The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

An Issue or an Evil?

Today, O.J. Simpson was found guilty on all charges surrounding an armed robbery he participated in to get back some sports memorabilia that very well may have been rightfully his. Instead of letting the authorities handle the matter, Mr. Simpson took a pistol and some armed thugs with him and tried to enforce his will upon the situation. How ironic that that he will likely spend the bulk of the rest of his life in prison for a two-bit robbery. Robbing two people of their lives as he so famously did so many years ago earned him infamy but no jail time. The legal system supported him in murder, but not robbery.

Only in America.

Respect for life exists as a fundamental tenet of Catholic teaching. Catholics believe that life begins at conception and has a natural end determined by God. A sad and interesting phenomena has emerged over the years as abortion has become so common place in the culture which now conveniently chooses to terminate one in four pregnancies via this method. In an attempt to justify voting for a political candidate who supports abortion, many Catholics have diluted the horror by delineating "respect for life" as an all inclusive category that takes into consideration not just abortion, but also health care, looking after the poor, feeding the hungry, and the proper use of military force.

On the surface, the association with these other peace and justice categories seems quite logical. Certainly anyone who respects life would want to examine all of those categories. The danger, however, lies in the inequality of the gravity of the issues at hand. While striving to ensure that all Americans have adequate access to health care is a noble cause, does the hard reality that some members of her society will fall through the health care system cracks rise to the same level of importance as the fact that every day four thousand of her citizens will be summarily killed in the womb? While one may disagree over the prudent use of military force in places like Iraq, are the war dead whom we can see on the nightly news more precious than the over one million innocent lives that are snuffed out every year in the privacy of the abortion clinic?

The argument often gets made that one should not decide how to choose one's choice for public office based on a single issue. Okay, ponder this. If the candidate for president of the United States professed that he had a plan that would guarantee low cost and high quality universal health care; and that he would end homelessness; and that he would lower taxes for everyone; and that we would rarely if ever put the country's military sons and daughters in harm's way; and that he would work to build consensus among the parties; and that he would even allow that nativity scene to be brought back to the public square at Christmas time; but he strongly supported legalizing slavery for black people again...would one ignore the moral evil in exchange for potentially realizing the promises made by the politician?


So why does one make an exception for abortion which is an even greater moral evil than slavery?

Archbishop Raymond Burke was recently named by Pope Benedict XVI to be the Prefect of the Vatican's Supreme Court of Apostolic Signature which is the highest Canon Law court in the Church. Recently in an interview with an Italian newspaper, he lamented about the Democratic Party in America as “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” Abortion would certainly be one of these issues.

Perhaps it is that word "issue" that leads many otherwise well intended Catholics astray. Abortion is many things far more horrific than an issue. It's a reality, and one that inflicts infinitely more harm upon society as a whole than all other issues combined. For how can one anticipate achieving peace or justice within the society if one overlooks the leader's proclivity for protecting the right to kill the culture's most vulnerable and innocent members?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 18:1-5, 10

Pray for the conversion of Catholics who would support a candidate who supports abortion.


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