Notre Dame professor: Hey, maybe the Pope should rethink abortion

posted at 11:31 am on January 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

I missed this until late yesterday, but the New York Times offered space on Thursday to Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting on the topic of abortion. Gutting, who also edits the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews for the Catholic university in Indiana, argued that Pope Francis really should get with modern times and show love to women by allowing for abortion. According to Professor Gutting, the lack of “an all-out effort to prevent spontaneous abortions” and the “purely biological” humanity of the fetus means that the Catholic Church shouldn’t really care whether babies get aborted or not.

Small wonder the Times made space for this:

At the same time, the “inviolable value of each human life” does not imply that no abortion can be moral. Here the case of rape is especially relevant. It is hard to claim that a rape victim has a moral duty to bring to term a pregnancy forced on her by rape, even if we assume that there is a fully human person present from the moment of conception. We might admire someone who has the heroic generosity to do this, but talk of murder is out of place. As the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson has noted, if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this. How can we require a woman pregnant by a rapist to do essentially the same thing?

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future — that underlie most moral considerations. An organism may be human by purely biological criteria, but still merely potentially human in the full moral sense. As we saw, Marquis’s argument shows that killing a potential human is in itself bad, but there’s no reason to think that we are obliged to preserve the life of a potential human at the price of enormous suffering by actual humans.

Another point, seldom discussed, is that not even pro-life advocates consistently act on their belief that any embryo has full moral standing. As the philosopher Peter Smith has noted, they do not, for example, support major research efforts to prevent the miscarriages or spontaneous abortions (many so early that they aren’t ordinarily detected) that occur in about 30 percent of pregnancies. If 30 percent of infants died for unknown reasons, we would all see this as a medical crisis and spend billions on research to prevent these deaths. The fact that pro-life advocates do not support an all-out effort to prevent spontaneous abortions indicates that they themselves recognize a morally relevant difference between embryos and human beings with full moral standing.

There is, then, a strong case for thinking that abortions always bring about some bad results — at a minimum the loss of potential human life — and that for most pregnancies abortion would be morally wrong. But this conclusion is limited in two ways: A woman’s right to control her reproductive life can, as in the case of rape, offset even a person’s right to life; and at least at the earlier stages of pregnancy, the embryo has only the moral standing of potential, not actual, human life, which may be overridden by harm to humans with full moral standing.

If this is the catechesis offered at Notre Dame, well … I’ll get back to that in a moment. You know what the Times didn’t make space to cover in its Thursday edition? Public Editor Margaret Sullivan criticized her paper over its complete lack of coverage of the March for Life:

Hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers – many of them Catholics – piled onto buses in the freezing cold and headed down to Washington this week for the 41st annual March for Life, the world’s largest anti-abortion gathering.

Was this local participation, or the event itself, worthy of a news story in the paper of record? Apparently not.

The Times, in print, published only a stand-alone photograph of the event on Page A17 with a two-line caption on Thursday. …

The lack of staff coverage unfortunately gives fuel to those who accuse The Times of being anti-Catholic, and to those who charge that the paper’s news coverage continually reflects a liberal bias. But more important, the event had significant news value. In Thursday’s paper, it deserved more than a photograph.

And, of course, Professor Gutting’s musings on qualitative humanity and miscarriages. Let’s return to his arguments, with the weakest first. Who says there is not an “all-out effort” to end spontaneous miscarriages? As any parent who has experienced one or more, those usually mean emergency medical intervention, long hours praying for the safety of both mother and child, and a long life of grieving the life that was lost. This happens a lot less often in developed countries precisely because we have spent enormous resources in improving gestational care. The fact that children die does not make them less human at any point from conception to adulthood; in fact, death (as anyone who takes a moment to think about it knows) is part of the universal human experience. For Christians, it’s the event that Jesus defeated with His Resurrection, something one would assume a philosopher at a Catholic-run university would have learned by now.

The rest of his argument, including the part about rape, is based on his assumption that conception only confers biological humanity, not moral (or in Christian terms sacred) humanity, but merely potential moral/sacred humanity. Frankly, that’s a bizarre non-sequitur. Gutting concedes that science identifies human life as starting at the point of conception, and then argues that we are to take a relativistic and qualitative view as to when and how to treat it as sacred. But when does that potential come into play? At birth? Not as Gutting describes it. Does an infant have “self-awareness”? Does a toddler have “an interest in the future”? Is it permissible to commit infanticide until the age of three if a child turns into a hardship?

