America’s editors on Irish abortions and the separation of family at the border

Protesters hold up banners on a bridge in Dublin to persuade voters as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion on May 25, 2018. (CNS)

Two stories separated by 5,000 miles this weekend reminded us all of how crucial it is for citizens of democracies to avoid complacency in the defense of human rights, particularly the rights of those in greatest peril. They also are a reminder that every generation faces challenges to the dignity of life—and those threats are often tragically familiar.

The first was the unexpected landslide vote on May 25 that repealed the Republic of Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, which guaranteed the right to life of unborn children. By a margin of 2-to-1, one of the only societies left in Europe that prohibited abortion on demand voted to allow it on almost exactly the same terms as everyone else. As the votes were being counted in Ireland, journalist Chris Hayes was reporting on a case from Brownsville, Tex., in which border patrol officers took an 18-month-old baby from his mother at the border in February because she was seeking asylum from violence in her home country; she says in a lawsuit that she has not seen her child for more than a month. The inhumanity of the episode was reinforced by news reports that of the 7,000 undocumented children the federal government has taken into custody, the Office of Refugee Resettlement does not know where 1,475 of them are.

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No doubt the Israelites of Exodus thought Pharaoh’s new law, that their offspring should be marked for death, a singular evil upon the earth.

In the case of Ireland, most prognosticators saw the liberalization of abortion laws as a likely outcome, given that nation’s legalization of divorce in 1995 and same-sex marriage in 2015, both by similar referendum processes and against the vociferous opposition of the Catholic church. But the sheer enormity of the vote for repeal—both in terms of turnout and the winning margin—has taken everyone by surprise. On abortion, Ireland seemed to have succeeded where almost every other modern democracy has failed. Their European neighbors have long allowed abortion early in a pregnancy but also have strong maternal safety nets; across the Atlantic, the United States has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the world (far more so than those aforementioned European nations) and almost no safety net for young mothers at all. But Ireland went its own way (it is worth noting that the Eighth Amendment is not some holdover from colonial rule: it was passed in 1983). Ireland created a modern state that both prohibited abortion in almost all circumstances and aimed to provide the best care for women before and after childbirth. No more.

To defend our prosperity, to defend ways of life we reflexively consider blessed, we seem to ignore the true and good impulses of our nature and instead turn again on our children.

Within our own borders, the draconian immigration policies and open race-baiting of the nominally pro-life Trump administration perhaps made public episodes of inhumanity inevitable. But an America where babies are torn from their mothers’ arms because their parents had the temerity to flee violence, where children are separated from their families and then lost through a blasé indifference, is not a pro-life nation at all. The rhetoric of Emma Lazarus, where the “Mother of Exiles” welcomes “the wretched refuse of your teeming shores,” seems less pertinent than that of theologian William Stringfellow: Is our nation now “a demonic principality” that “exacts human sacrifices, captures and captivates presidents as well as intimidating and dehumanizing ordinary citizens”?

The juxtaposition of these policies against the Trump administration’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, a necessary and laudable pro-life goal, reveals a cruel irony: Under this regime, the dignity of human life is subordinated to political ends even when, by happenstance of political alliance, it is being defended.

It is our biblical heritage that provides another warning—and mandate—in both cases. No doubt the Israelites of Exodus thought Pharaoh’s new law, that their offspring should be marked for death, a singular evil upon the earth. Yet in the time of Christ, another generation was vexed by the same nightmare in the person of Herod, in an edict whose eerie echo we remember in our own liturgical readings to this day. And now, 20 centuries later, that evil slouches forth again. To defend our prosperity, to defend ways of life we reflexively consider blessed, we seem to ignore the true and good impulses of our nature and instead turn again on our children.

Correction: This editorial has been updated to correct a reference to Ireland as the only society in Europe to prohibit abortion on demand. Poland and Malta also prohibit abortion on demand.

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Vincent Gaglione
4 months 3 weeks ago

Your editorial is a confused compendium of contradictory statements which ultimately reveal the dilemma of modern Irish and American Catholics. Some would have it that our choices are clear cut, defined by religious orthodoxy. That position defies the realities of the ordinary context of our daily lives, especially when our clergy do not provide a consistent moral vision, instruction and leadership.

