Sunday, September 20, 2015

Remembering 9/11: Did Tolkien pattern the Siege of Gondor (3019) from the Battle of Vienna (1683)?

Photo credit: Siege of Vienna 1683 by Frans Geffels (public domain).


Last September 11, we remember the Muslim attacks on the US World Trade Center and Pentagon in the year 2001. This date we also remember as the triumph of Christian armies over Muslim Turks in the Battle of Vienna of 1683. It is interesting to see some parallels of this battle with the Siege of Gondor in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Let's list the down the 8 similarities.

1. The White City: Vienna and Minas Tirith

The name Vienna is associated with the word "white":
  • The English name Vienna is borrowed from the Italian name Vienna. "Vienna" and the official German name Wien, and the names of the city in most languages, are thought[by whom?] to derive from the Celtic word windo-, meaning "bright" or "fair" – as in the Irish "fionn" and the Welsh "gwyn" – but opinions vary on the precise origin. Some[who?] claim that the name comes from Vedunia, meaning "forest stream", which subsequently became Venia, Wienne and Wien. Others[who?] claim that the name comes from the Roman settlement of Celtic name Vindobona (Celtic "windo-bona"), probably meaning "white base/bottom [land]", which became Vindovina, Vídeň (Czech) and Wien.[37] (Wikipedia: Vienna)
Minas Tirith in Gondor is also associated with the word "white":
  • "Even as Pippin gazed in wonder the walls passed from looming grey to white, blushing faintly in the dawn; and suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the City." (Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings, p. 751)
  • "Thus men reached at last the High Court, and the Place of the Fountain before the feet of the White Tower: tall and shapely, fifty fathoms from its base to the pinnacle, where the banner of the Stewards floated a thousand feet above the plain." (Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings, p. 752)
  • Upon the black surcoats were embroidered in white a tree blossoming like snow beneath a silver crown and many pointed stars.  This was the livery of the heirs of Elendil, and none wore it now in all Gondor, save the Guards of the Citadel before the Court of the Fountain where the White Tree once had grown. (Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings, p. 753)
2. City of Rings: Vienna and Minas Tirith

Historically, Vienna is a circular city surrounded by walls which were later demolished to create the Ring Road:
The street was built to replace the city walls, which had been built during the 13th century and funded by the ransom payment derived from the release of Richard I of England, and reinforced as a consequence of the First Turkish Siege in 1529. The walls were surrounded by a glacis about 500m wide, where buildings and vegetation were prohibited. (Wikipedia: Vienna Ring Road)
The Ring Road is divided into several sections: (1) Schottenring, (2) Universitätsring (3) Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring, (4) Opernring, (5) Kärntner Ring, (6) Schubertring, (7), Parkring, and (8) Stubenring

Similarly, the city of Minas Tirith is also circular in design, except that the sections are concentric circles:
For the fashion of Minas Tirith was such that it was built on seven levels, each delved into the hill, and about each was set a wall, and in each wall was a gate.  But the gates were not set in line: the Great Gate in the City Wall was at the east point of the circuit,, but the next faced half south, and theird half north, and so to and fro upwards; so that the paved way that climbed towards the Citadel turned first this way and then that across the face of the hill. And each time that it passed the line of the Great Gate it went through an arched tunnel, piercing a vast pier of rock whose huge out thrust bulk divided in two all the circles of the City save the first. (Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings, p. 752)
 3. Reign of the Stewards: Denethor and Leopold I

During the siege of Vienna, the City is the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Emperors think of themselves as the successors of Roman Emperors of the West, the last of which was Honorius, whose reign was ended in 410 by the Sack of Rome by Visigoths led by Alaric. The Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople gained control of the Western Roman Empire, but it was slipping from his grasp because of the invasion of the barbarian hordes. In 480, Emperor Zeno finally abolished the Western Roman Empire. Abandoned by the Roman Emperor, Rome turned to the Pope as the de facto leader of the Western world. Meanwhile, the Pope was also beset by the Lombards in Italy, so he turned to the King of the Franks for support. In 754, Pope Zachary anointed Pepin as Patrician of the Romans, even though Pepin was not a Roman and that he is only a Mayor of the Palace, the same way as Denethor is not a king but only a Steward of Gondor. In 800, his Pepin's son, Charlemagne, was crowned by Pope Leo III as Emperor of the Romans. And the idea of the Holy Roman Empire was born:
On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe after more than three centuries. The title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar, in 924. The title was revived in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne[10] and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries....The precise term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii[e] was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor, the notion that he held supreme power inherited from the emperors of Rome.[8] The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although frequently controlled by dynasties. The German prince-electors, the highest ranking noblemen of the empire, usually elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans".....Before 1157, the realm was merely referred to as the Roman Empire.[20] The term sacrum ("holy," in the sense of "consecrated") in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157, under Frederick I Barbarossa ("Holy Empire") – the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy;[21] the form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward. 
From this line of Holy Roman Emperors came Leopold I, the Emperor who left the City of Vienna during its siege by the Muslims under Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha in 1683, in the same way as Denethor abandoned the city and prepared his funeral pyre.