Gutting references Evangelii Gaudium, but it appears he didn’t read it very thoroughly. Francis warned specifically about this kind of moral relativism and utilitarian thinking about human life in paragraph 64:

The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, “there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom”.

Pope Francis will pay a visit to the US in September 2015, coming to the Philadelphia area. Perhaps he needs to head out to Indiana and provide Notre Dame faculty with a little more intense catechesis.

By the way, it’s not just the Catholic Church and other Christian communities that reject relativism and utilitarianism in relation to abortion. BuzzFeed has a great pictorial of secularists at the March for Life who protested Roe v Wade and called for universal recognition of human life as starting at conception. Be sure to read it.

Update: I’ll continue this with a few points about Scripture, on which Catholic education is supposed to be based. In the Ignatius (Jesuit) Bible, at least two verses specifically mention “conception” as the basis of life as a gift from God. The first is Ruth 4:13, which reads: “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.” The Lord didn’t give her a toddler, or a third-trimester fetus, in other words. In Hosea 9:11, we hear what the Lord’s punishment for idolatry to Ba’al will bring: “E’phraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—      no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!”

On top of this, there are dozens of references to the womb as the place of sacred human formation, the most well-known of which is Jeremiah 1:4-5, which speaks directly to the moral/sacred point: “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,  and before you were born I consecrated you;  I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” The Lord apparently believes that children in the womb are morally as well as biologically human. I wonder why a professor at Notre Dame does not.

Gutting is free to disagree with Scripture, but Notre Dame is an odd place to work with that point of view, and it’s a very bad basis on which to instruct a Pope on the sacred nature of human life.

Update: NDU is a Holy Cross order university, not Jesuit. My apologies for the error (had it confused with Georgetown). The Ignatius Bible is a Jesuit version.

Update: I received this thoughtful response by e-mail:

I enjoy HotAir because it tries to be balanced in its presentation.  What I am concerned about with this article is the emphasis that this philosophy professor is from Notre Dame giving the impression that there are are no voices at Notre Dame worth mentioning who have been outspoken regarding the horrors of abortion.  I suggest that you become acquainted with another professor of philosophy at Notre Dame called John P. O’Callaghan, Phd.  He is also head of the Jaques Maritain center at Notre Dame. …

If you do a search on John O’Callaghan, philosophy, abortion, you will find some of his writings regarding abortion.  Unfortunately, they do not get the attention that Times article did and are probably only seen by those in academia.

I understand why you wrote this article however you might want to consider including that there are voices out in the wilderness who get ignored because of the media’s hypocrisy regarding those who hold opposing views.  Headlines are meant to grab attention however a line in the article that this is not a view held by everyone in the philosophy department at Notre Dame would have been nice.

Fair point, and I do hope that Gutting represents a minority point of view. For an example of O’Callaghan’s arguments on this point, start here. It’s well worth your time.

Update, 3:30 pm: Minor edits for clarity.


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If Norte Dame isn’t even Catholic, what’s the point of the school?

IR-MN on January 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

guns and abortion…what a red meat Saturday morning!

I’m staying outta this one

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Yeah, we need to do away with that whole murder, stealing and coveting thy neighbors goods nonsense as well.

The democrats need a few more planks for their parties platform.

HumpBot Salvation on January 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM

This pope will remain anti-abortion…

OmahaConservative on January 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM

guns and abortion…what a red meat Saturday morning!

I’m staying outta this one

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

You should have stayed out of the last one.

HumpBot Salvation on January 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future — that underlie most moral considerations. An organism may be human by purely biological criteria, but still merely potentially human in the full moral sense.

This would also apply to those in a permanent vegetative state, the profoundly retarded, and people with advanced Alzheimer’s.

Wethal on January 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Absolutely nothing is sacred to these abortionist pigs . . . black is white, up is down, left is right, etc, etc, etc, etc, . . . etc.

rplat on January 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

I’m staying outta this one

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

You’re cordially invited to make that situation permanent.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on January 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

I wonder how the Pope’s mother felt about this topic? Oh, wait…

Galtian on January 25, 2014 at 11:39 AM

What does God have to say about this?

bgibbs1000 on January 25, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Gutting references Evangelii Gaudium, but it appears he didn’t read it very thoroughly. Francis warned specifically about this kind of moral relativism and utilitarian thinking about human life in paragraph 64:

“The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal.”

