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Furthering the Abortion Conversation on Campus: What the Catholic Church Really Says

by Sarah Nahrgang and Dominic DeCinti

As our trust in our traditions and institutions erode, we are slowly losing our identity. The West has, over time, lost faith in the Christian values that aided its unmatched success as a civilization. The President’s tweets, kneeling athletes, and the latest climate hysteria concern us more than the degradation of the family, the bedrock of our society. We have lost sight of our priorities, and our belief in the sanctity of life is vanishing before our eyes. “We lose 93 (million?) Americans a day to gun violence”, while 3,000 unborn are killed every day by abortion.

College campuses seem to be a breeding ground for liberalism, and Penn State is no different. Amidst the discussion on abortion over the last week, Pro-Life voices were slandered by campus media and leftist protestors as privileged white Christian men who only wanted to control women's bodies. Here at The State Patriot, consistency and validity of belief is paramount, regardless of whether that places one in opposition to the accepted beliefs of a left-liberal academic establishment. So, it’s time to set the record straight: contrary to recently espoused opinions on campus, no, you cannot be a Catholic in good standing and support abortion, personally or politically. That’s not being judgmental, or “holier than thou”, it is simply the truth that the Church teaches and has historically taught. Do you have to agree with this? Is the Church forcing everyone to be pro-life? Of course not, but their argument should be recognized as valid and given the same kind of platform as their opposition, and those who purport to follow the Church should recognize the requirements of keeping the faith. 

In a previous article, we took apart a few of the common arguments utilized by The Left, “moderate Republicans”, and cafeteria Catholics who are too afraid to stand up for their beliefs. On our campus last week, this was seen played out according to the script above. A small Christian group, comprised of the DREADED white, Christian male, held signs asking people to pray the rosary to end abortion. They were eventually confronted by the above mentioned pack of radicals and spineless moderates. The left-wing, low-energy local media proceeded to ridicule the group and slander them for their beliefs, gender, race, and religion.

Let’s analyze the unfortunate events of yesterweek. The garden-variety liberals were shrieking, in some cases literally, over the group's demonstration. How dare those Christians use their religious beliefs as the basis for social change, they thought. Excuses abound for violent rioting, burning, and looting, shielded by the rhetoric of social change, but an actual peaceful demonstration in beyond the pale for triggered college students. Of course, these were representatives of the white heteronormative Christian cis-patriarchy, so the same rules don't apply. Soooo problematic.

Okay, those aren’t the real issues we are after. We are actually after the weak individuals, at the event, in the newspapers, and around the world, that claim to be Catholic, but refuse to defend the innocent. Those claiming to be Catholic, who do not live out the tenants of their faith, like the defense of the unborn life. These people have been swallowed up by the ills of modern political discourse and theory.

One main problem here is the infiltration of identity politics and collectivism, which has attempted to exert control over beliefs through the mechanism of social pressure. To be modern and educated, says the left, you must agree with the values they hold, first among these the commandment that thou shalt not judge me, bigot. Holding to belief which contradicts the teachings of the liberal state is defined as intolerance and refusal to be, like, open minded and stuff. However, it is not up to the moderns and the adherents of ill-defined social progress to determine the place of religions which have existed long before them. The Church is an organized institution, with a well-defined body of held beliefs. One Catholic cannot whimsically speak for all Catholics. No, not even the Pope; that’s not how papal infallibility works. So when certain Catholic individuals at Penn State claim that abortion is of no concern to the Church, it needs to be addressed.  When a Catholic person professes a certain belief, this is not indicative of the actual beliefs, the dogma, the doctrine, of the Catholic Church. So how can we know what the Church actually professes? For that, we turn to the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you intend to call yourself a Catholic, a Protestant Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or any other religion, then you need to honestly strive to believe what that church teaches, or at the very least, not deny what those beliefs are and change them to suit your narrative. That’s called heresy, gang.

For Catholics, the teaching on abortion is clear: life begins at conception, and ending that life through an abortion is gravely sinful. But don’t take our word for it; this is not an opinion. No person is an authority on the beliefs of an institution. So here is what the CCC, which does represent the institutional Church, says on abortion:

“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life…  Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.” CCC (2270-2275)

This is not a religious argument against abortion; that would be an ineffective appeal to authority. Rather, this is meant to clear up some ambiguities surrounding the Catholic Church’s view on the issue. This has nothing to do with controlling women’s bodies, taking away reproductive rights, or enforcing the oppression of the patriarchy. We know it’s 2017 guys, but we can do better than this. The Holy Bible affirms life in the womb on multiple accounts, most notably in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Nothing there about controlling women. Again in Psalm 139: 13-16, Job 31: 14-15, and many more verses is the humanity of the unborn defended. Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, and the Visitation as well, which give witness to the personhood of Mary, Jesus, and John the Baptist, respectively, while they were each still in their mother’s wombs.

A Google search can find this stuff, folks. So all this talk about being personally pro-life but politically pro-choice? This is essentially saying, “The life of my child is worth protecting, but not yours.”  If the Church teaches that all people are made in His image and likeness (which it does), then a faithful Catholic would stand up for the rights of everyone, not just their own children. To be pro-life is more than a personal choice; it means standing up for the rights of every child. To do that, you need to be vocal and you need to try to enact change.  The CCC instructs Catholics to take this into account politically in various voting guides, including this one, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship:

“Abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human life and dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental good and the condition for all others. Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed…  Laws that legitimize any of these practices are profoundly unjust and immoral. Our Conference supports laws and policies to protect human life to the maximum degree possible, including constitutional protection for the unborn and legislative efforts to end abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.” (64-65)

So is the Catholic Church telling you who to vote for? No, you are free to make that choice yourself, and the Church never endorses any specific candidate. But the Church does provide ample guidance for making the most moral decision in the voting guide above. This guide is not right-leaning and is very bipartisan on issues. All in all, there is much more to this issue than what appears on the surface. Catholics are not out to get you, to control you, to oppress you. But they do have the freedom to express their views.

Opinions aside, Catholic teaching and tradition is clear: abortion is a sin. Catholics should not support it, as it is the taking of a human life. Abortion is not about women’s rights. It is not about being able to choose. There is no exceptions of when abortion is okay. Abortion is the taking of a young, innocent life and all Catholics should pray for its end.

Sarah Nahrgang

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