How to Answer 5 Key Questions About Abortion and the Catholic Church
If you’re a Catholic who supports abortion, I beg you, please repent and go to confession. If you don’t, you put your immortal soul at risk.
Archbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon, was asked some questions about abortion and the Catholic Church. Here are his responses:
Why don’t pro-lifers care about women?
The fact is we do. We care profoundly about women. In fact, the Church is one of the pre-eminent organizations reaching out in various ways to help women.
The Catholic Church has incredible programs. We promote Project Rachel, which is a healing ministry for women and men who have gone through the tragedy of abortion in their own lives. A recent program of the U.S. bishops is walking with moms in need to connect local communities of faith in the Church with women who are finding themselves in a struggle with a pregnancy, whether it’s due to poverty or whether it’s due to other circumstances in their life.
There are literally thousands of pro-life organizations who focus specifically on helping women when they face, what for them is, a crisis pregnancy — and help with the healing that needs to come after one experiences the tragedy of abortion in his or her own life.
With God’s help, we still need to do more, to reach out to people, women and men who find themselves in these terribly complex and troubling situations in their life. The solution to those problems, though, is not murder. The solution to child poverty is not to kill unborn children. That’s not a solution. That’s just a magnification of the problem. What we need to do — in that case — is to address child poverty.
Why do you think abortion is evil?
Well, you know what, it really isn’t about what I think. It’s about what is real and what is true.
The truth is, there are some things that are just objectively true, independent of what I think or what you think. The Church in her wisdom has always taught that abortion is evil. That’s why I believe it. But you don’t need to be a Christian or a person of faith to know this truth, this objective truth — that abortion is evil because, from the very moment of conception, a unique member of the human family has come into existence.
You and I, we all started out just like that. And that’s not religious sentimentality or even a philosophical position. That’s hard science.
Some people would say, “Well, you know, abortion is not a black and white issue.” Well, yes, it is. It’s very clear. It’s an issue of what is right and what is wrong. Why? Because it’s an innocent human child in its most fragile form. The victims of the violence of abortion are the most vulnerable, the most fragile of all victims.
That vulnerable, fragile, precious life really deserves our protection. It deserves my protection. It deserves your protection. And that’s why I lend my voice and use my position as an archbishop in the Church to give voice to those unborn children who have no voice, so their cries will not go unheard.
They need an advocate and I will be their advocate. And I want everyone to be their advocate as well. No more silent cries.
Why is the Church so preoccupied with abortion?
I’ve heard many people say — I’ve had people say to me — “Archbishop, with all of the problems in the world today, and they are legion, why does the Church seem to be so preoccupied, even obsessed with the issue of abortion?”
Well, because this is the most fundamental human rights issue of all. It’s about the basic right to life, the basic right to be allowed to exist. We can’t talk about human rights for human beings who’ve not been allowed to be born. Whatever those rights are, whether it’s economic justice, whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s education, you can’t talk about those rights for people who have not been allowed to come into the world to see the light of day. All these rights presuppose the right to life, the right to exist.
We absolutely excoriate the Nazis — as we should — for the 6 million-plus Jews that were killed during that regime. We decry the millions killed under the regimes of the 20th-century communists. I think most people don’t realize that since Roe v. Wade in 1973, over 63 million unborn children have lost their lives to abortion just here in the United States.
The scale of the evil of abortion is truly a globally, historic tragedy. That’s why this is a priority for the Church: because the Church fights evil.
If abortion is evil, does that mean the proponents of abortion are evil people?
Well, it’s not at all that simple. It’s not my place or any of our place to judge the moral state of a person. But we can judge moral actions. The action of abortion and advocating for abortion is evil. That is an evil act on the part of a human being. It’s true that all of us are capable of evil — that the line between good and evil runs through the human heart — but the act of abortion, the intentional killing of an innocent unborn human child, is always wrong.
So what does this say about those who actively advocate for abortion? Well, I would say they’ve been deceived. They have been deceived and lied to by the enemy, by the devil.
Remember, we’ve been captured. This is part of our story, the Christian story. The enemy has captured us and he is a master liar. And he has deceived sadly many into believing that advocating for abortion is somehow the right thing. The enemy is not the pro-abortion advocate and supporter. The enemy is Satan.
Can a Catholic be pro-abortion?
You know, that’s a pretty fundamental question. Now, if by Catholic you mean someone who’s trying to adhere their life to the teachings of the Catholic Church, then the answer is no. I really wish people who openly advocate for and support the violence of abortion against the unborn child would stop pretending that that is somehow consistent with the teachings of the gospel and the Catholic Church.
It’s like a person who claims to be vegan and then eats meat. It’s incoherent to the point of being meaningless. The truth is, it’s not a deep or a complex idea that one cannot be a good Catholic and at the same time advocate for and support the destruction of innocent human life in the womb through abortion. It’s so basic.
It’s basic common sense that really even a child can understand. Saying I’m Catholic means something, or it should. With the help of God’s grace, we should be seeking to conform our lives to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to his gospel, not trying to reform the gospel to conform to our own way of thinking or our own worldview.
If you’re a Catholic who openly advocates for and supports abortion, then you need to know that the Church is very clear. That is a very grave matter. And I have a real pastoral concern for you. I mean that. I beg you, please repent, go to confession, be reconciled to God. If you don’t, you put your immortal soul at risk.
I beg you. Please don’t do that. Let Jesus change your heart. He can. Jesus changes everything.