3. Alliance of Kingdoms: Gondor-Rohan and Austria-Poland

Because of the rising Muslim menace from the East due Ottoman Turks, the Holy Roman Empire forged an alliance with the Kingdom of Poland in the Treaty of Warsaw of 1683:
Conscious that Poland lacked allies and risked war against most of its neighbours (similar to the Deluge), by 1683 Sobieski allied himself with Leopold I, of the Holy Roman Empire.[27] Both sides promised to come to one's another aid if their capitals are threatened.[22] The alliance was signed by royal representatives on 31 March 1683, and ratified by the Emperor and Polish parliament within weeks.[30] Although aimed directly against the Ottomans and indirectly against France, it had the advantage of gaining internal support for the defense of Poland's southern borders.[27] This was a beginning of what would become the Holy League, championed by Pope Innocent XI to preserve Christendom.[31] (Wikipedia: John Sobieski III)
This alliance of the two kingdoms is similar to that of Gondor and Rohan. And this alliance was forged when Cirion the Steward was helped by Eorl the Young in the fight against the Orcs in the year 2510 of the Third Age:
Foreseeing the storm, Cirion sent north for aid, but over-late; for in that year (2510) the Balchoth, having built many great boats and rafts on the east shores of Anduin, swarmed over the River and swept away the defenders.  An army marching up from the south was cut off and driven north over the Limlight, and there it was suddenly attacked by a horde of Orcs from the Mountains and pressed towards the Anduin.  Then out of the North there came help beyond hope, and the horns of the Rohirrim were first heard in Gondor. Eorl the Young came with his riders and swept away the enemy, and pursued the Balchoth to the death over the fields of Calenardhon.   Cirion granted to Eorl that land to dwell in, and he swore to Cirion the Oath of Eorl, of friendship at need or at call to the Lords of Gondor. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings, p. 1053)

 4. The Hidden Pass: Kahlenberg and Druadan-Rimmon-Din

When Vienna was under siege, Jan Sobieski III of Poland fulfilled his obligations to the Holy Roman Emperor by preparing a relief expedition on the Feast of the Assumption (August 15). His troops met with those of the other members of the Holy League:
On 6 September, the Poles under Jan III Sobieski crossed the Danube 30 km north-west of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with the Imperial troops and the additional forces from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia. Louis XIV of France declined to help his Habsburg rival, having just annexed Alsace. An alliance between John III Sobieski and the Emperor Leopold I resulted in the addition of the Polish hussars to the already existing allied army. The command of the forces of European allies was entrusted to the Polish king, who had under his command 70,000-80,000 soldiers facing a Turkish army of 150,000.[10] (Wikipedia: Battle of Vienna)
Sobieski decided to send his troops to the treacherous Mountain passes of Kahlenberg and from there mount his cavalry charge down the Muslim host in the plains before the Gates of Vienna:
The Holy League, under command of Sobieski now began its difficult passage through the Wienerwald, known to us as the Vienna Woods, the 30-miles-long and 20-miles-wide expanse of thickly wooded foothills that dominate the terrain southwest of Vienna. Moving the artillery over steep slopes and rugged ground cut with ravines was particularly difficult, but by the 11th of September the Christian force had reached the Kahlenberg ridge. Looking down on the plain below they saw the countless brightly colored tents of the Ottoman host stretching north toward the city walls. Sobieski also saw that the south slope of the ridge was of the same difficult terrain as the rest of the Wienerwald and was crisscrossed with the high, stone walls of vineyards and farms. The descent to the plain below would be as painstaking as the climb, but also under attack from Janissary skirmishers. (Catholic Answers)
In a similar way, the host of Theoden passed through the hidden road in the Mountain, guided by the Wild Men of the Woods. This road was described by Ghan-buri-Ghan:
Let Ghan-buri-Ghan finish!... More than one road he knows,.  He will lead you by road where no pits are, no gorgun walk, only Wild Men and beasts.  Many paths were made when Stonehouse-folk were stronger.  They carved hills as hunters carve beast-flesh.  Wild Men think they ate stone for food.  They went through Druadan to Rimmon with great wains.  They go no longer. Road is forgotten, but not by Wild Men. Over hill and behind hill it lies still under grass and tree, there behind Rimmon and down to Din, and back at the end of the Horse-men's road.  Wild Men will show you that road. Then you will kill gorgun and drive away bad dark with bright iron, and Wild Men can go back to sleep in th wild woods. (The Ride of the Rohirrim, Lord of the Rings, p. 833)
 5. The City Under Siege: Minas Tirith and Vienna