We oppose abortion, we rally for it indeed. Our religious leaders stay silent to demand for the concomitant social, emotional, and economic supports necessary to provide for every life that is brought into this world.

We would defund Planned Parenthood, which you describe as a worthy goal. Our religious leaders stay silent to demand for the concomitant guaranteed provision of women’s health services that the same organization provides to poor and economically distressed women.

We vigorously assert religious freedom, at least our own. Our religious leaders stay silent to demand for the concomitant religious freedom of those whose beliefs are totally opposed to our own.

We loudly assert “family values.” Our religious leaders stay silent to demand a concomitant public condemnation of a policy and administration which grabs children out of the hands of parents to discourage more immigrants seeking refugee status.

My Irish grandmother, long dead, oft repeated two comments in reference to Catholic clergy that have always stayed with me: “The nearer the altar, the bigger the rogue” and regarding their preaching “Do as I say and not as I do.” She was solidly religious in her practice and beliefs but rather cynical to be sure. In some respects, how right she was! She was prescient of what has happened in the Irish and USA Churches and the recent Irish vote. A more enlightened, educated and modern faithful hopefully make their choices on moral issues in the political context with careful regard for both faith and conscience, not clerical pronouncements. Pope Francis gives some hints of how to reconcile clergy and faithful but it will take many years to accomplish.

Maureen Wallin
4 months 3 weeks ago

Well said, sir

Robert Lewis
4 months 3 weeks ago

And you are also quite right.

Peter Schwimer
4 months 3 weeks ago

I couldn't say it better myself. Catholics need only to look in the mirror to figure out what went wrong.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
4 months 3 weeks ago

Planned Barrenhood isnt remotely about providing “women’s health services” but about making money. As much as the Left decries capitalism and greed, it operates within these constructs better than Wall Street. Much like Democrats rallying for immigrants, minorities and the poor, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein (as well as their persona non grata Hillary Clinton) are greed and selfishness incarnate. Ditto for Republicans.

Josef Pieper argued brilliantly in his classic book “Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power” that words today have been stripped of their authentic meaning. Democrats no more fight for the poor than Republicans fight for families. We as a nation have lost our soul, our dignity, our gravitas. You are the answer, not them. Christ in you is the Way, not the GOP or DNC.

Jesus Christ is continually on the lips of Pope Francis: be a culture of encounter. Yet who is listening never mind doing?

The government is faceless, soulless and inefficient. People are the hands and feet and heart of God. If any of us were truly authentic about living the Gospel, we would spend less time championing the government and hurrying tp the mission fields to do the work ourselves. Smell like the sheep. Sound familiar?

Get your hands dirty. Stop pretending to be about life when youre really passing the buck to the government all the while being comfortable in your home while using the internet to stroke your ego. The government and all things politics in America are run by people who are consumed with abuse of language and abuse of power. Trump, Hillary, McConnell, Pelosi, Feinstein, et al couldnt care less about anyone other than their personal wealth.

Its about greed, stupid, not their fake message. Get out there if youre serious

Ellen B
4 months 3 weeks ago

All true.

Dolores Pap
4 months 3 weeks ago

You are the voice of reason and wisdom, Vincent!

Jim MacGregor
4 months 2 weeks ago

Amen.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
4 months 2 weeks ago

Vinny wrote: “Our religious leaders stay silent to demand for the concomitant social, emotional, and economic supports necessary to provide for every life that is brought into this world.”

Vinny is as silent and invisible on Catholic evangelization in the field as Democrats are to helping the poor. Call your friends Barack Obama, Hillary and Meryl Streep re: their enabling Harvey Weinstein, and tell them to return all of royalties from Weinstein and give to Catholic Charities

When hell freezes over.

Hypocrites like none other

J Cosgrove
4 months 2 weeks ago

Funny in my parish there at least 2-3 campaigns every year for young woman who are pregnant and need help. Raises thousands of dollars in our parish.

Annette Magjuka
4 months 2 weeks ago

Bake sales are not enough. These are systemic problems.

James Keane
4 months 2 weeks ago

As one of the authors of the editorial in question, I want to push back against what Mr. Gaglione argues. Is there then no issue against which this magazine can raise objection? Would past hypocrisies prevent you from decrying inhumane measures in other arenas? I myself sometimes compare the Catholic church to a poker game: I have gone all in, and am with this pot—does that mean I ignore what the other hands are holding? To call a spade a spade does not require leaving the church, or recognizing immoral public policy.

