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The purpose of my â€œCatholic Workerâ€? digests is to try to provide a mostly objective abstract of its content in hopes of bringing its strain of Catholic thought to greater secular attention. As such, I merely describe articles in the digest. The mere inclusion of an article does not imply endorsement. National Review fans probably don't agree with every single article in every issue, and I don't pretend to agree with every article in every issue of the Catholic Worker.
However from time to time, I will highlight specific articles I think are really well worth reading and that you should try to find a copy of, even if that means Interlibrary Loan. My first such article is the article â€œLife and all its fullnessâ€? by Jane Sammon appeared in the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of the Catholic Worker.
The article is divided into two parts â€“ a reprint of an article from the Jan/Feb 1983 Catholic Worker, followed by reflections on the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Together they represent an excellent defense of the â€œseamless garmentâ€? thread of the pro-life movement; the one I find authentic. The basic idea of the â€œseamless garmentâ€? approach to pro-life issues is that human life is sacred from womb to tomb. There is no appropriate time for us as human beings to take up the life and death power of God to take sentient life. As Jane Sammon puts it so well:
â€œAnd yet, it would be simplistic to think that people having intercourse are doing so in order to end a pregnancy later. The whole way of life now encourages a cavalier attitude about our behaviors. Just look at the lust with which war is carried out. Listen to the word â€œterminate,â€? which is used to both in describing abortion's goal and the killing of 'the enemy.' We have bought the entire package of this culture of death which the Pope speaks so robustly about. The Pope's criticism has been used by some of the most highly regaled warriors in our own country to describe the mores of those who support abortion, euthanasia, and doctor-assisted suicide. The same warriors defend the arms build-up, war and capital punishment. One could call this partial pro-life ethics.
So frequently the most authoritative voices against abortion pit its horrors against the horrors of wars, concluding that yes, you can be a faithful Catholic and support a just war, but you can never support abortion since the intended target of war is not the innocent, while the act of abortion only aims its death blows at the innocent. Some go on to point out that war is unfortunately always going to claim the lives of noncombatants, no matter how careful and precise the warriors are. Yet there seems little discussion about the possibility of â€œjust warâ€? in this era, despite all sorts of evidence to the contrary.â€?