Catholics Can Be Pro-Choice?

Hi everyone. Please look at the quote below and tell me what, if anything, is wrong with it. Thanks!

Explanation for why Catholics can be Pro Choice:

Based on St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, and explained in Article 6 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect1chpt1art6.htm)), an individual’s conscience is one’s highest moral authority. The role of the Church is not to compel obedience, but rather to “form” one’s conscience in alignment with God’s will.

By exercising one’s conscience, i.e., CHOOSING right over wrong, one utilizes God-given FREE WILL. Therefore, the Catholic Church is officially PRO CHOICE, and its PRO LIFE position is what the Church teaches should be the choice.

In other words, the Church says, “CHOOSE LIFE” … which one cannot do unless one HAS the choice.

Our society has not arrived at a civil consensus that can be reflected in secular law to declare the unborn, from the moment of conception, to be citizens with rights. Until that time abortion remains a moral, not a legal, choice.

If a person is pro choice, that person is exercising their freedom to choose; this is a grace from God. Unfortunately that choice is also a Mortal Sin. To choose death is against everything that our God has laid out for us in the Ten Commandments.” Thou shall not kill,” are God’s words; we either choose to obey them, or not to obey them; the choice is ours; so are the consequences.

I agree. So is there anything wrong with the quote? :confused:

Directly from the Summa:

“Human laws do not forbid all vices from which the virtuous abstain but only the more grievous vices from which it is possible for the majority to abstain and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others.”

So, one may not impose virtue. But in the case of abortion, abortion is directly murder. So abortion harms others and therefore must be forbidden.

And all things are a matter of free will. You always make a choice no matter what you do. The conscience (human reason) is the most immediate and therefore most natural human measuring device. However, this doesn’t make wrong choices any less wrong. So a Catholic can be pro-abortion, but he will be in a state of mortal sin in doing so. Thomas isn’t justifying wrong choices as being right, he is just observing the way things are.

Also, Pope Benedict talked about different degrees of sin. For example, the death penalty and whether or not to go to war are very difficult issues that can be justified in some cases. This is why a lay Catholic may be at odds with the Church on issues such as these. But in the case of abortion, the sin is so grave that to be at odds with the Church is to embrace mortal sin. I’ll see if I can find the quote.

. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/apr/050419a.html

“The judgment of conscience does not establish the law; rather it bears witness to the authority of the natural law. Conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil.” (Veritatis splendor 60)

“The maturity and responsibility of these judgments {of the conscience} - and, when all is said and done, of the individual who is their subject - are not measured by the liberation of the conscience from objective truth, in favor of an alleged autonomy in personal decisions, but, on the contrary, by an insistent search for truth and by allowing oneself to be guided by that truth in one’s actions.” (VS 61)

“To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one’s conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one’s moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and ‘being at peace with oneself’, so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. … There is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly.” (VS 32)

“Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. … The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.” (CCC1783)

“A human being must always obey the certain judment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments.” (CCC1790)

“… assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching … can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.” (CCC 1792)

“This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. … In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.” (CCC 1791)

Ender

For a crude analogy, conscience is like smoke alarm. It warns in the presence of a moral dilema like a smoke alarm buzzes when there is smoke. BUT conscience does not determine Truth–Reason and Revelation do. Just like a smoke alarm does not tell you if there is real danger or not–your reason does this by investigating and you either ignore the smoke alarm if someone just happened to burn the toast, or evacuate the house because the living room is on fire.

Abortion is objectively evil. No two ways about it, and saying it’s ok because the conscience says it is ok is like sitting in a living room engulfed in flames and saying there is no fire because the smoke alarm isn’t beeping.

The big lie told by the pro-choice group is that if something is a choice, all alternatives are moral.

That’s simply not true. I have a choice to commit murder – but to do that would be a mortal sin.

I have a choice to commit robbery – but to do that would be a mortal sin.

Indeed, we may define sin as “taking the immoral choice.”

The problem is that the quote equates free will with God’s will for our actions. While it is true that it is God’s will that we have free will–to choose–he expects us to act on our informed conscience to act within the natural law and within his Revelation. Failure to do so constitutes mortal sin.

It is true you have the ability to choose, but you have the ability to choose the wrong things.

The term “pro-life” and the term “pro-choice” are not directly opposed; rather, they function in relation to two different sets of oppositions. One may be “pro-choice” and “pro-life” simultaneously.

For the sake of illustration, let us begin with the case of lying. Lying is a sin, and it hurts others. I am, of course, opposed to it. In this regard, let us say I am “pro-honesty.” At the same time, however, I do not presume (for any number of reasons) to use the full violent force of the law to coerce everyone into honesty. Rather, I believe people should have a choice whether to lie or not. In this respect, I am “pro-choice.” This does not mean that I think all of their choices are equally wise or righteous, and I pray that they make good choices.

As another illustration, let us consider the case of religious affiliation. In the basic sense, one should be a Christian, dedicated to Christ. In fact, the rejection of Christ is the cause of much hurt and suffering, not only for the rejector but also for those around them. In this respect, I am “pro-Christian.” However, I think it would be a bad idea to make a law saying that everyone had to convert to Christianity. People should be able to choose, even in this most serious of choices. In that respect, I am “pro-choice.”

Likewise, one can be opposed to abortion (“pro-life”) and opposed to violent categorical prohibition (“pro-choice”).

