Friday, 12 October 2012

Solidaritism #2 We Cannot act "Etsi Deus non daretur" - as if God is not here

Following my Previous post

How does prudence shape solidarity? 
Not by forsaking it.

From Colin Harte's  "Changing Unjust Laws Justly"

a] Legislation to restrict abortion does not merely 'save some lives' but always excludes from protection some unborn children who are entitled to protection; furthermore those who are normatively left unprotected by such legislation are the weaker and more vulnerable.

b] Restrictive abortion legislation and Incrementalist campaigning for such restrictions distorts the truth of the Pro-Life perspective of every innocent human being absolutely equal to all others and before that moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of life of an innocent human being there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone.

c] Those unborn children excluded from protection by restrictive legislation are further marginalised by both the campaign for the legislation and the law's enactment.

Veritatis Splendor

97. ... The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entail specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed. Even though intentions may sometimes be good, and circumstances frequently difficult, civil authorities and particular individuals never have authority to violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. In the end, only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both on the national and international levels.

Evangelium Vitae

57.If such great care must be taken to respect every life,...

..."You shall not kill" has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment.
In effect, the absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium. This consistent teaching is the evident result of that "supernatural sense of the faith" which, inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguards the People of God from error when "it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals".49
Faced with the progressive weakening in individual consciences and in society of the sense of the absolute and grave moral illicitness of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end, the Church's Magisterium has spoken out with increasing frequency in defence of the sacredness and inviolability of human life....

... The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo,...

... As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ?poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".53

From James Hanink's "Abortion, Prudence & Solidarity"

Thus “the emergency argument” comes to mind.

1. In an emergency, one ought to save as many lives as possible.
2. The abortion license is an emergency.
3. So legislators ought to vote in a way that saves as many pre-born babies
as possible.
4. Sometimes a restrictive proposal that excludes the disabled from
protection is a means for saving as many pre-born babies as possible.
5. So legislators ought to vote for such a proposal.

Indeed, John Finnis holds that there is a duty to do so.

But is “the emergency argument” sound?

Colin Harte reminds us of the old axiom “Women and children first!” Look first to the vulnerable.
But the most vulnerable in our context are the disabled, expressly excluded because some hold them of less value. (Britain, for example, aborts over 90 percent of its unborn babies with spina bifida or Down syndrome.)

There is also a distinction between rescuing lives in an emergency for
which one is not responsible and rescuing lives in an emergency for which
one is wholly or in part responsible. Natural disasters give rise to emergencies,
but rescuers can neither enact nor repeal the laws of nature. Protest
is pointless. Nor are rescuers responsible for emergencies which others,
with whom they have no bond, cause by negligence or with malice. Yet
democratic legislatures, acting in concert, do enact and repeal laws. To
protest legislative wrongs can be efficacious, sometimes more so than
reform from within.  
Sustained resistance and civil disobedience can
overturn a regime that forsakes those for whom it has the greatest
responsibility. Lawmakers, thus, bear a continuing responsibility for the abortion license.The best legislative response to the state-supported killing of the innocent is to end it or, at least, to refuse recognition of it. A legislature can’t divert an earthquake. But it can protect the least little ones, including the disabled among them. Not to do so is to betray the solidarity required by the law’s raison d’être: to secure the common good. How, then, can one
take part in a legislative act that is in contempt of the law’s purpose?

Any law has its first authority, its moral power, from God.
If God’s power is chiefly manifest in mercy, might
not the legislator think that his or her authority, i.e., moral power, is also
chiefly manifest in mercy? Some distinctions are in order. What is at issue
is not a mercy shown to the guilty. The disabled victims of abortion are
innocent. It is rather a mercy shown to those whose lives others have
wrongly made forfeit; and at the legislative level, public mercy stands
vigilant against private breeches of solidarity.
Incrementalism seldom lacks support. But the Christian legislator
might well think that when both innocent life and the foundation of law are
at stake, what we most need are actions which look to the final end itself.
Yet no act is wiser, or more powerful, than an act of mercy. None is more
ordered to the common good.  
Might not the Christian legislator, committed
to the common good, best show mercy by insisting that restrictive abortion bills do not exclude from protection the least little ones, those who are disabled or the victims of a special malice?.

