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Right to life issues

Michael Wodarcyk | Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is in reply to Mr. Slavin’s letter regarding his concerns that Notre Dame, and Catholics overall, place too much emphasis on abortion versus other social ills.

First, the letter cheapens the efforts that Notre Dame has made to encourage students to take action regarding such issues. The University’s Center for Social Concerns has sent multitudes of students all over the United States and overseas to learn about the hardships of poverty, immigration and the like. Hundreds of students have boxed in the Bengal and Baraka Bouts to benefit missions in Africa and South Asia. Perhaps most obviously, advertisements during the football games viewed by millions tout the University’s commitment to combating such problems. Combined with the work that the Church does worldwide on a massive scale, these items, and more, are proof that the University and the Catholic Church are “raising their collective and institutional voice” to right the wrongs in our world.

Second, the letter reflects a problem to which Catholics on both sides of the political aisle fall victim: interpreting teachings through the political lens. One immediate example is when the conservatives assailed the University for inviting President Obama to speak at the 2009 commencement, while the liberals praised the University for it. Until there is a party whose platform conforms to every Catholic social teaching, there will always be contradictions when a Catholic in good conscience supports a particular politician because he or she believes that politician will help to solve a particular social problem. Judging said Catholic poorly because his preferred politician does not completely align with the Church is unfair and, at least in this polarized climate, an exercise in futility.

However, Mr. Slavin is correct in that we should pray for all life and work towards a world that respects it. To those of you who are students at Notre Dame: take advantage of the many opportunities that the University provides to do so. To everyone: if you do believe in the political process, write your government officials regarding issues that affect human life. You might even convince some of them.


Michael Wodarcyk

Class of ’09

Evanston, Ill.

Jan. 19