Saturday, May 29, 2004

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell - Diocese of Hartford, CT

. . . The teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion has been constant, going back to the first century Didache, "You should not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish." As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation."

Church teaching, therefore, is clear, but we are involved here with more than Church teaching. The taking of an innocent human life is a violation of the natural law. The right to life does not represent a concession made by society and the state. It belongs to human nature and is inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his or her origin.

We speak about natural law, but another issue of concern arises when people say that religious convictions should not influence political positions. Yet our foundational document, the Declaration of Independence, states that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among those are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is a religious conviction.

When we ask public officials to leave their religious convictions at the door, are we not depriving them of what is foundational in their existential makeup? Are we not asking them to be fundamentally schizophrenic? Are not our religious convictions basic to our identity?

Source: "Religious Convictions and Public Policy", Archbishop Henry J. Mansell.
The Catholic Transcript June 2004.

Related Links: