By Rod J. Herrera and Steven Bozza
As Catholics go to the polls this fall to cast their vote and in fact in any subsequent election, they should be guided by one significant issue — how will the value of human life be safe-guarded by the casting of their vote? The pre-eminence of human life is just that — the paramount issue. Human life is sacred.
“The dignity of the human person is the foundation
of a moral vision for society. Direct attacks
on innocent persons are never morally acceptable,
at any stage or in any condition. In our
society, human life is especially under direct
attack from abortion” (Forming Consciences
for Faithful Citizenship 44).
In their 1998 statement “Living the Gospel of Life” the bishops declare, “Abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human life and dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental good and the condition for all others” (5) (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 64).
Therefore, if we cannot protect human life from the moment of conception, we lose the power to protect human life and uphold human dignity whenever it is threatened.
Abortion not only destroys an innocent child in the womb, it also destroys the emotional life of the woman who procures one. Post-abortion trauma is very real. The devastating impact of abortion compels us to do everything we can to provide healing to the women and men who have suffered from abortion. To this end the Family Life/Respect Life Office offers Project Rachel to facilitate this healing. For more information, call 856-583-6130.
Also, abortion impacts our society at large. The fact of the matter is that abortion is an act of hidden violence. Violence will always beget violence. In subtle ways the acceptance of the violence of abortion hardens us and will lead to acceptance of other violent acts. So in time, euthanasia becomes understandable, human suffering is just a part of living and rioting and war become a way to solve problems.
Catholics should only support legitimate rights. Abortion is not one of them.
“A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 50). The most vulnerable in our midst are the unborn. If we continue to condone the slaughter of the innocents, we are then moral failures.
The bishops tell us that “a Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 34). In these cases, a Catholic would be guilty of “formal cooperation in grave evil.”
An intrinsically evil act is an act that is in and of itself will always and everywhere be evil. It is an act that is contrary to who God is. “God is Love,” the Gospel of John teaches us. The Holy Spirit, who is God, is the Lord and Giver of Life, our Creed teaches us. Nothing, no human circumstance, no good intention, no good result that could come from it can make an intrinsically evil act acceptable.
As Catholic voters make difficult decisions, it is essential that they be “guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 37).
Rod J. Herrera is director, Office of Safe Environment for Children, Youth and Adults, Diocese of Camden. Steven Bozza is director, Office of Family Life/Respect Life, Diocese of Camden.
|< Prev||Next >|