Friday, April 25, 2008

Ends and Means

My wife and I have a mild continuing disagreement as to whether the TV 'preachers'---Roberts, Hinn, etc---are dishonest, just looking for money or are telling 'fibs' about their direct meetings with Jesus to further a higher goal--saving souls. I support the latter (because I don't think they are clever enough to figure out and act out such a scheme as my wife believes). My wife supports 'they're just crooks' school.

As Catholics we have somewhat the same problem. The Catholic teaching on abortion is really nothing but an attack on human sex. As we know the Church leaders and fathers have had many opinions on when life begins and when do a few cells become a person. Now given that it is quite clear that the church regards sex as somewhat demeaning (compared to celibacy and virginity), rather than engage in thoughtful discussion, it became simpler to argue that all sex must have as its main goal procreation. Therefore human life, personhood, begins with the uniting of egg and sperm. In reality few Catholics really believe this as I have pointed out before. But like Roberts and Hinn etc. we(The Church) will teach this as a caution against sexual activity. The end justifies the means.

This sophistry, or little fib, was brought again to my attention when our state passed a law requiring an ultrasound test within one hour of an abortion and that the results be shown to the women seeking an abortion. It is not clear whether the women's eyes must be taped open if she does not want to look. The leader of the state's anti-abortion movement praised the bill saying abortion is not the answer to rape. So I 13 year old girld raped by her drunken father must have her life further ruined by being forced to carry to term this pregnancy. Somehow this smacks of the New England witch trials.

Some 40 years ago I engaged in a debate on the radio with this same anti-abortion leader and ask him if ,under his logic, any women or child having an abortion should be considered engaging in a criminal act. His answer was punish the doctor. Incredible hypocricy!!! 4 decades later, I have heard no answer. BTW it is revealing to look at the video of the Libertyville, Ill. picketing of an abortion clinic to see that the most strident anti-abortion supporters have never thought of this question.

But my purpose here is not to get into the technicalities of life and personhood. Americans, including the great majority of catholics, reject the Church's teaching on abortion. My argument is simple: The Church says sexual activity is inferior to celibacy or virginity. Sex is basically for procreation and is not justified without this possibility. And as a result, the Church must argue that one cell or two cells are a child. But the people,including most Catholics, know better:An acorn is not a tree.


  1. Greetings,

    The Catholic Church does not teach or say sexual intercourse is inferior to celibacy or virginity. In fact, we believe just the opposite, we believe that the intimacy between a married woman and man is a sign of the mutual love and self-giving like that of our Triune God.
    Many of Jesus's teachings used marriage to give us a glimpse of the love that we will share in heaven.

    We believe that Jesus took on human form and because of that we know that we are sacred people.


  2. Dear anonymous. The Church clearly teaches that celibacy or virginity is a 'higher' calling than the married state. Its position is clearly: Marriage is good, but celibacy in the search for God is better. The catechism clearly states that those who are celibate have the opporunity for a closer relationship to God. Certainly the church does not teach that marriage is superior to celibacy or virginity as you suggest ("we believe just the opposite")Of course the Church does not say marriage is 'bad.' But to repeat, celibacy in seeking God is a 'higher' calling than marriage which does not allow for the total devotion to God.
    Best of wishes, Jack