| Home >> Directory of sheep and wolves

Correspondence with Rev. Mia Anderson (St-Michael's of Sillery)

Rev. Mia Anderson
Rev. Mia Anderson

Table of contents

1) S. Jetchick (2007-November-01)
2) M. Anderson (2007-November-01)
3) S. Jetchick (2007-November-02)
4) M. Anderson (2007-November-06)
5) S. Jetchick (2007-November-08)
6) An article marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK

1) S. Jetchick (2007-November-01)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stefan Jetchick"
To: "Anderson, Mia"
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2007 1:18 PM
Subject: L'église la plus «flyée» en ville!

Good day Reverend Anderson,

It's Stefan Jetchick, your neighbor who doesn't see
the light of day because he's too busy in front of
his laptop.

I got your nice flyer in my mailbox, and couldn't
resist blogging about it.

I like to tease people, but I don't want to tell lies,
or be nasty, so please tell me if I exaggerate:

	The "Whackiest" Church In Town!


Stefan Jetchick

2) M. Anderson (2007-November-01)

-----Original Message-----
From: Mia Anderson
Sent: 1 novembre 2007 13:24
To: Stefan Jetchick
Subject: Re: L'église la plus «flyée» en ville!

Bless you, this is hysterical; I love it. Especially "And now
let us implore the Lord for Stefan to wake up." I'll say that
next time I'm out there taking the eucharist, I promise. And
how sweet of you to turn off the air conditioner. But then
why not step out after waking up, and join us? (If we are so
persuasive, why are you not persuaded?)

Can I have my quibbles too? I'm a «Pastor» in the pastoral
sense, but my role is «Priest», I was ordained to that order,
same as the big guys (I'm only 5'4" going on 5'3").

And you might spell bilingual with an n (version anglaise).

And by the way, my diocese has not yet taken affirmative
action on church blessings of homosexuals - welcome though
the couples indeed are. But no same sex marriages here yet.
And one doesn't promote abortion; abortion is a tragedy, but
life does hold tragedies. (But I know what you mean.) I think
I should have a picture of me climbing a ladder - or maybe
some scaffodling.

But my only REAL quibble is with the member of your family,
the atheist. I've heard of do-it-yourself religions and make-
your-own churches, and this ain't one. The decor may change
with Réno dépôt but the faith hasn't had an overhaul. Maybe
the way of living it has. Tell him to come and see us next
May when we open the Exposition Cantorbéry à Québec. He'll
see, and I will take him on in debate with the greatest of

And if he can't wait till then, send him the attachment I'll
attach to you, a recent lecture in Wales by the Archbishop of
Canterbury called "How to Misunderstand Religion". (Also to
be found on his website.)

Cheers, you've quite made my day,

3) S. Jetchick (2007-November-02)

-----Original Message-----
From: Stefan Jetchick
Sent: 2 novembre 2007 10:05
To: Mia Anderson
Subject: RE: L'église la plus «flyée» en ville!

Hello again!

>> Cheers, you've quite made my day,

Well, good! You also made my Mom's day with your flyer, since
she decided her funeral service was going to be at your church!
Also, my sister Christiane had her wedding reception in your Parish
hall. Personally, I'm also thinking about your hall, since
I'm trying to organize a civilized debate between pro-lifers and
pro-choicers (especially after the nasty incidents that occured
this past October 7).

>> I love it. Especially "And now
>> let us implore the Lord for Stefan to wake up."


By the way, I really was making a joke, so please don't take
that as an indirect complaint. I really don't mind having religious
ceremonies like yours next to my bedroom window.

Actually, the only formal complaint I would have against
St-Michael's is that you don't ring your church bell often
enough. I'd love to hear it three times a day, seven days a
week. Honest! I really love the sound of church bells!

>> I'm a «Pastor» in the pastoral
>> sense, but my role is «Priest»

I really want to put the proper title in front of your name,
but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do it.
In the French version I say:

	"la Révérende Mia Anderson, curée de l'église
	Saint-Michael de Sillery"

which is neat in French because the single word "curée" means:
"a Priest, but a woman Priest on top of that, and she's
in charge of that church to boot". So I'm not sure how
to translate that in one English word.

>> And you might spell bilingual with an n (version anglaise).

