The recent abortion laws

There has been a good deal of outrage recently about the very liberalized abortion laws which were passed in New York and Virginia, permitting the child to be murdered even as it is in the process of being born. In Virginia the governor said that, even if the child survived the abortion, the parents and the abortionist “would have a discussion,” implying very clearly that if the parents did not want the child, the abortionist would kill it.

I do not understand the outrage, since all of the logic for performing the heinous crime has been with us since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. In fact, it has been with us since the legalization of artificial contraception.

The Catholic doctrine is that sexual intercourse has a single purpose, which is the procreation of a human being. Notice that the word is procreation and not creation, since the prefix pro means that the parents are accomplishing the creation of a child for God. This means that the parents are given a role in the production of a human being, in which they provide the flesh, whereas God provides the immortal soul. The result is a human being, who has, on the one hand, a body, like that of the animals, but on the other hand, an immaterial and immortal soul, like the angels. This soul is what makes human beings different from animals, possessing as it does an intellect and will. These faculties enable the soul to know immaterial things, and to freely choose to do good things. Animals choose their good things by being programmed by God through instinct, and their choices are not free.

Hence the Catholic doctrine sees the child as primarily and essentially the work of God the Creator, and as something which is rightfully God’s. The parents have a merely vicarious role in the order of creation, permitted as they are to provide the material part of the child. Consequently, the entire reproductive process is under God’s direct control, and must be ordered according to God’s law, which is the natural law.

God the Creator has attached pleasure to the reproductive act in order that human beings be motivated to propagate the human race. The pleasure is therefore something entirely subject to the use of sexual activity according to the rules of nature.

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, said that the parents act “as ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence.”

Listen to the same pope in the same encyclical:

Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

To sum up: (1) Sexual intercourse is is essentially ordered to reproduction; (2) the pleasure associated with it is essentially ordered to reproduction, and exists only to promote reproduction; (3) the entire reproductive act, from conception to birth, is completely under the control of God, and must be carried out in accordance with the natural law; (4) the child, from conception to birth, is God’s child primarily, and continues to be God’s child forever; (5) The parents have a merely vicarious role in the creation of a child inasmuch as God permits them to partake in His creative process; (6) it is therefore the role of the parents to conceive according to nature, and to protect the unborn child until birth, and thereafter to rear the child both in regard to his or her spiritual needs and temporal needs.

The atheistic/materialistic/secularistic/evolutionistic view is the complete opposite. Human beings are essentially animals, having evolved from gorillas or gorilla-like animals. They have no immaterial or immortal souls. Their intellects and free wills are functions of their material brains. There is no judgment after death, no reward for virtue, and no punishment for moral depravity. Like animals, human beings exist to have pleasure, and the most pleasurable thing is sex. Reproduction is a side effect of the pleasurable sex act. The conception and bearing of children is completely under the control of the woman, who bears a child as a part of her own body. It is entirely her possession and she makes all the decisions concerning its conception, and its survival after conception.

So it is evident that contraception is at bottom the cause of abortion. If reproduction is entirely under the control of the woman, and if we are merely animals, then what is the harm in terminating the life of the child, either through contraception or by abortion? Why should there be any limit on the time of abortion? Indeed, what stops a mother, in this macabre logic, from ordering the death of her child even when it has exited the womb, and has become physically independent from her? How would it differ from putting a litter of unwanted puppies to death?

The only reason why some are horrified by these new abortion laws in New York and Virginia is that a late term abortion seems more grotesque and monstrous. The steely liberal logic, however, puts its blessing upon it.

An interesting discovery

On November 24th, Fox News carried an article which says that scientists in the U.S. and Switzerland have discovered that “all humans alive today are the offspring of a common father and mother.”

“Mark Stoeckle at Rockefeller University and David Thaler at the University of Basel” the article said, “reached this striking conclusion after analyzing the DNA ‘bar codes’ of five million animals from 100,000 different species. The bar codes are snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells – so-called mitochondrial DNA, which mothers pass down from generation to generation.”

They added that the evidence shows that this original couple existed a mere 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, which is a very short time, apparently, in the evolutionary clock. They attribute this “Adam and Eve” phenomenon to some catastrophic event in which everyone perished except these two people.

They also concluded that about 90% of all animal species alive today descend from the same parents giving birth at roughly the same time.

What evolutionists expect us to believe. This finding, if accurate, means either (1) that two gorillas graduated from gorilla-hood into humanity at exactly the same time and in exactly the same place, so close in time and place that they were able to reproduce, or (2) that after some horrific catastrophic event, these two individuals managed to survive, alone on the entire planet, in exactly the same place.

Already evolution has required that we believe that none of the life forms on this planet was either designed or created by anyone, but that they all came from a body of water that was struck by lightning and/or cosmic rays. Gradually they made their way up the evolutionary ladder, after billions of years, and this through a series of mutations which are caused by radiation and cosmic rays. The whole earth, therefore, including all that inhabits it, is the result not of design, but chance.

