Dr. Frank Joseph's Pro-Life Prescriptions LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL column for October 4, 2000
Catholics Must be Pro-Life!
The following is a pastoral letter to the people of the Archdiocese of
Omaha by Archbishop regarding the obligation of Catholics to actively oppose direct
abortion in all circumstances. While he directed this to his flock in Omaha, it is also meant for the universal Church for it embodies the truths of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which we must all follow if we are to call ourselves Catholic.
We are Pro-Life People in a Pro-Life Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines the official teaching of
the Church regarding the evil of abortion and the responsibility of
Catholics to protect beginning human life:
#2270: 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.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were
born I consecrated you" (Jeremiah 1:5).
#2271: 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 means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.
"You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the
newborn to perish" (Didache 2,2).
#2272: Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.
The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to
the crime against human life. A person who procures a completed
abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae by the very
commission of the offense (canons 1314-1398) and subject to the
conditions provided in the Code of Canon Law (canons 1323-24).
The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.
Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the
irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well
as to the parents and the whole of society.
#2273: The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual
is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected
by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend
neither on single individuals nor on parents: nor do they represent a
concession made by society and the state; they belong to human
nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from
which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one
should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and
physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.
(Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae III 1987).
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of
the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state
is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does
not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in
particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state
based on law are undermined...As a consequence of the respect
and protection which must be insured for the unborn child from the
moment of conception the law must provide appropriate penal
sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights." (ibid.)
#2274: Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the
embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as
far as possible, like any other human being.
Practical implications of this official teaching
To dissent against the official teaching of the Church regarding the
serious evil of abortion creates a breach between Catholics and the
Church and causes a serious scandal when it becomes public.
Catholics who actually participate in a woman's decision to have an
abortion share in her alienation from the Church because they share
in the destruction of a beginning human life, which is forbidden by
divine law and the natural law.
Consequently, I ask the people of this archdiocese to join me in
challenging any Catholic who claims to be an active member of the
Church and at the same time supports the right of a woman to have
an abortion (pro-choice means essentially support for the right of a
woman to terminate the life of her pre-born or partially-born baby).
Such a person either does not know the clear teaching of the Church
or is indifferent to it. This means an incorrectly formed conscience
or ignorance of the law or rejection of Church teaching. In any case,
these people are at loggerheads with the Church over a major
doctrine of faith. They need conversion and reconciliation with the
Church and a new heart.
I ask all our people to pray and fast in reparation for all the innocent
lives that are destroyed daily by abortion.
I ask all our people to pray for the women and their families who suffer
the personal tragedy of abortion. Pray for their reconciliation with the
Church, with Jesus. Support Project Rachel and all similar efforts to
help women overcome the impact of abortion in their lives.
I ask all our people to pray for abortionists and those who assist them
so that their hearts of stone may be turned into human hearts before
they face the God of life.
The Catholic Church is the main supporter of human life from
conception to natural death in the world today. Despite public media,
which for the most part support abortion as the right of women over
their own bodies without any concern for the rights of their pre-born
babies, despite massive opposition from a multimillion dollar abortion
industry that has Planned Parenthood as a front, despite Supreme
Court decisions which continue to leave pre-born and partially-born
babies vulnerable to painful deaths, we Catholics must not cease
our efforts to declare abortion a moral blight and a national scandal.
We must not cease our efforts to confront the evil of abortion in our
cities and neighborhoods. We must not cease our efforts to pray for
an end to abortion on demand and the barbaric procedure called
If we are constant in our prayer and steadfast in our opposition to
abortion privately and publicly, if we continue to make our case for
the continuum of human life from conception until birth from the
scientific evidence, if we continue to proclaim the sacredness of
human life from the Scriptures and the long tradition of the Church,
then we will be able to change the minds and hearts of many people
who are hesitant to grant inalienable rights to pre-born babies
because of cultural pressure.
We must never give up on this sacred crusade to protect innocent
human life in the womb. If we grow tired of the struggle or want to be
free of the hassle, then the culture of death will continue to spread
across our nation. It is up to us to make the case for the rights of
pre-born babies based on God's revelation to us about the sacredness
of human life. It is a duty no Catholic can shirk.
Opposition to abortion a priority
The Church is consistently pro-human life from conception until natural
death. This is the reason that we oppose the death penalty as well as
euthanasia and abortion. However, Catholic teaching does not weigh
opposition to capital punishment the same way it weighs opposition
The thousands of innocent pre-born babies killed every year by abortion
constitute a greater evil than the execution of a few convicted felons by
the state not only because of sheer number of deaths, but because of
the gravity of the act itself.
Therefore opposition to abortion must be a priority for Catholics who
support the Church's teaching about the sacredness of all human life.
Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss
What is the main weapon that Catholics have, to rid our country of
the abominable sin of killing one's own child?
It is OUR VOTE. We as Catholics MUST lead the way to vote for
pro-life candidates, from the presidency to Congress, and right on
down to the state and local levels. This is the only way that we can
reverse satan's hold on our country. We MUST win this battle
between good and evil. Can we do any less for God, who sent his
only Son to die on the cross for our sins?
Find out if your candidate is pro-life, or pro-choice.
If he/she is a Democrat, the odds are 90% that he/she is
If he/she is a Republican, the odds are 90% that he/she is pro-life.
Yes, the party of many of our fathers and grandfathers has now
become satan's pride and joy.
As for the candidates for president: The Democrat is pro-abortion.
Not only is he pro-abortion, but if he becomes president, he WILL, as
Clinton did, VETO the ban on the barbaric partial-birth abortion.
Please, we must NOT let this happen. Studies show that these late
term killings illicit severe pain in these babies. We are supposed to
be a civilized society. We MUST follow the doctrine of the Catholic
Church and NOT let this happen.
Keeping that in mind, the only choice is to vote for a pro-life candidate for
presidency that best upholds the culture of life as taught by the Catholic
Church and will pledge to end abortion. The most viable of those candidates
is a Republican and he has VOWED
to end this American tragedy and sign the ban on partial-birth abortions; the same ban
that was passed overwhelmingly by Congress, only to be vetoed by
Clinton, to pay back his biggest supporters -- the abortion clinics and
the Hollywood community.
The Republican candidate has also said that his role model is Jesus Christ.
While the Democrat's candidate has promised to continue the culture of death
as his predecessor has done.
This in spite of the fact that 75% of the American people want this
gruesome procedure of killing a baby while it's being born, outlawed.
Therefore those 75% need to get out and vote. It will take a miracle,
but God can do anything if we pray and take action for Him and His innocent
preborns who have no voice, no choice. We do.
Read well Archbishop Curtis' words and reflect on what the
Church teaches and the fact that to say you are pro-choice is the same as saying that you
condone the killing of unborn babies -- a sin. To condone a sin -- well, the consequences are yours.
Remember, by your action of voting for a pro-abort candidate, millions of new souls will never see life, and that
could makes your chance of ever seeing God more remote. Think about it, pray about it, and vote for life!
Dr. Frank Joseph