Tuesday 3 August 2010

Spanish football coach's son, who has Down's syndrome, shares Spain's glory

Vicente del Bosque, Spain's world cup winning coach, has a 21-year-old son, Álvaro, who has Down's syndrome. MercatorNet tells us that Vicente del Bosque is immensely proud of his son "even though Alvaro has been highly critical of some of his decisions"! “At first we cried a lot,” del Bosque says about the days after Álvaro’s birth, “but now when I look back I think, we were so foolish.”

Álvaro del Bosque went with the players to South Africa for the tournament, accompanying his father, the team's manager. Alvaro is pictured above, celebrating the team's victory, at the official reception. Also in the picture, left, is Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

Mr Bill Muehlenberg, writing on Mercator.net, refers to two couples in Australia who want compensation because doctors did not detect Down's syndrome and other developmental anomalies before their children were born. The parents, in Victoria state, say they would have had abortions, and they want money for the children's upkeep and for "psychiatric injury". Other states have outlawed such claims. [Herald Sun, 21 July]

Mr Muehlenberg contrasts this depressing litigation with the joy Álvaro has given to Spain's winning World Cup team.  The Spanish team's joy might also be contrasted with the grim view of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Britain which recently described a new, more accurate, search and destroy technique for detecting Down's syndrome babies as the "Holy Grail" of Down's syndrome testing.

Mr Muehlenberg writes: "All true love is self-giving, not self-taking. To love another person is to give away part of yourself, to become vulnerable, to take risks, and to be willing to hurt. If you do not want to hurt, then do not love. A parent’s love may be among the world’s greatest love, because it may hurt the most and cost the most. But love happily embraces such hurts, sacrifices and burdens. Those born with physical or mental incapacities are obviously going to be somewhat more of a handful. But they are all still beautiful sons and daughters who deserve to be loved. They do not deserve the guilt trip put upon them by parents who complain about their very existence, their very right to life."

Mr Muehlenberg is a lecturer in ethics and philosophy at several Melbourne theological colleges and a PhD candidate at Deakin University, Melbourne.

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