· Vatican City ·

A sad day

 A sad day  ING-016
19 April 2024

Thursday, 11 April, was a sad day for Europe and its institutions. Sanctioning that abortion, i.e. the deliberate killing of the most defenseless of human beings — please don’t call it “appendix” or “little piece of meat” — can be transformed into a fundamental human right says a lot about the ethical drift underway. As recently as last Monday, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration approved by Pope Francis regarding the “infinite dignity” of every human being and a non-exhaustive list of the violations to which this dignity is subjected today. One of these violations is abortion.

“‘[W]e need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. [...] [P]rocured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.’ Unborn children are, thus, ‘the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays, efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this.’ It must, therefore, be stated with all force and clarity, even in our time, that ‘this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development’” (Dignitas Infinita, 47).

We know that for the Parliament’s decision to come into force, a unanimous ratification by the 27 eu -member countries is required, and unanimity in this field will be difficult to achieve. However, the message remains: a silent, tired Europe, incapable of expressing one voice on diplomatic initiatives to stem the ongoing war and the abyss towards which the world is heading at an ever faster pace, incapable of taking responsibility as a community for the plight of migrants and to help them, preventing the Mediterranean from continuing to be a cemetery, has shown that it has among its priorities that of consecrating as a fundamental European right a possibility which, moreover, the majority of eu member countries already allow in their respective legislations, namely the killing of women and men in the initial phase of their existence.

Just Thursday, while the European Parliament was preparing to vote on abortion, Pope Francis, in his address to the plenary of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, spoke about today’s throwaway culture, which becomes a culture of death affecting the the weakest. “Every human being,” he said, “has the right to live with dignity and to develop integrally: ‘Even if they are unproductive, or were born with or develop limitations, this does not detract from their great dignity as human persons, a dignity based not on circumstances but on the intrinsic worth of their being. Unless this basic principle is upheld, there will be no future either for fraternity or for the survival of humanity’ (Fratelli Tutti, 107)”.

By Andrea Tornielli