In a statement yesterday, the Catholic bishops of Kenya said:
"We respect the outcome of the referendum, where the larger numbers of Kenyans have voted to accept this proposed constitution. However, truth and right are not about numbers. We therefore, as the shepherds placed to give moral guidance to our people, still reiterate the need to address the flawed moral issues in this proposed constitution. That voice should never be silenced."The Kenyan bishops have got it badly wrong here. Would they be saying ...
"We respect the outcome of the referendum"... if the majority of Kenyans had just voted for a constitution which favoured the killing of Catholics, rather than the killing of unborn children? If not, what reasons would they give for not respecting the outcome of a referendum on a draft constitution which allows the killing of Catholics, but respecting the outcome of a referendum which allows the killing of unborn children?
After all, only last May the same Kenyan bishops rightly warned:
"A good constitution should safeguard very basic rights before conferring other rights. The Proposed Constitution of Kenya does not do that. A good constitution is judged by how it protects fundamental human rights. All the gains in the Proposed Constitution of Kenya are, as it were, cancelled by what it says about the most fundamental right, the right to life. A constitution that does not safeguard the sanctity of human life is not a good constitution."Surely the Kenyan bishops should now be taking a leaf out of the book of Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, who, according to LifeSite, said last week in Madrid about the new abortion law in Spain:
"Whoever denies the right to life is against democracy and leads society to disaster"and that where a law "legitimizes" abortion or euthanasia, it
"ceases to be a true morally binding civil law"?In a veritable call to arms the Cardinal said:
"Let us refuse to support any initiative that goes against life, not give our support to individuals, institutions, works or measures to be or intended to go against life, we can not associate ourselves with those who deny something so fundamental."Returning to the unfortunate statement of the Kenyan bishops yesterday, they say:
"We shall be giving a more comprehensive statement in the next few days."I hope their next statement reflects the enormity of what has occurred. Kenyans have voted to kill their own children and it's every bit as bad as voting to kill Catholics, bishops, or politicians. As Pope John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae (73):
"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. "They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live" (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: "the midwives feared God" (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10)."
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