A History of the Christian Church’s Witness against Abortion

 

“A Love for Life”
By Dennis DiMauro
Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 144 pages

Reviewed by Laura Echevarria

loveforlifebookreEditor’s note. This book review appeared in the September 2008 issue of National Right to Life News and is today’s installment in our year-long “Roe at 40” series. As we approach Christmas, how could there be a much better example of enduring NRL News stories than this overview of the Christian Church’s witness against abortion?

While reading Dennis DiMauro’s book, “A Love for Life,” I kept thinking, “I wish I had this the years I was director of Media Relations for National Right to Life.”

Mr. DiMauro’s book about Christianity and abortion would have been of great use to my department. We would often receive calls from individuals or reporters interested in the views of abortion by religious denominations. While we did have denominational statements available through National Right to Life or our friends at the National Pro-Life Religious Council, Mr. DiMauro’s book is brilliant in its simplicity and would have been of great help.

Dennis DiMauro knows the issue of abortion and the positions of various denominations well. He is the secretary of the National Pro-Life Religious Council and president of Northern Virginia Lutherans for Life. He is also a doctoral student in church history at the Catholic University of America. He knows and understands the history and views of the various denominations on the abortion issue and, through his book, does a great service for anyone interested in abortion and religion.

Experts in the field sing the praises of “A Love for Life.” No higher source of praise for a book of this nature is Michael J. Gorman, author of the brilliant examination of “Abortion and the Early Church.”

“In this brief but comprehensive and well-researched book, Dennis DiMauro traces the history of the Christian church’s pro-life position, born from its Scriptures and theologically consistent until the latter part of the twentieth century,” Dr. Gorman writes. “DiMauro also demonstrates that the pro-life position represents the majority of the Christian world, even as he points to powerful pro-life voices within Christian traditions that are currently pro-choice. Christian people and churches on all sides of the abortion debate need to grapple seriously with these realities, and the first step in doing so is to read this book.”

Adds Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, “Up until now, you might have thought you knew the outstanding Christian tradition in defense of children in the womb. But that was before you picked up this book.”

Mr. DiMauro begins by condensing church history on the issue, the views of major theologians since the Reformation, and then explains the distorted views of pseudo-religious groups such as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Mr. DiMauro then moves on to the background, history, and present status of the abortion issue in each of the major Christian denominations in the United States. He even helpfully provides the readers with the official statements of each denomination in the appendices.

Mr. DiMauro examines the positions held by modern denominations in the United States beginning in the 1960s the years immediately preceding Roe v. Wade and following through to the present. Interwoven are highlighted quotes from a variety of sources including those from individuals well known within (and without) their denominations and religious affiliations.

Mr. DiMauro concludes with an appeal to “pro-choice” Christians who may read his book. He quotes Methodist theologian Stanley Hauerwas who once said, “Abortion is not about the law, but about what kind of people we are to be as the Church and as Christians.”

Do yourself a big favor and purchase A Love for Life. It can be purchased at many book stores, at Amazon.com, or from the publisher.