by Fr. Joe Landi, Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics

About Fr. Joe  Landi:  Out of the World and Into the Kingdom--His journey to priesthood by Rissa Singson.

Dear Diary... In a conversation about abortion, one of the participants, a well-educated, regular church-attending Catholic, said he was pro-choice, remarked, "We should have a national election--just the women, and let them decide." "

FrJoe.gif (22683 bytes)
        Wow," I thought, "Americans in their pop-culture trance, who too often have an eclipse of moral conscience, are going to decide on moral law?"   Moral law is not up for popular vote, yet. Moral law for an adult church-attending Catholic should have been learned from the pulpit. The Church's teaching about abortion is that it is a crime against humanity, an unspeakable crime. However, given the timidity of some priests to speak on any subject that might upset the collection, I can understand why too many Catholics are pro-choice—they haven’t heard the Word or didn‘t understand it.
       The protection of life is not a mater of personal or group choice but lies in the objective moral law which may not necessarily be what the majority considers moral or actually practices. There you have it.

       As for as letting the women, any minority, or any majority decide who should live or die, or what is right or wrong--no thanks! I trust God to do that. Most of us already know his decision because God made it possible for us to know instinctively the difference between right and wrong. Abortion is wrong. Unfortunately, as Paul explained in Romans 2, 18-32, too many of us misread the evidence planted in our hearts and became vain in our reasoning and "while claiming to be wise, became fools."
(Rom 1, 22.)

       While there have been volumes written about the Church's teaching on abortion, not enough is spoken from the pulpit. The Pope, however, has been an outspoken critic and teacher about abortion. Unlike some papal teachings meant primarily for Catholics, Pope John Paul II wrote the encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, the Gospel of Life, for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It was addressed to the whole world--to everyone who is sincerely open to truth and goodness. He urges us to hold "sacred the value of human life from its very beginning until its end." For Catholics, it is a wake up call. Participation in Church life cannot be reconciled with in any way promoting or condoning abortion. Moreover, the Pope says,
"Abortion is a crime that no human law can claim to legitimize."

       There is urgency in Pope John Paul II's teaching in Evangelium Vitae because the threat to the sanctity of human life is not only in the First World Countries where abortion is a method of after sex birth control. That threat is also in poor nations who are attempting to control their rapidly increasing populations by taking away the individual's inalienable rights with anti-birth programs, sterilization and abortion.
       The Pope’s urgency springs too from what he calls, "the new threats to human life" brought about by a sexually permissive society and by science and technology's innovative ways of attacking life with drugs that make it possible to kill an unborn child without recourse to medical assistance.
       The Universal moral law written in the human heart tells us that abortion is a moral evil. How can the deliberate and direct killing of the fetus, by whatever means, at any time between conception and birth, be anything else?
       In the Church’s traditional teaching, abortion is also a particularly grave moral disorder. A person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication (canon 1398). Why such a severe penalty? It is because of the gravity of abortion. It is because excommunication may inspire conversion and repentance of those guilty of committing this grave moral disorder.
       Unfortunately, many people today have a self-centered, dimmed moral vision and fail to see the gravity of abortion, arguing, "We should have control of our bodies", or "It is a woman's right to decide." Permissive sophomoric people also argue that we have the right to make whatever "private" choices we like. Regardless of what the foolish say, abortion is evil inflicting a moral wound on society that moral people must speak out against any where, time, or place. 
       On the day when God will judge people's hidden works though Christ Jesus, will we be counted as having obeyed the laws written in our hearts? Will anyone then proudly say, "I’m pro-choice"? On the day when we all will have to stand in judgment, will ours be the recompense of a good and faithful servant? 
Was our voice heard among those who cry out in horror, begging, "For God's sake, stop the killing!"

Fr. Joe Landi
is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop's Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the Editor of the San Francisco Charismatics, and Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco, serving the Christian community, parochial and government schools in San Mateo County, and the Charismatic Renewal.

Contact Fr. Landi by e-mail at frjoe@sfspirit.com, read other articles in the April 2000  issue of The San Francisco Charismatics or return to the Main Menu of this web site.