Case in point: one high-school classmate of mine recently posted an event on Facebook called, "Goodbye Bush! - Hello Obama!" Since I have yet to find a single compelling reason why any Catholic in their right mind should vote for Obama, I felt compelled to leave the following comment:
I know, I know, probably not the most constructive way to begin a dialogue on the merits of Obama's voting record, but what can I say, recent events have got me in a "mood."
At any rate, my classmate provided a quite lengthy response, and I would like to counter that here.
You know there ARE other issues at stake...Yes, but none as important.
Fortunately, we live in a country where we are allowed to have differing opinions. BTW, if the fetus you're voting to protect is gay, would you still fight for its rights?Are you still Catholic? As Catholics, we are not allowed to have differing opinions on this issue. Abortion is wrong. Period. And since it is the issue that most directly effects human life, it is more important then war, or feeding the poor, or any other issue. And, to answer your question, assuming that homosexuality is in fact a genetic disorder, I would most certainly protect that baby's right to life. Every single human being has a right to life in virtue of being made in the image and likeness of God. Every single one, not just the ones who were fortunate enough to make it out of the womb. You have experienced that life growing within you. I'm surprised that you would be so willing to vote for someone who advocates the destruction of that life.
I always let Catholicism tell me when life began. Unquestioningly. Then I looked at science and reason. What is it that makes the "zef" --zygote, embryo, fetus-- a person and thus worthy of equal right to life with the woman whose body it occupies?I'm not sure if the debate on personhood is even necessary here. Even if we speak simply of human "beings," not human "persons," it is clear that abortion is wrong. Forget about when ensoulment occurs for a moment. The fact remains that upon conception, human DNA is formed that marks this particular thing as a human being. And human beings should not kill other innocent human beings. The mere probability that this human being is in fact a person is enough to make abortion a grave evil. We should never dare to risk murder.
Is it the possesion of a soul? If so, when does ensoulment occur?
The Catholic Church teaches that ensoulment and therefore personhood, begins at the moment of conception when the sperm penetrates the ovum. At a glance that sounds logical, unique DNA, two separate entities fusing into one. That view however, presents certain problems:
If we are going to bestow personhood on a cluster of cells with no recognizable human features and no awareness or consciousness at all, we would need to look at the following situations:Even your arguments about ensoulment do not refute the Church's teaching. For one, you seem to imply here that if consciousness or awareness are not present, then personhood is not present. But, this is faulty logic. If you take it to it's logical conclusion then you must make the absurd assertion that someone who falls into a coma or is otherwise unconscious but still alive someone ceases to be a person as well.
Just b/c that “clump of cells” can’t think or feel yet, that does not mean it isn’t a human person. This is b/c, while consciousness and awareness do not yet exist in actuality, they DO exist in potency. These powers simply await the maturation of the physical body in order to be actualized, or to bear fruit in the person.
TWINNING: For some time after fertilization, the embryo can split in two resulting in identical twins. If we think of the embryo as an individual - whom we will call Jane - endowed with a soul from the moment the sperm penetrated the egg, what happens to the individual when the embryo splits in two, is Jane one of the two, or does she disappear and replaced by Susan and Mary? If Jane disappears, does she go to heaven or limbo? If Jane is one of the two, which one is she? Does she retain the soul she received upon fertilization, or does she and her identical twin receive brand new souls?I am no expert on embryology, but there are several scholarly articles that I feel adequately address this issue. They include the following:
- On Twinning and Human Embryos
- The First Fourteen Days of Human Life
- Human Development and a Reconsideration of Ensoulment
- Human Embryology and Church Teachings
IN VITRO: In cases when eggs are fertilized under the microscope in a laboratory, the embryo would receive its soul the moment the scientist injects the sperm into the egg, that would mean that he/she is compelling God to dispatch a soul at that particular moment! (If the scientist is capable of controlling fertilization and thus ensoulment that would imply that God's powers are not unique, since humans can do what he can do) What we should ask is, where in the embryo does the soul reside and why isn't the infusion of the soul observable when the egg is fertilized in the lab under the microscope? With a two celled organism and a powerful electron microscope that should not be too difficult! Or are we to assume that in vitro babies are soul-less?It simply does not follow from my position of immediate ensoulment that the scientist somehow becomes equal unto God in his creative power. Yes, mankind has found a way to artificially fertilize an egg, resulting in a human zygote. But, only God creates the soul. It is a gift from Him and Him alone. When he gives a soul to such a zygote, it’s b/c it was HIS will to do so. No one can “force” God to do anything.
You also implied that the soul of a human zygote must not be there if we can’t see it under a microscope. I’m sorry, but that’s just silly. Souls are, by their very definition, immaterial. So, it’s not like you’ll be able to find your soul locked away somewhere in one of the chambers of your heart. The human soul, also called the “spiritual” soul, is the invisible, rational, immortal animating principle of man. It cannot be “seen” or “held” anymore than the “I” that is you can be seen or held.
I'm not saying I'm pro-abortion. But I do believe that the Catholic Church has it wrong on when life begins, and the science backs it up. And infallibility is not an acceptable response. (flat world, anyone?)Your "science" does nothing to disprove my position. You misunderstand infallibility too. Infallibility is a charism of the Holy Spirit that protects the Church from authoritatively proclaiming anything that is false regarding faith and morals .... not astrology.
Also what I AM saying is that I think there are other issues that one should consider when casting their vote in November.I agree that there are other issues we should consider. I’m not a one-issue voter. But, I do understand basic moral principles. Those actions which most directly effect human life are the most grievous, and there is no issue that effects human life more directly than abortion. As a consequence, you should look at a politician’s stance on abortion before you look at anything else. Do you know what Obama’s stance is? According to his speech to Planned Parenthood, his first action as President will be to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which will undo all pro-life initiatives that have ever been put in place since Roe vs. Wade. If you are truly against abortion like you say you are, then this should be alarming.
As Catholics we have certain teachings that are simply non-negotiable. These include abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, and homosexual “marriage.” It is a serious sin both to embrace these practices and to endorse people who embrace them. Barack Obama is the single most liberal candidate to every run for the presidency of the United States. On abortion, he received a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. On euthanasia, he said that someone who is terminally ill should be provided with the means with which to end their own life. He also said that his biggest regret as a senator was voting for Congress to intervene in the euthanization of Terri Schiavo. His position on cloning is unclear. Finally, on homosexual “marriage,” he voted “No” on a constitutional ban of such unions and he received an 89% approval rating from the Human Rights Campaign, indicating a strong pro-gay rights stance.
As a Catholic, there is simply no way that you can support this man. I hope that now you understand my position.