EWTN Catholic Q&A
PBA ruling, Dobson letter, and Church leaders
Question from Frustrated on 06-12-2007:

Dear Judie,

After being "enlightened" by the Open Letter to Dr. James Dobson, of which you are a signer, I am extremely frustrated and dissappointed to see among those listed under "Groups Celebrating this Evil Ruling" the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Priests for Life!

I am also confused by the comments in a recent blog of FOX news contributor, Father Jonathan Martin: "I am against abortion of all kinds and under all circumstances, but I think it is acceptable to vote for a bill that allows for abortion under some very specific circumstances, if the bill is going to limit abortions, and if there is no better option. In these cases, one’s object and intention is not approving some abortions, but rather taking a gradual step toward a more perfect legal system. The late and great John Paul II outlined this principle of incremental legislation in his encyclical letter "Evangelium Vitae," no. 73."

Is Fr. Jonathan properly interpreting the papal encyclical? Is one cardinal authorized to speak for the entire country's bishops? Is a religious order of "pro-life" priests praising the decision to continue destroying human life? The way I see it, murder is murder, and God said don't do it -- Period. Case closed.

Judie, I know you discourage criticizing bishops and priests, and I know you would encourage prayer and fasting for them, and that is good -- BUT -- quite frankly I think errors should be corrected quickly and publicly. We already know we can't trust the media for truth, and now we know we also may not get the truth from priests or bishops -- at least as long as they remain exempt from criticism or correction. We can't use the excuse "That's not my job" because Jesus commanded us to correct each other.

We are quick to eliminate politicians who err in their statements about something as important as human life, but why are we giving our own bishops, priests and religious orders a free pass? I don't get it, Judie. I just don't get it.

Answer by Judie Brown on 06-15-2007:

Dear Frustrated

The entire problem of interpreting Pope John Paul II's paragraph (73.3) in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) has resulted in only God knows how many excuses for doing what is, in my opinion, morally reprehensible. I realize that there is a healthy debate occurring, even now, on precisely what Evangelium Vitae, #73.3 means, and can only hope that at some point the dicussion results in a clarification by the magisterium of the Church.

Pope John Paul II never suggested in his encyclical that the act of abortion could be supported, even for reasons described as "limiting abortion" or taking a "gradual step." toward ending abortion. One cannot "limit the harm done" by approving it in a particular case. As the holy Father wrote in the same encyclical, #57,

"...Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being 'there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal."

Let me give you an example of why the argument in favor of exceptions is frought with error. Let's consider a proposed law that would ban all physical child beating except for those rare circumstances where the mother is too frustrated to realize she is beating her child to death.

Would it be moral to support such a law? Of course not.

I would encourage you to turn your frustration into positive action in defense of life! Join with those of us who are willing to expose the facts as we see them while working to restore total protection to every single innocent person, born and preborn.

Let's not forget, abortion is not a political issue, it is an act of murder. There are no exceptions to God's commandment and there should be no exceptions in any law drafted by man either.

Every single Bishop and priest should not only KNOW this, but should teach it and expoud on the personhood of the preborn at every opportunity! Better to point out Fruitful discussion is always superior to negativity.

Celebrate Life! Work to end the frustration.

Judie Brown