GPS system.

Another interesting feature is a section that reviews apps. For each of them, an ideal age is recommended. It grades the overall quality and educational potential.

‘Faith and Safety’ is constantly updated. Its blog alone has thousands of views and among its contributors, there’s American Bishop John Wester, of Salt Lake City.

Appeared in ROME REPORTS TV NEWS AGENCY

Children’s Train: A Journey Through Beauty

In Uncategorized on 2013/06/19 at 12:00 AM

Vatican City, 18 June 2013 (VIS) – A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the initiative “Children’s Train: A Journey through Beauty”. Participating in the presentation were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Mr. Mauro Moretti, delegate administrator of the Italian Railway System.

The project will be a trip made by 450 children of various nationalities with their teachers, family members, and volunteers, in a train made available just for them by the Italian Railway System, starting from Milan on 23 June and making two stops, in Bologna and Florence, before arriving at the Vatican train station where they will be received by Pope Francis himself, who will be awaiting them at the station.

The objective of the initiative is to promote the direct experience of artistic creation, bringing the littlest ones closer to visual communication and the language of images, from which sprang the idea of a journey through beauty. During the trip, other educational and artistic programs dedicated to children will be offered by the personnel of the Italian Railway System.

“I focused on the children,” said Cardinal Ravasi, “because I think that therein lies the root from which we must build a generation of young persons who still have … the beauty of creativity—that doesn’t seem old at the start—who aren’t already discouraged the way we are but who are ready to live more the future that awaits them. Basically, religions have precisely this fundamental purpose: to teach how to come together, how to continuously declare the future, that is, hope.”

VIS 130518

Questions About Marriage

In 07 Observations on 2013/05/01 at 12:00 AM

Following are a few answers  to some commonly asked questions about the definition of marriage:

What is marriage?
Marriage is the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. The bond of marriage is indissoluble – that is, it lasts “until death do us part.” At the heart of married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh” and can give to each other “the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love”.

Marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament. This means that the bond between husband and wife is a visible sign of the sacrificial love of Christ for his Church. As a sacrament, marriage gives spouses the grace they need to love each other generously, in imitation of Christ.

Why can’t marriage be “redefined” to include two men or two women?
The word “marriage” isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships. Instead, “marriage” reflects a deep reality – the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. Just as oxygen and hydrogen are essential to water, sexual difference is essential to marriage. The attempt to “redefine” marriage to include two persons of the same sex denies the reality of what marriage is. It is as impossible as trying to “redefine” water to include oxygen and nitrogen.

What is sexual difference?
Sexual difference is the difference of man to woman and woman to man. It affects a person at every level of his or her existence: genetically, biologically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Sexual difference is an irreducible difference. It is unlike any other difference we experience, because it – and only it – allows for the total personal union between husband and wife that is at the heart of marriage. The difference between men and women is for the sake of their union with each other. It is what makes spousal union possible.

Isn’t marriage just about love and commitment between two people?
Of course love and commitment are important for marriage – as they are for many relationships. But marriage is unique because the commitment it calls for is better described as communion, where “the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Only a man and a woman in marriage can become a “one flesh” communion. The unity of husband and wife is so intimate that from it can come a “third,” the child – a new life to be welcomed and raised in love. No other relationship, no matter how loving or committed, can have this unique form of commitment – communion – that exists in marriage, between a husband and a wife.

What’s the difference between a husband and wife who can’t have children, and two persons of the same sex, who also can’t have children?
Only a man and a woman, as husband and wife, can enter into the two-in-one-flesh communion of persons. Only a man and a woman are able to conceive a child through each other. That is to say, only a man and a woman can be joined so intimately that their bodies work together in the common task of procreation. Even when a husband and wife do not in fact conceive a child (due to infertility, age, and so on), their sexual acts are still the kind of acts by which children are naturally conceived. In contrast, two persons of the same sex may be perfectly healthy, but will never be able to enter a one-flesh communion and thus unite in such a way that a child is conceived.

Why is a child meant to have both a father and a mother?
The fact is, every single child, without exception, does have a mother and a father. Sexual difference between a husband and wife is necessary to conceive a child. But its importance does not end there. Men and women bring unique gifts to the shared task of parenting, that is, of fathering and mothering. Only a woman can be a mother. Only a man can be a father. Each contributes in a distinct and unique way to the formation of children, helping them to understand their identity as male or female. Respecting a child’s dignity means affirming his or her need for – and right to – a mother and a father.

What about single parents? These families lack a father or a mother, just like households headed by two men or two women.
A child is meant to be raised by his or her own, married father and mother. But there are times when, due to family tragedies or other unfortunate circumstances, this ideal cannot be realized. The Church acknowledges the difficulties faced by single parents and seeks to support them in their often heroic response to meet the needs of their children. There is a big difference, however, between dealing with the unintended reality of single parenthood and approving the formation of “alternative families” that deliberately deprive a child of a father or a mother, such as arrangements headed by two men or two women. Undesired single parenthood can still witness to the importance of sexual difference by acknowledging the challenges faced by single parents and their children due to the lack of a father or mother. In contrast, arrangements of two men or two women are incapable of such witness and present motherhood and fatherhood as disposable. These arrangements of themselves contradict the conjugal and generative reality of marriage and are never acceptable. Children deserve to have their need for a father and a mother respected and protected in law.

