What Life Is More Valuable: A Fetus or An Old Person: The Catholic Church’s Right To Life Dilemma

Crux Now has summarized a recent telephone conversation between Trump and about 600 Catholic Church leaders including the New York City Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Boston Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chair of the USCCB committee of Catholic Education,and others. After reading that I pose the question which is the headline of this post.

Trump in a fifteen minute opening speech described himself as “the best president in the history of the church.”The article notes: “the president’s most frequented theme in his opening remarks was that of his commitment to pro-life cause, saying that it has “been at a level that no other president has seen before, according to everybody.”” He told how he was the first president to address the annual March for Life and how he opposed funding for NGOs that provide abortion related services. Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested the Democratic Party’s support for abortion rights should disqualify that party from any Catholic votes: “If you want to see your values reflected in policy, there’s really no choice. You have to not only vote the Republican Party, but you have to help get them elected.”

His remarks were challenged by others. Heidi Schlumpf of the National Catholic Register said:  “Church teaching says that we need to have a consistent ethic of life, where we look at all human life as valuable. That’s why we see this cozying up with one party over a specific issue — admittedly an important issue for many Catholics — as problematic.”

Abortion is an important issue for many Catholics. But the Catholic church also is opposed to the death penalty – which unfortunately many Catholics seem to ignore. Trump is for it. He would restart federal executions after a 16-year break and attempted to schedule five executions. Is the life of a fetus more important than a condemned prisoner?

Surely some will point to the death row inmate as having committed an outrageous act and had been afforded a fair trial but the Church doesn’t see it that way. Those pro-life people are “pro-life except” people when it comes down to it.

But it is worse than that. As I noted yesterday, Trump has initiated the Herd Immunity policy in every aspect but name. All agree this will result in many more deaths that otherwise would have occurred had the United States stayed with the mitigation policy. How do the pro-life people square this with their stance? How do the 600 or so Catholic leaders sit comfortably with this?

It seems to me that too many Catholics believe Christ’s mission to earth was for the sole purpose of protecting the lives of the unborn, although I don’t recall that He specifically referred to that. Beyond that they seem to believe He had nothing else to say. Perhaps a little trip back through the Sermon on the Mount will make people recognize how little of his teachings are really followed.

Protecting life is important. Is it more important to protect the lives of the unborn or those that are born? Is it that those that are born lose their right to protection as they age? Some seem comforted that Covid-19 if allowed to take its course without too much intervention will bring about more deaths in people over sixty or seventy than younger people. Are these people less valuable than the unborn?

Trump’s position is he is pro-life in the sense he is against abortion therefore the Catholics should vote for him despite all else. Cardinal Dolan who suggested he is in ongoing contact with Trump praised him to such an extent during the telephone call it was described by the National Catholic Reporter as “cringe-worthy.”  Dolan would say on Fox news (where else) “It was sure good to have the president with us yesterday. I really salute his leadership.”

The American Catholic Church leadership, as if it doesn’t have enough problems, is foolishly lining up behind a man who represents just about everything the Church says it opposes. If these leaders think Jesus’s mission was solely about abortion then it is understandable but is that the rock upon which they hope to maintain their church?


14 thoughts on “What Life Is More Valuable: A Fetus or An Old Person: The Catholic Church’s Right To Life Dilemma

  1. I remember, if my memory serves me correctly, and it often doesn’t these days, and it often hasn’t throughout my life . . .I remember Matt said he wanted Adam Schiff to be president.

    Any second thoughts?

  2. Now who is relying the Adolf allusion to buttress the argument? Do you paint the soldier with the same brush when he kills captured enemies because they are inconvenient? The words are cruel to the extreme and should not be bandied about lightly.

    1. No, that would be an unjust killing, killing captured soldiers.

  3. Matt, another reason I thank you for posting these issues is that I can plug one of my books, self-published around 2001, which no one reads: ONE LIFE: HOW THE U.S. SUPREME COURT DELIBERATELY DISTORTED THE HISTORY, SCIENCE AND LAW OF ABORTION.