When Jan Sobieski III arrived at the hill of Kahlenberg Mountain, he gazed before him the City of Vienna under siege by the Muslim host encamped at the gates:
On the evening of September 11th, perhaps not coincidentally the last time a Muslim force threatened the Western World, the combined Christian armies surveyed the battered city of Vienna from their elevated vantage point. An occasional cannon blast or a distress rocket fired from within the fortifications confirmed that the Habsburg capital was not capitulating. In the foreground lay the frightening panorama of the massive encampment of Ottoman invaders, almost 250,000 including slaves, camp followers, and observers. Virtually every element of the Turkish realm was represented, with combatants gathered from Muslim domains in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their sprawling camp, which included numerous pavilions covering the nearby islands of the Danube, swelled with thousands of horses, camels, tents, assorted luxuries, and accoutrements of war. (Joseph Pisudski)
 Similarly, when Theoden emerged from the forest with his host, he saw before his the City of Gondor under siege by Orcs and Easterlings:
After a while the king led his men away somewhat eastward, to come between the fires of the siege and the outer fields. Still they were unchallenged, and still Theoden gave no signal. At last he halted once again. The City was now nearer. A smell of burning was in the air and a very shadow of death.  The horses were uneasy. But the king sat upon Snowmane,, motionless, gazing upon the agony of Minas Tirith, as if stricken suddenly by anguish, or by dread.  He seemed to shrink down, cowed by age.  Merry himself felt as if a great weight of horror and doubt had settled on him. His heart beat slowly. Time seemed poised in uncertainty.  They were too late! Too late was worse than never! Perhaps Theoden would quail, bow his old head, turn, slink away to hid in the hills. (The Ride of the Rohirrim, Lord of the Rings, p. 837) 
6. The Cavalry Charge of Sobieski and Theoden

What came after is the largest cavalry charge in history led by Sobieski himself:
The allies were now ready for the last blow. At around 6:00 pm, the Polish king ordered the cavalry attack in four groups, three Polish and one from the Holy Roman Empire. Eighteen thousand horsemen charged down the hills, the largest cavalry charge in history.[16]:152 Jan III Sobieski led the charge[10]:661 at the head of 3,000 Polish heavy lancers, the famed "Winged Hussars". The Lipka Tatars who fought on the Polish side wore a sprig of straw in their helmets to distinguish themselves from the Tatars fighting on the Ottoman side. The charge easily broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were exhausted and demoralised and soon started to flee the battlefield. The cavalry headed straight for the Ottoman camps and Kara Mustafa's headquarters, while the remaining Viennese garrison sallied out of its defences to join in the assault.[10] (Wikipedia: Battle of Vienna)
This is similar to the cavalry charge of the Rohirrim led by Theoden:
Suddenly the king cried to  Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it.  After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Eomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed,, and the front of the first eored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Theoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like a new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Orome the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror stook them, and they fled, and died, and the hof of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City. (The Ride of the Rohirrim, Lord of the Rings, p. 838)
 7. Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa and the Black Captain

The assault on Vienna was led by the Grand Vizier, Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha. He carries with him the standard of the Sultan himself:
At Belgrade, Sultan Mehmed handed the Flag of the Prophet (a facsimile because the original had been captured by the Venetians at Lepanto a century before) to his Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa and with it command of the Ottoman host. (Catholic Answers)
The Flag of the Prophet is plain black or with white text, which is similar to what is used by the Islamic State.

