Category Archives: abortion

America Will Reject Abortion When America Sees Abortion

The title for this post is taken from Fr. Frank Pavone, the Founder and President of Priests for Life, who famously said, “America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.” I just made it a positive, “America will reject abortion when America sees abortion.” And I have always believed this to be true. I know many will not agree with me on this point, but I also believe people who favor abortion need to see abortion in all of its gory reality in order for this viewing of abortion to have its full effect. I believe tens of millions would change their view from pro-abortion to pro-life in a matter of the minutes it would take to see, via video, the reality of what abortion truly is.

Below, find proof positive that Fr. Frank (and I, I might add) is right! Watch how multiple people’s minds are changed by viewing what are rather mild examples of videos exposing the brutality of abortion. Watch this:

And this was after viewing these videos that are, again, relatively mild in presentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRDnVSMr5j0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgw4X7Dw_3k

There are much more graphic videos than these available that I believe would be even more effective. But the main point of this post remains: America would reject abortion if America were to actually come to know what abortion is through seeing what abortion actually is with its own collective eyes.

One Way, But Not the Only Way

The viewing of the graphic and brutal reality of what abortion is is not the only way to change minds and hearts; though, as I said, I believe it is a very effective way. We can also persuade people, as I can tell you I have over the years, by simply laying out the truth of what abortion truly is. We all need to be evangelists for life if we are Catholic. In fact, we all need to be evangelists for life if we are simply men and women of good will. Opposition to the killing of innocent pre-born children is not a Catholic-only club!

But there is a third way of accomplishing the task as well. And the Knights of Columbus have teamed up with COLFS (Culture of Life Family Services) to bring to the fore what I believe to be another extremely effective tool in educating the masses who live in ignorance as to the truth about abortion. It comes in the form of multiple mobile ultrasound units that can be taken anywhere in the U.S. to give women in crisis pregnancies the opportunity to see their own babies in the womb in order to aid them in making the right choice to bring their unborn children to full term.

I recently spoke at a fundraiser for this group and it was truly one of the great honors of my entire career as an apologist. Check out the website here and see how you can get involved in this most worthy endeavor to create a true culture of life.

And if you would like to educate yourself as to the issues involved on an intellectual level, click here. 

Truth and Consequences

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, in paragraph 2051, that the infallible teaching authority of the Church extends to “all the elements of doctrine:”

The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.

The reason for this should be obvious to Catholics. Without this great gift of an infallible teaching authority, we would be, as St. Paul says in Eph. 4:14, “… children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.” Yet, too many Catholics take for granted the great gift of the Magisterium of the Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome that has safeguarded the truth of the Faith for 2,000 years. In fact, there is no human way to explain the reality of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5) that we have experienced in the Catholic Church for two millennia apart from this supernatural gift. But perhaps even fewer of us consider some of the consequences that have come as a result of the absence of this great gift.

In my DVD, Truth and Consequences, I gather multiple examples of what happens when you don’t have the infallible gift of what the Catechism calls “the [infallible] Magisterium of the Pastors.” by way of the real-life teachings of the sons and daughters of the “reformation.” I will toss out three here for us to consider:

Denying Mary, Mother of God

I can remember when the thought of believing Mary to be Mother of God was absolutely crazy to me when I was Protestant. And on the surface, one can perhaps understand the problem: If we say Mary is “the Mother of God” wouldn’t she have to be God? If a dog begets a dog, a cat begets a cat, would not Mary have to be God in order to give birth to God?

In truth? Not at all.

The error here is rooted in a failure to understand that Mary was not the source of Jesus’ divinity, nor was she the source of his human soul. She was merely the source of his Jesus’ body. But that does not mean she was and is not his mother because she did not give birth to a body, a soul, a nature, or even two natures; she gave birth to person, and that person is God. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.

But more fundamentally here, we have to ask this question to those who deny Mary is the Mother of God: “If you deny Mary is the Mother of God, who is Jesus?” As I point out in my book, Behold Your Mother – A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines, Dr. Walter Martin gives us an example of what happens when you get this wrong on page 103 of his classic, Kingdom of the Cults (1977 edition):

… there cannot be any such thing as eternal Sonship, for there is a logical contradiction of terminology due to the fact that the word “Son” predicates time and the involvement of creativity. Christ, the Scripture tells us, as the Logos, is timeless, “… the Word was in the beginning” not the Son!

Think about this: In the process of denying Mary to be Mother of God, Dr. Martin lost Jesus. Jesus is no longer the eternal Son. But it gets worse, if that is possible. He also says on that same page:

The term Father incidentally never carries the descriptive adjective “eternal” in Scripture… the words Father and Son are purely functional…

Now he lost the Father. The immediate question arises: Who, then, is God in eternity before there was a creation? I suppose we would have to call God, “The Blah, the Word and the Holy Spirit!”

Double Predestination

In their 1997 book, What Unites Presbyterians, Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick and William Hopper (Kirkpatrick was, at the time, the highest ranking staff member, “the stated Clerk” as they call it, of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the largest Presbyterian body in the United States), on page 17, state:

Presbyterians have endorsed this conviction (Double Predestination), but with Calvin we have always had trouble with it for two reasons: First, if God predestines every person, and not all are called, elected, or predestined for salvation, then God has predestined some persons to Hell or eternal damnation. Second, if God has determined the ultimate fate of all persons, then the individual has no power to make any important decisions.

Presbyterians have learned to believe, also, in free will, realizing that these two doctrines are logically impossible to hold at the same time, but that each is free as taught in the Westminster Confession.

Those persons who can with a clear conscience accept what they are taught, regardless of apparent inconsistencies, are in some ways better off than those who think. It is almost unfortunate that Presbyterians are a thinking people…

There is always a creative tension between these two because we DO believe both even when we know that they are logically inconsistent.

The Catholic Response can be found in Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes 22 (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church), para. 5:

For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery…

I Tim. 2:4 tells us God positively wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” while II Peter 3:9 tells us God does not will “that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

To put it simply: In order to go to Hell, the Catholic Church teaches, a person must reject God’s salvific will for him.

I am truly grateful to God that the Catholic Church never asks me to park my brains on the doorstep before I enter the Church.

