Many years ago, during a semester when I was teaching a course in Business Ethics, I walked into the office of my department chair (a Catholic gentleman) and, in jest, mentioned that I had assigned an article that I had read while a student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary- On Barnyard Morality. After nearly falling out of his seat for fear of administrative and student repercussion, I quickly apologized and proceeded to spend some time discussing the contents of the article that was written by my former professor, Dr. Janet Smith.
In the article, she explored the “higher views” of sexuality given by Natural and Divine law and contrasted them with what has become a reality for a vast segment of American society; namely, that we have reduced ourselves to the level of barnyard animals.
It is precisely because man is not on the same level with animals that he is called to live in accord with a higher view of sexuality. Whereas animal sex is a fleeting union and results in simply another member of the species, human sex is meant to promote a profound bond and brings forth an immortal soul.
Now given my former professor’s “high-level” analysis, perhaps it is worthwhile to diverge and offer an analysis of a lower degree, say— the Martian Test. If, for a moment, we can imagine space aliens having the ability to explore our nation’s culture, what might they consider to be our dominant values? By monitoring U.S. broadcast and cable signals, they would be exposed to a spattering of new and old movies, animal shows, 24/7 News, and various other programs in which we human beings, by way of public confessions, “tell all.” In the end, their data analytics would likely conclude that most of our attention is spent on promoting values that not only encourage maximum levels of sexual activity, but also promiscuity and self-love; values that are reinforced and uplifted by an onslaught of advertisements touting, to nauseating degrees, products that may be prescribed to aid us in our pursuits. And regarding these many advertisements, our alien friends might even be amazed at our willingness to ingest these products into our bodies, especially given the disclaimers disclosed at the end of them that indicate their potential for side effects ranging from blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, etc.
After their full and comprehensive analysis, I suppose it would not be a stretch to say that these Martians would conclude that human sexual activity is mostly “recreational” in nature; having as its primary goal the satisfaction of our animal instincts and urges, at any cost; whenever, wherever, and however they might manifest themselves. And while pondering and scratching their heads for a while (assuming they have heads), they might ask other questions, as well. Is the purpose of human sexual activity solely about the “enjoyment” of the partners? And if that is the case, is it also true that the procreation of children is no longer a potential “fruit” of the conjugal act? If so, then how does new life arise? Martian theologians, if they exist, might even go so far as to ask whether there is any inherent responsibility (e.g., parenthood) associated with sexual activity?
One of my favorite writers, the late Joseph Sobran (1946-2010), once wrote a column entitled “The problem with abortion? A baby.” After pointing out that “most doctors don’t mind being called by their specialties—dentists, dermatologists, and pediatricians,” Sobran questioned why those who perform abortions prefer not to be called abortionists. He then likened those who support abortion as modern nomads, always moving from argument to argument. “They used to quibble about when life begins: It was a religious question, they said. The obvious answer, at conception, didn’t satisfy them, though even atheists will agree that a squirrel or a dachshund begins its life when it’s conceived. Biologists handle that one without feeling they need to call in the help of theologians.”
So, perhaps Martian logicians would view our way of thinking in this way: That those of us who have already been born have the right to decide whether those who haven’t (been born)—will be.
Regarding so-called “reproductive freedom,” Saint Mother Teresa once addressed a National Prayer Breakfast audience where she framed our freedoms according to a test of love.
Abortion is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love. The father of that child, however, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to live, but kills even her own child to solve her problem. And by abortion, the father is taught that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into that world. So that father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So, abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.