mercoledì, ottobre 28, 2020

Court ruling against eugenics met by violent pro-choice protests


The Polish Constitutional Court ruled last week that it is unconstitutional to abort a baby because it suffers from a genetic abnormality such as Down Syndrome. The reaction by many pro-choice campaigners to this decision against eugenics? Violent protests, blockading of roads and invasion of Masses.

Poland’s highest court considered the following question, brought by 119 deputies from three parliamentary groups:  should be abortion permitted under the Constitution when there is a “high probability of serious and irreversible disability of the foetus or an incurable life-threatening illness?

The Court declared that eugenic abortion is against the dignity and respect for human life that is guaranteed by the Polish Constitution.

“The mere fact of a disability or incurable illness of the child in the prenatal phase, linked to considerations of a eugenic nature and to considerations relating to the possible discomfort of the sick child’s life, cannot alone decide on the admissibility of the termination of pregnancy”, held the Constitutional Court of Poland.

Only two of the 13 Constitutional judges that took part in the hearing expressed a diverging opinion.

Under a law going back to 1993 abortion in Poland was permitted on three grounds: threat to the life or physical health of the mother, if the pregnancy is the result of a prohibited act such as rape or incest (up to 12 weeks), and when the foetus has an irreversible disability or incurable life-threatening illness.

Of the total of 1,110 abortions carried out in Poland last year, 1,074 were eugenic abortions on disabled foetuses. Thirty five percent of the those abortions involved children with Down Syndrome.

In countries like the UK and Denmark, the vast majority of unborn babies found to have conditions like Down Syndrome are aborted.

The decision of the Court has been welcomed by pro-life organisations in Poland and worldwide but, as expected, it has been heavily criticised by pro-choice activists.

Now the Polish Parliament is expected to approve a Citizens’ Bill, supported by 830,000 signatures, that was stalled while waiting for the Constitutional Court’s judgement. The Bill would remove from the 1993 act the clause that permits abortion in case of disability or incurable illness.

Alternatively, they could amend the Constitution and allow for eugenic abortions but there is no support for such a move in the parliament and in the country.

Lacking a political majority, the pro-choice side could only rely on street demonstrations and intimidation.

The protest following the ruling has become violent at times. A number of Catholic churches have been attacked by mobs and desecrated. Other churches had to be protected by a cordon of faithful and by the police. On Sunday, Masses were been interrupted by aggressive protesters in some Polish cities.

Ironically and tragically, even the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights deplored the Court’s decision.

“Throwing in the topic of abortion and holding a pseudo-tribunal on it in the middle of a raging pandemic is more than cynicism. This is political villainy,” said former Polish PM and President of the European Parliament, Donald Tusk.

But making disability a ground for abortion goes against any reasonable understanding of human rights.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stated in 2018 that, “Laws that explicitly allow abortion on the grounds of disability violate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

The Constitutional Court has to be lauded because, in spite of foreign pressure and interference, Poland is now for the international community an example of defence of the disabled.

martedì, ottobre 27, 2020

Oceans of slumber - To the Sea (A Tolling of Bells)


A song in my heart This tomb where I reside Floral smells of rot Gathered scattered flowers Tirelessly, I'm always awake Watching you in your dreamless sleep Waiting for my end The ground, it holds you in An ocean of slumber Forever you'll sleep But I'm there too, dreading The longing of those days gone by For the colors of grace I find them black and blue But they were once much brighter Now it's not the same, not the same Can you hear the bells calling for you? 'Cause I had an earth once I had a moon too The sun And the sun bore fireflies just for you And the universe And the universe shook to its core And the colors of grace They shone down on me Now let me go Say no more, say no more (Say no more, say no more) Let me go... into the sea Let me go Say no more, say no more (Say no more, say no more) Let me go... into the sea Let me go... into the sea Say no more, say no more (Say no more, say no more) Let me go... just let me go

lunedì, ottobre 26, 2020

Articoli su eutanasia

 Ho creato una collezione di collegamenti ad articoli e pagine web dedicati all'eutanasia e al suidicio assistitito.

La trovate qui.

venerdì, ottobre 23, 2020

Clergy who hold acts of public worship can go to prison under new Covid measures

UNDER new Covid restrictions passed into law last night in the Dail, a priest can now be fined, or imprisoned, or both, for saying Mass in public. The same applies to any minister of religion who holds a public act of worship.

