Why, no, Marquette did not present a CATHOLIC viewpoint on the matter. In fact the supposedly "pro-life" rep, one Prof. Conor Kelly, ran a category-error line past the audience.
Because the Catholic Church is unable to pinpoint the exact moment personhood begins, Kelly said the church has developed an assumption that human life begins at the moment of conception. He said this is to protect all potential human life.Kelly is manufacturing an argument in the Jesuitical Fashion, of course. "Personhood" is not now, nor was it EVER, relevant to the question of the beginning of life. The question of "ensoulment", however, is open to discussion. Kelly may not know the difference, which speaks volumes on its own.
“In theology, there’s an ongoing conversation about how to identify exactly when personhood begins as a better way of describing not just life in the biological sense, but life in the moral sense,” Kelly said. “The Catholic Church says it doesn’t know when life begins in the sense of personhood.”
That said, the Church's position is the essence of Prudence. Since "ensoulment" is not defined, the prudent thing is to assume "ensoulment at conception."
Let's run the argument a different way. Let's say that Prof. Kelly is lying in the street having been hit by a car. He's seriously injured with obvious compound fractures and he's bleeding profusely. He's not breathing, either.
Well!! Since he looks and acts dead, and we don't KNOW if he's alive, we'll just walk past him and call 911. It would be inconvenient to try to rescue this guy, and might be expensive, too. Fuggedaboudit. (That's Kelly's position.)
The Church's position? DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO SAVE THIS LIFE: commence CPR, tourniquet the bleeds, and call 911.
One hopes that Kelly will never be subject to his own logic, of course.
One more question: where in Hell was Fr. J D Laurance, head of MU campus ministry?