The Pope has been reading the Obama administration’s SCOTUS briefs in which it always refers to the “freedom of worship”?

According to Obama, religion can only be freely exercised behind closed doors on a religion’s Sabbath? I had no idea the Holy Father was so up on US constitutional issues.

Wethal on January 25, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Great update Ed. Thanks…

OmahaConservative on January 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Notre Dame ceased being “Catholic” a long time ago. Also, not a Jesuit school. Holy Cross priests/brothers but they might as well be Jesuits who really went socialist a long time ago also. I am an ND grad 1967.

retiredeagle on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

What does God have to say about this?

bgibbs1000 on January 25, 2014 at 11:42 AM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Doesn’t take much brains to ba a proffessor these days, does it?
Another higher education embarasment.

neuquenguy on January 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM

“consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future”
This would also apply to those in a permanent vegetative state, the profoundly retarded, and people with advanced Alzheimer’s.

Not to mention people who are sleeping. This essentially defines any type of unconscious person as simply being a potential person. Even if someone were to argue that a sleeping adult has the capacity vs. an early-stage unborn child, it wouldn’t hold water since the reality of the situation is that these qualities are unactualized.

Either abortion is okay and I can morally kill you in your sleep or neither are acceptable.

DrewbieDoo on January 25, 2014 at 11:48 AM

This seems to be a running topic with pro-abortion liberals…suggesting Pope Francis and the RCC “evolve” on the abortion issue. Not in a million years would…or should…The Church be “OK” with abortion. Ain’t ever gonna happen.

On a side note: Didn’t Notre Dame capitulate with the HHS contraception mandate recently?

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Another point, seldom discussed, is that not even pro-life advocates consistently act on their belief that any embryo has full moral standing.

Oh… we want to play it that way?

Okay, abortionists don’t have full moral standing either because they can’t agree on abortion after 6 months up to delivery. Obviously before the umbilical is cut it’s still a fetus and the mother should have every right to abort.

What kind of asinine rationale is the, so-called, professor trying to even use? That’s not logic, that’s not even proper reasoning. That’s internet drivel being passed off as high discourse and he should be fired for this demonstration of incompetence.

Plato wept.

Skywise on January 25, 2014 at 11:57 AM

This seems to be a running topic with pro-abortion liberals…suggesting Pope Francis and the RCC “evolve” on the abortion issue. Not in a million years would…or should…The Church be “OK” with abortion. Ain’t ever gonna happen.

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Why not? By the same flimsy reasoning you’re demanding the RCC “evolve” on gay marriage.

Skywise on January 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Dog Eater.

But I thought you were staying out of this one?

Bishop on January 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Soon enough the lefties will be telling us it’s time to evolve on eugenics.

Bishop on January 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM

http://www.nd.edu/about/

The gilded Golden Dome and statue of Mary atop the Main Building proclaim the Notre Dame campus as a place where faith is treasured and diverse traditions shared and respected. Our students represent all 50 states and over 100 countries. Rigorous academics, NCAA Division I athletics, and numerous events and activities create an environment in which our students are ignited with a passion to learn and to live to their fullest capacity.

Notre Dame is one of the few universities to regularly rank in the top 25 in the U.S. News & World Report survey of America’s best colleges and the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings of the best overall athletics programs.
“This college will be one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.” Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., founder of the University of
Notre Dame du Lac

Founded in 1842, Notre Dame stands on 1,250 acres considered by many to be among the most beautiful possessed by any university in the nation. From the collegiate Gothic architecture and park-like landscape to exquisite outdoor sculpture and breathtaking views, Notre Dame’s campus is a visual splendor.

Notre Dame has a unique spirit. It is traditional, yet open to change. It is dedicated to religious belief no less than scientific knowledge. It has always stood for values in a world of facts. It has kept faith with Father Sorin’s vision.

OmahaConservative on January 25, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I used to root for ND football. Then Obama gave the commencement and now I root for them to lose every game. This latest news will not change my position.

moc23 on January 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future — that underlie most moral considerations.

So they’re subhuman? Human history is replete with examples of one group considering another group to be subhuman. Never with good endings.

rbj on January 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

“Mohamed” isn’t a god in any religion, including to the Mohammedans.

DrMagnolias on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future — that underlie most moral considerations. An organism may be human by purely biological criteria, but still merely potentially human in the full moral sense.

However, let’s say we had an individual in a severe coma, but we knew for a medical fact that within a few months, he would come out of it and would eventually be able to live a fully active life. Are we justified within those few months to kill him because at that precise moment he doesn’t meet our standards in the “full moral sense”?

