By Irene F. Starkehaus -
"While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice." Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago
This statement by the Archbishop of Chicago was made in response to the Center for Medical Progress's whistleblower videos regarding Planned Parenthood's sale and distribution of human fetal remains. It reflects a continuance of the late Cardinal Bernardin's propagation of misapplied social justice teachings.
This statement by the Archbishop of Chicago was made in response to the Center for Medical Progress's whistleblower videos regarding Planned Parenthood's sale and distribution of human fetal remains. It reflects a continuance of the late Cardinal Bernardine's propagation of misapplied social justice teachings.
For those readers that don't know the history of the social justice movement in Chicago and how it has infected Catholic teaching throughout the US, let's remember what has been stated here in past articles.
Cardinal Bernardin was an Alinsky disciple that was brought to the NCCC (the forerunner to the USCCB) by former Cardinal Dearden of Detroit, Michigan in the late 1960s. From there, they and likeminded revolutionaries cultivated a network of radicalized priests and nuns who worked directly as disciples of Saul Alinsky to fundamentally confuse and undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church.
They did this by co-opting the Catholic language of social justice (Bernardine used the term seamless garment to circulate the ideas) and equating it to Marxist theory in an organized effort to fund radical, Left-Wing political activism rather than traditional charities that unify and espouse Catholic teachings.
The seamless garment analogy desensitizes the Catholic faithful to the immediate need to end grievous sin. To equate the existence of poverty which will be with us until the end of time with the grievous sin of euthanasia is to minimize actual heinous acts against humanity and to ensure that preventable evils will not be ended.
In the above referenced quote from the Archbishop of Chicago, he takes a discussion on an intrinsic evil…that's what abortion is… and attempts to equate it in the minds of Catholics with the ongoing struggles associated with the Second Amendment, illegal immigration and the concerns over health care access.
So let's review for a moment what it means to be evil. We throw that word around a lot these days because we lack imagination and conviction in our arguments to convey our dislike for certain distasteful realities. Anything that we don't like or that personally offends us – we slap on the most commanding term that we can conjure, and somehow we feel morally superior in our condemnation. That's human nature, I suppose, but the truth is that evil has a concrete definition, and when an archbishop applies the term, he has the moral obligation to get it right.
There are three sources for determining the morality of an action. The first is the object, the "what" of what you're doing. The second is the intention, the "why" of what you are doing. The third is the circumstances, the "who, when, where, and how" of what you're doing.
A deficiency with respect to any of these things makes an act automatically immoral. An intrinsically evil act is one in which the object itself is immoral, meaning that there is no possible intention and no possible circumstance under which the act is licit. Other acts may have a moral object but can be pursued for bad reasons or under bad circumstances, so their evil is contingent, secondary, or accidental.
Abortion and euthanasia are always immoral because an innocent human life is murdered as the primary objective. Note – this differs from death penalty laws because a) ending innocent life is not the purpose of the death penalty and b) there are times when a person imposes such a threat to the safety and welfare of a society that only the death penalty will protect it. That is why the death penalty is immoral but not necessarily an intrinsic evil.
There is no time when the evil of abortion or euthanasia are contingent. That is the proper Catholic teaching on the subject of abortion and euthanasia, and that is why legality and morality butt heads on both issues…although there is nothing in our Constitution – excluding the early inclusion of slavery rights – that conflicts with Catholic teachings. Only the interpretation of the Constitution puts Catholics at odds with public policy.
Take that and compare it with the issue of illegal immigration. As previously mentioned, there are three sources for determining the morality of an action.
Here's the "what" in the case of immigration– the United States wishes to maintain orderly migration to and from this country.
Is there anything immoral about asking people to follow the immigration laws that were made to protect the interests of American citizens and those who would like to become American citizens?
The answer is no. So right out of the gate, we can see that abortion and immigration are not morally equivalent.
Is there anything immoral about breaking the immigration laws of the United States, about jumping the line in front of immigrants who are following those laws or demanding that the citizens of the United States shut up and deal with it?
