AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


Reply to Fr Frank Brennan (letter)

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - May 2000AD2000 May 2000 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference - Michael Gilchrist
Australian Catholic University student survey - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
How do we know whether a sacrament is valid or not? - Fr Peter Joseph
The priesthood: John Paul II's Holy Thursday Letter sets guidelines - Pope John Paul II
What are the foundations of a good Catholic education? - Dr. John J. Haldane
Understanding the Incarnation - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Books: Francis Thompson: author of 'The Hound of Heaven' - Michael Daniel
How the future John Paul II saved a Jewish girl's life - Zenit News Service
Letters: Women's report: a reply (letter) - Dr Marie McDonald
Letters: Nothing to do? (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: More on Adelaide (letter) - Margret E. Mills
Letters: Women in the Church (letter) - Marie Kennedy
Letters: 'Day of Pardon' (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Reply to Fr Frank Brennan (letter) - Richard Egan
Letters: God's love (letter) - Justin Ford
Letters: EWTN visit (letter) - Mike Keating
Letters: Mixed marriages (letter) - John Schmidt
Letters: Archbishop Pell defended (letter) - Fr Kevin Ryan
Letters: Year of the Lord (letter) - Fr Chrysostom Alexander
Books: 'Three Inns of Everlasting Happiness' by Fr Fabian Duggan - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: 'The Wisdom of Adrian Fortescue' ed. Michael Davies - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: 'The Legacy of Pope John Paul II' ed. Geoffrey Gneuhs - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: 'The Ever-Illuminating Wisdom of St Thomas Aquinas' by Peter Kreeft et al - Tracey Rowland (reviewer)
Reflection: Mary's divine motherhood: central to God's plan of salvation - Sr Mary Augustine Lane OP

Fr Frank Brennan (April AD2000) holds that, in Catholic teaching, abortion is not the moral equivalent of murder and that in a pluralist democracy, it is wrong to have a law prohibiting all abortions. He is wrong on both points.

Pope John Paul II insists (Evangelium Vitae 58) that we call abortion by its "proper name." He cites Isaiah about "calling evil good", then states: "The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognise that we are dealing with murder." Furthermore, the "one eliminated" is "innocent, weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting on the poignant power of a newborn baby's cries and tears."

The Pope (EV 68) considers abortion and the civil law: "It is claimed that civil law cannot demand that all citizens should live according to moral standards higher than what all citizens themselves acknowledge and share. Hence the law should ... recognise that they have ... the right even to abortion ... The question is also raised whether supporting a law, which in practice cannot be enforced, would not ultimately undermine the authority of all laws."

The Pope rejects this view: "While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which - were it prohibited - would cause more serious harm, it can never presume to legitimise as a right of individuals ... an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life." Consequently, "A civil law authorising abortion ... ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law."

Fr Brennan's attempt to enlist Professor Mary Anne Glendon to support his view also fails. Glendon is a signatory to the 1996 declaration, The America We Seek, which says (par 14) "Our goal is simply stated: we seek an America in which every unborn child is protected in law." The declaration (par 23) supports a constitutional amendment to extend the right to life to all unborn children. The quote Fr Brennan uses from Glendon's 1987 work does not support his position that a law proscribing all abortion is wrong. Glendon merely argues that as a step towards such a goal laws which prohibit some abortions can be useful.

Finally, Fr Brennan's rhetoric about gaoling "70,000 women" misfires. When abortion laws in Western Australia were enforced, only abortionists were ever imprisoned. Women were given immunity as Crown witnesses.

Perth, WA

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 13 No 4 (May 2000), p. 15

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004