Papal biographer and theologian George Weigel was interviewed by Newsmax.com recently. Commenting on the Kerry scandal, Weigel noted:
"What belongs to everyone, since this is a national candidacy, is the responsibility to make clear that when Kerry says the Church's pro-life teaching is a sectarian position which cannot be imposed on a pluralistic society, he is willfully misrepresenting the nature of the Church's position -- by suggesting that this is something analogous to the Catholic Church trying to force everyone in the United States to abstain from eating hot dogs on Fridays during Lent."
"This is simply false. The Church's pro-life teaching is something that can be engaged seriously by anyone. You don't have to believe that there are seven sacraments to deal with this, you don't have to believe in the primacy of the bishop of Rome to engage this position. You don't even have to believe in God to engage this [pro-Life] position because it's a position rooted in basic embryology and in basic logic, and anybody can engage that."
But how are we to make our case to those who do not share that prior religious commitment, or to those Christians whose churches do not provide clear moral counsel on this issue? And how do we do this in a political-cultural-legal climate in which individual autonomy has been virtually absolutized?
The answer is, we best make our case by insisting that our defense of the right to life of the unborn is a defense of civil rights and of a generous, hospitable American democracy. We best make our case by insisting that abortion-on-demand gravely damages the American democratic experiment by drastically constricting the community of the commonly protected. We best make our case by arguing that the private use of lethal violence against an innocent is an assault on the moral foundations of any just society. In short, we best make our case for maximum feasible legal protection of the unborn by deploying natural law arguments that translate our Christian moral convictions into a public idiom more powerful than the idiom of autonomy.
Kerry's dissent is a tragic symptom of just how far American Catholics have fallen, for it is precisely this "idiom of autonomy" to which he appeals when justifying his support for abortion as a matter of "conscientious disagreement"; a private affair he hopes to render innocuous by a 45 minute meeting with Cardinal McCarrick of Washington.
To the extent that he maintains his current stance, he deliberately misrepresents the Church's teaching -- and denies what Weigel maintains should be evident to us all: that abortion is a fundamental crime against humanity and contrary to the basic principles upon which our nation was founded.
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.