St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Choose life

As I said at Mass this weekend, if you are not able to march for life today, please say a prayer for life or offer a fast for life at some point today.

Following are excerpts from the homily Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl delivered January 22, 2007 at a Mass for Penance and Prayer, held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. …

The proclamation of the message of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of the gospel of life. When we ask, why does the Church struggle so hard to defend human life, the answer will be found, I believe, in what will be history’s reproach of this age that condones the single greatest moral plight in our nation since the days of slavery.

Have you ever wondered how the great atrocities of history came to be? How is it that there were concentration camps dedicated to the extermination of people? How could it be that slavery – the reduction of human beings to the status of property – was protected by law? How is it possible that the wholesale destruction of human life can be accepted by society? When we look at the magnitude of the evil we are dealing with, one wonders how such activities could be accepted by any people anywhere at any time.

Silence is the ally of atrocity. Sometimes the silence of individuals is compounded by the means of social communication. The full horror of what is taking place can be presented in a way that most people remain ignorant of what is really happening. Silence and ignorance are twin allies of atrocities.

Today we are confronted with the evil of abortion on demand. It is almost inconceivable that in a society which calls itself civilized it would be legal under the heading of “abortion” to kill a perfectly healthy, almost full-term child. That is what a partial-birth abortion is. In like manner, we should be appalled at how easily unborn human life is killed throughout this nation.

When all of the arguments surrounding the abortion issue are viewed rationally, honestly and calmly, they do not justify the final and drastic decision to take the life of an unborn child. In varying degrees there can be vexing, painful and pressing circumstances that call for a great deal of assistance, understanding, compassion and support, but they never justify the taking of the innocent life of the baby in the womb…

Why does the Church speak so strongly, consistently and persistently in defense of human life? Why are you – we – here this morning? We are present in order that unborn children, in the millions around this world, have someone to hold onto, someone to cling to, someone who will speak for and protect them.

As we observe the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand and removed the political consensus that sought to regulate this destructive human action, we must not lose sight of the fact that more that 1.5 million unborn children are killed each year in the United States alone.

What adds to the harm afflicted on our society by abortion is the concerted effort to make such violence acceptable. Through laws and public policy that justify the taking of human life solely because it is inconvenient to someone, we engender in the hearts of our people especially our young, the next generation, the idea that death is a solution to a problem. The lesson has been too well learned. Violence does beget violence.

As a society we are witnessing the fruits of the abortion mentality. The generation of people now entering their thirties has grown up hearing over and over again - in school, from teachers, politicians, courts, the media, movies, music, television and various personalities – that it is all right to kill if the life you take is still in the womb. Too many of our young people have accepted this message. Is it any wonder that we have created a culture of violence?...

The Book of Genesis teaches us that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:26). Who cannot believe that when you look on a newly born infant and realize his or her gifts, potential and future. We are challenged as Moses did so with the chosen people: Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live…” (Dt 30:19).

The Gospel of Jesus confirms the dignity of human life and its extraordinary destiny: I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10)…


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