The sappers of Mustafa Pasha already made several breaches on the City's walls using gunpowder. Victory was already at hand, as the Christian defenders were already preparing for a fight within the City's walls. And yet victory eluded his grasp during the last hour, as the Sobieski's hussar cavalry charged from the hills:
Mustafa Pasha launched his counter-attacks with most of his force, but held back some of the elite Janissary and Sipahi units for a simultaneous assault on the city. The Ottoman commanders had intended to take Vienna before Sobieski arrived, but time ran out. Their sappers had prepared a large, final detonation under the Löbelbastei[25] to breach the walls. In total, ten mines were set to explode but they were located and disarmed.[16]. (Wikipedia: Battle of Vienna)
Similarly, the assault on Gondor was led by the Black Captain, the greatest of the Nazguls, the Witch-King of Angmar. With Grond as his battering ram, he destroyed the gates of Gondor:
The drums rolled and rattled. With a vast rush Grond was hurled forward by huge hands.  It reached the Gate. It swung. A deep boom rumbled through the City like Thunder running in the clouds. But the doors of iron and posts of steel withstood the stroke.
Then the Black Captain rose in his stirrups and cried aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten tongue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone.
Thrice he cried. Thrice the great ram boomed. And suddenly upon the last stroke the Gate of Gondor broke. As if stricken by some blasting spell it burst asunder: there was a flash of searing lightning,, and the doors tumbled in riven fragments to the ground. (The Siege of Gondor, Lord of the Rings, p. 828-829)
He rode in and faced Gandalf:
'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!'...
'Old fool!' he said. 'Old fool! this is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!' And with that he lifted high his sword and flames rand down the blade. (The Siege of Gondor, Lord of the Rings, p. 829)
But the cock crowed and the horns of Rohan echoed in the City's walls. Torn between two opponents, the Black Captain chose to deal with this new peril from Rohan:
The darkness was breaking too soon, before the date that his Master had set for it: fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him; victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long. He was still in command, wielding great powers. King, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgul, hea had many weapons. He left the Gate and vanished. (The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Lord of the Rings, p. 839)
8. Triumph of a Woman: Mary and Eowyn

Mustafa Pasha was indeed defeated by the armies of the Holy League, but behind their triumph is a woman: Mary. To see this, we note that Jan Sobieski left Poland on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15. And when he arrived in the mountains of Kahlenberg, he consecrated his troops to Mary on September 11. The Feast of Mary's birthday is September 8, so that September 8-15 is the Octave of the Feast.

September 11 is a date special to Muslims. We already know that they bombed World Trade Center and Pentagon on this date in 2001. But the roots lie deeper: September 11 is the date of Islam's humiliation in its battles against the West. One Peter Five provided the following summary of such events:
  • The Great Siege of Malta which ended on Sep 11, 1565, after the destruction of 30,000 Turks by Sicilian armies and the Knights of St. John.
  • The Muslim Expulsion from Spain which was announced on Sep 11, 1609, gthereby ending the 800-year Islamic rule.
  • The Battle of Vienna (Sep 11, 1683). The Holy Alliance, led by King Sobieski of Poland, defeated the Muslim armies laying siege to Vienna.
  • The Battle of Zenta (Sep 11, 1697) wherein 30,000 Turks were killed together with the Grand Vizier. As a result, Hungary and Transylvania were wrested from Islam through the Treaty of Karlowitz.
In the Lord of the Rings, a woman also defeated the Black Captain: Eowyn. In the year 1973 of the Third Age, there was a prophecy by the Elf-lord Glorfindel to King Earnur of Gondor that no man can slay the Witch-King of Angmar:
Earnur now rode back, but Glorfindel, looking into the gathering dark, said: "Do not pursue him! he will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall." These words many remembered; but Earnur was angry, desiring only to be avenged for his disgrace. (Appendix A, Lord of the Rings, p. 1051)
The Black Captain knows this prophecy quite well in 3019. And to his dismay he realized that his end may be near when a woman and not a man faced him in battle:
A sword rang as it was drawn. 'Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.
Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me.'
Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. it seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eowyn's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'
The winged creature screamed at her, but the Ringwraith made no answer, and was silent, as if in sudden doubt. (The Battle of Pelennor FieldsLord of the Rings, p. 841)
Indeed, the Black Captain was killed not by a man but by a hobbit (Merry) and a woman (Eowyn). Merry pierced him with the blade of the Westernesse and Eowyn stabbed him with a sword:
'Eowyn! Eowyn!' cried Merry. Then tottering, struggling up, with her last strength she drove her sword between crown and mantle, as the great shoulders bowed before her. The sword broke sparkling into many shards. The crown rolled away with a clang. Eowyn fell forward upon her fallen foe. 
There's a beautiful imagery here: the great shoulders bowed before her.  The Black Captain bowed Eowyn in the same way the Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa bowed in defeat before Mary, the Help of Christians.