PackerBronco on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The Lord apparently believes that children in the womb are morally as well as biologically human. I wonder why a professor at Notre Dame does not.

Do you really wonder why, or are you just saying that rhetorically for effect?

Fenris on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Another point, seldom discussed, is that not even pro-life advocates consistently act on their belief that any embryo has full moral standing

My wife has suffered through the pain of two miscarriages. Don’t you dare say anything like that around her.

PackerBronco on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

Disclaimer: I’m pro-life.

Buuut, I have not seen any attempt by Ed, or commenters to address this issue in the context of rape. I have also seen a disturbing trend in the comments on other abortion threads that would not even make an exception for the life of the mother (which relates to the professor’s point about potential vice actual life).

I think the professor’s views are misguided and certainly out of place at Notre Dame. That said, I continue to think the pro-life movement would be best served by focusing its efforts on restricting abortions beyond the first trimester and continuing to change hearts and minds. The public is becoming increasingly educated and, far less tolerant of abortion for convenience. This is a good trend!

Firefly_76 on January 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The God whom you’re pissed off that he didn’t give you the ability to reason.

if 40% of guns used were bought in the city, then a gun ban would’ve eliminated those 40% of gun crimes.

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

:lol:

Skywise on January 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

It’s easy to mix up ND and Georgetown when they both honored the Abortionist in Chief.

freemarketer on January 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

“Mohamed” isn’t a god in any religion, including to the Mohammedans.

DrMagnolias on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Ease up on the boy, he’s getting torched in multiple threads.

Bishop on January 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

If Notre Dame isn’t even Catholic, what’s the point of the school?

IR-MN on January 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

A place for perfessers not freak-show enough yet for Georgetown to hone their “skills?”

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Buuut, I have not seen any attempt by Ed, or commenters to address this issue in the context of rape.

You must have missed this, then.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

When will Bandit13 be along to ask me about the age of the universe?

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

After all this time and you still don’t know?

You ain’t too bright are you, boy?

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Since this is evidently a discussion about Christian doctrine and ideology, which god do you think stupid? You’re not really this dim in real life, are you?

(I’m an atheist and even I could figure this out)

Walter L. Newton on January 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

If Norte Dame isn’t even Catholic, what’s the point of the school?

IR-MN on January 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

To degrade both–the faith and the label. Satan never sleeps unless it’s at a post Catholic, catholic university or anywhere liberal’s are active.

Don L on January 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Bishop on January 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Are there points for cluelessness? Some posters could make it an Olympic event.

DrMagnolias on January 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

“…should get with modern times and show love to women by allowing for abortion.”

The obverse, of course, is ‘show no love to the unborn by allowing for their death.’

How compassionate, perfessor.

“Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism.”

And an ever tightening embrace of the culture of death.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

It has always stood for values in a world of facts.

It has kept faith with Father Sorin’s vision.

OmahaConservative on January 25, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Good statement.

I hope to do the same.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

It has always stood for values in a world of facts. It has kept faith with Father Sorin’s vision.

OmahaConservative on January 25, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Good statement.

I hope to do the same.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

You must have missed this, then.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Thanks, Ed. I did see that; if you are acknowledging that the hypothetical posed above and analogy to rape (the 1% of cases) is a difficult philosophical and moral dilemma and that the pro-life movement should, for now, decline to engage on that, then I am 100% in agreement.

Firefly_76 on January 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Pregnant SQUIRREL!!

CurtZHP on January 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Psalm 127

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

… unless they are the children of rapists.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

From Doctor of Divinity to Doctor of Depravity?

Fine name you’ve got there for baby killing Perfesser “Gutting”.

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

You must have missed this, then.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

No offense Ed, but that’s weaksauce. Your post basically just makes political arguments, not moral ones.

red_herring on January 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Awful lot of discussion about this topic lately, and most of it coming completely out of left field.

Don’t feed the trolls. They and their handlers are clearly intent on derailing any meaningful discussion on any topic. They’re hoping to win back the house with another Akin moment (or as many as they can get).

CurtZHP on January 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Perhaps the ND Administration will invite Andrew Cuomo to explain why pro-lifers have no place at Notre Dame.

NCC on January 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

You must have missed this, then.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

No offense Ed, but that’s weaksauce. Your post basically just makes political arguments, not moral ones.

red_herring on January 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

http://tinyurl.com/ljmb8j8

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

A society that searches for exucses to kill its offspring is dying itself.

