Pope Francis just issued another apostolic exhortation, and already pro-abortion Catholics are trying to hit pro-lifers over the head with it. Here’s what Stephen Herreid thinks about that!
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Francis writes: “We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children.”
This seems a direct refutation of your argument that abortion should be treated with greater weight than care for the poor because the lives of the poor are not at direct risk. If that’s your opinion, that’s fine, but I think it’s pretty clear why he uses the phrase “equally sacred.” Francis doesn’t define “equally sacred” as “also at risk of dying or being killed.”
“If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity, and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian!”
With all due respect, I feel like your responses is lacking without providing any of the context of the Exhortation. Francis provides ample backing for his views. He writes a ton of words about the Beatitudes and how living out the Beatitudes means treating the poor and the oppressed as “equally sacred.”
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to presume that those who work to defend the very most vulnerable and innocent among us, the helpless unborn, are indifferent to the suffering of others in need. That regrettably, is a red-herring often thrown out by those who care, not so much for those who suffer, but to silence the voices of those who speak for those who literally cannot speak for themselves. And may I ask, do your seriously expect your analysis to work in reverse? Will those who advocate on behalf of the bureaucratic, politically driven welfare state, suddenly start vigorously defending the rights of the unborn in response to the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation? Will leftists who so often use “the poor” as a prop to garner votes and PAC money, start calling for legal protection for the unborn? Highly improbable I think.
Hi Chris –
I didn’t say that those who are anti-abortion are indifferent to the suffering of others. I responded to the author’s claims in the video, in which he defends placing greater weight on the abortion issue because there is not a direct threat to the life of poor people.
If Francis meant to define “equally sacred” as pertaining simply to the matter of the poor living, rather than dying or being killed, I presume he would have written that. My point was, by quoting Francis, that he did not write that.
Thus, it doesn’t seem regrettable or a red herring or silencing anyone to suppose Francis is saying there’s no contradiction between being equally anti-abortion and equally determined to care for the poor. He literally speaks against creating “secondary issues.”
Francis’ Exhortation obviously applies to “leftists,” whoever they may be. Those who put greater weight on caring for the poor, or on any particular issue, would likewise need to focus on how they treat people in all stages and walks of life as “equally sacred.”
Rob, thank you for your response. I appreciate your view point and yes indeed human dignity should extend to all including those who are vulnerable and at risk. That does of course include the destitute and refugees from violence and disaster. But my take on the video is different than yours.
The author understands the similarities and distinction between the unborn, and other categories of “at risk” human being. As he correctly notes, no one is advocating that the destitute or desperate migrants be held down a carved up alive with a scalpel or poisoned. No one is asserting a right to kill them. No one is marching for the right to be free of their presence by subjecting them to annihilation.
Hence, the principles involved in these situations are different. To recognize that undeniable fact isn’t to diminish to destitute and vulnerable, but to affirm the need for basic legal protection and recognition of fundamental human rights for those who are being denied.
No one is more vulnerable or subject to greater risk in that regard than the unborn. No one else is subject to a violent death in the name of “rights” aside from the innocent unborn. The very notion of human rights and human dignity are turned inside out when it comes to the unborn. Not so with regard to the other categories of the vulnerable.
Hi Chris –
Francis writes explicitly the opposite. I don’t really know how much more clear he needs to be. “Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions.”
I don’t think that Francis misunderstands the difference between threats to life re: abortion and the sacredness of life re: the poor. I would assume the opposite. Thus when he writes we should not suppose that care for the poor, for example, is a secondary issue as compared with abortion, I’ll take him at his word. I feel like his writing is pretty clear, to be honest.
“With all due respect, I feel like your responses is lacking without providing any of the context of the Exhortation.”
I wasn’t responding to the Exhortation. Remember when I said at the beginning of the video that I was responding to something that was being done by use of the exhortation, rather than responding to the exhortation itself?
Right, but you are responding to others’ comments about the Exhortation. Doing so without context of the Exhortation, doesn’t really make sense. Just as other people cherry-picking one line of the Exhortation to make a political argument doesn’t make sense.
If Francis was stating that care for the poor is only equivalent to abortion if the lives of the poor are at threat, I feel like he would have written that. He didn’t. I think that context is important.
Sure it makes sense. I was responding to other people cherry-picking one line of the exhortation to make a political argument. Difference is I didn’t claim to cite the exhortation to make my argument.
Catholicism is a lost cause. We are witnessings its ultimate collapse. Very similar to the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is overrun by barbarians.
I don’t know, Ronald.
Sites like this and other do tend to spin the Pope’s statement as a diminution of PL concerns, but I don’t view it in that fashion. He affirms the Church’s regard for the unborn more than once in the document.
People seem to be agog that the Pope affirms our duty to charity as something of importance. That didn’t strike me as anything surprising or radical.
How bad has the Church fallen when it’s leader has to be corrected by logic that is blatantly obvious to even a 10 year old. The seamless garment is from the pits of hell.
At least the poor can run for their lives. That also makes their situation substantially different from the unborn who can’t. I like what you said and HOW you say it.
Thank you for your kind words! “At least the poor can run for their lives.” Wow! That’s a stinger.
American Catholics are smarter and wiser than the Pope.
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