Abortion, the U.S. Constitution, and Vatican II Catholicism

Legislators celebrate the passing of New York's so-called "Reproductive Health Act"

Legislators celebrate the passing of New York’s so-called “Reproductive Health Act”

In an Op-Ed written for the NY Times, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lashed out at President Donald Trump for his “diatribe” against abortion during the State of the Union Address on February 5th. For those who may have missed it, Cuomo is referring to such offensive presidential proclamations as:

Let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

In response to this and other claims that were made that night, Cuomo declared:

As a Roman Catholic, I am intimately familiar with the strongly held views of the church. Still, I do not believe that religious values should drive political positions.

Before taking a closer look at Cuomo’s arguments, we must first set the record straight:

The issue at hand is not, properly speaking, about “religious values.” That is to say, the rightness or wrongness of abortion is not made known to individual persons primarily by way of their particular religious beliefs and traditions.

Rather, whether or not the willful destruction of a human fetus is good, or evil, is an objective truth accessible to all by way of the Natural Law; a set of moral laws that are inscribed in the very nature of every human being, and which are discernible by the use of reason – irrespective of any religious beliefs or the lack thereof. We’ll return to the Natural Law momentarily.

Indeed, it is true that the various religions espouse a certain view concerning the matter of abortion; some very strongly as in the case of the Catholic Church, others not so much.

For example, Judaism – in spite of the position taken by the overwhelming majority of today’s self-identified Jews – considers abortion to be murder (see HERE). Islamic tradition is less clear; holding that the fetus is ensouled only after four months gestation. Hindu tradition states that life begins at seven months, while Mormon belief is that human life begins at some undefined moment during pregnancy. In other words, the religions of the world are all over the map on the topic.

It is precisely this disparity of thought that impels Andrew Cuomo to slyly frame the abortion debate in terms of competing “religious values,” and we must admit that this is an especially brilliant strategy inasmuch as it is perfectly suited for an American audience.

The reason this is so? Religious liberty such as it is understood according to the U.S. Constitution. On this note, Cuomo stated:

Thanks to the nation’s founders, no elected official is empowered to make personal religious beliefs the law of the land. My oath of office is to the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of New York — not to the Catholic Church. My religion cannot demand favoritism as I execute my public duties.

Here, Cuomo is partially correct. First, let’s first consider where he is in error:

If by “my religion” he is referring to the Catholic Church, of course the Church can require its members to adhere to, and act in accordance with, certain fundamental precepts in order to remain in communion. This applies to the execution of duties and other activities that are both public and private.

Even in the absence of a hierarchical authoritative structure such as one finds in the Catholic Church, this is true of all religions. For example, one cannot credibly claim to be a Buddhist apart from embracing, and at least attempting to act according to, Buddhist philosophy. More absurd still is the idea that one may publicly oppose its precepts and yet somehow still remain a Buddhist.

In other words, certain fundamental demands necessarily accompany membership in every religion. In truth, the Governor has it exactly backwards inasmuch as he himself does not possess the authority to demand autonomy in dictating what can, and cannot be, required by any religion; other than, perhaps, Cuomoism.

Beyond this, he makes a valid point. Not only does the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbid civil authorities to make laws “respecting an establishment of religion,” it effectively discourages those in authority from distinguishing between those religious beliefs and values that are rooted in truth (i.e., those that are congruent with, and in some way illuminate, the Natural Law; thus aiding legislators in the crafting of civil laws that serve the common good) and those that are false (i.e., those that are at odds with the Natural Law, calling evil “good” and good “evil;” thus making for civil laws that undermine the common good).

In fact, according to the American form of governance, the distinction between good and evil, moral and immoral, right and wrong, etc. is not what drives lawmaking; rather, it is (at least theoretically if not in actual practice thanks to fraud and other nefarious activities) the will of “We the People.”

Therefore, if Cuomo is able to successfully deceive his fellow citizens into believing that the abortion debate is but a battle of “religious values” – in these United States, a nation that holds all things religious on equal footing – then those who are both anti-abortion and pro-religious liberty will be forced to begrudgingly admit that he, as lawmaker, has every right (civilly speaking) to legislate as he has.

This creates a real dilemma for pro-life conservative God Bless America patriots who tend to speak of the U.S. Constitution as if it were divinely inspired. In reality, it is a highly flawed document that actually set the stage for the Republic’s eventual collapse into moral degradation. [See HERE.]

It is thanks in some measure to the Constitution’s influence that there is a collective subjectivism to be found among peoples formed almost exclusively in the American way – a “to each his own” attitude that manifests itself most notably in the widespread reluctance of U.S. citizens to acknowledge the existence of objective religious truth and, more so still, its harmful counterpart objective religious error.

