Over at Religion & Politics, Marie Griffith has a must-read interview with Cathleen Kaveny about her new book and the 40th anniversary of Roe. The comment that most jumped out at me were these words of Cathleen's on the subject of "intrinsic evil":
So the term “intrinsic evil” is a term that explains why an action is wrong, not how wrong it is. A harmless lie is an intrinsic evil, for example, but not a serious evil . . . I think one way we can talk ourselves down from the fight is to use our language with precision, and not prophetically. “Intrinsic evil” is a very important, useful but very limited concept in Catholic thought. But it sounds really horrible. So using language for how it sounds is really a type of manipulation, and I don’t think trying to manipulate people is a great way of trying to convince people you have to respect as fellow citizens.
Kaveny - to whom I owe a response for her columns at Commonweal on religious liberty - is one of the Church's leading intellectual lights and this interview shows how someone who is truly steeped in the Church's intellectual tradition can be far more persuasive than someone who cherry picks through that tradition for ammunition in the culture wars.
Full disclosure: I am on the advisory board at Religion & Politics.
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