A wink from heaven

On January 21, Pope Francis gave the go-ahead to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish a decree on the heroic virtues of Jérôme Lejeune (1926-1994), the French Catholic physician and geneticist responsible for scientifically explaining Down Syndrome and a strong opponent of abortion. He said: “To accept the fact that, after fertilisation has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion.

“The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical conception. It is plain experimental evidence”.

In view of the fact this news of immense joy concerning the heroic virtues of Venerable Jérôme Lejeune came on the eve of the 48th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s dual ruling in Roe vs Wade and Doe vs Bolton, which legalised abortion throughout the US, could this be a ‘wink from heaven’?

Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap – Marsa

February 10, 1942

During World War II, all the precious artefacts belonging to the church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, in Valletta were transferred, for safekeeping, to the church of St Helen, in Birkirkara except for the magnificent statue of St Paul.

The same thing happened to all works of art and other precious things belonging to the Valletta churches as they were stored in other parishes away from the Grand Harbour area. Only fine church items belonging to the Carmelite basilica, in Valletta were stored in the same church. 

The statue of St Paul was kept under the arch of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by a large quantity of bags filled with sand. At that time,  there was little hope, so people used to place their hand in between the sand bags to reach and touch the statue of St Paul with great devotion.

In 1942, with great enthusiasm, they removed the sand bags and placed the statue of St Paul on the main altar for the feast day. In the photo, taken at that time, one can see the statue decorated with precious objects that are still used today for the secondary feasts celebrated in the same church.

The only procession that was allowed by the governor general to take place during the war in Valletta was the devotional one of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The procession had to last for two hours, from 5 to 7pm.

Fr Martin Schembri O.Carm, parish priest – Fleur-de-Lys

Whittling away fundamental principles

All life is sacred, mystical, amazing and wonderful. And it should have our respect. We should leave the least footprint possible on the world around us and kill if it is absolutely necessary.

It seems that the mood now for a substantial percentage of the people of Malta is that human life is expendable. For these people it is absolutely a human right to avoid pain and inconvenience.

But they seem to forget the golden rule: do unto others what you wish done to you. Maybe, if unborn babies could have their say, would they choose to be killed? If an old person is not pressurised to choose death because s/he feels him/herself to be a burden or because s/he has been left to die forgotten, would s/he choose death?

Or is it ok to whittle away a principle where it does not suit us? Or holding some principle in high regard and disregarding another that is inconvenient? Experience teaches us that when we tamper with a principle, we go down a slippery slope. A man from the war said: we were given the licence to kill and now we don’t value life any more.

But what does it mean to be a human person? Is it only to be comfortable for a while until we become economically useless and then get discarded? And should we play God?

Joe Portelli – Nadur

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