It is for this reason that Andrew Cuomo serves his agenda very well by deceptively casting the abortion debate in terms of “religious values” as doing so threatens to place the issue squarely within the realm of the subjective in the minds of Americans who feel very much at home there.

But guess what? Cuomo isn’t just playing the U.S. Constitution card here. Whether he realizes it or not, he’s also playing the Vatican II card; i.e., he is attempting to exploit the religious subjectivism that preoccupies the minds of “Vatican II Catholics” who tend to speak of the Council as if it were divinely inspired.

If one accepts that the abortion debate constitutes a tug-of-war between opposing religious views, the Church of Vatican II – which also treats the religious pluralism enshrined in the U.S. Constitution as sacrosanct – simply doesn’t have the answer, and inasmuch as the Governor is pleased to tout his “Catholicism,” it’s part of the problem.

Dolan and CuomoFor all of the conservative Catholic handwringing of over Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s role in this ghastly affair, his unwillingness to formally excommunicate Cuomo actually makes perfect sense. The fact of the matter is that he and the New York Governor are very much compadres in the Church of Modernist Rome; they deserve one another, and what’s more, the Church of Vatican II deserves them as well.

What Cuomo truly merits (and has already chosen for himself) is excommunication from Holy Mother Church, but let’s be honest – this is a Church of which he and Dolan are not, and presumably never have been, members. As for their church, it decreed in the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitats Humanae:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. (cf Dignitatis Humanae– 2)

Let’s apply this proposition to the present discussion: If the abortion debate is indeed a battle of religious values, then how can Cuomo be expected to govern according to his “Catholic” views, thereby coercing a sizable number of the citizens of his state, by force of law, to act in a manner contrary to their own beliefs?

The Second Vatican Council, far from teaching that objective truth must be the standard by which peoples are rightly governed according to constitutional law, states:

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right. (ibid.)

In other words, the Council is insisting that the law of the land treat the one true faith as if it is a mere equal to the false religions; without regard for any religion’s particular standing with respect to the Natural Law. Worse still, the Council pulled no punches in prioritizing unbound human liberty over and against objective truth itself, which authentic Catholics recognize to be the person of Jesus Christ:

[The right to religious freedom] continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it. (ibid.)

Translation: Liberty reigns over truth! At this, one may reasonably ask, But what about the Council’s statement ‘within due limits’?

To which, please allow me to pose another, far more important, question: Who gets to decide what those “due limits” are?

According to the Council’s treatment of “the constitutional law whereby society is governed,” it certainly isn’t the Holy Roman Catholic Church; it is the religiously ambivalent State – the same that the Council urges to give equal license to both truth and error!

The root of the problem lies in the fact that both the U.S. Constitution and the Second Vatican Council fail to recognize the indispensable role played by objective truth in right governance and the creation of a just society. Neither one acknowledges – indeed, they deliberately ignore – the fullest expression of truth ever given to mankind by God; namely, Truth incarnate, Christ the King, who by right has Sovereign authority over “all things in Heaven and on earth” (cf Matthew 28:18); including rulers of State.

If the abortion debate is not strictly about competing “religious values,” then how can we fault the likes of Cardinal Dolan and other bishops for presenting purely political arguments against it?

At this, we return to the Natural Law. While the abortion issue is not merely about “religious values,” rulers of State cannot simply wash their hands of their religious responsibility:

So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope… (cf Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei– 6)

There must be room given in all public policy debate for whatever insights religious values may have to offer in the making of just civil laws, but with one very important qualification: only those that are grounded in truth can make a genuine contribution to the common good.

It is the voice of Christ the King alone, speaking through the Holy Catholic Church (to the extent that her churchmen historically have, and are presently willing), that in all cases perfectly illuminates the dictates of the Natural Law to which every human being – be that person Catholic or Jew, heathen or atheist, ruler or subject – is beholden.

His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ. Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. (cf Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas– 18)

Does the Natural Law argument against abortion need to be made?

Indeed it does, especially for the benefit of those outside the Church, but the solemn duty of our churchmen is to illuminate the Natural Law, making its requirements more explicit by preaching the Divine Law and its Author – He who is “the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world” (John 1:9), with the understanding that doing so renders an indispensable service both to those who govern and those who are governed.

