Friday 5 September 2008

Bishops preaching the gospel of life

The Catholic bishops of the United States have released a fact-sheet, seeking to correct some common misunderstandings and mispresentations of the Catholic church's teaching on abortion. The fact-sheet has been written specifically "[i]n response to those who say this teaching has changed or is of recent origin". Nancy Pelosi (pictured), the US senate majority leader, has sought to justify her support for legal permission to kill the unborn on the basis of that error. In Britain, Professor Lisa Jardine, the recently-appointed head of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has misrepresented Catholic thinking on life, as I blogged recently.

The US bishops' fact-sheet says:

"[M]odern science has not changed the Church’s constant teaching against abortion, but has underscored how important and reasonable it is, by confirming that the life of each individual of the human species begins with the earliest embryo ... [T]o claim that some live human beings do not deserve respect or should not be treated as “persons” (based on changeable factors such as age, condition, location, or lack of mental or physical abilities) is to deny the very idea of inherent human rights."

It is very heartening for Catholics like myself to know that the US bishops are preaching the gospel of life, and in such such a helpfully factual way.