Aparecida 467-468: Consistent Ethic Of Life

The church in many places is strong in preaching a consistent ethic of life, as it does here:

467. Today we stand before new challenges that call us to be the voice of the voiceless. The child growing in its mother’s womb and people who are in their declining years are a claim for dignified life that cries out to heaven and that cannot but make us shudder. The liberalization and routinization of abortion practices are abominable crimes, just as are euthanasia, genetic and embryonic manipulation, unethical medical testing, capital punishment, and so many other ways of assaulting the dignity and life of the human being. If we want to maintain a solid and inviolable basis for human rights, we absolutely must recognize that human life must always be defended from the very moment of conception. Otherwise, the circumstances and conveniences of the powerful will always find excuses for abusing persons.(Cf. Evangelium Vitae)

The citation is St John Paul II’s 1995 papal encyclical. Not only is there the cited danger of creeping disrespect when the unborn are assaulted, but we also have the serious problem of a credible witness. In other words, a lack of respect for any stage of life opens the person to questions when issues close to the heart are engaged. The Aparecida bishops criticize the motives of profit and efficiency. A sad litany follows:

468. Aspirations for life, peace, fraternity and happiness do not find a response in the midst of the idols of profit and efficacy, insensitivity to the suffering of others, attacks on life in the womb, infant mortality, deterioration of some hospitals, and all the modalities of violence against children, youth, men and women. This underscores the importance of the struggle for the life, dignity, and integrity of the human person. The fundamental defense of the dignity of these values begins in the family.

I suspect the bishops are spot on here. Without respect for life in the family–including watchfulness over the small petty acts of violence and dishonor that stain our homes–respect for life outside the home may well be questionable. To be clear: we are not seeking perfect families, but loved ones prepared to ask and receive forgiveness for offenses.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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