A letter writer in the June 18, 2021 issue, objecting to the bishops’ striving for eucharistic coherence, says that Catholic elected officials, in taking their constitutional oath of office, are “promising to serve all people regardless of faith, in our diverse pluralistic country.”
I can basically accept that premise, but as a Catholic I cannot accept the argument’s implication that preborn children in America fall outside the ambit of that promise to serve all people.
It is true, as the U.S. bishops said in their first response to Roe v. Wade, that the Supreme Court “stated that the unborn child is not a person” within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. But the bishops quoted Pope John XXIII’s encyclical stating that “every human being is a person,” and “has the right to life,” and that governmental measures denying that right “completely lack juridical force.”
The bishops said the Court “apparently failed to understand the scientific evidence clearly showing that the fetus is an individual human being.” They declared the Court’s majority opinion “is wrong and is entirely contrary to the fundamental principles of morality.”
The U.S. Constitution says officials are bound by oath to support “this Constitution.” It does not bar them from lawfully resisting a court’s dishonest and distorted version of the Constitution.
A truly faithful Catholic politician understands that the obligation to serve and protect all people embraces — in the bishops’ words — “the basic truth that the unborn child is a ‘person’ in every sense of the term from the time of conception.”
— Steve Serra, St. Nicholas Church, Laguna Woods