Month: March 2013

Election of Pope Francis

I am glad that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, took the name of Francis because in my novel Pope the pope takes that name. In my novel Cardinal Victor Dias took the name Francis in honour of St. Francis Xavier. This pope, it is said, took the name Francis in honour of St. Francis of Assisi. This pope is the first one from South America, Latin America, first Jesuit, and the first to take the name Francis. He is 76. He knows Spanish and Italian, besides Latin and perhaps some other languages. Last conclave also his name was mentioned as a papal candidate. He is not the first non-European. There have been popes from Asia and Africa. CNN Vatican analyst John Allen said the name Francis signifies poverty, humility, simplicity, and rebuilding the church. It is the most stunning choice and precedent shattering. Raymond Arroyo of EWTN wondered whether the pope took the name Francis in honour of St. Francis Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis Xavier was a Jesuit.
Before Francis, 37 names, including the double name John Paul, had been taken by two or more popes, and 43 popes had names unique to them. By taking the name Francis the pope has shown his uniqueness. He is known for his simplicity. He takes over at a time the church faces many challenges. In Argentina he was at loggerheads with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on issues of gay marriage, free distribution of condoms, contraception, and abortion.
There is a prediction attributed to St. Malachy that this pope is the last pope Peter the Roman. May be the one who wrote that prophecy expected the world to end in 2000. We are beyond that.
This time not many gave much chance to Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Cardinals with average chances were Angelo Scola 23%, Peter Turkson 22%, Marc Ouellet 12%, Peter Erdo 7%, and Timothy Dolan 3%. As per reports Jorge Mario Bergoglio, when he was archbishop, lived in an apartment instead of archbishop’s palace, gave up his chauffeur and limousine, took bus to work, and cooked his food.
Francis asked for people’s blessings before he blessed them. He called for brotherhood in Catholic Church. He said the world should set off on the path of love. I wish all the best to Pope Francis.

Pope – Kindle Edition

Ban surrogacy

No right is absolute. Right to have a child is not absolute. Right to have a grandchild is not absolute.
Some people go to great lengths to have children. Science has made possible to have children in many ways. What is possible is not always desirable.
It is possible for a child to have five parents; one is legal father, one is legal mother, one is sperm donor, one is egg donor, one carries the child and gives birth.
Some countries have banned commercial surrogacy. It is not known how many of them allow altruistic surrogacy. Some people are in favour of altruistic surrogacy and oppose commercial surrogacy. Some say commercial surrogacy is commodification of child. Some say commercial surrogacy is by free choice. Some say poverty is the reason why women opt to become surrogate mothers.
Cases of altruistic surrogacy are rare. Mostly women within the family become surrogate mothers. It may be legal mother’s mother or sister.
A woman who gives birth to a child should be its mother in all respects. Biological mother should be legal mother.
In one case in USA a couple hired a woman to have a child. During pregnancy the couple came to know the foetus had some abnormalities and wanted to abort it. The surrogate mother did not want to abort it. She went to Michigan where biological mother is legal mother and gave birth there. Someone adopted that child.
In India to be a surrogate mother one has to be mother of two children and she can have three surrogate pregnancies.
Due to exchange rate India is a cheap destination for Americans and Europeans who want to hire surrogate mothers. It means 10,000 dollars is around 5,50,000 rupees and 10,000 euros is around 7,00,000 rupees and many women become surrogate mothers for 5,00,000 rupees.
If a couple hires a woman to be surrogate and later the marriage of the couple ends due to divorce and both of them do not want the child the surrogate mother is left holding the child. A Japanese couple’s marriage ended in divorce and the child remained in India. A German couple’s child did not get any citizenship and is stuck in India. Norway recognizes only biological parents and a child is stuck in India.
The child is taken away from the surrogate mother. After that she feels the need to breastfeed the baby but unable to do so.
Related to surrogacy is the problem of sperm donation. Many donors remain anonymous. In one town the sperm donor to around 150 women was the same, the doctor who performed artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. With surrogate motherhood chances of men and women who have different legal parents but same biological parents are high.
There are women who keep their dead husband’s sperm frozen and want to conceive one day. There is one case where a couple has kept their dead son’s sperm frozen and wants a woman to become surrogate mother.
No thought is given to what the child will feel when it comes to know its legal parents are not its biological parents or it was conceived years after the death of its father who was married or not married to its mother.
Surrogacy should be banned.