Reprinted with permission from the ©US Catholic Bishops Conference: CommDept@usccb.org

More detailed information available at: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/frequently-asked-questions-on-defense-of-marriage.cfm#m3

Prince William and Kate…second anniversary

In 07 Observations on 2013/04/24 at 12:00 AM

The Bishop of London’s Sermon

29th April 2011

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.      

The Changing Definition of Parenthood: How Adult Whims Have Superseded Children’s Needs in American Family Law

In 09 Mary Summa, JD on 2013/04/17 at 12:00 AM

by Mary Summa, JD

A Letter To My Father. Who are you?
I ask myself this question every time I catch a glance of my reflection in the morning … I fear for what the future holds and wonder if I will receive  any slight information about you. I grieve for you and for the part of myself that I will never truly know. I feel as though half of me is missing alongside my family, because that’s what you are. Family.
I feel as though I have been cheated out of knowing you, communicating with you, as I never got a say in the first place. I still don’t now, You are Anonymous.
And there is nothing I can do to change that.1

The pain revealed by this writer is palpable. One may think it is the story of a child whose father died or abandoned the family. In truth, it is a letter from a child to her biological father, an anonymous sperm donor.

One hundred sixty years ago, human beings in this country were treated as chattel, bought and sold on the auction block to the highest bidder. A civil war settled the matter: America would not tolerate the sale of human life. Now, with the help of the medical profession and the blessing of the judiciary, this past is being repeated. The only difference is that now babies, in whole or in part, are being sold, many times by their own parents, who before these babies’ conceptions have no intention of rearing them.

This new phenomenon raises several questions: Should parents be free to sell their biological children? Do children have a right to know their biological heritage? How does the changing meaning of parenthood affect freedom? Failing to confront and properly answer these questions could spell disaster.

Parenthood Within Marriage 

Traditionally, “parent” has always been defined as a mother or father related to a child by blood. Under common law, a woman who gave birth to a child was considered the child’s legal mother. If the mother and father were married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband was presumed to be the child’s father. The title of mother and father, and the obligations and rights attached to that title were exclusively the husband’s and wife’s. In short, biology determined motherhood. Marriage presumed legal fatherhood.2

The inextricable common law link between marriage and parenthood was not serendipitous. Rather, the law elevated marriage and parenthood,3 reflecting an aspirational morality.4 Judges and lawmakers understood that marriage provided the best environment for the rearing of children. Additionally, marriage linked fathers to their children.

Illegitimacy was frowned upon in public policy well into the 20th Century. Laws extended few, if any, of the rights traditionally enjoyed by married couples to unmarried couples. Adoption laws were legislatively-created laws, which were not found in common law, enacted to protect children’s health and well-being.

Marriage laws were designed to keep the marriage intact, and to keep children in the custody of their biological parents. Divorce was obtainable, but only after egregious behavior by a spouse was proven in court.

Government Redefines Marriage 

Law often influences a society’s morality. As pointed out by Hadley Arkes in his book, Natural Rights & the Right to Choose, “as the public absorbs the understandings of right and wrong contained in the laws, the character of the public becomes shaped for better or for worse.”5

The 20th Century brought forth a different understanding of the foundation of law and public policy. Influenced by their European counterparts, American jurists began rejecting natural law and embracing legal positivism, a jurisprudence that defines law by what the majority says it is, and that was less moralistic, less judgmental, and less demanding than natural law. Stoked by the sexual revolution, the last quarter of the 20th Century witnessed personal autonomy masquerading as individual liberty dominating legal theory, particularly in the area of sexual freedom. In terms of marriage laws, the focus shifted from children’s needs to adults’ wants.

No-fault divorce illustrates the law’s changed focus and its impact on marriage and parenthood. In 1969, California enacted the country’s first no-fault divorce law.6 By 1974, all but five state legislatures had adopted no-fault divorce.7 In 2010, New York became the final state to legalize no-fault divorce.8 As a result, divorce rates sky-rocketed. Since 1974, according to the online publication National Affairs, over one million children every year see their parents divorce.9

The same-sex “marriage” movement has impacted the stability of marriage and family life as well. In order to accommodate homosexual relationships under the marriage umbrella, courts and legislatures have redefined marriage in ambiguous terms of “love and commitment,” rather than as an institution designed to channel sexual activity into a permanent, life-long relationship for the rearing of children the couple begets.10 This slight of hand, has imposed significant damage on the meaning of parenthood. As underscored by one expert, “Rather than attaching children to their biological parents, same-sex ‘marriage’ is the vehicle that separates children from a parent.”11

Reproductive Technology Is Redefining Parenthood

No-fault divorce legitimized the separation of children from one parent, usually the biological father. Remarriage and step-parenting introduced into public policy the idea that “parenthood” was no longer exclusively the right of one father and one mother.

Concurrently with the legal weakening of marriage, new reproductive technology, such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy, medically redefined parenthood. For the first time in history, legal parenthood no longer depended on genetics and gestation.