This is drastic, draconian and unacceptable and must raise questions about the Constitutionality of the measure, quite apart from its total disproportionality.

Aside from Wales, the Republic of Ireland appears to be the only place in Europe where public worship has stopped, and in our case, now attracts penal sanctions.

Prior to this pandemic, when did such a law exist in Ireland? You have to go back to penal times.

Deputy Michael McNamara pointed out the implication of the new law to Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, in the Dail last night. Minister Donnelly said Deputy McNamara was wrong, but a reading of the relevant law shows he is correct.

Deputy McNamara said: “Priests will be committing a criminal offence if they open the doors of their churches for Mass. I know that lots of priests do not want to say Mass and do not believe it is appropriate. That is their prerogative. I am not a Mass-goer, but I know how important it is in the community I represent for people to go to Mass or to a church or mosque. The Government is denying them that. Is the Government is going to send gardaí after priests who decide to say Mass? If the Government is thinking of that, I have one word to say, ‘Don’t’.”

Minister Donnelly said he would “challenge NPHET to provide the evidence again [for the ban on public worship] because I agree that this is a major imposition”, but he added: “I assure the Deputy and other colleagues that with regard to penalties, religious services are non-penal in that there is no penalty attached to them.”

Quite apart from the extraordinary admission in this statement that the Minister does not have evidence from NPHET to say that public worship constitutes a serious public health risk, he is just wrong on his own law.

Last night new regulations (SI 448 of 2020) became law. Article 8 of these Regulations prohibits various “events”, broadly defined. The term includes religious services (with an exception for funerals). Contravention of the prohibition is an offence and the relevant part of the Regulations is a “penal provision”, allowing for the imposition of criminal penalties on the “organiser” of an event, such as a priest celebrating a Mass attended by any members of the public. The penalties include a fine, imprisonment, or both.

It seems clear, therefore, that Minister Donnelly is incorrect in his interpretation of the new law, a minister of religion can potentially go to prison for holding a public act of worship.

It might be pleaded that similar penalties apply to many other citizens and sectors, but we can only repeat how extraordinarily draconian these measures in respect of religion are, when compared with other countries.

The Constitution guarantees: “Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.” It also acknowledges the importance of public worship.
Is the new law justified by “public order and morality”? Not if, as appears to be the case, Minister Donnelly does not have any evidence to say that public worship poses a serious health risk.  Recently when pressed about this, Dr Ronan Glynn, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, could not point to any such evidence.

One way or the other, a court would have to decide if the measure is proportionate. In light of what is happening elsewhere in Europe, and the freedom guaranteed under our Constitution to religious believers, despite the pandemic, the answer is surely “no”.

The question now is what, if anything, the leaders of the various religions in the Republic of Ireland will do in response?

martedì, ottobre 20, 2020

How American bishops are fighting church Covid restrictions


In the Republic of Ireland right now, people cannot attend public worship. The only other region in Europe with similar restrictions at the time of writing appears to be Wales. NPHET regards public worship as “less important” in the context of a pandemic.

Everywhere in Europe and in America, there are restrictions on how many can attend, and almost no one objects to this. But when the limits on attendance becomes too great, or public worship is stopped altogether, then it is reasonable to protest, especially when there is no evidence that well-run churches are responsible for infection outbreaks.

In the US, Catholic Bishops in New York and San Francisco have challenged the restrictions to religious celebrations imposed by the local authorities.

On October 8, for example, the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo because in some zones of New York, religious services are restricted to a maximum of 33pc of a church’s capacity or no more than 25 people.

In an official statement, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said: “The state has completely disregarded the fact that our safety protocols have worked and it is an insult to once again penalize all those who have made the safe return to church work.”

Bishop DiMarzio clarified that the diocese’s legal challenge to the state of New York is not about just just about numbers , but it is also about religious freedom and the classification of churches by the State as “non-essential” businesses, something that has happened here as well, despite Constitutional protections for religious freedom.

“Going to church should absolutely be considered essential. We should not be grouped with non-essential services like theaters and recreational facilities.”, said the Bishop.

Last Friday, when the Court ruled against the Diocese of Brooklyn. The judge in the case, Nicholas Garaufis said that the state did not unlawfully single out religion for its restrictions, noting that its rules applied to other non-religious gatherings as well.”

