Over at American Catholic, "Motley Monk" takes Bp McElroy to task for his recent article at America calling on the Church in the United States to place poverty at the top of its agenda alongside abortion. He quotes from then-Cardinal Raztinger's 2004 statement which begins, "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia." There is the shell game. +McElroy understands that negative proscriptions of the moral law have a specificity that positive prescriptions do not. But, the burden of his argument was that moral certainty does not always yield political certainty. And, he rightly argued that simply because an issue requires prudential judgment, does not mean that anything goes. It means the moral analysis must get into the weeds of facticity. The same logic even applies in certain circumstances on abortion, e.g., when a pregnant woman has cancer of the uterus, the Church permits the removal of the uterus even though it will have the effect of aborting the child. The cancer is a fact with which the moral law must reckon. The poverty of so many millions of fellow human beings is also a fact with which the moral law must reckon and +McElory rightly diagnoses the cultural and political impediments to our recognizing that fact of widespread poverty, and urges us to engage policies that will alleviate it.
I would add that Motley Monk's effort to make +McElroy look like a hypocrite is so tendentious as to suggest his motives are less than pure.