By Judie Brown
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the virtue of temperance “moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.” Without it, tragedy cannot be averted, as we will illustrate here.
For example, one Texan is disgusted with abortion and abortion pills, which caused the death of his preborn child. Marcus Silva filed a wrongful death and conspiracy lawsuit against three women who he alleges helped his ex-wife ingest the abortion pill in order to kill his preborn child.
According to the Texas heartbeat law, private citizens are allowed “to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion—including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing.”
In this scenario, the expectant mother and her friends exhibited two deadly characteristics. The first is that they failed to see that this mother, who was with child, actually represented two individuals for whom true friends should have felt love. Rather, they assisted in the killing of one person at the behest of another. The second characteristic is, of course, a total lack of temperance. Instead of welcoming this innocent child, her mother chose to kill her with the help of others.
In a much more publicized case of intemperate behavior this past week, actress Jane Fonda suggested that women will murder to protect the killing of babies by acts of abortion. While Fonda later said her comments were in jest, one really has to wonder why an 85-year-old woman would joke about murder in any circumstance. But then again, her words are the perfect example of the intemperate attitudes of those who gain attention from the public by dabbling in outrage.
But perhaps the worst example of intemperance this week came from comedian Chris Rock. During his latest Netflix comedy special he said, “A lot of people say, ‘Chris, you shouldn’t talk about abortion. It’s a women’s issue. I’m like, ‘Hey! I’ve paid for more abortions than any woman in this room. . . . When I go to the clinic, I say, ‘Give me the usual.’ When I go in, they give me a punch card. ‘Here you go.’ Two more, and I get a free smoothie. Mango!”
In each of these reports, we find the same thread of loathing toward the innocent, not to mention the depravity that comes with being more concerned about ridding oneself of a baby than unselfishly loving another, especially when it is inconvenient!
In 1978, St. John Paul II spoke of temperance, saying:
A temperate man is one who is master of himself. One in whom passions do not prevail over reason, will, and even the “heart.” A man who can control himself! If this is so, we can easily realize what a fundamental and radical value the virtue of temperance has. It is even indispensable, in order that man may be fully a man. It is enough to look at some one who, carried away by his passions, becomes a “victim” of them—renouncing of his own accord the use of reason (such as, for example, an alcoholic, a drug addict)—to see clearly that “to be a man” means respecting one’s own dignity, and therefore, among other things, letting oneself be guided by the virtue of temperance.
As we reflect on these words of our late Holy Father, let us recommit to defending the voiceless because, as detailed here, intemperance leads to death.