Abortion

“Thou shalt not kill” is not a Catholic only club. Pope St. John Paul II tells us, when it comes to abortion, in Para. 60 of Evangelium Vitae:

But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and… modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…”

Indeed, it is so clear. And when we consider that the moral law is something that is knowable, at least in theory, by the light of natural reason alone, apart from revelation (though God gives us revelation so that the moral law can be known with facility, certainty, and without the admixture of error), it was all the more disturbing to me that when I was doing the research for Truth and Consequences, I found 18 denominations that teach abortion to be licit in at least some circumstances. And my research was in no way exhaustive. Due to the limits of a blog post, I will cite just half of them here:

1. The Salvation Army

From their international website:

… termination can occur only when: Carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or Reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief postnatal period.

In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy.

2. The Mormons (LDS)

In the February 1973 edition of: “The Priesthood Bulletin,” the First Presidency (Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney), p. 1-2:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother.”

Got to give the “prophet” credit, he held out for 1 month after Roe vs. Wade!

3. The United Church of Christ

If you are not familiar with this sect, just remember Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “Obama’s Church.” That’s them!

This sect has supported the legalization of abortion at least since 1973. They are an official member of the “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights.” They are so radical that they joined with NARAL (the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) in supporting President Clinton’s veto of the ban on partial birth abortion in 1996 and 1997.

4. The American Baptist Churches

The General Board of American Baptist Churches affirmed that this matter is up to the individual in 1988 and reaffirmed it in 1994.

5. The Southern Baptist Convention

The largest Baptism denomination in the U.S. declared in 1971 that Southern Baptists should “work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

Thank God, they back-pedaled on that in 1980 and declared abortion to be permissible only “to save the life of the mother.” But when you okay murder in any cases, you’re not just on a “slippery slope;” you’ve slid to the bottom of it.

6. Presbyterian Church (USA)

This is the largest Presbyterian body in the United States. They condemned abortion outright in 1965. In 1970, a study report concluded that abortion could well be a “help” in cases of unwanted pregnancies.

Really? A “help?”

By 1983, the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly adopted an official policy in favor of abortion calling it a “stewardship responsibility.” Today, they are official members of the “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights.” In 1992, the General Assembly stated “there is a basis in our tradition not only for a woman’s difficult choice for abortion, but also for the preservation of the lives of the unborn…”

In that same year, the Assembly also declared: “Possible justifying circumstances [for abortion] would include medical indications of severe physical or mental deformity, conception as a result of rape or incest, or conditions under which the physical or mental health of either woman or child would be gravely threatened.”

7. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The ELCA, the largest Lutheran body in the United States, in 1990, adopted a statement that declared abortion to be acceptable in cases of danger to mother’s life, extreme fetal deformity incompatible with life, and in cases of rape and incest. They also declared that they neither support nor oppose abortion-restricting legislation. In 1997, they voted down a proposal to restrict abortion funding to cases of rape, incest, life of the mother. As a result, ELCA now funds elective abortions in their health care coverage and offers elective abortion in some Lutheran-affiliated hospitals. Today, on their website, the ELCA declares, in a 1991 statement of faith declared by a Church-wide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy.

I suppose the truth is found somewhere in-between?

8. The United Methodist Church

The largest Methodist body in the United States, they helped organize and are members of “The Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights,” founded in 1973 and re-named “The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights” in 1993.

How euphemistic of them!

Along with the United Church of Christ, this denomination officially joined NARAL in supporting President Clinton’s veto of the Partial Abortion Ban in 1996 and 1997. Their “Book of Discipline” remains pro-abortion to this day.

9. The Episcopal Church

In 1958 they issued a strongly pro-life statement. However, at their 1967 General Convention they officially supported pro-abortion legislation for the first time. They stated abortion to be morally acceptable in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or danger to the physical or mental health of the mother. In 1994, the 71st General Convention expressed:

… unequivocal opposition to any… action… that [would] abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to a safe means of acting upon her decision.

In 1997, at their 72nd Convention, they expressed their support of partial birth abortion, but only in what they called “extreme situations.”

Their words speak for themselves.

In a future blog post, I will cite some examples among the 25 denominations I found that now support homosexual unions mimicking marriage. Stay tuned!

These are just some of the consequences that follow when you don’t have “the infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors” in union with the Bishop of Rome.

Is a Fetus a Person From the Moment of Conception?

It is hard to believe it has been 42 years (coming up on 43 years in just a month and a half) since the legalization of the murder in the womb popularly known as “abortion.” As we remember the legally drollish but culturally devastating decisions of the Supreme Court of “Roe” and “Doe” on Jan. 22, and as we approach yet another crucial election cycle in the life of our nation, hopefully, all of us will become reinvigorated in the on-going battle to save the lives of our weakest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters in what was once the sanctuary of a mother’s womb. Now, it has become a more dangerous place to be than Iraq or Afghanistan.

One way we can become more effective as we present our case for life, I believe, is to be unified in our message. “And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle” (I Cor. 14:8)?

Some will say I am being persnickety when I say this, but I cringe every time I hear a well-meaning Catholic say, “We really don’t know when ‘ensoulment’ takes place after the fertilization of the human ovum.” I even heard one well-known Catholic defender of life argue that killing a newly fertilized ovum that has not received “his” (yes, he used “his”) soul yet would be even more serious than killing a post-”ensouled” human because the pre-”ensouled” little human would have been robbed of the possibility of eternal life because “he” wouldn’t have a soul yet.

I said it to myself then, and I’ll say it now. Huh?

The real point of emphasis here is for us to remember that this kind of confusion can be used by the forces promoting death to continue the confusion. “See? Even Catholics do not know when a fetus is truly a person.”

Even though this is an obvious red herring argument, I believe that the antidote is a clear presentation of the truth as presented by none other than Horton the elephant. “A person is a person, no matter how small.” Yes, from the moment of conception.

Does anybody agree with me that it is time to put these lame “ensoulment” arguments to rest? Forever?

