Thursday, October 23, 2008

Catholic Bishops: Protecting the Unborn Non-Negotiable

Thomas Peters

The American bishops issued a statement on October 21: Legal Protection for Unborn, Support for Mothers Both Needed, Say Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy

WASHINGTON—"Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies," Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., said in an October 21 statement. The bishops urged Catholics to study the teaching of the Church, rather than rely on statements and materials from outside groups and individuals.

Read the two-page PDF statement here or a web summary here.

Having read the statement, and analyzed it closely on my blog here, I offer the following comments….

While this statement is a critique of some elements of the republican and democrat solutions to the problem of abortion, I submit that it is more a critique of the democrat solution for these four reasons:

It talks about abortion as a non-negotiable front-and-center moral issue. Part of the argument for voting for democrat/pro-choice politicians is to marginalize the importance of this issue.

Sorry, you just can’t ignore abortion and claim to be practicing the social teaching of the Catholic Church.

It is issued not only by the chairman of Pro-Life activities, but also the chairman on “Domestic Justice and Human development.” One cannot have either true justice or achieve authentic human development without an especial care for the unborn, contrary to the claims of some.

It spends a large amount of space talking about the Freedom of Choice Act, a democrat-sponsored bill that will, following the statement’s claim, increase the number of abortions in America and also strike a serious blow to the cause of addressing what has been called “the social justice issue of our time.”

Finally, and most importantly:

Republicans do commit themselves to caring for women experiencing crisis pregnancies. By the same token, the idea that reversing Roe is the only goal of pro-life activity is not a republican position (read their platform). However, democrats do say that Roe is a non-negotiable and do actively attempt to repeal the restrictions that have slowly been put on it through republican efforts (again, read their platform).

This statement is a therefore, I submit, confirmation of my thesis that Catholics in the republican party must strive to see that their principles are better translated into practice, but Catholics in the democrat party must seriously address the errors in principle which the democrats have claimed on the issue of unborn human life, while simultaneously addressing the mistaken practices of the party which do not adequately defend unborn human life.

To put it simply: for Republicans, being Catholic on the issue of abortion involves following through on their rhetoric. For Democrats, being Catholic on the issue of abortion involves reversing their rhetoric and changing course on a whole range of legislative proposals they have planned.

Read it here.

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