The answer is yes. The act of illegal immigration overwhelms the culture that created the desirable circumstances that led to the immigration in the first place. Illegal immigration makes it impossible to sustain the culture for future generations. It destabilizes communities by robbing citizens of services that have been paid for by their taxes. It puts the native populations in peril from increased disease and violence.
Illegal immigration, therefore, is an intrinsic evil. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are. It doesn't matter why they are coming here. It is always an intrinsic evil to migrate to the United States or any other country illegally because the act itself is immoral. It's an act of theft.
Let's compare abortion to poverty.
The "what" – there is inequity in outcomes. Some people have more material goods than others. Some people struggle to feed themselves.
Is there anything immoral about the mere act of having more than your neighbor?
The answer is no. For any number of reasons, a person may find that he owns more than his neighbor. Sometimes he inherits wealth. Sometimes he works hard and achieves at a higher level. Sometimes it's just dumb luck.
Is there anything immoral in using what you have to strengthen and enrich your own family even if your neighbor can't do the same for his family? The answer is no.
Are you required to feel guilty that you are providing for your family more effectively than your neighbor has? Assuming that you didn't impede him or steal from him or burn down his house, the answer is no. Guilt is for people who are sinning.
"Unhealthy guilt makes us blame ourselves for things that are not blameworthy, or for things outside the purview of our responsibility. When we do that, we become emotionally and spiritually tangled up, almost paralyzed, because escape from this feeling of false guilt is impossible: we cannot be forgiven for something we were not responsible for, or for something that wasn't a sin." (More on Catholic guilt here.)
Should those who are more fortunate help those in need? Yes. To give what is legally and morally yours to those in need for the purpose of relieving their suffering is intrinsically good.
Should any governing force be able to mandate the charitable inclinations of those more fortunate? No. The act of forced redistribution is essentially the same as any act of theft despite the intended end. This breaks commandments regarding theft and covetousness, and it robs high achievers of the opportunity to grow spiritually through free-willed acts of sacrifice, which is essential to learning humility. It robs those recipients of charity of the gratitude and recognition for the sacrifice of others, which is also essential to learning humility.
Forced redistribution is, therefore, an intrinsic evil.
I could go on all day with this line of dialogue because this is how specious the arguments of social justice progressivists are. They sound good. They sound compassionate, but they lack moral foundation. They are built on the false witness of a misinterpreted and therefore disordered theology and to that end, it is incumbent upon conservative Catholics to speak out against the Great American Experiment within the Catholic Church.
Further, parishioners within the Chicago archdiocese should be appalled that the monies they offer in tithing during diocesan appeals get funneled into the USCCB, which then distributes those funds to organizations that support and fund abortion. Forget ACORN and that organization's malfeasance, LifeNews has done extensive research into the connections between Catholic Relief Services as a for instance and pro-abortion groups. Read here, here, here, and here for more on that. (Additional information on Catholic ties to Saul Alinsky.)
Here is where the seamless garment reveals its true nature. To place abortion on the same moral plane with poverty is to place unwitting Catholics in a position where they become financial supporters of abortion by fulfilling their tithing obligations to the Church which has lost its ability to discern between poverty and the intrinsic evil of abortion.
The Church bears a great deal of responsibility in ensuring that the money gained through tithing promotes intrinsic good at all levels.
The Church cannot hide behind the idea that they will only financially support certain so-called prolife aspects of a particular organization that dabbles in abortion and contraception distribution and think that the good outweighs an inherent evil, or that they are not financially supporting a pro-abortion agenda. Nothing can cause an intrinsically evil act to become moral. Such compartmentalization is, in and of itself, evil and makes the financial supporters complicit in that evil.
The Church must completely unchain itself from pro-abortion organizations and return to proper teachings on social justice if it wants to maintain moral clarity. Without unspoken conservative Catholics demanding reform, this is unlikely to happen.