Now, I should say here that it is true, the Church has not yet infallibly spoken on the matter of “ensoulment” at the moment of fertilization. But that does not mean Catholics are free to speculate either. The Church does teach, at the very least at the level of the Ordinary Magisterium, that “ensoulment” occurs at the moment of conception. There is no human being without a human soul. And there is no human soul joined to a body that is not a human person.

The Catholic Truth

The CCC gives an excellent and succinct synopsis of what we mean by the human soul in CCC 362-368. But here I am going to give an even more fundamental and philosophical definition. In general, whether it applies to humans or any living thing, philosophers define the soul as “the unifying and vivifying principle in all living things.” St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that animals and plants have souls as well. The soul is that unifying and vivifying principle that accounts for what philosphers call the “immanent action” of all living things. The word “immanent” comes from two Latin words that mean “to remain” and “in.” “Immanent action” means the multiple parts that comprise a living being are able to act “from within” in a unified way for the good of the whole being. The soul is what accounts for this unified action that is essential for there to be life.

Thus, as the instruction from the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae (I., 1), which I will quote in a moment, makes very clear, at the moment of conception, or the moment of a human being’s existence at conception, he possesses and is a body/soul composite and should, therefore, be treated as a human person. Of course this is true because without a soul you don’t have a human being. And, according to the infallible teaching of the Council of Vienne of 1312 (Decrees, 1), it is the soul that is the “form of the body,” or that which makes the body a living human body and along with the body makes the person a living human person. From the moment of conception, then, there exists a human person with all of the essential rights—especially the right to life, I might add—that are afforded to all human persons. In fact, Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae (para. 60), says very clearly:

Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…”

More recently, in what is considered to be a follow-up to the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum vitae – promulgated of Feb. 22, 1987 – we have Dignitas Personae – On Certain Bioethical Questions – promulgated Sept. 8, 2008. In this document the Church made an even clearer statement with regard to the personhood of an embryo from the moment of conception. It begins by quoting Donum vitae, using it as its foundational principle and then it makes the conclusion that from the moment of conception the embryo possesses “the dignity of a person.” That means it’s a person folks! This is not just to say the embryo should be treated like a person, or even that the embryo is merely a human being; rather, it is a person. I will begin in section 4:

It is important to recall the fundamental ethical criterion expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae in order to evaluate all moral questions which relate to procedures involving the human embryo: “[quoting Donum vitae I, 1] Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from the same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.” 5. This ethical principle, which reason is capable of recognizing as true and in conformity with the natural law, should be the basis for all legislation in this area. In fact, it presupposes a truth of an ontological character-, as Donum vitae demonstrated from solid scientific evidence, regarding the continuity in development of a human being. If Donum vitae… did not define the embryo as a person, it nonetheless did indicate that there is an intrinsic connection between the ontological dimension and the specific value of every human life. Although the presence of the spiritual soul cannot be observed experimentally, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo give [quoting Donum vitae I, 1 again] “a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?” (Now the document makes a new and more definite conclusion, when it says) Indeed, the reality of the human being for the entire span of life, both before and after birth, does not allow us to posit either a change in nature or a gradation in moral value, since it possesses full anthropological and ethical status. The human embryo has, therefore, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person.

This is crucial for all mankind to understand, not just those of us in the battle for life. The very principle that makes us alive at conception, the human soul, is what makes us a unified and vivified life-form. And it is what makes us, along with the body it vivifies, a human person. At the end of life, this unifying and vivifying principle is separated from the body of any living thing resulting in death. But among living creatures, only man possesses a “rational” or “spiritual” soul that is by that very fact, naturally immortal, as I pointed out in a previous post.

What Do We Conclude?

The reason why it drives me crazy when I hear well-meaning and Catholic pro-lifers say one could “kill” a “pre-ensouled human,” depriving “him” of the possibility of eternal life, is that scenario is impossible from a Catholic perspective. If there is a truly “human” life to be “killed,” there is a hylomorphic, or “body/soul” composite, human person that will be killed.

1. There can be no “pre-ensouled” human being. You don’t have a human body, a human being, or a human person without a soul. If he’s alive and human, “he” is a human being and a human person. As Pope St. John Paul II said, “It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…” (EV, 60)

2. From the moment there is human life, then, at the moment of conception, there is a human soul, a human being, and a human person.

3. Though the Church has not stated infallibly the newly fertilzed ovum “is a human person,” the Church has stated it must be “respected and treated as a person,” it “demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality,” and it possesses “the dignity of a person.”

4. Not only is the necessary conclusion to all of this that the human being that comes into being at the moment of conception is a human person, but this is the teaching of the Church. The idea of a “pre-ensouled” human at the moment of conception “becoming” a human person at some later time is contrary to Catholic teaching.

In the final analysis, I guess Horton really does have it right: “A person is a person, no matter how small.”

If you enjoyed this and would like to go deeper, click here.

Planned Parenthood – Now Comes the Attempt to Hide the Facts

Have you seen the latest? The Headlines are everywhere. The New York Times claims, ”Planned Parenthood Videos Were Altered, Analysis Finds.”  But when you actually read the article, there is absolutely nothing substantive to be found. It claims there were blocks of time omitted in the filming, perhaps as much as 30 minutes from two of the eight now-famous videos. These “omissions” were explained by the makers of the videos, The Center for Medical Progress, as “bathroom breaks and waiting periods,” which is completely understandable when we are talking about hours of filming.

In fact, the article actually admits that “according to the investigation [of just some of the damning videos], the reviewers could not determine the extent to which C.M.P.’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document.”

Was the New York Times counting on the fact that nobody would actually read the article? Probably.

The bottom line is this: This is an obvious attempt at diversion. “Bathroom breaks and waiting periods” do not eliminate hours of videos presenting the truth about Planned Parenthood not only making money off of the murder of untold thousands upon thousands of innocent pre-born children, but now they have been exposed as making more money off of the sale of these babies’ body parts or intact bodies, as I said in a previous blog post, like pieces of chicken.

Is it any surprise that the media has already begun this attempt to divert attention from the hours of damning video we have exposing Planned Parenthood? So what if this is against federal law (not to mention the moral law), right? The liberal media is absolutely fanatical when it comes to protecting Planned Parenthood and their “right” to murder babies.