At the same time, the judge praised the diocese for having “been an exemplar of community leadership” that “at each step … has been ahead of the curve, enforcing stricter safety protocols than the State required at the given moment.”

In response, Bishop DiMarzio commented: “Despite this loss, we will continue to press our leaders for policies that consider the individual circumstances of houses of worship. We will also continue to advocate for places of worship to be classified as essential, for there is nothing more necessary today than a community of believers, united in prayer, asking the Lord to end this pandemic.”

In San Francisco, the restrictions adopted in August were even more severe than in New York: indoor services were suspended while outdoor worship was limited to 12 people, including the celebrant. Only one person at a time could pray in a church, according to the guidance.

At the beginning of September, Mayor London Breed announced that at the end of the month places of worship could reopen for indoor celebrations but with a limited capacity of 25pc and up to 25 people.

The archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, noted that in the US people don’t have a constitutional right to a haircut but they have a constitutional right to exercise their religion. In piece in the Washington Post he wrote: “We Catholics respect legitimate authority, and we recognize that the government has a right to impose reasonable public health rules, just as we recognize its right to issue safety codes for our church buildings. But when government asserts authority over the church’s very right to worship, it crosses a line. Our fundamental rights do not come from the state. As the authors of our Declaration of Independence put it, they are ‘self-evident’, that is, they come from God.”

These are strong words that reaffirm the primacy of religious belief and practice, which can be limited only temporarily and in exceptional circumstances.

Archbishop Cordileone announced a plan for Eucharistic Processions in San Francisco. One took place on September 20. More than 35,000 people signed a petition opposing the unfair restrictions on the Mass.

On September 26, the Department of Justice urged the Mayor of San Francisco to open up places of worship. “No government in this free country can attack religion by transforming a house of worship arbitrarily into a place for solitary confinement. People of faith go to churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places to worship with their fellow believers, and they can do so lawfully because the First Amendment to the United States Constitution makes illegal any effort by government to prohibit the free exercise of religion,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.

Following these requests, at the end of the month Mayor Breed eased some restrictions. Now up to 100 people can gather in churches and other religious venues and outdoor services are allowed to have up to 200 attendants.

Archbishop Cordileone thanked the Mayor for “recognizing that faith is essential” and for responding to her constituents’ call. He acknowledged the work of those who campaigned with him and said that their struggle will continue as the State of California limits indoor worship to 100 people and this has to be challenged. “We will not accept believers being treated more severely than other, comparable secular activities.”

Will any such efforts be made by religious leaders here in Ireland?

venerdì, ottobre 16, 2020

giovedì, ottobre 15, 2020

What do euthanasia campaigners mean by ‘unbearable suffering’?


The assisted suicide Bill currently before the Dail is being justified on the grounds that no-one should have to suffer ‘unbearable pain’.  But this concept is extremely elastic and can and has been interpreted in the most extensive manner in order jurisdictions to include even ailments absolutely commonplace in old age, as this blog will show.

Unbearable pain is often presented as a reason to justify doctor assisted suicide but what counts as ‘unbearable’? Obviously, there is no scientific demarcation. What is deemed unbearable is, by definition, highly subjective as we all have a capacity to bear suffering. Moreover, should pain be only physical or include mental pain as well?

Let’s consider the role that this notion plays in the Netherlands, a country where euthanasia has been allowed for years.

The Dutch legislation requires that the doctors are “satisfied that the patient’s suffering is unbearable, with no prospect of improvement.”

The law does not specify the scope of “unbearable suffering”, but a code of practice provides some clarification. This accompanying document, recently revised, tells us that “suffering is a broad concept. It can result from pain and shortness of breath, extreme exhaustion and fatigue, physical decline, or the fact that there is no prospect of improvement, but it can also be caused by growing dependence, or feelings of humiliation and loss of dignity”. (Euthanasia Code 2018 p. 21).

So, according to the code of practice, suffering does not have to be necessarily physical. The notion is so vague and broad that one might ask what form of suffering would be not included? For instance, with age many people experience a deterioration of their abilities, such as sight and hearing. Should that be a ground for euthanasia? It turns out the answer is ‘yes’.

The Dutch Euthanasia Code 2018 says: “As we have seen, for a patient’s request for euthanasia to be considered, his suffering must have a medical dimension. However, it is not a requirement that there be a life-threatening medical condition. Multiple geriatric syndromes – such as sight impairment, hearing impairment, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, balance problems or cognitive deterioration – may cause unbearable suffering without prospect of improvement.”

