In place of my usual weekly article, the following excerpts are from an essay by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, CEO and President of Canada’s Salt and Light Media Foundation:
Being Pro-life is one of the deepest expressions of our baptism: we stand up as sons and daughters of the light, clothed in humility and charity, filled with conviction, speaking the truth to power with firmness, conviction and determination, and never losing joy and hope. Being Pro-Life is not an activity for a political party or a particular side of the spectrum. It is an obligation for everyone: left, right and center! If we are Pro-Life, we must engage the culture around us, and not curse it. We must see others as Jesus does, and we must love them to life, even those who are opposed to us. To March for Life in Washington and in many other cities of the world means that we stand up for all human life, and we do not have a myopic view of the cause of life. Being pro-life in this day and age is truly prophetic, and it will bring about authentic development and enduring peace in our world.
The burning issues of the promotion of human life, from conception to natural death, must be high on the agenda of every human being on every side of the political spectrum. They are not only the concern of the far right of the political spectrum. Many people, blinded by their own zeal and goodness, have ended up defeating the very cause for which we must all defend with every ounce of energy in our flesh and bones. What is wrong with abortion, euthanasia, embryo selection, and embryonic research is not the motives of those who carry them out. So often, those motives are, on the surface, compassionate: to protect a child from being unwanted, to end pain and suffering, to help a child with a life-threatening disease. But in all these cases, the terrible truth is that it is the strong who decide the fate of the weak; human beings therefore become instruments in the hands of other human beings.
Today we live in the midst of a culture that denies human solidarity and takes the form of a veritable “culture of death.” This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents that encourage an idea of society exclusively concerned with efficiency. It is a war of the powerful against the weak. There is no room in the world for anyone who, like the unborn or the dying, is a weak element in the social structure, or anyone who appears completely at the mercy of others and radically dependent on them and can only communicate through the silent language of profound sharing of affection. Human life has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. There is no question that abortion is the most serious wound inflicted not only on individuals and their families who should provide the sanctuary for life, but inflicted as well on society and its culture, by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders.
In Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” (On the Call to Holiness), he challenges each of us who consider ourselves to be “Pro-Life.”
“Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”
Let us never forget to reflect upon what we do as individuals and as a community as we stand up for life – ALL human life. Building a culture of life and ending abortion is the duty and obligation each and every person. But (t)he litmus test for being pro-life is not only attending rallies or marches during the year in major cities of the world. The real test is what we do for life the remaining 364 days of the year, and what efforts, great and small, do we embrace to consistently and systematically oppose any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, violations of human dignity, and coercions of the will. All of these things and more poison human society. We must strive for a strong, consistent ethic for life.
Our common home has become a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.
May these powerful words of Pope Francis be a guiding light and source of instruction, inspiration, consolation and hope to the people of our country as we march for life and defend human life – from conception to natural death – from womb to tomb. May the beatitudes compel us to move forward with boldness and courage, as we welcome, love and protect the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable among us.