i.e. the bit that comes in between being born and lying in a hospital bed about to die.

It seems that some Catholics are obsessed with abortion and euthanasia issues. I went to my local Catholic book shop the other day to get some reading matter on Catholic views of social justice. In the ethics section, there were 3 bookshelves full of bioethics, and one sparsely stocked shelf of histories of the Church’s response to Nazis and Communists.

Is there anybody out there who, like me, cares as much about what happens to my neighbour after we’ve left the birth canal as about before?


Yes, but we wouldn’t have any neighbors if they were all aborted.

We have a duty to be concerned with each and every individual life, and especially with the most vulnerable.


1929 Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him:

What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.35
1930 Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy.36 If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects. It is the Church’s role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or false claims.

1931 Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity."37 No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a “neighbor,” a brother.

1932 The duty of making oneself a neighbor to others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be. "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."38

1933 This same duty extends to those who think or act differently from us. The teaching of Christ goes so far as to require the forgiveness of offenses. He extends the commandment of love, which is that of the New Law, to all enemies.39 Liberation in the spirit of the Gospel is incompatible with hatred of one’s enemy as a person, but not with hatred of the evil that he does as an enemy.

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."80

"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 ensured 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."81


Yes, as Catholics we are to care about our neighbors, and no one is saying other wise. But, in the same breath let us never forget that there are thousands being slaughtered right now, right under our noses. I think that if you are seeing an increase of books or talking on abortion and euthanasia it is because many are getting fed up with the fact that it has been put on the back burner for far too long, 30+ years too long.

Don’t forget that we most care for all those who are in danger of inhuman treatment. Mother Teresa spent her whole taking care of her neighbors in all cases. This is how we should all act. You simply cannot focus on one and not the other.


It is society who is obsessed. Our culture keeps trying to legitimize what is evil. Also, it is not about one against the other. It is accepting that all life is sacred.


I have to agree. We do tend to fight the LIFE issues first. They are the most at hand; they blatantly stand out as evil! It is very important that we are seen and heard living our faith! But we must also think of the long run. The youths of the world are poorly catechized. If we had taught them the evils that plagued us 30 years ago then maybe we would not be fighting some of them now.

Our attack on such evils should be two fold!
The line and in the universal classroom called our daily lives.
God, his church, and the life he brings should be protected and preached whenever we get that chance.

By example… During the week I run the youth group at my church. I teach them at every meeting what it is to be catholic; the things we believe and what we stand for. On the weekends I am on the line with my signs and my prayers hoping for an end to this evil.

Many who fight these evils do exactly the same, they are on the line to show our love and our grief, then in some other way they defend, teach, or spread the love to others in some other ministry.

God’s humble servant
John AH


So did you want history books or books that deal with the Church’s view of social justice?

Is there anybody out there who, like me, cares as much about what happens to my neighbour after we’ve left the birth canal as about before?

Probably not. You clearly care more about that than anyone else.:rolleyes:




I was hoping for some books on the Church’s view of social justice in the present. Unfortunately, it seems they only had history and bioethics.

That wasn’t what I meant. I’m not claiming I care more than anybody else. I’m just saying I care as much about life after birth as I do about life before birth. Life is life. Following Christ is about Life in all its’ fullness, which is His gift to us (John 10:10).


I think you need broader exposure to the US, period.

On this thread, as well as on others, you have quickly jumped to some very wrong conclusions about Americans based on limited exposure to your fiance’s family and a trip to one bookstore.

I invite you to have a more open mind and explore a little more deeply before continuing to assume some of the things you do about Americans. They are starting to become offensive, actually.

Each bookstore is different. And, what they stock likely reflects the interests and passions of the store owner. For example, in my old city (Houston, TX) there are several Catholic bookstores. One is run by a woman very involved in pro-life ministry as a non-profit bookstore. They have a wide variety of books, but they have more books on life issues than the other major bookstore in town. The other bookstore has more books that religious education and RCIA and liturgy people are interested in and only one small shelf on life topics. This bookstore is a for-profit, family owned store that caters more to Churches than individuals-- they sell vestments, candles, hosts, etc.

Moral of the story: they can only stock a finite number of items and may be focused on a particular ministry.

Online, you can find most any book you desire. So, if a particular bookstore doesn’t have what you want-- go to the internet. The American publishing houses are producing literally thousands of great books on the topics you are looking for. Ask the local bookstore to stock what you are interested in or ask them to order it for you.

One very highly regarded book on Social Justice is by the former Director of the Office of Justice and Peace in my diocese:

Citizens of The Heavenly City
(A Catechism Of Catholic Social Teaching)
By Arthur Hippler

You can find it online.


So why do you assume that you are the only one? Why do you assume that catholics cares less about people after they are born than before they are born? Why are you judging catholics on the basis of what you found in one bookstore?




