Today, all Americans eligible to vote, once again have the responsibility to make prudent choices concerning those who will govern us for the next few years. Catholics, across the nation, need to keep in mind, that they have a moral obligation to choose those candidates who will defend life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
The war between the culture of life and the culture of death has become so dramatic, that the very political, economic, and social survival of our nation depends upon one issue; the issue of abortion. All Catholics need to look beyond the other issues at hand, and realize that the one pressing issue is abortion. The acceptance of legalized abortion affects every facet of the American way of life.
“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2273).
The massive loss of innocent human life that took place on September 11 shocked the nation. This loss of innocent human life was tragic. Nevertheless, another tragedy with even greater consequences continues on a daily basis. 41,720,378 children have been murdered through abortion since January 22, 1973. The slaughter of the innocent continues and very few people are doing anything about it. Should we be surprised at the unending news of murders, bombings and wars throughout the world? If we can kill inside of the womb, what is to keep us from killing outside of the womb?
Today, every person interested in the future of our nation, has an opportunity to elect public officials who will defend human life. No matter what the other issues may be, no matter what the party affiliation of a candidate, every person with human decency has a moral obligation to vote for pro-life candidates willing to take an uncompromising stand for life.
The teachings of the Catholic Church on the subject of abortion can not be any clearer. Church teaching is not a matter of choice. Our conscience must be informed by objective truth and we must act accordingly. It is essential that we think, act, and vote Catholic.
Let us review the teachings of the Catholic Church on the subject of abortion. Pope John Paul II and the American bishops have written extensively on the issue. Our reflection will simply look at some basic texts which will remind us of our duty as a Catholic people.
“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” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2271).
“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of ex-communication to this crime against human life. 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” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2272).
“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and His Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral” (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 57.4).
Some Catholics state that they follow the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion. However, they believe that although abortion is wrong, a woman has the right to have an abortion. These same Catholics admit that they have no problem voting for pro-choice candidates. Some even have no problem voting for pro-abortion candidates.
We must understand that when it comes to the subject of abortion, there is no such thing as “pro-choice”. In reality, the term “pro-choice” is simply smoke and mirrors. Pro-choice and pro-abortion are one and same.
Once again, let us look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged” (# 2287).
When Catholics defend their pro-choice position, they are saying that any woman has the right to terminate the life of a living human being. Let us remember that no matter how small a little baby may be in the mother's womb, a new human being begins at the moment of conception. This new human being is entitled to the right to life as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If anyone has the right to terminate the life of an innocent human being, not only are those who are being terminated no longer equal under the law, pro-choice proponents are laying the ground work for choices to be made about the extermination of other groups of people.
Is not this the case of Nazi Germany? Not only were Jews, Gypsies and Catholics considered to be less equal than others, but a certain group of people took upon themselves the right to make a choice as to who had a right to live.
Is not this the case of slavery? Not only were Africans considered to be less equal than others, but a certain group of people took upon themselves the right to make a choice as to who would be slaves and who would not be slaves.
Thankfully both the German and American atrocities have been overcome with the passing of history. In our own day, peace, civil order and morality will never return to the world until abortion is ended in every corner of the planet. If a woman has the right to kill her baby, what is to keep a sniper from executing his next victim? If a doctor has the right to murder an innocent child, what is to keep a child from killing his own classmates? If a hospital has a right to sponsor homicide, what is to keep a state from supporting terrorists?
The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. All other rights depend upon the right to life. Abortion is a horrific evil which is claiming over 4,000 lives every day.
The teachings of the Catholic Church are crystal clear on the subject of abortion. It is always morally wrong to cooperate or support abortion in any way. Those who knowingly and intentionally help elect candidates who support abortion in any way, are morally responsible for the children killed.
Any Catholic, including public officials or candidates for public office who supports or promotes abortion in any way, has taken a position which is in clear opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Heresy is defined as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2089).
For those who have erred there is forgiveness. The Catholic Church, as a loving mother, welcomes with open arms, all of her repentant prodigal sons and daughters who humbly seek reconciliation and forgiveness through the sacrament of Confession. God will forgive any sin, even the sin of abortion. Any Catholic who has committed or has participated in an abortion will always be welcomed with kindness and compassion so long as that person changes and repents of the grave sin which has been committed.
Any woman who is contemplating the possibility of having an abortion, can always count on the large number of effective Catholic organizations and agencies that will help her save the life of her baby. There is never a need for an abortion under any circumstance, no matter how tragic that circumstance may be.
There is only one choice, and that choice is life. If you love America, choose life. If you have not yet made it to the polls today, when you get there, remember , you have one choice, and that choice is life.
Father James Farfaglia is an Associate Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Churches. Originally from Ridgefield, CT, Father has founded and developed apostolates for the Catholic Church in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. He may be reached by e-mail at Icthus@GoCCN.org