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A Reflection in Light of Dobbs v. Jackson and Other Recent Court Decisions

06/28/2022 8:32 AM | Francis X Clooney, SJ (Administrator)

Dear Colleagues,

Good morning. Like all our fellow citizens, we all have been caught up in thinking about the Supreme Court’s recent judgments on aid to religiously-affiliated schools, on prayer, and on striking down NY restrictions on bearing arms — and most of all, we all have been thinking, discussing, and praying about Dobbs v. Jackson and the overturning of Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey. In these eventful days, we need to reaffirm Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment of life” ethic, respect for life from conception through every stage of life until death.

As thinking Catholics, we know that this reaffirmed protection of life has many ramifications, creating new complications for pregnant women and the fathers of their unborn children, and disproportionately impacting economically marginalized communities and communities of color. Our commitment to the seamless garment ethic will ring hollow if we do not concretely and systemically care for one another in ways that promote real human flourishing. Nor should we overlook the politicization of our courts and the deep divisions and animosities in the United States today, even as we also acknowledge the deep religious and ethical diversity – and hence inevitable differences of opinion – among people of good faith.

As a Board, we decided that the issues following upon Dobbs v. Jackson are too complex for us to be able to craft an adequate Board statement on behalf of the Society without a long consultation with you, our colleagues in the Society. But I do encourage us all, on our campuses, in our seminaries and parishes, to pursue the needed expert conversations among ourselves and our colleagues in every place we do our work and live our Catholic lives, that we may continue to be of service as best we can to the Church and outside it too. Kristin Heyer, our President-Elect, has indicated to me that she will be including an invited session on the topic at next year's convention. Perhaps we should host a Zoomed conversation in the fall, to hear reports on what is happening locally, in our teaching, lecturing, writing, in the post Dobbs v. Jackson era. Please feel free, of course, to use this Newsfeed to post your own thoughtful reflections on the issues facing us.

We are a learned society at the service of the Church amid our complex cultures. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to use our professional skills to clarify and accentuate the truths and values essential to being Catholic today.

Francis X. Clooney, SJ, CTSA President


  • 06/30/2022 9:35 AM | Dolores L Christie
    A fall conversation on the topic sounds good. One "footnote" I have not seen in the discussion so far is the reasoning in Catholic thinking used to justify to terminate a tubal pregnancy: excise the tube, thereby not attacking directly the fetus. Maybe that argument could be used here: remove the uterus. That does not attack the fetus. I'm saying this tongue in cheek, but it does "solve" the problem.

    Seriously, this is a much more grave issue than overturning a long-standing precedent. It deserves more than conversation. It calls those rejoicing in the decision to take responsibility for what they have put into motion (unwanted children being abused, carrying an unviable pregnancy to term, etc.) with the same sustained vigor.
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