Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Blog # 221 Abortion
Blog # 221 Abortion On the occasion of the anniversary of the supreme Court Decision legalizing abortion it might be a good idea to offer a few thoughts to help clarify our Catholic position and theology on the subject of abortion. It is no doubt a seriously divisive issue in the U S and in the Church. Commanded as we Christians are to love one another, even our enemies, and convinced that love unites rather than divides I see the goal we seek in addressing and discussion the morality of abortion as one that recognizes and focuses upon the content of the problem, rather than trying to determine who is right and who is wrong. In other words we should be seeking unity in our convictions as the fruit of our love. This is not to say we are not aware of a need to acknowledge and address our differences. What we need to do is to address the content of the issues that divide us rather than than focusing upon and judging the persons holding a different view than ours as evil and guilty of sin. I do not wish to present here in anything more than in a brief way what I have perceived as some typical reasons some pro-choice people give to justify their conviction in regard to the legitimacy of abortion in the U S today. For example some of them might claim they love God better by being pro-choice rather than having a large family they cannot afford to feed, etc. As the situation stands in the U S today, it seems that for many 'pro-choice' people the mere declaration of the Supreme Court is enough to justify abortion. It is legal period. That would be OK if we were speaking about whether abortion is a crime , or, if there were not others around them who do not affirm the court's decision in reference to the question as to whether abortion is a sin. The Catholic Church confidently and universally identifies abortion as a serious sin. That decision did not come about as the result of flipping a coin to determine the answer to this most important question. It has a multifaceted background in our Catholic tradition and theology. I think it helps in realizing the nature and importance of the question at hand to realize how it is different from the official decision and law of the Church with which I grew up. For a faithful Catholic the eating of meat on Fridays was a serious matter and a serious sin. In that case we were dealing with a Church law, issued under the authority of God through the God-given authority of the Church rather than a divine law under the direct authority of God. In the first instance the law could be changed or repealed by the Church. In the second, it could only be changed as it was given, directly by God. In the first instance the sin would be one of disobedience. In the second it would be a complex sin of disobedience and killing. The difference comes from the fact to eat meat on Fridays in itself is not an evil act whereas the act of killing is. From this we can see the need we have to address the question when does human life begin?. Currently the scientific evidence that says at the moment of conception, is becoming more and more clear and decisive. The Church does consult and appreciate the investigations of the secular scientific community but does not base its claim on such evidence . We believe the question of the sinfulness of abortion is rooted in Biblical teaching and consequently is divinely revealed by God. A problem might arise in the fact innocent unborn human life and even innocent babies already born are killed in the providence of God on a regular basis through disease or malformations. If the killing of innocent born or unborn babies is a serious sin God could not be responsible for it. What is the difference between these deaths and the death that occurs in the willful act of the abortion of an unborn human being? The essential difference is the fact God as the Creator is the owner of all that exists. We believe God can and does share His unique right over all life with us in certain very limited and well defined instances such as in the case of self defence, and a just war. We believe God has not done this in the case of abortion.