Meremortal on January 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future…

But if you destroy an Eagle’s egg, you could be thrown in jail.

Oh the irony.

timberline on January 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM

“All who hate me love death,” -YHWH.

Akzed on January 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

A society that searches for exucses to kill its offspring is dying itself.

Meremortal on January 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

This. The only ones I hear playing “What If” are the ones trying to distract and discredit. They’ve never been pregnant, and have never been raped, and a few will never find themselves in either case.

CurtZHP on January 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Other exceptions to the condemnation of abortion arise once we realize that an early-stage embryo may be biologically human but still lack the main features — consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future…

Riiight… but if ever these types found a microbe on Mars, it would be hailed as life.

Plus, killing babies evinces a profound lack on “interest in the future.”

Akzed on January 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Why not? By the same flimsy reasoning you’re demanding the RCC “evolve” on gay marriage.

Skywise on January 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

More bull highlighting your own ignorance.

Show me just one comment of mine where I ever even suggested, much less demanded, the RCC “evolve” on gay marriage.

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

nonpartisan picked up this schtick from some of our somewhat more respected non-believers. Nothing original here.

Again, notnpartisan- post something please that proves your IQ higher than the temperature in Florida.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

red_herring on January 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Rape accounts for less than 1% of abortions. Talk about a RedHerring. Enjoy hell.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Evolution’s science of the gaps:

Dr. Maxwell Burton-Chellew, an evolutionary biologist from Oxford University who was not involved in the study, told one reporter, “The authors argue that the menopause exists in humans because males have a strong preference for younger females. However, this is probably the wrong way round. The human male preference for younger females is likely to be because older females are less fertile. The authors’ paper offers no reason for why males prefer younger females – they just take it as a given, which is surprising.”

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/20/is-menopause-result-male-desire-for-younger-females/?intcmp=obnetwork

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I have an undeniable dislike for ND.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I was accepted at Notre Dame, but I chose Boston College…

(I know – one liberal Catholic university for another… but at least someone at BC – at least to my knowledge – isn’t asking the Pope to evolve on abortion)

And let’s be careful about painting the Jesuits so broadly as all left leaning. I can attest personally that is not the case. And our Holy Father is a Jesuit as well – while some may see him as progressive, I say he is only progressive in the sense of wanting to call the Church to evangelization and its members to lives of generosity to those less fortunate (and everyone, for that matter)… but he’s not about to move on the issues like abortion or marriage, thankfully.

dpduq on January 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Hey, maybe we should rethink publicly funded education?

Warner Todd Huston on January 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

FOX411: How does [your new] clothing line reflect your personal style?
Robertson: My style is what I would call “classically simple.” I like clean lines with a bit of detail. I’ve always felt that being classy and modest go hand-in-hand, however, finding modest clothes that are still young-looking and trendy has always been a challenge for me. This line brings all of that together in each piece. This line will cover what needs to be covered while still being classy, comfortable and stylish.

FOX411: Who are some of the designers that you look to for inspiration?
Robertson: No one specific designer really has inspired me except for Stephanie Carter. I’ve never really enjoyed shopping for clothes for myself because I usually ended up so frustrated. However, now that I am on a national television show and am making numerous public appearances, I realized I was very particular in my choice of clothes and in my style. I was drawn to the things that Stephanie did as well as such lines as VAVA and Voom by Joy Haan, Biya, Pete and Greta, For Love and Liberty and JWLA. All of these spoke to me about my own particular style.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/01/21/missy-robertson-when-phil-was-suspended-wondered-if-miss-kay-would-lead-prayer/?intcmp=obnetwork

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Hey, maybe we should rethink publicly funded education?

Warner Todd Huston on January 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Heh.

Imagine being Catholic and paying for this garbage at ND.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

This seems to be a running topic with pro-abortion liberals…suggesting Pope Francis and the RCC “evolve” on the abortion issue. Not in a million years would…or should…The Church be “OK” with abortion. Ain’t ever gonna happen.

On a side note: Didn’t Notre Dame capitulate with the HHS contraception mandate recently?

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 11:50 AM

“…on Jan. 2, 2014, Notre Dame told faculty and staff that a third-party administrator would notify them about access to “free” contraception and other mandated provisions of the federal law…. “Having been denied a stay, Notre Dame is advising employees that, pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, our third-party administrator is required to notify plan participants of coverage provided under its contraceptives payment program,” said Paul Browne, Notre Dame’s vice president for public affairs and communications, in a Jan. 2 statement to university employees that was reported by radio station WNDU.

