As I was reading blogs and reflecting on the excellent lecture that His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., I got thinking about why I haven’t posted on the debacle that is the Health and Human Services announcement like The American Papist, Thomas Peters, Rocco Palmo, and smaller bloggers, like my friend here, who took the time to examine specific statistics which have been thrown around a lot these past few days. I, however, won’t be posting links to official statements, like Rocco or Thomas, or examining specific statistics that have been thrown around these past few days. I will be talking about something else. Something, while related, has a little following of itself.
There is a group that calls themselves “Catholics for Choice”. This “choice” that they are talking about is not a good choice at all, for they claim that it is necessary to be able to not only have birth control, but abortions as well. These Catholics, who say that they are for choice, do not understand that there is only one logical choice that they can be for. That choice is that of life, and not using contraceptives and abortifacients, which is what this group pushes for.
Today, in the inaugural lecture on Faithful Citizenship, hosted by The Catholic University of America Knights of Columbus, in conjunction with the Catholic Apostolate Center and The Catholic University of America, His Eminence mentioned many things that stuck with me, and a few of them apply to this topic that I am speaking of here.
First off, His Eminence mentioned that “one cannot be authentically Catholic and not be pro-life at the same time.” He then went on to say that not only are out consciences freeing things, even though it may not seem that way, and that being pro-life is not enough, it’s about the dignity of every human person. These three statements really bring out that points about why Catholics cannot be for choice in the areas that these so called “Catholics for Choice” are calling for.
Number one, they have consciences. While we may think that their consciences are poorly formed, they still have them. Number two, we need to approach these people on the streets. We need to talk to them. With love. None of this I’m right and you’re wrong. Yes, we may be right in some respects, but we need to dialogue with them about these issues. We need to sit down with them face to face, find out why they believe that it is right to have a choice in these issues, and then, using nothing but love and care, explain why they hold the wrong positions. This isn’t accomplished by yelling and screaming, or by denying communion. For, how do we know that these “Catholics for Choice” didn’t go to confession 15 minutes ago, or have a change of heart 20 minutes ago before entering the Church for Mass? There are issues that we need to turn to Rome to, and I believe that the one of invoking Canon 915 is one of them. For, we, as Catholics follow the lead and example of His Holiness. The fact that not only has he not denied anyone communion, but he has not said that it should be done either is a pretty clear sign that we shouldn’t either.
So, as Catholics, can we chose? Well, to use contraceptives, abortifacients, and to have abortions- the answer is no. These were spelled out very clearly in the encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. He states very clearly the Church’s position on the issues regarding human life. However, I come bearing great news! There are things that you can choose! You, as a Catholic can choose whether to go to a Mass that is sung or said. You can choose to go to a Mass with incense or no incense. You can choose to pray the rosary or the divine office, charisimatic or quiet prayer. However, we cannot choose to use these evil contraceptives, abortifacients, or to have abortions. That is clear.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for us.
N.B. I refuse to link to the group Catholics for Choice. They get enough traffic as it is, and I have no need or desire to increase that traffic.
Well put, David. My instinct often tends towards the refusal of communion in such cases, but you bring up a very important pastoral concern there.
David Doyle said:
I had the same thoughts, until very recently. It really is a delicate situation that needs to be handled as pastorally as possible, especially where one’s eternal salvation is considered.