Mike Schafer
4 months 2 weeks ago

Amen! Well stated.

Vincent Gaglione
4 months 2 weeks ago

Father Keane,
I certainly do not argue against your position on Brownsville. The family is the basic sociological unit of any society. It happens also to be our moral position.

On the Irish vote, however, yours is clearly a political position, based on our moral position. Catholic orthodoxy does NOT, to my knowledge and understanding, require me to believe and accept that Catholic morality must be written into the law of any nation. If I am wrong, somebody show me where it says so. Certainly, most USA Catholic Bishops and some clergy seemingly would want me to believe so.

Is abortion immoral to my mind? Indeed it is serious sin. Without trying to be sarcastic, may I suggest that we Catholics - our Bishops, clergy, teachers, and laity - have failed miserably in teaching and persuading our own members of the sanctity of life. In our diverse USA society, I know and have interacted with many people of diverse faiths and none who do not share our very conservative – and I do not mean that in the political sense - belief that personhood is achieved at conception. Without first persuading our own members of the sanctity of life, we seek to use the law to do it for us and for everyone else. Lacking a consistent and equally vociferous emphasis on all the other “life issues” merely undermines our abortion teaching. It’s lousy teaching, lousy politics, lousy law.

I think the Irish vote proves my point as do many polls of the USA populace.

I did not understand your reference regarding “leaving the Church.” I am not a proponent of that position at all, despite any misgivings that I have about our political mistakes or the fact that I am a sinner. In fact, I am disturbed by that virulent minority among us who would have the alleged dissidents and sinners among us cast out of the Church to keep it pristine and pure. The Catholic Church has always embraced us in its recognition that we are ALL sinners and that the Church is our sure source of salvation and consolation through Christ.

I hope that I have expressed myself more clearly.

James Haraldson
4 months 1 week ago

Where do you get the absurd idea that the self-evident moral truth to every human being on the face of the earth when he or she is being morally honest is a Catholic idiosyncratic "political" position?

Phillip Stone
4 months 1 week ago

If anyone has accepted the offer of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen and ascended back to God Almighty to base their faith on His having obtained the possibility of salvation from inescapable sin for themselves and base their hope that He will grace them with final perseverance, then they are members of the Mystical Body united in the Love of God. This is the ekklasia, the only valid meaning of the much abused modern word church.

The moral law does not need legislation, it is as intrinsic to the universe as gravity and attempts to defy it will inevitably fail.
Human beings need the guidance of legislation, so to speak the articulated manifestation of the Divine Will because we are all rendered incapable of naturally and automatically acting exclusively from its impetus as descendants of the first persons who squandered it during their lifetime.
Law is instructive, educative as well as proscriptive.
Take the proper intuition of Christendom as far as suicide is concerned.
No legislator in their right mind would imagine they can punish a person who has killed themselves, they are already dead! (the pathetic attempts to do so by refusing burial in holy ground and other denials are testament to their frustration, however!)
Writing into the public law that suicide was a criminal act gave guidance to the depressed, the despairing, the enraged and the spiteful and provided a motive to think twice about doing it.

On another matter, we have not really been charitable when the parish pays the power bill for a deserted wife and we have not been forgiving when we made an excuse for the person sinning against you.
On our death, we appear alone before the particular judgement and what we did ourselves, alone, is what matters.

Annette Magjuka
4 months 2 weeks ago

Yes, faith and conscience. The abortion vote says WOMEN, not priests, politicians, or lawmakers, should decide what happens inside their own bodies. Catholic Church! Get busy supporting rather than repressing women, model loving behavior, show compassion and accompaniment, stop your insidious discrimination against LGBTQ people, remove pedophiles from children, give victims of YOUR sexual abuse $$ for lifelong therapy! Then maybe more Catholics would think you have something to tell them. Catholic priests, nuns and faithful should be at the borders with cameras shining a light on the monstrous evils being perpetuated as babies are ripped from mothers’arms. Where are you? Why did you preach from the pulpit that Hillary is evil?! I think it was for the “political win” of the ridiculous “religious liberty” laws, in other words the freedom to discriminate laws. I am a lifelong Catholic who has lived long enough to see many lives harmed in the name of church teachings. Of course the teachings are so unevenly and capriciously applied, the faithful soon realize that the hierarchy views our precious lives as acceptable collateral damage for its political ($) goals. Many are discouraged, to say the least. People do the best they can. It’s time for the church hierarchy to do the same. Americans are no longer sheep to be herded. Words do not buy food, shelter, healthcare, or education. Young women know they must plan to take care of themselves and their children, if necessary. Men can walk away. Women can’t. Young women will not have a child a tear until their bodies and souls wear out. The church needs to realize this.