Duh! My bad. I owe you 50 cents.

>> Tell [my Atheist half-brother] to come and see us next
>> May [...], and I will take him on in debate with the
>> greatest of pleasure.

This is the part of your e-mail that makes me assume you
won't be miffed if I put our e-mail exchange on the Internet.

Secondly, that part of your e-mail also makes me assume
you won't mind sparring a bit with me by e-mail. I'll forward
this e-mail exchange to my Atheist half-brother, so he
can see for himself. Obviously, he has heard my side of the
story, but it would be nice if he could read your answers
to my two questions.

>> And by the way, my diocese has not yet taken affirmative
>> action on church blessings of homosexuals [...] no same
>> sex marriages here yet.

This is one of my questions. (Well, not really for me. For
my half-brother, and my Mother, etc., who I hope will read

If Jesus Christ really is God, and if Jesus really did found
one indefectible Church [Mt 16:18], then won't that Church
have the same teachings in every diocese? Can something be
a mortal sin in one diocese, and a Sacrament in another?

>> And one doesn't promote abortion; abortion is a tragedy

Second and last question: why is abortion a "tragedy"? I'll
repeat what I told that nice chap from Québec-Solidaire:

	Suppose, for example, that I wanted to go to the hospital to
	have my infected appendix removed, and that "pro-appendix-
	lifers" tried to block my path, while holding signs saying
	things like: "Appendectomy is Murder!" I would be angry, and
	very worried too! If I delayed my appendectomy too much, I
	would risk dying from peritonitis! I would consider these
	people to be nuts and violent, since it's my body, and I have
	the right to a surgical operation that will save my life!

	On the other hand, you too have to make an effort with your
	imagination. Suppose a mother, with her two young children, a
	little 2 year-old girl and a young 5 year-old boy. This woman
	would scream out: "I will have the children that I want, when
	I want! And today, I don't want any children!" So this mother
	grabs a kitchen knife and gets ready to slit the throats of
	her two kids. If a policeman arrived just in time, and that he
	grabbed this woman's wrist and prevented her from killing her
	two children, would you say this policeman is "violent"? No,
	of course not.

	So we end up, once again, in front of the most important issue
	of the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers: What is
	killed by an abortion?

If what is killed by an abortion is not a human person, why
call it a "tragedy"? It's a "liberation!"

And if an abortion does kill an innocent human person,
then won't God and His Church be pro-life? [Ex 20:13]



4) M. Anderson (2007-November-06)

-----Original Message-----
From: Mia Anderson
Sent: 6 novembre 2007 00:06
To: Stefan Jetchick
Subject: abortion

There he is (the ABC), right on topic again.

I'm copying you an article for your interest
(ABC = Arch / Bishop (of) / Canterbury)

5) S. Jetchick (2007-November-08)

Hello again,

>> There he is (the ABC), right on topic again.

Well, it's the first time I've had the opportunity of reading
something by ABC (Rowan Williams). See below
for my detailed analysis.

I used the same technique I used to criticize the recent
public statement of Cardinal Marc Ouellet,
for the Bouchard-Taylor "Reasonable Accommodations" Commission.

No rush,


6) An article marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act in the UK

Article for the Observer newspaper, Sunday 21st October 2007.
© Rowan Williams 2007.

[Green] Most of those who voted for the 1967 Abortion Act did so in the clear belief that they were making provision for extreme and tragic situations - conception as a result of rape, foetal or perinatal complications threatening a mother's life and so on. Forty years on, a good many of these same people have expressed their dismay at what has in fact happened over this period. As we review these years - and as some of the issues are reopened in connection with the proposed legislation on embryo research - it may be important to think about where this unease comes from and whether it has any lessons for us now.

[Green] What they are saying, in effect, is that legislation intended to deal with exceptions, intending to tackle tragic circumstances that

[Yellow] offered no simple right answer

Apparently offered no simple right answer

[Green] has in its outworking had the effect of shifting some basic assumptions. Many of the supporters of the 67 Bill started from a strong sense of taking for granted the wrongness of ending an unborn life - and the same was undoubtedly true of those who campaigned for changes in the law in other countries. What people might now call their "default position" was still that

[Yellow] abortion was a profoundly undesirable thing and that a universal presumption of care for the foetus from the first moment of conception was the norm.

