Helen Weir
Choose to promote a culture of life
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By Helen Weir
January 25, 2011

The United States of America was founded on the fundamental civic and spiritual recognition that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." With yet another Roe anniversary behind us, we are once again faced with the urgent question of how to get our country back to its bedrock principles.

Referencing the work of Father John Hardon, S.J., of happy memory, Father Joseph Redfern of St. Mary Parish in Altoona, Wisconsin, has recently pointed out that we are far from the first society with the blood of the innocents on our collective hands. Unless we want to follow a path that ultimately leads to self-destruction, there is no alternative for America but to return to the recognition and service of our Creator. What Roe v. Wade was to abortion, Obamacare will be to euthanasia, unless we turn our hearts to the true worship of Almighty God — every one of us, right now.



"CHOOSE TO PROMOTE A CULTURE OF LIFE"

Father Joseph Redfern

This weekend marks the 38th anniversary of the worst decision made by the Supreme Court in this land. On January 22nd, 1973, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decreed that "the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision" and that "the word person as used in the 14th Amendment [of the Constitution of the U.S.A.] does not include the unborn." [1]

What an unfortunate thing it is to find that we live in a society in which the baby in the womb is not protected with the same rights as any other human being. We see a failure here to recognize that, from the very moment of conception, a single human cell contains all the genetic information of a human being and, as such, is a human being, a being made in the image and likeness of God!

We hear in the Sacred Scriptures:

"Can a mother forget her infant, [or]
be without tenderness for the child in her womb?"
(Is. 15)

Unfortunately, many expectant mothers in our culture have been tricked into thinking thoughts such as 'it is just a clump of cells,' or 'it is only a potential human being'!

Abortion in the United States of America

At last count, 53.5 million direct abortions have taken place in this nation since 1973. That's an average of around 1.4 million a year!

Statistics show that 20% of all pregnancies that take place in this nation are terminated by direct abortion. For Hispanics, the rate is 41%. For African-Americans, the numbers are even worse: for every 1,000 African-American live births in New York there are 1,489 abortions. [2]

The culture of death is supported by all sorts of organizations. For instance, in 2008, Planned Parenthood alone made 324,008 abortion referrals compared to a mere 2,405 adoption referrals. [3]

Abortion in Human History

The practice of abortion did not begin with modern medicine, but had various forms throughout recorded history. In many ancient cultures, there was a sense that abortion violated the sacred and brought about divine punishment. [4]

Ancient Rome in the First Century A.D.

Unfortunately, not all ancient cultures took such a strong stand against abortion. For example, in the 1st century of the Christian era, the Roman Empire legalized contraception, abortion and infanticide.

According to Fr John Hardon, S.J., after a baby was born, it had to be inspected by the father of the family. If the father approved, the child remained alive. We note that every bed next to where the child was born had to have, by Roman law, a large container of water into which the child was to be drowned if the father did not want it. And, just for the record, most baby girls were drowned. [5]

Link between Abortion and Contraception

Fr John Hardon conducted a study of the link between abortion and contraception. He studied societies as far back as 3,000 years before the time of Christ. He found, without exception, that every society that used contraceptives also aborted babies! Throughout recorded human history, there has never been a contraceptive society which has not been an abortive society.

The link between abortion and contraception is obvious. Contraceptives, which are aimed at preventing the advent of new life, often fail. When they fail, people often resort to direct abortion. Statistics show that over 50 % of all surgical abortions take place due to failed contraception.

Let us be clear. If we really desire the end of abortion in this country, we have to get to one of the main causes of the problem. That is, we need to stop using contraceptives.

The Culture of Death

In his studies into the link between contraception and abortion, Fr Hardon found that the 20th century was the most violent century in human history by far. The first three quarters of the 20th century were periods of unprecedented war, violence and injustice. But the last quarter of the 20th century was even more murderous, with millions and millions of innocent babies killed in the womb through procured abortions.

The Infallible Teaching of the Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes the infallible teaching of the Church on abortion very clear:

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." [6]

"Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." [7]

We are called to promote a culture of life

To one degree or another, we have been a people who have walked in darkness and participated in the culture of death. But we have seen a great light, Who is Christ the Lord.

God, the origin of all life, calls us to promote a culture that recognizes the dignity of every single human person from the moment of conception to natural death.

There is much that we can do. Here are a few examples:

  1. Pray daily for the end of legalized abortion in this country. Pray the Rosary for the protection of innocent human life. Pray it in private and in union with others.

  2. Pray for those who have had one or more abortions. We hope they will have recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation, for God is rich in mercy.

  3. Pray for anyone who formally cooperates in abortions. Pray for their conversion. Many who were once killing babies in the womb are now doing what they can to save them!

  4. If you can, attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Some of our own parishioners are doing that this year.

  5. Contact the legislators to make sure that abortion and euthanasia are not included as 'benefits' in public health care.

  6. Be an informed Catholic. There are so many great resources out there that help us to know what the Church teaches on this. If you are informed, you will be able to help others to make the right decisions in life.

  7. Make an act of Total Consecration to the Immaculata. At the canonization of Maximillian Kolbe, on October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II said that "Father Maximilian Kolbe, himself being a prisoner in that place of death, defended the right to life of an innocent man. . . . Father Kolbe reaffirmed the Creator's exclusive right over innocent human life." [8]

The people of this nation are divided into one of two groups: 'pro choice' or 'pro life.' In the second reading today, St Paul invites us to "be united in the same mind and the same purpose" (1 Cor. 1:10). May we be united in promoting a culture that respects and protects the rights of the most innocent and delicate members of our community. That is, those who are currently living in the womb.

NOTES:

[1]  John A. Leies, Handbook on Critical Life Issues, 2010, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia, p. 87

[2]  William McGurn, "Are babies better than abortions?" Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2011.

[3]  Ibid

[4]  Leies, Handbook on Critical Life Issues, p. 83

[5]  Fr John Hardon, S.J., Contraception: The Devil's Work, Pro-Life Wisconsin. Educational Task Force.

[6]  Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2270

[7]  Ibid, 2271

[8]  See www.marytown.com for more info on Kolbean consecration — the same concept as De Montfort consecration, only with the "apostolic dimension" added

© Helen Weir

 

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