Artificial Insemination separates conception from the procreative act, allowing it to occur with sperm donations from anonymous donors. The first baby produced by artificial insemination was born in 1953. Today, the procedure is relatively routine. There are no official records of the number of children conceived by artificial insemination. One source has reported that by 1987, 172,000 women were artificially inseminated in the U.S. each year, resulting in 65,000 births.12

In vitro fertilization, a newer procedure, allows for conception to occur outside the womb, many times with anonymously donated eggs and/or sperm. The embryo is then implanted into a woman’s uterus. In 1979 the federal Ethics Advisory Board approved federal funding for research on in vitro fertilization. The first IVF clinic opened in the U.S. in 1980. In 1981, the first “test tube” baby was born in the U.S. By 2004, according to a series produced by PBS, over half a million babies worldwide were conceived outside the womb. There are 450 IVF clinics in the United States alone.13

Sperm banks and egg donor centers have become big business in the U.S. While it is unclear how many banks exist in the U.S., Daily Finance, an online business publication, reports that donations are up during this recession. Cryobank, a sperm bank in Los Angeles, pays donors $100 per donation. The sperm bank recruits college students, who make approximately $1,000 per month donating sperm to the bank. Donors work for the company an average of one and a half years.14 Just doing the math, conceivably, an anonymous college male student could biologically father hundreds of babies during his employment with the sperm bank, a possibility that has raised concern about accidental incest.15 Egg donations reap even greater profits. According to the website Heartlander, it is a $3 billion business reaping $4,000 per egg for the egg donor.16

Surrogacy. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization separate legal parenthood from genetics. Surrogacy removes legal parent status from the gestating mother. With surrogacy, a woman is paid to carry to term a baby for another person or couple in exchange for money. She is neither biologically related to the child nor intends to keep the child. Although there is no official recordkeeping on how many babies are born via surrogacy, a 2010 Chicago Tribune article estimated that 1,400 babies are born in the United States each year through surrogacy.17

Most recently, reproductive technology has pushed the envelope even further. In Britain, scientists have been granted permission to create embryos with three genetic parents, and, according to the Commission on Parenthood, researchers announced in 2005 that they developed human embryonic stem cells into forms of cells that can become eggs and sperm. In Edinburgh, Scotland, researchers announced that they had “tricked” an egg into dividing and created a human embryo without a genetic father.18

Government Dismantles Parenthood

Rather than protecting children’s needs for a mother and father, legislatures and courts have engaged in legal back-bending to accommodate adults’ desire for parenthood. The term “parent,” once defined by biology, is now being legally defined in terms of genetics or gestation or intent. In fact, legal trends indicate the elimination of genetics or gestation as grounds for parenthood and a reliance solely on parenthood by “intent.” In Ireland, for example, a proposal was presented that recommended that a surrogate have no legal standing with regard to a child that she bears during or after birth.

This trend in the U.S. is most readily seen in the area of surrogacy. According to the website Allaboutsurrogacy.com, 14 states have statutorily legalized surrogacy contracts.19 In North Carolina, in 2009, a bill was introduced to legalize surrogacy contracts. In that bill, the surrogate was described as the “gestational carrier.” The contracting couple was described as the “intended parents.” Currently, gestation establishes legal motherhood.20 If the bill had been enacted, arguably, the bill would have surreptitiously introduced into North Carolina statutory law “parenthood by intent.”

Same-Sex Relationships’ Effect

The legalization of same-sex “marriage” has brought increased political pressure on jurisdictions outside the U.S. to define parenthood by “intent” and to erase references to genetics on birth certificates.

In Canada, when same-sex “marriage” was legalized in 2004, the law quietly changed the term “natural parent” to “legal parent.”

In Spain, eight months after legalizing same-sex “marriage” in 2005, the law governing birth certificates was changed. Rather than “mother” and “father,” birth certificates now read “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B.”21

In the U.S., courts have succumbed to pressure from same-sex couples to eliminate references to gender or genetics on birth certificates.

In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union won a court order in New Jersey granting the right to two lesbians to be listed on a birth certificate as the parents of the child born to one of the lesbian partners.22

In Virginia, in 2006, a court ordered lesbians to be listed as “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” on a birth certificate after the couple opposed having one of the partners listed as “father.”23

In Iowa, as of November 2011, a case was pending where a lesbian couple asked the court to require the state to list them as the “parents” of a child born to one of the partners as a result of artificial insemination.24

Parenthood Myths. In recent years, courts and legislatures have created two very similar legal myths, called the “psychological parenting doctrine” and the “de facto parenting doctrine,” to award parentage and custody rights based on “intent” to non-biologically related individuals. Although this doctrine has been used by cohabitating heterosexual couples, the expanding body of case law involves same-sex couples.

A “de facto parent,” as defined by the American Law Institute, is an unrelated adult who has lived with a child for two years and provides a majority of childcare (or at least the same amount as the primary legal parent) with the approval of one legal parent or where the legal parent fails to provide it.25 Psychological parenting bears a similar definition.

Under de facto and psychological parenting, a child may have a number of “parents” petitioning the court for joint custody and visitation.26 Unbeknownst to an ex-husband, the government may force him to share his child visitation with one or more of his ex-wife’s boyfriends or girlfriends.

In several states, courts have refused to adopt the de facto parenting doctrine. Nonetheless, the doctrine has received significant traction in other state courts. According to a report by the Commission on Parenthood, as of 2006, at least 10 states have recognized the de facto parenting doctrine. The North Carolina Court of Appeals adopted the doctrine in 2008, and the North Carolina Supreme Court used it in 2010 in two cases to award joint custody to a lesbian partner who was not biologically related to the child.27

The Psychological Impact on Children

Despite all the medical and legal energy expended to accommodate adults (whether heterosexual or homosexual) desiring parenthood, very little thought has been given to the overall impact on children. Collateral research suggests the damage is irreparable.