Browne’s statement noted that employees’ access to the mandated provisions could be reversed at a later date, subject to the outcome of Note Dame’s legal challenge. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/notre-dame-complies-with-contraception-mandate/

Looks Loke Notre Dame would rather faint than fight. It was strictly a money decision. If Notre Dame stood up against the HHS mandate, they would be fined out of business. Money #1…God? Who’s God?

timberline on January 25, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Another point, seldom discussed, is that not even pro-life advocates consistently act on their belief that any embryo has full moral standing

My wife has suffered through the pain of two miscarriages. Don’t you dare say anything like that around her.

PackerBronco on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

With you buddy. My ex had it happen after two months. Don’t tell her that is was an embryo. Furthermore I found her sisters incredibly calloused towards her feelings, insisting it wasn’t a baby yet.

itsspideyman on January 25, 2014 at 1:11 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

Yeah, get back to me when that happens. I’ll have an answer for you.

Vince on January 25, 2014 at 1:13 PM

(Professor Gary) Gutting, who also edits the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews for the Catholic university in Indiana, argued that Pope Francis really should get with modern times and show love to women by allowing for abortion.

Ed Morrisseyat on January 25, 2014 11:31 AM

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Professor Gary Gutting is unqualified to define “love”.

So are the rest of you, who believe making abortion an easier decision to opt for, shows any “love” for any woman, whatsoever … period.

listens2glenn on January 25, 2014 at 1:18 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

So the mother was kidnapped? Missed that.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Hey, maybe we should rethink publicly funded education?

Warner Todd Huston on January 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

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Too late . . . . . “publicly funded education” gets two thumbs down, from me (for some time, now).

listens2glenn on January 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

At the same time, the “inviolable value of each human life” does not imply that no abortion can be moral.

Well, to be fair, he’s not wrong here.

The statement does not imply anything.

It flat out states and means that no abortion can be moral, because each human life has inviolable value.

….Shut Notre Dame down at this point. It’s a joke, and a self-parody of adherence to the Catholic religion.

Hawkins1701 on January 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

You must have missed this, then.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM
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No offense Ed, but that’s weaksauce. Your post basically just makes political arguments, not moral ones.

red_herring on January 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

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http://tinyurl.com/ljmb8j8

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

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What’re you implying, davidk ? . . . : )

listens2glenn on January 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Notice how the culture of death typically uses degree of development descriptors “fetus” and “embryo” solo as dodge words to dehumanize their victims instead of “human embryo” and “human fetus.”

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

Hmmm that has never happened after I have willingly chose to have sex. You must be doing it wrong.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM

to dehumanize their victims

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Always.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

“if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.”

Hmmm that has never happened after I have willingly chose to have sex. You must be doing it wrong.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:28 PM

I heard it’s a new fad in San Fransicko….

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 1:30 PM

When will Bandit13 be along to ask me about the age of the universe?

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

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HEY, Bandit’ ! … Me first.

listens2glenn on January 25, 2014 at 1:30 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

False equivalence. You’re free to go about your life while the “someone who would die otherwise” is “connected to your kidneys.” Murder for your convenience isn’t justified.

DarthBrooks on January 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM

if someone kidnapped you and connected your kidneys to those of someone who would die unless the connection were maintained for the next nine months, you would hardly be obliged to go along with this.

So the mother was kidnapped? Missed that.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Yeah. It is total apples and oranges. In that example, the greater moral quandary, is the unlawful detainment.

An incipient human, is, once again — Innocent of the circumstances which brought it into being.

A kidnapper, is no matter how you slice it, committing a crime, no matter the supposed nobility.

And I have a sneaking sense this professor would be more than happy to make a moral argument for the State’s right to harvest organs for the ‘greater good’ were he pressed.

Sharr on January 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

The church is the church. Is it stuck in the past? Of course, and it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t evolve, progress, get with the times, or become hip. It has a core set of principles that will never change. Don’t like it? Then find another religion. Asking the church to alter it’s rules is just this clown’s way of saying I’m too damn lazy and unprincipled to be a real catholic.

Erich66 on January 25, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Notice how the culture of death typically uses degree of development descriptors “fetus” and “embryo” solo as dodge words to dehumanize their victims instead of “human embryo” and “human fetus.”

viking01 on January 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Or baby/child.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 1:39 PM

If this is the catechesis offered at Notre Dame, well … I’ll get back to that in a moment.