For Further Reading Try Michael Baker on 


& CumLazaro's Blog 

& Luke Gormally sadly endorses the Finnis Incrementalist position [another position on which we categorically disagree [e.g. an hiv+ rapist using a condom is more sinful using one; condemning the nun offering surrogacy for an about to be destroyed frozen embryo etc]


Cathy said...

I've been contributing to a discussion on another blog, and I fully endorse what you have written.

I like your focus on 'solidaritism'. The subtitle of Colin Harte's book is "Pro-Life Solidarity with 'the last and least'," which I think would have been a better title than "Changing Unjust Laws Justly."

When I read Colin Harte's book I was ashamed that I had supported campaigns to lower the time limit for abortions and that I had not been in 'solidarity' with all the unborn. I now see it as a shameful period for the pro-life movement. Somewhere in his book Colin Harte speaks of the arrogance of deciding who shall live and who shall die. I am embarrassed to think that I went along with being so arrogant in campaigning to stop abortions after 18 weeks but not before, and especially that I was part of a pro-ilfe campaign that compromised and made an 'exclusion' for disabled babies.

I think we need to have at the front of our minds 'the last and least.' No more compromises. Maybe we need a 'solidarity pro-life' group?

On the side of the angels said...

Thanks. Although I luckily managed to retrieve a copy of 'Co-operation, complicity & conscience' I can't ever seeing me being able to afford a copy of 'Changing Unjust Laws Justly' but it's an issue on which I feel so strongly - and the way the present 'establishment' Pro-Lifers [outside spuc & GCN] are so violently hostile and dismissive of it e.g. Right to Life executive officer Peter Williams called the Solidaritist position 'unconscionable'...
and when other revisionists wipe out EV73.2 from the equation?

I think Michael Baker's right - we need a Dubium answered which will confirm what Cardinal Ratzinger said in the Considerations - that restrictive laws are neither just nor acceptable.

I've written quite a bit on the Herald blogposts on the issue but Our prevailing Catholic ethos is one so overladen with wishful thinking, situationism and preference utilitarianism that they don't even realise they're doing it...

The Solution is for the National Church to take up its Pro-Life mantle of responsibility...

But at present the Incrementalists, so subsumed with politicking and 'debating' as if their machiavellian machinations meant anything, will never encroach upon a metanoia which would include them conceding they've ever made a mistake....

We need to run to the Cross and pray hard...with me having a little heart-twinge my euromillions numbers might come up...then I could actually do something!

The Good Tale said...

The woman of Rev 12 is now here. She is not a church, she is not Israel, and she is not Mary. She is the prophet like unto Moses and Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17 delivering the true word John 1:1 from the wilderness to prepare a people for the Lord’s return. God our Father will not put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Turn your heart to the children of God. A gift is now delivered to the whole world as a witness Matt 24:14. Prove all things.

Mike Cliffson said...

Im with you I think on rejecting incrementalism, nonetheless may it in fact be the exact circumstances - if highly putative- might make a difference? If- I havent- one has bust a gut say stateside via prayer, participation on the public square etc to try to get a no-abortion (as I understand some possibles are and ryan WAS,) presidential candidate , and lost, there is a choice NOW, not the intended nor desired one, of president, and some promises of re-restrictive legislation via funding, hyde and mexico; even here , Im not sure that single issue abstention isn't required.
The Finnis position seems to assume the possiblity of a legislator in the situation of the ordinary citizen voting seldom if ever in prepared referenda etc,(and more often for candidates)- pure hobson's choice.
There may be political setups where this is so, an inch of wriggle room above a rubberstamp assembly , I wouldn't like to imagine, say, the room for manouver and opportunities for slow martyrdom of any venezuelan representative. Opposing chavez is not condusive to longterm good health.
But in general legislators propose, prepare, vote, vote after vote, committe and committee, upper chambers, wheeling and dealing, negotiations, compromises, legislation isn't law until it is law, and even then under most legislative rules any uncompromising block can make a permanent nuisance of themselves, like Irish MPs are said to have done at westminster some 150 years ago or so.
I notice the luke gormally link seems in any case to assume that changing time limits is the same as reducing/will reduce abortions.
And "And it is left intact simply because it is not politically possible to remove it."
I never studied even philosophy, but isn't the dificulties of our hardened hearts stopping things happen rather different from physical impossibilities? Miracle need to overcome in both cases, ok, but.
As a boy Id heard a catholic President of the usa was politically impossible, etc.(True JFK got to be presi AFTER promising he wouldn't be,Paris is worth a mass reversed, but need he have?)