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October 26, 2012 10:01 AM Deus vult!

By Mark Kleiman

Richard Mourdock’s moral theology leaves Jeremy Paretsky, O.P., Professor of Scripture at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, unimpressed. Fr. Paretsky writes:

There is a problem with people using theological language loosely, in that the principles tacitly invoked can come back to bite them in the ass. Specifically, to say that anything that happens is by God’s will says everything and nothing: it says no more than that creation as such exists by the will of God, who in a single act incorporates all contingencies. Will is confused with desire, which is a function of the human will. No distinction is made between God’s providential will (whereby he cares for creation) and permissive will (whereby contingencies are incorporated into that care). To say that life begun by rape is God’s will fails to make this distinction. It is equally true by the same loose use of language to say that abortion subsequent to rape is also God’s will. And for that matter any inanity uttered by a politician is also God’s will, a contingency which I hope the Almighty will take into account in his providential will for us all.

Just imagine for a moment a reporter asking Mourdock, “Congressman, if a woman has an abortion, is that also God’s will?” But I doubt I’ve lived a holy enough life to deserve such a supreme moment of uncovenanted grace. And neither have you, sinner!

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.
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