Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recorded Homilies

Starting last summer, we've been posting homilies on the website. I'm looking for feedback and wondering if there are any that resonated with you?

Deacon David

Pro Life & Politics

Dear Friends,

Gregory P. Koukal, a gifted speaker in the pro-life movement, often tells the fictional story of a father who, while his back is turned, hears his teenage daughter ask the question, “Daddy can I kill it?” Koukal then asks his audience, “How should the father respond to his daughter‟s query?” The audience, in every place he has told this story, answers: “He should ask her, 'What is it?'” Although the audience is not highly educated in the ways of moral philosophy, they understand at some basic level that the permissibility of killing another being depends on what “it” is and whether the killing is justified. It really matters whether “it” is an insect, the girl's infant brother, or an enemy soldier holding a weapon.

We, hopefully, live in a society based upon moral truths. What makes our government function is that it is founded upon the rule of law. It is a constitutional democracy, not simply a democracy. If it were simply a democracy, then the majority would always rule no matter where the majority landed in their moral judgment. The opinion of the majority of people and moral truth can at times disagree. The majority believed for many centuries that slavery was permissible. It took a long and bloody war to bring human rights to our black brothers and sisters brought to our country as slaves.

Our country today continues a long moral debate about the morality of abortion which began in 1973 with the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade. Sadly, this debate seems to be waged only during the election season when it tends to deteriorate into ad hominen arguments. It is not an issue that is going to be resolved with an election, but with a conversion of people to a moral truth. The question that must be answered is the one posed by Mr. Koukal, “what is it?” Is the fetus a full human being from the moment of conception? If so, then it follows that it is entitled to the full protection of the law. The Supreme Court in 1973 decided that the fetus only becomes a human person when it is viable (24 and 28 weeks gestation). Prior to viability, the privacy of the mother supersedes the rights of the child.

The Catholic Church believes that the child is a full human being from the moment of conception. Therefore, the child in the womb has all fundamental human rights from the moment it is conceived.

It seems to me that the only way to resolve this issue once and for all is an amendment to our constitution which defines human life beginning at conception. To simply overturn Roe v. Wade would make abortion a state’s rights issue again. We may be able to eliminate abortion in Nebraska, but other states would permit it. To truly provide protection for unborn human beings, we must change the constitution. For those too young to remember, this was how we first started fighting against abortion. The first campaign started in 1973 in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court‟s decision in Roe v. Wade. Over a ten year period, several proposals were made. Only one made it to a Senate vote. In 1983, the Senate considered the Hatch-Eagleton Human Life Amendment, which in its amended form stated, “A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution.” The proposal received only 49 yes votes, and thus failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote required for passage. That essentially ended the first campaign. I have not found many “pro-life politicians” who are willing to provide the leadership to bring about this change. They say they are pro-life, but take the easy route of saying that it is up to the courts. If they were truly pro-life, they would work to put a pro-life amendment back into play. I was greatly disappointed when the Republicans (with pro-life as a plank in their platform) controlled both houses of Congress and the White House and did nothing to bring about a pro-life amendment.

I encourage you, as you make your decision as a voter, to ask those who are running for office, if they would take the lead in putting a pro-life constitutional amendment before the Congress so we can end this sad period in our history. If they are not willing, then are they truly pro-life? Being pro-life is more than words.

Fr. Damian Zuerlein
October 18-19 2008 Bulletin