But the good news is The Center for Medical Progress has many more hours of video yet to be released, and there will be many more of these videos with more damning evidence released over the next several months.

Folks, we simply cannot let this story die. We have to keep it alive by sharing it with everyone we can and however we can. These videos and this story is bringing attention to the brutality of abortion and it is shocking a large number of people, even those who have been avidly pro-abortion in the past, into re-thinking their position on the matter.

I recommend you go to www.lifenews.com to get the whole story. These guys are doing a fantastic job of separating the wheat from the chaff. Here’s a sample:

“The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all eight:

  • In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
  • In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
  • In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
  • In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
  • In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
  • In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
  • In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”

And they also have the eighth video in its entirety (over two hours long) that is beyond disturbing. In this eighth video in the series, Cate Dyer, CEO of “StemExpress,” laughs about how they purchase fully intact babies (that have been murdered by Planned Parenthood, of course). She laughs about warning those receiving the packages containing “intact cases” because they might be shocked when they open the box and see a dead baby intact. Watching this turned my stomach. This is beyond outrageous.

The good news is Scripture tells us “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4). I John 5:4 tells us, “… this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” And Phil. 4:13 declares, “[We] can do all things in Christ who strengthens [us].” All that has to happen is Catholics stand up and act like Catholics, and we can change this madness. We can change this nation in one generation.

 

Answers For Life

If you want a video that says it all about life in a succinct way, and in a format you can easily send to anyone no matter which side of the pro-life fence they may be standing, you have to check this out:

Here is the long version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wURL0rVLbY

Here is the short version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jRM6ytOA_U

 

 

The Evil that is Planned Parenthood

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse… it did. In an earlier blog post, I told you about how Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, casually speaks of how she and other “doctors” have been carefully murdering babies in the womb, protecting certain desired body parts, so that they can be sold as if they were pieces of chicken. And she was caught red-handed talking about it… on video. To say this is disgusting and an outrage is an understatement. In fact, there is hardly a way to overstate the gravity of what we are talking about here.

Turns out, there are a dozen or so more of these videos, one of which I will post for you here. But I warn you: you are about to view graphic pictures of murdered babies and a level of callousness from the monsters, I mean doctors, who kill them on a daily basis, that you simply will not believe.

The truth is: our culture has fallen so far due to the proliferation of sin that the media hardly bats an eye at these monstrosities, and our President (Obama) and justice system are so steeped in the fog of sin that there is little to no response.

What is amazing to me is how the lapdog media–lapdog to Planned Parenthood and the entire industry of death so often sold under the guise of “women’s health providers”–is shown in the clip interviewing Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, denying what we see with our own eyes. Unbelievable! This time, it’s Melissa Farrell, Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not only admitting in word of the routine sale of body parts at Planned Parenthood, but giving us a gruesome tour…

Well, you watch if you haven’t yet, but again, be warned. This is extremely graphic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egGUEvY7CEg

The real question is: how long are we going to stand for this? Tens of millions of our brothers and sisters–real human beings–have been ripped apart in the sanctuary of their mother’s wombs since 1973, where murder was legalized in this country. And now, these innocent human beings’ body parts are up for sale? You watch the video and then you tell me what we should do.

As for me, I am going to begin by speaking out in every way I can. I am going to use every platform I possess to speak for these little ones who are being abused and murdered every single day across this country. And now, Planned Parenthood is saying to us these little babies are no different than a blob of tissue that can be bought and sold with impunity.

God help us!

As I said in my previous post on this topic, if you want to equip yourself with knowledge to combat this culture of death in which we live, click here. And remember: “greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). And, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4).

We can, we must, and we will stop this unthinkable evil, with God’s help!

Planned Parenthood Gone Wild!

If you have not seen this yet, you must! In this secretly filmed segment, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describes in gruesome detail how she and other doctors can and do carefully mutilate and kill pre-born babies in the womb while protecting certain desired body parts in order to sell them. We are talking about the harvesting of body parts of children, for financial gain, folks!

I must say I got physically ill watching this so-called “doctor” heartlessly describe how she and other “doctors” can strategically dismember babies while she is gorging herself with forkful after forkful of what appears to be a very hearty lunch at a nice restaurant. She doesn’t bat an eye at describing the killing of these innocent human beings to have their “parts” sold like so many pieces of chicken.

I warn you: this video is disturbing. But I further warn you: it is time to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. We have to stand up for these little babies who are the most vulnerable members of our society.

One final point: Be sure to watch until the end when Cecile Richards, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, tips her hand and tacitly admits that she has full knowledge of what is going on and that she approves. You watch and tell me what you think

And remember this as well: The sale of body parts is still a felony punishable by imprisonment in this country. But one has to wonder how long that will last. Our culture continues to slide further and further down into a very dark place, folks. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for our survival.

http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/top-abortionist-admits-selling-babies-body-parts/

Folks, we need to equip ourselves for the battle of and for our very lives and the lives of millions. If you want to be so equipped, click here.

Death With Dignity?

As I said in a previous post, assisted suicide has become just one more manifestation of “the culture of death” that has infected our culture in the West, and in particular, the United States of America. Instead of standing with and beside our friends and loved ones who suffer with terminal illnesses, our society now encourages “death with dignity,” another in a long line of euphemisms cloaking the taking of innocent human life.

Sometimes, standing with our suffering and dying brothers and sisters means lifting them up and helping them to see their own dignity in the midst of a culture that tells them their life is no longer worth living. It means holding their hands, loving them, praying with them, crying with them, or just being with them until the Lord sees fit to take them home.

If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to read what I had to say about this and other related issues here:

http://timstaples.com/wordpress/wp-admin/post.php?post=480&action=edit

But even more importantly, I would like you to hear this message from “Liz,” who says it much more powerfully than I ever could:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nf_rb2qkbE

Happy New Year! And may God help us to love, protect, and help others to appreciate each and every innocent human life from conception until natural death!

And if you want to dive deeper into this topic and other related topics, click here.

