For my final event blog I attended a lecture on November 15th, by Bishop Aquila held by Loyola’s club ALIVE. The basis of this lecture was the issue of pro-life and its relationship to our Catholic faith. I decided to go to this particular lecture because this is an extremely important issue in our society today regarding politics and religion.
Bishop Aquila was very firm in his strong beliefs against pro-choice, declaring himself as unconditionally pro-life. He explained that we, as Catholics, are called to a constant ethic of life, and that things such as abortion, stem cell research, and genocide are all evil and morally unacceptable. He went on to say that dignity of human life is determined by God and thus is always to be protected; dignity is bestowed by God in creation and not by government.
I personally struggled with many of the opinions expressed by Bishop Aquila, specifically those in reference to abortion and the death penalty. I have been, and probably always will be, fully against the death penalty. When I was a senior in high school I visited Rahway State Prison on a field trip for a psychology class and we were given the opportunity to talk with the men known as “lifers” because they were in jail for life because of murder. These men run famous programs like scared straight to help troubled kids, and are only submitted into the program because they have shown true repentance for their sins. As I sat five feet from convicted murders, talking with these men in an open room, I truly saw them as just fellow human beings. This visit boosted my stand against the practice of capital punishment, and I truly agreed with Bishop Aquila on this point as he said that there is no revenge in the heart of Christ, so there should be no revenge in the heart of a Christian. However, I have been pro-choice for quite some time now, as I have learned more about our government and society. Bishop Aquila even stated my views exactly in his lecture when he touched on people who are pro-choice for abortion but oppose other issues, such as the death penalty, and asked where the logic was. He also added that many people may not want to impose their morality on others in some areas, which also pertained to me. Bishop Aquila did not change my views, although he did truly make me confront my conscience.
Bishop Aquila touched on the issues of conscience in today’s society, explaining that conscience is now understood as opinion. He added that there is great confusion with conscience as to what is good and evil. He believes that this can lead to a culture of death and that a culture of life would have a good understanding of conscience. The Bishop explained that conscience is not a person opinion; rather it is the inner voice of a human being that moves a person to do good and avoid evil. I truly agreed with him on this standpoint of conscience because I do believe it is separate from issues of difference in opinions.
The issue of freedom versus truth was also discussed in Bishop Aquila’s lecture. He explained that society has formed a false idea of freedom that has become separate from truth. He believes that, for Catholics, there is a clear relationship between truth and freedom, proclaiming “the truth will set you free.” I, too, believe there is a distinct difference and significant relationship between the concepts of truth and freedom.
As a final event blog for this semester of understanding literature, this was the only event that truly made me consider how my political views effect my religious beliefs. Again, although I did not fully change my standpoint on abortion and pro-choice, I have fully come to understand both sides. I continue to stand against the death penalty, however cannot be fully pro-life when it comes to abortion.