Bishops have a duty to admonish pro-abortion politicians

Rite & Reason: Whenever there is conflict between civil law and the moral law of the church, it is always the duty of the Catholic to resist the civil law

Archbishop Eamon Martin,  with Cardinal Seán Brady and  Apostolic Nuncio  Charles  Brown, at  the anouncement in January of his appointment as coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh. “The faithful of Ireland are right to expect their bishops to speak about the sinfulness of abortion.” Photograph: David Sleator

Archbishop Eamon Martin, with Cardinal Seán Brady and Apostolic Nuncio Charles Brown, at the anouncement in January of his appointment as coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh. “The faithful of Ireland are right to expect their bishops to speak about the sinfulness of abortion.” Photograph: David Sleator

 

God’s law is clear and unambiguous: thou shall not kill. Human life is sacred because, from the moment of conception until its natural end, it involves the action of God.

The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. Abortion is evil; it is the killing of a defenceless baby in the womb and is a sin against the commandment. The church has a serious obligation to speak against abortion.

The consequences of remaining silent are grave. Those bishops and priests who refuse to take Catholic pro-abortion politicians to task for their words and actions embolden such individuals to commit even greater acts of evil against human life and dignity. A failure to call evil by its name inevitably leads to the spread of more evil until eventually society accepts evil acts as normal.

The legislation that is being proposed by Fine Gael is far worse than the UK abortion Act where more than 7.5 million preborn babies have perished since 1968. This exceeds the size of some of the most infamous genocides in human history. Then there are the methods used in the killings. If you want to know what commonly happens to the preborn baby while getting aborted, watch Silent Scream or Eclipse of Reason films on YouTube. There would be public outrage were the same procedure done to an animal.

Sometimes the politicians will justify their stance by claiming they cannot impose their religious views on others. Enda Kenny has even claimed he has a duty to legislate for abortion but it is simply not possible for a Catholic to reconcile his faith with support for abortion no matter how limited he believes it to be.

Whenever there is conflict between civil law and the moral law of the church, it is always the duty of the Catholic to resist the civil law and obey the law of the church.

As Pope John Paul II explained in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae: “Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to co-operate formally in evil. Such co-operation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This co-operation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it.”

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council said: “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and human life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 51.3).

Pope Francis when a cardinal in Argentina issued a clear statement regarding the consequences of supporting abortion – disallowing Communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians. He was upholding Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction that persistently pro-abortion politicians or public figures must not be admitted to Communion until they publicly repent. This year, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, prefect of the supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, told the Catholic Voice newspaper: “With regard to Canon 915, it states that those who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to receive Holy Communion. There can be no question that the practice of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins and therefore once a Catholic politician has been admonished that he should not come forward to receive Holy Communion, as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.”

Those bishops who have the courage to admonish politicians on this critical issue do it because it is their duty and because they are being faithful to the teaching of the church. The faithful of Ireland are right to expect their bishops to speak about the sinfulness of abortion, which is the social justice issue of our time.


Anthony Murphy is the publisher of the Catholic Voice newspaper and founding member of the Irish chapter
of the international lay apostolate Catholics
United for the Faith.

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