On speaking truthfully and serving moms in need — ‘Evangelium Vitae’ at 25
The above quote from St. John Paul II was published in 1995, when the 4D ultrasound was not yet available, when Roe v. Wade’s pathological assault on truth was just 22 years old.
Just this month, on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, a prominent politician threatened two sitting justices with a “whirlwind” for upholding challenges to the abortion stronghold in our country. Nearby, a large placard prominently placed for the cameras stated, “Protecting Abortion Access is a Catholic Value.”
This is a lie. This is a damned lie. Damned because such a twisting of the truth, one of many produced by a culture of death, can only come from the pit of hell. In the same section of “The Gospel of Life,” St. John Paul II continues, “In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is right on the mark: ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness’ (Is 5:20)”.
Access to homicide of our most innocent brothers and sisters is a Catholic value? Nothing could be further from the truth. Any candidate for office believing or asserting such a twisted lie is malevolent and/or confused on a fundamental level; any Catholic candidate doing the same is a Judas of our day.
Catholic Response #1: Stand in the Truth; Uncover the Lie
Judas Iscariot, and any of us who follow the lies of the one who was “a liar from the beginning,” Satan, seeking to make ourselves “like gods” who arbitrate life and death and destiny, have no power to subvert the ultimate plan of God, but we are given the free will to destroy life and dignity, including our own.
This month, March 25, the Feast of the Incarnation of Christ — also known as the Feast of the Annunciation — marks the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “The Gospel of Life,” which has proven to be prophetic. Far more than a mere reiteration of what the Church has continually taught, “The Gospel of Life” offers an all-encompassing understanding of what it means to live and to be stewards and defenders of human life. I encourage every person reading this article to take up “The Gospel of Life” and read it this year. It is full of both charity and clarity.
Jesus, who died to destroy death and rose again to restore life, taught us that every human life is a gift, and by His example demonstrated that no child, woman or man is outside of His concern as their Creator and Savior. Christian disciples who truly believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all, in every age, refuse to fall for the lies that are ever ancient and ever new. Indeed, true disciples clearly call them out and shine on them the light of Christ, in which lies lose their power to deceive. Let this be our response in our time!
Catholic Response #2: Walking with Moms in Need — Year of Service
Also on March 25 of this year, we begin as Catholics a national year of service called “Walking with Moms in Need.” With Archbishop Joseph Naumann, our pro-life episcopal leader at the national level, I am very enthusiastic about the possibilities this year provides for our parishes to hearken and respond to the words of the Prophet Isaiah (1:10, 16-17) which we hear at Holy Mass each Lent:
“Hear the word of the Lord, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! … Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
Walking with Moms in Need
A Year of Service
Note two things from this passionate exhortation from the Prophet:
- Isaiah’s admonition to Israel was hundreds of years after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah historically, so Isaiah is driving home that the people of the day (and we) are living in corrupt times and in a dangerous place, in dire need of true repentance.
- The concrete sign of true repentance is whether the cries of orphans and widows are met with true compassion and assistance. That is the marker of whether God’s people have listened.
Who are the widows and orphans of our own time of material abundance and spiritual and moral poverty? In large numbers, they include especially the frightened woman in our parish whose unintended pregnancy seems an unbearable burden, the abandoned wife who faces sudden single motherhood, the teenager lured by lies and false compassion to the lobby of a Planned Parenthood facility, the woman tortured in her conscience after an abortion decision, the child in the foster care system without a family to care for him or her and, preeminently, the child before birth, who in abortion is murdered although “no one more absolutely innocent could ever be imagined” (GL, 58).
“Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?” asks Pope Francis in “Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)” 214, specifically in the context of the evil of abortion and its devastating impact on human dignity and society. Let it not be us. Let us not be small-souled and unresponsive, confused by the evil one. We are called to a renewal of our parish and diocesan efforts of “Walking with Moms in Need.”
I am currently in communication with the pastors of our Diocese, with pro-life and human dignity apostolate leaders regarding a fruitful approach to this call to service in our time. More information will come forth soon about this year of “Walking with Moms in Need.”