A "Pro-Choice" Catholic Is an Unfaithful Catholic
By Deacon Keith A. Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
Pope John Paul II (The Gospel of Life, Par. 62):
"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops--who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine--I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church."
Letter to a faithful Catholic Activist from an unfaithful Catholic voter:
"Sorry but, although I'm a practicing Catholic, I am also pro-choice. In fact, most of my Catholic friends are also pro-choice. This does not make us pro-abortion. But I don't think it is my moral decision to decide for someone else. Again, sorry".
It was early Sunday morning. I checked my E-Mail. Attached to a disheartened letter from a friend was the above E-Mail letter.
I could almost feel the disappointment in my friend's E-Mail to me. It popped off the page! She was disappointed in having even received this kind of E-Mail.
Unfortunately, she wrote, it was all too typical. She informs me that she is receiving similar E-Mails on a daily basis.
This dedicated contemporary woman activist (whom I have labeled a contemporary "Catherine of Siena"), had prayed... and worked... so hard to get a Catholic candidate for public office to stand up for life. Unfortunately, this candidate, also a woman, was being unfaithful.
In her activism, my friend was trying to mobilize other Catholic citizens to stand with her in her faithful citizenship! Yet, she was running into this kind of response, reflected in this E-Mail.
She was so discouraged that it was coming, from of all sources, Catholics!
In her ceaseless efforts, informed by her own Catholic faith, to influence the political debate and elect public officials who are dedicated to the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death, her worst opponents were coming from her own Church!
Her disappointment and frustration were palpable.
I have been in the work for decades now, trying to help Catholics, other Christians and indeed all people of good will to inform their political participation by the truth. The common good is only promoted when the dignity of every human life, at every stage and age, is the polestar of all law and public policy.
Well, it is election time again and the old haunt is still among us. Many of you reading this letter know the problem, unfaithful Catholics failing to inform their political judgments by a correct understanding of the teachings of their own Church and the obligations of their own Baptism.
I wrote my friend the following quick E-Mail response:
Do not grow discouraged. Truth always wins.
The problem is that many Catholics are not catechized and are all too often being deceived by some unfaithful Catholics in public life---and, unfortunately, by some unfaithful clergy.
That is why "cultivate your faith" is first in the twin proclamation of the mission of "Your Catholic Voice."
"Cultivate your Faith/Activate Your Voice"
We are dealing with unfaithful Catholics.
So what do we do?
We pray, we sacrifice, we work, we trust...knowing that the Lord Himself knows the dilemma, it is His Church and His world and He has raised up a response in our time.
We are a part of it.
However, we must engage the challenge as He does... with truth and charity.
I have seen too many say the "solution" is the "Bishops...the priests or even the deacons..."
"If THEY only did thus and so..."
Yet, they fail to act themselves.
What you are doing lies at the heart of the solution. It is the lay faithful who will wage this struggle to the inevitable result, the triumph of the truth and the protection of human life, at every age and stage!
Remember, this is not the first time in history that we who bear the wonderful name Christian have been sent into a "culture of death". We have a good track record of effecting change, of conversion to a culture of life.
I will call tomorrow. I have diaconal commitments today.
Do not be discouraged.
Your friend, brother and deacon
Deacon Keith A Fournier
However, I knew that my response could not end there.
The truth about this problem must be shouted from the housetops. The E-Mail from this "practicing" Catholic is dangerous. Perhaps it touches upon one of the most dangerous situations in the political arena today--unfaithful Catholics failing to live a "unity of life".
In his letter to the Family, John Paul speaks of this unity of life:
"There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called 'spiritual' life with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called 'secular life', that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture."
In our service politically we are to be what the Bishops of the United States so aptly called "faithful citizens." We do not check what we know to be true like a coat at a restaurant when we enter a political campaign.
The scriptural adage is so relevant in this matter: "To those to whom much is given, much more will be required..."
As Catholic Christians we have been given the great gift of the "fullness of truth." That is not to make us haughty but humble. It also raises the water level, if you will. We are the most culpable.
We also have a "teaching office" ("Magisterium") that provides a sure guide for our faith. That teaching office, in keeping with the unbroken deposit of the Sacred Scripture and tradition for over 2,000 years, has repeatedly spoken on this writer's error. The excerpt from the Encyclical letter "the Gospel of Life" with which I began this piece is only one of a myriad of absolutely crystal clear pronouncements.
Equally clear is the direction to every Catholic in public life. If they fail to act in a manner consistent with this truth they are being unfaithful. When they lead others astray as to the clear teaching on this pre-eminent issue, they are committing scandal and actually jeopardize their own salvation.
In short, A "Pro-Choice Catholic" is an unfaithful Catholic.
And, while we must pray for their conversion to the truth concerning this preeminent human and civil rights issue of our age, we must also expose their error, oppose their efforts and propose the clear truth.
To be Catholic is to be Pro-Life. In fact it is to be what I call "Whole Life/Pro-Life." Our pro-life position is not about a single issue. It is a lens through which we view every issue!
The oratorical skills of certain such unfaithful Catholics in public life must not be allowed to lead the faithful astray. Whether they are former governors or current senators, when they claim that Catholics can hold a "Pro-life" position personally and a "pro-choice" position in the exercise of their civic obligations, they are absolutely wrong.
Tacit support from some members of the clergy who compound their error must also be exposed.
The following excerpts are only a sample of some of the wonderful words of just one encyclical letter concerning this issue.
It is entitled "The Gospel of Life"
*"The Gospel of life is not for believers alone: it is for everyone. The issue of life and its defense and promotion is not a concern of Christians alone. Although faith provides special light and strength, this question arises in every human conscience which seeks the truth and which cares about the future of humanity. Life certainly has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. The value at stake is one which every human being can grasp by the light of reason; thus it necessarily concerns everyone....
*...When the Church declares that unconditional respect for the right to life of every innocent person--from conception to natural death--is one of the pillars on which every civil society stands, she "wants simply to promote a human State. A State which recognizes the defense of the fundamental rights of the human person, especially of the weakest, as its primary duty".
*...The Gospel of life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.
*...There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person's dignity and without respect for his or her rights.Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted.
*...To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others."
This unqualified and clear truth concerning the inviolable dignity of every human life is a part of the ordinary magisterium of our Church. It is infallibly taught and cannot be discarded by any faithful Catholic.
To do so not only puts their own soul at risk, but when they encourage others to adopt such a position they commit an egregious sin called scandal.
As we approach the upcoming midterm elections and participate in the political process let us be "faithful citizens" by being faithful Catholics.
Let us also pray for men and women like my friend. They are on the front line and in the trenches.
They need encouragement, support and most of all prayer. They are the greatest antidote to the error I write about. They are faithful Catholics, "cultivating their faith" and "activating their voices".
Let us join our voice to theirs.
Rev. Mr. Keith A Fournier, the founder and president of "Common Good", is a constitutional lawyer. He is the founding member of "Lentz, Stepanovich and Fournier, P.L.C. Long active in political participation, Fournier was a founder of Catholic Alliance and served as its first President. He is a pro-life and pro-family lobbyist. He was the first Executive Director of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice). He also served as an advisor to the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes. Fournier holds a Bachelors degree (B.A.) from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Philosophy and Theology, a Masters Degree (M.T.S.) in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from St. Thomas University. Fournier is the author of seven books on issues concerning life, faith, evangelization, ecumenism, family, political participation, public policy and cultural issues. He is the Features Editor for Catholic Online and a Co-Director of "Your Catholic Voice"
http://www.commongoodonline.com VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - President/Founder, 757 546-9580
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