The Horror House Rules
This morning I received this e-mail from Msgr. Phil Cribben, Pastor, Saint Anastasia Parish in Newtown Square in response to the column.
Gil,My response can be found below.
Congratulations for writing a superb article about Doctor Gosnell! The
timing of this breaking story – the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision
of the Supreme Court - could not be better for the pro life movement nor
worse for the pro choice movement.
While I do not take issue with any comment that you have made in your
article, I think that many film critics have failed to recognize the pro
life argument that is also presented in the film “The Cider House Rules.”
The rules posted inside the house are actually good for the occupants of the
house. The rules are protective of human life: Don’t smoke in bed.
Don’t walk on the roof of the house when you are drinking. Don’t fall
asleep in the hot sun. If you violate these rules, you will be injured or
die; if you keep these rules, you will live.
Furthermore, Homer Wells himself needs to be placed in the pro life camp.
He is repulsed by the abortion work that Doctor Larch does at the orphanage
even though he would allow for abortion in rare cases of incest. With his
symbolic name, *Homer* Wells is presented as a young man who has acquired
the wisdom of the great thinkers from Ancient Greece while becoming as
intellectually deep as the *wells* that supply life-giving waters to the
inhabitants of the earth.
Thanks for the compliment and the kind note.
You make a good point that the pro-life side of the argument is presented in The Cider House Rules. But while Homer makes the argument, remember, he ultimately changes his mind. He succumbs to Dr. Larch's pro-choice position.
When he takes over for Dr. Larch, he not only accepts the need for abortion, he ends up performing them himself.
The pro-life position is set up to be knocked down by the book's author John Irving. He more or less has said so explicitly in interviews. When he won his Academy Award for Best Screenplay Adaption he thanked Planned Parenthood and NARAL for all their work. He made no secret of his message or intentions. There was no Cider House Rule against abortion EXCEPT in cases of incest. The "rule" was pretty much abortion on demand.
Thanks again for reading and your note.