Monday, October 6, 2008

More on Respect Life Sunday

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Respect Life Sunday thread below this one; it was very interesting to see everyone's different experiences!

A reader emailed me this link to the letter read in the Scranton diocese as was mentioned in the combox; it's very well worth reading. I especially liked this section:
It is impossible for me to answer all of the objections to the Church’s teaching on life that we hear every day in the media. Nevertheless, let me address a few. To begin, laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind. They rest on several false claims including that there is no certainty regarding when life begins, that there is no certainty about when a fetus becomes a person, and that some human beings may be killed to advance the interests or convenience of others. With regard to the first, reason and science have answered the question. The life of a human being begins at conception. The Church has long taught this simple truth, and science confirms it. Biologists can now show you the delicate and beautiful development of the human embryo in its first days of existence. This is simply a fact that reasonable people accept. Regarding the second, the embryo and the fetus have the potential to do all that an adult person does. Finally, the claim that the human fetus may be sacrificed to the interests or convenience of his mother or someone else is grievously wrong. All three claims have the same result: the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it.

Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”

Even the Church’s just war theory has moral force because it is grounded in the principle that innocent human life must be protected and defended. Now, a person may, in good faith, misapply just war criteria leading him to mistakenly believe that an unjust war is just, but he or she still knows that innocent human life may not be harmed on purpose. A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases.

Furthermore, National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.
I think the good Bishop of Scranton, Bishop Martino, ought to have a talk with Nutmeg's parish priest. Can you believe this:
Our parish priest made no mention of this special day until the end of mass during the announcements, where he made his proclamation that the Church upholds life from the "Beginning to it's natural end."

"Natural end," he kept repeating.

"Natural. end."

He went on to elaborate that this means that not only is the Church against abortion, but it is also against capital punishment and the unjust war. we know what he means, he says, we know what is going on. Of course he does not want to tell us how to vote, just that we need to keep in mind that abortion is not the only issue in politics today that affects the pro-life message. We need to understand that these soldiers and criminals have a right to a natural death too. That since our soldiers usually come from the lower classes... (at this I cringed visibly, since my dearest friend Lisa and her beautiful family were sitting front and center listening to him disrespect her own father and brother and the sacrifices they have made for our freedom!) it is not the higher classes that are paying the price, you know. So we need to protect their rights as well.
My sympathies, Nutmeg; I've had to do the "parish-shopping" thing myself, before.

I've been encouraged, though, to see how many bishops and priests have been speaking out loudly and clearly this election year about the fact that abortion is the single most serious moral issue of our times. Other issues may indeed have moral components, but none of these compares currently to the intrinsic evil of the slaughter of innocent human life by the millions since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. The Church in America must speak out consistently against this great evil, and must not make the mistake of equating abortion with other evils such as war or terror or poverty or oppression; when the right to live is taken from the innocent unborn, how can we Catholics ignore their silent cries for justice?

There will be Catholics who will vote for the presidential candidate who supports all abortion, including partial birth and even "post-birth" abortion. I believe with all my heart that this is wrong, that the justifications and excuses they have created to allow themselves to do so are not founded on sound Catholic moral teaching and thinking. But given how readily some of the Church's own priests seem to equate abortion with war or other problems, it may be that they really don't know what they do. When the Church speaks with unity and clarity on the issue of abortion, it is incumbent upon all her priests and leaders to do the same, until no Catholic anywhere could possibly imagine voting for a pro-abort politician. I sincerely hope, when I read letters like the good bishop's, that we are getting closer to that day.

1 comment:

nutmeg said...

I read that letter too and was hoping we could forward it to our pastor. We'll see.
Luckily, we are not alone in our outrage, and there are very many respected professors among our friends. I'm optimistic.
However. We will be going elsewhere for awhile....