Polish Catholic leader to European Parliament: There can be no compromise on the right to life
CNA Staff, Dec 3, 2020 / 08:00 am (CNA).- A Catholic archbishop spoke out Wednesday after the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Poland’s pro-life laws.
In a Dec. 2 statement, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of Poland’s bishops’ conference, said that there could be no compromise on the right to life.
He said: “The right to life is a fundamental human right. It always takes precedence over the right to choose, because no person can authoritatively allow the possibility of killing another.”
The archbishop was responding to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament Nov. 26 condemning Poland’s “de facto ban on the right to abortion.”
The European Parliament, the European Union’s law-making body, passed the resolution by 455 votes to 145 after Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled Oct. 22 that a law permitting abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional.
Gądecki, the vice president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), noted that the resolution repeatedly referred to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, pointing out that the charter declares that “Everyone has the right to life.”
“The European Union thus recognizes that the inalienable dignity of the human person and respect for the right to life are fundamental criteria for democracy and the rule of law,” he said.
The archbishop of Poznań argued that the title of the resolution was itself misleading as there is no “right to abortion” either from an ethical standpoint or in international law.
“In no democratic legal order can there be a right to kill an innocent person,” he said.
He also objected to the resolution’s reference to an “abortion compromise” in Poland. The phrase refers to laws passed after the collapse of communism which restricted abortion but still permitted it in limited circumstances.
He said: “Talking about the so-called legal compromise on the protection of life is a falsification of reality because it omits the most important third party in the dispute, i.e. unborn children and their inalienable right to life.”
“Any compromise in this matter is tantamount to depriving some children of their fundamental right to life and imposing the death penalty in a brutal way, which, let’s recall, is also prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. There can therefore be no compromise in this regard.”
Gądecki quoted Pope Francis several times in his statement, including the pope’s Nov. 22 letter to a group of Argentine women. In the letter, the pope said that abortion was primarily an ethical issue rather than a religious one. “Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem?” he wrote after Argentine President Alberto Fernández introduced the bill to legalize abortion. “Is it fair to hire a hitman to solve a problem?”
Gądecki also noted that Pope Francis had expressed support for pro-lifers in Poland following mass demonstrations against the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling.
Protesters disrupted Masses while holding signs supporting abortion, left graffiti on Church property, vandalized statues of St. John Paul II, and chanted slogans at clergy.
The archbishop thanked those who witnessed to the value of human life despite being “often met with aggression and contempt.”
He also praised communities in Poland that sought to defend unborn life.
“They are the voice of natural reason, which consistently, contrary to ideological conformism and opportunism, defends human life in every phase of its development,” he said.
“They are the voice of hundreds of millions of people around the world who have discovered the beauty of every life.”
“Unfortunately, this brave and righteous voice is often met with aggression and violence by the supporters of the civilization of death.”
The archbishop praised people who not only worked for full legal protection of unborn life, but also offered help and support to expectant mothers.
“From the heart I bless all people of goodwill and pray for the grace of conversion for those who have not yet discovered the stunning beauty of every life,” he wrote.
“I also recommend to God all those who in Europe maintain an awareness of their spiritual and religious and moral heritage.”