Biology matters. Research shows that children who grow up in families with one biological parent and a step-parent have outcomes that more closely resemble children growing up in single-parent households in numerous statistical areas: lower academic achievement, poorer physical and mental health, and more abuse within the home. Girls engage in earlier sexual activity and have higher rates of pregnancy. Boys have higher rates of violent behavior.28

Children want to know their parents. More children, similar to the one at the outset of this article, are coming forward and revealing their pain. In 2005, David Blakenhorn, a marriage and family expert, spoke about Narelle Grech from Australia. Narelle, is now a 28-year old donor-conceived female who wrote to the Canadian ethicist Margaret Somerville about a magazine article where Somerville advocated societal acceptance of all reproductive technologies. As quoted by Blakenhorn, Narelle wrote the following:

I feel as though donor conceived people are the last to be thought of in these trade deals; only adults, including clinics, doctors and wannabe parents … little bits of non-identifying information will not substitute for the real person’s family. You are not only encouraging people to intentionally separate people from their families, you are going to be the cause of people who have to question their identity and no one on this earth should have to do that. How dare someone take away someone else’s freedom to know themselves.29

Researchers caution that stories like these could become all too commonplace as children continue to be biologically separated from their parents.30

For the Sake of Freedom 

In his book, The American Cause, 20th Century political theorist Russell Kirk cautioned,

The American cause is not the cause of a revolutionary thirst for demolishing all obstacles to anarchic self-gratification…. American freedom has been the liberty of temperate policies and temperate intellects.31

The right of fit parents to rear their biological children as they deem appropriate is a fundamental right of liberty, historically recognized in common law and protected by courts and legislatures. The right to custody is the keystone of parental rights.

These attempts to satisfy the desires of adults at the expense of children are dismantling the foundations of freedom. Redefining parenthood by disconnecting it from biology and connecting it to “intent” takes the presumption of parenthood from parents and gives it to the state. Parents have become beholden to the whims of an all-powerful bureaucracy or judiciary to determine the destiny of their own children.

For the Sake of Children

Reportedly, Mother Theresa once said, “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”32 By promoting anonymous parenting by commission or omission, legislatures and courts are inflicting far worse on today’s children: They are allowing the creation of children who are intended to be “nobodies” to their own parents.

The parent/child relationship is the strongest bond in human nature. Marriage is the best environment for children to thrive. Laws have recognized these facts and protected these relationships. Of late, those laws have been dismantled to accommodate the selfish whims of adults.

North Carolinians should demand that the General Assembly restore children’s interests, not adults, to the focus of family law. The Legislature can begin that process by prohibiting the sale of these children, in whole or in part, by banning surrogacy agreements and the marketing of sperm and eggs. Secondly, the General Assembly should legislatively nullify the judge-created de facto parenting doctrine existing in this state. Lastly, the General Assembly should repeal no-fault divorce laws, especially when minor children are involved.

Refusal to take these active steps will make the outcries by the woman at the outset of this article not merely the scars of a disease affecting a few, but the manifestation of an epidemic intentionally inflicted on children.

Mary Summa is an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Re-printed with permission from Family Council of North Carolina.  Summer 2012

Children’s Project

In 11 Joanna Bogle on 2013/01/25 at 9:11 AM

Over 2,000 Catholic children…

…at schools around Britain, have sent in entries for the School RE Project launched jointly by the Catholic Truth Society and theAssociation of Catholic Women. This is awesome! The children were invited to write about Christ performing miracles, and were given specific instructions: they had to look up certain New Testament references and show an understanding of the events involved (they were given specific miracles to study, including Christ calming the storm at sea).Deadline for entries was yesterday, and sifting and judging is now taking place. We have two trophies to award, one for older children and one for younger, plus a large number of prizes and certificates. An initial sweep through a range of entries indicates that some are very good indeed – in fact, really touching and inspiring to read – some are poor, the vast majority show a grasp of Christ as God the Son and some one to be loved…I suspect that this must be the biggest single venture undertaken by any Catholic women’s organisation in Britain in recent years. We launched the RE Project a few years ago, and it has grown steadily. At first, we simply sent out brochures to schools, addressing hundreds of envelopes by hand. Then we got our website organised, and things grew a bit more. Then, this year, we decided to contact the CTS and see if they were interested…Next time some one tells you that everything in the Church is hopeless, all-going-downhill, everything-has-gone-wrong-since Vatican-II etc etc, read them the above.

“The enormous importance of the task of parents”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/01/18 at 9:11 AM
You should be full of wonder at the goodness of our Father God. Are you not filled with joy to know that your home, your family, your country, which you love so much, are the raw material which you must sanctify? (The Forge, 689)

I am moved that the Apostle should call Christian marriage sacramentum magnum ‑‑ a great sacrament. From this, too, I deduce the enormous importance of the task of parents. You share in the creative power of God: that is why human love is holy, good and noble. It is a gladness of heart which God ‑‑ in his loving providence ‑‑ wants others freely to give up. Each child that God grants you is a wonderful blessing from him: don’t be afraid of children! (The Forge, 691)

In conversations I have had with so many married couples, I tell them often that while both they and their children are alive, they should help them to be saints, while being well aware that none of us will be a saint on earth. All we will do is struggle, struggle, struggle. And I also tell them: you Christian mothers and fathers are a great spiritual motor, sending the strength of God to your own ones, strength for that struggle, strength to win, strength to be saints. Don’t let them down! (The Forge, 692)

