As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:
– protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;
– recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;
– the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.
So now you have three very clear social directives from the Church for public life. How to fashion these ends through various means will be a matter of continuing debate, to be sure, but in the end the aim is clear.
At some point in time, Catholics within the Democratic Party are going to have to make a choice. To be fair, Catholics within the GOP are going to have to stand up as well and start making the real inroads towards a just society.
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