James Haraldson
4 months 1 week ago

Give your infantile bigotry a rest. Truth is not a matter of who determines it. Truth, all truth, not some truth, not a lot of truth, not most truth, all truth comes entirely from God. Were you not a religion hating hysterical bigot, you might consider discovering humility just long enough to not set yourself up as a moral arbiter based on cliche based sociologically caricatured assumptions and consider innate principles of right and wrong, which would include not reducing life to a commodity of utilitarian convenience.

Annette Magjuka
4 months 2 weeks ago

Yes, faith and conscience. The abortion vote says WOMEN, not priests, politicians, or lawmakers, should decide what happens inside their own bodies. Catholic Church! Get busy supporting rather than repressing women, model loving behavior, show compassion and accompaniment, stop your insidious discrimination against LGBTQ people, remove pedophiles from children, give victims of YOUR sexual abuse $$ for lifelong therapy! Then maybe more Catholics would think you have something to tell them. Catholic priests, nuns and faithful should be at the borders with cameras shining a light on the monstrous evils being perpetuated as babies are ripped from mothers’arms. Where are you? Why did you preach from the pulpit that Hillary is evil?! I think it was for the “political win” of the ridiculous “religious liberty” laws, in other words the freedom to discriminate laws. I am a lifelong Catholic who has lived long enough to see many lives harmed in the name of church teachings. Of course the teachings are so unevenly and capriciously applied, the faithful soon realize that the hierarchy views our precious lives as acceptable collateral damage for its political ($) goals. Many are discouraged, to say the least. People do the best they can. It’s time for the church hierarchy to do the same. Americans are no longer sheep to be herded. Words do not buy food, shelter, healthcare, or education. Young women know they must plan to take care of themselves and their children, if necessary. Men can walk away. Women can’t. Young women will not have a child a tear until their bodies and souls wear out. The church needs to realize this.

Douglas Fang
4 months 2 weeks ago

Some true believer still tries to defend Trump in these comments, the Trump that said that if he killed someone in the middle of NY, he would still be supported by those believers.

Honestly, I never see such a more despicable POTUS in the history of America. This view is definitely shared by many people as his approval rating is consistently worst in modern time opinion polling. Worldwide, his approval rating now is lower than Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping. Shame, shame.

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 2 weeks ago

Vince
You make it clear that you will never be satisfied with the Church until the Pastors and Bishops mount the pulpit each week to support your favored "social justice policies" and urge government intervention/action to achieve those policies. Yet if the same Pastors and Bishops were to mount the pulpit to thunder against abortion and demand government intervention to prevent all abortions you would shout that it is immoral/undemocratic / a political mistake to impose the Catholic position on abortion on the Nation. In short you mix politics and religion as suits your own menu of importance.

Your grandmother accurately discerned that "Do as I say, not as I do" was and is a hallmark of all preaching. But the validity of the message has never depended on the morality of the messenger. Your grandmother 's comment is applicable to all human interaction.....the humans of the Church are no exception!
Had Christ come to preach the social justice elements of the Sermon on the Mount /the Beatitudes to governments , he would have been born in Rome where the rules were made. . The responsibilities/burdens of the Beatitudes He taught were to individuals....and as individuals we cannot simply outsource our responses to government taxes and policies. So while it is one thing for our clergy to preach to us our obligation to feed the hungry, it is quite another to urge that we go out and vote for a particular government "food stamp program" . Similarly , it is appropriate to preach the evils of abortion , but inappropriate to urge a vote for politicians who simply wish to make abortion illegal. In between those poles lies the gray issues such as opposing the use of tax money to support abortion and it is in those gray areas that misinterpretation of clerical motives will arise.
The Church is empowered to comment on the moral implications of any exercise of free will .......But it is not empowered to formulate and support particular government policies.