As Pope Leo XIII further taught in the Encyclical Immortale Dei, separating the Church from the State, as if the former has no role in instructing the latter, is a recipe for disharmony:

In matters of mixed jurisdiction, it is in the highest degree consonant to nature, as also to the designs of God, that so far from one of the powers [Church] separating itself from the other [State], or still less coming into conflict with it, complete harmony, such as is suited to the end for which each power exists, should be preserved between them. (Immortale Dei– 35)

Laws concerning the killing of the unborn are just such matters of mixed jurisdiction. It is for this reason that today’s “Successors to the Apostles” – men who are obligated to “teach the nations everything whatsoever that Jesus commanded” (cf Mt. 28:16-20) – get no pass whatsoever for failing to preach Christ and His Kingship in the face of those who promote the evil of abortion; preferring instead to offer earthbound political speeches that are practically devoid of any reference to Almighty God.

Even so, one can clearly see why these men behave as they do – they have not the Catholic faith, but rather the conciliar faith; i.e., it is the Council’s influence on modern day prelates that leads them to speak and act as if society is best served only when the Church is separated from the State – the exact opposite of authentic Catholic doctrine.

With all of this having been said, let’s return to Cuomo’s Op-Ed. He states:

Contrary to what its detractors claim, the Reproductive Health Act does not allow abortions minutes before birth, nor does it allow third-trimester abortions “for any reason.”Third-trimester procedures are extremely rare, making up only about 1 percent of all abortions.The option is available for exactly the reason stated in Roe and successor cases: to protect the life or health of the woman.

We do well to turn this around by asking the question: Does the RHA prohibit abortions minutes before birth, or at any point during pregnancy for that matter? The answer is no, it does not.

Admittedly, however, “for any reason” is a bit of hyperbole, though certainly not far from the truth. The RHA does indeed make abortion legal at any point, including “minutes before birth,” under the solitary condition that a woman’s life or health is threatened.

And what is the legal standard for defining a threat to a woman’s health?

In Doe v. Bolton (1973), the ruling to which was issued along with Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court provided that the legal definition of a threat to a woman’s life or health includes “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient.”

Of these “health” factors, one stands out as especially vague; familial. What could this possibly mean? Stay tuned…

According to the legal standard established in Doe v. Bolton – the one presently in force and fully applicable to the RHA, as Andrew Cuomo most certainly knows – New York State has effectively legalized abortion-on-demand up to the very point of birth for practically any reason; e.g., I’m emotionally overwhelmed because [fill in the blank].

Cuomo went on to say:

Third-trimester procedures are extremely rare, making up only about 1 percent of all abortions.The option is available for exactly the reason stated in Roe and successor cases: to protect the life or health of the woman.

This is more obfuscation. First of all, the historical rarity of the procedure up to this point in time is utterly irrelevant. In fact, one may rightly expect, thanks to New York’s RHA and similar legislation in other states, that it will become less rare moving forward. In any case, the issue comes down to the question of good vs. evil. The frequency with which these abortions are performed has nothing to do with the value of the law. After all, we wouldn’t want laws that allow people to steal, or sell crack, or commit sexual assault – evils each – provided they do so only on very rare occasion.

As for the “life and health of the mother,” that question, as already stated, was answered very clearly in Doe v. Bolton; emotional stress alone would suffice to allow abortions under the RHA.

Even so, Cuomo disingenuously insists:

Activists on the far right continue to mislead with the ridiculous claim that the act will allow abortions up to a minute before birth. 

In this, Cuomo is making his dishonesty perfectly plain as he most certainly knows that the RHA does not place any time constraints on abortion whatsoever; not even up to the point where the mother is in labor. (I use the word “mother” deliberately since the pregnant woman is, in truth, already a mother; in this case, the mother of an unborn child.)

Cuomo continued:

But these objections aren’t about the rare occasion when a woman has an abortion to protect her health or life. 

NB: Here is the abortion industry’s latest fair-haired Democrat politician plainly admitting that the overwhelming majority of the more than half-a-million abortions that are carried out in the U.S. each year are done for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the mother’s life or health.

In spite of this, abortion advocates often delight in regaling whomever will listen with sob stories about terminally ill women who have been forced to reluctantly “terminate” their precious pregnancy because the fickle finger of fate dealt them a bum hand.

For example, on the same day that Andrew Cuomo’s Op-Ed appeared in the NY Times, Cosmopolitan Magazine ran an anti-Trump / pro-abortion piece on their website denouncing the President’s State of the Union remarks. The article was written by a feminist ob-gyn by the name of Jennifer (what’s in a letter?) Conti who said:

I recently saw a 23-weeks-pregnant patient who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just days before. Her husband also had cancer, and despite this being a very wanted pregnancy… 

You know the rest. [HINT: A baby just had to die.] Even if this patient actually existed, which is far less than likely, Cuomo stole all of little Miss Conti’s thunder by stating the inconvenient truth that such cases account for precious few of the abortions that take place in this country.

