Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of the Constitution: Strengths and Weaknesses

January 20, 2009

Over 1000 people (students, staff, faculty) gathered in the gym at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Excitement, elation, enthusiasm, and electricity filled the air as the Inaugural ceremonies danced on the huge screen set up for the occasion.

Inaugurations always fills me with hope and pride in the United States. Having lived for three years in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship (1981-1984), I do not take for granted the incredible achievement of "we the people" as power is peacefully transferred to the newly elected President. There are many places on earth where such peaceful transfer of power cannot be presupposed (and some would say the election in 2000 made it worrisome here in the USA). Such elections and transfer of power did not happen in Chile for many years because of the unjust political choices made by people like Kissinger and Nixon. May our nation never repeat such injustices.

Yesterday we saw once again the vision and wisdom of the nation's founders still strong and vibrant. The Constitution lives (the Constitution Center here in Philly is a national treasure). Someday we hope the unborn will be afforded the rights the rest of us presuppose. That day will necessitate a change in the Constitution, not just a change in who sits in office.

Those who, many Catholics included, decry Obama as a "pro-abortion" President are wrong. I disagree with his stand on abortion, but I do not believe he will work to see abortions increased. He is not "for" abortion. Mostly, when we blame the politicians for not being "right" on abortion, we are shirking our own duties to challenge our young people, especially our young men, in their sexual attitudes and actions. The way to stop abortion is to change the minds of young women who think that abortion is a solution to their problem, to help them see that they carry a small person within them, and that to give birth and lovingly give the child up for adoption are just and loving choices. It is not our politicians who parent and pastor our young people. We do. The day no one shows up at the abortion clinics is the day abortion ends.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions. A short plane ride to another country, and the deed will be done. Leaving it up to the states (McCain's position. So why did anyone think he was pro-life?) just assures abortion will be forever legal, at least in some of the fifty states.

The only way to stop abortion is to help women want to give birth to the babies they and their male partners conceive.

In the movie Juno, the young woman experiences metanoia when the her high school classmate tells her the baby has fingernails. That makes the pregnant girl rethink her options. What is really pathetic is the zombie like attitude taken by the young boy who fathered the child. He is completely incomptent to decide anything, let alone the life or death of a child. Boys must be taught there are consequences to their actions.

May the new administration see that the blessings of prosperity and liberty reach not just from "sea to shining sea" but also all across the globe. May we all work to see that life is respected and protected, not simply by government, but also by the people, i.e., "we the people," who create and give power to the governments under which we live.

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Anonymous Anne B. said...

"The way to stop abortion is to change the minds of young women who think that abortion is a solution to their problem, to help them see that they carry a small person within them, and that to give birth and lovingly give the child up for adoption are just and loving choices"
Couldn't agree more, Father. And this has always been part of the larger pro-life agenda. But you must acknowledge that we face serious opposition from the pro-abortion industry, including Planned Parenthood, to whom President Obama has always given unqualified support. You call on us, rightly, to parent our children to love life. But surely you've considered how removing parental consent for abortions on minors (again, something fully supported by President Obama) has restricted the right to parent. I agree fully with you that we all need to work to promote a culture that welcomes life, but we are naive to ignore how unjust laws impact our culture.

Thu Jan 22, 03:47:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed F.
I support President Obama and voted for him because I believe he can be a transformative leader of our nation and that he can help to lead our country to live up to its potential as a beacon of true freedom, hope and progress for its citizens and the people of the world. My decision to vote for him did involve hours of deliberation and anxiety vis-à-vis the issue of abortion. I do find his position on abortion challenging.
The comments about whether he is "pro-abortion" seem semantic to me in that he clearly sees abortion as a legally acceptable option for women who choose not to give birth to the child they carry. This may not mean that he wants to see an increase in the number of abortions but his votes on legislation and positions on relevant court cases show that he believes that the state should empower, through its laws, women to be the final authority on whether or not to end the life of their unborn child, a position that does not recognize the reality that a life, a human life, begins at the moment of conception. His votes and stated positions on issues related directly and tangentially to abortion have helped to create a body of law that does not recognize the human right to life in the fetal stage of human development.
Fr. Malloy is correct that, “Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions,” any more than laws against child pornography, murder, assault, rape or a host of other objective evils have resulted in an end to those evils. But is there no positive value to having laws in a democratic state, which express the collective will of the people, against that which is deemed wrong? It is a truism that, "The day no one shows up at the abortion clinics is the day abortion ends," but short of such a storybook ending is it of no value for the state to promulgate laws that put it on the side of recognizing the intrinsic right to life of each individual person from the time of conception until death?
Changing the law is a part of the transformation that needs to occur in relation to the abortion issue. We also, individually and as part of communities, need to be transformed into protagonist that play a part in welcoming and supporting, through concrete actions, the births and lives of each precious child. Hopefully, our President will be a powerful catalyst for transformation in this realm.

Sat Jan 31, 01:48:00 AM 2009  
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