Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy, has blasted the nation’s bishops for opposing the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Mrs. Townsend is the first cousin of Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), whom Bishop Thomas Tobin has publicly called to repentance and conversion for supporting abortion.
“There are millions of pro-abortion rights Catholics who understand that women faced with unintended pregnancies or complications in wanted pregnancies have to make difficult, complex decisions for themselves and their families,” Mrs. Townsend writes. “They do not make the decision to have an abortion lightly and without weighing all of their options. They must retain the ability to make this decision and the ability to access the care they need, whatever their choice may be. That means they must have access to health insurance that covers abortion care-- just as millions of Americans must have access to affordable health insurance and health care.”
Straining credulity, Mrs. Townsend’s concluding paragraph leads readers to believe that the Vatican would support health care legislation that would fund abortions. “I want Catholic bishops to heed the Vatican’s call for charity and justice for all, not just for the wealthy and well connected,” she writes.
Straining credulity, indeed. Does Mrs. Townsend honestly believe that when the Vatican talks about "truth and justice" they are using secret code for "we support governments paying for poor womens (or anyone elses) abortions"? This in spite of the fact of crystal clear, unambiguous Vatican teaching that abortion is an intrinsically evil in any and all circumstances?
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (to quote only one source):
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. ( Didache 2,2:SCh 248,148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19,5:PG 2 777; Ad Diognetum 5,6:PG 2,1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9:PL 1,319-320.)
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. ( GS 51 § 3.)
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
Maybe -- just maybe -- Mrs. Townsend is broadly interpreting the very general term "truth and justice" as what she wants it to mean, i.e., in a manner that is politically expedient to her wrapped in the mantle of compassion. I mean, who could argue with anything in the name of these two great virtues? If Mrs. Townsend were a properly catechicized Catholic with a well formed conscience (i.e., a conscience that is fully formed and guided by the teachings of the Church), she would argue against herself. In that case, it is hoped the better formed and better informed version of her would prevail. A lot of innocent lives could potentially be saved in the process.