Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A last small gift

Fr. Frank Pavone (of Priests for Life) has asked officials for after-trial custody of the remains of the forty-five infants killed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his staff, whose deaths are the subject of the current murder case that will soon go to jury. Fr. Pavone wants to give the infants a decent burial, as human beings deserve.

I have no idea whether he'll succeed. But I do think it's an artful move, in that it draws fresh attention to the fundamental issue of the humanity of these small and helpless victims.

I hope that every American of goodwill can agree that (1) these infants, whether killed in utero or after delivery, were members to some degree of the human race, and (2) the natural virtue that I hope we can still call "common" decency leads us to grant them the respect of a burial fitting for human beings.

We don't really need to settle the Great Question of whether these infants were full-fledged "persons" with an absolute right to decent treatment of their remains. We only have to agree that we, the living, have enough human pity and generosity left in us to grant these forty-five dead creatures, whatever their precise legal and philosophical status may be, the tiny last gift of a respectful interment.

Maybe they have a right to it. Maybe they don't. But can't we just let someone give them that gift?