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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The new studies that prove the baby feels pain will do far more to tilt the scale to pro-life than any ideological argument.

John the Libertarian on January 25, 2014 at 3:32 PM

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

Nonpartisan should stay out of …ALL of them.

KirknBurker on January 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Notre Dame isn’t Catholic anymore.

They threw me in jail for a weekend for peacefully and prayerful protesting them letting Obama, Mr. Infanticide come there and give the commencement.

Its core is rotten and they have quite a few heretics including their President..Jenkins.

KirknBurker on January 25, 2014 at 3:37 PM

The vandals hacked off the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary. In addition, the vandals also chopped a statue of Joseph in half.

A few hours later, officers were dispatched to St. Francis of Assisi Church at 23 W Chestnut Avenue for the same incident. A subsequent investigation revealed statues at this church had been damaged in the same manner as the ones at Sacred Heart.

At the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the vandals hammered in the faces of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a statue.

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/01/24/2-south-jersey-churches-vandalized-overnight/

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

We should shout this guy down at every speech.

tomas on January 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

The Bible verses that Ed gives in his update do utterly nothing to indicate a Biblical view of when human personhood begins. It’s the typical ransacking of the Bible to find some verse that may somewhat sound like it supports your position. I do assume that if people already believes that the Bible condemns abortion, they think they have some evidence. I would urge such people to make the argument like one would in a freshman philosophy class and see how they work.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

One might wonder why there are any voices at a Catholic University who are so removed from Catholic positions that they would suggest that the Pope should change basic beliefs to “get with the times.”

While it may not be a requirement to be Catholic to teach at ND IMO respect for Roman Catholic principles should be.

katiejane on January 25, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Perfesser Gutting might want to consider who his employers institution is named for.

Notre Dame = Our Lady as in The Mother of Jesus.

workingclass artist on January 25, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Benedict XVI began the long and painful process of turning all the Catholic universities back into Catholic universities. Much work remains to be done.

But there has been improvement at Notre Dame in recent years, and that should be applauded. Now, if we could do something about Georgetown . . .

Adjoran on January 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

The new studies that prove the baby feels pain will do far more to tilt the scale to pro-life than any ideological argument.

John the Libertarian on January 25, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Silent Scream a 1984 film showed an unborn baby being aborted.

Of course they pro-aborts objected:

Many members of the medical community were critical of the film, describing it as misleading and deceptive. Richard Berkowitz, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, described the film as “factually misleading and unfair”.[4] John Hobbins of the Yale School of Medicine called the film’s use of special effects deceptive, a form of “technical flimflam.” He pointed out that the film of the ultrasound is initially run at slow speed, but that it is sped up when surgical instruments are introduced to give the impression that “the fetus is thrashing about in alarm.” Hobbins questioned the titular “scream”, noting that “the fetus spends lots of time with its mouth open”, that the “scream” may have been a yawn, and also that “mouth” identified on the blurry ultrasound in the film may in fact have been the space between the fetal chin and chest.

Fetal development experts argued that, contrary to Nathanson’s assertion in the film, a fetus cannot perceive danger or make purposeful movements. David Bodian, a neurobiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, stated that doctors had no evidence that a twelve-week-old fetus could feel pain, but noted the possibility of a reflex movement by a fetus in response to external stimuli such as surgical instruments. The size of the ultrasound image and of the fetus model used was also misleading, appearing to show a fetus the size of a full-term baby, while in actuality a twelve-week-old fetus is under two inches long.

In 1985, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) produced a brochure in response, titled The Facts Speak Louder than “The Silent Scream”, which described the video as “riddled with scientific, medical, and legal inaccuracies as well as misleading statements and exaggerations”.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silent_Scream

The debate continues, some saying that the fetus can feel pain at eight weeks and others saying 35 weeks. You can guess which camp says which.

When an unborn baby can feel pain is an important issue to many, but it does not gain much traction against the pro-abortion crowd. They don’t care.

The important thing is the value of am individual.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I was assigned Gary Gutting for my freshman philosophy class. He is a self-declared atheist. He also was one of the biggest jack***** ever as he took pleasure in openly insulting his students.

Pay no attention to what he writes about Catholic theology.

blammm on January 25, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Basically Perfesser Gutting is a liberal attention whore seeking noteriety…

He works for an instituion who’s patron saint and namesake is the Mother of Jesus and he’s asking the shepherd of her son’s flock to change her son’s teaching on natural law and the bible so the perfesser can enjoy the recognition of imagined influence or something…

Of course Gutting probably thinks this is no big deal cause Jesus and his Mother are long dead and irrelevant….Because he’s an idiot

workingclass artist on January 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM

The Bible verses that Ed gives in his update do utterly nothing to indicate a Biblical view of when human personhood begins. It’s the typical ransacking of the Bible to find some verse that may somewhat sound like it supports your position. I do assume that if people already believes that the Bible condemns abortion, they think they have some evidence. I would urge such people to make the argument like one would in a freshman philosophy class and see how they work.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Says the one who thinks that killing a dog and killing an innocent unborn baby is the same thing.

Go away. Nobody here cares what you have to say.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM

The Bible verses that Ed gives in his update do utterly nothing to indicate a Biblical view of when human personhood begins. It’s the typical ransacking of the Bible to find some verse that may somewhat sound like it supports your position. I do assume that if people already believes that the Bible condemns abortion, they think they have some evidence. I would urge such people to make the argument like one would in a freshman philosophy class and see how they work.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Which verses would you suggest?

questionmark on January 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Just off the top of my head, there’s Psalm 139 (NASB):

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

And there’s this from the Didache, the 1st-century instruction to the Church:

And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion or kill that which is born.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Responding to rape by murdering a baby is immoral, disgusting and completely illogical.

