Not “your” body? Not your “choice”!

I found this on Fallible Blogma.

I want to add a note.

One of the things we were reminded of during the pontificate of Bl. John Paul II was that we are our bodies. His “theology of the body” served to remind us that we are both soul and body, together.  The body component we have as human beings is not something external or foreign to who we are as images of God.

What flows from this is that we are not free simply to treat even our own bodies as if they were possessions, something we own, like a car we ride in, a meat machine that hauls our souls around.

If we are not really our bodies, if our bodies are things we can treat any way it pleaseth us to treat them, abuse or drug or harm or kill or use for illicit pleasures, because – after all – its mine and I can use it as I want, then… someone else can abuse your body or drug it or harm it or kill it or use it for illicit pleasures because – after all – its just a object to be used.

We are not free to use our bodies as objects.  Our bodies pertain to persons made in God’s image.  Just as you are not free to use as an object another person (the free subject of their own actions) you are not permitted to harm yourself.  In harming yourself you are harming an image of God, which – indeed who – should be treated with dignity.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse of Children, Emanations from Penumbras, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Not “your” body? Not your “choice”!

  1. Alan Aversa says:

    We are our bodies but not exclusively our bodies, right? [Sure.]

  2. APX says:

    If we are not really our bodies, if our bodies are things we can treat any way it pleaseth us to treat them, abuse or drug or harm or kill or use for illicit pleasures, because – after all – its mine and I can use it as I want
    [...]
    We are not free to use our bodies as objects. Our bodies pertain to persons made in God’s image.

    Is there a way to defend this without relating it back to God and religion? I got into a disagreement about this in my (required) Women’s Studies class with my instructor, but I was unable to defend my position without bringing religion into the picture. I have to re-take this class, and it really bothers me that I have to sit there and take her feminist ideologies because I can’t academically defend myself without religion. [I think I just did. So did John Paul. You can look at the person as the subject of actions, not an object to be used. John Paul explains his view also in philosophical terms in his "The Acting Person" as well as Love and Responsibility"]

  3. kab63 says:

    I understand the success of these simple graphics & msg, but… The glory of woman is that a pregnant body is the sum of 2 lives joined for 9 mos. Separate identities are an illusion. Stopping abortion is priority #1; however, let’s not simplify so much that truth is lost.

  4. mike cliffson says:

    Every mass, every rosary : I believe…/….in the resurection of the Body…./…, Ok sown corruptible, to be raised in-ditto.

  5. contrarian says:

    As is well known, there’s a famous Women’s Studies textbook called ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves.’
    I’ve always thought about how ironic the title was, in that, read independently of the rest of the book, it’s actually a pretty sensible start.

  6. benedetta says:

    APX, well what do laws ground animal protection laws? Or laws prohibiting toxic waste disposal through improper means? You should look into Feminists for Life.

  7. benedetta says:

    APX, also as Fr. Z says the child is separate attached through relatively few cells. [Where did I say that?]

  8. benedetta says:

    Through the Fallible Blogma image posted above which shows, on the one hand, the mother’s body, and, separately (though enclosed and attached with relatively fewer and more simplistic collection of cells to the mother — relative to the astoundingly complex and well-ordered organism of the baby itself which is not an organ with a limited function but a separate living being). Sorry. To clarify. I got that from your posting of the Fallible Blogma image you posted. Two separate beings. The abortionist view of women dictates that the child enclosed is merely an extension of the woman’s body over which they may exercise private dominion, to dispose or permit to live, even if at whim.

    It’s a difficult circumstance for APX to be in, and that is always the mantra that it’s “your religion” that says that it is wrong to kill the other separate being, and therefore automatically your argument is disqualified. I have had to endure such debates countless times including in academic environments.

    One can argue from a point of view that it is not “your religion” from looking at laws relating to animal humane society and welfare, laws relating to the environment, and the rest. When else, and why do we take steps as a society to protect “something” or the welfare of another “being” and refrain from cruelty (and killing) without ever even mentioning the dreaded word, God or the Ten Commandments which academics never want to hear mentioned.

    But increasingly I have grown tired of that game as it is true that after all a great many people regardless of faith affiliation do believe in God. As a matter of fact. And, why should the fact of one’s religious affiliation or faith alone disqualify from debate? It is a totally bigoted viewpoint in my opinion. In fact, through history and in times such as these the voice of religious leaders is so necessary. These are the voices which are often not beholden to special moneyed interests and have the wisdom to encourage people toward a better path. One can think of myriad examples. No, I do not think that these academic feminists are being very open-minded when they tell a student such as APX that she is prohibited from using any argument that is based on faith.

    What do they think the western system of laws in fact are founded upon? Wicca? One doesn’t have to stop at the personal views of the American founders. The framework for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” goes a lot farther back than that. Way back.

