National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

The Gospel Of Life

BY Jim Cosgrove

February 14-20, 1999 Issue | Posted 2/14/99 at 2:00 PM

 

InEvangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II often speaks about how the perception of the seriousness of abortion is becoming progressively camouflaged.

(See story by Molly Mulqueen)

Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. (58.1)

The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime.”[54]

But today, in many people's consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behavior and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy,” which tends to hide abortion's true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.(58.2)