Vincent Gaglione
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hey Stuart,
I don’t know what parish you attend. I must say that I have heard frequent pulpit homilies and sidebar comments after Mass decrying abortion and those who support it and including support for laws to ban it. So, you are right, I think the whole thing is political. It is certainly obvious from the Irish vote and USA polls that a significant proportion of Catholics do not agree with the Church’s advocacy.

As for the “do as I say, not as I do” issue, most find the hypocrisy of it less than compelling. It may be human, but it doesn’t serve the divine very well.

I have done and do my fair share, I believe, of providing for the gospel imperatives of Matthew 25: 35-40. I only wish that my fellow Catholics did likewise. Given the diminishing contributions to local parishes and dioceses and charities, it’s obvious that a substantial portion of the USA population is of the attitude, I have mine, and you aren’t getting any of it! Caring and sharing may be moral imperatives for us on an individual level indeed, but I read no prohibition from Christ not to try to make it a national objective.

As for your last comment: “The Church is empowered to comment on the moral implications of any exercise of free will .......But it is not empowered to formulate and support particular government policies,” how does that square with all this shouting about “religious freedom?” Don’t you contradict your own position that the Church can advocate politically against abortion?

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 2 weeks ago

Vince
I think I clearly said that it is inappropriate for the Church to urge a vote for or against a politician based on his position on laws relating to abortion and It is not a contradiction of this point for the Church to state that abortion is morally unacceptable.
The famous Hyde Amendment makes it abundantly clear that what is legal is not necessarily morally acceptable.........that one's religious freedom may be compromised by government use of his taxes to fund an organization or group that actively promotes a perfectly legal but totally morally unacceptable choice.

The fact that many individuals refuse to follow the imperatives of Mathew 25 is hardly a justification for a Government to tax them into submission to meet those goals. The reluctant individual so taxed will not"be saved " by being so taxed. Christ came to save individual persons qua person. As you choose to put it: 'Christ might well approve of national Mathew 25 objectives.' ........but I doubt He would approve of your using political force (taxes) to make an individual participate in those objectives . Isn't advocating that approach just a lot of empty political virtue signaling?

Vincent Gaglione
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Stuart,

While you say that it is inappropriate for the Church to advocate for particular candidates, you do not object to the Church advocating particular legislation. I agree. However, when you use the regimen and discipline of the Church on its members to force submission to its political goals, as has too often been said and done in the USA, what is your position on that? I am firmly of the opinion that the Church has no right to do it, indeed abuses its authority in doing so. Irish and USA Catholics have spoken with their feet on that issue, in my opinion.

Do you agree that one role of government is the common good? To my mind that common good means that all citizens are protected by their government from the ravages of natural, economic, health, and social disasters. The Lord knows that we pay millions and billions of taxes in disaster relief for citizens who full well know and choose to live in areas that are frequently prone to such disasters. That, as I see it, is an example of the Gospel imperatives in governmental administration. Indeed, we are taxed into submission for it! It’s not just “political virtue signaling”, as you pose it, it’s the common good.

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 2 weeks ago

Vince
There is a world of difference between being "For or Against Abortion Laws" and being "For Or Against Abortion". The Church is empowered to speak about the latter, but it has no expertise or authority respecting the former. On this you and I seem to agree.
But then comes the sticky issue of personal action:
Can you respond affirmatively to the Church's moral teaching and still support organizations that actively support and act to provide abortion services? Can you contribute to Planned Parenthood? Can you belong to and pay dues to a union that provides contributions to Planned Parenthood? Can you vote for a politician who supports the use of taxes to pay for abortion services?
All of the answers to these questions involve an exercise of Free Will by an individual. If the collective exercise of free will by individuals leads to the election or removal of a politician from office ( or the passage or defeat of a piece of legislation) that is a far far different thing than a Bishop or a Pastor stating you should vote for X or Y. It is the essence of the Church's position on "subsidiarity" and "personal conscience".
Thus "The Common Good" that you refer to is determined from "the bottom up" based upon the collective moral decisions of a governments' people.
Your argument seems to prefer that the Common Good be determined first at the Government level and imposed upon the individual. Accordingly you seem to think the Church should mount the pulpit to support legislation to achieve the goals of Mathew 25, but totally inappropriate to use the same pulpit to support legislation to limit or eliminate abortion.