Rape is bad, always, but not nearly as bad as the ultimate crime against humanity – murdering a child.

EVERY abortion hurts a woman – EVERY abortion kills a child.

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Thuja loves death. His homosexuality brings sadness to his life and he finds a sick joy in the fact that millions of innocent unborn human beings are slaughtered.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Responding to rape by murdering a baby is immoral, disgusting and completely illogical.

Rape is bad, always, but not nearly as bad as the ultimate crime against humanity – murdering a child.

EVERY abortion hurts a woman – EVERY abortion kills a child.

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2014 at 4:08 PM

And 99%+ of abortions have nothing to do with rape.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM

It’s the typical ransacking of the Bible to find some verse that may somewhat sound like it supports your position.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I doubt your scholarship on Scripture can hold a candle to Ed’s. The verses Ed quotes all do exactly what Ed says – they uphold a view that conception itself is where life is produced, based on God’s point-of-view.

You are right in saying that nowhere in Scripture does it say “And on the first day the child was a person” or “And at the moment of conception God breathed life into the child.” But, all the Scripture Ed quotes (as well as Psalm 51:5 and Luke 1:41) clearly show that God assumes a person at the moment of conception.

GWB on January 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

GWB on January 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Thuja doesn’t even believe the Bible.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 25, 2014 at 4:16 PM

FYI, Gutting’s an out-and-about atheist. I unfortunately was assigned him for Intro to Philosophy.

What he did teach me correctly is how to identify faulty logic:

- He boldly assumes to know the definitive features of life (“consciousness, self-awareness, an interest in the future”). Such characteristics become the precepts for his later proofs.

- He confidently declares that the alleviation of human suffering is more ethical, in certain circumstances, than respect for life without proving that life is not a moral absolute.

- He throws in non sequitur and illogical arguments about how the pro-life movement’s lack of a commitment to resolving every potential cause of prenatal death to prove that the unborn does not have moral standing. He fails to realize that there are profound technological and resource limitations that make such efforts difficult, if not impossible.

blammm on January 25, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Why are Notre Dame’s standards so low?

potvin on January 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Perfesser Gutting might want to consider who his employers institution is named for.

workingclass artist on January 25, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Meaningless. Look only upon the works of the school under Father John (retch!) Jenkins. Vagina Monologues, Obama getting an honorary doctorate, pro-abortion views dominate the faculty and students, especially among the Catholics. It’s a piss-farm of liberalism.

Jaibones on January 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Meanwhile … in San Francisco today … the 10th annual ‘WALK for LIFE – West Coast‘ …

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24992277/walk-life-west-coast-march-draws-thousands-social

https://twitter.com/walkforlife

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2014 at 4:33 PM

I am not my DNA. DNA is not what a person is. DNA is just a blueprint to build a body.

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/23/video-abortion-debate-holds-risks-for-gop/comment-page-3/#comment-7664908

Implicit in that statement, underlying it, is a philosophy called existentialism. Existentialism has cone to mean quite a few things, but here it refers to the belief that existence precedes essence.

A person is born a blank slate and it is up to the individual to make of him/herself what he/she will. With this worldview, when someone’s life has worth is debatable. And that holds for not just the beginning of one’s life but for the ending, too.It also informs one’s worth if he/she becomes handicapped or becomes brain dead.

There is no God to whom one answers. Self is all-important.

Some claim to be Christian existentialists. Bi they fail, as do secularists to recognize that mankind was created in the image of God. Sin mars that image, and it is the desire of the true Christian to grow into that image through sanctification.

Another aspect of existentialism is the notion of working from the abstract to the concrete which is in fact the goal behind the notion of mankind’s being a blank slate and them through self-effort making him/herself into the kind of person he/she desires to be.

Christianity, while not built on a platform of existentialism like i just pointed out, does have existential aspects. Christians are commanded by God to love Him with all our being and our neighbors as ourselves.

And that love is defined by Paul the Apostle:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Even with that definition the notion of Love is still pretty abstract. How do we make it concrete in expression?

We study the life of Jesus. How did he respond in certain situations? Look at the life of the Apostles and their writings. How can we adapt what they taught by word and deed yo our lives?

All human life is created in the image of God and has, therefore, infinite value. And that includes the unborn.

Abortion destroys a sacred thing.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Inside The World Of Anti-Abortion Activists Who Were Conceived In Rape And Incest

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-the-world-of-anti-abortion-activists-who-were-conceived-in-rape-and-incest-2014-1#ixzz2rRsFd9K

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Gutting’s name is so appropriate to him on so many levels.

thatsafactjack on January 25, 2014 at 4:44 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.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 4:58 PM

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.

I’m not sure if anyone else has commented on this, but this is a better argument against abortion in the case of rape than it is for it.

sadarj on January 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Remember that Notre Dame is all about FOOTBALL, not Scripture. My Brother-in-law went to ND after 12 years of Catholic education, and came out an atheist. The secularist philosophy was strong there 40 years ago.
There was some payback though. His daughter also went to ND. She arrived as her father’s atheist daughter, but came out a “born-again” Catholic!!!

codekeyguy on January 25, 2014 at 5:05 PM

So this is merely another example of where the opinion of the Bible and someone diverge and then that someone concludes the Bible must be wrong? Textbook leftist wisdom.

anuts on January 25, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Ed,

I read the 139th Psalm (NIV). Given the 15th and 16th verse, it doesn’t seem to me to be making any pro-life point.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

It’s relevant to note that the Hebrew in verse 13 is more accurately translated as

13. For You created my reins, You covered me in my mother’s womb.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

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.