To illustrate this point, the official 2019 report presents the real-life case of a man in his fifties who was gradually becoming blind and found his disability unbearable. The doctor asked the patient to contact an institute for the visually impaired and seek their advice. But “the solutions offered did not suit the patient because they were too far removed from his independent lifestyle” and he was, instead, euthanised. (2019 report, pp. 47-48).

In other words, in the Netherlands a man in his fifties killed himself with the assistance of doctors because he found losing his sight an unbearable suffering.

But some people find loneliness unbearable, or the loss of a loved one, or trauma suffered by abuse and so on. Do we really want to offer suicide as a solution to those who undergo through such difficult experiences?

“Unbearable pain” is commonly mentioned by pro-assisted suicide campaigners in their argumentation, because of the emotions it triggers but those who request lethal substances do not cite it as their primary concern.

Let’s consider the latest reports from Canada and Oregon. In Canada, applicants are asked to describe what has prompted the request. “Inadequate control of pain” came after “Loss of ability to engage in meaningful life activities”, “Loss of ability to perform activities of daily living”, and “Inadequate control of symptoms other than pain (or concern about it)”.

In Oregon we have similar results. “Inadequate pain control” (or fear of it) was mentioned by fewer people than other concerns such as being “Less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable”, “Losing autonomy”, “Loss of dignity”, “Burden on family, friends/caregivers”, and “Losing control of bodily functions”.

This shows that, in spite of the emotive appeal to terrible pain, people applying for assisted suicide fear more the loss of autonomy, as they see it. The signal sent to all vulnerable people by making assisted suicide available on grounds of ‘unbearable suffering or pain’ is terrible. It invites them all to devalue their lives.

There is no reference to pain in the Bill recently proposed by deputy Gino Kenny, even if he incorrectly claimed otherwise on the radio, but he used this emotive expression in when he presented it in the Dáil.

Other campaigners in Ireland are now claiming that this Bill does not go far enough and having a terminal illness, or even being sick at all, should not be the only grounds to apply for assisted suicide.

Tom Curran represents Exit International, a group campaigning for the “right to die” of any adult of sound mind, for any reason. He told the Sunday Independent that assisted suicide should be extended to people with mental illnesses.

“For me the test should be: are they able to think rationally? There are lots of mental illnesses that don’t affect a person’s ability to think rationally. They should be included. But this Bill is a good start”.

But simply being of ‘sound mind’ means you don’t have to be mentally ill either.

Similarly, journalist Fintan O’Toole told RTE radio that everybody should be given access to assisted suicide.

Presenter Sarah McInerny asked him: “ … this is a conversation that perhaps started off in relation to people who are terminally ill and in a lot of pain, that wasn’t the case for your father for example, he wasn’t terminally ill so is it now people who are just ill or depressed perhaps or sad, unhappy. Where do you draw the line?”

Fintan O’Toole replied: “This is exactly why we need an open conversation about what happens in real life.  As you said, my dad wasn’t terminally ill. He was chronically ill, he had a couple of different chronical illnesses, but he wasn’t clinically depressed either.  I would say, what this is really about is the choice of the person, isn’t? And then it’s about what process do you have to be absolutely sure that that person is able to make the choice and is not been pressured in making the choice.“

 The logic of assisted suicide is inexorable. In the Netherlands we have just seen it extended to one year old babies.

venerdì, ottobre 09, 2020

Scambio di memorie e incontro di culture

Questo libro propone una riflessione su Domenico Jervolino, pensatore e uomo politico, per molti anni docente di Filosofia del Linguaggio e di Filosofia Teoretica nell’Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. Gli interessi principali della sua ricerca filosofica sono stati: la rivisitazione critica di Marx con la ripresa della nozione gramsciana di egemonia, la riproposta dei paradigmi ricœriani del simbolo, del testo e della traduzione, il richiamo alle istanze della filosofia e della teologia della liberazione. Particolare attenzione è stata dedicata da Jervolino al paradigma della traduzione, intesa come riconoscimento e accoglienza dell’altro. Nel passaggio da una lingua all’altra il filosofo napoletano ha visto lo straniero diventare il prossimo, il soggetto riconosciuto e accettato.