Politics and Religion Pt. 4 – The Dignity of the Human Person

In this fourth post in our series on “politics and religion,” I would like to change gears a bit. Have you ever noticed that whenever the topic of abortion is discussed, the language that is constantly employed by the pro-death camp that now reaches to the highest levels of our government in America, as well as governments around the world, almost always reduces pre-born children to something less than human? Even though, again, as we saw in our last post, there is simply no argument, from a scientific perspective, and this is not to mention the philosophical or moral perspective, against what all who want to know can know to be true; namely, a human being is a human being from the moment of conception.

Yet, the constant rhetoric from the pro-abortion camp is to reduce the pre-born baby to something less than fully human. It’s a “zygote,” a “fetus,” just a bunch of cells, or the classic “potential human being.” They will call it anything but what we all know it to be: a human being! I believe this classic “culture of death” mentality, as Pope John Paul II called it, has its roots in two other “non-negotiables” I mentioned in my first post on this topic of “politics and religion:” pornography and contraception.

Pornography: the Root of the Problem

If the famous Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, were still alive, I would love to steer him to CCC 2354, which gives us an excellent definition of pornography. For those who don’t know, he was the famous Justice who claimed he could never define what pornography is, but that he would “know it when he sees it:”

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

The Church quite rightly declares here that in pornography we have a radical reduction of human beings to the level of sexual objects—and this is mostly women being reduced to objects to be used and abused by men! Though, unfortunately, the numbers of women not just viewing, but becoming addicted to porn is growing at an alarming rate. The truth is: once one reduces another human being to the level of an object there is no end to the evils that will most assuredly follow. Pornography, I argue, is really the unholy foundation that leads to the evils of contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and all the rest. Heaven alone will reveal the numbers of women who have been used and abused, even raped and killed stemming from this scourge of pornography.

Let me assure you, folks, that when men are looking at pornography, they are not thinking, “Boy, I wonder how her spiritual life is?” Those women are simply objects for pleasure. Faceless. And in time, they become almost something less than human. This is a mentality that leads to such horrors as rape and murder.

Does this mean all men who view pornography will rape a woman or women? No. Some will, most won’t. However, though viewing porn might not necessarily lead to rape, rape is usually preceded by the “lesser” evils of pornography and self-abuse. And I would add here that this does mean that each and every man who views pornography will have reduced the women they view to something less than what they truly are: women created in the image and likeness of God with an immeasurable and uniquely human dignity.

Contraception: the Problem Deepens

You may ask, how does pornography lead to other evils? Or more fundamentally, how does reducing another human being to the level of object lead to other evils? Let’s consider contraception. It is not rocket science to figure out that there is a two-fold end to the conjugal act. If we examine its nature, we discover the purpose of the conjugal act is both unitive, that is, it aids in bringing about the intimate union and mutual perfection of one man and one woman united in marriage, and it is procreative. In fact, the primary and most obvious reason for the conjugal act is the continuation of the species. Again, this is not rocket science. But keep this in mind as we move forward: If either the unitive or procreative aspects of the conjugal act are willfully and purposefully thwarted, that act becomes gravely immoral. It distorts the God-ordained purpose of the act itself.

Contraception willfully eliminates the essential procreative aspect of the conjugal act and effectively reduces both the man and woman, but most especially the woman, to something less than they are. Persons have become reduced to objects for sexual pleasure, contrary to God’s will.

A common objection at this point come in words to the effect of: “What about couples who are infertile for various reasons, whether it be age or some defect? Are they forbidden to have conjugal relations?” By no means! In those cases, we can say it is not God’s will for them to be able conceive. This is God’s design. (Of course, in the case of infertility, sometimes this can be healed through the proper use of medicine.) There is nothing the couple would be doing in these cases to deliberately thwart God’s plan for the conjugal act. There is, therefore, an essential difference between contraception and a couple being naturally infertile. The former acts contrary to nature; the latter acts in accord with “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” to quote the Declaration of Independence.

The tragedy of tragedies here is that contraception reduces women, especially, to sexual objects even in the context of marriage. It does not respect the woman as an integral whole. It reduces her to something less than what she is—she becomes an object for sexual gratification while acting in a way that rejects her fertility, which is an essential aspect of who she is, a sanctuary of new life and true love.

The Culture of Death

This reductionism creates a mentality that lends itself to all manner of evils both individually and collectively in societies, as Pope Paul VI so prophetically described it in Humanae Vitae, paragraphs 14 and 17. His Holiness condemns contraception absolutely because it is, by definition:

… to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

(17) Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife…

Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the “principle of totality” enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII.

This mentality and the tendencies that Pope Paul VI speaks of leads to what Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.” It is a mentality that says we can and must eliminate anything—or anyone—that stands in the way of our being able to fulfill our own desires for pleasure—and whenever we want to! Without respect of God’s will, God’s plan, or the dignity of the other person or persons involved. So what happens when a baby “accidentally” comes along? Let’s get rid of it!

And if we look at what is happening in China with its horrid “one child” policy enforced in sometimes unthinkably brutal ways, and now the “HHS Mandate” of the Obama administration, Pope Paul VI’s words are even more profound. And this is not to mention the devastation contraception has wreaked on marriage and the family.

Sin Makes You Stupid

This “culture of death” mentality leads to all sorts of inane justifications for what is simply radical narcissism. How many times have we heard, “I am only thinking of the baby. I am not ready to raise a child!” Hogwash! Isn’t it amazing how people can kill someone and say, “It’s for your own good! Really it is!” That is just garbage. And, of course, more commonly, the person considering abortion disassociates what is commonly referred to as “the product of conception” from “a baby” at all. “The baby” is so radically objectified to the point of considering him to be just so much “biological matter” in the womb. The truth is, millions of babies have been and are being slaughtered for the simple reason that they are an inconvenience. Well, this mentality has not only led to the demise of over 55 million babies in the US alone since 1973, but it has also led to the next of our six non-negotiables:

Euthanasia

CCC 2277 declares:

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God his creator.

One can readily see the same “culture of death” mentality that would say we must rid ourselves of pre-born babies because they are an inconvenience to us leading to “euthanasia,” which is so often getting rid of a “burden” cloaked in “compassion.” Now, there is no doubt that euthanasia can be the result of a genuinely misguided sense of compassion, but again as the Catechism says, no matter what the motives, we are talking about murder.