More pointedly, I don't think the Church should have political goals. The Church should have moral teachings and goals. Individuals responses to those teachings may or may not have a political result but that is the result of the effectuation of "Subsidiarity" and personal responsibility.

Vincent Gaglione
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Stuart,

You wrote: “you seem to think the Church should mount the pulpit to support legislation to achieve the goals of Mathew 25, but totally inappropriate to use the same pulpit to support legislation to limit or eliminate abortion.” You missed my point. Unless the Church vociferously advocates the former concomitant with the latter, citizens and churchgoers perceive its loudly stated “pro-life” position as disingenuous! I don’t understand how our advocates against abortion can’t see to assume that position. Unless, of course, and forgive my cynicism, they well know that the conservatives among us vigorously oppose any policies that require more taxes, a group that they need to have to continue contributing in the Sunday baskets.

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 2 weeks ago

VINNY
I did not miss the point at all: I don't think the pulpit should be used to support or oppose ANY legislation , political party, or politician. You now indicate you clearly think the pulpit should be used for these purposes yet in your response to Father Keane you indicated the Church should not try to impose its moral views concerning abortion.
I need not remind you that Mathew 25 is a series of moral imperatives and legislation for these purposes is just as much an imposition of the Church's moral position as is the abortion issue.
The Church's charter is to speak to each individual ...not to governments....If it is sufficiently successful with enough individuals then there might be a political effect as a result. But that is NOT the purpose of the Church's mission.
As to the tax issue , it goes right to your response to Father Keane.....if Catholics should not try to impose their moral views in abortion legislation , then why should it be no less offensive for the Levers of government taxation be used to support Catholic moral views as expressed in its favored social justice programs. In both cases the Church, as you style it, would be imposing its moral views.

Vincent Gaglione
4 months 1 week ago

Stuart,
My end to discussion.

With every response I feel that you twist what I say. So, to be clearly stated:

The Church opposes abortion, a moral position. I agree.

The Church preaches vociferously from the pulpit for anti-abortion legislation. I disagree.

I disagree politically because the Church does not concomitantly preach vociferously from the pulpit for legislation to support the children who are born. I do not believe that the Church's position on anti-abortion legislation is politically appropriate or viable without my provision for supports for the born. That's all I am saying and that's why I criticzie the church's vociferous current advocacy of anti-abortion legislation.

Finally, all of that is totally contrary to my own position that imposing our anti-abortion position into law is a violation of the consciences of those citizens who do not believe as we do. So, yes, any political advocacy by any church is antithetical to my personal beliefs as a USA citizen.

Vinny

J. Calpezzo
4 months 3 weeks ago

What culture betrays its children? Shall we start with Roger Mahony? Make no mistake about it, the church's moral authority is muted in these debates, unless and until real action is taken to hold the Mahony's and the Law's accountable for their actions.

Carlos Orozco
4 months 3 weeks ago

The Church must dump the bad pastors, let the law take care of them, ask for forgiveness and NOT remain silent. There are many in our corrupt societies that accuse the Churh with blood on their hands so that their own evils are not the focus of attention.

Carlos Orozco
4 months 3 weeks ago

The Editors forgot to mention perpetual war as a policy that is an essential part of the contemporary culture of death. These are indeed bad times. We are witness to a neopagan culture in the West where power and money use evidently false ideologies to viciously attack remnants of virtue and Christian civilization. Common sense in the society is lost and, therefore, democracy can be used as a weapon against it own citizens. The most defenseless are sacrificed on the demonic altar of so-called personal liberty.

How can we make Christ reign again? When do we stop hoping on broken political systems that, at one point or another, made us think that talk of a reigning Christ was nonsense? If we Catholics don't stand up, there is plenty of room for things to get even worse.

Bill Courson
4 months 3 weeks ago

There is absolutely no moral equivalence between the phenomenon of a living child being taken by immigration authorities from its mother and the aborting of an anencephalic fetus: absolutely none whatsoever. To make the argument that there is is not simply inhuman and inhumane, it is hopelessly misguided, cruel and positively evil. I’m sorry to say this, but the editors of this publication and the institution with which they have allied themselves have much blood on their hands – the blood of women.

