In general, is Catholic Pro-Lifism (a term I hereby coin) pragmatic or absolute?
Allow me to explain. The Catholic.com guide to voting, along with corrollaries provided, clearly delineates four issues that defend life. However, much ado has been made out of the absence of one of the most obvious ones (which conveniently doesn’t align with a certain party), Capital Punishment.
According to the aforementioned special discussion (sorry I cannot provide a link), the Catechism has no definitive teaching on Capital Punishment. It cannot yet decide whether the act of murder is worth the “preventative” value of somehow saving lives. Seemingly, this creates a major hole in the pro-life view. The Church here effectively states that the taking of one life is merited if more can be saved. The ends, then, justify the means.
Furthermore, the “non-negotiable” issues ignore dozens of other fatal issues that happen to fall unfavorably along party lines. Unjust war is an unforgivable crime, and the ignorance of poverty is as well. The response I have been given to this has been that abortion kills thousands of times as many people than the death penalty. Unfortunately, this statement puts a priority on life. It speaks to the “greater good,” which is something that the Catholic Church avoids addressing. Effectively, the magnitude of abortion merits the full efforts of pro-lifers at the expense of dying Muslims and criminals. However, by this reasoning, embryonic stem-cell research should be encouraged, because by ignoring a few lives, millions can be saved. The promises of science are no more unlikely than the immediate overturning of Roe vs. Wade.
Seemingly, there are two different views at play here. On the one hand, many take the stance that condoning any sort of killing is wrong. However, these people carry in themselves an intrinsic contradiction. By devoting their time and votes to a handful of imperative issues, they still allow millions of lives to fall by the wayside. An FAQ to the voting guide highlights that if there are no good options, tolerating a lesser evil is acceptable ONLY if it replaces a greater evil. Although this may be wise, it undermines the original standpoint of avoiding evil altogether.
An the other hand, many moderates argue that the greater good should be sought, and that abortion should be fought because it kills more than any other problem. However, by this logic, as I have previously stated, embryonic stem cell research becomes laudable. The only way out is with absolutism, which is also contradictive. A viscious cycle presents itself.
As far as I can see, this is the dilemma presented to modern pro-lifers. There must exist an answer, and I believe all Catholics deserve to hear it. Thank you all for your time.