Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Remind People of Mother Teresa's pro-life principals

With Mother Teresa's canonization next week, pro-lifers may be inclined to remind those celebrating her of her uncompromising opposition to abortion. I made the perhaps unwise step of confronting Prof. Robbie George when he did so in response to Senator Cory Booker (who I assume is pro-choice):

To me, I'm not a fan of this* for the same reason I'm not a fan of mocking people's thoughts and prayers in the aftermath of mass shootings. To me it seems, Senator Booker is doing something right and fitting in celebrating Mother Teresa. His reward? Being challenged on his abortion position. I think the most likely result is that Senator Booker will refrain from praising people whose records include pro-life advocacy, rather than to change his views.

And to be honest, though Mother Teresa did remind people of the dignity of the unborn, that was not the main focus of her work, and is not the main reason she is being canonized. It doesn't feel completely honest to re-purpose celebrations of her into pro-life advocacy, if it is not at least matched by advocacy for the poor. Perhaps she can serve as a model for pro-life Catholics who prioritize other issues -- it doesn't have to mean compromising on abortion. Her respect for all life fed her work for the poor, rather than competing with it.

Does that mean these politicians should never be challenged? No. If Senator Booker wants to say that pro-lifers are waging a War on Women, or just want to deny women access to healthcare, we can remind him of her praise of Mother Teresa, and ask if she was part of this front in a War on Women. It may not turn him pro-life, but it may prevent this tendency to cast pro-lifers as misogynistic jerks whose only motivation is a desire to control women and keep them down.

* Astute readers may see this as an example of apohasis, or bringing up a subject by saying it shouldn't be brought up.

That's not my intention, but if it makes people more aware of Mother Teresa's opposition to abortion, I wouldn't be disappointed.
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