The following is an excerpt from an October 15 column by George Weigel in National Review Online.
Ryan, for his part, correctly said that settled Catholic teaching on abortion is based on science and reason, and he nicely interjected sonograms — undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for the growth of pro-life sentiment in the United States, which is now the majority sentiment in the country — into the discussion.
But there was an opportunity here for a game changer, of the kind that has made Congressman Ryan a welcome new voice on budgetary, regulatory, and entitlement issues.
Imagine this replay of the last question of the vice-presidential debate:
RADDATZ: This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.
(Ms. Raddatz’s jaw drops. The vice president is rendered temporarily speechless. The audience gasps. Congressman Ryan lets his surprising answer sink in a moment and continues.)
Let me explain, Martha. When I say “none,” I’m speaking about abortion, as I assume you were, as a public-policy issue. My opposition to the abortion license that Roe v. Wade created is based on science and reason.
Biology and embryology teach us that the product of human conception is a human being — nothing more, but certainly nothing less. No scientifically literate person denies that; it’s a fact, not an opinion. As for reason, well, an elementary sense of justice — of fairness — teaches us that innocent human life is inviolable and merits the protection of the laws. That’s the same sense of justice that tells us not to discriminate against another because she’s not a he, or because her pigmentation is different from mine, or because his parents came to this country from Belarus ten years ago; it’s the same sense of justice that has made America the most racially egalitarian society in human history. Science and reason have made me a pro-life public official. Science and reason are what the Supreme Court ignored in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The so-called pro-choice position is the unscientific position, and it’s the unreasonable position.
But my faith does shape my thinking on these questions, and let me tell you how. What my faith adds to the mix is a deep sense of compassion and an urgent sense of responsibility for women caught in the dilemma of a crisis pregnancy. My faith teaches me that those women in crisis pregnancies should not be left alone, clinging to some spurious “right.” My faith, and the experience of the pastors of many denominations with whom I’ve discussed this, teach me that the termination of a pregnancy by abortion often multiplies the trauma of unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation, not only to that unborn child, but also to his or her mother.
My faith, which instructs me to honor the dignity of every human person, helps me understand the implications of what science and reason teach me. And one “dignitarian” implication of science and reason is that the pro-life position is the pro-feminist position, because abortion on demand has been a great deal for irresponsible and predatory men — and a very bad deal for women.
And I’m not alone in this, Martha. There are thousands of crisis-pregnancy centers across our country, where women who have been abandoned by those irresponsible or predatory men can find the compassion and care they deserve from people who take the unique dignity of women seriously — people who are eager to help a woman in a crisis pregnancy bring a child to term and then put that child up for adoption, or bring a child to term and then raise it with love in a caring community.
In all the arguing about abortion these past 40 years, the tens of thousands of volunteers who staff those crisis-pregnancy centers are almost never mentioned. But they are real American heroes, offering women in crisis something more — something more humane — than a technological quick fix to a terrible problem.
No woman in America has to face a crisis pregnancy alone. That’s something we should all be proud of. And we should thank God for inspiring men and women across America with the faith to go beyond the obvious facts of science and the obvious dictates of reason in offering compassionate care to women in crisis pregnancies.
It would have been instructive to hear Vice President Biden attempt a response to this. By immediately taking the Catholic-weirdness card out of Martha Raddatz’s hand — and the hands of every pro-choice Catholic pol from sea to shining sea — that kind of response might have radically changed the terms of the abortion debate. Biden would have been unable to dance the Cuomo-Kerry shuffle; nor could he try a Pelosi and suggest that the pro-choice Catholics are the real “social-justice Catholics.”
Such a response would have underscored the grievous errors of both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It would have unveiled the true face of the pro-life movement, after decades of cultural and media distortion, and a new and entirely welcome debate — a who’s-the-real-feminist debate — would have ensued.
To read entire article, click here.
When you said we had two ‘Catholics’ debating……….
