Monday, June 13, 2005

Debt Cancellation/Reduction and Italy Referendum

The good news of some debt reduction by the major financial powers comes as a good start in restructuring the unjust relations between the north and south of this planet. The Catholic Church welcomes this move with blessings from Rome today and also urges further alleviation of the structures of inequality and injustice that are so central to the violence and despair of much of the world. Much more ambiguously, I claim no pretensions to fully understand the Italian vote, or lack of it. I do know that the effort to repeal democratically voted safeguards is evidently going down to a dramatic defeat with a reported low turnout of about 18 percent which will nullify the repeal effort. I am also very aware that Benedict XVI, and all the Italian bishops, along with many civil leaders, urged voters to boycott the vote. Perhaps we are witnessing yet another manifestation of the wise caution and legitimate fears that the new tools of reproduction though artificial tools need to be very carefully handled and that radical interference with nature can be tragic. Obviously not all such interference, for example my own adult stem cell transplant and many other procedures. But how do we decide policy? Clones? Embryo farming? Surrogacy? Some prayer and reflective silence and then some very skilled, smart analysis is my favored approach to a whole new world.