Maggiori dettagli qui.

giovedì, ottobre 08, 2020

Once euthanasia is introduced, the grounds always expand


Last night the Dáil voted in favour of moving Gino Kenny’s assisted suicide bill to past second stage of the legislation process, and to committee stage. Several senior Government figures voted in favour of it including Leo Varadkar, Helen McEntee, Stephen Donnelly and Simon Harris.

Supporters of the bill claim it will be introduced with strict limits and safeguards. But the experience of other countries tells us that once the absolute prohibition of killing patients is lifted, it becomes impossible to keep the initial restrictions.

Laws allowing the direct (euthanasia) or indirect (assisted suicide) killing of a patient by doctors are rare in the world. They only exist in six countries, in one Australian state and in nine US states.

Nonetheless, in all those places we see a common pattern: legislation is initially introduced on certain limited grounds and with time those grounds continuously expand. Moreover, once a “right to die” is established, courts will find limitations discriminatory and will remove them.

Let’s see some examples.

In the Netherlands euthanasia was introduced for terminally ill adults who were mentally competent. Then, step by step, it was extended to those with chronic condition, with disabilities, mental health problems and even to non-mentally competent children.

This happened not through a modification of the legislation but with changing the interpretation of the law in courts or by medical professionals.

Last April, the Dutch Supreme Court cleared a doctor who administered euthanasia to a woman in the advanced stages of dementia who resisted death when the time came to give her a legal substance. Her family helped to hold her down. She had previously said she wished to be killed when she was no longer mentally competent.

The Dutch parliament currently has before it a private members bill that proposes to offer euthanasia to anyone over 75, even healthy people. If this passes, the next step will be to lower the age limit or to remove it completely.

In Colombia, the Constitutional Court decriminalised euthanasia in 1997. In 2014, it established the “right to die with dignity” as a fundamental right and therefore subject to special legal protection. In 2017, this ‘right’ was extended to minors, who can avail of euthanasia even without consent from their parents. While parents can request euthanasia for their children if they are not able to express themselves.

In Canada, assisted suicide was introduced in 2016 for those who are in pain and for whom death is “reasonably foreseeable”, even if the condition is not terminal. But in 2019 the Supreme Court in Quebec deemed this requirement unconstitutional and ruled in favour of two people for whom death was not foreseeable but, nonetheless, they desired to die. The court decided it was discrimination not to extend the same right to the chronically ill who might be suffering.

In Oregon, in the US, the limits were expanded without even changing the law. With time, the Oregon Health Authority took an expansive interpretation of what constitutes a terminal illness, including conditions that if treated would be not terminal. Moreover, in 2019 they removed the 15-day waiting period.

In Belgium, euthanasia was legalized in 2002 for those with incurable conditions (not necessarily terminal) and in 2014 they allowed minors to access it.

Other examples of this “slippery slope” could be mentioned.

There is a logic in all those developments. If choosing when and how to die is a right, why should it be limited and restricted? If killing is a solution to ‘unbearable suffering’, there is no compelling reason to limit its availability to one category of patients. Why only those with terminal illness? Why only to those experiencing physical pain? Why only adults? Why only mentally competent?

Medicine is based on the principle of doing no harm. The introduction of the direct or indirect killing of a patient transforms and betrays profoundly the purpose of the health system and the role of doctors.

Lifting the absolute prohibition of killing is not a small step, it is a fundamental cultural shift. Everything else follows from such move and this is why it has to be rejected without compromise.

Once the threshold is passed, it is only a matter of time before the next restriction is removed and it becomes hard, if not impossible, to go back.

domenica, ottobre 04, 2020


Sto ascoltando "Polvere", un'indagine sulla morte di Marta Russo e sul relativo processo. La conoscete? Presenta una versione molto diversa da quella ufficiale.

venerdì, ottobre 02, 2020



Odysee è il nuovo volto di LBRY. Non ci sono differenze sostanziali e continua ad essere operativo. Il grande vantaggio di LBRY rispetto ad altre piattaforme è che permette di ospitare di tutto: video, audio, immagini, testo, file. Odysee, invece, è stato pensato per un pubblico focalizzato sui video e quindi graficamente appare un poco più simile a Youtube o simili. Inoltre contiene, sulla colonna sinistra, suggerimenti organizzati secondo dei temi generici: giochi, finanza, tecnologia, ecc.

Qui trovate il mio canale.