Monday 2 March 2009

The right-to-choose state and the Catholic Church

This story from the Catholic News Agency is so important I'm urging you to read it in full. It's good that Joseph Naumann (pictured), the archbishop of Kansas City, has spoken out so clearly, asking Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion. (You will recall in this connection my previous posts about Tony Blair, the former British prime minister. Since being received into the Catholic Church, he has refused to repudiate the anti-life laws and policies he steadfastly pursued throughout his political career.)

Speaking as a Catholic, I feel that there is a very real danger for the church if it were to allow pro-abortion Catholics in public life to go unchallenged. Such inaction would imply that opposition to legalised abortion and other anti-life legislation is not terribly important, and that it's more important for the church to be, as it were, a respectable part of the "right to choose" state - expressing opposition to abortion, certainly, but not in such a way as to upset the apple cart. In this way the church's teaching, as expressed by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (73) below, would become obscured:

"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize ... there is a grave obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection ... In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it."