  4. What political party and what political philosophy supports euthanasia and assisted suicide? The Democrats and the liberals. What party supports abortion, even late term abortion? Pope John Paul 2 called abortion an unspeakable crime and warned against the culture of death. The Democrats embrace the culture of death. 2. Were the Nuremberg trials and the Tokyo trials justified? The death penalty was deserved for mass murder and war crimes involving millions. Compare the few death penalty cases for the most horrendous crimes against the slaughter of millions of innocent children. Even a liberal could do that math. 3.Does Biden supports open borders? He has vowed to deport no one unless they commit a felony in the U S. An MS13 murderer from Salvador would not be deported according to Jo as long as the crime was committed in his home country. Come one. Come all. Free health care to illegals. Sounds like open borders. 4. The best tax plan recently put forth was by Sen. Paul. A 15% business tax and a 10% income tax. Eliminate the payroll tax. If Walmart grosses 400 billion they would pay 60 billion in business tax. One could file their tax return on a post card. A family in NH with 60 thousand income would pay 6 grand. Bob Kraft who grosses 500 million a year would pay 75 million. The tax code would be fair.

    1. “If Walmart grosses 400 billion they would pay 60 billion in business tax.”

      If Walmart’s cost of goods sold and overhead costs (facilities maintenance, utilities, salaries, etc,) is $375 billion then earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization would be $25 billion. Paying $60 billion in taxes would result in a net loss of $35 billion. How long would you expect them to sustain business with those results?

      A more appropriate taxation policy would be 15% of the $25 billion yielding $3.75 billion in taxes and a net for Walmart of $21.25 billion, or 5.3% of the $400 billion sales if the costs of interest, depreciation and amortization are zero, which they are not.


      1. I agree: but the idea of putting all taxes on a postage card and eliminating the IRS bureaucrats, the tax accountants, the tax lawyers, tax court, would be a huge savings to all Americans.
        Simplify, but make everyone pay a fair share. How about that for a fair slogan or fair approach?

    2. What would the Liar-in-Chief pay? Oh, nobody knows. What can we ever rely on from this man? Now we have the faithful Trumpites receiving theological guidance from the most despicable, bully around. Enjoy his guidance. You deserve it.

      1. Thank you, we do think he is a great president. We think the main liars are the Main Stream Media and the leftist liberal Dems, like the Hillarians who hatefully depict half of President Trump’s conservative, moderate Patriotic supporters as “deplorables.”

        The good thing about these lockdowns is that you can get up and four in the morning and not worry about it. Naps are great.

        Different opinions is what makes America great.

  5. Matt, another slanted article. But you raise good issues. Pro-life folks, like myself, value every human life from conception to natural death.

    The beauty of a liberal arts education at Boston College in the 1960s, was that you were required to take both a philosophy and theology cause every semester for four years for a total of sixteen courses in theology and philosophy, all of which covered directly and indirectly ETHICS. That was in addition to four other course you took in hour major and electives and required general courses (history, literature, language (Latin for me) music (Dr. Peloquin) American History (Dr, Tom O’Connor; and all the great science courses, most memorably Embryology in 65, and histology in 67. And I dated Evelyn C., the superstar of stage and coffee-house-type venues, who was an early incarnation of Joan Baez, and who had the lead role in Little Mary Sunshine . . .what an introduction to the THEATER ARTS! ME AND CAHILL SAW HER PERFORM AT JORDAN HALL WHEN WE ALL WERE COLLEGE AGE . . . WE ALL FELL IN LOVE.

    St. Augustine (who prayed, “Give me chastity and give me self-restraint, but not just yet” . . .he had his wild days, too) expounded the Just War Concept: You can kill in a just war; for Self Defense or the Defense of Others, or Defense of Society or Defense of YOur country against an invader, a threat. Extrapolating: you can even kill an innocent in self-defense: a mentally-challenged boy is walking towards you and your family with a live hand grenade in his hand and is about to unwittingly pull the pin: you fire your pistol and take his life. Ethically Justifiable Homicide.

    Most pro-life folks are against the death penalty, except when necessary for self-defense or defense of your neighbors. A killer who kills guards or other inmates. A killer/rapist who has escaped and may escape again.

    But look what you are doing: SMEARING ALL PRO-LIFE SUPPORTERS who oppose the unjust killing of human beings in the womb, to the tune of over ONE MILLION such killings of innocents per years, because you “reason” it is the same as supporting capital punishment of justly convicted killers, who get executed perhaps once or twice a year in some American States.

    I’d say your ethical arguments are a little skewered, if not screwy.

