On Wednesday (10/10/07), Tim Rutten, media columnist for the Los Angeles Times, gave a glowing review to the latest book from anti-Catholic "Catholic" Garry Wills. Wills' new book is Head and Heart: American Christianities. In the book Wills addresses the issue of abortion. Rutten allies with Wills to spread an egregious falsehood about the Catholic Church. Rutten:
Once again, Wills' deep mastery of the primary sources and his respect for them as a believer himself lend his argument a compelling authority. He points out that Catholic opposition to abortion is a recent development.
"Catholic opposition to abortion is a recent development"?? No way. In fact, had either Wills or Rutten taken the 15 seconds to look inside a copy the Catechism (that's if either of them even own one), they would have seen (emphasis mine), "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable" (2271).
The Catechism passage is also footnoted with sources. They include the Didache, a treatise that has been dated as early as the middle of the first century. It says,
"The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child." (Didache 2:1-2)
And those are just the ones cited by the Catechism. There are several other early sources that illustrate the Church's early opposition to abortion. See a list of these sources at "Abortion" from Catholic Answers. (Here's another: "A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder. And any fine distinction as to its being completely formed or unformed is not admissible among us." St. Basil the Great (~ 374-375 A.D.) (source).)
Wills is simply wrong, and Rutten perpetuates the falsehood.
Rutten's citing Wills as a "believer" is also laughable. Garry Wills claims himself to be "Catholic" in the same manner James Carroll does. Wills calls himself Catholic although, as one observer has noted, he wields a "profound" rejection of the basic tenets of the faith. Wills supports abortion rights, artificial contraception, and women's ordination. Meanwhile, he rejects and/or denies papal infallibility, papal authority, and the Real Presence in the Eucharist. (Source below.) In other words, Wills is not a follower of the Catholic Church. He's a follower of the Church of Garry Wills. Check out this shredding of Wills' 2000 book, Papal Sin: "Papal Sin is Palpable Nonsense," by Robert P. Lockwood, Catholic League Director of Research.