I’m not sure if anyone else has commented on this, but this is a better argument against abortion in the case of rape than it is for it.

sadarj on January 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Yes, but if you addressed the situation by pounding a fifty-penny nail into the afflicted person’s skull and then dismembering them, you would be a murder.

Abortion has always been about preventing the reality of the baby, not liberating a woman’s body. Otherwise, pro-abortion groups wouldn’t oppose rolling back abortions to removing the fetus and trying to save it.

HitNRun on January 25, 2014 at 5:20 PM

In the case of spontaneous abortions one might conclude that if there is a god then it is the greatest abortionist of all so the professor is trying to offer a way out of this dilemma. However, I doubt that the Pope will budge on this question unless he would wish for the Catholicism to follow the path to irrevelance taken by the Anglicans.

Annar on January 25, 2014 at 5:26 PM

A literal translation of Ps. 139:13.

that youaquired the kidneys of me you are over shadowing me in belly of mother of me I shall acclaim you in that ones being fearful I am distinguished ones being marvelous deeds of you and sould of me one knowing exceedingly

No reins.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

What does “your eyes saw my unformed body” mean to you in context of “you knit me together in my mother’s womb”?

anuts on January 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Notre Dame isn’t Catholic anymore.

They threw me in jail for a weekend for peacefully and prayerful protesting them letting Obama, Mr. Infanticide come there and give the commencement.

CATHOLICS VOTED FOR OBAMA in 2012. Again.

Catholics are always in here talking like Catholics are helpless victims of Obama whatever. You voted for him, or at least your neighbors did.

Moesart on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Well, let’s go back to Ignatius then for Psalms 139:13-16, for consistency with my earlier references. That’s the entire sequence that marvels at God’s plan for the psalmist even before his birth:

13 For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am wondrously made. Wonderful are your works!   You know me right well; 15 my frame was not hidden from you,  when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

“You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” refers to God’s care for the unborn at inception, while verse 16 makes it plain that God has a plan for us even at the stage of our “unformed substance.” Especially when read in the context of the rest of Scripture, the meaning here is very plain indeed.

And I note that you never bothered to rebut the Didache, the earliest (1st century) teachings of the Apostles, who knew these Scriptures backward and forward, and (the Church teaches) taught with the power of the Holy Spirit. There are others of this period and just after, such as Tertullian, who taught the same thing about abortion as a grave sin.

Like I said, no one is forced to be Catholic, but it’s sophistry to pretend that Catholic teaching on abortion isn’t based on Scripture, and that the teaching is somehow novel and modern.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

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

…Notre Dame again!…JugEars was accommodated well there too…for bullshit purposes…

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2014 at 6:17 PM

what a red meat Saturday morning!

I’m staying outta this one

noforeskin on January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

…only because you have too!…can’t beat that meat red…when its a little knob!

KOOLAID2 on January 25, 2014 at 6:20 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.”
Really? Fully human person? If an act of rape condones murder, there are a lot of places you could go with this argument. You would think a philosophy prof at a Catholic college would have at least read the Cliff Notes version of Summa Theologica.

pgrossjr on January 25, 2014 at 6:34 PM

The 139 Pslam is redder social con meat than most of us were aware of:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-03-28/psalm-139-anti-abortion-gay-lesbian/53836158/1

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 6:36 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

-
You’re not alone. (Include Georgetown too)

diogenes on January 25, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Is this true?

A Miami judge is giving troubled pop star Justin Bieber a choice in punishment following his arrest on Thursday: Join the Marine Corps or go to jail.

Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/2014/01/justin-bieber-drunk-driving/#ixzz2rSOFAOX1

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM

The reporters’ names — Lee Ho Fuk, Paul and Dick Scuttlebutt — tend to make me a little skeptical.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 6:50 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Riddle me this thuja. Strip away any religious confine for just a moment. If life does not start at conception then why the need to extinguish it?

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 6:52 PM

“You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” refers to God’s care for the unborn at inception, while verse 16 makes it plain that God has a plan for us even at the stage of our “unformed substance.” Especially when read in the context of the rest of Scripture, the meaning here is very plain indeed.

And I note that you never bothered to rebut the Didache, the earliest (1st century) teachings of the Apostles, who knew these Scriptures backward and forward, and (the Church teaches) taught with the power of the Holy Spirit. There are others of this period and just after, such as Tertullian, who taught the same thing about abortion as a grave sin.

Like I said, no one is forced to be Catholic, but it’s sophistry to pretend that Catholic teaching on abortion isn’t based on Scripture, and that the teaching is somehow novel and modern.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

The Psalms are songs. It seems strange to take literally what wasn’t to be taken that way. This particular Psalm is praising the omnipresence and omniscience of God. The reference to the womb was a way of pointing to God’s omniscient foreknowledge, and was not an attempt by the Psalmist to discuss the status of the fetus. At least, no more so than I Kings 7:23-26 was an attempt define the math constant pi as 3.

If the Catholic Church hierarchy wants to use the Didache quote to justify a pro-life position, it seems to me to have a strong case. The Didache and how it may be used to justify a position aren’t my interest.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM

CATHOLICS VOTED FOR OBAMA in 2012. Again.

Catholics are always in here talking like Catholics are helpless victims of Obama whatever. You voted for him, or at least your neighbors did.

Moesart on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Well, only a majority of HISPANIC Catholics voted for obama – a MAJORITY of White Catholics went for McCain and for Romney:
————————————————-

2008 – Hispanic Catholics = obama 72% … McCain 26%
White Catholics = obama 47% … McCain 52%

2012 – Hispanic Catholics = obama 75% … Romney 21%
White Catholics = obama 40% … Romney 59%

Catholics in the United States are majority White:

61% non-Hispanic white
32% Hispanic

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Like I said, no one is forced to be Catholic, but it’s sophistry to pretend that Catholic teaching on abortion isn’t based on Scripture, and that the teaching is somehow novel and modern.

