Speaking of bishops not afraid to speak out, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, has again spoken clearly on the subject of pro-abortion Catholics receiving Communion. In the midst of a column about folks converting to the Faith, he discusses the personal commitment of the Catholic to uphold and live the faith in public and private.
For example, the commitment of Faith entails certain beliefs about the Most Holy Eucharist. The Church teaches that the bread consecrated at Mass really and truly becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My attestation of faith confirms that I choose, in response to the grace of Faith, to believe this. Once I make this commitment of faith, my own “I believe”, then it is incumbent upon me to live in a way consistent with that profession of belief. It is radically inconsistent to declare on the one hand that I believe the Eucharist is truly our Lord and at the same time to conclude that I owe no special deference or honor to that Eucharistic Lord. The conclusion belies the declaration. If I truly believe then my actions must be consistent with what I profess to believe. My actions must also defend what I believe.
Bishop Vasa then discusses profanation of the Eucharist and those who would say that he has no right to tell someone else that they are not honoring their commitment to the Catholic faith. “It’s just a choice that person makes,” is what he posits them saying. He then goes into a discussion of good choices, bad choices, and the formation of conscience that warrants quoting in full:
Some months ago a prominent Catholic public person [i.e. Nancy Pelosi], described as faithful to the church, was asked if being pro-choice or pro-abortion was an issue which conflicted with the Catholic Faith. Here is what was said: “To me it isn’t even a question. God has given us a free will. We’re all responsible for our actions. If you don’t want an abortion, you don’t believe in it, then don’t have one. But don’t tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities.” According to a close relative the choice to have an abortion or not to have an abortion had no moral component whatsoever. “They were just choices.”
It seems to me that there are just choices and there are unjust choices. Choices would be the preference for chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream or sherbet instead of ice cream. That is just a choice.
A just choice would be to choose to pay a fair and living wage to employees as opposed to simply meeting the mandatory standard of minimum wage laws. An unjust choice would be to choose to terminate the life of another human being. This is not just a choice and it is not a just choice; it is an unjust choice.
Furthermore it is an unjust choice which is diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church as well as to the clear and consistent teaching of God Himself in the Ten Commandments. The direct, intentional taking of the life of an innocent human being is inhumane and unjust. It is not just a choice!
It is categorically impossible for the same person to state that he or she believes simultaneously both what the Catholic Church teaches and that abortion is just a choice. What we believe must inform what we do.
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