Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Word of the Day: Ardent

Ardent, which means a feeling a warmth typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity, in the Latin present participle means to burn. I prefer the visual of a steady, consistent burn when I think of ardent.

I am an ardent fan of a few things, which I do not need to go into, but I can honestly tell you that those things which I am ardent in are steadfastly practiced and given large amounts of time and energy.

In Nancy Pelosi's words (on Meet the Press on Sunday), she is an ardent Catholic and confident that the Catholic Church has been unable to determine when a fetus becomes viable. Well, that set off a firestorm from real ardent Catholics. Here is a letter from Archbishop Chaput from Northern Colorado. In it he very eloquently lays out the case for why abortion has ALWAYS been against church doctrine, no matter what state of animation the fetus was in. As an ardent Catholic, wouldn't you have thought Pelosi would know that?

I recommend reading this open letter. It's not very long but it gives some very helpful doctrinal insight on abortion. My favorite line from the letter is taken from Jesuit John Connery's Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977), in which he says,
"Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion."
As to the separation of Church from State:
Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or "ensouled." But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.

Of course, we now know with biological certainty exactly when human life begins. Thus, today's religious alibis for abortion and a so-called "right to choose" are nothing more than that - alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the "separation of Church and state" does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it's always important to know what our faith actually teaches.
How can an ardent Catholic not know where the Church stands on this issue? Apparently Pelosi (and Joe Biden, another ardent Catholic, fyi) do not hold with the Catholic Church on abortion. At the very least she should have said, "I know what the Catholic Church has been teaching for over two thousand years, and I disagree for political expediency." Just kidding on the last part. She would never admit to being pro-choice for political expediency.

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