Thursday, July 01, 2004

Cardinal Dulles: Catholic Position on War and Death Penalty Very Different from Abortion

Cardinal Avery Dulles, the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, has pointed out the difference in Catholicism between abortion and issues such as the death penalty and wars.

In an interview with Zenit news service, Cardinal Dulles explained, "The Church recognizes that there are occasions when war and the death penalty are justified, even though such measures are undesirable and should be kept to the necessary minimum . . . Catholics who fully accept the doctrine of the Church can sometimes disagree about whether a given war or death sentence is morally defensible."

However, with regard to abortion, Cardinal Dulles said, "Abortion is in a different class. As the deliberate taking of innocent human life, direct abortion can never be justified. About the moral principle, there can be no debate in the Church. The teaching has been constant and emphatic."

On this point he concluded, "The civil law should not authorize, let alone encourage, such moral evils. It should protect human life and dignity to the maximum degree possible."

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