Let’s Be Clear

Opposition to euthanasia does not mean one has to use every possible means available to keep people alive at all times. CCC 2278 says:

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s ability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

We should also note here as CCC 2279 says, that one can give palliative care to someone who is in terrible pain, even if that medicine may well shorten their lifespan, as long as one is not willing death as either an end or means. If one is simply trying to alleviate pain in the context of having accepted that death is unavoidable, this can be an act of charity.

The key here is to note that any act or omission which of itself or by intention causes death is murder. Period. That is the essence of euthanasia.

I remember people used to say, “Well, that’s really not happening in the United States is it?” Well, not any more! We have now had a clear case of Euthanasia carried out before all the world. It was basically presented on live TV, in the case of Terri Schiavo, on March 18, 2005, when her feeding tube was finally removed. They did not show her actual death from starvation 13 days later on March 31, 2005, but we saw all that led up it. Gee! I wonder why they did not allow the world to see her actual death?

Perhaps the same reason why Hitler did not want the extermination of Jews to be shown in the local movie theatres in Berlin?

Here was a woman who was starved to death before the entire world! Folks, that is an example par excellence of Euthanasia! And don’t think it does not happen on a regular basis in our country. This is what happens when human beings are reduced to the level of animals that can be used up and thrown away at will.

Some will ask at this point? But wasn’t Terri Shiavo receiving nutrition and hydration through a feeding tube? Isn’t this a case of “extraordinary means” that are not required to be used? The answer is no! There is a difference between using “extraordinary means” to keep someone alive beyond what can be reasonably seen to be their time to die and using “out of the ordinary” means to give someone what is their right, that is, food and water.

On March 20, 2004, near the end of the Rome conference on the “vegetative” state, Pope St. John Paul the Great delivered a very important message reaffirming and clarifying our moral obligation to provide normal care to patients who are commonly referred to as being in a “persistent vegetative state.” The Holy Father made five key points:

  1. No living human being ever descends to the status of a “vegetable” or an animal. “Even our brothers and sisters who find themselves in the clinical condition of a ‘vegetative state’ retain their human dignity in all its fullness,” he said. ”The loving gaze of God the Father continues to fall upon them, acknowledging them as his sons and daughters, especially in need of help.” He spoke against what he called a “quality of life” criterion used to decide who lives and who dies that would make discriminatory judgments about the worthiness of different people’s lives. The Church insists that “the value of a man’s life cannot be made subordinate to any judgment of its quality expressed by other men.”
  2. Because this life has inherent dignity, regardless of its visible “quality,” it calls out to us for the normal care owed to all helpless patients. In principle, food and fluids      (even if medically assisted, as in tube feeding) are part of that normal care. Such feeding, he said, is “a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act.” This means, among other things, that the key question here is simply whether food and fluids effectively provide nourishment and preserve life, not whether they can reverse the patient’s illness. Even incurable patients have a right to basic care.
  3. This judgment does not change when the ”vegetative” state is diagnosed as “persistent” or unlikely to change: “The evaluation of probabilities, founded on      waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration.”
  4. Deliberate withdrawal of food and fluids to produce a premature death can be a form of euthanasia, that is, unjust killing. “Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.”
  5. The Church’s traditional teaching, that one is not obliged to impose useless or excessively burdensome treatments on patients, remains valid. The obligation to provide assisted feeding lasts only as long as such feeding meets its goals of providing nourishment and alleviating suffering.

Thus, we must conclude as Catholics that every human person has a right to nutrition and hydration as long as, as Pope St. John Paul II said, the food and fluids effectively provide nourishment and preserve life. In fact, when the body permanently loses its ability to metabolize food and use water to hydrate itself, the food and fluids can actually become a cause of harm to the person rather than a cause of health and vitality. This seems to be a built-in way of the body to say it is time to move on to eternity.

Extraordinary Means

So how do we distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary means?

“Extraordinary means” of keeping people alive would be, for example, using a ventilator and other means of sustaining the bodily functions of someone who is clinically dead. In this case, you are simply keeping a body functioning when the person has already died. If it is determined that you have the irreversible cessation of all the vital activity of the brain, for example, meaning both the cerebral hemispheres and the brain stem are no longer functioning and you have the loss of the function of the brain cells, the person is dead. The body of this person does not have to be kept alive.

Or, we could consider the case of resuscitating someone who is terminally ill and in terrible pain. The decision “not to resuscitate” in these cases or to refuse “over-zealous treatment” as the Catechism said it, should be made by the person or if he cannot do so, the family of the person who is dying, in consultation with orthodox experts in medical bioethics. We are very blessed today to be able to make a phone call and get such an expert on the other end of the phone with the advent or an organization like “The National Bioethics Center,” in Philadelphia, PA. But again, any act that directly wills or causes the death of the person is Euthanasia. If one removes the artificial means that is keeping the body alive of one who is dead, the act of removing the artificial means is obviously not the cause of death. And that is what is crucial here.  

One Final Note on Euthanasia:

Unfortunately, we can now see the “culture of death” expanding with regard to what I would place as a species beneath the genus, “euthanasia,” in “physician assisted suicide.” We now have now seen five states legalize physician assisted suicide: Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico, with New Jersey now in the process of deliberation.

Can you imagine approaching someone who is suffering terribly and offering them a “button” that all they have to do is press and they will go to sleep and never wake up? “All your pain will be gone. We will arrange everything so that all you have to do is push this little button.” St. Therese of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church who evidently experienced some sort of temptation to this end on her deathbed, said to her sister-nurse that the nurse must not “leave near them [meaning her patients] any medicines that are poisonous” and that “I assure you, it needs only a second when one suffers intensely to lose one’s reason. Then one could easily poison oneself.” If a saint and doctor of the Church would say this from her experience of terrible pain, how many people will give in to the temptation when they are aided by the very people who should be agents of life and healing? Suicide, in and of itself, is always gravely sinful, as CCC 2281 says, though CCC 2283 says:

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

In other words, we leave the judging of these to God, but we never fail to say that suicide is grave sin and those who would assist them in committing suicide incur the guilt of sin as well.

God help us!

Embryonic Stem-cell research.

The Pontifical Council for the Family, Charter of the Rights of the Family, declared in paragraph 4:

Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo.

