Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

4/1/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As I look back, the fear I felt that evening did not compare to the fright I have experienced on other occasions in the presence of apologists for abortion

It was the summer of 1993 - 20 years after Roe v.Wade - and I was teaching a seminar at the Aspen Institute in Colorado with Mortimer Adler. Adler, famous for his Great Books approach to philosophy, was in his late 80s then and had asked for my help in getting through his intense three-hour seminars. On the day I arrived, Adler invited me to a cocktail reception at his home. Excited to be there, I arrived early and found myself alone in the living room with Adler and Justice Harry Blackmun. What I didn\'t know was that I was to be a guest of honor at Blackmun\'s lecture later that evening to commemorate 20 years of Roe.

Justice Harry Blackmun

Justice Harry Blackmun

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/1/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Roe v Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun, abortion, life, Right to Life, Pro-Life, Mortimer Adler, happiness, fear, evil, Culture of death, moral life, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - It was the summer of 1993 - 20 years after Roe v.Wade - and I was teaching a seminar at the Aspen Institute in Colorado with Mortimer Adler. Adler, famous for his Great Books approach to philosophy, was in his late 80s then and had asked for my help in getting through his intense three-hour seminars.

On the day I arrived, Adler invited me to a cocktail reception at his home. Excited to be there, I arrived early and found myself alone in the living room with Adler and Justice Harry Blackmun. What I didn't know was that I was to be a guest of honor at Blackmun's lecture later that evening to commemorate 20 years of Roe.

When Adler introduced me as a Catholic philosopher who taught St. Thomas Aquinas, Blackmun smiled awkwardly. Before he could say anything, I couldn't help but blurt out, "Yes, I am one of those guys who disagree with your decision on Roe." We all chuckled, as polite people do over cocktails when they disagree, and moved on to other subjects.

When I took my seat in the front row of the lecture hall for Blackmun's address, I looked around - it was clear this was going to be a love-fest for the author of Roe. Women filled the hall and stood in the aisles. They roared when Blackmun was introduced and interrupted every few sentences with loud applause.

After several of these ovations, Blackmun looked down at me in the front row - I was not clapping - and held up his hand for quiet, saying to the crowd, "You need to remember that not everyone here agrees with my decision."

The crowd began to boo; there were a few shouts, and I slunk down in my chair, feeling I would be torn apart if my dissent were recognized. I felt a real moment of fear - the response from the crowd was that instantaneous and visceral.

Everyone who has served in the pro-life cause has stories like this. They may not have ever met Justice Blackmun, but they have looked in the faces of those who justify the murder of children in the name of freedom of choice, of the right to control their bodies, to combat "overpopulation," and so-called global warming; the list goes on.

But as I look back, the fear I felt that evening did not compare to the fright I have experienced on other occasions in the presence of apologists for abortion. One of the first philosophy classes I taught was an ethics class at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia, a Southern Baptist college.

Abortion was on my syllabus, and when that day came, a female student in her mid-30s with two small children gave a presentation. I can remember what she said almost verbatim. She ended her report, a defense of abortion, with these words: "Before I had my two children, I aborted two others because my husband and I didn't want them. I did it because I loved them, and they wouldn't have been happy."

The fear I felt then was deeper than what I'd experienced that evening in Aspen. Anger can always be turned against those who support abortion; it weakens their argument and suggests a lack of certainty.

But love? And happiness?

How many people, I asked myself then, have been convinced that abortion is good by an appeal to love and happiness? It's a lie, of course,  but the bigger the lie, as Goebbels once said, the easier it is for people to believe.

At that moment, as a freshman philosophy professor, I knew the "great ideas" had been taken away from us, had been torn from their roots. Ideas like love and happiness were being turned inside out to justify the worst of human crimes: the murder of innocent life.

More than a decade later, I published a book on happiness, attempting to trace the evolution of this philosophical mistake. That book was encouraged by Adler himself, who knew that I was using it to address the abortion debate. In spite of his conversion to Christianity, and his advocacy of Catholic philosophy, Adler supported Roe. Every time I pressed him - or Blackmun, for that matter - for deep intellectual convictions about the basis for Roe, the conversation went nowhere.

