Gospel of Life -- Study Guide
We do know what is right.
As this paragraph indicates, there is a "false pluralism" that pretends
that each person can have "whatever moral convictions they please." This
attitude actually consists of a "moral agnosticism," the idea that we cannot
really know what is good and right for the human person or for society. The
"common good," for which public officials are to strive, becomes a matter of
The Church stands strongly against this idea, proclaiming instead that we
are capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, between the
common good and that which is destructive of society. The fact that we can
know moral truth and are therefore responsible for applying it in political life
is one of the key themes of a special document that was issued by the Vatican in
November of 2002 called the
Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political
life." The document states, "Political freedom is not – and cannot be
– based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person’s
good have the same value and truth." Hence, as Living the Gospel of Life
says, "Democracy is not a substitute for morality." What is right and wrong is
not something we vote on. The Vatican "Note" goes on to say, "The Church
recognizes that while democracy is the best expression of the direct
participation of citizens in political choices, it succeeds only to the extent
that it is based on a correct understanding of the human person… In this
context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not
permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which
contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals."
To put it another way, a people cannot govern themselves if they cannot
tell the difference (or pretend they cannot tell the difference) between right
and wrong. When, in June of 2003, the Vatican issued another notification
telling legislators that they could not vote to legitimize homosexual unions, a
United States legislator complained that the Pope was "interfering with
democracy." Actually, in teaching the moral law, the Pope was fostering
democracy. Freedom is always found only when it points to truth, and
self-governance works only when people clearly discern the common good and can
distinguish it from evil.
Opposing all violence
The pro-life movement, and the bishops, reject violence as a means to
ending abortion. This, however, does not impress abortion advocates, who claim
that by calling abortion "killing," we fuel a climate of violence against
those who do it. This, of course, echoes the objections brought about Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. who exposed the evil of segregation and was accused of
thereby fostering violence. Reformers and prophets must expose injustice and
call it what it is.
But whose rhetoric really fuels violence? It is the rhetoric of "choice" that
fuels violence. By exalting "choice" and "freedom," even when the free choice is
the killing of a human being, this rhetoric degrades the value of all human
life. "Abortion on demand - no apologies." That is the rhetoric of violence. It
does not deny that abortion kills children. It simply says, "I don't care.
My choice is more important than the child's life."
It is the "pro-choice" rhetoric that promotes violence. A pro-abortion
demonstrator in Little Rock, Arkansas in the summer of 1994 held a sign saying,
"Keep Baby-Killing Legal." He was serious. That's the message of their rhetoric.
The idea that one can kill an abortionist is actually cut from the same cloth
as the pro-choice argument. After all, for decades the "pro-choice" movement has
been telling us that sometimes it's OK to choose to end a life to solve a
problem. If people believe the end justifies the means, they did not get that
from the pro-life movement, but from our opponents.
Dr. Gary Romalis, an abortionist who was physically attacked, said, "No
matter what people’s beliefs are with regard to the abortion issue, the shooting
of a doctor is a violent act. It’s a terrorist act." We agree. Beliefs never
justify violence, and it's time the pro-choice movement heeds its own words, and
ends the violence against the unborn, despite what they "believe" about them.
Why does democracy require virtue in order to succeed?
How does the use of violence to promote the pro-life cause contradict the
Click here for the full text of the Vatican Doctrinal Note
Click here for
more about why violence is not a solution to abortion.
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