Thursday, January 19, 2006

fr. al kimel on ecusa's endorsement of the 'right' to abortion

A Christian community that supports the unconditional legal right to abortion has ceased to be Christian; it has ceased to be Church. A Church that is not willing to stand against the evil of abortion cannot be the Church that Jesus Christ founded. The lampstand has been taken away.

If you belong to the Episcopal Church and if you believe that abortion is unjust killing, how can you in good conscience remain in communion with it? How can you remain an Episcopalian? The Episcopal Church has ceased to be “neutral” in this moral battle. It has joined the forces of darkness. Flee, for your soul’s sake!

Very early in my life as an Episcopalian, I think that I supported legal abortions in extreme circumstances. At least I think I did. My memory is hazy. I remember arguing that 97% of abortions are morally unjustifiable and therefore should be made illegal. I’m not sure where I got that 97% figure. But I figured that if we could eliminate 97% of abortions our society would become a dramatically more humane society. We could talk about the hard cases later.

At that time I still wasn’t certain in my mind when the fetus became a human person, whether at conception or after the time of twinning or perhaps later in the pregnancy. But none of that mattered. There is one thing we know for certain: At some point in time the fetus will become a human person and thus worthy of the full protection of the law. And if this is the case, then we had better be damned sure we know when that critical point is before we employ killing violence against the fetus. If we cannot specify when personhood begins, we must always side with human life. Ignorance does not justify possible murder. As Tertullian wrote, “It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already.” We cannot say, may never say, the fetus may or may not be a human person, so it’s all right to destroy it. A society that is willing to kill possible persons is just as evil as a society that is willing to kill real persons.

“Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers’ womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the ‘book of life’ (cf. Ps 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers’ womb—as many passages of the Bible bear witness—they are the personal objects of God’s loving and fatherly providence” (John Paul II, Evangelium vitae).

I know how difficult this issue is for all of us. All of our lives have been touched by abortion. Women and girls dear to us have had abortions. Perhaps you have had an abortion. We all walk in the darkness. None of us are without guilt. Now more than ever moral clarity is needed. I thank God for the firm, unwavering, and courageous witness of the Catholic Church.

Read the whole thing here.

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