Don’t be afraid of loving others, for His sake: and don’t worry about loving your own people even more, provided that no matter how much you love them, you love Him a million times more. (The Forge, 693)

That close intimacy you have with Christ means that you have a duty to bear fruit. And yours will be a fruit that will satisfy the hunger of men who come up to you in your work, in your day‑to‑day life and in your family environment. (The Forge, 981)

The Changing Definition of Parenthood: How Adult Whims Have Superseded Children’s Needs in American Family Law

In 09 Mary Summa, JD on 2012/08/11 at 11:11 AM

 

by Mary Summa, JD

A Letter To My Father. Who are you?
I ask myself this question every time I catch a glance of my reflection in the morning … I fear for what the future holds and wonder if I will receive [sp] any slight information about you. I grieve for you and for the part of myself that I will never truly know. I feel as though half of me is missing alongside my family, because that’s what you are. Family.
I feel as though I have been cheated out of knowing you, communicating with you, as I never got a say in the first place. I still don’t now, You are Anonymous.
And there is nothing I can do to change that.1

The pain revealed by this writer is palpable. One may think it is the story of a child whose father died or abandoned the family. In truth, it is a letter from a child to her biological father, an anonymous sperm donor.

One hundred sixty years ago, human beings in this country were treated as chattel, bought and sold on the auction block to the highest bidder. A civil war settled the matter: America would not tolerate the sale of human life. Now, with the help of the medical profession and the blessing of the judiciary, this past is being repeated. The only difference is that now babies, in whole or in part, are being sold, many times by their own parents, who before these babies’ conceptions have no intention of rearing them.

This new phenomenon raises several questions: Should parents be free to sell their biological children? Do children have a right to know their biological heritage? How does the changing meaning of parenthood affect freedom? Failing to confront and properly answer these questions could spell disaster.

Parenthood Within Marriage 

Traditionally, “parent” has always been defined as a mother or father related to a child by blood. Under common law, a woman who gave birth to a child was considered the child’s legal mother. If the mother and father were married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband was presumed to be the child’s father. The title of mother and father, and the obligations and rights attached to that title were exclusively the husband’s and wife’s. In short, biology determined motherhood. Marriage presumed legal fatherhood.2

The inextricable common law link between marriage and parenthood was not serendipitous. Rather, the law elevated marriage and parenthood,3 reflecting an aspirational morality.4 Judges and lawmakers understood that marriage provided the best environment for the rearing of children. Additionally, marriage linked fathers to their children.

Illegitimacy was frowned upon in public policy well into the 20th Century. Laws extended few, if any, of the rights traditionally enjoyed by married couples to unmarried couples. Adoption laws were legislatively-created laws, which were not found in common law, enacted to protect children’s health and well-being.

Marriage laws were designed to keep the marriage intact, and to keep children in the custody of their biological parents. Divorce was obtainable, but only after egregious behavior by a spouse was proven in court.

Government Redefines Marriage 

Law often influences a society’s morality. As pointed out by Hadley Arkes in his book, Natural Rights & the Right to Choose, “as the public absorbs the understandings of right and wrong contained in the laws, the character of the public becomes shaped for better or for worse.”5

The 20th Century brought forth a different understanding of the foundation of law and public policy. Influenced by their European counterparts, American jurists began rejecting natural law and embracing legal positivism, a jurisprudence that defines law by what the majority says it is, and that was less moralistic, less judgmental, and less demanding than natural law. Stoked by the sexual revolution, the last quarter of the 20th Century witnessed personal autonomy masquerading as individual liberty dominating legal theory, particularly in the area of sexual freedom. In terms of marriage laws, the focus shifted from children’s needs to adults’ wants.

No-fault divorce illustrates the law’s changed focus and its impact on marriage and parenthood. In 1969, California enacted the country’s first no-fault divorce law.6 By 1974, all but five state legislatures had adopted no-fault divorce.7 In 2010, New York became the final state to legalize no-fault divorce.8 As a result, divorce rates sky-rocketed. Since 1974, according to the online publication National Affairs, over one million children every year see their parents divorce.9

The same-sex “marriage” movement has impacted the stability of marriage and family life as well. In order to accommodate homosexual relationships under the marriage umbrella, courts and legislatures have redefined marriage in ambiguous terms of “love and commitment,” rather than as an institution designed to channel sexual activity into a permanent, life-long relationship for the rearing of children the couple begets.10 This slight of hand, has imposed significant damage on the meaning of parenthood. As underscored by one expert, “Rather than attaching children to their biological parents, same-sex ‘marriage’ is the vehicle that separates children from a parent.”11

Reproductive Technology Is Redefining Parenthood

No-fault divorce legitimized the separation of children from one parent, usually the biological father. Remarriage and step-parenting introduced into public policy the idea that “parenthood” was no longer exclusively the right of one father and one mother.

Concurrently with the legal weakening of marriage, new reproductive technology, such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy, medically redefined parenthood. For the first time in history, legal parenthood no longer depended on genetics and gestation.

