Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Politics and the devil: Living as Catholics in an age of unbelief

Excerpts from a magnificent talk at Notre Dame University by HIS GRACE CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. Archbishop of Dencer,

University of Notre Dame Right to Life lecture series (April 8, 2011)

...A theme we've heard from many of our cultural leaders over the past few years – at least when they're not battling over the economy or health care – goes like this. America needs to return science to its "rightful place" in public life. And of course, who can argue with that? Science does an enormous amount of good. Obviously science should have its rightful place alongside every other important human endeavor. But one thing that this theme often means, in practice, is that we need to spend a lot more money on research. Especially the controversial kind. And while we're at it, we should stop asking so many annoying ethical questions, so that science can get on with its vital work….

God and the devil, are very real – and that history is the stage where that struggle is played out, both in our personal choices and in our public actions; where human souls choose their sides and create their futures….

f course, working to end abortion doesn't absolve us from our obligations to the poor. It doesn't excuse us from our duties to the disabled, the elderly and immigrants. In fact, it demands from us a much stronger commitment to materially support women who find themselves in a difficult pregnancy.

All of these obligations are vital. God will hold us accountable if we ignore them. But none of these other duties can obscure the fact that no human rights are secure if the right to life is not. Unfortunately, abortion is no longer the only major bioethical threat to that right in our culture. In fact, the right to life has never, at any time in the past, faced the range of challenges it faces right now, and will face throughout your lifetimes. Physician-assisted suicide, cloning, brain-computer interface (BCI) research, genetic screening of unwanted fetuses, genetic engineering of preferred physical and intellectual traits, cross-species experimentation and developments in neuroscience – these things already raise serious questions about the definition of "human nature" and the protection of human dignity in the years ahead....

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