    And so, as we both understand, soldiers may ethically kill in in just wars, policemen may ethically kill armed threats, in rare cases, a physician “pulls the plug” on a terminally ill, near death patient; and in rare cases, an abortion is ethically justified where it is not possible to save both lives (ectopic pregnancies, cancer of uterus, excessive hemorrhaging, even, I would argue, a ten or twelve year old girl who is pregnant (raped) because continuing the pregnancy may kill her.

    Having worked in the medical-public-health-areas all my life (in the latter 25 as an environmental toxicologist, then for 20 years as an environmental lawyer) I recognize Society’s right to self-defense, while I condemn the killing of unborn human beings in the womb of healthy women. It is not as the Feminists chant: “Keep your hands off my body”. It is the body of another human being that grows inside a woman’s womb.

    The odds of you being you, is trillions of trillions to one. In other words, when the chromosomes of the male combine with the chromosomes of the female to create a new life, those 46 new chromosomes have been before nor ever will again be united in that way. A unique individual human being is formed: Zygote, Morula, Blastocyst implants in uterine wall; the embryonic stage begins at one week with implantation; the fetal stage after six weeks of the embryonic stage, and already a heart beat is detected.

    Even in twins (twinning occurs within a week or so as the morula, blastocyst travels down the fallopian tube) (I’ll double check if it occurs later; I don’t think so; because twins have separate umbilical cords, but I’ll double check) but even with twins, from the very first moment of twinning and throughout pregnancy (intra-uterine development) the interplay of genes and environment (external (e.g. music) and internal (e.g. the flood of chemicals; the combining of neurons, etcetera) create subtle differences in twins which seem genetically (DNA) identical.

    So, we pro-life people, in the Catholic Church, in the Christian Churches, in Orthodox and other Jewish denominations, in the Muslim and other faiths, respect all human life as Albert Schweitzer urge REVERENCE FOR LIFE, for all life, human, animal, plant, because LIFE ITSELF IS A MIRACLE, which like human consciousness or the Big Bang, no one truly fully understands. It’s a mystery.

    Hutch told of a Father Billy Scanlon who when told that scientists were creating life in the laboratory said, “Get your own dirt.”

    The Scientists did not create carbon atoms, nitrogen atoms, oxygen, zinc, muck, mire, nor the spark that turned inanimate stuff to living stuff; the scientists did not create gluons and photons and quarks.

    Einstein said Everything is a Miracle, or nothing is a miracle. He was in awe. We all should be in awe of life.

    No pro-life person can justify voting Joe Biden who favors abortion, unfettered. There are good solid pro-life Democrats like Steve Lynch, and before him Bill Bulger, Joe Moakley, Paul White, to name a few.

    Stop killing innocent human beings in the womb.

    Donald Trump and Mike Pence are ardent advocates of pro-life positions and recognize the few exceptions (just war; terminally ill, near death patient) that warrant killing.

    1. Do you forgive Bonespurs for the many abortions he caused in his formative years? I do.

    2. According to many biblical scholars, the Bible says “Thou shall not murder”, not “Thou shall not kill”.

      1. Hutch, I’ve read that, too, because we know they butchered animals and sacrificed animals and we know Scripture is full of tales of just wars in ancient times, and David slew Goliath type stories.

        However, liberals say if it is LEGAL, like Roe v. Wade, like in Germany it was legal to kill handicapped, gypsies, jews (the Holocaust) slavs, like in the Wild West it once was “legal” to hunt and kill American Indians (men, women and children: I’ve read such a law, lawfully enacted) then it is not murder.

        Scripture, including the command to not kill and the command to not murder, means to not unjustly kill. A woman who kills the child (embryo/fetus is a just a stage in a human life, as is newborn, neonate) she is carrying (Scripture oftentimes uses the phrase, She was with child, . . .so a woman who kills or consents to the killing of her unborn child (unless in self-defense, strictly construed; a threat to her very life (excessive bleeding) from continuing the pregnancy or a threat of grievous bodily injury (stroke, spreading cancer, etc.) is killing unjustly, immorally,egregiously evilly. There is no moral justification of killing an innocent human being who threatens no one’s life.

        That is what Scripture meant, whether it is defined as killing or murder, UNJUST KILLINGS.

        Simply because a High Court in the United States or in Nazi Germany authorizes some killings of innocent human beings, does not ipso facto make those killings ethical.

        We do know people who favor killing of the elderly when they become “a burden”. Those are unethical, immoral killings, as are far more than 95% of abortions as I’ve studied the matter and estimate.

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