Artificial Insemination separates conception from the procreative act, allowing it to occur with sperm donations from anonymous donors. The first baby produced by artificial insemination was born in 1953. Today, the procedure is relatively routine. There are no official records of the number of children conceived by artificial insemination. One source has reported that by 1987, 172,000 women were artificially inseminated in the U.S. each year, resulting in 65,000 births.12

In vitro fertilization, a newer procedure, allows for conception to occur outside the womb, many times with anonymously donated eggs and/or sperm. The embryo is then implanted into a woman’s uterus. In 1979 the federal Ethics Advisory Board approved federal funding for research on in vitro fertilization. The first IVF clinic opened in the U.S. in 1980. In 1981, the first “test tube” baby was born in the U.S. By 2004, according to a series produced by PBS, over half a million babies worldwide were conceived outside the womb. There are 450 IVF clinics in the United States alone.13

Sperm banks and egg donor centers have become big business in the U.S. While it is unclear how many banks exist in the U.S., Daily Finance, an online business publication, reports that donations are up during this recession. Cryobank, a sperm bank in Los Angeles, pays donors $100 per donation. The sperm bank recruits college students, who make approximately $1,000 per month donating sperm to the bank. Donors work for the company an average of one and a half years.14 Just doing the math, conceivably, an anonymous college male student could biologically father hundreds of babies during his employment with the sperm bank, a possibility that has raised concern about accidental incest.15 Egg donations reap even greater profits. According to the website Heartlander, it is a $3 billion business reaping $4,000 per egg for the egg donor.16

Surrogacy. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization separate legal parenthood from genetics. Surrogacy removes legal parent status from the gestating mother. With surrogacy, a woman is paid to carry to term a baby for another person or couple in exchange for money. She is neither biologically related to the child nor intends to keep the child. Although there is no official recordkeeping on how many babies are born via surrogacy, a 2010 Chicago Tribune article estimated that 1,400 babies are born in the United States each year through surrogacy.17

Most recently, reproductive technology has pushed the envelope even further. In Britain, scientists have been granted permission to create embryos with three genetic parents, and, according to the Commission on Parenthood, researchers announced in 2005 that they developed human embryonic stem cells into forms of cells that can become eggs and sperm. In Edinburgh, Scotland, researchers announced that they had “tricked” an egg into dividing and created a human embryo without a genetic father.18

Government Dismantles Parenthood

Rather than protecting children’s needs for a mother and father, legislatures and courts have engaged in legal back-bending to accommodate adults’ desire for parenthood. The term “parent,” once defined by biology, is now being legally defined in terms of genetics or gestation or intent. In fact, legal trends indicate the elimination of genetics or gestation as grounds for parenthood and a reliance solely on parenthood by “intent.” In Ireland, for example, a proposal was presented that recommended that a surrogate have no legal standing with regard to a child that she bears during or after birth.

This trend in the U.S. is most readily seen in the area of surrogacy. According to the website Allaboutsurrogacy.com, 14 states have statutorily legalized surrogacy contracts.19 In North Carolina, in 2009, a bill was introduced to legalize surrogacy contracts. In that bill, the surrogate was described as the “gestational carrier.” The contracting couple was described as the “intended parents.” Currently, gestation establishes legal motherhood.20 If the bill had been enacted, arguably, the bill would have surreptitiously introduced into North Carolina statutory law “parenthood by intent.”

Same-Sex Relationships’ Effect

The legalization of same-sex “marriage” has brought increased political pressure on jurisdictions outside the U.S. to define parenthood by “intent” and to erase references to genetics on birth certificates.

In Canada, when same-sex “marriage” was legalized in 2004, the law quietly changed the term “natural parent” to “legal parent.”

In Spain, eight months after legalizing same-sex “marriage” in 2005, the law governing birth certificates was changed. Rather than “mother” and “father,” birth certificates now read “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B.”21

In the U.S., courts have succumbed to pressure from same-sex couples to eliminate references to gender or genetics on birth certificates.

In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union won a court order in New Jersey granting the right to two lesbians to be listed on a birth certificate as the parents of the child born to one of the lesbian partners.22

In Virginia, in 2006, a court ordered lesbians to be listed as “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” on a birth certificate after the couple opposed having one of the partners listed as “father.”23

In Iowa, as of November 2011, a case was pending where a lesbian couple asked the court to require the state to list them as the “parents” of a child born to one of the partners as a result of artificial insemination.24

Parenthood Myths. In recent years, courts and legislatures have created two very similar legal myths, called the “psychological parenting doctrine” and the “de facto parenting doctrine,” to award parentage and custody rights based on “intent” to non-biologically related individuals. Although this doctrine has been used by cohabitating heterosexual couples, the expanding body of case law involves same-sex couples.

A “de facto parent,” as defined by the American Law Institute, is an unrelated adult who has lived with a child for two years and provides a majority of childcare (or at least the same amount as the primary legal parent) with the approval of one legal parent or where the legal parent fails to provide it.25 Psychological parenting bears a similar definition.

Under de facto and psychological parenting, a child may have a number of “parents” petitioning the court for joint custody and visitation.26 Unbeknownst to an ex-husband, the government may force him to share his child visitation with one or more of his ex-wife’s boyfriends or girlfriends.

In several states, courts have refused to adopt the de facto parenting doctrine. Nonetheless, the doctrine has received significant traction in other state courts. According to a report by the Commission on Parenthood, as of 2006, at least 10 states have recognized the de facto parenting doctrine. The North Carolina Court of Appeals adopted the doctrine in 2008, and the North Carolina Supreme Court used it in 2010 in two cases to award joint custody to a lesbian partner who was not biologically related to the child.27

The Psychological Impact on Children

Despite all the medical and legal energy expended to accommodate adults (whether heterosexual or homosexual) desiring parenthood, very little thought has been given to the overall impact on children. Collateral research suggests the damage is irreparable.