A year after the defeat of Muslims in the Battle of Vienna, Pope Innocent XI proclaimed the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary on September 12:
The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, or simply the Holy Name of Mary, is a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church celebrated on 12 September to honour the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has been a universal Roman Rite feast since 1684, when Pope Innocent XI included it in the General Roman Calendar to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.[1] (Wikipedia: Holy Name of Mary)
Let us end this post with a song for Mary:
Mary! how sweetly falls that word On my enraptured ear! Oft do I breathe in accents low, That sound when none are near. Sing O my lips, and loudly proclaim, O Mary, how sweet is thy name. (Mary How Sweetly Falls that Word)
The Lord of the Rings Hobbit Tolkien Minas Tirith Cosplay Figure Ashtray Decoration Collection b2
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

On Pope Francis and abortion: a reply to Fritzie Rodriguez of Rappler

Photo credit: "Human fetus 10 weeks with amniotic sac" by Jacopo Werther

Fritzie Rodriguez of Rappler has written a piece entitled, "On abortion, the Pope, priests should not dictate on women: Calling abortion a sin does not help solve anything, and most definitely, giving priests the power to 'absolve' women does absolutely nothing." This is an interesting piece since it reveals to us how pro-abortion advocates think. So let us discuss each of Fritzie's major points.

1. Abortion does not bring extreme harm. Abortion in itself does not cause death. 

The statement "abortion does not bring extreme harm" does not negate the statement "abortion does bring harm." In Filipino, one thing may not be extremely harmful or bad ("masamang-masama") but it can still be harmful nevertheless ("masama").

The statement "abortion in itself does not cause death" is only partly true. Indeed, the woman may not die if she undergoes abortion. Nevertheless, someone else really dies and it is the baby in her womb.

What if the woman is Fritzie's mother and the baby was Fritzie? If her mother aborted her, Fritzie won't be anymore clamoring for abortion rights now. And there would be one less lonely people in the world. But we are glad that Fritzie's mother didn't abort her, even if Fritzie turned out to be pro-abortion. There is always hope for the repentance of a sinner even at the last moment of his or her life, for even a thief can steal heaven:
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”w 43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:42-43)
And the angels in heaven anxiously await the day of Fritzie's conversion. As Christ said:
I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.f
Welcome to the post-partum world, Fritzie! Let's celebrate "Your-Mother-Didn't-Abort-You" day. Well, that's just a long way to say, "Happy Birthday!"

2. Why do women die? Because they do not receive safe medical abortions. Why? Because it is illegal in the Philippines....Making it illegal doesn't mean women would stop getting abortions. What such policing only does is push women to getting unsafe ones.

I admire Fritzie for trying to determine the root cause of why women die during abortions, in the same way as Aquinas would search for the Primary Cause in proving the existence of God:
The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God. (Summa Theologica, P. 1, Q. 2, A. 3)
For Fritzie, the primary cause of why women die is because abortion is illegal in the Philippines. Because abortion is illegal, then women go to unsafe abortions. Because women go to unsafe abortions, women die. But Fritzie failed to consider the following efficient cause:
  • Women die because of abortion.
Ingesting chemicals the morning after intercourse to prevent the newly conceived life from latching on to the uterine walls is already dangerous to the woman's health. Hey, that's poison! Undergoing surgery to remove the baby piecemeal from the womb--feet, arms, body, head--is even more dangerous to the woman. Here's a sample list of potential side effects (Department of Health & Hospitals, State of Louisiana):
  • Pelvic infection
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Blood clots in the uterus
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Cut or torn cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus walls
  • Anesthesia-related complications
  • Rh immune globulin therapy
  • Future childbearing difficulty
And Fritzie failed to mention about what happens to women after abortion:
A study of the medical records of 56,741 California medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery. Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years.1,3...A 2006 study published in Sleep, the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, found that women who experienced abortion were more likely to be treated for sleep disorders or disturbances compared to women who gave birth.(27)....Since many post-abortive women use repression as a coping mechanism, there may be a long period of denial before a woman seeks psychiatric care. These repressed feelings may cause psychosomatic illnesses and psychiatric or behavioral in other areas of her life. As a result, some counselors report that unacknowledged post-abortion distress is the causative factor in many of their female patients, even though their patients have come to them seeking therapy for seemingly unrelated problems. (5) (afterabortion.org)

3. There is something odd, if not ironic, with how a patriarchal institution like the Catholic Church is dictating women to ask for forgiveness for deciding to take control over their own bodies. 