Jim MacGregor
4 months 2 weeks ago

I believe that the author's point was to mourn how our societies not only fail to protect children but even find ways to abuse them.

Robert Klahn
4 months 2 weeks ago

An anencephalic fetus has no brain, no sensitivity, no real human life. A child taken from it's mother has those things. Taking the child from the mother does damage to a living human being, not just a living human body.

Last I heard the Catholic Church does NOT require extreme measures to preserve life, yet all anencephalic infants do require extreme efforts, and will still not live very long.

So, your argument is purely presenting yourself as holier than thou, try to follow the point of the argument, not diverge into philosophical cloud walking.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
4 months 3 weeks ago

“Within our own borders, the draconian immigration policies and open race-baiting of the nominally pro-life Trump administration perhaps made public episodes of inhumanity inevitable. ”

The government isnt the only entity being Draconian. These bait-click headlines are as manipulative and divisive as anything the government does . Stop pretending to be about “ut unum sint”. Youre not

Peter Connor
4 months 3 weeks ago

Moral authority? Who's? We are descending into a 'morality morass.' Formerly, human morality was a gift from an omnipotent, gracious, loving, and generous God. That 'brand' of morality is speedily moving to one that is being re-defined, re-created, and politicized by God's own favored creation - man - in its own image.

GONZALO PALACIOS
4 months 3 weeks ago

We all know this "war" has been going on since Creative Evolution, a.k.a. the Word, produced life on this planet, The moral/ethical issues of the war appear when humans appear on the scene: those issues will not be resolved within a framework of existing political and economic structures. Abortion and other life-or-death issues cannot be decided by governments or financial corporations but by individuals endowed with well-informed consciences: well-informed regarding when, how, and why their own lives began. Only then can we attempt to answer Hamlet's question, "To be, or not to be..." Gonzalo T. Palacios, Ph.D.

Ellen B
4 months 3 weeks ago

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a pro-life goal? So the pro-life goal is to eliminate access to mammograms, pap smears & prenatal care for low income women? Interesting pro-life goal. A goal that will see the maternal & infant mortality rates continue to rise in this country while they decrease in all other western nations. The government & the Catholic Church need to stop interfering in womens health care.

Gary Sullivan
4 months 2 weeks ago

It goes back to the "once you're born, you're on your own" position held by too many Catholics and their Protestant evangelical allies. In any case, I don't want all-male clergy telling my wife and daughters what they must do for health care or reproduction. It's as if the death of Savita Halappanavar means nothing, nor for that matter the treatment of unwed mothers and their poor children in Tuam, Ireland. That's the real sin.

Mary Kambic
4 months 1 week ago

I believe that Planned Parenthood does NOT provide mammograms or prenatal care, There are other public health providers who offer the same services as Planned Parenthood without the abortion service, Also, Planned Parenthood opposes single-payer health care and recently fought their employees' effort to form a union.

Mary Kambic
4 months 1 week ago

Planned Parenthood does NOT provide mammograms or prenatal care. They also do not provide colonoscopies, which I saw in a photo of a pro-choice demonstration. Planned Parenthood opposes single-payer health care and recently enlisted help from anti-union groups to fight their employees' effort to unionize. Heck, why are folks holding this group up for sainthood?

HARRY CARROZZA DR/MRS
4 months 3 weeks ago

Within the past year I have been encouraged by the overwhelming negative responses to many of America’s articles. As a past & former thirty three year America Associate member I could no longer consider myself a supporter of your magazine in that it has consistently & extremely supported social justice issues making them morally equivalent to other life & death issues. In that light it appears that many other followers of America magazine have woken up & realized that your editors have not only turned to the extreme left but have essentially have left the ballpark. Yet, some good remains in your magazine but I pray as 1960 graduate of St. Joseph’s College ( now SJU in Phila ) that your editorial board overcome its OCD fixation on social justice issues.
Hopefully, my compatriots as well as me in these responses today will also pray for the good & welfare of your entire America staff.
God’s blessing to you.
Harry D. Carrozza,MD. FACS.
President, Tucson Catholic Physicians Guild