Ed Morrissey on January 25, 2014 at 6:14 PM

At least you accomplished getting her to study the Bible.

I’m as protestant as they come, and I, too, base my pro-life position on the plain teaching of the Bible.

I appreciate the strong stand my Catholic sisters and brothers have taken. It in many cases they have motivated protestants to get involved.

The Hebrew word literally translated “kidney” is in the King James mostly translated “rein.” The ancients believed the seat of emotion and life was centered in the bowels.

Anyone who has had a visceral reaction to something can understand why.

The entomology of “rein” shows that at one time it indicated a band. I wonder if “kidney” was translated “rein” with the band of muscles and cartilage that holds the bowels in place in mind.

That is as deep as I want to get. But now your readers can now impress others with this bit of trivia.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM

From the article provided by Thuja:

“Even if evangelicals felt bound by Jewish interpretation, the anti-abortion appropriation of the Psalm is as much poetic as doctrinal. And gay activists, Voelkel said, regard Psalm 139 not as a proof text, but an affirmation of their already “hard-won and deeply discerned” understanding of God’s acceptance and embrace.
So could it be both? Polls show younger Christians are increasingly accepting of homosexuality and opposed to abortion, suggesting a growing constituency for reading Psalm 139 as anti-abortion and pro-gay.”

That someone would take a chapter in scripture about the intrinsic value of life even within the womb as God’s acceptance for any and all sin is one of the most bizarre exegesis I’ve ever encountered.

anuts on January 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

A literal translation of Ps. 139:13.

that you aquired the kidneys of me you are over shadowing me in belly of mother of me I shall acclaim you in that ones being fearful I am distinguished ones being marvelous deeds of you and sould of me one knowing exceedingly

No reins.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Brown, Driver, Briggs gives כִלְיֹתָי as kidneys. But it was published in 1906. The translation which used “reins” was from Chabad which is obsessive about getting the Hebrew Bible right. I would tend to trust Chabad over Brown, Driver, Briggs, which I presume is ultimately the source of your translation.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 7:04 PM

If life does not start at conception then why the need to extinguish it?

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Life starts at conception, and it ends as all cellular activity ceases, sometimes long after brain death.

It is the brain and the mind in it that matters.

A woman’s right to choose should never be violated. Every woman has the right to choose whether or not she will engage in possibly procreative activity (sexual intercourse). No one has the right to force her to do this, not even her husband. It is her choice.

Once she is pregnant and there are two people involved, her rights must be weighed against the rights of the life she has already invited into her body.

Should brainless life be accorded full human rights because if it continues to get nourishment from the mother it will probably develop a brain? There lies the ferocious debate on the right between people who should be allies against the Moloch worshippers of the Left who have no problem with sacrificing clearly unborn babies to their demon god of personal convenience.

fadetogray on January 25, 2014 at 7:12 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Strong’s

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 7:14 PM

fadetogray on January 25, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Thank you thuja?!?! Lolz!

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Thank you thuja?!?! Lolz!

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Like no one at Hot Air ever answers a philosophical question that was not directed at them?

And you are welcome. :)

fadetogray on January 25, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Why are Notre Dame’s standards so low?

potvin on January 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM

They aren’t low standards, necessarily. They just aren’t Catholic. I have read comments from professors who claim knowledge and qualification, that when applying for an open position at Notre Dame, you are advised not to tell the university if you are Catholic. Let them assume that you are not and your chances of being hired improve.

Jaibones on January 25, 2014 at 7:16 PM

fadetogray on January 25, 2014 at 7:16 PM

; )

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

The Hebrew word literally translated “kidney” is in the King James mostly translated “rein.” The ancients believed the seat of emotion and life was centered in the bowels.

Anyone who has had a visceral reaction to something can understand why.

The entomology of “rein” shows that at one time it indicated a band. I wonder if “kidney” was translated “rein” with the band of muscles and cartilage that holds the bowels in place in mind.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Well, I guess that explains the translation.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 7:29 PM

From the King James:

Job 16:13

His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

Job 19:27

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Psa 7:9

Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

Psa 16:7

I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

Psa 26:2

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Psa 73:21

Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.

Psa 139:13

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Pro 23:16

Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

Isa 11:5

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Jer 11:20

But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

Jer 12:2

Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

Jer 17:10

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jer 20:12

But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.

Lam 3:13

He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins.

Rev 2:23

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

The number 3629 behind kidney is the Stong’s reference number and is the same number/Hebrew word translated “reins” in the above verses. You all can decide what the original authors meant.

Exd 29:13

And thou shalt take H3947 all the fat H2459 that covereth H3680 the inwards, H7130 and the caul H3508 that is above the liver, H3516 and the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is upon them, and burn H6999 them upon the altar. H4196

Exd 29:22

Also thou shalt take H3947 of the ram H352 the fat H2459 and the rump, H451 and the fat H2459 that covereth H3680 the inwards, H7130 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 and the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is upon them, and the right H3225 shoulder; H7785 for it is a ram H352 of consecration: H4394

Lev 3:4

And the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is on them, which is by the flanks, H3689 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 with the kidneys, H3629 it shall he take away. H5493

Lev 3:10

And the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is upon them, which is by the flanks, H3689 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 with the kidneys, H3629 it shall he take away. H5493

Lev 3:15

And the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is upon them, which is by the flanks, H3689 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 with the kidneys, H3629 it shall he take away. H5493

