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Defense of human life not just a “religious” mission, says Argentinean bishop

.- Bishop Oscar Sarlinga of Zarate-Campana in Argentina said this week that in the debate on abortion the position of those who defend life cannot be characterized as “religious,” saying such a mission is the task of all of humanity.

Commenting on the controversy sparked by two handicapped rape victims who obtained abortions in Argentina, Bishop Sarlinga offered several observations to the faithful.  “What happened to these suffering individuals who deserve all of our empathy and compassion, has strongly re-ignited, so to speak, the issue of abortion in public opinion, not in regards now to rape, but in general, and with an eye towards its possible legalization,” he warned.

He noted that his observations were not just founded upon Catholic teaching and morality, but also on common sense.  The bishop pointed out that “all those who believe in the right to life and the dignity of the human person” are obliged, in conscience, to act accordingly.

A negative view of abortion can be grounded upon Christianity or other religions, he continued, or even upon the perspective of a non-believer on the basis of humanistic philosophy.  The difference is that “the Christian faith gives us a special light to see that the defense of life is essential.”

The opinions of Catholics are often dismissed for being simply religious, Bishop Sarlinga said, when “the issue we’re dealing with here is profoundly human and anthropological.”

“No one would say that the commandments against stealing and murder (which originate in Judaism and Christianity) belong strictly to the sphere of religion, and that therefore only believers should not kill or steal and everyone else should be allowed to do so,” the bishop maintained.

He noted that science has provided much information about the unborn, “not to mention studies on DNA,” and that the media has failed to adequately inform the public about the fact that an unborn child has its own unique genetic characteristics completely unique from those of the mother.

“Science shows that a newly conceived human being is the same one who will later become a baby, a child, a young person, an adult and an old man.  It would be good if the public were informed of such a fundamental fact by the media, through articles, statements and opinions of expert scientists in the field,” Bishop Sarlinga said.

“The right to life is a true cornerstone in the path of mankind’s moral progress,” he continued.  “It is a fundamental right that comes from the dignity that is proper to each human being.”  

He also pointed out that “the experience of the countries that have legalized abortion clearly shows that legalization does not help” reduce abortions but rather “leads to a considerable increase” in the number of cases.  This is due in part, the bishop said, to the fact that people often believe that whatever is legal is moral.

Christians, he said, should humbly yet firmly continue promoting the value of human life and the message of the Gospel, in order to “penetrate the very heart of the culture of our times.”


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April 19, 2014

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