Dolores Pap
4 months 2 weeks ago

What I think is happening, Harry- is that the overwhelming majority of the ultra conservative comments are being posted by people who are older- I think that younger people have already voted with their feet and are not interested in belonging to any religious group that doesn’t commit to ‘social justice ‘issues’, and they don’t read this high caliber, Jesuit magazine, which is too bad....Do you know that the fastest growing religious denomination is? It’s ‘None’..
Also- they are quite astute in noticing that the church is a very hide bound, super patriarchal organization, which has no interest in elevating women to positions of authority in the church, they notice that the church was very fast to condemn women who sought domination over their bodies, but had no problem hiding and protecting clergy who condemned young boys to a hellish life by sexually abusing them. Finally- when their friends are gay married couples, they will not stand by while the church hierarchy condemns them as ‘sinners’ and second class souls..
The younger generation might not be ‘religious’ but they sure are spiritual..

J Brookbank
4 months 2 weeks ago

Dolores, I hope the editors and study your response.

Mike Schafer
4 months 2 weeks ago

"A demonic principality" is a good description of what we've become. And no, not just over the past year, over the past 40 years. That capital punishment is still legal in this country is barbaric. Our immigration policies are inhumane. And abortion is the out-of-sight holocaust of this misbegotten era. Worst of all, we have become quite skilled at covering these matters over with tranquilizing euphemisms. God help us.

Catherine McKeen
4 months 2 weeks ago

I'm struck again as I visit this site with the level of bigotry and disdain toward the Catholic church and its ministers. The issue for me is basic: is that collection of cells quickly developing in a womb both potentially and actually a human being. If so, it is cruel and unusual punishment to destroy such a being, yes equivalent to tearing a born child from its family on the immigration battlefield. The issue is life itself and our perception about who counts and who does not. Thank you, editors at America.

Douglas Fang
4 months 2 weeks ago

We all hate abortion, sometimes deeply. If the fetus is truly a human being, then it should be a crime to carry it without proper preparation. I believe there is a draconian solution to this but I don’t think a lot of people here will have the courage and the honesty to support it. I got this idea based on some science fiction story. To absolutely eliminate all abortions, either intentionally or “accidentally”, no women can allow becoming pregnant if they don’t have these conditions:
- Enough asset to support a new child. BTW, the cost of raising a child to 18 years old now is approaching $300K
- Healthy enough to carry the child. Genetic testing and continuous health monitoring should be done to prove that there is no chance of miscarriage or “accidental” abortion.

In the story, all men and women will be administered with some mechanism, biological or mechanical, that make it impossible for them to have babies until they can prove that as families, they can meet the above conditions. At that time, the inhibitors in their bodies will be removed so they can have children. I believe that these conditions will pretty much eliminate all abortions as we know of.

Dolores Pap
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hmmm- now why does this remind me of some of the policies that Hitler and his ilk were advocating, namely, that there would be a selection of women who would have the proper qualifications and attributes treasured by that gang of murderers, and they would be allowed to become incubators for the state. Chilling..

Douglas Fang
4 months 2 weeks ago

To stop abortion to a meaningful degree, there are only 2 real options: legalistically by criminalizing people in order to change their behavior, technologically by changing people biologically… your choice. I don’t see any meaningful way and talk is just talk… If you don’t think technology is an acceptable solution, I don’t see legality is neither. It seems that eventually, we have to leave it up to the faith and conscience of people to make their choice. I agree very much of some comments here, i.e. “resort to the law only when absolutely necessary to preserve the community (which is a practical question, not a moral question)”

arthur mccaffrey
4 months 2 weeks ago

the problem is not voting to give women the right to make decisions about their own bodies-that is a red herring. The real problem is about having a right to have a baby in the first place. I do not think this is an inalienable right, and unwed mothers and single mothers should not assume that they have a right to have a baby any time they want. The Church is trying to have it both ways= do not block procreation and do not abort fetuses. As the Jesuits who write these editorials understand, you often have to choose the lesser of 2 evils--in this case it is morally more acceptable to prevent pregnancy in the first place, rather than get yourself tied up in knots over abortion. The real focus should be on birth control education and provision of services for all women, regardless. Despite what your parish priest might tell you, an unwanted pregnancy is not a gift from God, but is the result of ignorance. If you want to talk "rights", the availability and provision of birth control services should be a universal right. A woman's control over her own body should begin at intercourse, not afterwards.

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