This week it is my responsibility to address another solemn and sobering topic with you-the Pro-life cause.
The Bible and the Tradition of our faith both have a great deal to say about life and we could probably spend all day looking up references and investigating what they mean. The point, however, is that at its very core faith in Jesus is all about life and eternal life. So when we consider the Pro-life cause, the first thing that we have to realize is that it is a very normal and natural expression of the Christian faith. To be something other than in favor of life at any stage of its existence would thus be foreign to Christianity.
The next thing that we have to understand about the Pro-life cause is that it is a social justice issue. Often people differentiate doing good for our less fortunate brothers and sisters in the world from taking a stand to defend the unborn, but, if you really think about it, defending human life itself is an essential part working towards a more just society. In fact, it doesn’t actually make sense to be devoted to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc. while at the same time disregard or be little concerned with the fact that an even more fundamental human right-the human right to life-is severely violated every single day within our own country. Since the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, nearly 61 million babies have had their lives taken away from them unjustly in the United States alone. So if we care about working towards justice, we need to prioritize defending the inherent value of human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death without compromise.
Third, the many protests we hear against the Church’s teachings regarding the Pro-life cause are only rationalizations or excuses. The right to have stewardship/control over our bodies is still subject to the Law of God and God has said that the right to life is more important than our moral freedom to do as we please (Cf., the 5th Commandment: “Thou shall not kill”). Some have argued that they are simply striving towards “responsible” parenthood and should be allowed the option to terminate a pregnancy if their best judgment tells they are unprepared or now is not the time. But would a loving God ever permit something in our lives without giving us the grace to handle it? There are morally upright options available for someone who does not feel that they could do justice to parenthood at a given time. We must consider who is in charge of our lives. Is it us…or is it God? Is the taking of a child’s life really “responsible parenthood” or is it an expression of a lack of faith that God will provide for our needs? If we’ve been the victim of some great tragedy or misfortune, the true remedy is to look towards healing the wound(s) by God’s grace, not to pretend it never happened and try to hide its consequences.
I know that this is hard for many, but please know that while the Church’s teachings can seem challenging or perhaps even offensive to some, it not only teaches on God’s behalf about moral values but it also provides us with God’s grace and an abundance of practical resources to help us. There is Rachel’s Vineyard, counseling resources, the pastoral ministry of priests, an abundance of prayers for deliverance and healing, and many other blessings available. So, if we struggle or are suffering and feel unwelcome in the Church, we should really turn to it and seek its guidance and its help before we turn away. If we approach God and the Church with minds and hearts open to His will, God will always help us.
In Him, Fr. D