Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

4/1/2014 (4 months 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 (4 months 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


What Pope Francis said to make millions think about Abortion Watch

Image of On Saturday, August 16, 2014, during the apostolic visit to Korea, Pope Francis made a loud statement. However, he did not use words. He did not have to. His prophetic action brought to mind a saying attributed to his namesake, Francis of Asisi - I preach the Gospel at all times, but sometimes I use words.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When Francis began his service from the chair of Peter, much hoopla filled the media about some alleged softening in the opposition of the Catholic Church to what are dismissively referred to as complicated "moral issues" such as abortion. Sadly, even some in the ... continue reading


Danger: Transgender Activism and the Gender Identity Movement Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... continue reading


Should Americans have job preference over unskilled-illegal immigrants? President Obama doesn't think so Watch

Image of New polls are showing that Americans are tired of illegal immigrants getting benefits at the expense of citizens and legal immigrants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to the Associated Press: "one of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted," which would "essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Caught in the act! This brutal video shows a CHP officer beating a woman on the side of the freeway Watch

Image of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock is suing the California Highway Patrol after she was brutally assaulted by a patrolman on July 1.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A viral video has landed a California Highway Patrol officer in huge trouble after it was posted on YouTube. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The California Highway Patrol has announced that it has suspended officer Daniel Andrew after a video was posted online that ... continue reading


Supreme Court Stays Redefinition of Marriage in Virginia Watch

Image of The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a U.S. Circuit court ruling, redefining the institution of marriage.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to delay the implementation of an appeals court ruling which struck down the expressed will of the voters of the State of Virginia that marriage is capable only between one man and one woman. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER? U.S. policemen cleared at least 400 TIMES annually for justified homicide Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in addition to more than 40 FBI agents will meet in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of teenager Michael Brown, an unarmed robbery suspect shot six times by a police officer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agents, be they police or sheriff's deputies, are frequently called upon to defend civilians. In their line of duty, policemen are required to make hair-trigger decisions in order to protect the lives of the innocent. This at times requires ... continue reading


Is the First Amendment dead? Police in Ferguson threaten to kill reporters Watch

Image of The unidentified officer will be found and it is unclear if he will face discipline for threatening to kill journalists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overnight, a police officer in Ferguson, MO threatened to kill a member of the press and was recorded doing so. Now a campaign has started online to identify the officer and remove him from the front lines in Ferguson before he really does act out on his threat. ... continue reading


Pope may visit New York City in 2015 Watch

Image of Pope Francis also said there was a possibility he would add Mexico to his travel plans, specifically to visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine Mexico City,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Pope Francis has confirmed that he is planning to come to the U.S. next year, a spokesman says that the pontiff may visit New York City. Pope Francis hopes to address Congress and the United Nations, as well as attend a meeting in Philadelphia. A surprise ... 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, Ezekiel 43:1-7
1 He took me to the gate, the one facing ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Philip Benizi
August 23: Servite cardinal and preacher. Born in Florence, Italy, to a ... 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