Unfortunately, right here somebody needs to stop Archbishop Williams, and ask for some critical clarifications. What is a "profoundly undesirable thing"? Having your wisdom teeth pulled is profoundly undesirable (for me anyway, having all four of them pulled on the same day when I was 19). Being beaten by a bunch of thugs and being left there to die would also fit in my "profoundly undesirable" category. But the prospect of committing one single mortal sin is not "profoundly undesirable". It's "absolutely evil", something which must be "avoided at all cost". Given a choice between committing a serious sin, and being beaten up to death by some thugs, I should choose death, so help me God.

The expression "foetus" is also problematic. Is a "foetus" a human person, or just a blob of human tissue? As I said in my previous e-mail: "So we end up, once again, in front of the most important issue of the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers: What is killed by an abortion?"

[Green] But the rapidly spiralling statistics - nearly 200,000 abortions a year in England and Wales - tell their own story. We are not now dealing with a relatively small number of extreme cases (and clinical advances have in fact reduced the number of strictly medical dilemmas envisaged by the 67 Act's supporters). When we hear, as a recent survey reported in the Lancet, that one third of pregnancies in Europe end in abortion, we may well ask - even granted that these figures are rather skewed by very high levels in the old Eastern bloc - what has happened. Recent discussion on making it simpler for women to administer abortion-inducing drugs at home underlines the growing belief that abortion is essentially a matter of individual decision and not the kind of major moral choice that should involve

[Yellow] a sharing of perspective and judgement.

Adolf Hitler could have "shared perspective and judgement" all day. What he needed to do was to submit to the Ten Commandments.

[Green] And that necessarily means that certain presumptions have changed. Not only has there been an obvious weakening of the feeling that abortion is a last resort in cases of extreme danger or distress; the development of embryo research, whether we regard it positively or negatively, has brought with it the hint of a more instrumental approach to the human organism in its earliest days, which inevitably feeds in to the discussion of abortion - as is clear from the abortion-related amendments being debated in the context of proposed new legislation on this research.

[Green] Paradoxically, the language of "foetal rights" has strengthened over the last few decades, leading to a real tension with this growing normalisation of abortion. The pregnant woman who smokes or drinks heavily is widely regarded as guilty of infringing the rights of her unborn child; yet at the same time, with no apparent sense of incongruity, there is discussion of the possibility of the liberty of the pregnant woman herself to perform the actions that will terminate a pregnancy. At the very least we need some joining-up here, even if it's only in the recognition that

[Yellow] the model of competing rights or liberties (the mother's and the unborn child's) is not the most useful vehicle for a coherent moral grasp of the question.

Hum? I'm not sure I get it. My idea of a "useful vehicle for a coherent moral grasp of the question" is: "What is killed by an abortion, a human person, or a blob of tissue?"

What other "useful vehicle" could there be? How can we determine the moral worth of the action of killing something, if we don't determine what "the something" is?

[Green] None of this provides a knockdown argument for tightening the law or lowering the time threshold for abortions

Of course, since you're avoiding the only way we could determine the morality of abortion!

[Green] though this latter issue needs attention if only because of the fact that the existing law assumes a rather less developed state of medical science than is now the case. The changes made in 1990 to the legal upper time-limit for abortion (from 28 to 24 weeks) reflect the need to

[Red] keep this matter under regular review.

Whatever is killed by an abortion, it's not going to change nature depending on how advanced Science is. Whatever "it" is today, "it" was thousands of years ago, and "it" will be until the end of the world.

The only situation where the matter would need to be "regularly reviewed", is Situation #4, because it could eventually be transformed into Situation #3:


We DO know...

We DO NOT know...

...that it IS a human person

#1) Abortion is bad (murder)

#2) Abortion is bad (it's like driving over a large object at night, even though you're unsure whether it's a homeless person, or just a large bag of trash)

...that it IS NOT a human person

#3) Abortion is good

#4) Abortion is bad (for same reason as #2)

[Green] But thinking about the processes by which we unconsciously shift what we take for granted does highlight questions about how we hold a steady moral focus in these matters of social and legal debate, questions which might take us beyond the current trading of slogans on the abortion issue.