Actually, there was only one Catholic…..Ryan is the REAL DEAL!!!!!!
Biden needs many prayers to find his way back to being in
full communion with the Catholic Church.
Biden and his son need prayers.
Brilliant, but it is easy to write and difficult to speak under pressure with the likes of normalcy challenged Bidens and fluster fetished moderators.
Yes JLS you are correct, it is not easy and truly difficult, people forget that.
I’d say that it doesn’t matter what wasn’t said (although it would of been nice though)…it’s what one can put in action which is what matters the most. Lets vote Romney/Ryan and see what the words not said, would be like when they were put into action…they speak louder.
Ryan did pretty well on Abortion. What Mr. Weigle wished for would not have been understood by most listeners/voters. Romney/Ryan is a pretty good ticket for the Culture of Life. The best we can get at this moment in history. Vote!
Weigel writes think pieces. He wrote a really excellent book on now Blessed Pope John Paul II. To understand this type of writing, one has to put a lot into it. It is not meant to entertain critics but to intrigue and educate the faithful.
There was only one Catholic speaking – Paul Ryan.
The other was Catholic HERETIC – Joe Biden.
Joe’s Bishop in Delaware should have made this clear.
First of all the story above did not take the facts of the situtation into consideration.
Moderator Raddatz kept interrupting Ryan (more than 35 times), and did not give him enough time to say everything that someone else might have wanted him to say.
Ryan’s time on each topic was limited.
When writing articles like the above – it would help if it took everything into consideration – like the time limits and interruptions from the moderator.
If Ryan had answered “none” in order to go on with the rest of the answer – besides that Biden would have interrupted him long before he finished – he would have been lying. What I admire most about Congressman Ryan is his honesty. I would have been disappointed.
Perhaps Ryan should have taken a breath and said a short prayer for the right answer. Be that as it may, his answer was pretty good. He DID NOT SAY that he was for exceptions, he is not! He said that those were the policy of the administration, and that administration’s policy is for exceptions.
Romney has come a long way from being openly for abortion to for Life, and Ryan may just be able to nudge him all the way over. Let us pray that that is what happens.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Nothing could make me vote for Romney, but in all fairness, be thankful Ryan didn’t respond in this way. While it sounds pretty and charitable on the surface, it strongly reinforces (if not outright confirms) the pro-choice assertion that Ryan-Republicans are out to control wombs. Even if Biden flubbed and failed to tear him apart over it, the media would have destroyed him in the aftermath . . . pro-choice is the unreasonable position . . . this would have been translated into “women by nature are unreasonable” and therefore cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies. As suggested, the religious undertones are indeed irrelevant.
The fact that many people, both men and women, ARE unreasonable and choose irresponsible and even murderous acts to protect their sense of convenience, normalcy and personal comfort, does not make those who recognize the humanity of the unborn into “womb controllers”. Desperate people do murder every day, that does not constitute a reason to eliminate laws against murder. That would be perverse as well as absurd! How could Mr. Biden or the media factually “tear apart” the argument presented above? I agree that Mr. Ryan would not have been allowed to insert this rather lengthy argument into the debate, but that does not invalidate the points contained. If we women are going to be trusted to make decisions about our “own bodies”, we must proceed to do so without the deception that the unborn children we conceive are not real, separate human persons with life and human dignity to be protected by the same laws that protect the rest of humanity. After undeceiving our society, we can get down to the real work of supporting and providing women and children with the means to live, not simply to be encouraged to kill, kill, kill.
Just the kind of answer we would expect from you. Why are you even on this “Catholic” Website?
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
peter, your euphemism “out to control wombs” means save unborn babies from treacherous human sacrifice advocates such as yourself.
