Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lucia The Catholic position on abortion vs war or capital punishment

It is often considered by liberal Catholics that war and capital punishment are far more evil than abortion, or if not more evil at least equivalent. However, that is not so, and for that reason Catholics in the US should not be voting for Obama.
Not long before he was elected pope (overwhelmingly), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a public rebuke to the U.S. bishops. He reminded them that the question of abortion must be judged in a far different category from war and capital punishment. War is a question of practical wisdom, he observed, about which prudent Catholics may form opposing practical judgments. Same with capital punishment, which for centuries was rated by the church as just and sometimes necessary. By contrast abortion, Ratzinger wrote, is “intrinsically evil” and “always and everywhere” to be opposed.

Many Catholics on the left wing of the Democratic party have never accepted this rebuke. The most some of them will concede is that abortion is a “profound moral question.” Cardinal Ratzinger’s point is that that question was long ago answered: Abortion is intrinsically evil. Never to be cooperated with.

There are other Catholic leftists who are quite anti-abortion. Too often, these wiggle mightily to avoid so strong a condemnation of abortion that they must leave the Democratic party, or, at least, refuse to vote for a politician who cooperates with the evil of abortion. They want, for instance, to vote for Barack Obama, even to campaign vigorously for him.
The Catholic position on the war in Iraq is something I've never seen completely clarified until now. The following paragraph is almost worth framing for the number of times I've heard Iraq war is unjust argued in Catholic circles.
In addition, those who call the Iraq war “unjust” are entitled to their opinion, but they have no serious Catholic authority. Neither the pope nor the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith nor the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, even when some of them opposed it as imprudent, have ever called the Iraq war unjust.
President Bush, who is the most unjustly maligned man in history is also constantly held up as a failure to the pro-life position. But who knew just how viciously he was opposed in the US as he tried to implement pro-life initiatives?
The other reason for supporting Obama that some Catholic leftists put forward is that very little in reducing abortions has been accomplished by the Republican party in the years since President Reagan. Is that claim true?

Well, President Bush did sign the two acts of legislation that Obama opposed in their state forms, the ban on partial-birth abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. These acts do not seriously alter the number of annual abortions. But they do establish in law the fundamental principle of the natural rights of infants in the womb. They treat these human individuals as worthy of respect and they defend their rights to live and breathe and continue growing into adults.

Two formidable obstacles have prevented Republican presidents from going farther. The first is heavy resistance from most Democrats (who until recently were driving pro-life Democrats out of party leadership) and some Republicans (country-club Republicans, mostly). The second is furious resistance from the liberal judiciary (mostly country-club liberals) at almost every higher level.
The whole article is worth reading just to balance out the leftist noise that most people are exposed to - especially in NZ

Related Link: Catholics for Obama? ~ NRO

7 comment(s):

MathewK said...

Abortion is knocking off those who have done nothing, it's like punishing someone for the sins of someone else. Capital punishment is knocking off those who made the decision to commit evil. Given that capital punishment saves the lives of other innocents in the future, it's quite simple to me. Abortion, no. Capital punishment, yes.

Lucia Maria said...

MK, I agree. But I have had arguments with people who believe that the two (abortion and capital punishment) are morally equivalent. It just confounds me, it really does.

The Catholic position on capital punishment is that it is unacceptable if it is possible to incarcerate that person, thus keeping society safe from that person. Once that condition no longer applies, then capital punishment where applicable (ie the person is dangerous) is morally acceptable. That distinction many people also have trouble with.

Seán said...

That's just a partisan opinion piece, I wouldn't read too much into it.

And I am not sure how that paragraph clarifies the Catholic position in Iraq. All it says is that the hierarchy didn't call it 'unjust'. So did they call it 'just'?

I would probably agree that abortion is worse than capital punishment. But does that justify turning a blind eye to Republican tendencies to support capital punishment and starting wars for strategic reasons? I'm not necessarily saying you're turning a blind eye yourself, but I don't see to many posts criticizing these legal forms of murder.

Rahul Mediratta said...
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Rahul Mediratta said...
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Rahul Mediratta said...

Senator Barack Obama told America and the world that he will kill Osama Bin Laden. Republican Candidate, Senator John McCain, likely holds the same position.

Many might passionately contend that Bin Laden amounts to a rare and grave exception. But then, how many lives and precisely how many attacks amount to an exception? At what point is the right to life up for compromise?

Seán said...

Well I guess you have to look at the key aspects first:
- what is the evidence of the speculation? Can we be certain that further deaths will occur as a result of this individual?
- what is the objective? Is it to kill the individual or prevent future deaths as a direct result of that individual?
- what other means would achieve that objective? Is killing the only one?
- are these other means plausible given environmental, timing and other constraints?

This obviously isn't a full criterion for when the right for life is up for compromise (if it even ever is), but probably a good place to start.

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