Monday, November 03, 2008

Why Catholics Cannot Compromise on Abortion

Is it okay (as some Catholics hold) to support a candidate who supports abortion on demand, on the grounds that the candidate is against the war in Iraq and against the death penalty? Some thumbnail observations:

-- The Catholic faith does not require us to oppose either the war in Iraq or oppose capital punishment. On these matters, we are free to form our own opinions based on prudential judgment. But the Catholic Church has always held that abortion is gravely and inherently evil, always and everywhere, and justified under no circumstances. Our faith therefore does require us to oppose abortion.

-- For every one word that has issued from the present and/or previous Pope opposing either the war or capital punishment, I can guarantee there have been at least ten opposing abortion. It is not clear why the Pope's pronouncements on matters falling within the scope of prudential judgment should carry weight, but not those on a matter that binds Catholics in conscience.

-- Abortion is such a serious matter that a Catholic is not only bound in conscience to oppose it, but is automatically excommunicated for having an abortion, procuring an abortion, performing or assisting in performing abortion, or even advising someone to have an abortion. Catholics do not incur excommunication for supporting either the war in Iraq or capital punishment.

In short, it is a sign of moral confusion for a Catholic to support a candidate who supports grave, inherent evils that Catholics are bound to oppose, on the basis that that candidate opposes what Catholics may in good conscience support.

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