Exactly, and I have made similar points online in conversations on places like Yahoo and the like. We only have to reason the barbarity of abortion to pro-choicers and they shut down. God will surely put the correct words in our mouths when we are faced with such questions. I myself have some rabid Obama Zombies in my own family who challenge me almost daily about their candidate, but when it comes to the abortion questions, there are real storms of blasting me for my pro-life stance. I only have to bring up the Obama record, which is etched in stone for everyone to see and understand how radical it is, and then I dismantle it with the rights of the citizen, the person who is destroyed by that horror of abortion. They are rendered speechless every time. I would hope that this piece , above, can be gotten to Romney for this evening;s debate. There will be a lot of Democratic party plants in that toom, and he will be set upon on all sides, but if he has a chance to reason the question of abortion in this way, the walls will come tumbling down, and a real change has a chance to be made. St. Joseph, let it be so!
Not all pro aborts will shut down. Many admit that abortion is murder, and then they go on to defend it as necessary … kind of like euthanasia or forced population reduction via govt manipulation of food, disease, war, etc.
I hate when people do this……what a waste of time. I guess when your writing a review that is what you do….lots of people are always trying to point out what Jesus should have said, or what he really meant. We love to reconstruct!!
Carolyn I do too, I share in your sentiments on this situation. I hate it too. Especially when people know that a candidate is better than most of them, but are ready to crucify him on one or two issues. What planet do people live on, they want perfection on another human being, when we all know how imperfect we are…I don’t know about you, but I am not perfect and I’m sure someone more conservative than I will find fault with me.
The rhetoric and teaching moments are not over, Carolyn. Weigel is suggesting a course of action for anyone to use in the future, and there will be countless such teaching moments.
Mean.MeanGuess I am tired of the teaching moments JLS. Everyone is teaching something these days. I feel like a hamster in one of those run wheels. Mr. Weigel is very good and I know reporters and writers have to make a living. I just get tired of the “this is what you should have said or done articles.” I guess this too will pass..on my part
JLS, My mean word was at the end of my last sentence. I was adding, ‘I mean,’ it got shoved to the front. Didn’t want you to think I meant mean, mean you. Lol.
How could Paul Ryan say all of the above in the time alloted, slashed into within seconds by his unworthy opponent interrupting him 82 times? Ryan proved himself to be intelligent, perceptive, articulate, capable of leadership, and, most importantly, electable. The author of this grand imaginary speech composed at his leisure and delivered a week later; Ryan had to respond rapidly and deal with an idiot, an Obama friend as a “moderator,” an audience of hundreds in attendance and unseen millions watching around the world, as well as the weight of history on his shoulders, all at the same time. He delivered.
Isn’t it misleading to say “I believe” before saying “life begins at conception”? It is now an established fact – and is being taught in medical school – that at the moment of fertilization a new human life begins. It is not something which God reveals only to religious people and asks them to proclaim it as part of their faith because humans have no other way of knowing it, so why treat it as such? The more we do that, the easier it is for the secularists (who would rather die than face the scientific data) to dismiss our words as mere religious dogma, or “your own personal views on abortion”.
Ryan is his own man. He did fine.
Ryan said exactly the right things about the evil of abortion, and Biden simply repeated the Mario Cuomo nonsense formulation about being personally opposed…
A baby in the womb is a real, live human being, and you don’t need to be Catholic to know that. Abortion ends the life of that INNOCENT human being, so that make’s it murder–even if it’s not so in civil law–and you don’t need to be Catholic to know that.
End of discussion.
Eh, honestly, I think there were two fake Catholics up there.
Anyways, a good proposed response – except for the part where the author suggests Ryan say religion’s role in his views was “none” and then turn around and say “But my faith does shape my thinking.”
That’s just plain confused.
You are incorrect.
Ryan is a good Catholic. He was stating the position of the non-Catholic Presidential candidate and the Republican Party so as not to mis-lead people.
His time was short, and between the interruptions of Biden and the monitor it’s good that he was able to get any points across.
This has already been explained by Archbishop Chaput.
The article would confuse someone who did not know Catholicism on the topic of abortion. But Weigel who wrote the article is suggesting what Ryan could have said. Weigel writes well for those who are well founded in what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that abortion violates natural law, and thus is not a religious issue.
