Wow ! I seem to have started something with the last post . . . but I have to be honest and say that I'm not sure I do claim to know God's will on this issue : all I’m trying to do is to say that I know what God’s will has been perceived as being for at least most of the history of the Church, and that as humanity’s perception of what is right and wrong in this particular issue has changed drastically in the comparatively recent past, and as most of Christianity seems to have changed in the wake of that ‘development’, I am now confused, and seeking to make sense of it in the light of the Church’s understanding of God’s purposes and teaching.
At the same time I’m slightly concerned by the criticisms of me, as they appear to be based on various misconceptions - mainly of me, but also to some extent of the Campaign.
Let me make it clear : I am not supporting the Campaign with the intention of inherently criticising the women who go to the abortion depot outside which the Vigil is being held; or even the decisions they have made. which have led to them going there. My criticism – such as it is – is restricted to the way the world’s thinking has ‘developed’ over the last half-century or so, so as to suggest (in effect) that abortion is a trivial issue which hardly need be thought about; that it can almost be viewed as a legitimate option to contraception; and that in any event, it’s entirely the woman's choice.
As a result of that viewpoint - which is a well established one - I have to say that Irim's comment that ‘No woman does it for a good time’ is demonstrably inaccurate.
I freely accept that for some – even many – women seeking abortions, it is the most traumatic, difficult, and even heartbreaking decision they will ever make : but sadly it cannot be denied that many women nowadays use abortion simply as an alternative to contraception, which is ultimately merely the last stage of a laissez-faire attitude to sexual licence . . .
In any case, though, my post was not discussing the issue of abortion per se; rather, the question I was trying to consider - on an academic level, if you like - was whether one can legitimately claim to be both Catholic and ‘pro-choice’ . . . which is sadly not quite what, it appears, my critics have construed my remarks as doing.
As a matter of hard fact - and as many ladies of various ages, including some of my dearest and closest female friends, can confirm - I have infinite compassion and support for those who are considering abortion out of difficulty or fear (those who are not in such circumstances simply do it, and don’t discuss it anyway); and I have given a great deal of support over the years to women who have chosen to have abortions in such circumstances. I may never have encouraged them to follow that path; but I have always offered them both practical and spiritual support and care, and unending sympathy . . . not infrequently a good deal more than they got from the man whose child they felt obliged to destroy . . . and I have certainly never been found guilty of criticising, still less condemning, them – that’s not my job, nor my inclination.
Apart from anything else, I have come to recognize that, if I was female, it’s infinitely possible that - whatever I may believe as a man - I might in certain circumstances come to the conclusion that an abortion was the ‘only way’ for me; and follow it . . . so I don’t actually feel that I can criticize women who do that.
My commitment to the Pro-Life movement is fundamentally a criticism of the changes in thought which have led people to see sexuality as a purely recreational activity, and coping with the physical consequences of that activity as simply a necessary - but unimportant - result : it’s certainly not – ever – a criticism of women who find themselves having to cope with the consequences.
And my interest isn’t in ‘being right’; not least because I have myself been wrong in such matters in the past : it’s in the Church's obligation to try to work out what it’s proper position is, so that it can continue to fulfil its responsibility to God to preach and teach His truth in the world . . . which is why I ultimately have to repeat the question, albeit in slightly modified terms : ‘Is the ‘pro-choice’ position one which is compatible with God’s wishes as held and taught by the Catholic Church ?’