the U.S. Catholic bishops meeting in Baltimore chose Kansas City’s Archbishop Joseph Naumann over Cardinal Cupich for the leadership of the bishops’ influential pro-life committee. It is noteworthy that this represented a choice of a non-cardinal for a position fpr 40 years reserved for a cardinal. It also appears that the "seamless garment of life" and “consistent ethic of life” methodology, promoted by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (Archbishop of Chicago thirty years ago) and currently promoted by Cardinal Cupich has been rejected in favor of a more narrowly defined issue of abortion.
Archbishop Naumann famously called out Sen. Tim Kaine for his claim to be personally opposed to abortion but willing to support the law and even suspended the Diocese's relationship with the Girl Scouts over their support of Planned Parenthood. Naumann has a much more activist understanding of the pro-life issue and has so far been unwilling to subsume abortion into a larger fabric of somewhat equally important life issues.
On this day when we recall the decision of the SCOTUS that legalized abortion and has given legal sanction to one of the largest losses of life in history (approaching 50 million babies aborted in the US alone), it is important for us to remember that abortion is not merely one issue among many. It is the linchpin of the cause of life. If we cannot value the life in the womb, it is certain we will not value other lives. Abortion is not merely about individual choice but the use of abortion as a tool to do everything from eradicate Down's Syndrome to make sure that we get the children we want with characteristics we desire.
Now, just as more than forty years ago, we face the singular challenge of abortion and the most grave moral issue of modern history. Strangely, those who oppose the death penalty often find no contradiction in affirming the right of women to terminate pregnancies at will. Strangely, those groups whose fight for the rights of women has become legendary are stunningly silent when asked to give to the child in the womb the same rights that feminism has battled to secure for women. Strangely, we have not seen the abortion law reserved merely to abortion but as a springboard for all sorts of things never envisioned in 1973 -- from physician assisted suicide to euthanasia for the aged and infirm. Yet even more strangely, it seems that we find no problem with the expansion of death's reign through the crack provided when abortion was legalized in 1973.
The cause is just as urgent. For there will be no progress on these other areas without some means to restrain or rescind the legalized killing of children that began it all. Pray, yes. Demonstrate, yes. But vote pro-life for this is the only way to make real progress. We must be passionate voices for the cause of the unborn and those whose lives are threatened but we must also make sure that this is not simply one thread in a seamless garment of other issues. The death penalty and abortion are not the same issue and cannot be equated. While it is surely probable that those opposed to abortion may also oppose the death penalty, it is impossible to reason how people who are opposed to the death penalty are in favor of abortion rights. It would be nice if we could weave a nice seamless garment in protection of life and be united in the cause of the poor, in the pursuit of peace, in the protection of inalienable rights, in ending racism, etc., but the singular thread that ties everything together is clearly abortion. We cannot make progress on anything until we make progress on this issue.