goods common & uncommon
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 04, 2008
Clear, timely, forceful teaching from Chicago's Cardinal Francis George. Here are the key paragraphs:
In the midst of a lengthy political campaign, matters of public policy that are also moral issues sometimes are misrepresented or are presented in a partial or manipulative fashion. While everyone could be expected to know the Church's position on the immorality of abortion and the role of law in protecting unborn children, it seems some profess not to know it and others, even in the Church, dispute it. Since this teaching has recently been falsely presented, the following clarification may be helpful.
The Catholic Church, from its first days, condemned the aborting of unborn children as gravely sinful. Not only Scripture's teaching about God's protection of life in the womb (consider the prophets and the psalms and the Gospel stories about John the Baptist and Jesus himself in Mary's womb) but also the first century catechism (the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) said: "You shall not slay the child by abortions. You shall not kill what is generated." The teaching of the Church was clear in a Roman Empire that permitted abortion. This same teaching has been constantly reiterated in every place and time up to Vatican II, which condemned abortion as a "heinous crime." This is true today and will be so tomorrow. Any other comments, by politicians, professors, pundits or the occasional priest, are erroneous and cannot be proposed in good faith.
This teaching has consequences for those charged with caring for the common good, those who hold public office. The unborn child, who is alive and is a member of the human family, cannot defend himself or herself. Good law defends the defenseless. Our present laws permit unborn children to be privately killed. Laws that place unborn children outside the protection of law destroy both the children killed and the common good, which is the controlling principle of Catholic social teaching. One cannot favor the legal status quo on abortion and also be working for the common good.
It's good to see Cardinal George refute the latest dodge by which Lefty Christians give themselves permission to support pro-abortion candidates and legislation. The liberal catechism -- according to which it's OK to evacuate the cranial contents of a child but wrong to oppose state funding for his school lunches -- has allowed Quislings to camouflage themselves as Catholic for too long.
The fulcrum of his argument, "good law defends the defenseless," is particularly effective because it shifts the controversy off the interests of the potential executioner and onto the victim, a victim whose helplessness is not some expedient contrivance of political spin-masters but a brute fact obvious to all the antagonists in the dispute. If you can understand why a 10-year-old in a Polish ghetto is defenseless, you can understand orthodox Catholic concern for the unborn.
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