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Sister Joan explains it all for you

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 18, 2005

A disappointing shoddy breathtakingly stupid essay this week from Joan Chittister in the NCR:

Obviously, the whole question of the morality of abortion is a serious and an imperative one, as is birth control for some denominations and alcohol for others, for instance. Just as obvious, however, is the question of whether or not the government of a pluralistic state ought to be legislating for any of those things according to the tenets of any one particular religious tradition. Those are questions of faith, not of politics. That's how we got the Taliban in the first place. Someone somewhere decided that their religion had to be everybody's religion.

Bracket for the nonce Sister's insinuation that opposition to abortion belongs to the same moral category as, say, the Muslim prohibition of alcohol. Obtuseness is the kindest explanation for this frippery.

No one who has read the real arguments -- especially those made by Catholics -- could pretend that the pro-life movement was an attempt to make "my religion everybody's religion." The Catholic Church insists that the truths of morality, even those that have also been revealed to man by God in Scripture, are of themselves "accessible to reason alone" (Catechism #2171). That means the wrongness of abortion (like the wrongness of lying or oath-breaking) can be reliably grasped by the unaided human intellect. It often happens that Sacred Scripture helps Christians see the truth that abortion is murder exercised against a particular class of victims, but the public arguments put forward in defense of this truth are no more "denominational" than the multiplication table.

Where do you hear the opposite claim? Why, from NARAL and Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry itself. These groups have a huge interest in shouting down the pro-life arguments for the obvious reason that, in the arena of argument, they lose. They survive by means of a non-stop torrent of high-decibel mendacity, including the lie that it's theology, not biology, which teaches us that unborn children are human beings. Now that the new ultrasound images are daily corroding the plausibility of that lie, they have cranked up the volume even more.

It's ironic that elsewhere in the NCR, a liberal Catholic academic is quoted as lamenting the "new ugliness" he finds in the in-house culture wars: "We do not even know how to talk to each other -- to have responsible adult conversations -- in areas where there is serious disagreement."

Adult conversations? Well my progressive siblings-in-Christ, if you want dialogue, it's a good idea to start by making a pretense of listening to the other guys when it's their turn to do the talking. If you want to know what pro-lifers think, you have to switch off the television (you won't learn it there), switch off NPR (you won't learn it there), and actually pick up a book. The Chittister trick -- by which you ignore pro-lifers and instead read what Kate Michelman says about pro-lifers -- has served you well for these thirty years. But dialogue it ain't.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Feb. 21, 2005 11:08 AM ET USA

    This false shepherdess, obfuscating with her specious "reasoning," needs to drop her pretense of Catholicity, & her habit as well, a mockery when worn by her. She needs to be reminded that abortion is a great evil from ANY angle, & ESPECIALLY in the political sense: Someone please lift the rock under which she dwells to get her to wake up to the huge fiscal crises all over the West as a result of rampant abortion for over a generation now. She is an able acolyte of the Prince of Lies.

  • Posted by: Psalms - Feb. 18, 2005 7:48 PM ET USA

    It is very easy to debate the "theology" of abortion - and that is what it has become. The person who goes to a clinic is lost under the landslide of words and opinions. My mother chose me to live over the objections of a family member who throught she was to old (39). The reasons not to have me were many - she had me. There was no outreach for her or financial help for the family - yes my Dad worked 2 jobs. Until we help the family-to- be and the terror in the heart of a woman we have failed.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2005 7:30 PM ET USA

    Catholic Answers never mailed me a thing, but Michigan "Catholics" for Kerry did - unless they'd raided the parish records at the diocese, I've no idea how they got my name & addy - along with a letter from Bsp. Gumbleton who flat out said to vote Democrat. This is keeping the Church non-partisan? So NCR and their pals say there's a storm in the Church. True, but they made the weather, and now they stand around in the rain and complain that it's raining (thanx Ruby of CM).

  • Posted by: - Feb. 18, 2005 9:59 AM ET USA

    Chittister's moral relativism is not the faith preached by the apostles. Just look at NCR's Blueprint for Vatican III, with its call for immediate opening of ordination to married men "enroute to ordaining women." How many martyrs died for this kind of pap?!

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