Friday, November 19, 2010

Tahiti Archbishop Strongly Condemns Abortion

Strong condemnations of abortion in the French-speaking world tend to be rare, even among Catholic clergy. But Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath of Papeete, Tahiti was fairly straightforward in his condemnation of abortion, which he put up on the diocesan website in the advent of the worldwide Vigil for Nascent Human Life (my translation):

Abortion is a very ancient practice, but in our materialist world, we try to trivialize it and make it seem morally acceptable. We proclaim that it is a woman’s right, and, if there does seem to be a guilty party, it’s the physician who refuses to perform abortions for reasons of conscience. This attempt to trivialize abortion ends up pervading people’s minds, and we risk forgetting the gravity that brutally ends a life already begun, even if this life is still in utero.

However, the facts contradict the dishonest declarations, and a significant number of women never get over having undergone an abortion. Their tormented conscience hounds them to the point that some physicians in the United States are specialized in post-abortion syndrome.

The pope therefore invites us to prayer, to pray that our consciences remain vigilant, and that they refuse to be abused by the sophistries of the culture of death, that we have the courage to bear witness to our convictions and defend life. Pray also that the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences and that life is more and more respected.

What strikes me about this statement is the strong language used (much stronger in French) and how straightforward it is and uncompromising.

The statements of those who support abortion are "dishonest declarations."

He's saying: It's BS.

And the reality of many women who undergo the abortion cuts through the BS.

I find that first world condemnations of abortion can be fairly mealy-mouthed for fear of offending the wrong people. Archbishop Coppenrath does not beat around the bush. He does not shrink from calling pro-abortion rhetoric lies.

While I don't think we should abandon measured and diplomatic statements about abortion, I wish bishops would sometimes tell it like it is so that the faithful can hear it like it is. There's less chance of there being any confusion on where the Church stands and what the truth is.