Sunday, August 24, 2008

Archbishop Chaput With a Great Follow-up to Archbishop Burke

And he even quotes a Protestant in doing so.

His Excellency is quite blunt in laying out the options Catholics have when voting. He's had articles in First Things about this stuff before, but this one is particularly good.

Second, there’s no way for Catholics to finesse their way around the abortion issue, and if we’re serious about being “Catholic,” we need to stop trying. No such thing as a “right” to kill an unborn child exists. And wriggling past that simple truth by redefining the unborn child as an unperson, a pre-human lump of cells, is the worst sort of Orwellian hypocrisy—especially for Christians. Abortion always involves the deliberate killing of an innocent human life, and it is always, inexcusably, grievously wrong. This fact in no way releases us from the duty to provide ample and compassionate support for unwed or abandoned mothers, women facing unwanted pregnancies, and women struggling with the aftermath of an abortion. But the inadequacy of that support demands that we work to improve it. It does not justify killing the child.

Of course, we've got folks who will try to play moral calculus in light of this issue by appealing to some sorts of utilitarian ideas about needing to go with the greatest good across the greatest number of issues for the most people. Chaput heads them off at the pass.

Obviously, we have other important issues facing us this fall: the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration justice. But we can’t build a healthy society while ignoring the routine and very profitable legalized homicide that goes on every day against America’s unborn children. The right to life is foundational. Every other right depends on it. Efforts to reduce abortions, or to create alternatives to abortion, or to foster an environment where more women will choose to keep their unborn child, can have great merit—but not if they serve to cover over or distract from the brutality and fundamental injustice of abortion itself. We should remember that one of the crucial things that set early Christians apart from the pagan culture around them was their rejection of abortion and infanticide. Yet for thirty-five years I’ve watched prominent “pro-choice” Catholics justify themselves with the kind of moral and verbal gymnastics that should qualify as an Olympic event. All they’ve really done is capitulate to Roe v. Wade.

Let's not think that we've got this bevy of candidates supporting the Catholic worldview. Far from it. I think it was Fr. Neuhaus who said that we Catholics are used to heretics in public office. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be pushing to make things better. Per Archbishop Chaput:

It’s our job as Catholic citizens to press our parties and our political leaders to respect the sanctity of human life—all of it, from conception to grave—whether our leaders and party elites like us or not.

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