For the simple reason that the baby is not anymore part of the woman's body, even if the baby is inside the woman's body. The baby in the womb is an entirely different person with his or her unique DNA, in the same way as a baby dolphin is a unique animal in its mother's womb. If you are not sure if that clump of cells is actually a human being, the most prudent thing to do is to wait and see.  After 9 months, the baby is born which looks like Fritzie with head, arms, legs, and body. And it cries in pain. Well, it could have been Fritzie herself. Perhaps, Fritzie can tell us at what point in her development in her mother's womb is she not yet human and why she should still be called human now that she is an adult. As we say in Filipino:
Madali ang maging tao. Mahirap ang magpakatao. (To be human is easy. To be humane is difficult.)
The reason why Catholic Church asks women to go to confession and ask forgiveness for their sins is not just because God despises such practice:
Instead they set up their abominations in the house which bears my name in order to defile it.r 35 They built high places to Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech;* I never commanded them to do this, nor did it even enter my mind that they would practice this abomination, so as to bring sin upon Judah. (Jer 32:34-35)
But also because Christ gave the Church the power to forgive sins:
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,m “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 * n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:22-23)
And that women needs to hear that they were forgiven for their psychological healing--something that no amount of psychiatrical medicines and psychoanalytical methods can fully replace. As Christ said to the woman caught in adultery:
Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”
Perhaps, it is ironic that the most patriarchal institution such as the Catholic Church is actually more sympathetic to the plight of women than women who advocated for abortion.

4. These men do not know why these "sinful women" had abortions. Perhaps they were raped by a stranger, a friend, or even a relative. Some were sold into the sex industry, some were intimidated by a partner, and some were mired in so much poverty that they could not bring it upon themselves to introduce a child into a life of suffering. 

Fritzie can be assured that the Catholic Church already knows all the possible reasons why women had abortions.  The Catholic Church has a long memory spanning at least 2,000 years and it has heard many, many, many stories of women who underwent abortion. As Pope Francis himself said when he declared the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on Nov 2016:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

And from this data together with its deposit of Faith, the Church pronounces that abortion is indeed harmful not only for the baby (because it dies in the process), but also for the woman as well. This pronouncement is like a road sign that says: DANGER: CLIFF AHEAD. Drivers can ignore this road sign at their peril, and the evidence of the truth of the road sign is the number of people whose lives were destroyed because they disobeyed the warning. The same is true with abortion.

Abortion is not the last option for those who were raped, sold into the sex industry, intimidated by their partners, or mired by poverty. The women can always bring the baby to term and offer it up for adoption, as the mother of Steve Jobs did:
Still, Jobs put everything into perspective when he said his biological parents could have subjected him to an abortion, and explained to Isaacson why he wanted to find his biological mother. When he finally met birth mother Joanne Schieble, she burst into tears as she apologized for placing him for adoption. “I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,” he said. “She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me.” “Don’t worry,” Jobs responded. “I had a great childhood. I turned out OK.” (Life News)
Had Steve Jobs' mother aborted him, there would be no iPhone for Fritzie.

5. Not all Filipinos are aware of how babies are made, as many grew up with no sexuality education at school and at home. Ignorance, however, does not stop them from having sex. 


The problem with Fritzie's conception of sexuality education is that it is very narrow: how to avoid pregnancy. True sexuality education should tell about the dignity of male and female bodies and the dignity of sexual intercourse in the context of marriage for creating babies for the next generation. The media is now the primary educator of our youth, and yet the media failed to take on this responsibility. Instead, the media, such as in films and TV shows, glorified promiscuous dresses, fornication, extra-marital affairs, gay sex, and other behaviors beneath the dignity of a human person. The media failed to promote the only responsible and safe sexual intercourse: not by using a condom but by putting on a wedding ring and making the marriage vows--"to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part".

