DPS was pointed toward a recent address by the Very Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, given at the University of Pennsylvania. In this well-argued defense of human life and liberty Archbishop Chaput summons the work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to illustrate his points.
He makes four primary points in his speech:
- We remember Bonhoeffer, Solzhenitsyn, and other men and women like them because of their moral witness. But the whole idea of “moral witness” comes from the assumption that good and evil are real, and that certain basic truths about humanity don’t change. These truths are knowable and worth defending. One of these truths is the notion of man’s special dignity as a creature of reason and will. Man is part of nature, but also distinct from it.
- The University of Pennsylvania is one our country’s premier research universities. That’s a great gift to the Philadelphia community. It’s also a great privilege for all of you as students, especially those specializing in the sciences. Science and technology have expanded human horizons and improved human life in vital ways over the last century. They’ve also, at times, done the opposite.
- God … is absent from the U.S. Constitution–but not because he’s unwelcome. In effect, God suffused the whole constitutional enterprise. Nearly all the Founders were religious believers, and some were quite devout. Their writings are heavily influenced by biblical language, morality, and thought.
- The pro-life movement needs to be understood and respected for what it is: part of a much larger, consistent, and morally worthy vision of the dignity of the human person. You don’t need to be Christian or even religious to be “pro-life.” Common sense alone is enough to make a reasonable person uneasy about what actually happens in an abortion. The natural reaction, the sane and healthy response, is repugnance.
You can Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s remarkable speech given at the 1978 Harvard Class Day HERE.