by Fr. Johannes Jacobse -
Why such outrage over the Philadelphia abortionist? What moral difference is there between severing the spinal cord of a newborn with a pair of scissors and dismembering a baby with a scalpel a few moments before its birth? There isn’t any.
Yet the outcry over the brutality indicates that the fiction of viability may be lifting, and not a moment too soon. Viability, the idea that an unborn child has value only when it can live outside the womb, is a concept that the ignorant still believe has scientific credibility. It’s a rhetorical pretense that helps us avoid what we don’t want to see.
The cold hand of the malefactor reveals that the brutality outside the womb occurs inside it too. It’s not so easy to pretend anymore that a difference exists because we see one but not the other. Josef Mengele at least maintained the pretense that he was serving science. This butcher wouldn’t even do that. His staff kept their lunches in the same refrigerator where they stored left-over fetal parts.
Should we be shocked that the abortionist treated the newly born like a piece of pork? Why? How is it any different than how he treats the unborn?
Anyone who equivocates on the value of human life contributes to the horrors we saw in Philadelphia. That’s why the Fathers of the Church used harsh and blunt language against abortion. Defending one innocent life defends all life. Justifying the murder of one, justifies the murder of all.
There is a pastoral requirement to the abortion crisis in America. Many people are confused and make the wrong decisions. The woman who had an abortion often recognizes the consequences of her decision after it is too late. Anyone dealing with a person involved with abortion must exercise exceptional sensitivity and understanding so that the forgiveness and healing of Christ can be experienced. The Fathers teach us this too, mostly by their example.
But this requirement must not be used to blunt the clear teaching that abortion is a grave moral offense; a very serious danger to both mother and child, and to the moral health of the larger culture. Let no Orthodox leader abuse his pastoral responsibility by drowning the gravity of the offense in a rhetorical sea of exaggerated compassion. That man fears the disapproval of his peers. The Fathers were men of courage.
For this reason any equivocation by Orthodox leaders must be met with the strongest objection. The moral tradition is clear. In the defense of life, one who stands on the side of the tradition stands on the side of the Fathers; one who stands on the side of the Fathers stands on the side of Christ.
Do you wonder how people become animals? It starts by treating the weaker people that way. Do not accept equivocation. The cost is too high.