That would have been a great statement. Abortion is not a religious issue. It is a moral issue. It is based on the natural law and one doesn’t have to be religious to oppose abortion. Biden says he can’t impose his religion on anyone, as if he was forcing Americans to go to Mass on Sunday. Opposing abortion has nothing to do with imposing religion. Biden supports laws against murder, rape, and theft, yet he doesn’t make a fuss about imposing religion in those moral cases. It is only with the moral issue of abortion that he plays the religion card. Republicans are always letting Catholic democrats get away with the “imposing religion” card. Ryan let Biden get away with murder.
Two non Catholics, present and accounted for …what’s with this Ryan, in cases of rape ,incest and health of the mother, the baby no longer matters , is not real life!!!!
See my post above which has been stated by Archbishop Chaput.
Add my post above as well. Ryan has openly stated that he himself allows for no exceptions. Exceptions are the position of the Romney ticket!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Since Roe vs Wade we have had 20 years of republican presidents . Do you really believe that a new republican president would make any serious attempt at fighting Roe vs Wade ? They can and do say anything they want when speaking to the media , but ACTIONS speak louder than words and once elected the idea of standing up and fighting for pro life doesn’t seem to matter………Roe vs Wade should be on the ballot , let the American people vote and then then we can mount an attack !
At least the majority of Republicans do not support the murder of innocents merely for convenience like the Democrats do.
And the Republicans do not support forcing Catholics and other people of good will to pay for abortions, abortafacients, contraceptives, and euthanasia through our tax dollars.
We don’t vote on what is and is not MORTAL Sin – abortion.
Are you actually stating that the “Mexico City Policy” which Obama and Clinton eliminated by Executive Order did not make any difference, and the Bills the late Jess Helms succeeded in passing made no difference, or the ban on Partial Birth murder, or the etc. etc. made no difference. Wake up man!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Won’t happen until the bishops get holy enough to actually function as bishops. There is no other teaching authority on the face of the planet … and the bishops are shirking their consecrations.
And the point of the article was? A wishful dream over something in the past. The best that can come from this is for Mr. Ryan to be himself and speak from his heart without fear of political ramifications. Who cares what others may think, it is God we have to please to enter Heaven, not sinful man.
Ryan is engaging the real world, James. Politicians who do not care what others think, do not get votes. God does not credit men much when they recuse themselves from “the whole heart, the whole mind, the whole soul”, as Jesus puts it, “and all their strength”. Merely writing a note on a scrap of paper telling God how holy you are is not going to gain you Heaven either.
JLS, Based on your 6:07 pm comments on 16 October, I think you missed my point completely. May primary point of this article was that it had little to no value as the event which Sen. Ryan was speaking at (reality) was all in the past. It was too late to do anything about it. All of the audience, and television audience have departed. It was that moment, that real opportunity at which Sen. Ryan gave his position that mattered. This article was but wishful thinking that came days to late. My other points are learn from our mistakes, don’t brood over non-sinful mistakes/shortcomings in the past, and focus in to better the future using lessons learned from the past. Now let’s get to the real heart of the matter at hand and pray that Sen. Ryan becomes Vice President Ryan this coming January 2013, that the Republicans will keep the House winning more seats, and that the Senate will become Republican controlled again, and finally that Sen. Paul Ryan’s proposed bill to define that human life begins at conception is overwhelming approved by both houses in congress and signed into law by President Romney! That JLS is wishful thinking toward the future, an opportunity to plan and succeed, and something that is really real. We can all begin to fight the evil of abortion that insults the character of our nation that is written into our Constitution to protect and care for all of our people, born and unborn.
Sorry everyone, I mistakenly said Sen. Paul Ryan above when I meant to say Sen. Rand Paul was sponsoring a proposed bill in the US senate to define that life begins at conception. Let us pray Congressman Paul Ryan from WI becomes Vice President Paul Ryan.