The gift of life

The late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago put forward the “seamless garment of life” concept. It is a straightforward if apparently simple-minded approach to life at all stages. At its simplest, it was embodied in this statement:

All of life from conception until natural death is a seamless garment.

One may approach this philosophy in the socialist mode, and include blind pacifism as well as re-introducing the discredited social gospel.

According to a left-wing approach to this concept, at seamless-garment.org, the seamless garment includes saying “no” to abortion, capital punishment, war, poverty, and racism. In short, the left has politicized God’s gift of life into a socialist manifesto. Thereby weakening its appeal.

Not that I think they are wrong about abortion or capital punishment. Or that I think that war is a good thing — except when it’s less bad than the alternatives to war. As for racism and poverty, well, they shall likely be with us always. The Christian must always strive to avoid racism, where racism should be defined as pre-judging another person, or taking action against, or granting favor to, another person strictly because of his race. I suspect that most so-called liberals would fail this last part of the definition.

What is central to considering life as a seamless garment is to simply remember that life, however poor, however much in pain, however futile or useless it may seem, is God’s gift. It is not ours to take away. It is ours to nurture, to protect, until it is God’s time to end it. It starts at conception. It ends at the natural death of the person.

[Sidebar: We all recognize that the meaning of “natural death” will vary from one person to the next, and as our medical science improves. Let common sense prevail. Let human dignity prevail.]

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