Embryonic Stem-cell research is another example and another manifestation of the culture of death in action. With the advent of this technology, we are basically using human beings for spare parts. But to put it simply folks: You cannot kill an innocent person even if your intention is to save someone else. The first principle here is: “Thou shalt not murder!” And remember, this is essentially different than someone freely donating a body part, for example a kidney, as an act of charity. First of all, the pre-born baby has no choice in the matter and secondly, the removal of the embryonic stem-cells kills the pre-born baby in the process.

It is truly amazing to us me how the major media outlets have completely distorted the real issues involved when we speak of embryonic stem-cell research. The fact is, the Catholic Church is not against stem-cell research, though I can’t count the number of times I have heard that lie promoted through the various news agencies. The Church is against embryonic stem-cell research. It is perfectly licit to use adult stem-cells to attempt to bring about all sorts of remedies for various diseases and defects because the person who donates the stem cells is not killed.

And the amazing thing about this is the fact that there have now been scores of documented cures that have resulted from the use of adult stem-cells, with more coming all the time, whereas there has not been a single cure as a result of embryonic stem-cell research! The embryonic stem-cells are problematic and tend to grow tumors and present problems. Adult stem-cells are simply more effective in accomplishing what was supposed to be the goal in the first place, namely healing people!

In my opinion, I think there is more to this from the embryonic stem-cell camp than just fighting for using these pre-born babies to heal other people. This is an example of justifying abortion and claiming it now to be “beneficial” to abort the pre-born human beings.

But at any rate, the CCC puts the Catholic position succinctly and plainly in paragraph 2275, concerning embryonic stem-cell research when it says, quoting Donum Vitae I, 5:

It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.

But think about it folks: Haven’t we seen a pattern here beginning with pornography and its reduction of human beings as objects to be used at the whim of men who want their gratification at the expense of another human being? Didn’t we see the same mentality with contraception radically and ultimately expressed in abortion and euthanasia? It only makes sense what we would then “use” these pre-born babies as so much fodder for experimentation. And again, the amazing thing here is that embryonic stem-cells do not even work—they haven’t brought about any benefit. Of course, even if they did, it would not justify using them anyway. You don’t kill an innocent human being in order to save someone else. But again, these poor babies are being destroyed without any benefit being derived from them at all! Yet again, the real root cause underlying this mess is the idea that we can use other human beings as we wish and kill them at will!

Which leads us to “non-negotiable” #4: Human Cloning.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document entitled: “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation,” declared in I:6:

Attempts… for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through… “cloning”… [is] to be considered contrary to the moral law, since [it is] in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union.

When I talked about contraception earlier I mentioned the two-fold end of the conjugal act. Contraception immediately eliminates the procreative element of the conjugal act rendering the act gravely sinful. And as Pope St. John Paul II taught so well in Familiaris Consortio 32, contraception leads:

… not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.

Thus, contraception ends up distorting both the unitive and the procreative aspects of the conjugal act. When it comes to “cloning,” similar to in vitro fertilization, this is gravely immoral in that it eliminates the unitive aspect of the conjugal act, eliminating the sexual union entirely. In vitro fertilization is condemned by the Church in CCC 2376-2377. By nature, it “disassociate[s] the sexual act from the procreative act” as CCC 2377 says.

Moreover, “in vitro” inherently introduces all sorts of other grave evils, such as the future father masturbating in order to get sperm to use in the process. Even worse, multiple eggs must be fertilized in order to ensure the so-called “success” of the process leaving many newly conceived human beings to be frozen or discarded. This is tantamount to multiple abortions. And, in a case where the husband is infertile, or the wife does not have eggs or her eggs are “old” or otherwise “non-viable,” a third party is introduced into the equation rendering the act even more gravely immoral.

“Cloning” similarly involves multiple abortions because of the necessity of creating multiple clones with only one (or perhaps a very few in the case of “twins” or “triplets”), being allowed to be born. And when you consider the nature of cloning, we introduce another problem. Cloning completely disassociates the conjugal act from procreation because, in a sense, what you are doing is creating a “delayed identical twin,” except without the conjugal act being involved at all. The process of “cloning” involves the removal of the genetic material from the cell of an adult and placing it into the ovum (or egg) of a woman that has had its genetic material removed as well. The result is what amounts to an identical twin being born many years after the birth of its older sibling that donated the genetic material in this process. (I should note here that this is not exactly an identical twin because some genetic material is taken from the cytoplast of the enucleated egg, but we’re pretty close to identical twins here).

But at any rate, the immorality of this act multiplies even further when we begin to consider the mindset behind it. As CCC 2378 says it, the mindset is often “I have a right to a baby!” rather than seeing a child as a gift from God. The child is reduced to the level of a “piece of property” without any rights at all, when in reality, the child is the only person involved that truly has rights at all here. The parents ask God for the gift of a baby, while the baby truly has, as CCC 2378 says, “The right to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of parents,” and “the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.”

And perhaps most disturbingly, we now have the advent of “therapeutic cloning,” where it is proposed that we should be able to clone another human being for spare parts that we may need later in life. Most would limit this to cloning and freezing the “clone” in its earliest stages of development, at the level of a multi-celled “blastocyst” for example, so that its stem cells could be “harvested” as needed. And this is horrible enough! But God only knows where this could lead in the future. This is scary stuff! And all because we refuse to acknowledge God’s and our proper roles in love and life!

In my opinion, this all stems from reducing human beings to the level of objects to be used, rather than respecting human beings as having a unique dignity simply because of the fact that they are made in the image and likeness of God.

If you liked this post and would like to learn more, click here.

Politics and Religion Pt. 3 – The Question of Abortion

Whenever I talk about or write about the six non-negotiables that are in play politically today, I always begin with what is the most important moral issue of our time, abortion. The CCC 2270 says:

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.

Let’s put this as simply as we can: It is almighty God who creates each and every soul of each and every human being for his own end; therefore, no one except God has the right to take the life of any innocent human being. As Jeremiah 1:5 says:

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.

Psalm 139:13-14:

For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am wondrously made. Wonderful are your works!

