Communion Conundrum Catholic Bishops vs Joe Biden (Right to be Born)
RIGHT TO BE BORN ???
I am a champion of human rights… the rights the Declaration of Independence refers to as “Self Evident Truths.” I therefore, champion the “right to be born,” but not because I am the back-row Catholic that I am. I would like to say that I champion the “right to be born” because the “right to be born” naturally proceeds from the Natural Law, and from the “instinct of survival” we humans share with all forms of life. But, even claiming that the “right to be born” is based on the Natural law is… well… is an absolute contradiction because the law of nature (the Natural Law) does not care one iota whether a Mother and her offspring (human or animal) are devoured by ferocious predators.
As I say, nature itself (from which all “physical” life begets and proceeds) is not right to be born… nor right to life. Repeat, nature itself is not “right to life.” Nature plays its role in giving life, but Nature is not right to life. Nature is “survival of the fittest” where life itself and survival depend upon “dog eat dog” competition with right to life ultimately prevailing only in the strongest and most ferocious dog (cat, lion, tiger, crocodile, elephant, spider, gnat, ant, wasp, bee, Caesar, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, British and American colonizers, Conquistadors, Crusaders, Hitler, Stalin, ISIS, etc.).
The physical survival of every species of life is based upon the rule of natural selection aka “survival of the fittest” known in the animal world as “dog eat dog”… and in the human world as Laissez Faire Capitalism of economic exploitation and domination. As the great historians, Will and Arial said, animals devour each other through the law of the jungle, while humans devour each other through due process of law. As a Robin Hood, Trial Lawyer that I am (and the voice for the poor and downtrodden), I have been involved in many trials (personal injury, commercial, and divorce) where my clients and I have been instrumental in shifting substantial sums of money (the money of survival) from corporate America to the common man and from one spouse to another— an example of what Will and Aerial Durant call… humans devouring one another through due process of law.
I am right to life in all aspects of life, not just the right to be born. But I ask myself… do I have the legal right or moral authority to demand that others must accept my view on the right of a fetus to be born???… especially where we humans don’t even know when life in the womb is truly human life versus the potential for human life. I have no definitive answer (yet) to the question of whether society (through government) can rightfully force their right to be born beliefs on others.
While I remain a work in progress on that aspect of right to life known as the right to be born… two voices are vying for my attention. One voice emphatically whispers that I must protect the right of the fetus to be born, while a second voice whispers that I do not have the legal right, nor the moral authority to tell others they must do as I do, or as I say.
Why ???… that second voice whispering in my ear telling me I do not have the legal right nor the moral authority to tell women “Thou shall not abort”??? Why that second voice??? Because America is not a Theocracy run by religious leaders (like the Middle East theocracies). America is a Democracy that gives us citizens our treasured freedoms… first and foremost of which is the God-given, “self-evident” right of free will to do what we want with our own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Specifically, America is a Democracy where Separation of Church and State is a must to protect our free will, right to self-determination, and to protect us from those who would compel us to “believe” the same “unprovable” beliefs they do, or, in failing to do so… pay the price by being shunned, discriminated against or worse. Think of the history of Christianity and other religions especially the recent history of ISIS, al-Qaida, the Taliban, etc.
No doubt, Separation of Church and State is essential to protect the free will of the “self-evident,” self-determination of our own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness… subject only to the “truism” that my God-given free will and my own, “self-evident” right to self-determination ends… where your nose begins. Therefore, I have a dilemma on the right to be born. No quick answer jumps off the page. I have a dilemma growing out of the collision of the right to be born doctrine (that protects fetuses) with the need to separate Church and State (that protects all of us). As I say, I have no answer at this time or, I’m probably lacking the wisdom to see one (at this time). It may be that good intentioned people from all walks of life are all in this dilemma together… despite the hue and cry from those of sophisticated intellects that judgmentally tell us that their side is definitely right and the other side definitely wrong.
THE BISHOPS vs BIDEN & WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY???
