Interview: Fr. Robert Spitzer - Equipping the Church to Combat the Culture of Death
exists at the single cell zygote stage. If that's the case, it ought to be up to you to prove that being is not a person and not to say it's up to the appellant to prove that human being is a person."
Rich with historical citations and practical applications, the author weaves together a comprehensive defense of life and our other inalienable rights supported by the very principles that every society is built upon. These rights are assumed not assigned. They are the intrinsic rights of the human person prior to the introduction of any government's involvement.
"You have to ask yourself 'why did our founding fathers leave them out of the Constitution if they believed they needed to be extrinsically defined?' They are inalienable, that's why Jefferson and Franklin chose to use the word 'self-evident' in the Declaration."
The book, which is a short read, significantly underscores the reality that our country has ceased principled thinking - and the most glaring contemporary error of this cessation can be seen in the passage and strong support for Roe vs Wade.
Father Spitzer sees two converging issues that brought about this ruling. The first has to do with the rampant hedonistic culture.
"People did enjoy a sexual liberty or license with birth control pill, part of the mentality that I can do what I want to gratify my libido" he explains. "It became a right and 'no one can take this away from me.'"
The second was an aspect of the women's movement, where a woman's autonomy became more important than the life of the child. It became an "absolutization" of license over life.
"When there is another human life in the picture, its no longer just protecting autonomy in the bedroom, you are sanctioning the killing of a human being under your control."
These two movements merged beautifully to form a huge propaganda machine.
I asked Fr. Spitzer what he would want to say to the Supreme Court Justices, if he had their undivided attention for a few minutes.
"First, I would go to Principle 4 (Ed - Nonmeleficence, see above), 6 (Ed - The end does not justify the means), and 7 (Ed - Inalienable rights) and try to give them a sense: you have such vast powers. You can make the principle of non-maleficence come alive or you can just shut it down in the culture because of the vast power you have.
"And you can make the whole notion of personhood and the respect for all persons - the universality of personhood - either come alive and shut it down because of the vast powers that you have.
"Finally, you can make justice and natural rights. you can make it come alive or you can shut it down because of the vast powers that you have.
"Just remember this: first and foremost, all laws are based on justice and all justice is based on the universality of personhood and the principle of non-maleficence.
"And if people do not remember that; if they want to say that somehow that laws don't have to be beholding to justice and natural rights; and justice and natural rights are not grounded in not doing unnecessary harm and the universality of personhood; if that's the case, then, I think, we will have laws detached from justice and natural rights; we will have a tyranny of the majority.
"The second thing I would tell them is - Look, what becomes legal becomes normal. If you give legal sanction to something, people start doing it, it becomes quite normal. And what becomes normal becomes moral.
"So its not just that you just have some kind of legal authority, you wind up having a kind of moral authority in our culture. What are doing? What are you saying? How are you giving a kind of description to morality - to a collective morality - with decisions that violate all of these principles of civilization? What are you saying, what are you justifying for the whole culture?
"You have vast powers and you should take responsibility for everything that you have done including the negative because, at the end of the day, you will see your legacy and all the destruction which you have wrought through this terrible process of succumbing to a social agenda of the majority instead of trying to uphold the principles you were sworn to defend."
While much of the book focuses on the 10 Universal Principles for Civilization as they relate to pro-life, Fr. Spitzer also emphasizes the need for all of us to live lives based on these principles. By doing so we are taking our lives to a higher, more principled level of existence.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Fr. Spitzer has published five books. He is currently the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith (www.magisreasonfaith.org) and the Spitzer Center for Catholic Organizations (www.spitzercenter.org). He is also the Chief Educational Officer for the Ethics and Performance Institute (www.learnepi.com).
The Magis Center produces documentaries, books, high school curricula, college courses, adult-education curricula, and new media materials to show the close connection between faith and reason in contemporary astrophysics, philosophy, and historical study of the New Testament. The Spitzer Center produces facilitated curricula to strengthen culture, faith, and spirit in Catholic organizations for the new evangelization. EPI (Ethics and Performance Institute) produces web-based education to corporations on personal efficacy, organizational culture, leadership, and ethics.
Published by Ingatius Press, "Ten Universal Principles" is definitely THE book to read at the beginning of 2012. It will not only strengthen you argument for life but also arm you will information that will strip the spin and fašade off a lot of the political rhetoric you are going to receive this year.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Ten Universal Principles, Pro-life, Abortion, Philosophy, Culture of Death, Fr. Robert Spitzer,
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