    No, it is not abortion which gives women rights and dignity. If this professor was truly a liberal and open-minded then she ought not shy away from looking at the realities that women empowered through abortion now are subjected to. More and more abortion has not increased women’s quality of life, it’s that simple, using whatever criteria you want to throw out.

    Sorry Fr. Z for my sloppy earlier post. But I am worried about what the atmosphere is for APX. And she says she must re-take the course..why is this because she was graded, um, “accordingly”?

  9. Maltese says:

    I have fought my entire adult life against abortion; I was screamed at in front of an abortion clinic with my two youngest children; it was very unnerving! The almost animated hatred that these pro-choicers have for us! Our peaceful, non-violent praying of the Rosary must have seemed a strange sight, especially with my children there!

    Which brings me to this fool’s fool:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer

    Peter Singer is the “Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University”, ROTFL!

    I’m sure “Planned” Parenthood waxes philosophical at this ass’s name!

  10. Curley says:

    fetus and mother have different DNA = not your body anyway. I’ve always found that argument ridiculous.

  11. APX says:

    she says she must re-take the course..why is this because she was graded, um, “accordingly”?

    It’s a possibility. I had a 3.8 GPA in her ethics class last semester, so I have been suspicious about my grades all semester.

    The most annoying part is that she’s a very vocal Catholic at school so she’s creating scandal.

  12. Maltese says:

    As a side-note, and as a pro-life attorney who was involved in the pro-life movement in New Mexico, I was referred to a very young couple being pressured to have an abortion; I counseled them. After some months of very minor counseling, the dad actually knocked on my door, and when I opened he was almost in tears thanking me for the gift of his daughter! You can’t make this kind of stuff up! He thought I saved his daughter’s nascent life (and maybe I did; and if I’m making this up, I’m a horse’s ass!). It’s one of the proudest moments in my 40+- years of life!

  13. Agnes says:

    Once, I was in trouble. But one of the moments that saved my unborn daughter from abortion was the reaction to the pregnancy by her grandmother. Mom embraced me and scolded me at the same time, and told me that my daughter was “the fruit of my womb.” My body – not my body – but the fruit of my body. And despite being in trouble, I do not regret this fruit, this person endowed with body and soul who is not a miniature mixture of me and her father, but a unique and independent individual whom I dearly love.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Margaret Sanger.

  14. Discipulus Humilis says:

    The natural interpretation of the diagram is that there are two bodies, one of the child and one of the mother. No truth has been lost. Upon conception the child has a soul, and presumptively the soul informs a body. What matter that soul informs is the child’s body, and not the mother’s,

    In some sense we may say that the child’s body derives from his mother’s, but it would not be correct to aggregate the two and say that there is one “pregnant body.” This would imply that there is one form, whereas we know by faith that there are two. The Pelosi theory says otherwise, but I would think it to be scant authority against the doctrine of the Church.

    As a corollary, since a man is his body and his soul, it seems that a mother and her child have two identities, since each has a body and a soul. That is, unless there is some novel teaching that two distinct people may share an identity.

  15. Discipulus Humilis says:

    I understand the success of these simple graphics & msg, but… The glory of woman is that a pregnant body is the sum of 2 lives joined for 9 mos. Separate identities are an illusion. Stopping abortion is priority #1; however, let’s not simplify so much that truth is lost.

    The natural interpretation of the diagram is that there are two bodies, one of the child and one of the mother. No truth has been lost. Upon conception the child has a soul, and presumptively the soul informs a body. What matter that soul informs is the child’s body, and not the mother’s,

    In some sense we may say that the child’s body derives from his mother’s, but it would not be correct to aggregate the two and say that there is one “pregnant body.” This would imply that there is one form, whereas we know by faith that there are two. The Pelosi theory says otherwise, but I would think it to be scant authority against the doctrine of the Church.

    As a corollary, since a man is his body and his soul, it seems that a mother and her child have two identities, since each has a body and a soul. That is, unless there is some novel teaching that two distinct people may share an identity.

    Fr. Z: I messed up my tags on the earlier post. Sorry about that.

  16. Clinton says:

    This notion of body as mere ‘meat machine’ that hauls the soul also affects the views folks
    have regarding death and the treatment of the body. Witness some of the reactions people
    had to the recent exhumation and public veneration of the body of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
    I’ve spoken with people who were aghast to see the photos of prelates kissing the coffin of
    the late Pope as it was removed from the crypt. “Are all Catholics mentally ill?” was
    a question I actually heard.