As I understand it, the Catholic Church demands that its adherents be “pro-life.”

My question is, does the Catholic Church demand its adherents be “anti-choice”? Let us say I am opposed to abortion, and am working actively to end abortions in this country. Does the Catholic Church demand that I also use “categorical prohibition by the U.S. Federal Government” as a means toward that end?

That is a fallacy. If my neighbor is being murdered, and I do nothing, then I sin. I cannot save myself from the consequences of my inaction by saying, “Well, it was the murderer’s choice to kill him, and I’m pro-choice.”

To pretend that to be pro-choice is not to be pro-abortion is intellectually dishonest.

[quote=“vern humphrey”]That is a fallacy. If my neighbor is being murdered, and I do nothing, then I sin. I cannot save myself from the consequences of my inaction by saying, “Well, it was the murderer’s choice to kill him, and I’m pro-choice.”

To pretend that to be pro-choice is not to be pro-abortion is intellectually dishonest.
[/quote]

On the contrary:
(1) I have never advocated “doing nothing”; in fact, I have explicitly suggested the opposite. (Perhaps you did not read my post carefully?) Inaction does not enter into the question.
(2) The refusal to recognize basic categorical distinctions in a complex issue is an insurmountable obstacle to serious thought on the issue. In the short time I have been on these boards, I have seen a number of people explain in unequivocal terms that they are pro-choice without being pro-abortion (or know people who are such). The reductionist attempt to conflate the two, while perhaps rhetorically useful, results in a discussion that has little or no bearing on the empirical reality of the situation at hand.

If my neighbor is not a Christian, I may do all sorts of things to try to help him make a good choice to follow Christ. However, if I decide not to go to the extreme of demanding his conversion at gunpoint, you could hardly accuse me of inaction or of sinning.

So if he kills his whole family, you would oppose having him arrested?

You would oppose laws against murder?

The quote sounds really on target until the last statement,

Until that time abortion remains a moral, not a legal, choice.

He got it backwards. He should have stated, Until that time abortion remains a legal, not a moral, choice.

[quote=“vern humphrey”]So if he kills his whole family, you would oppose having him arrested?

You would oppose laws against murder?
[/quote]

Is that what I said? No.

That differs from the abortionists pro-choice agenda -

Prohoice - a pro-death choice a woman wants to murder her unborn baby who is given no choice that the Constitution protects - the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Then what did you say?

How can anyone look on the mass murder of the most innocent and helpless amongst us and think, “It’s just a choice”?

Do we not have a duty to protect the helpless? Are we not charged with the safety of our fellow humans?

Hi Holly, the problem I have with Mr. Coit’s argument is that it is purposely trying to confuse matters by stealing the label used by those who favor legal abortions. This serves no real purpose except to score a rhetorical point.

You are fiddling with the common use of the term and it’s not really helpful. If I understand you you oppose abortion but don’t want to see it made illegal, therefore you see yourself as both pro-life and pro-choice. If that’s the case then you need to come up with a new term rather than distort the common understanding of the terms pro-life and pro-choice … which I must admit are not particularly helpful terms to begin with. I can see there being three positions: people who oppose abortion and want it to be illegal, people who support abortion and want it to be legal, and people who oppose abortion but don’t want it to be illegal. That last one seems to be where you belong.

People should be able to choose, even in this most serious of choices. In that respect, I am “pro-choice.”

I don’t think you really believe that people should be free to engage in whatever behavior they choose, and if that is so, how do you decide at what point the state should intervene to ban certain actions? I can’t believe that your position is that the government should never prohibit any choice an individual makes.

Ender

[quote=“vern humphrey”]How can anyone look on the mass murder of the most innocent and helpless amongst us and think, “It’s just a choice”?

Do we not have a duty to protect the helpless? Are we not charged with the safety of our fellow humans?
[/quote]

It is a choice. The proper response is not to attempt to in some way prevent people from having opportunities to make morally significant choices. Rather, the proper response is to encourage people to make good choices when they are faced with morally significant ones.

Now, we could talk about what ways are the best ways to help people make good choices. But if I oppose a categorical legal prohibition on the federal level, you can no more call me “pro-death” than I can call you “pro-death” for opposing kidnappings and tortures for all women considering abortion (assuming you would indeed oppose such measures :wink: ).

I thought about this, and thought about mentioning something about it. However, I do not think it is entirely the case. “Pro-choice” is primarily a statement of position on a legal question: should the law be used to categorically deny women reproductive choice? I know many people who are opposed to abortion but do not think prohibition is the answer.

However, the term “pro-choice” has also become associated with the idea that abortions are somehow good and desirable. I do not know many people who think this way, but I know a very few. If that is the way you think of the terms, then sure, the “pro-choice” label is not particularly helpful. I am not particularly attached to it. What is important to me is the recognition that one can be opposed to abortion but also opposed to particular bill X to legally ban it in some fashion.

I can’t believe that your position is that the government should never prohibit any choice an individual makes.

My position is that, at least in relation to this issue, federal legislation is neither an effective nor a productive answer. It is really not that important to me. If you want to spend your time supporting or opposing federal abortion bans, feel free. To me, that is not what is important.

But the fact that I am not adamant about an abortion ban does not mean I am “in favor of abortion” or “support murder” or anything like that.

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