Lev 4:9

And the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is upon them, which is by the flanks, H3689 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 with the kidneys, H3629 it shall he take away, H5493

Lev 7:4

And the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and the fat H2459 that is on them, which is by the flanks, H3689 and the caul H3508 that is above the liver, H3516 with the kidneys, H3629 it shall he take away: H5493

Lev 8:16

And he took H3947 all the fat H2459 that was upon the inwards, H7130 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 and the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and their fat, H2459 and Moses H4872 burned H6999 it upon the altar. H4196

Lev 8:25

And he took H3947 the fat, H2459 and the rump, H451 and all the fat H2459 that was upon the inwards, H7130 and the caul H3508 above the liver, H3516 and the two H8147 kidneys, H3629 and their fat, H2459 and the right H3225 shoulder: H7785

Lev 9:10

But the fat, H2459 and the kidneys, H3629 and the caul H3508 above H4480 the liver H3516 of the sin offering, H2403 he burnt H6999 upon the altar; H4196 as the LORD H3068 commanded H6680 Moses. H4872

Lev 9:19

And the fat H2459 of the bullock H7794 and of the ram, H352 the rump, H451 and that which covereth H4374 the inwards, and the kidneys, H3629 and the caul H3508 above the liver: H3516

Deu 32:14

Butter H2529 of kine, H1241 and milk H2461 of sheep, H6629 with fat H2459 of lambs, H3733 and rams H352 of the breed H1121 of Bashan, H1316 and goats, H6260 with the fat H2459 of kidneys H3629 of wheat; H2406 and thou didst drink H8354 the pure H2561 blood H1818 of the grape. H6025

Isa 34:6

The sword H2719 of the LORD H3068 is filled H4390 with blood, H1818 it is made fat H1878 with fatness, H2459 and with the blood H1818 of lambs H3733 and goats, H6260 with the fat H2459 of the kidneys H3629 of rams: H352 for the LORD H3068 hath a sacrifice H2077 in Bozrah, H1224 and a great H1419 slaughter H2874 in the land H776 of Idumea. H123

davidk on January 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Thanks for answering my straight forward enough question thuja.

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Always amusing when an atheist tries to tell you what the Bible says. Even more fun when they end up sounding like a teenager who gets his kicks looking up dirty words in the dictionary.

Pretty much the same mindset at work.

CurtZHP on January 25, 2014 at 8:04 PM

Thanks for answering my straight forward enough question thuja.

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 7:58 PM

I am not clear why your question is addressed to me. Shouldn’t it be addressed to the women who make the decision to abort?

My friends on Facebook share videos like this one: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=566075863484336 which ask the same question about animals not in the species Homo sapien that you want to want to ask pre-natal members of the species Homos sapien. To both, my response is Ecclesiastes 3:3.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 8:21 PM

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I know you don’t like us Catholics very much, but the quotes Ed pulled are precisely the ones used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to tie the Church’s position on abortion (which is the subset of a discussion of the Fifth Commandment):

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.71

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.72
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.73

Citation 71 references the instruction “Donum Vitae”

Citation 72 references Jer 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11.

Citation 73 references Ps 139:15.

All of those show the uniformity of God’s will in this matter. Even the Psalms, which you take as poetical, offer insight into the behavior we are called to observe.

Now, what have you offered other than scuffed dirt and obfuscation?

unclesmrgol on January 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Change your nom to Deflection. You can lowercase it if you must.

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 9:27 PM

I know you don’t like us Catholics very much, but the quotes Ed pulled are precisely the ones used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to tie the Church’s position on abortion (which is the subset of a discussion of the Fifth Commandment):

I like some people who happen to Muslim, though I consider Islam to be evil. Whatever my feelings are about Catholicism, I should hope that you don’t need to be told that I know Islam is far worse. There is no Jihad in Judaism or Christianity despite there being plenty of Bible verses that suggest it, like say the last verses of this 139th Psalm we are discussing. Getting back to the idea that don’t like Catholics, please don’t claim that my attack on a small point of your belief system is a dislike for you personally. It’s not. I love reading Ed Morrissey, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything.

And I know you will want to claim abortion laws are a big part of the Catholic belief system, but I take those claims as a political power move and not claims to be taken seriously. I would point out that a majority of Catholics voted for a man for president whose views on abortion are remarkably similar to my own.

Which reminds about another topic: I don’t understand why Obama, DeBlasio, and Cuomo have views similar to my own on abortion. One would think they would be more moderate than me. How did they get there intellectually? I am puzzled.

thuja on January 25, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Girl Talk

Bmore on January 25, 2014 at 10:41 PM

Every person has a body and a spirit. The spirit was formed before the body. The entire earth was made spiritually before it was made physically. That’s why Genesis 1 describes the creation and the following chapters describe it again. Genesis 2:5 states

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

Every person born on the earth was a spiritual creation of God and God saw that it was good. Not everything matched the plan, because the earth was taken from his presence through the Fall and Satan was allowed to tempt mankind.

