Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Professor Vance Morgan, philosopher at Providence College, recently wrote a letter to the editor (Journal, 11/9/04 Jesus a Republican?), erroneously suggesting that voters for George W. Bush define moral values solely as ‘anti-abortion, anti-gun-control, and anti-same-sex-marriage positions’. Such a myopic view of morality illustrates a common error prevalent in our modern society.
To be pro-life entails much more than being ‘anti-abortion’ just as being pro-family encompasses far more than being ‘anti-same-sex marriage.’ The pro-life position recognizes the God-given dignity and value of each and every human being from conception to natural death. We certainly should examine all moral issues when voting during an election. Yet, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated, “not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia… There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." (Cardinal Ratzinger, ‘Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles’, July 2004).”
Abortion and euthanasia must take precedence because they involve a direct attack on innocent human life. In fact, the US Bishops, in their Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, also stated, “among important issues involving the dignity of human life with which the Church is concerned, abortion necessarily plays a central role. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community (2001 Revision, A Campaign in Support of Life).”
While it is important to examine all moral issues, the basic and fundamental right to life must take precedence. No other issue even begins to make sense unless one has their right to life protected. The late Cardinal Bernadin once said, ‘The fundamental human right is to life—from the moment of conception until death. It is the source of all other rights, including the right to health care’ (The Consistent Ethic of Life and Health Care Systems, Foster McGaw Triennial Conference, Loyola University of Chicago, May 8, 1985). All moral issues are important but when 1.4 million unborn children lose their lives in our country a year, their protection and rights must take precedence. President Bush may have the opportunity to appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices this term. If he is able to do so, the horror of abortion might soon come to an end.
Rev. John A. Sistare
St. Joan of Arc Parish