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Il Papa: it is impossible to anesthetize the conscience

Well, Pope Benedict certainly has put himself squarely in the middle of a rather raging debate. Talking to an international gathering of Catholic pharmacists he told them squarely to “consider conscientious objection which is a right that must be recognized for your profession so you can avoid collaborating, directly or indirectly, in the supply of products which have clearly immoral aims, for example abortion or euthanasia.” While it’s a given that he has wider aims, many in the States have seen this as pointing a long finger at the recent decision by the Connecticut Bishops to allow Catholic hospitals to dispense “Plan B”. Perhaps my favorite quote, however: “It is not possible to anesthetize the conscience, for example, when it comes to molecules whose aim is to stop an embryo implanting or to cut short someone’s life.” Indeed. Attempts to cast palls of gray do not make black change colors. CNA has more here.

The secular reactions to his rejoinder have been predictable. CWN has a host of them here. Among my favorites was Green party parliamentarian Gianpaolo Silvestri’s blind-as-a-bat knee-jerk reaction, “Will we ever see the day when the papacy overcomes its fears of the female body and of women’s right to self-determination?” He’s quite right you know. The Pope’s desire to help people avoid eternal damnation, and in the temporal sphere to avoid harming both women and men, clearly stems from a fear of the female body. Is that really the best they can do? Sheesh – it’s almost not fun batting around these gnats any more. They need some new material.

Much more in-depth coverage can be had at American Papist. What with his degree work in bioethics, one would expect him to have good coverage on this, and he does not disappoint.

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