Friday, November 25, 2011

Kill Your Conscience: Pelosi as Elmer Fud


From the Article
Pelosi says [following one's conscience] is akin to having hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion,” she told the Washington Post. [Can you provide us with an example?  Often times, the doctors are trying to address the disease and not abort the child; however, the result of treating the disease may sadly result in the loss of the child.  This is not an abortion.  This is the case with treating an ectopic pregnancy.  I think the real question is why aren't the doctor's and hospitals bold enough to try and save both?  I'd guess they'd rather play to not lose than play to win.] 
“Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but they [Isn't it interesting that she says she is a "devout Catholic" then goes on to call Catholics 'they' as if she is not part of the Catholic Church or as if the others who believe differently from her are not the devout Catholics?  Perhaps a "we" should have been a better pronoun to use.] have this conscience thing” that the Post said Pelosi “insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.”  [Really?  A conscience puts women at risk?  I thought conscience helping by not putting our soul at risk.]
For some strange reason, this brings to mind the old Looney Toons Cartoon where Elmer Fud is out trying to "Kill the Wrabbit" set to the tune of Wagner's Ride of the Valkaries.  Except Pelosi might be singing "Kill your conscience."

So what is the conscience?  Here is a refresher.  
It is often a good maxim not to mind for a time how a thing came to be, but to see what it actually is. To do so in regard to conscience before we take up the history of philosophy in its regard is wise policy, for it will give us some clear doctrine upon which to lay hold, while we travel through a region perplexed by much confusion of thought. The following points are cardinal:
  • The natural conscience is no distinct faculty, but the one intellect of a man inasmuch as it considers right and wrong in conduct, aided meanwhile by a good will, by the use of the emotions, by the practical experience of living, and by all external helps that are to the purpose. [Definition of Conscience]
  • The natural conscience of the Christian is known by him to act not alone, but under the enlightenment and the impulse derived from revelation and grace in a strictly supernatural order. [Don't leave God out of the equation.  You cannot not, from the Catholic perspective, ignore Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium.  All of which say the same thing about life.  It is sacred and precious.  There has been a consistent ethic on the teaching of abortion.  Simply, do not do it.  The Romans were aghast at the early Christians who did not kill their children, their elderly, or their disabled.]
  • As to the order of nature, which does not exist but which might have existed, St. Thomas (I-II:109:3) teaches that both for the knowledge of God and for the knowledge of moral duty, men such as we are would require some assistance from God to make their knowledge sufficiently extensive, clear, constant, effective, and relatively adequate; and especially to put it within reach of those who are much engrossed with the cares of material life. It would be absurd to suppose that in the order of nature God could be debarred from any revelation of Himself, and would leave Himself to be searched for quite irresponsively.  [This is like saying, "Thanks God for life, this beautiful gift you have given me.  However, I'm not going to seek your input on matters pertaining to life."  Which in turn is like not asking your car manufacturer as to why your car is driving funny and making odd noises.]
  • Being a practical thing, conscience depends in large measure for its correctness upon the good use of it and on proper care taken to heed its deliverances, cultivate its powers, and frustrate its enemies. [In other words, we have to work at forming our consciences.  An ill formed conscience results in a skewed viewing of the world.] 
  • Even where due diligence is employed conscience will err sometimes, but its inculpable mistakes will be admitted by God to be not blameworthy. These are so many principles needed to steady us as we tread some of the ways of ethical history, where pitfalls are many. 

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