    After a loved one has died, the body is the only part we have left to us. It’s not a soiled kleenex
    to be tossed away. Those were the hands that held us, the eyes that saw us. That body received
    the Sacraments and held the Body of Christ in Holy Communion. That body is still part of the
    person we love. I am amazed that a person who would never part with a mere photo of a loved
    one would consent to have their loved one’s actual body treated like hazardous waste, something
    creepy that no longer matters.

    I also think that the notion of one’s body as mere ‘meat machine’ makes it easy to deny the
    full humanity of those who are close either to birth or to death.

  17. Maltese says:

    Agnes, very nice testimony! And you will have someone to love, and be loved by, for the rest of your life!

  18. Scott W. says:

    If an innocent child became trapped on your property, and had to be fed for nine months before carefully being extracted, that would not confer upon you the right to shoot her as a trespasser. “Owner” does not mean, and never has meant, “I am the demi-God of this patch of dirt and whatever I say is law within these fences”. It doesn’t mean that about your house. And it doesn’t mean that about your body.

  19. benedetta says:

    Scott W., I hear that one pretty often — the fetus as trespasser, or as tumorous cancer. That’s always a fun one to debate.

    Also recently have heard citation to Jewish teaching/tradition that says that it is morally acceptable to kill the fetus in order to preserve the mother. Have heard this argument not to justify abortion in extremely limited circumstances but to justify access at any stage for any/no reason. Also have heard this argument used to show that in a religious plurality there are many viewpoints and that the “Christian” interpretation (which is of course not solely a Christian one) should not rule out.

    And then there is this tiny number of so-called “Clergy for Choice” and supposedly Christian ministers using their status to “bless” abortions…

    It’s all interesting, this odyssey of justifications and excuses, but, still, why not err on the side of life? If we can require citizens to recycle, to protect animals, then, we can ask citizens to protect the human life of its citizenry. Environmental regulations do not cite God’s commandments and the Christian Law of Love as basis but because in some sense “it is the right thing for a nation to do”.

  20. Maltese has suffered for being on the side of life. But, like so many others on that side, Maltese refers to those who are pro-abortion as ‘pro-choicers’. The term ‘pro-choice’ in this context is insidious and I think we should make the choice never to use it when it means ‘pro-abortion’. Those who describe themselves as ‘pro-choice’ are pro-abortion. They should not be allowed to distort language as this distorts the truth.

    God bless you, Maltese, and your family!

  21. EWTN Rocks says:

    Fr. Z, I don’t disagree with what you say in your post, especially as it relates to a baby’s right to life, but for the sake of discussion I have a question concerning this statement:

    “If we are not really our bodies, if our bodies are things we can treat any way it pleaseth us to treat them, abuse or drug or harm or kill or use for illicit pleasures, because – after all – its mine and I can use it as I want, then… someone else can abuse your body or drug it or harm it or kill it or use it for illicit pleasures because – after all – its just a object to be used.”

    Based on the concept of free will, can’t we can abuse our bodies, take harmful drugs, or use them for illicit pleasures, and through the grace of God be forgiven for our sins? Secondly, if one should choose to do one or more of these acts, in essence objectify his or her body, I don’t think it necessarily means that someone else can do the same. I’m not advocating any of these acts – just trying to understand…

  22. kplus says:

    @ EWTN Rocks
    (not wanting to displace any reply Fr. Z. may wish to make)

    Perhaps Deut. 30. 19 might help?
    “I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live: ”

    We always have the choice between life and death, but the options are not morally equivalent. One of the gravest modernist heresies is that all choices are equally valid – unless you disagree with the modernists!

    On forgiveness, perhaps someone more learned could comment on the vision of Sr. Faustina and Divine Mercy. Generally though, isn’t the unforgivable sin the one that is not confessed?

  23. Laura R. says:

    Fr. Sean Coyle, I agree that “pro-choice” should not be used by or for those who are in fact pro-abortion. Also, from what I have read, many young women are pressured into having abortions by their families and/or boyfriends; so much for any real “choice” in such situations.

  24. Maria says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for opening up this post. It is invaluable to those of us who are on the journey away from disrespecting ourselves through abuse and so forth.
    Some of the comments on here have been very enlightening and to quote part of what Clinton has said on his post:

    “After a loved one has died, the body is the only part we have left to us. It’s not a soiled kleenex
    to be tossed away. Those were the hands that held us, the eyes that saw us. That body received
    the Sacraments and held the Body of Christ in Holy Communion.”

    This will remain with me now forever imprinted onmy heart,
    Thank you.

  25. benedetta says:

    I just wanted to alert other readers that this might be an opportune time to contact their representatives in Washington. This link may be helpful:

    http://takeaction.aul.org/action/

  26. EWTN Rocks says:

    Kplus,

    Deut. 30. 19 does help – thanks. I also found 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which I like “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”