That doesn’t mean that we are without excuse if we destroy his work or fail to follow his laws, but Christ made intercession for the fall and assured that “as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

This Professor has a false understanding of his position. He seems to believe that the Pope is empowered to change the mind and will of the Lord in order to appease the fashions of the day or the philosophies of men. Anyone who claims the right to destroy the unborn spirits of God’s children is both a fool and offensive to God. No mortal can kill the spirit, even though we might kill the body. Nevertheless, we are answerable to God, not to the Pope or to the New York Times or the faculty of Notre Dame. God commanded the man and woman to multiply and replenish the earth, but to the woman he said “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;” but he never rescinded the first commandment to multiply. Modern society is suffering the result of disobeying that commandment and so long as we do, we will decline. And that is just the beginning of our sins.

flataffect on January 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM

I fail to understand the mentality of these idiots who pretend they cannot understand the clear difference between the failure of an embryo to implant in the uterine wall and the decision to perform a chemical or surgical abortion. One is beyond human control, one is the result of human will, and only a fool would insist that the existence of one justifies the other.

dkmonroe on January 25, 2014 at 11:31 PM

One is beyond human control, one is the result of human will, and only a fool would insist that the existence of one justifies the other.

dkmonroe on January 25, 2014 at 11:31 PM

Except that it is not beyond human control. Thwarting implantation can be done with IUD’s and birth control pills. I would be surprised if methods for encouraging implantation are not a part of helping some women who are having trouble becoming pregnant.

The whole ‘but this way is natural so it is morally different’ argument is highly illogical.

God knows which ones will implant and which ones will not, whether that happens because of human intervention or not. Of course He has made no plans for those that do not implant.

fadetogray on January 26, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Except that it is not beyond human control. Thwarting implantation can be done with IUD’s and birth control pills. I would be surprised if methods for encouraging implantation are not a part of helping some women who are having trouble becoming pregnant.

The whole ‘but this way is natural so it is morally different’ argument is highly illogical.

God knows which ones will implant and which ones will not, whether that happens because of human intervention or not. Of course He has made no plans for those that do not implant.

fadetogray on January 26, 2014 at 12:04 AM

The professor refers to “spontaneous abortions” which take place without human intervention such as IUD’s and birth control pills. And the Catholic Church opposes the use of any kind of birth control, so it is obvious that the Catholic Church recognizes a difference between either the preventing of implantation or the abortion of an unborn child by design, and the failure of some embryos to implant, which can happen without any human intervention, and over which humans have no control.

Preventing implantation through the use of IUD’s or birth control pills is not “natural.” The act of human intervention to destroy a life already conceived makes the moral difference.

dkmonroe on January 26, 2014 at 12:35 AM

I like that conception about the womb as a sacred place of life. It just feels right in this world of moral disorder. Good job.

palarson on January 26, 2014 at 1:38 AM

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 are things that you can influence or control. And then there are things that you cannot. Would conservatives be thrilled if “spontaneous abortions” are prevented by medical advances ? Of course, yes. Who knows, some of them may already be working on it.

I would love for cancer and HIV to be completely cured – but if I do not make an ALL OUT EFFORT to do so, it does not mean that I do not care about these issues – that would indeed be an illogical conclusion to come to.

Is’nt it fascinating that liberals always want perfection from conservatives when it comes to abortion ?

If you say , life begins at conception you are accused of being an ideological extremist. When you try to accommodate for the fact that all embryos may not be successfully implanted, liberals jump and ask “How come you do not treat those embryos as human life ?” Well, we have no control over what gets implanted, do we ? But we most definitely have control over when a child is conceived.

Is this too difficult to understand ? No, it is not. And when it comes to abortion it is not even relevant – as we all know we may not even detect pregnancy until a good 4 weeks from conception. At this point, the human being that is growing in side has progressed from a unicellular organism. You can go to any number of medical experts to find out how much a child grows, week by week. By the time some one chooses to abort, the child has grown a heart for God’s sake !

http://www.babycenter.com/400_what-week-does-the-heart-develop_985215_441.bc

Liberals KNOW what they are doing is wrong. Resorting to sophistry and weak arguments on “quality of life” only shows how desperate they are to justify this barbarism.

nagee76 on January 26, 2014 at 1:49 AM

You know, you’d think that someone who works at Notre Dame would understand what the role of the Pope is and is not. The Pope can no more change Church doctrine than he can change the color of the sky. Popes are not presidents or prime ministers of the Church and Church doctrine is not legislation to be re-written at will. What one Pope has said regarding doctrine, another Pope cannot contradict.

Now it’s true that each Pope is different in many ways, including holding different viewpoints on non-doctrine issues. Church doctrine, for example, teaches us we must care for the poor. No Pope can change that. However, Popes can disagree on how best a society should carry out that task. This is in evidence when Pope Francis (unfortunately) seems to embrace socialism whereas many previous Popes have condemned it. Never-the-less, economic systems are not matters of Church doctrine. Only the underlying goal, caring for the poor, is and no Pope could ever change that.

Similarly, the fact that abortion is intrinsically evil, regardless of the reason, is Church doctrine. It cannot be changed by anyone, even a Pope. It doesn’t matter how progressive that Pope is perceived to be. And Pope Francis, for all the hype we hear about how radical he is, has clearly said the same — abortion is evil and that Church doctrine is not up for debate.

Disagree? Fine, don’t be Catholic. That’s every person’s choice. And I understand this particular professor is an avowed atheist anyway. But don’t expect the Catholic Church to change its doctrine to “get with the times.” Understand that’s now how the Church works. Which is, I suppose, why atheist and liberals have to work to destroy the Church, since they know they cannot simply mold it to their liking as they have done so many other institutions.

Shump on January 26, 2014 at 6:30 AM

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.

As many of us have realized, the number of actual Catholics and Christians at Catholic-run universities is vastly diminished and who is today to say whether or not this has always been the case…

It’s a very awful state of ethics among Catholic-run academics but it’s where our world is: they can lecture, they can read notes, they can debate theories and beliefs but there aren’t a lot of people who believe themselves in what they’re presenting to students as to Catholic Christianity.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:06 AM

And the insistence on the descriptors of “actual human being” versus “potential human being” and distinguishing “who” has “full moral standing” vs. the unborn who “don’t have full moral standing” (then why the need “to distinguish who has [it]“) are ongoing proof that those who maintain support of abortion go to convoluted extremes to justify it.

