The five judges who voted to uphold the ban are Catholic. But this is not a Catholic issue. The Supreme Court was not asked to rule on the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist or on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. The court ruled on a matter of human dignity.
The Catholic Church’s position on abortion is not unique to Catholics. It harkens back to the concept of Natural Law. All human beings are endowed with dignity because they are created. Our own Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It has been a great struggle in our country and around the world to establish that “all men” means men and women of all races and ethnicities. Now the struggle is to include the unborn, the sick, and the disabled--all human beings from conception to natural death. The culture of death balks at such inclusiveness. As I wrote two days ago, the pro-abortion and other culture of death arguments offer a very narcissistic view of human dignity: Another person has dignity only if he produces something valuable to me.
Rather than attack the argument that all human life has dignity, the Philadelphia Inquirer has chosen to make an ad hominem attack on the Catholic Church. In their opinion, the only explanation for the court’s ruling is papist fanaticism. Yes, these justices are Catholic. Yes, their actions are consistent with Catholic teaching. But their actions are not exclusively Catholic. Wesley J. Smith is a prominent writer for pro-life causes who is not Catholic. This is an issue of human rights, not an issue of loyalty to Rome.
I do hope that Catholics are not cowed by this spewing of the label “Catholic” as if it were an insult. Perhaps it would be good to reread a portion of this morning’s Mass reading from the Acts of the Apostles:
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.