A woman’s life or health, non-viable fetuses, fatal prenatal diagnoses… All of it, every last bit, has always been a smoke screen designed to obscure the obvious; namely, the disgusting reality that the vast majority of abortions are motivated, not by pressures brought to bear under tragic circumstances, but by little more than unbridled selfishness.

Need proof? Look no further than Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill. On January 30, 2014, the organization published the following Press Release:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America today said it strongly opposes legislation in the House that would impose harmful restrictions on women’s health care and interfere with the doctor/patient relationship. Planned Parenthood urges members to vote no on H.R. 3541. 

And what exactly were the “harmful restrictions” in question? H.R. 3541 was known as “the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” which would have made it illegal to “perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child.”

Planned Parenthood bills itself as a “pro-woman” organization, and yet “strongly opposed” a bill that would outlaw sex-selection abortions that overwhelmingly target unborn females for extermination.

At this, perhaps we have been given a glimpse at one of those familial factors that make for a lawful abortion; We really wanted a boy!

Given all that has been stated, it is clear that only the willfully blind can deny that anything short of unrestricted abortion-on-demand – for any reason whatsoever, no matter how trivial – is the true goal of the entire movement. Its captains and its cooperators are utterly insatiable in their thirst for human blood, and let us not forget, human body parts too.

Cuomo went on:         

This is about the desire of Mr. Trump and allies on the right to outlaw abortion entirely.

Spot on! Indeed, “right” thinking persons most certainly do desire to see abortion outlawed entirely, and for the simple reason that unborn children are, at each and every stage of development, nothing other than the most innocent of human beings. Or, as President Trump stated, thus eliciting an outpouring of diabolical rage from abortion supporters – many of whom are parents and grandparents – All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God.

On this note, one may have noticed that the left has ceased pressing for abortion rights by claiming that the fetus is just a “blob of tissue;” that is, something less than human. Not very long ago, this was their “go to” argument. The reason it has been abandoned is entirely plain as they are now openly advocating for the lawful extermination of perfectly viable fetuses at full gestation, and worse.

In Virginia, for example, the mask has been totally removed; demonstrating exactly where legalized abortion was always heading, and that is the killing of a baby after it is born.

On a radio talk show discussing a bill that was about to come before the State Legislature – one closely resembling New York’s RHA – Democrat Governor Ralph “Black Face” Northam was asked to comment on abortions performed even as the mother “is essentially dilating ready to give birth.”

Northam replied:

When we talk about third trimester abortions these are done with the consent of obviously the mother with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable…

Let’s stop here for just a moment. It is absolutely untrue that “third trimester abortions” necessarily concern “severe deformities” and fetuses that are “non-viable.”

Severe deformities are often detectable well before the third trimester. Furthermore, as discussed previously, the condition of the fetus and its relative viability has no bearing whatsoever on the lawfulness of abortions that are performed due to reasons concerning the mother’s so-called “health” – and this right up to the very moment of birth.

Governor Northam continued:

… so in this particular example if a mother is in labor I can tell you exactly what would happen; the infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

Northam does not even attempt to hide the fact that he is discussing the extermination of an infant human being post-delivery. Folks, this is murder, plain and simple. No more is it possible for any self-proclaimed “good person” to hide behind the “blob of tissue” lie in order to avoid the obvious; abortion is, and always has been, the wanton taking of an innocent human life.

As chilling as it is to see legislators pressing for the lawful murder of fully delivered babies, it comes as no surprise given the horror of partial birth abortion; a gruesome procedure championed by godless liberals that entails delivering a baby breech only as far as its shoulders, and then deliberately killing the infant by thrusting scissors through the back of the neck, into the child’s skull, and piercing its brain – as if mere inches alone constitute the difference between a human being deserving of love and a tumor worthy only of being excised.

Legalized abortion up to X number of weeks for Y reasons has been a diabolical deception from day one. While one may have suspected that its promoters have always understood perfectly well that the child being killed is an innocent human person, now there can be no doubt.

And just as the so-called abortion rights movement has always been leading toward the lawful killing of babies following birth, rest assured that the bloodthirst will not stop there. If an innocent baby just one-hour old can lawfully be killed simply on a more powerful person’s say so, then why not a ten-year old, a forty-year old, or anyone else for that matter?

Indeed, already there is a move in the world of hospice care to hasten death, and not just with respect to the terminally ill, but also including persons suffering with dementia who are otherwise in relative good health; i.e., the terminally inconvenient. (We’ll have more on this in a future article.)

In closing, I will never tire of reminding readers that the answer to every evil presently infecting our society, including the push for so-called abortion rights under the deliberately deceptive misnomer “reproductive health,” is plain:

When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. (Pope Pius XI, 1925, Quas Primas– 19)

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