A fine plea for human life was recently made by Alaska’s most prominent cleric, Archbishop Etienne, on his blog:
How many couples get married today already having decided how many children they will have? How many decide they do not even want children? Or, sadly, how many couples when they conceive a child decide it is ‘inconvenient’ and do not accept this gift of new life? Without judging any of those particular situations, I simply beg the questions: Can we not be more open to God? to God’s plan? Do we have the faith and love to accept God’s will in our lives, even when it ‘blows up’ our plans and trust that God’s plan is better than our own?
Regrettably, these questions do not seem to affect Alaska’s most prominent lay Catholic, who has taken to the state’s most prominent public forum to share that she doesn’t “adhere to all the tenets of my faith,” “I’m not hesitant to question when I think that my church, my religion, is not current,” and that “if you don’t like abortion, the best way to deal with it is . . . through contraception“?
Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law.
Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.
In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to “take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it”.
As pointed out by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute, here’s how Cardinal Ratzinger would have responded to a politician who “does not adhere” to the Church’s teaching on abortion or euthanasia:
5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” , nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
In contrast, here’s how Cardinal McCarrick would have responded:
“Based on our consultation process –said Cardinal McCarrick,- there is significant concern about the perception that the sacred nature of the Eucharist could be trivialized and might be turned into a partisan political battleground.”
“Expecting a minister of Holy Communion to make these judgments would create great pastoral difficulties. We do not want to encourage confrontations at the altar rail with the Sacred Body of the Lord Jesus in our hands. This could create unmanageable burdens for our priests and those who assist them and could turn the Eucharist into a perceived source of political combat,” the interim report added.
The Washington Cardinal also said that denial of Holy Communion “could further divide our Church and that it could have serious unintended consequences. For example, it could be more difficult for faithful Catholics to serve in public life because they might be seen not as standing up for principle, but as under pressure from the hierarchy.”
“We also fear it could push many people farther away from the Church and its teaching, rather than bringing them closer.”
“In light of these and other concerns, the task force urges for the most part renewed efforts and persuasion, not penalties,” Cardinal McCarrick’s report also said.
And here is Deuteronomy:
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!