"Chalk talks" have long been a favorite method for Sunday school teachers to illustrate a Bible story, as alumni of the pre-Power Point days of religious education will recall.
But can the same blackboard method work to explain the complexities of abortion and excommunication in the Roman Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law? Not to mention the ethical principle of the double-effect? The American Life League thinks so.
The ALL's nifty video explainer below stems from the case of the nun at a Phoenix hospital who was declared excommunicated last month by the local bishop for agreeing to allow an abortion to be performed on a woman at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's announcement prompted a tremendous amount of debate across the blogosphere, and a great deal of thoughtful analysis of the complex moral and ethical quandaries faced by Sister Margaret McBride and the other hospital administrators.
Here is the dilemma they faced: A 27-year-old woman who was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child was admitted to the hospital last November because the pregnancy was causing severe health problems for the woman, who suffers from pulmonary hypertension. Doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of death was close to 100 percent -- and the baby would die as well.
So the ethics board of the Catholic hospital, which included Sister McBride, deliberated with the woman and her doctors and decided this was an exception to the the code of Catholic health care directives that govern hospital ethics and care. An abortion was performed and the woman survived.
Last month, after Bishop Olmsted found out about the hospital's actions, he declared that Sister McBride -- along with any other Catholic involved in the decision, including the patient -- were automatically excommunicated.
Cue the controversy. But also, unexpectedly, some deeper thinking, as in articles in America magazine, the Jesuit weekly; in National Catholic Reporter; and at the blog of Commonweal magazine (where I also post). An in-depth piece at USA Today also explains how the procedure performed was actually a morally licit (under traditional Catholic teaching) "indirect abortion" because it targeted the placenta and so techincally led indirectly -- though inevitably -- to the death of the fetus.
Complex, heart-rending stuff, for all concerned,
Yet some saw the whole issue in simpler, or one might even say, simplistic, terms. The ALL's video was certainly one of the most straightforward and indeed graphic interpretations of the episode, and the sacramental fate of Sister McBride. The video was helpfully edited down to a manageable size by an editor at Commonweal, Grant Gallicho, who posted it at the magazine's blog. Best bits at the end:
PS: For those interested in a more extended take on the principles involved, Catholic News Service reports on a new statement on the question of "direct abortion" from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Some see that statement as indirect support of Bishop Olmsted, though others suggest that the bishops were simply trying to clarify the somewhat complex difference between a direct abortion and an indirect abortion -- the latter apparently the case in Phoenix. At least the bishops didn't resort to a video presentation.
We bring together premium publishers and marketers of all sizes (including 80% of the world's leading brands) into the world's largest and most vibrant content marketplace. Learn more about Outbrain ›
The global audience reached by Outbrain each month*
The total recommendations we serve consumers monthly
Of the world’s leading brands use Outbrain
* Audience reach according to comScore, September 2014. Leading brands via Ad Age DataCenter / Kantar Media, 2014.
We selected Outbrain not only because the revenues were higher than others, but because its engine drives better recommendations than others.
Senior Vice President, Group General Manager
It's less about buying traffic than it is about reaching the right people with relevant headlines to get them to your content.
EVP and Senior Partner
Our goal is always to deliver content that adds value to the conversations being held by the end user. Outbrain allows us to do just that.
Global Manager of Digital Marketing
The fact that we’re able to drive these kinds of transactions with consumers at scale and with increasing efficiency has made Outbrain paramount to our marketing strategy.
You cannot leave it to chance that someone will find and engage with your content. Outbrain can put your content in the midst of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Having links to our content appearing directly on premium publisher sites helped us establish our brand.
Outbrain is one of those [critical] components helping us deliver the right messages to the right contingent at massive scale and in real time to counter a crisis.
A GLOBAL FOOTPRINT OF SERVICE
We operate offices in 11 global territories and we partner with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, India and Japan. Come join us ›
Our New Approach to Comments
In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.