Those who hold to evolution ridicule the account in Genesis about the creation and fall of man. Too fantastic to believe. Yet they are not abashed to require of us to believe in the infinitesimally tiny chance of the earth’s evolving, together with its living contents, by hazard and mutation. It is an act of faith which is too absurd for me to make.

Does it not make much more sense, even apart from religion, to say that the structure of the human body, for example, which is so astonishing in its complexity, efficiency, and beauty of engineering, was in fact designed by a very intelligent being? Would we not say this about the Golden Gate Bridge

In fact, the design of all plant and animal life cries out for this same designer.

The finding, as well, shows that 90% of all animal species on earth “come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than a quarter-million years ago,” as the article said.

Evolution would demand that each one of the innumerable species of animals existing today — when we think of the insects, for example — all at the same time and in exactly the same place found mates and reproduced successfully so as to make a separate species. This supposedly happened after a catastrophic event that wiped out everything except these animal couples who managed to survive and reproduce.

So in addition to the leap of faith we must make to accept that the order and design of animal life happened by chance, against virtually infinite odds, we are now required to add onto this evolutionary Credo the fact that 90% of animal species were wiped out by some unknown and mysterious calamity, but that, by chance, these animal species survived and reproduced because the last male and female happened to find each other and fall in love.

This is incredibly absurd.

Why evolution makes no sense. Common sense, what in philosophy we call the first principles of reason, knows that from nothing, nothing comes. It is impossible, in other words, that being come from nothing. This same common sense tells us that the cause of anything must have a perfection more than the effect has it. For example, a young pine tree cannot reproduce itself, since it does not yet have the perfection of its nature. When it achieves maturity, it is able to produce pine cones and reproduce the species. So the nature of pine must be more perfect in the mature tree than in the seedling which it reproduces. This is true of all living things. Reproduction occurs when the nature achieves perfection. In children, for example, the nature is not yet perfect, and unable, therefore, to reproduce. In old age, the nature is declining and unable to reproduce. (1)

Evolution requires that something higher come from something lower. The gorilla becomes a man. They attribute this to mutations caused by cosmic rays. While it is true that accidental mutations may occur within a species (change in color, for example), it is impossible that a higher species evolve from a lower one, since this would mean that something more is produced from something less, or that something comes from nothing.

Constancy. Evolution, furthermore, cannot explain the constancy of the order of nature. Chance is something that comes and goes. It cannot produce a constant order. In fact, the very word chance is not even intelligible except by comparing it to order. That “something happen by chance” can only be understood in comparison to what happens by ordinary causation. For example, we might say that someone by chance found a buried treasure when he was digging in his yard. “Chance” here is only meaningful when we consider that in 99.9% of cases, you do not find a buried treasure when you plant your roses.

Constancy demands a cause, a constant cause.

Eternal matter? Evolution, in rejecting the Creator, requires that matter be eternal. For from nothing, nothing comes. They reject as absurd the idea of a God who is Subsistent Being, eternal, infinite, without beginning or end. Yet in their system they must posit a matter which is eternal, which had no beginning, which existed from all eternity. If the Supreme Being with no beginning is absurd, then why is not eternal matter absurd? Or shall we say that one day matter just “poofed” into existence, the so-called “Big Bang?” But common sense objects: From nothing, nothing comes.

Intelligent design. Quite a few prominent atheistic scientists have come to assert something called intelligent design. They feel comfortable in this assertion since — they think — it preserves their atheism but at the same time preserves them from the absurdities which I have described.

Intelligent design, however is a logical rocket ship which goes straight up to an Infinite Supreme Being, who has no beginning and no end, and who is Subsistent Being itself. For the obvious question is: Who designed the designer? This question is relentless in its demands. Nor can it be satisfied by saying there is an infinite series of designers. For again from nothing, nothing comes. An infinite number of falling dominoes, for example, does not explain their movement. Someone had to push the first domino.

In other words, the existence of our finite world, which can so easily perish, requires the existence of a Being who is Being itself, Being by His very nature, who can never lose being, and who always possessed it, and who therefore had no beginning and will have no end.

(1) It is for this reason that sexual attraction — which is ordered to reproduction — increases as the perfection of the nature increases, and decreases as the perfection of the nature decreases. People in their old age are not as attractive as they were in their youth.

Answers to a College Student, Part I

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Earlier this spring I received a letter from a college student who told me that he had been raised in a “very liberal Catholic Church” and at present he was an agnostic. He felt, however, a certain urge within himself to seek some answers concerning the Christian faith, as he put it. Here are his questions and my answers to them.

Question 1. Perhaps the biggest problem I have with Christianity and all religions is something I call “the size of the universe problem.” This problem is the fact that the universe is so infinitely large and expansive, it is very hard for me to believe that one earthly religion out of thousands is the correct one. Plus, how can one religion that sprang up on a four billion year old rock floating in a thirteen billion year old universe be correct? How do you recognize the earth’s insignificance in the universe, and how can one faith manage to stand out? Continue reading