USA shall have death penalty

There are some Americans who want death penalty in India abolished. They do not want to see the evidence that death penalty is a deterrent. They are dogmatic in their opposition to death penalty. Otherwise they would have seen what has happened in Mexico after abolition of death penalty. It is said that you can wake up a person who is asleep but cannot wake up a person who pretends to be asleep. Opponents to death penalty are like the person who pretends to be asleep.
In USA for most crimes death penalty is decided by states. LADP (lobbies against death penalty) had some success in USA. They want to abolish death penalty in all states but have not succeeded.
Chicago is in Illinois. Illinois abolished death penalty in 2011. After that murders in Chicago have gone up. Wolf Blitzer and Jesse Jackson (Sr.) discussed increased shootings in Chicago on CNN.
LADP say death penalty cannot be fairly implemented in USA. In that case efforts should be made to see that it is fairly implemented. When constitutions of USA and India were written, those who wrote them did not expect judges of Supreme Courts to amend constitutions by creative or rather destructive interpretations. When judges amend constitutions it is tyranny of the unelected and unelectable. Congress in USA and Parliament in India should not allow Supreme Courts this tyranny. Congress in USA shall add an article to their constitution that Federal Supreme Court has no right to limit the right of states to make laws on death penalty as it did in 1972 and 1976 and execution of juveniles and people with “severe mental retardation” is not cruel and unusual punishment. Parliament in India should pass similar law or amendment.
LADP say DNA evidence has shown a high level of wrongful convictions. They are wrong. Convictions were right. DNA was wrong. Due to corruption wrong DNA is sent for testing. John commits murder and DNA of James is sent for testing. John will be acquitted. It has happened many times. In Kashmir when it was done for the first time it was easily discovered because the accused or the dead were men and DNA of women was sent. In another case the woman doctor sent her DNA instead of the victim. USA is not a corruption-free country.
LADP say serial killers and terrorist/political killers are unlikely to be deterred by death penalty. The key word here is “unlikely”. They are not sure of what they say or they know death penalty deters but don’t want to admit it. Anyway, a dead serial killer cannot commit more murders and executing terrorist/political killers deters others. Keeping terrorist/political killers alive means there will abductions, kidnappings, and hijackings to secure their release. If they are released they commit more terrorist acts. Besides, death penalty puts an end to contract killers. If terrorist/political killers want martyrdom let them have it. Security persons, policepersons, and ordinary citizens should not become martyrs.
LADP do not say anything about cases where there is no doubt about murder or terrorist act. There is CCTV footage, many witnesses, the criminal is proud of his crime. LADP do not find any excuse to oppose death penalty is such cases and are silent.
Death penalty is necessary to maintain law and order. Otherwise there will be anarchy and criminal gangs will shoot at each other with impunity as happens in Chicago. Sometimes bystanders will get killed. A girl who attended Barack Obama’s inauguration got killed in Chicago. She would have been alive if Illinois had death penalty and murderers were executed.
It is evil to call death penalty mob justice or revenge. Law takes its course. Not to have death penalty is unfair to victims. If death penalty is irrevocable, so also is the evil done by murder.
In USA, Alaska (1957), Connecticut (2012), Hawaii (1957), Illinois (2011), Iowa (1965), Maine (1887), Massachusetts (1984), Michigan (1846), Minnesota (1911), New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), North Dakota (1973), Rhode Island (1984), Vermont (1964), West Virginia (1965), Wisconsin (1853), and Washington DC (1981) should bring back death penalty. New York should lift the partial ban imposed in 2007. In other states where it is not carried out, it should be carried out. States that carry out death penalty should continue to do so. Rick Perry won applause for executions in Texas.
In USA, 43 criminals were executed in 2012, in India only one that too after many years. USA’s population is less than one third of India. If death penalty in India had been a state subject, executions in India in 2012 could have been around 150. LADP had more success in India than in USA. People of India should resist LADP.
Washington DC and every state of USA shall make death penalty mandatory in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping, acid throwing, piracy and such high crimes. Hanging is the best way to carry out death penalty. Electrocution, firing, and lethal injection have limitations. No need to worry about not getting lethal injections from EU.