Perhaps it’s because I’m new and don’t know your sense of humor Tim, but that sounded kind of snarky.

DL, I agree with you. It appears that the pre-born are way more important than the post born around here. BUT, actually, across the board, Catholics are consistant.I’ve seen other religons scream about lthe Right To Life, then turn around and scream FOR the death penalty. Catholics believe (or are supposed to believe) in the right to ALL life. Weather you are unborn,disabled, a saint, or a murderer, you have a right to live. Which is pretty awesome when you think about it.

After only reading this board for a few days, I’ll admitt I’m no expert. The issue for me is that abortion is discussed to the exclusion of anything else. What about the elderly woman down the street who lost her husband and her children have moved away? What do we do to validate her existance? Or the disabled person who can’t feed or change himself? What do we do to diginify his life? The person laying in the hospital on life support? Are we making sure he’s not laying alone? The immigrant crossing the desert without water? Where are we when he’s dying of heat stroke and thirst? People being exterminated because of their color or religious beliefs? Children who are abused? The list is sooo long.

Not everyone is called to those ministries. And that’s ok. We find where we can help and we do it. I think, DL, insted of looking for books (though I understand why) find some work that calls to you. Look for your special gift and use it to make the world a better place.



1ke - FYI, the bookshop i visited was in the UK, and i have tried searching in my local library and on


Once a policeman was walking the beat in a park. He came out of a tunell and looked across a field and saw two crimes in progress at the same time: a big boy (known bully) chasing a smaller boy and a middle age man with a knife on top of a woman on the ground. Of course, he immediately ran towards the man, threw him off the woman, disarmed him and dragged him off to the station. A little while later, the mother of the bullied small boy came by the police station. She complained to the sergeant that nothing is ever done about the bully and that today a policeman even saw the whole THING and did nothing to help… :rolleyes:

Working for justice for the weak is required of all christians. But defending the LIVES of the weak against unjust agression requires priority attention since the right to life is the most basic of all human rights. No other right is worth anything at all once one has accepted that certain kinds of humans do not deserve this most basic of human rights.


We ALL do.

But the ‘pre-birth canal’ phase of Life is the one that is under the most attack.

When else is it legal to tear a living person into shreads, or chemically burn them to death? And even have elected officals advocating that this be publically funded!!


Oh, I though thought you were already here!


Anyway… I’ve ordered off so maybe you can order off I order many Catholic books there.


Ok, I’m interested now. Which bookshop? :slight_smile:

I find SPCK usually to be very good, Wesley Owen to be far more suited to the evangelical than to the Catholic, and the independents to be very mixed (there is a good one in Liverpool, for example, and the one next to Westminster Cathedral is excellent if a bit pricey).

Do you have the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church?. That is always a good place to start.



Part of the problem I think is due to the nature of the subject you are searching. Abortion and Euthanasia are awfully easy, because there are some real clear lines of what is acceptable and what is not. I think you said you were trying to find something on the subject of how to treat your neighbor. That is pretty vague, and there are lots of ways you can treat your neighbor there is a huge black and white area, and there is a huge grey area. It might do you well enough to reflect on that with all your reading. It is much more an art than a technical thing. It’s a bit easier to deal with an issue, where your neighbor isn’t really in the best state to speak for himself.

You might also find more head way by expanding your search out of the social justice part. You might also do well by doing Internet searches looking for publishers. Sometimes the huge bookstore sites can be a bit too huge to pick through. A publisher will tend to carry a lot of books with a similar point of view. I love the Barnes and Noble store’s Christianity section. You might find the latest book affirming the latest gnostic book found, next to some book by Augustine.


Ofcourse!!! We don’t want your neighbor to be killed either. Much like it is our government’s responsibility to protect life, liberty and property, the thought being life must be protected first b/c otherwise it is a moot point to protect liberty and property, it is the same with protecting the innocent and defenseless in society as well for Catholics. Ofcourse corporal works of mercy are performed and stressed by the Church as well, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc…God Bless!!!


I feel your concern and have gotten in NUMEROUS heated debates concerning this issue… i hate how the ‘prime’ evils in america are pornography, homosexuals and abortion… totally forgetting the real evils we perfrom as a society to other developing worlds… i have much more concern for the starving, hungry and impoverished and i often take a lot of flack for that here in america… but these same americans are living a lavish lifestyle that puts other citizens further into economic bondage. A lot of things need to change and abortion is not the primary issue! Foreign debt, poverty and education are just as important if not more. AND they will indirectyly affect abortion rates anyways.

Heres a good article by NT Wright, one of the worlds elading NT scholars on the issue i am talking about:

scroll down a bit, the first part is about the homosexuality issue, but the part on poverty, economics and world debt is PRICELESS and needs to be read by ALL!


Abortion is not a real evil?


How can there be anything more evil than killing an innocent human being?:confused:

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