PopeWatch: Silence and Mourning

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Well chosen silence can be quite eloquent.  Pope Francis gave an example of this during his visit to South Korea:

During the solemn visit, part of his prearranged itinerary to South Korea, the Holy Father and his entourage stopped for a moment and prayed in silence in front of hundreds of small white crosses representing victims of abortion. Accompanying the Pope was Father Lee Gu-won, a representative of pro-life groups in Korea and missionary to people without limbs.

The moment of prayer today came after the Pope visited Kkottongnae (“Village of Flowers”), a Catholic center about 60 miles south of Seoul which seeks to provide care and rehabilitation to the severely disabled, homeless and those afflicted by addictions. The Pope’s visit to the memorial was especially appropriate given the stigma of disability in Korea and that genetic deformities are often used to justify abortions.

The “Cemetery for Aborted Children” is located behind the home and includes a statue of the Holy Family surrounded by a cross representing the unborn.

Go here to read the rest.  Unlike in America, Asian cultures rarely seek to pretend that abortion is a good, or that there is no guilt involved.  In 2000 Friar Anthony Zimmerman,  a priest and retired professor of moral theology at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan, wrote about this:

The Sakakibara “Great Kannon Temple” in Mie Prefecture caters to grieving parents as its mainline business. Its 90 foot high gold-covered statue of the Kannon goddess attracts visitors from far and wide, and its remote location permits parents to grieve without danger of being seen by the neighbors. To drum up business some years ago, this and other temples resorted to questionable advertising. Modern Japanese may make a public show of being above superstitions and ancient folklore, but astute temple promoters of the business ignored the pretext of immunity to superstition. Instinctively they went for the juggler of psychic unrest and gnawed at the vitals of submerged and unresolved fears. Some hinted darkly at tatari, a curse which a restless child in the other world can bring upon a family.

We can bring your child to peace, so guaranteed a typical ad. Bring peace to your child, abandoned now and alone on the banks of the River Sai; demons bully him there, making him pile up stone stupas, which the demons kick down again. Our Kannon is equipped to save your child. She has large hands, with webbing between the fingers; she can pick up your shredded and smashed child whole, press him to her bosom tenderly and reverently, then convey him across the River Sai; family ancestors will meet him there and admit him to their company. There at last, the child will be peaceful, and you are safe from its avenging anger.

An angry and restless child can bring a curse (tatari) to your family, warns the ad; a curse like divorce, a car accident, a loss of job, failure in an entrance exam. You were selfish; you considered your convenience, not that of the child. Apologize promptly for what you did by performing the prescribed ceremony. Help this child to become peaceful… This is also the sure way for peace in your family.

For greater convenience, the ad offered mail-order ceremonies. An order blank had lines to record the due-date of the child; of up to five aborted children, at $100 each. Upon receipt of payment, a priest will perform the ceremony, and the applicant will receive a memorial card by return mail. Should the petitioner wish, the return envelope will be without the temple’s address, to guard secrecy. The memorial card can be tucked into a hidden place of the house altar, advises the ad, and when parents hold the card in the hand, they can speak directly to the child, who will then learn about the care and love of the parents.

The multi-million dollar on-going success of the mizuko kuyo prayer industry in Japan indicates that grieving for an aborted child is an abiding need felt by parents. Although the folklore taken literally defies credulity, it is perhaps little more than camouflage spread over the real fears and genuine feelings which tug convincingly at the heart strings of parents.

America’s ideological straightjacket of “choice” is rigid and does not allow parents to grieve for their aborted children; Japan’s more relaxed folklore of ritual grieving for the departed unborn is kinder to the parents.

Go here to read the rest.  When we all face God for our particular judgment, PopeWatch does not think He usually faces us alone, but rather, PopeWatch suspects, with some of  the people we encountered in this life, for good and for ill.  Those who do not mourn for their aborted children in this life, may well have an eternity to mourn in the next.

 

 

 

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