Abortion is ultimately rationalized as acceptable only because the human life involved that is taken has no ability to defend itself. It’s the ultimate situation of cruelty: ending someone else’s life because they lack all ability to self-protect.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:09 AM

“Even if evangelicals felt bound by Jewish interpretation, the anti-abortion appropriation of the Psalm is as much poetic as doctrinal. And gay activists, Voelkel said, regard Psalm 139 not as a proof text, but an affirmation of their already “hard-won and deeply discerned” understanding of God’s acceptance and embrace.
So could it be both? Polls show younger Christians are increasingly accepting of homosexuality and opposed to abortion, suggesting a growing constituency for reading Psalm 139 as anti-abortion and pro-gay.”

That someone would take a chapter in scripture about the intrinsic value of life even within the womb as God’s acceptance for any and all sin is one of the most bizarre exegesis I’ve ever encountered.

anuts on January 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

That someone would take a chapter in scripture about the intrinsic value of life even within the womb as God’s acceptance for any and all sin is one of the most bizarre exegesis I’ve ever encountered.

Yes, well said.

This appears part and parcel academically with the Progressive’s demands to redefine words, reassociate usage of words while maintaining the “same” language of English.

Sin isn’t sin because “it feels good.” Human life in the womb isn’t “fully alive” because it’s not yet birthed. God doesn’t mean what He says in the Bible because “it makes someone feel uncomfortable”.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:20 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.

Those remain simple projections of someone else’s ideas, or, rather, are mere assumptions based upon personal preferences. It’s easier to rationalize the act of abortion when the act DOESN’T INVOLVE, so it’s alleged, another “fully human” being who can feel, think and experience.

All this is possible because an unborn human being can’t text someone, can’t “chat” via interent connection, has no cellphone to use and can’t use one. No doctor or potential mother hands their unborn child a set of paperwork with a pen and asks that unborn child to complete the information and return it…

None of this PROVES, however, that the unborn human being does NOT think, feel, experience, have consciousness however unique to it’s development. It’s an imagining to presume that “just because they’re not yet born” that they, the unborn human, is unequal to the value of life.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:27 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

Yes, I completely agree with you there and it’s what I was expressing a comment earlier: it’s entirely presumptuous (as in, it’s PRESUMED to be while not credibly proven, and, it’s useful to the act of abortion to make this presumption of lack of consciousness).

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:30 AM

How dare a man have an opinion on abortion! /s

rhombus on January 26, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Cardinal Ratzinger addressed “Conscience and Truth”,his 1991 presentation to the American Bishops in Dallas Texas.
The full address can be found at:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/ratzcons.htm
The following summarizes the conclusions;
Cardinal Ratzinger touched on the correct understanding of conscience,” “Conscience is understood by many to be sort of deification of subjectivity, a rock on which even the magisterium can founder. It claimed that in the light of conscience no other reason applies. Finally, conscience appears as the supreme level of subjectivity; but conscience is an organ, not an oracle; it requires growth, exercise and development.”
For those who hold that one’s own subjective conscience is infallible, superior to all others and that the Church Authority cannot impose restrictions on those whose conscience brings them to decisions contrary to the Church’s teachings, Cardinal Ratzinger points out the obvious error in this rationalization by the following “It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth – at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence. For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject’s own truth, which would be reduced to the subject’s sincerity.”

Cardinal Ratzinger describes the concept of the erroneous conscience as follows:
“The erroneous conscience, by sheltering the person from the exacting demands of truth, saves him … – thus went the argument. Conscience appeared here not as a window through which one can see outward to that common truth which founds and sustains us all, and so makes possible through the common recognition of truth, the community of needs and responsibilities. Conscience here does not mean man’s openness to the ground of his being, the power of perception for what is highest and most essential. Rather, it appears as subjectivity’s protective shell into which man can escape and there hide from reality. Liberalism’s idea of conscience was in fact presupposed here. Conscience does not open the way to the redemptive road to truth which either does not exist or, if it does, is too demanding. It is the faculty which dispenses from truth. It thereby becomes the justification for subjectivity, which should not like to have itself called into question. Similarly, it becomes the justification for social conformity. As mediating value between the different subjectivities, social conformity is intended to make living together possible. The obligation to seek the truth ceases, as do any doubts about the general inclination of society and what it has become accustomed to. Being convinced of oneself, as well as conforming to others, are sufficient. Man is reduced to his superficial conviction and the less depth he has, the better for him.”

The erroneous conscience also would allow the false and utterly despicable conclusion, “Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven since they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience. There is no doubting the fact that Hitler and his accomplices who were deeply convinced of their cause, could not have acted otherwise. Therefore, the objective terribleness of their deeds notwithstanding, they acted morally, subjectively speaking. Since they followed their albeit mistaken consciences, one would have to recognize their conduct as moral and, as a result, should not doubt their eternal salvation.” Cardinal Ratzinger concludes this section by writing “Since that conversation, I knew with complete certainty that something was wrong with the theory of justifying power of the subjective conscience, that, in other words, a concept of conscience which leads to such conclusions must be false. For, subjective conviction and the lack of doubts and scruples which follow therefrom do not justify man.

Furthermore, “No one may act against his convictions, as Saint Paul had already said (Rom 14:23). But the fact that the conviction a person has come to certainly binds in the moment of acting, does not signify a canonization of subjectivity. It is never wrong to follow the convictions one has arrived at – in fact, one must do so. But it can very well be wrong to have come to such askew convictions in the first place, by having stifled the protest of the anamnesis(an inner repugnance to evil and an attraction to the good) of being.”

