11/08/2012, 00.00
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The Church's "indisputable values," scorned by Barack Obama and the left

by Piero Gheddo
Values like marriage, birth and natural death are viewed as "rightwing". On the contrary, for the Church, they are important for the development of nations. Abortion, sterilisation, birth control, euthanasia and gay marriage have nefarious consequences on how social problems can be solved. Italy is now in a deep demographic winter.

Milan (AsiaNews) - Barack Obama won Tuesday's presidential election. Now everyone hopes that he will be able to complete his second mandate by making choices inspired by peace and solidarity for his country and humanity as a whole. AsiaNews reported the results with the title "Obama's victory worries the markets, but strengthens the gay marriage," explaining that Obama is the first US president to support same-sex marriage (changing the position he held in 2008).  Indeed, Maine and Maryland did approve "marriage between persons of the same sex. So far gay marriages were recognized in Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, but [that was] the result of a Supreme Court decision. The victory at the polls [now] shows a profound change in the mentality of the US population." Indeed, "According to some exit polls, three-quarters of those who want to vote on gay marriage are supporters of Barack Obama."

Why, I wonder, do countries and leftwing parties and coalitions in the Christian West favour choices in matters of sex and family that are condemned by the Church? When the Church, the pope and the bishops address problems that affect the Christian view of life and marriage, they are above the political disputes of left and right. Why then do leftwing parties and coalitions approve what the Church condemns?

In Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate (2009), humanity and the peoples of the world have a right to live and develop (n. 28).  The "anthropological question," on which the Holy See and the Italian Conference of Bishops have insisted a lot, thus becomes fully a "social question" (Ns. 28, 44, 75).

In the encyclical, bioethical issues are related to the development of nations. Birth control, abortion, sterilisation, euthanasia, manipulation of human identity and eugenic selection are severely condemned (See indisputable values), not only because of their intrinsic immorality, but especially for their capacity to tear and degrade the social fabric.

"In economically developed countries," Benedict XVI writes (CV, N. 28), "legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis . . . . Openness to life is at the centre of true development."  The encyclical explains that the development of the economy and society do not need non-utilitarian plans but must instead take into account "the dignity of woman, procreation, the family and the rights of the conceived."

Even Catholics do not understand why the pope and the bishops, from Paul VI's Humanae Vitae (1968) to today, have insisted on this. Some Catholics in fact believe that dreadful problems like hunger, inhuman misery and injustices at the world and national levels are more important than defending life and the family. They do not understand the prophetic value of what the pope and the bishops say, that a culture that refuses life creates a substantive break between man and God's Law with nefarious consequences for solving social problems.

When human selfishness prevails in national laws or in UN and European Union organisations, how can we imagine that people will be altruistic and moved by Christian charity in welcoming those who are poor and different?

Social work and defence of life do not contradict each other. Indeed, they go together; one cannot exist without the other. Engaging in protest against world hunger and abortion is equally meaningful and valuable. However, anti-globalisation activists (most of whom are Catholic) have extensively protested against hunger, but they have failed to protest against abortion, common law relationships, divorce, separations, and gay marriage. How can we accept human selfishness to prevail in such situations, and then call for altruism in the fight against world hunger. Where is the sense in all that?

If the family breaks down in Western Christian countries, society too will break down, as we can see all around us. It is hard to understand how such a self-evident truth is ignored in favour of separation, divorce (like the easy divorce law adopted by Spain under Zapatero that requires only 15 days), or other forms of marriage (gay marriage for example) in which couples lose the urge to pledge their love before society through marriage, and choose instead to live together only to split up later.

In Italy, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) found (in 2007) that married couples (in church or city hall) have more children than common law couples. This is because marriage brings greater stability to the couple and greater security to women who want to have children.

Now, data show that the people of Italy have reached negative population growth with overall numbers dropping. Still, the population in Italy is growing because Third World immigrants have more children. How can we help the poor nations of the world, if we cannot help ourselves?

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