Action Alert!

With Archbishop Cupich, the 'seamless garment' jumps the shark

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 06, 2015

The late Cardinal Bernardin muddied the waters of Catholic social teaching with his “seamless garment” argument, suggesting that opposition to abortion was no more important than opposition to the nuclear freeze. But Archbishop Blaise Cupich, who now sits in Cardinal Bernardin’s Chicago seat, has jumped the shark with his response to the Planned Parenthood scandal:

While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.

If Archbishop Cupich means to compare the Planned Parenthood scandal with all the other horrors taking place around the world, it’s curious that he doesn’t mention the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. If he’s restricting his focus to the US, then his claim that “thousands” of people die “daily” because they lack access to medical care is shameless hyperbole. But it gets worse.

Yes, of course, the archbishop mentions the death penalty. Full disclosure: I oppose the death penalty. But I can’t say that I am “no less appalled” by the execution of a convicted serial killer than the destruction of an innocent child. The two are not morally equivalent actions. As the late, great Congressman Henry Hyde said: “Show me an unborn child who has been convicted of a capital crime by a jury of his peers, and he’s all yours!”

Joblessness? I’ve been unemployed. I’d like to think that upon reading this, you feel a pang of sympathy. But if you would be “no less appalled” to learn that I had been chopped into pieces, and the parts sold to the highest bidder, I’m afraid I can’t count you as my friend.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: ellenblee129370 - Aug. 10, 2015 8:31 PM ET USA

    I work as an emergency physician in two rural hospitals where many of the patients are uninsured. Although it is very difficult for patients who have no means of payment to obtain pain relieving procedures such as joint replacement, I have never had the urban full service hospitals refuse to take an uninsured patient with a true life or death emergency such as an acute heart attack. Are there any health care providers who can share their experiences?

  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 08, 2015 6:00 AM ET USA

    He blames generic "gun-saturation" for violence in Chicago's neighborhoods. In reality the violence comes from criminal gangs dealing illegal drugs, and their guns are illegally obtained, owned and used. Armed criminals have tendency to ignore the "gun free zone" stickers pasted all over Chicago.

  • Posted by: the.dymeks9646 - Aug. 07, 2015 12:16 PM ET USA

    They are as MT 15:14 "blind guides to the blind"

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Aug. 06, 2015 11:03 PM ET USA

    As a friend said after she read it, "Way to hit 'em with a wet noodle, Blase."

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Aug. 06, 2015 7:01 PM ET USA

    note to Bishops and clergy: folks are confused, it would be a good thing to sow clarity and confirm the brethren in the faith. We kinda need that help right now. Why the AB would use the present circumstance pointing to the evil of abortion and Planned Parenthood is perplexing. And yes, I'd rather be hungry or without a job than be torn to pieces.