In a presentation given at Loyola College in Baltimore, Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, said opposition to intrinsic evils, such as abortion, is non-negotiable for Catholic politicians and all Catholics.
“Catholics in the political arena must recognize that opposition to intrinsic evils, such as abortion, euthanasia, genocide, embryonic stem cell research and same sex unions, is always required by the faithful Catholic,” the bishop wrote in his presentation entitled “The Sanctity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death”. “Because these intrinsic evils are direct attacks on human life and marital dignity, they are non-negotiable for every Catholic.”
Bishop Aquila noted that the dignity of the human person must be the first consideration as all human life issues, including those that do not fall under the Catholic Church’s definition of “intrinsically evil,” are discussed. “Catholics must recognize, too, that in the other human life issues – such as immigration, capital punishment, the economy, healthcare and war – the dignity of the human person must first and foremost be taken into consideration.”
“As Catholics we believe in the dignity of human life. In the book of Genesis we hear how the Creator has created the human being in his image and likeness, male and female, he created them (Genesis 1:26). God blessed the first couple and gave them a command to be fruitful and multiply. They are given the power to share in God’s creation through their sexual intimacy. Life is a gift freely bestowed by the Creator, a good that is to be received. Of all creatures that God has created, only human beings share in his image and likeness and are given the ability to know, receive and return the love of God. The dignity of human life is determined by God and thus is always to be protected,” Aquila stated.
“Our American Declaration of Independence acknowledged that truth when it stated: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Here we have a clear recognition of the right to life which comes from the Creator. The dignity of the human person is bestowed by God from the moment of his or her conception, and not by the government, state or another person. The dignity of the human person is inherent, a part of the nature of every person, from the beginning of his or her life at conception,” Bishop Aquila stressed.
“The dignity of the human person is further expressed in the Ten Commandments, and most especially in the Fifth Commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ Respect for all human beings is enshrined in this commandment. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2268: ‘The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.’”
The presentation was posted to the Diocese of Fargo Web site together with a message commending young people for their involvement in pro-life efforts. Bishop Aquila will celebrate Mass Jan. 18 in Fargo with 21 young people who will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 35th annual March for Life.
In his message, Bishop Aquila applauded the young people participating in the March for Life and those who “stand for life” within their own communities. “It takes great courage and commitment to stand for life in a society that increasingly views children as burdens on parents and communities. That stand for life is even more effective when it is undertaken by young adults, those who have lost countless peers as a result of the legally protected mass murder of unborn children known as ‘abortion’,” the bishop wrote.
This is the 11th year the Diocese of Fargo has coordinated a pilgrimage to the March for Life. The March, to be held Tuesday, January 22, marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which holds that the decision to end the life of (abort) an unborn child is primarily a medical decision, that abortions are permissible for any reason until the unborn child is viable, or able to live outside of the womb, and that, even after viability, abortion must be available to protect a woman’s health.
Bishop Aquila’s presentation can be found at www.fargodiocese.org.