A Love for Life: An Introduction to Three Reviews

[1] Often, the Church of Jesus Christ — and especially its individual members scattered across the world, including its apostolic leadership — think and act as though we are absolutely adrift upon the high seas of cultural dislocation and unrest. In our ethical deliberations and in our pastoral reflection and practice, it sometimes appears as though we have been left abandoned by our Lord, unarmed and inadequate for the daunting task of facing a seemingly godless world in the postmodern age. In such times, we can be heartened by such recent giants of the faith as Joseph Sittler, Richard John Neuhaus, Jaroslav Pelikan and Pope John II whose testimony to the gospel of Jesus A Love for Life: Christianity’s Consistent Protection of the Unborn by Dennis R. di MauroChrist makes clear that such is not the case. According to the fifth-century Vincentian Canon, we can trust and truly rely upon that Faith…Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. (“What has everywhere, always, by all, been believed.”) The book under review here, A Love for Life: Christianity’s Consistent Protection of the Unborn, seeks to remind Christians of all stripes that there is a majestic heritage belonging to the church catholic, one that is essential for those wrestling with the issue of the sanctity of life, especially when thoughts turn to the aborting of innocent young life.

[2] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has had bequeathed to it a distinguished and eminently useful ethical heritage — from its predecessor bodies and in dialog with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod — and Dennis Di Mauro seeks to bring this treasure to the forefront of our collective consciousness, as well as elucidating the teaching of the whole Christian tradition on the issue of abortion. How well he pulls this off is the theme of the three reviews below. The reviews are followed by a brief response by the author.

[3] Dennis Di Mauro, author of the book under review, is a doctoral student in church history at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and has a long record of service in pro-life charities there and in Virginia. (Read Dennis Di Mauro’s response.)

[4] Dr. Rebecca Bartley Yarrison has her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma and Ph.D. from in philosophy and ethics from Rice University, along with a graduate certificate in the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. She teaches medical ethics at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, and has dealt with the ethics of abortion since her undergraduate days. (Read Rebecca Bartley Yarrison’s review.)

[5] The Rev. Larry Bailey has spent his ordained years as a pastor and educator. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1969; was ordained into the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in 1971; his calls include: St. Paul’s (Brooklyn; Atlantic District, LCMS, 1971-1976); Trinity (Lower East Side, Manhattan, LCMS, AELC, 1976-1979); Metropolitan New York Synod (to teaching ministry), Instructor, Our Saviour Lutheran School (The Bronx), 1979-1985; 1992-2009; Principal, Epiphany Lutheran School (Brooklyn, NY), 1985-1992. Retired: 2009. (Read Larry Bailey’s review.)

[6] The Rev. James M. Guill graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1977 with a double major in English and philosophy. He then attended Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his J.D. in 1980, he married Patti and practiced law for 13 years before becoming a postulant for Holy Orders. Graduating Cum Laude in 1996 from Nashotah House seminary in Wisconsin, he is the pastor of a small Anglo-Catholic parish in Nashville, Tennessee. They have three children. (Read James Guills review.)

Michael Shahan

Michael Shahan is Book Review Editor of Journal of Lutheran Ethics. A retired ELCA clergyman, Shahan does freelance writing from his Nashville home.