[Green] We begin with clear, perhaps absolute, principles and, as we honestly confront a hugely complex world, we recognise that

[Red] clear principles don't let you off the hook. There is no escaping the tough decisions where no answer will feel completely right

OK, so according to Archbishop Williams, "sometimes there is no right answer". That is what is known as an "Assertion". After making an assertion, you need to back it up with facts and logic. You can't just assert, and run away!

It's actually quite funny that he states: "Sometimes, there is no right answer", and yet he still has not yet asked the absolutely fundamental question: "What is killed by an abortion?" No wonder he's confused!

[Green] and no option is without cost. But when do we get to the point where accepting the inevitability of tough decisions that may hurt the conscience has become so routine that we stop noticing that there ever was a strain on the conscience, let alone why that strain should be there at all?

[Green] The process is one that can be traced in other, perhaps more familiar, areas as well as the abortion question. You start with the presumption that abortion is unavoidably an act of violence,

[Yellow] the ending of a life

What life? The life of an infected appendix? The life of a hopelessly rotten tooth? The life of an innocent human person?

[Red] but perhaps there are situations where it is the least awful outcome - and so you reluctantly conclude that some provision should be made for these situations.

Once again, if it's something else than an innocent human person, why would killing it be "least awful"? There is nothing "awful" about killing an infected appendix, or a rotten tooth! It's a liberation!

But if it's an innocent human person, then the 5th Commandment kicks in. "Thou shalt not kill". The end never justifies the means. There is no such thing as a situation where the direct killing of an innocent human person is morally right. How complicated is that?

[Green] Or: you start from the presumption that marriage is a lifelong union

[Red] but it is appallingly cruel to refuse relief to people who are being systematically damaged by deeply unhappy marriages and you accept more rapid paths towards divorce.

Jeepers, is he really trotting out that old hack of an argument? Archbishop Williams needs to read: "So, You Married The Wrong Person?"

[Green] You take it for granted that marriage and family life are foundational things in a properly nurturing and stable society

[Red] but many mature and responsible people choose to live in partnerships other than marriage and because no-one wants to see them suffer hardship or discrimination because of this, you accept the case for the benefits of civil partnership.

How could they be "mature and responsible", while simultaneously demonstrating contempt for some of the most basic lessons of Natural Law? Archbishop Williams needs to read: "The Immorality of Sexual Relations before Marriage"

[Red] And it's difficult to deny that because of all these understandable and generous reasons something has happened to our assumptions about marriage and family - just as, for equally understandable and generous reasons, something has happened to our assumptions about the life of the unborn child. And the ongoing debate about assisted dying raises similar questions, as many have pointed out.

Well, obviously, if Archbishop Williams uses divorce and pre-marital sex as "proofs" that sometimes abortion is a good thing, then the rest of his article depends on those arguments (which of course I don't concede, for the reasons given in my articles). So Archbishop Williams and I would need to back up and re-visit those topics. Until then, I can't really agree or disagree with anything based on those arguments.

[Yellow] The history of the 1967 Act's implementation is an object lesson in how slippage can occur between thinking compassionately or flexibly about extreme and exceptional cases and losing the sense of a normative position. I don't think we're yet at the point where such a sense has been entirely lost. Even if some of the language about foetal rights is uncertain and confused, it illustrates the half-articulate conviction that the unborn child does merit protection. And the furore around Channel 4's recent broadcast about abortion with its vivid images of the unborn shows that there remains an instinctive recognition of humanity in the foetus even at very early stages, a recognition which advocates of more accessible abortion know they have to work to overcome.

[Yellow] But the slippage is there. This is not an argument for unalterable prohibitions in law against abortion in every circumstance - or against divorce or civil partnerships; there is room for disagreement over appropriate legal provision in all these areas. But it is an argument for keeping our eyes open - far more than we have done - for the unintended consequences, the erosion of something once taken for granted which occurs when we do not keep in focus the fundamental convictions about humanity that inform not only our responses to crisis but our routine relationships with each other. Precisely because we don't bring these convictions to light all that often, they can shift or weaken without our noticing. It's not a good habit for societies to get into; this debate, and the history of what has happened in the wake of the 67 Act, should remind us of some of the potential cost of such a habit in other areas.

| Home >> Directory of sheep and wolves