I try to resist the growing practice of jumping on the Catholics at every failure, but in this case I can’t help myself. My daughter graduated from this now fully secular and increasingly marginal university, and her stories of the moral bankruptcy of the administration, the faculty and the students are painful.

I understand why you wrote this article however you might want to consider including that there are voices out in the wilderness who get ignored because of the media’s hypocrisy regarding those who hold opposing views. Headlines are meant to grab attention however a line in the article that this is not a view held by everyone in the philosophy department at Notre Dame would have been nice.

Fair point, and I do hope that Gutting represents a minority point of view.

Nice Stockholm Syndrome you got going there, Ed. Good grief — it’s supposed to be the pre-eminent major Catholic university in America. Of course they have a professor of philosophy (somewhere!) who actually recognizes Catholic doctrine. That isn’t the point, is it?

Get back to your senses and your headline, Ed: Notre Dame has a philosophy professor who is advocating not just on behalf of women who get abortions, but for the Pope himself to join the pro-abortion crowd. This isn’t just pro-abortion, it is anti-Catholic.

Notre Dame is sick.

Jaibones on January 25, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Looks Loke Notre Dame would rather faint than fight. It was strictly a money decision. If Notre Dame stood up against the HHS mandate, they would be fined out of business. Money #1…God? Who’s God?

timberline on January 25, 2014 at 1:11 PM

That’s just it…they didn’t put up any sort of a fight. In this case, principle and doctrine were pushed out of the way for the almighty dollar. You hit it spot-on.

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Yeah. It is total apples and oranges. In that example, the greater moral quandary, is the unlawful detainment.
An incipient human, is, once again — Innocent of the circumstances which brought it into being.
A kidnapper, is no matter how you slice it, committing a crime, no matter the supposed nobility.
And I have a sneaking sense this professor would be more than happy to make a moral argument for the State’s right to harvest organs for the ‘greater good’ were he pressed.
Sharr on January 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I think they’re more analogous than you admit.

In the abortion context there is a rape, so there’s a crime there too. And, In both cases the beneficiary (the child and the man) is innocent.

red_herring on January 25, 2014 at 1:53 PM

More bull highlighting your own ignorance.

Show me just one comment of mine where I ever even suggested, much less demanded, the RCC “evolve” on gay marriage.

JetBoy on January 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Then you agree with the RCC’s stance?

Skywise on January 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Like 95 percent of all so-called Catholic colleges Notre Dame is more interested in being liberal and secular than being Catholic and its president, Fr. Jenkins, is a joke. My alma mater, University of Detroit-Mercy, had the distinction of being selected as the second “least Catholic” Catholic college in the country (behind DePaul) according to First Things magazine.

I sent my children to Catholic high school but when it came time for college, Catholic colleges weren’t even a consideration. Why spend three times the cost of state college tuition when a Catholic college’s values are no different that those of a state university? My daughter’s state university has a Catholic student parish in the middle of the campus as the university expanded around the parish.

bw222 on January 25, 2014 at 2:00 PM

It is hard to claim that a rape victim has a moral duty to bring to term a pregnancy forced on her by rape, even if we assume that there is a fully human person present from the moment of conception.

By all means, when a woman is raped, let’s make sure to execute one of the victims.

Knott Buyinit on January 25, 2014 at 2:10 PM

I do understand the arguments for contraceptives.
I do not understand the argument for abortion.

The Fetus is either property to be done with as the owner so pleases OR the child COULD be born. If the child COULD be born then it is simply YET TO BE BORN.

This is truth.

Who among “We The People” of good moral charter will stand and speak for the YET TO BE BORN.

It is our unified obligation to Truth Justice and the American Way.

jpcpt03 on January 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

ND: Cafeteria Catholic University.

ND prof: “The Pope is on the wrong side of history.”

