Register Radio: Legalized Abortion in Ireland and Bible-Based Movies

On Register Radio this week, Elena Rodríguez talks with a senator from Ireland about Ireland’s recent legalization of abortion. Where did the legislation go wrong?

Then Dan Burke talks with the Register’s film critic, Steven Greydanus, about the appeal, challenges and blessings of Bible-based movies.


Legalized Abortion in Ireland

We are hearing Ireland mentioned in mainstream news outlets because Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) — Enda Kenny — is visiting the United States to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. As we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, and maybe even wear green, we also turn our thoughts and prayers to Ireland, where the respect for life has halted. Ireland is now a republic in the midst of an epic battle of life and death — and potentially disastrous consequences for its natives.

Elena spoke with Sen. Fidelma Healy Eames in the first segment of this week’s show.

Having a strong higher-education background in education and health promotion, including earning a Ph.D., she is a former primary-grade teacher, college lecturer in teacher education and is now director of her own business, FHE Education & Training Providers, Oranmore, a business providing learning and study-based courses to students, teachers and parents.

Eames was expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party on July 16, 2013, when she defied the party whip by voting against the government’s abortion legislation. On Sept. 13, she and six other expellees formed the Reform Alliance, described as a “loose alliance,” rather than a political party.

On July 30, Irish President Michael Higgins signed into law a bill that allows the direct killing of unborn children, up to the point of full gestation, in cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, including if she threatens suicide.

“We made a promise to the people,” Eames said, “that we would not legislate for abortion.”

Eames shared about the hijacking of a young woman’s death near Galway, which was then used as proof that abortion was supposedly needed for women’s health. The cause of the woman’s death was later shown to be negligence, but it was used as “hype” in support for the new abortion law.

If you break the party line, you’re expelled, as Eames was. Her reason for breaking ranks was to protect life, along with seven of her colleagues. “I have no regrets. I’m very pleased with what I did,” Eames said.

“There comes a time when you are tested, and this was the ultimate test for me,” she said. “We can’t give ourselves life, so it’s very difficult to take life.”

Our support for a culture of life needs to be on TV, radio shows, in very visible campaigns and in schools, according to Eames, including being more proactive about reaching young people, both men and women, so they are empowered to see alternatives that promote life.


Bible-Based Movies

Steven Greydanus is the Register’s film critic; he spoke with Dan Burke on the second half of this week's program. Greydanus has written about film for the New Catholic Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy and a number of filmmaker biographies.

Decent Films, Greydanus’ website, offers a compilation of his film critiques. He has a bachelor of fine arts in media arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an master’s degree in religious studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa. Currently, his film writing has taken a back seat to his diaconal studies in the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

Still, he is covering the big movies for the Register, including Noah.

“We haven’t seen a convergence of movies like this from Hollywood in a very long, long time,” Greydanus said of biblical films. Coming up soon, with big name directors and writers, are films that cover Exodus and the story of Moses, as well as Noah, and there’s hope that a movie on Mary, the Mother of Christ, will be forthcoming.

“We’re going to have to take each film on a case-by-case basis,”eGreydanus said, to determine how true they are to the actual Bible story itself. Some directors have their own vision and agenda, as opposed to others who try to stay true to the story from the Bible.

Speaking about the Noah story, Greydanus says that the film is “going to upset a lot of people” because it is not based solely on the Bible. ’Greydanus also points out that many movies come off as “Sunday school pageants” and often “lack a level of insight into what it was actually like to live through it,”aaccording to Greydanus. ’

Greydanus points listeners to Peter Chattaway’s review of Son of God as something they should read and consider.

Asked to name his favorite Bible-based movies, Greydanus cited The Miracle Maker (2000), which is stop-motion animation telling of the ministry of Jesus; it is a movie he recommends to both Bible scholars and families.

He also loves Jesus of Nazareth (1977), The Passion of the Christ (2004), the silent film King of Kings (1923) and The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964).


Be sure to download the full show or listen online for both interviews in their entirety.