Inevitably, when debate about this issue arises at any length, the question of “ensoulment” will arise. You will hear—if you have not already—folks say words to the effect of: “Did not St. Thomas Aquinas teach that ensoulment did not take place for many days, even months, after conception?” Indeed he did. He taught “ensoulment” occurred at 40 days for a male and 80 days for the female. But folks, this is a classic example of a “red herring” argument. That is, this is bringing up a point that really has nothing to do with the real issue at hand. It is designed to be a diversionary tactic.

Poor St. Thomas has been abused for many years over this, but what we have to understand is that St. Thomas was simply using what was the common scientific understanding of conception in the 13th century. The science of the day taught that the human body was formed over time through the mixing of the semen of the male and the accretion of the female’s menstrual fluids and “the quickening” as it was sometimes called, or “ensoulment,” did not take place for months. The formation of the baby would pass through a vegetal stage and sentient stage before reaching a form that would be prepared sufficiently to receive a rational soul. Remember, the mammalian ovum would not be discovered until the 19th century! 13th century science did not know when conception really took place, or more precisely, how long it took for the body to form before “ensoulment” could take place.

However, we should note here that abortion was never permitted by the Church and was always considered gravely sinful, even if it were to be performed before ensoulment. At the very least, medieval Christians understood this to be contraceptive if not the killing of an innocent human being. Thus, again, it was viewed as grave sin. The very earliest Christian documents we have all concur that abortion was always considered grave sin. Indeed, most likely the most ancient extra-biblical Christian writing that we know of is the Didache, written about AD 70, and it condemns abortion explicitly and absolutely.

But at any rate, with the advent of modern science there is no longer any debate as to when a human being becomes a human being. You will not find a biology textbook today that is worth the name that says anything other than the fact that at the moment of conception, we have a human being. We now know what conception is and when it takes place. While it is true we still do not know when “ensoulment” takes place down to the millisecond, we do know that when we detect life at the first instance of conception, at the first instance of the fertilization of the ovum, the soul is already there. There can be no human life without the human soul. And very importantly, the Church has, in recent years, developed its teaching on this matter to the point where we can say the Magisterium is now teaching that the embryo possesses the dignity of a person from the moment of conception. Let’s take a look at the progression here by first examining the CDF’s Declaration on Procured Abortion, of November 18, 1974, which states:

From the time the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human life it were not human already.

The instruction from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of Feb. 22, 1987, Donum Vitae (I., 1).

The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.

This document makes very clear that, at the moment of conception, or at the moment of a human being’s existence at conception, he possesses and is a body/soul composite and should, therefore, be treated as a human person. That is a key phrase—“like a human person.”

However, let us now look at Pope John Paul II’s great Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae, of March 25, 1995, in Para. 60:

Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, [he now quotes the 1974 Declaration on Procured Abortion] “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…”

John Paul clearly states we have a “personal human life” and “a new human being” at the moment of conception. Of course this newly conceived human being is a person because without both a soul and a body you don’t have a human being. And, according to the infallible teaching of the Council of Vienne in 1312, it is the soul that is the “substantial form of the body,” which means the soul is that which makes the body a living human body and along with the body makes the person a living human person. From the moment of conception, then, there exists a human person with all of the essential rights—especially the right to life, I might add—that are afforded to all human persons.

Then, we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, August 15, 1997, in paragraph 2270:

From the first moment of his existence, a human being must recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life

Notice, this says not only that the embryo should be treated “like a person,” as we saw from “Donum Vitae” of ten years earlier, but that from the first moment of its existence it possesses the rights of a person.

And now most recently, in what was a follow-up to the 1987 Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum vitae – we have Dignitas PersonaeOn Certain Bioethical Questions – promulgated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sept. 8, 2008. In this document the Church repeated and made clear the teaching of the Church with regard to the personhood of an embryo from the moment of conception. It begins by quoting Donum Vitae, using its teaching as its foundational principle and then it makes the conclusion that from the moment of conception the embryo possesses the dignity of a person. That means it’s a person folks! And that is why the document was named “Dignitas Personae” or “The Dignity of a Person.” Again, this is not just to say the embryo should be treated like a person, or even that the embryo is merely a human being; rather, it is a person. Let me quote from section 4 of “Dignitas Personae:”

It is important to recall the fundamental ethical criterion expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae in order to evaluate all moral questions which relate to procedures involving the human embryo: “[quoting Donum vitae I, 1] Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from the same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.”
5. This ethical principle, which reason is capable of recognizing as true and in conformity with the natural law, should be the basis for all legislation in this area. In fact, it presupposes a truth of an ontological character-, as Donum vitae demonstrated from solid scientific evidence, regarding the continuity in development of a human being.
If Donum vitae… did not define the embryo as a person, it nonetheless did indicate that there is an intrinsic connection between the ontological dimension and the specific value of every human life. Although the presence of the spiritual soul cannot be observed experimentally, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo give [quoting Donum vitae I, 1 again] “a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?”
(Now the document goes beyond the wording of Donum Vitae and makes a more definite conclusion, when it says) “Indeed, the reality of the human being for the entire span of life, both before and after birth, does not allow us to posit either a change in nature or a gradation in moral value [in other words, no more movement from vegetal to sensitive to a rational soul], since it possesses full anthropological and ethical status . The human embryo has, therefore, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person.”

This is crucial for all mankind to understand. The very principle that makes us alive at conception, the human soul, is what makes us a unified and vivified life-form. And it is what makes us, along with the body it vivifies, a human being and therefore a person. Thus, abortion at any stage of the development of a pre-born baby is not just the killing of a cell, a bunch of cells, a body, or even a soul. It is the killing of a pre-born human being… a human person.

Now some will say here: “The Church still did not say ‘the human embryo is a person.’ And that is true. However, the writing is on the wall for such a statement and the fact is, the Church seems to leave no wiggle room here for any other conclusion. If the embryo possesses the “dignitas personae,” then the embryo is a person.

But most importantly for our purpose here, the direct killing of an innocent human being, from the moment of his conception, is always and in every circumstance, gravely sinful.

Thus, no Catholic can morally support laws or politicians that ”take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of [abortion] or vote for it” (Evangelium Vitae, 73).

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