Wherein I actually discuss abortion

In the past, I have referred to abortion with respect to election politics, but, rather strangely, never have attempted to discuss this atrocity otherwise. In the wake of an election wherein a vehemently pro-abortion candidate defeated a tepidly anti-abortion Republican — and won the majority of Catholics’ votes — and John’s post, which elicited sixty-plus comments (Seriously, read it, and the multitudinous comments, here, before proceeding with my embarrassingly simple post.), and as a prologue to posts I intend to compose on federalism and the Republican Party and on the failures of the Catholic hierarchy to create and to sustain a flourishing Catholic culture whence might arise more Catholics who refuseto be expected to provide the possibly now-non-existent “Catholic vote” for the lesser of two evil candidates, neither of whose beliefs ever fit particularly nicely with a truly Catholic worldview, I’ve concluded that I ought to offer some thoughts, cogent, I hope, on abortion, both as moral and political (Can the two really be separated, anyway?) issue.

Notwithstanding Speaker Pelosi’s and Senator Biden’s faux-theologizing, that the Catholic Church unabashedly and uncompromisingly denounces, opposes, and rejects abortion is undeniable. From the Catechism:

2270 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.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

2271 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.

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.

2272 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, by the very commission of the offense,” 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.

That the Church prohibits abortion, then, is undeniable. To abort one’s child, or to cooperate in the procurement of an abortion, is to risk eternal damnation. Even excluding these passages, that a Catholic — or any Christian cannot support abortion should be Scripturally evident:

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her:

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her:

“Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel:

“How shall this be done, because I know not man?”

And the angel answering, said to her:

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. Because no word shall be impossible with God.”

And Mary said:

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.”

And the angel departed from her.

If life does not begin at conception, then so much of the Mystery becomes meaningless; the Visitation, too: If neither John nor Christ, both alive in their mothers’ wombs, had not yet reached personhood, then this great encounter, when the Blessed Mother pronounced the Magnificat, is nothing. Even Christ, who is God, as human either was or was not a person in His mother’s womb. I suspect that, facing the question posed this way, far fewer Catholics would support abortion.

What, then, of mere political support, the “pro-choice” “I’m personally opposed, but . . . ” line?


2 Responses

  1. […] at Nathancontramundi, I have some thoughts on abortion, primarily, but not wholly, from my Catholic perspective, a post inspired greatly by John’s […]

  2. Spot on, Nathan. So much for the “the Bible never discusses abortion” tack taken by at least one of the commenters over at Upturned Earth.

    There is much to recommend in John’s post, and in the discussion that followed it, but it muddles the mind with all the mushy talk of exceptions and all the hand-wringing agitas over the “what is murder?” question. The Church’s teaching is clear, and I fear that unless the Church recovers Her voice, and anchors Her pike in Scripture and Her confessions, defense of the consistent pro-life position is hopeless. I’m an orthodox Presbyterian and five-point Calvinist, and I’m happy to join forces with you in this fight.

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