Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bishops' Document on Voting Refers to Purely Hypothetical and Non-Existent "Candidate Who Takes a Position in Favor of ... Abortion"

During this election season, we keep hearing how "pro-choice" does not mean the same thing as "pro-abortion". And we hear Catholic apologists for Barack Obama - one of the most NARAL-and-Planned-Parenthood-friendly presidential candidates to come down the pike in ... well ... forever - tell us that "Obama is not pro-abortion". And, indeed, the candidate himself, with the eager backing of his sycophants, tells us that "no one is for abortion".

Which leaves me wondering just WHO in the hell the Bishops might have been referring to in the following passage from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship:

A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion ..., if the voter’s intent is to support that position.
Can someone help me out with that? Of all the intrinsic evils out there that a given candidate might support, why did the Bishops choose to focus on addressing a candidate that, if we are to take the claims of our Obama-defending interlocutors seriously, appears to be purely hypothetical?

Let's just say that I remain unconvinced that the Bishops would go to so much trouble and expend so much ink in Faithful Citizenship talking about a type of candidate that doesn't really exist. So, I must conclude that the sort of candidate the Bishops were speaking about in describing "a candidate who takes a position in favor of ... abortion" is, in fact, the self-described "pro-choice" politician.

But, for the record, if you insist on drawing the bogus distinction between "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion", and/or insist that one can be "pro-choice" and still be faithful to Catholic social teaching with respect to abortion, the Bishops have that covered, too:
It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.
And how about this one?
Catholics must never abandon the moral requirement to seek full protection for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Or this one?
Our Conference supports laws and policies to protect human life to the maximum degree possible, including constitutional protection for the unborn and legislative efforts to end abortion ...
Or this one?
We hope Catholics will ask candidates how they intend to help our nation pursue these important goals:
• Address the preeminent requirement to protect the weakest in our midst — innocent unborn children — by restricting and bringing to an end the destruction of unborn children through abortion.
(emphasis added throughout)

Still want to make the claim - contra to the U.S. Catholic Bishops - that the "pro-choice" position is effectively distinct from being "pro-abortion"? Still want to argue that "The dirty little secret is that advocacy of criminalization for abortion has no basis in Catholic ethics ..."?

Go ahead, but don't expect me to take you seriously.

Christopher Blosser points out that the Holy Father doesn't seem to have the same problem connecting the dots between "pro-choice" and pro-abortion as some of our Obama defenders do:
... We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion.
(emphasis added)

Labels: , , , ,


At 5/17/2008 1:20 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

One might also ask why Pope Benedict in his speech to single out this issue to the Catholic Bishops:

"Of course, what is essential is a correct understanding of the just autonomy of the secular order, an autonomy which cannot be divorced from God the Creator and his saving plan (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36). Perhaps America's brand of secularism poses a particular problem: it allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the Churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator. Faith becomes a passive acceptance that certain things "out there" are true, but without practical relevance for everyday life. The result is a growing separation of faith from life: living "as if God did not exist". This is aggravated by an individualistic and eclectic approach to faith and religion: far from a Catholic approach to "thinking with the Church", each person believes he or she has a right to pick and choose, maintaining external social bonds but without an integral, interior conversion to the law of Christ. Consequently, rather than being transformed and renewed in mind, Christians are easily tempted to conform themselves to the spirit of this age (cf. Rom 12:3). We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion."

At 5/17/2008 10:52 AM, Blogger Literacy-chic said...

the bogus distinction between "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion"

I actually mentioned this in a recent post without realizing it was as hot a topic in current political discourse as it seems to be. I think there are some well-meaning types who truly believe this rhetoric, probably because they feel they have to--it's a peer pressure thing. It's an easy rhetorical trap to get sucked into, and you can just throw your hands up in desperation and cast your lot with the guy who says s/he is going to influence a decline in the "procedure." These are the "I'm against it personally, but..." types. The logic is faulty, but they are not the ones creating so-called "art" based on their political views, or gaining their feminist credentials by exercising their "right" to kill their children. Those types exist, too, and in greater numbers than I ever supposed when I thought that abortion was something that I really could not judge for someone else. I suspect that many of the people who are "pro-choice" because they have been convinced that you can't impose your views on others would be appalled by some of the harsher pro-abortion rhetoric. It rather emphasized what an intrinsic evil abortion is. But these are the types who are likely to be equally appalled by the "extreme" measures of pro-lifers.

So politically, there is not a distinction between "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion." Only rhetorically. And unfortunately, the rhetoric convinces a lot of people to do--and support--what they know is wrong.

At 5/17/2008 4:01 PM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...


I respectfully disagree: the distinction between pro-choice and pro-abortion isn’t bogus. The terms refer to distinct positions, BOTH of which are contrary to Catholic teaching. The pro-choice position refrains from making a moral judgment on abortion; it is the position that abortion should be legal. The pro-abortion position posits that abortion is a good thing, either in itself or as a means. The positions refer to separate questions: one legal, the other moral. Again, both positions are incompatible with Catholic teaching on law and abortion, and there are far too many proponents of each position and both positions in our society.

At 5/17/2008 5:51 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Kyle, I think the problem comes in that every time we see a public figure claim to be "pro-choice," he turns out in fact to be actually be pro-abortion.

At 5/18/2008 3:07 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

I don't have to "make the case" that voting for a pro-abort is OK.

The Bishops themselves did:

But then the document declares, "There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons"

Blosser covered that here:


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

hit counter for blogger