Biology matters. Research shows that children who grow up in families with one biological parent and a step-parent have outcomes that more closely resemble children growing up in single-parent households in numerous statistical areas: lower academic achievement, poorer physical and mental health, and more abuse within the home. Girls engage in earlier sexual activity and have higher rates of pregnancy. Boys have higher rates of violent behavior.28

Children want to know their parents. More children, similar to the one at the outset of this article, are coming forward and revealing their pain. In 2005, David Blakenhorn, a marriage and family expert, spoke about Narelle Grech from Australia. Narelle, is now a 28-year old donor-conceived female who wrote to the Canadian ethicist Margaret Somerville about a magazine article where Somerville advocated societal acceptance of all reproductive technologies. As quoted by Blakenhorn, Narelle wrote the following:

I feel as though donor conceived people are the last to be thought of in these trade deals; only adults, including clinics, doctors and wannabe parents … little bits of non-identifying information will not substitute for the real person’s family. You are not only encouraging people to intentionally separate people from their families, you are going to be the cause of people who have to question their identity and no one on this earth should have to do that. How dare someone take away someone else’s freedom to know themselves.29

Researchers caution that stories like these could become all too commonplace as children continue to be biologically separated from their parents.30

For the Sake of Freedom 

In his book, The American Cause, 20th Century political theorist Russell Kirk cautioned,

The American cause is not the cause of a revolutionary thirst for demolishing all obstacles to anarchic self-gratification…. American freedom has been the liberty of temperate policies and temperate intellects.31

The right of fit parents to rear their biological children as they deem appropriate is a fundamental right of liberty, historically recognized in common law and protected by courts and legislatures. The right to custody is the keystone of parental rights.

These attempts to satisfy the desires of adults at the expense of children are dismantling the foundations of freedom. Redefining parenthood by disconnecting it from biology and connecting it to “intent” takes the presumption of parenthood from parents and gives it to the state. Parents have become beholden to the whims of an all-powerful bureaucracy or judiciary to determine the destiny of their own children.

For the Sake of Children

Reportedly, Mother Theresa once said, “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”32 By promoting anonymous parenting by commission or omission, legislatures and courts are inflicting far worse on today’s children: They are allowing the creation of children who are intended to be “nobodies” to their own parents.

The parent/child relationship is the strongest bond in human nature. Marriage is the best environment for children to thrive. Laws have recognized these facts and protected these relationships. Of late, those laws have been dismantled to accommodate the selfish whims of adults.

North Carolinians should demand that the General Assembly restore children’s interests, not adults, to the focus of family law. The Legislature can begin that process by prohibiting the sale of these children, in whole or in part, by banning surrogacy agreements and the marketing of sperm and eggs. Secondly, the General Assembly should legislatively nullify the judge-created de facto parenting doctrine existing in this state. Lastly, the General Assembly should repeal no-fault divorce laws, especially when minor children are involved.

Refusal to take these active steps will make the outcries by the woman at the outset of this article not merely the scars of a disease affecting a few, but the manifestation of an epidemic intentionally inflicted on children. 

Mary Summa is an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Re-printed with permission from Family Council of North Carolina.  Summer 2012

1. “Stories From Donors Conceived: A Letter to My Father.” AnonymousUs.org. September 26, 2011. http://anonymousus.org/stories/ Last visited March 10, 2012.

2. Although not recognized by common law, states in the mid 19th Century began enacting adoption laws that provided a legal link between children and married parents. In the early 20th Century, adoption laws were fleshed out to insure that the child was being placed in a stable and safe environments. Social mores dictated that children Preferences in Adoption Law in All 50 States, iMAPP Policy Brief. February 4, 2005. http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/iMAPPmarriage.adoption.pdf Last visited March 12, 2012.

3. Linda C. McClain, “Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: Revisiting the Channelling Function of Family Law.” 28 Cardoza Law Review 2133, 2133 (2007). http://www.cardozolawreview.com/content/28-5/28.5_mcclain.pdf. Last visited March 9, 2012.

4. Carl Schneider. “Moral Discourse and the Transformation of American Family Law.” 83 Mich. L. Rev. 1803, 1819 (1985).

5. Hadley Arkes. 2002. NATURAL RIGHTS AND THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3.

6. W. Bradford Wilcox. “The Evolution of Divorce” National Affairs. Issue No. 1. Fall 2009. http://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-evolution-of-divorce Last visited March 9, 2012.

7. Ryan MacPherson, “From No-Fault Divorce to Same-Sex Marriage: The American Law Institute’s Role in Deconstructing the Family” The Family in America. Spring 2011. http://www.familyinamerica.org/ Last visited March 10, 2012.

8. Carolyn Kolker and Patricia Hurtado. DLR 170 (2010). “Divorce Easier As New York Ends Need to Lie.” Bloomberg. August 16, 2010. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-16/breaking-up-not-so-hard-to-do-as-new-york-s-divorce-law-ends-need-to-lie.html. Last visited March 11, 2012.

9. Wilcox. 2.

10. Goodridge v. Dep’t of Pub. Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003).

11. Jennifer Roback Morse. “Prepared Remarks for the Rhode Island Legislature, Hearings on Same Sex Marriage.” Providence, Rhode Island. February 9, 2011. Reprinted at http://www.ruthinstitute.org/DefendingMarriage/RhodeIsland.pdf. Last visited March 13, 2012.

