Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cardinal Martino on Amnesty International

I have a confession to make: I've never really liked Amnesty International. Maybe it's because I'm what you would generally call both a realist and a conservative. But in spite of that, I can see that Amnesty is working hard on a very important cause, a cause they believe in. And for that I respected them. Until yesterday.

Zenit reports that the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, who also serves as the Holy See's permanent observer at the UN, is calling on Catholics to withdraw support from Amnesty International since the groups no longer defends the right to life. He said that the recent decision to promote abortion "rights" is a betrayal of Amnesty's identity.

By pushing for the decriminalization of abortion as part of their platform, Amnesty International has disqualified itself as a defender of human rights....If AI is no longer willing to stand up for the most basic human right -- the right to life -- then the very integrity of the organization is called into question.

Amnesty now joins a long list of other international organizations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund, in promoting a so-called right to abortion.

However, the situation is not without hope. "I was head of the Holy See delegation to the Cairo Conference on Population and Development when that issue was settled definitively," Cardinal Martino stated. "Paragraph 8.25 of the Cairo Declaration clearly states, 'In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning … and every attempt should be made to eliminate the need for abortion."

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  • What about amnesty for the unborn? Has their crime of coming into existence become so intollerable that they can no longer be pardoned? That would make for a bit of a double-standard...

    By Blogger Paul, at 10:53 AM, June 14, 2007  

  • [I understand Paul was using the terms "amnesty" and "pardon" metaphorically. The following may be taken as a lame attempt at humor. No snarkiness intended.]

    A minor quibble: It is not quite correct to speak of "amnesty" for the unborn, since they are not criminals or convicts, i.e., persons judged to have committed some crime worthy of punishment. Under current American law, the status of the unborn is that of "outlaw": i.e., a person from whom the protection of the laws is withheld. Because an outlaw is has no protection under the laws, killing him is not murder. (Likewise taking his property is not theft, hitting him is not assault, and so on.) Such is the case with the unborn and abortion.

    Now, granted, proscription has been imposed as a punishment before, but such is arguably not the case with respect to the unborn: The unborn were proscribed de facto, either via statute (in the case of states that had legalized abortion prior to Roe) or by judicial order (via Roe and subsequent cases), for political reasons unrelated to guilt for criminal acts. A resumption of the protection under the law for the unborn is the goal of the prolife movement; however, since the proscription of the unborn was not done in punishment for any crime, said re-extension could not reasonably be described as an amnesty.

    Of course, "amnesty for the unborn" certainly has a better ring to it vis-a-vis "re-extension of the protection of the laws to the unborn". :)

    By Blogger Avenging Sword, at 5:37 PM, June 14, 2007  

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