Politics and Reverence for Human Beings
Recent rants about the latest Supreme Court nominee and his alleged position on overturning Roe v. Wade have really gotten under my skin. The statements of the pro-aborts are hyperbole at its best, designed to instill fear based on falsehoods. So what are the facts?
To effectively deconstruct Roe v. Wade and its companion decision Doe v. Bolton, it would be necessary for the Court or, for that matter, Congress or a state legislature to first examine the foundations of Roe v. Wade, which are found in the rarely noted but more important 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut.
In this case, the Court created out of thin air a right to privacy as it relates to human relationships. Justice William O. Douglas proclaimed that the right to privacy magically existed in the “penumbras, formed by emanations” found in guarantees within the Bill of Rights.
The Court said: “The Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy which is within the penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights.”
No matter how we define it, the right to privacy was fiction in 1965 and it remains the same today. Yet, sadly, it has become the legal crutch used to open the floodgates to contraception, abortion and other sexual evils of our day.
Is it any wonder, when considering these facts, that for American Catholics the 1968 encyclical letter Humanae Vitae should have been the watershed document that Catholic bishops, priests, deacons and others would use to clear the air and teach the undeniable truth about the dignity of the human being?
As Section 17 of Humanae Vitae teaches, “Limits to man’s power over his own body are imposed with regard to the use of contraception because reverence is due to the whole human person, body and soul.”
It is truth such as this that defines the fundamental reasons why contraception and abortion not only violate God’s law but endanger human beings in many other ways as well. And while pulpits over the years, with a few exceptions, have been silent, the devastation and the killing have escalated.
It goes without saying, then, that the screeching about the latest Supreme Court nomination is so much hot air. Our opponents know what it would take to really get the nation on track to respecting the dignity of the human being. But they can also raise bushels of cash by yelling about their reproductive rights, code words for access to killing babies.
To my mind, it is we, the pro-life majority in America today, who are the ones who are obliged to talk truth, teach truth and remind our fellow Americans of how important Humanae Vitae is to finally putting an end to the scourges of contraception and abortion.
This month, we will mark the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. As Archbishop Samuel Aquila wrote, “While advocates of contraception predicted that divorce rates and abortions would decrease with its use, they skyrocketed. Women have also greatly suffered from objectification, which is found in advertising and movies, but also takes on more extreme forms like pornography and sex trafficking.”
Aquila further underscores the fact that in Catholic parishes and dioceses where Humanae Vitae has been ignored, churches have been emptied because, “as Jesus made clear in the Gospel, apart from him and his life-giving teachings, we cannot bear fruit.”
This is where we must dig in our heels and move forward, helping our fellow Americans see that politics is not going to restore reverence for human beings. Individuals will do this once they hear, understand and embrace truth.