Patrick49 on January 26, 2014 at 9:37 AM

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.

I’m not interested in defending Gutting. Now, moral relativism is, of course, ridiculous, but it is not relativistic to point out that the set of human living cells formed at conception are not an actual human being. A human being is a particular thing. The embryo has zero capacity to live as the actual, individuated rational being that it will become upon birth. An embryo has no mind therefore no consciousness. It is at best a potential human being. Since rights are only for actual human beings, a woman is within her rights to choose abortion.

beselfish on January 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM

thuja has stated that an unwanted puppy and an unwanted baby are the same thing.

That is perfectly consistent with her worldview.

Until she et. al. recognize that humans, are created in the image of God, and, therefore, have intrinsic worth, nothing she says, no source she cites, can be used to argue to a pro-life position.

One may have the same worldview as she, but he/she has no foundation upon which to base his/her opinion. It is just a capricious as thuja’s conclusion regarding abortion and, indeed, less consistent.

Peter Singer is the most consistent in the worldview that thuja holds.

http://www.equip.org/articles/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/

http://chronicle.com/blogs/percolator/peter-singer-weighs-in-on-infanticide-paper/28885

davidk on January 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

In 1981 (April 23-24) a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on the very question before us here: When does human life begin?

Appearing to speak on behalf of the scientific community was a group of internationally known geneticists and biologists who had the same story to tell, namely, that a human life begins at conception – and they told their story with a profound absence of opposing testimony.

–Dr. Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, Harvard medical School, gave confirming testimony, supported by references from over 20 embryology and other medical textbooks — that human life began at conception.

–”Father of Modern Genetics” Dr. Jerome Lejeune told the lawmakers: “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion … it is plain experimental evidence.”

–Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, added: “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

–Dr. McCarthy de Mere, medical doctor and law professor, University of Tennessee, testified: “The exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.”

–Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, concluded, “I am no more prepared to say that these early stages represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that … the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty … is not a human being.”

–Dr. Richard V. Jaynes: “To say that the beginning of human life cannot be determined scientifically is utterly ridiculous.”

–Dr. Landrum Shettles, sometimes called the “Father of In Vitro Fertilization” notes, “Conception confers life and makes that life one of a kind”; “and on the Supreme Court ruling _Roe v. Wade_, “To deny a truth [about when life begins] should not be made a basis for legalizing abortion.”

–Professor Eugene Diamond: “…either the Justices were fed a backwoods biology or they were pretending ignorance about a scientific certainty.

Patrick49 on January 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM

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

From what I’ve seen, this pope just might. But I’m thinking they’re trying to “rethink” the gay marriage thing right now and only one evolution at a time I imagine.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Patrick49 on January 26, 2014 at 12:24 PM

There are opposing forces at work:

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) “These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_the_United_States

davidk on January 26, 2014 at 1:32 PM

There is evidence that younger members of the Pro-Life movement will move the dial much further than my generation. They know what it means to have missing siblings. They have lived with this law and the pain it creates. I also believe that medical imaging allows so many more expectant parents to see just how quickly life develops. It’s hard to end a life when you see the small miracle moving and growing.

Tri21 on January 26, 2014 at 2:32 PM

davidk,
“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
One is at liberty to proclaim that the earth is flat or the earth is the center of the universe or human life begins when a child walks, talks and does math but none are scientifically correct, they are opinions.
“Everyone is entitled to his(her) own opinion, but not to his(her) own facts.”
attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Patrick49 on January 26, 2014 at 2:32 PM

It’s a very awful state of ethics among Catholic-run academics but it’s where our world is: they can lecture, they can read notes, they can debate theories and beliefs but there aren’t a lot of people who believe themselves in what they’re presenting to students as to Catholic Christianity.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:06 AM

There are very few colleges and universities that are truly Catholic any more. I graduated from two Catholic universities (Detroit and Dayton). I sent my kids to Catholic high school, but so-called Catholic colleges weren’t a consideration. Why pay three times the tuition for a Catholic college when it is really no different from a state university?

bw222 on January 26, 2014 at 3:42 PM

None of this PROVES, however, that the unborn human being does NOT think, feel, experience, have consciousness however unique to it’s development. It’s an imagining to presume that “just because they’re not yet born” that they, the unborn human, is unequal to the value of life.

Lourdes on January 26, 2014 at 7:27 AM

You concede they are unborn yet you appear to treat them as if they are actual, living human beings with a mind. One is not living and therefore without rights and the other, of course, possesses the right to life. They can’t be both at the same time and in the same context. So, which is it. Is the embryo your speaking of unborn or is it born?

beselfish on January 26, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Every argument this guy made is so specious! The “kidney-person” was already a human being who had a life, regardless of the length of their life, this is straw man numero uno especially because 90% of pro-lifers believe in an exception for rape AND incest. Then his silly argument that pro lifers don’t support research to prevent miscarriage: Where does he get his facts? Anyway, a miscarriage is an act of God, but an abortion is an act of man. If this douche doesn’t see the difference then he automatically disqualifies himself from the debate regardless of how many intellectuals’ “noted” comments he references. Dope.

JEFF_IN_NC on January 26, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Maybe Notre Dame should rethink tenure.

Mr. Joe on January 26, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Throw this guy out on his ass and kick him a few times just to watch him bounce.

Mason on January 26, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Too bad the Professor wasn’t aborted.

jarhead0311 on January 26, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Ummm….when a spermy thing fertilizes the egg…what other reason is there for it?

tomas on January 26, 2014 at 9:10 PM

Schadenfreude

Bmore on January 26, 2014 at 11:16 PM

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