BuckeyeSam on January 25, 2014 at 2:12 PM

I suggest that you become acquainted with another professor of philosophy at Notre Dame called John P. O’Callaghan, Phd. He is also head of the Jaques Maritain center at Notre Dame. …

I would suggest that you also become acquainted with the Chair of philosophy at Notre Dame, Alvin Plantinga, perhaps the most respected and accomplished American philosopher of the last 60 years. A reformed Christian he has taken Christian apologetics to levels never before seen. Using modal logic he single handedly revived the ontological argument and convincingly used this to refute the objections raised against it by virtually every philosopher of the last 500 years including Kant.

tommyboy on January 25, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Clearly, Gutting has never heard of Dr. Hilgers. The Catholic Church HAS spent years researching miscarriages and how to prevent them….a simple search can find him. Liberals don’t look to far for the truth!

http://www.naprotechnology.com
http://www.popepaulvi.com

Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, is the director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and the National Center for Women’s Health in Omaha, Nebraska. Working at the St. Louis University and Creighton University Schools of Medicine, Hilgers and his coworkers developed the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. Dr. Hilgers is currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute. He is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska. In 1994, Dr. Hilgers was appointed to permanent membership to the Pontifical Academy for Life. In 2004, Dr. Hilgers published the definitive textbook on natural procreative technology, The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaProTECHNOLOGY.

vitaatcaritas on January 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Good news.

There was a huge Walk For Life in our CONSERVATIVE Southern California town today.

It was amazing and uplifting how many people showed up.

MichaelGabriel on January 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Absolutely nothing is sacred to these abortionist pigs . . . black is white, up is down, left is right, etc, etc, etc, etc, . . . etc.

rplat on January 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

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Sure there is . . . . . . . . . . the practice of ABORTION.

That’s the most sacred thing that exists, to them.

They’ll fight you and I to the death, to keep it a legal practice.

listens2glenn on January 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Another point, seldom discussed, is that not even pro-life advocates consistently act on their belief that any embryo has full moral standing

My wife has suffered through the pain of two miscarriages. Don’t you dare say anything like that around her.

PackerBronco on January 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

First, PB, I’m terribly sorry for you and your wife, also overlooked in the emotional pain of miscarriage are the feelings of loss for the father, as well. I had three miscarriages before I gave birth to three healthy children, all high-risk pregnancies. I’ll be damned if ANYone would get that statement past me either, I did nothing short of standing on my head to bring those babies to term….test after test after test, finally finding out that the losses were do to insufficient hormones. I would do it all over again, too.

My prayers go out to the two of you.

herm2416 on January 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Eh. It’s not like the Pope is a GOPe, who will sacrifice principles for a few breadcrumbs from the LSM.

kim roy on January 25, 2014 at 2:46 PM

which God? Mohamed? Zeus? lol

nonpartisan on January 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

“Mohamed” isn’t a god in any religion, including to the Mohammedans.

DrMagnolias on January 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

partisanhack, sometimes, same for verbaluce, it’s better to keep ‘em guessing about your ‘smarts’.

Schadenfreude on January 25, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Disclaimer: I’m pro-life.

Buuut, I have not seen any attempt by Ed, or commenters to address this issue in the context of rape. I have also seen a disturbing trend in the comments on other abortion threads that would not even make an exception for the life of the mother (which relates to the professor’s point about potential vice actual life).

I think the professor’s views are misguided and certainly out of place at Notre Dame. That said, I continue to think the pro-life movement would be best served by focusing its efforts on restricting abortions beyond the first trimester and continuing to change hearts and minds. The public is becoming increasingly educated and, far less tolerant of abortion for convenience. This is a good trend!

Firefly_76 on January 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

There’s a lot the anti-abortionists could do better, most specifically with language.

Note I said “anti-abortion”. No “pro-choice” or “pro-life”. Anti-abortion are both. The crux is that those that want abortion are “pro-abortion”. Let’s see how long they like being called “pro-abortion”.

And stop with the 20 weeks or 24 weeks. Let’s try using 5 or 6 months. People get lost in how truly far along 20 weeks is. Start making the case of the pro-aborts advocating aborting an 8 month old fetus.

We can win this. We have to start using the language better for starters.

kim roy on January 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

If Norte Dame isn’t even Catholic, what’s the point of the school?

IR-MN on January 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

The point is actually football. One point for the extra point, three for a field goal, six for a goal. Ask any alumnum of Notre Dame, they will tell you that. The church is only incidental to the faculty.

Old Country Boy on January 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Yeah, I think the Pope should just cancel that annoying Ten Commandments thingie. You know, to show his love for his sheep.

NavyMustang on January 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Maybe the students of Notre dame should have a nice little talk with said teacher, then complain to the head of her department, then keep going up the chain. Eventually someone is going to get tired of the students complaining and maybe let go the professor who tries to go beyond her bonds.

Sometimes it is easier to keep the peace than deal with stupid people.

upinak on January 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM

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