In strongly-worked statement, Ukrainian bishops demand government make abortion illegal
L’VIV – BRIUKHOVYCHI, Ukraine, April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a strongly worded statement aimed at the government of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has highlighted the evil of abortion and has called upon the government to make the killing procedure illegal.
“We call upon the Government of Ukraine to make legal reforms that both guarantee the right to life of the pre-born human being and make abortion illegal,” the statement said. “Inasmuch as women feel coerced into abortion due to difficult material and social predicaments, we exhort Ukrainian society to construct effective mechanisms for the protection of mothers.”
The statement made in March by Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Head and Father of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has gained national attention, with many in the media accusing the Church of sparking a needless abortion debate.
LifeSiteNews recently reported how feminists and pro-aborts in Ukraine staged an obscene protest against the Church’s pro-life call-to-action and demanded that the Church abandon politics.
Fr. Jeffrey Stephaniuk, who blogs for Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association and who translated the Patriarch’s letter in English, noted that the Patriarch is “making a name for himself as a tremendous defender of pre-natal human life.”
In the letter, Patriarch Shevchuk gave various reasons for why the “destruction of human life, conceived and beginning to develop, though pre-born, is impermissible.”
From theology, the Patriarch pointed out that each human being is the “fruit of God’s love and the bearer of God’s image and likeness”. He argued from this that the “prohibition of abortion throughout the entire pregnancy is inherent in the meaning of this sacred transmission of life.”
Based on philosophical anthropology the Patriarch argued that abortion is the destruction of a human being who is a person.
“As a person, a human being is radically exceptional among the created world: it is impossible for an evolution into personhood to occur in a being that was not already endowed with such a characteristic from the beginning.” He argued that as a person, an unborn baby “possesses an inalienable right to life from the very beginning of one’s existence, namely conception, which remains an integral attribute until one’s natural, biological death.”
Arguing from biological facts, which the Patriarch says “conclusively indicates that human life begins at the moment of conception,” the Patriarch made the case that “during every stage of prenatal development, this unique human individual already possesses, even as an embryo, all of the properties of a human being.”
From this he argued that there is “no fundamental difference between causing the intentional homicide of a pre-born human being compared with a person already born.”
Turning to the Ukrainian Constitution, the Patriarch pointed out that abortion is a “corruption of guarantees written in the Constitution of Ukraine, namely, ‘the right to life of every person’”. From this he concluded that abortion is “comparable to the crime of manslaughter, and revisions need to be made to the Criminal Code regarding punishment based on these similarities.”
The Patriarch called politicians to accountability who may be ‘personally opposed’ to abortion but who religiously follow the status quo doctrine of “choice,” understood as autonomy without responsibility.
“If the government agrees with the evil and legalizes the activity, justifying their actions by stating that it is so widespread that resistance is futile, what has in fact happened is an identification with that evil, not neutrality but advocacy, an action which de-legitimizes the mandate of the government.”
Not afraid of standing out as a sign of contradiction in a world that has largely jettisoned divine revelation as the foundation for human flourishing, the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine declared what they called their “responsibility” to “awaken within the consciences of Christians the serious moral warning that those who consider abortion to be an acceptable solution to a difficult situation are wrong.”
“We pray that our ever-merciful Lord extend to all of us a hand of assistance, and greatly bless our efforts, focused on eliminating the terrible phenomenon that is the homicide of children in their pre-natal stage of development,” concluded the letter.
The fearlessly pro-life Patriarch has plans for a visitation to Canada this summer, according to Fr. Jeffrey Sephaniuk. The Ukrainian Catholic Church’s top cleric will visit Alberta in June, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba in September.
Read entire letter here