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non sequitur

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 29, 2009

 The Irish Times is appalled.

A SENIOR Vatican figure, Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect for the Congregation of the Divine Worship, this week appeared to downplay the findings of the Ryan report when suggesting that the millions of lives lost through abortion represent a much more serious crime against humanity than clerical sex abuse.

As you read that sentence, what makes you think that the cardinal is trying to "downplay" the significance of clerical abuse in Ireland? He doesn't deny that abuse is very grave matter; he merely says that abortion is worse. Am I "downplaying" the Oklahoma City bombing when I say that the 9-11 attacks were worse?

OK, since those were both terrorist acts, it's easier to measure them by a common standard: the number of casualties. Let's just try that approach to the problems compared by Cardinal Canizares. Has abortion produced more victims than the abuse described in the Ryan report? Yes-- by orders of magnitude.

But they're different sorts of tragedy, aren't they? The victims of clerical abuse may be scarred for life. The victims of abortion don't survive long enough for the scars to form. 

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