N.Y. Catholic Cardinal Compares Abortion to Hitler’s Holocaust

October 31, 2008 - 3:32 PM
Yet another U.S. Catholic bishop has spoken out forcibly against abortion in the days before the election.

This photo of an unborn baby at 20 weeks is the centerpiece of Cardinal Edward Egan's diocesan newsletter, Oct. 23, 2008. (Used with permission of Life Issues Institute)

(CNSNews.com) - Yet another U.S. Catholic bishop has spoken out forcibly against abortion in the days before the election.
 
Cardinal Edward Egan of the New York Archdiocese, writing in his weekly column on Oct. 23, likened abortion to Hitler’s Holocaust and Stalin’s Communist atrocities.
 
Egan wrote that those who convince themselves that unborn babies are “mere clusters of tissues” are practicing “self-deceit in a most extreme form.”
 
“It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing – and approving – with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers,” Egan said. “We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets.”
 
He compared this self-deceit to that used by the Nazi and Communist leaders.
 
“Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings,” Egan wrote, just as Stalin did with the “Cossacks and Russian aristocrats.”
 
Referring to “an untouched photograph” of an unborn child at 20 weeks, Egan said that there is no need to consult “the opinions of philosophers and theologians” about the humanity of the fetus depicted.
 
“The authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it,” Egan said. “I would suggest – even insist – that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.”

Cardinal Edward Egan (Photo Courtesy of New York Archdiocese)

Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, told CNSNews.com that “the cardinal felt it important to write that column in order to put forward in a very clear, very articulate way his view of abortion.”
 
“He’s done it in such a way that it does not make it a religious issue, does not depend on Scripture, does not depend on somebody sharing our faith, but in very clear terms for everyone to be able to understand that an unborn child is human, that no one has ever been able to prove that it is anything other than human, and as such, that child deserves protection.”
 
Regis Martin, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, agreed with the comparison between abortion and the Holocaust.
 
“I believe this analogy is entirely reasonable,” Martin told CNSNews.com. “The sheer immensity of the slaughter of unborn babies is quite unprecedented. Millions and millions have been aborted.”
 
The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic theologian and editor of the journal First Things, said Egan’s analysis “is not only an appropriate, but an almost irresistible, comparison.”
 
Elaborating, Neuhaus told CNSNews.com: “If the issue is the exclusion of certain human beings from the definition of the community for which we accept responsibility and whose rights we respect, if that’s the issue, well then obviously in modern history, the most dramatic instances of that on a massive scale were the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.”
 
He added: “For the non-Catholic, he puts the argument very forcefully on the grounds of common reason and justice that ought to be recognized by all,” Neuhaus added.
 
Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., speaking of  abortion as the cause of “horrific suffering,” called it a “staggering evil.”
 
“We’re living in an age where the humanity of a child has never been so clear,” O’Donnell told CNSNews.com. “We have ultrasound.
 
“We have all sorts of technology that clearly reveals that you have a human life in the womb and to turn a blind eye to that and be divorced from that reality to say that this [abortion] is simply a question of choice, involves the same type of blindness, the same type of denial of fundamental dignity and fundamental rights that characterize the treatment of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and other classes and groups of people that were discriminated against and basically denied fundamental human rights (by the Nazis),” he said.
 
Several Catholic prelates have joined Egan recently in speaking out on abortion.
 
Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., wrote a similar diocesan column that discussed abortion in terms of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). He likened the promise to sign FOCA into law to King Herod’s promise to behead John the Baptist.
 
Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., wrote a letter to his diocese for Respect Life Sunday, telling them that a “person who supports permissive abortion laws” denies the fundamental “truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed.” His letter has been read in other dioceses as well.