6. With the Catholic Church going against sexuality education, how do you expect the number of teenage pregnancies to go down? And with the Catholic Church exclusively supporting the natural family planning method and abstinence, while also actively opposing modern contraception, it is no wonder the number of unwanted pregnancies remains high.

Teenage pregnancies are not bad in themselves, as long as the women are married. At the height of the Roman Empire's glory, the Roman women were already married as teenagers and from them came the babies who are the future senators and legionnaires of the empire. A woman with a dozen sons can afford to send half of them to the frontiers of the empire and the other half to work in the city of Rome. But once women engage in adultery and practice contraception and abortion (lest their extramarital affairs bore fruit for all to see), the strength of the Roman empire diminished and it has to hire barbarian hordes to defend the empire, which ultimately led to the downfall of Rome.

Abstinence for the unmarried is the best form of birth control, because it has no side effects. Natural family planning for the married also has no side effects: its purpose to understand the reproductive cycles in a woman's body in order to know when she is fertile or not, so that the couple can plan accordingly when they will engage in intercourse. The problem with modern forms of contraception is that the responsibility falls only on one of the partners: either the man wears a condom or the woman takes the pill. Natural family planning, on the other hand, requires the husband and the wife to constantly communicate with each other to determine the signs of times, and this engenders mutual respect. Indeed, the science of the human body has already advanced so much that there is no more need for artificial methods of birth control. One example of such science of fertility care is naProTechnology:
NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. NaProtracking provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system. Unlike common suppressive or destructive approaches, NaProTECHNOLOGY works cooperatively with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential. Women now have an opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms from which they suffer.
CONCLUSIONS

Abortion may not bring extreme harm to the woman, but it still harms her, whether physically or psychologically. Abortion may not kill the woman--this is true, but someone else dies and it is her baby. The problem of women dying because of unsafe abortions should not be attributed to abortion being illegal in the country; rather, it is precisely because of the violent nature of abortion itself, which can kill the woman, if not by the hands of the doctor, then by her own hands through suicide, as a way to relieve herself of the traumas after abortion. The Catholic Church may be a patriarchal institution, but it defends the true rights and welfare of women than pro-abortionists, because the role model of the Church is a woman that is most blessed among women--Mary, who is both a Virgin and a Mother. The media is now the primary educator of the youth, but it failed in its responsibility in educating them on the true dignity of sexual intercourse within the context of marriage. Teenage pregnancy is not bad in itself, if seen within the context of marriage. Each child born should be seen as a human resource and not as a liability. That is why the child must be raised well. The Catholic Church is not against family planning because this is part of responsible parenthood.  What the Church is against is unnatural family planning methods which are hazardous to women's health or which would demean the dignity of a woman to an object for the sexual satisfaction of the man. Indeed, the science of human reproduction has already come a long way that it is now possible to take care of one's fertility through natural means without having to recourse to condoms and pills.
Bioethics, Law, and Human Life Issues: A Catholic Perspective on Marriage, Family, Contraception, Abortion, Reproductive Technology, and Death and Dying (Catholic Social Thought)
Bioethics, Law, and Human Life Issues: A Catholic Perspective on Marriage, Family, Contraception, Abortion, Reproductive Technology, and Death and Dying (Catholic Social Thought)
Five Non Negotiables-The Catholic Church's Teaching on Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Same-Sex 'Marriage'
Five Non Negotiables-The Catholic Church's Teaching on Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Same-Sex 'Marriage'
Beyond Abortion: A Chronicle of Fetal Experimentation
Beyond Abortion: A Chronicle of Fetal Experimentation
The Healing Choice: Your Guide to Emotional Recovery After an Abortion
The Healing Choice: Your Guide to Emotional Recovery After an Abortion
Repairing His Story: Abortion Stress Recovery for Men - Leader's Guide
Repairing His Story: Abortion Stress Recovery for Men - Leader's Guide
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Sex, Love, and Romance in the Mass Media: Analysis and Criticism of Unrealistic Portrayals and Their Influence
Sex, Love, and Romance in the Mass Media: Analysis and Criticism of Unrealistic Portrayals and Their Influence
The NaPro Technology Revolution: Unleashing the Power in a Woman's Cycle
The Press and Abortion: 1838-1988 (Routledge Communication Series)
A Child Is Born
A Child Is Born