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Welcome to Working to Beat Hell - your source for tools to help you in the quest to beat Hell!

A bit about the name:
We live in a world of division. We see the world as consisting of Us and Them. This occurs on many levels ranging from politics (Republican - Democrat), to sports, and yes it has even invaded our faith life (Catholic - Protestant, liberal - conservative). These divisions often lead us to view the "other" group as our enemy. But the Council of Trent reminds us, our real enemy is the devil or Satan. Thus, rather than working to beat the Republicans or Democrats, the liberals or the conservatives, we should be Working to Beat Hell.

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Abortion, Freedom and Truth
Fr. Brian Carpenter

This week marks a very sad anniversary in American History, the anniversary of the decision by the United States Supreme Court that effectively legalized and expanded abortion. Since this decision was issued, we have seen the dire consequences of this decision. Millions of innocent people lost their lives as a result of abortion. Even more serious is that many souls have been placed in jeopardy due to the hardening of hearts created by this decision. This hardening of hearts can be seen in the rhetoric used to justify abortion. Originally it was seen as a regrettable decision. Now it is seen as a matter of civil rights and basic healthcare for women.

Sadly, this attitude has even invaded the Catholic Church. Many Catholics have become indifferent towards the problem of abortion, or worse, supportive of legalized abortion. In fact, several studies claim that people who identify themselves as Catholic are statistically no different from the rest of the society when it comes to views on abortion Ė a very sad situation indeed.

The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. Christian writers from the first-century author of the Didache to Pope Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life") have maintained that the Christian way of life forbids abortion, just as it forbids murder. In fact, abortion is considered so serious that the penalty associated with procuring or assisting in the procurement of an abortion is excommunication (CIC 1398).

The reason for such a serious penalty is that abortion is a grave offense against human life and human freedom. Sacred Scripture informs us that human life is sacred, having been created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). This is a sanctity greater than that bestowed upon any other creature (including the angels). Abortion offends this sanctity by treating human life as disposable.

Furthermore, abortion also offends human freedom. Here we must note that freedom is often misunderstood. Many people think that freedom is the ability to impose their own will upon their life and decisions. But true freedom is not the ability to conform the world, or even my life, to my own desires. Rather, freedom is the ability to live in accord with the Truth (cf. John 8:32). When we are caught in error, we are not truly free. This is true in any situation. When people lived under the erroneous notion that the three elements were earth, wind and fire, for example, they did not possess the freedom to truly explore, understand and cultivate the world around them. Similarly, when we make choices that separate us from God, we are not using our free will. We are abusing it. We are being blinded by the power of sin. Far from being liberated to reach our full potential, we are being enslaved and held back from achieving true greatness. For we can only achieve greatness when we live in accordance with God, in who lies all that is good, beautiful and true.

Abortion is not a right, nor is it an exercise of freedom. It is a deprivation of the good, as it deprives life to a human person. Science informs us that a baby in the womb (or zygote and or fetus) is not a tissue mass. Nor is it a tumor. It has DNA that is human, but is also distinct from the DNA of the mother. Furthermore, it is alive. Therefore it is a unique human life. As such, it possesses the dignity that belongs to all human persons, a fact that is not altered by legal decrees or cultural opinion. To deny this fact is to deny the very revelation of God.

It is therefore important for all those who truly believe in Godís revelation that humanity is made in His image and likeness (Jews and Christians alike) to defend their faith. If we want people to be free we must point them to the truth. The truth is not something created by human beings (such as laws, court decisions or even polls), but is that which is revealed by God Himself. Because God is the author of truth, and because living in accord with the truth will truly set humanity free, we must live in accord with what God has revealed to be true. And if we believe that all people have a right to be free, then not only must we live by the truth, but we must preach the truth to others, so that they too can live in freedom.

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Brian Carpenter is a priest of the Diocese of Rochester, NY. Fr. Brian Carpenter. Rev. Brian Carpenter.


© 2013 Brian Carpenter
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