But, changing the debate for a moment, let’s focus on the recent actions of the majority of Catholic Bishops (repeat for emphasis “majority”) who voted to keep the sacrament of Communion from Joe Biden. Not because he runs an abortion clinic, not because his wife or other family member had an abortion, not because he ever counseled someone to have an abortion. The majority of Catholic Bishops who threaten to cut off Joe Biden’s access the sacrament of Communion, did so despite Joe Biden’s right to life beliefs… tempered by his own “belief” that he does not have the legal right nor the moral authority to tell other people of good will they must do it his way. As a believer in “right to life” (including the right to be born)… I strongly believe those Bishops are usurping a power of control they do not (and should not) have… especially where Joe Biden (like me) believes in the right to life (including the right to be born). My short response to the American Bishops. Are you kidding me??? My longer response…
A couple years ago, Catholic-Ireland voters adopted America’s Roe v Wade… by voting for a referendum that repealed the previous “no abortion” law in Ireland. Should the Bishops have excommunicated the lot of them (Irish voting majority), and cut them off from Communion and the rest of the sacraments??? Absolutely not. But, a different answer to that question probably lies in what your view of what Christianity is???
Is Christianity ???…
* The historical message of the rebellious (Champion of the Underdog) Jesus who walked in sandals from Galilee to Jerusalem to preach against the harshness of the patriarchal, religious authorities of his “day and times,” with the “good news” of a new message… the message of love, non moral judgment, forgiveness, acceptance, inclusion, compassion, peace, all the outgrowth of the Jewish Golden Rule???
Or, is Christianity ???…
* A patriarchal, power structure modeled after the Roman Empire, and built on a system of subjective interpretations of Holy Books… eventually, morphing into a power structure of “unprovable” dogma and beliefs that seeks to convert the World to their view of “unprovable” Christian beliefs??? I am not just picking on the Christians. You can substitute Muslim for Christian with the same result (but with no centralized authority… which just increases the chaos of doctrine in the Muslim world). Faith or a belief system must only surface after reason hits a dead end. But, I suspect, most take the mere” unprovable” beliefs of childhood as Gospel… long before reason is exhausted, thereby transferring the power of their own human reasoning to the Patriarchal structure of organized religion.
My answer to the above question is… Christianity is a way of life measured by how you treat your fellow man and fellow woman, including (and especially) the least amongst us (which includes a fetus whose only protection is from those who conceived him or her). The historical Message of Jesus is the message of Catholicism I learned at home, then relearned for eight years with the Dominican Nuns and Father Livius at St. Scholastica Grade School, then reinforced for four more years at Catholic Central High School with the Basilians, then reinforced for another six and a half years with the Jesuits at the University of Detroit, and then reinforced thereafter with a lifetime of large doses of paying attention and using critical analysis and deductive reasoning… as far as those intellectual pursuits could take me.
The Catholic Church (and all Christian Churches) who stray from the historical Message of the man walking in sandals do so… at their own risk. The Catholic Church (and all Christian Churches) who insist on elevating the “unprovable” dogma/belief system over the Message of the man in sandals, do so at the risk of turning their religion into a “cult.” That’s why I am a Jesuit Catholic, also greatly influenced (as I am) by the Basilian priests at Catholic Central (Goodness, Discipline & Knowledge) and by the Jesuit’s adherence to the “primacy” of the Message of Jesus.
The Jesuits (and the Basilians) elevate in importance… the historic Message of the man in sandals above the “unprovable” doctrine of an “unprovable” belief system. The historic Message of Jesus is about serving your fellow man while (many times) the message of the Catholic Bishops is about a serving the patriarchal, power structure of the Roman Catholic Church. Ditto for many other Christian churches and organizations.
As Irish priest, Father Daniel O’Murchu, said in his book Christianity’s Dangerous Memory… the single biggest mistake the Catholic Church ever made was allowing Roman Emperor Constantine to “elevate” Christianity to the official religion of Rome (330 A.D.), making Christianity a power structure that was then (and is now)… a detriment of the Message of the revolutionary Jesus which grew out of the Jewish Golden Rule.
I suspect most Bishops should not be running the Catholic Church. They are too much in touch with the patriarchal, power structure of their own “unprovable” dogma and belief system… and, perhaps, too much out of touch with the Message of Jesus and the needs of the faithful. The voice of the Catholic Nuns carries oh so much more weight with me than the the strident voices of powerful Bishops… like our Detroit Bishop, Allen Vigneron, who (a few years back) took away traditional Sunday, High School sports because he unilaterally thought us Catholics needed more time to pray and less time to gather around our family athletes on Sunday (when our Fathers had a day off to watch us play).
The Catholic Bishops recent action against Joe Biden reminds me of America’s invasion of Afghanistan. Both took on a battle of many casualties and a battle that can’t be won.
Children of the Greatest Generation… 2011
Wealth Power Politics Jesus… 2012
Fightin’ Irish of Detroit, Fightin’ in the Streets, Fightin’ in the Courts… 2017