It is true: Nowhere in the Gospels does Christ explicitly condemn the scourge of abortion and its companion, artificial contraception. This lack of scriptural evidence becomes for some a license to disregard Church teaching. That position amplifies confusion about the teachings of the Church and the nature and authority of Sacred Scripture.
The consistent teaching of the Church regarding the evils of abortion and contraception, as well as the dignity of the human person, finds its scriptural basis in the story of creation in the Book of Genesis. Again, you will not find specific prohibitions mentioned in Genesis regarding abortion and contraception.
However, you will find affirmations of the dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God; you will find an articulation of the right relationship that should exist between a man and woman who become husband and wife and soulmates for each other; you will find the exhortation to be fruitful and multiply.
Building on this foundation, other passages in Sacred Scripture affirm the sanctity of human life and articulate how people should live with one another according to the law of God. Collectively, these passages provide scriptural support for the Church’s teachings regarding abortion and contraception. It is this comprehensive understanding of Sacred Scripture that makes it possible to see and articulate God’s guiding hand throughout salvation history.
It is important to point out that the Church builds her foundation on two great pillars: Sacred Scripture and Tradition. These are never in conflict with each other. On the contrary, they are the basis for the clear and consistent teachings of our faith in all its aspects. As such, the Church never solely looks to Sacred Scripture for “proof” of her teachings, nor does the Church ignore the indispensable role Sacred Scripture plays as a source for revelation.
One who searches only in Sacred Scripture for every aspect of the Christian faith will be disappointed. However, one seeking to understand the Catholic faith in the light of both Scripture and Tradition will find all that one needs.
This column appeared in a previous edition of the Review.
Msgr. Morris is rector of the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine at St. Luke Church in Richmond Heights.