How True is Your Truth?


Okay, so the previous post was about an embedded video that is long and nobody wants to watch it. I appreciate that these days it’s a stretch to give an hour and a half to a youtube video of a nun talking at a podium. So I’ll tell you why it inspired me.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview Sister Joan Chittister gave to Bill Moyers.

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

I’m not the first to be moved by Sister’s words. She is, in fact, quite polarizing among Catholics and extremely unpopular among conservative Catholics, which I find troubling, though I’m used to being at odds with conservatives of all stripes these days. But Sister Joan is not anti-life. She is not “pro-choice,” in a conventional sense. She asserts herself as “against abortion.” But that’s not enough to assuage the concerns of her many adversaries.

I believe that that’s – let’s put it this way.  I’m opposed to abortion.  I have no problem with that whatsoever.  I would never see abortion as a birth control method of choice.  But having said that, I would never condemn a woman who finds herself in the position where she believes that, or her doctor believes that, abortion is the only answer for her at that moment.  My problem lies in the fact that we make it an absolute.  We say that we can never, under any circumstances whatsoever allow abortion, and yet we allow death – men, men can kill for a number of reasons.  Men can kill to defend themselves, men can kill to defend the country, men can kill to punish the people that they believe should be killed.  And we never call those deaths absolute.  We allow men to sit down at a table and plan the destruction of the globe and we never ever say that that is totally, absolutely, gravely immoral and sinful.  But in abortion, we allow no discussion whatsoever of possible times when it would not be a matter.  That just seems to me to be anti-Catholic.  In every other dimension of moral, of the moral life, we recognize grades and degrees of innocence and guilt.  This is the one place where we say there are no grades or degrees of innocence.  There’s only total absolute evil and sin.  I don’t understand that.  I’m raising the question.  How do we explain that?  Am I opposed to abortion?  Get it straight.  As a birth control method of choice, I certainly am.  My major question is: why is this the one … issue in which we never see any moment when it may not be as grave an issue as it might be under other circumstances?

I share Sister Joan’s call for the question to be discussed. Freely, openly, clearly and comprehensively DISCUSSED. When there is a shut-down of conversation, there is always, in me, suspicion. Why not have the discussion? If our truths are so fragile that they cannot be questioned, how valid can they possibly be?

I’ll ask again – If our truths are so fragile that they cannot be questioned, how valid can they possibly be?

More soon….

2 responses to “How True is Your Truth?

  1. As a person that would identify more with pro-choice (which I’m sure will draw anger) and I love this blog! I too do not believe abortion should be a method of birth control. I struggle to find my “spot” which I belong in belief because I have children which I love and cherish and think the world of. I have also had an abortion. I was very young and stupid and I struggle every day with that decision I made. But it was my one big mistake. And when I say that, I mean I wouldn’t change my (my parents) decision but know that there are circumstances that are in the “gray area” of life. We must discuss and have an open mind to ALL gray areas before taking an extreme position in any area of debate. I am not evil. I am a sinner. Be mindful of your glass house. 🙂


  2. Thank you for that. You articulate, perfectly, the liminal space in which most of us stand. It’s so easy to say BLACK or WHITE, but much more difficult to make empirical statements when coming from the gray area where we, in fact, exist.

    You certainly won’t draw anger from me! I returned to the Catholic Church after decades away, and did so as a Catholic for Choice. I have withdrawn from that group because their rhetoric tended to (as with the “other side”) be dismissive. I am navigating these turbulent waters as a novice – struggling to find my way, but determined to continue on.

    I deeply appreciate your candor. God bless you.


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