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The greatest moral problem we face in our country today
January 16, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This coming Friday, January 22, the hearts of Catholics, other Christians and all people of good will, will be turned toward the greatest moral problem we face in our country today: abortion. One thing that we can do to help would be to attend the Prayer Service for Life to be held this coming Friday, January 22, at the St. Paul Cathedral beginning at 10:30am. Abortion is the most serious and troubling issue facing our culture today. Our good Lord Jesus desires each of us to learn more about all the moral issues we face, but especially to know the facts about the dignity of human life to readily answer the call to defend human life, especially the unborn.
Our Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches us a great deal about why human life is sacred. Here are some excerpts:
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (from Jeremiah 1:5). My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. (from Psalm 139:15)
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. (Didache 2,2)
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," (Code of Canon Law, 1398) "by the very commission of the offense," (Code of Canon Law, 1314) and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights.”
Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence." "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material." "Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity" which are unique and unrepeatable.” (some quotes above taken from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document: Donum Vitae – The Gift of Life) (please see in the CCC 2270-2275)
We all must continue to do our part to pray for an end to abortion and all injustices against the dignity of human life. Our prayer also
should lead us to actions, rooted in Faith, Hope and Love, that will lead to the building up of a culture that loves all human life, from conception to natural death.
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph and our patrons, St. Michael and St. Paul, may God bring an end to all injustices against the dignity of human life, especially abortion! May God bless you, your families and our parishes!