Sense of Life. Articles in English. You Shall Not Kill!.
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You Shall Not Kill!

June 2008 saw the playing out of a tragic drama in Poland. With extraordinary determination and cunning recourse to lies and deception, the staff of polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Newsweek, backed by pro-abortion media, organizations in Poland and abroad, got their way and brought about a monstrous crime: the murder of a child in the womb of fourteen-year-old Agatha.

There is no doubt that this entire media circus was orchestrated with the intention of undermining the currently existing law protecting human life in the Polish Republic. Here we must cite from Servant of God John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium vitae: “We are faced with an objective ‘conspiracy against life,’ involving international organizations engaged in promoting and actively campaigning for unlimited access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion” (17).

The innocent blood of this murdered child stains the conscience of a great many people who, by their direct action, unspoken assent or apathy, contributed to this crime. Most disconcerting is the attitude of all those who, counting themselves as practicing Catholics, cooperated in various ways in the killing of this unborn child. Those who are party to such repugnant crimes commit “a particularly grave sin” (Evangelium vitae, 55) and thereby deliberately exclude themselves from the community of the Church; that is, they incur an automatic sentence of excommunication (latae sententiae) (Code of Canon Law, 1398).

Once again we must take pains to remind all Catholics of the teaching of the Universal Church regarding the sin of abortion. In his encyclical Evangelium vitae, Pope John Paul II solemnly declared this teaching to be a truth of the Faith, that is, a formal dogma of the Church: “Therefore, by the authority that Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and deliberate killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church, and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium….The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end” (57).

“[In the case of abortion] the one killed is a human being at the earliest stages of life. One could not imagine anyone more innocent. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor. The unborn child is weak and defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal and most poignant form of defence: the newborn baby’s cries and tears” EV, 58).

“Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, be it a fetus, or an embryo, or an infant, or an adult, or an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or one on the point of dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for themselves or for another entrusted to their care; nor can they consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Neither can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action” (EV, 57).

“Among all the crimes against life, procured abortion bears characteristics that render it particularly grave and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council calls abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime” (EV, 58).

Again John Paul II reminds us: “To claim the right to abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute a perverse and evil dimension to freedom: that of absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) (EV, 20).

John Paul II warns: “The moral conscience of today, both individual and social, is prone — this also owing to the media’s pervasive influence — to the gravest and deadliest of dangers: that of confusing good with evil precisely in relation to the fundamental right to life. Sadly, a large section of our society today looks very much like the one Paul describes in his Letter to the Romans. It is composed ‘of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth’ (1:18): having denied God and believing that they can build the earthly city without Him, ‘they become vain in their thinking’ so that ‘their senseless minds are darkened’ (1:21); ‘claiming to be wise, they become fools’ (1:22), carrying out works deserving of death, and ‘they not only do them but approve those who practice them’ (1:32). When conscience, the bright lamp of the soul (cf. Matthew 6:22-23), calls ‘evil good and good evil’ (Isaiah 5:20), it is well down the path to degradation and the  darkest moral blindness” (EV, 24).

John Paul II appeals to us: “We are facing a superhuman, dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’ We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict. We are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable duty of defending life without compromise” (EV, 28).

Fr. Mieczysław Piotrowski SChr

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in May 2016.

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