Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Anti-Person Movement

Sunday morning spirituality:

Occurred to me listening to a beautifully done NPR story on the desire for death from the point of view of a hospice director: the "pro-life" movement in its coherent Roman Catholic form (opposing also death as a punishment for crime, as opposed to the incoherent redneck Protestant version which is only about punishing women) is really an anti-person movement, valuing the abstract property of "life itself" over the concrete living human.

Thus it doesn't just give preference to the fetus, an organism incapable of love or judgment hooked up to a natural feeding tube, over the woman carrying it; but also to the "livingness" of the person over the person him- or herself, regardless of whether it is of value to that person or not. The pro-life movement doesn't care how much you're suffering—it cares about whether God would be insulted by your making the decision for Him.
Boceto para la Muerte de San José. Francisco Goya, ca 1787. Wikipedia.
And it's of a piece with the great exception to the Catholic reverence for life, which is in the conduct of your "just war". Human life must take a back seat to something more abstract still, the lives of states (and states in turn should yield to the greatest corporate entity of the Church, the "mystical body"—i.e., not a real physical body—of Christ).

It's a coherent view, but it's wrong. And creepy. And informed not by charity, caritas, but contempt.

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