Anna Arco the young Catholic Herald journalist, who incidently has a pretty exciting blog, has an interview with the Australian Dominican bishop who was the organisor of World Youth Day, Bishop Anthony Fisher.
In Victoria things are so far gone that doctors and nurses no longer have a freedom of conscience clause, he says. Something similar may be introduced in the United States. A medical practitioner in Victoria has to refer women for abortions and in an emergency perform one. Should this stop Catholics from becoming doctors?
"No, I think it means that Catholics can and must become doctors and they must be willing to be charged with a crime," he says. "I'd be very interested to see whether anybody is going to dare to challenge them for living by their conscience. But it's a monstrous situation that they should have to even live under the threat of that."
Bishop Fisher thinks that we are facing a situation similar to that experienced by the early Christians.
"In the Roman empire Christians and Jews stood out for being against abortion, contraception, infanticide, polygamy and homosexual activity," he says. "They stood against a range of things in the moral bioethical fields of marriage, family, sex. But they were really quite different because these were not just the standards of the Romans but the Greeks before them, and probably people thought that Christians were quite strange or prudish to have this sort of reverence for marriage and life."
He argues that taking a principled stand takes a great deal of courage and a strong sense of identity because the surrounding culture does not support virtue on that basis. Although society supports some types of virtuous behaviour, there are whole areas, he says, where we need to show the courage of our convictions.
"The culture is not very sympathetic. In fact it just thinks we're weird and looks at us uncomprehending," he says. He worries that pro-lifers may become targets of persecution because their position serves as a reproach. Some of the language in the amendments proposed but not tabled on the HFE Bill bore witness to that, he says....