Adler and I would sit in his backyard, smoking cigars on a beautiful summer afternoon in Aspen. I would start the discussion with the Catholic metaphysics of being, act, and potency that he himself had espoused for more than 60 years, only to watch him throw up his hands saying, "Let's not talk about this anymore; I just can't go there," and he would mutter something about upsetting his wife and friends.

With both Blackmun and Adler, I came to the conclusion that their support for abortion wasn't really principled at all. Rather, Roe was an intellectually flimsy accommodation to the passions of the feminist movement, passions they did not want to oppose.

For Adler, in particular, the contradiction he found himself in was painful - he knew that neither good moral choice nor sound laws were based upon mere personal preference or a supposed privacy right.

With the passing years, the far fetched rationale for Roe v. Wade becomes obvious to more and more people. It's more like the product of a dominant ideology, at the moment in history when women, aided by compliant men, declared themselves free of creation's order.

Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Islamic State's seduction, recruitment of Americans under scrutiny Watch

Image of At least 25 Probable American recruits have been detained since January.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits to Islamic State has grown exponentially. ISIS has used both brutality and perceptive propaganda to attract members worldwide, in ways that are far more sophisticated than al-Qaeda and other jihadist adherents. LOS ... continue reading


'Man of peace, tenacity and courage,' Cardinal Francis George dies aged 78 Watch

Image of Polio during childhood had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life. With his death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has died after a decade of battling cancer at the age of 78. The first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, he is being remembered as "a man of peace, tenacity and courage" by his successor Archbishop ... continue reading


Genetic rescuing considered for shrinking wolf population on remote Michigan island Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are only three wolves left on Isle Royale, a small island in Michigan Lake's Superior, according to biologists. Researchers said that they do not know what to do or what should be done in order to save the wolves from dying and disrupting the ecology. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Another scandal shakes Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions as IRS reports she took millions from foreign governments Watch

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken another hit to her reputation with new information coming out that could compromise her chances at becoming president or even the Democratic nominee. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recent information has ... continue reading


Controversial 'Killing Jews is Worship' posters soon to be seen plastered around New York City Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After being the center of a legal debate, posters with the statement, "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" are going to soon be seen plastered on New York City buses and subways due to the victory of American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) against ... continue reading


Where will the next big quake be? It may not be in California Watch

Image of The American midwest is seeing a rise in the number of earthquakes, likely caused by fracking for oil and natural gas.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Central and eastern portions of the U.S. have been suffering from a spate of earthquakes over the last few years, and the U.S. Geological Survey believes that human activity may be responsible for this uptick. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Geological ... continue reading


Bishop Robert Finn's resignation officially accepted by the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Finn served a two-year suspended sentence and the diocese was fined $1.1 million. Finn remained at his administrative duties until just recently and did not serve any jail time as a result of the conviction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph. "The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W Finn from the pastoral governance" of his diocese, the Vatican said in a statement. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Spill all of their blood' Suburban American girl joins ISIS, encourages others to terrorize 'non-believers' Watch

Image of Hoda Muthana was described as a quiet girl in school.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hoda Muthana, 20, shocked her entire suburban community when she joined the extremist Islamic State back in November. Muthana was allegedly brainwashed by the terrorist group when she fled to Syria using her university tuition fee. The young American refused to go back ... continue reading


5.3 MILLION chickens euthanized on Iowa farm as bird flu epidemic devastates Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The H5N2 bird flu virus took its biggest toll on a farm in northwest Iowa, in Osceola County. There are seven other Midwestern states that have been hit by the virus. The number of deaths in chickens and turkeys caused by the bird flu virus has been counted to around ... continue reading


Defend Marriage! Sign the Pledge in Solidarity for Marriage, Join the March

Image of Did you read that these defenders of marriage faced tear gas and clubs from the riot police of the French Socialist regime? They sang La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem, and called for the resignation of the President. Most US news sources did not even report on the Paris March. It was led by a growing movement in France called La Manif  Similar marches have occurred in Taiwan and around the world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

One of the leaders I have the privilege of calling my friend is a great evangelical Christian and constitutional lawyer named Mat Staver. Mat is the Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action.  We have joined together on many fronts, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter