Catholic Bishop Thomas J Tobin Creamed by Chris Matthews

Maybe ‘creamed’ is too tough a word, but I have just watched Chris Matthews from MSNBC HardBall lay into Bishop Thomas J Tobin regarding abortion. The Bishop has reportedly asked Congressman Kennedy (son of the late Ted Kennedy) to stop taking Holy Communion because of his position on pro-choice.

In the interview (watch it here) Matthews makes a powerful point – one which the Bishop is obviously reluctant to answer. He asks the bishop if he thinks abortion is murder, what penalty should a woman receive for the murder of her baby – what law, as a churchman, would he write to punish woman who commit murder.

Now, as one who is not pro-choice – I believe abortion to be wrong – it really is  a fascinating question. And it raises the important question of Christians and politics. What would the church see as acceptable punishment for the murder of a baby? Matthews point is that if the catholic church demanded one minute of prison time for women who have abortions they would be laughed out of town.

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2 thoughts on “Catholic Bishop Thomas J Tobin Creamed by Chris Matthews

  1. It is unreasonable to suggest we should go directly from our current status of defining abortion as a legitimate option under the law, in fact even a right and a good; to full criminalization. Matthews assumes this is the sort of thing the Bishop would want if he were serious about it being murder. Rather, it is much more likely we need to remove the legal license for abortion and establish a legal right to life, while at the same time bring the force both of secular and religious eduction on to the side of life. Perhaps after a period of years where everyone has been given a chance to know that these are human lives, then it would be reasonable to begin applying various punitive measures. In time perhaps the proper end state is for abortion to be treated equally with other forms of unjust taking of human life. As to this being murder, or manslaughter, or some other specific charge that would it seems be up to the legislature, the prosecutors, and the courts.

  2. It is not all that difficult if one approaches it logically. First one re-establishes in law the proposition that every person has a right to life AND the unborn child is a person to be protected in law. This decision does not require any gymnastics or manipulations of the law but a simple recognition that one does not cause harm to another person. In deciding that the crime of abortion should once again be on the books, the statute can focus on the crime and the abortion provider and therefore not require certain elements of the crime of homicide. while this would mean an ability to prosecute the act. This would normally be done at the state level where the police power resides.

    As for the proposition that one could not impose such a law upon the population, I would suggest that since most people do abide by the law and consider whatever is legal is moral and whatever is illegal is immoral, the overwhelming majority would live within the law. Certainly there would be those whop would flout it or violate it, but it would all go underground and one would not have the sanction of society permitting it to happen openly. The end result would be a benefit to the society. Abortion would be once again prohibited as a criminal act (as it has been considered for almost 2000 years).

    The problem of course is that many people want abortion to be legal. They want it to be accessible. They care not that 50,000,000 have died. convincing then that abortion is a cancer destroying the society requires a lot of owrk and a lot of perseverance.

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