12. Diane Fitzpatrick. “The History of Artificial Insemination.” Life123.com. http://www.life123.com/parenting/pregnancy/infertility/the-history-of-human-artificial-insemination.shtml Last visited March 10, 2012.

13. The History of InVitro Fertilization” PBS. Last visited March 9, 2012.

14. Betsy Schiffman. “U.S. Sperm Donations Rise in Recession” Daily Finance. 5/6/10. < http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/05/06/sperm-bank-donations-rise-in-recession/&gt; Last visited March 9, 2012.

15. See Jacqueline Mroz, “One Sperm, 150 Offspring”, The New York Times online. September 5, 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/health/06donor.html?pagewanted=all&gt; Last visited March 9, 2012.

16. Emerging Human Embryo Market Poses Moral and Ethical Dilemmas. Heartlander. May 1, 2008.< http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2008/05/01/emerging-human-embryo-market-poses-moral-and-ethical-dilemmas.&gt; Last visited March 12, 2012.

17. Nana Schoenberg. “Born in the U.S.A.” Chicago Tribune. April 16, 2010. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-13/health/ct-news-surrogate-mom-20110413_1_surrogacy-center-for-surrogate-parenting-international-parents. Last visited March 9, 2012.

18. Roger Hieghfiel and Nic Fleming. “Scientists Create Human Embryo Without a Father.” The Daily Telegraph. 10 September 2005. Reprinted at http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/archive/index.php/t-123682.html&gt; Last visited March 10, 2012.

19. “State Laws By State.” AllAboutSurrogacy.com. http://www.allaboutsurrogacy.com/surrogacylaws.htm.

20. N.C.G.S. 130A-101(2009).

21. David Rennie. “How’s Your ‘Progenitor A?’ The Telegraph. March 7, 2006. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/1512344/Hows-your-Progenitor-A.html Last visited March 9, 2012.

22. “Birth Certificate Victory for Same Sex Couple” ACLU Newsletter. 24 May 2005. http://www.aclu-nj.org/news/2005/05/24/birth-certificate-victory-for-same-sex-couple/ Last visited March 9, 2012.

23. Anne Case, et. al. “How Hungry is the Selfish Gene?” The Economic Journal 110 (October 781-804) (2000).

24. “Gay Couple Fights for Names on Birth Certificate” Des Moines Register. November 8, 2011 <http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-11-08/same-sex-couple-birth-certificate/51122394/1&gt; Last visited March 9, 2012.

25. AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE: PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF FAMILY DISSOLUTION; ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. 2002. Section 2.03. St. Paul, Minnesota: American Law Institute Publishing.

26. See William Duncan, “The Legal Fiction of DeFacto Parenthood” 36 Journal of Legislation 263, 265 (2010). <http://www.nd.edu/~ndlaw/jleg/issue_articles/volume36/Duncan_Final.pdf&gt; Last visited March 9, 2012.

27. Boseman v. Jarrell, ___N.C.____ , 704 S.E.2d 494 (N.C. 2010); Davis v. Swan, ___N.C.___, 697 S.E.2d 473 (2010).

28. Anne Case, 784.

29. David Blankenhorn. “The Rights of Children and the Redefinition of Parenthood.” Presentation Before the Danish Institute for Human Rights. 2 June 2005. http://www.americanvalues.org/html/danish_institute.htm Last visited March 12, 2012.

30. David Blankenhorn et al. 2006. THE REVOLUTION IN PARENTHOOD: THE EMERGING GLBOAL CLASH BETWEEN ADULT RIGHTS AND CHILDREN’S NEEDS. New York: Institute for American Values. http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/parenthood.pdf. Last visited March 11, 2012.

31. Russell Kirk. 2002. THE AMERICAN CAUSE. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books. 65.

32. ”Quotes from Mother Theresa.”.<goodreads.com.http: http://www.goodreads.com=”&#8221; quotes=”” search?q=”%22The+greatest+disease+is+<span” class=”hiddenGrammarError” pre=”is “>to+be+nobody+to+anybody.%22&commit=Search> Last visited March 10, 2012.

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me”

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/08/08 at 9:11 AM

We should remember that the highest and most important title for Jesus is «Son». Now to what extent was this designation already linguistically prefigured in the way Jesus talked about himself?… Unquestionably it lies in the attempt to summarize in one word the overall impression given by his life. Now, the whole direction of his life, its root and term, lay in the name «Abba» – ‘Daddy’. He knew he was never alone; up to his last cry on the cross he was wholly directed toward the Other, towards him whom he called Father. This is what made it possible for his true title of nobility to be neither «King» nor «Lord» nor any other attribute of power, but one word that we might equally translate by «child».

And so we can say that, if childhood holds such a pre-eminent place in Jesus’ preaching, it is because it is so closely linked to his own, most personal mystery: his sonship. His highest dignity, pointing to his divinity, is not, in the end, a power he possesses for its own sake but consists in the fact that he is turned towards the Other – towards God his Father…

Man wants to become like God (Gn 3,5) and must become so. But each time that – as in the everlasting dialogue with the serpent in Paradise – he tries to attain this by freeing himself from the tutelage of God and his creation to rely only on himself and to put himself in this position; each time, in a word, that he becomes completely adult, completely emancipated, and wholly rejects childhood as a state of life, he ends up in nothingness because he rejects his own truth, which is to be dependent. It is only by preserving what is most essential to childhood and the existence of a son, lived first of all by Jesus, that he enters into divinity with the Son.

Vatican Service (VIS)