4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Why must Catholics oppose abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, fetal stem cell research and other practices that intentionally take innocent human life? First off, because human life is “sacred.” We talk about the “sanctity” of every human life, but what makes it sacred? What makes the life of a drug dealer or a street hustler sacred? He or she is sacred because they were made in the image of God. Sin may have obscured a person’s likeness to God, but every human being possesses the image of her or his Creator. That image remains. Furthermore, if the person has been baptized, they have also become a temple (dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit. Their lives are sacred in God’s eyes and should be in ours as well. If for that reason the lives of even criminals and sinners are sacred, who can doubt the sanctity of a developing human being still in a mother’s womb - the most innocent and defenseless of all human life.

Opposition to abortion and other life-threatening moral acts need not be motivated by mere religious or theological principles. Science affirms that human life begins at conception. Le1 undisturbed a fertilized human egg will develop and grow into what we call a baby; it will not become an ostrich or a fish or a cat. It becomes, at the moment of conception, a developing human being. If the preborn are human beings, which both science and theology affirm, no justification for abortion is morally adequate. To argue otherwise would demand a justification for ending the life of a toddler or any born human in similar circumstances. Could anyone justify taking the life of six month old whose father suddenly abandons his unemployed mother, in order to ease the mother’s budget or prevent the child from growing up in poverty? Would we dismember a young preschooler if there were indications she might grow up in an abusive home? If the preborn are indeed human beings,we have a social duty to find compassionate ways to support women, that do not require the death of one in order to solve the problems of the other.

As Catholics, we know that almost every parish has within it men and women who sometime in their past, recent or distant, were involved in the procurement of an abortion. For the woman, an unexpected pregnancy might have come at a most challenging time in her life. O1en the man who impregnated her refused to take responsibility for his actions and likely encouraged, even sometimes coerced, her into “fixing the problem.” The woman, o1en emotionally fragile and feeling alone, sometimes found li8le support from family and sadly, instead of compassion and mercy, may have found only judgment and condemnation from her local church. The sin of abortion is unfortunately not uncommon today. We, the members of Christ’s Church, are called to recognize abortion and other life-threatening moral choices as grave evils and to actively work to prevent them from occurring. At the same time, as instruments of Christ’s love and mercy, we are to reach out to assist those who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy and to be compassionate and forgiving to those who have been involved in the procurement of abortions or similar evils, but now seek reconciliation and healing.

This past week Catholics and others of good will from across Kansas gathered in Topeka for the annual Pro-life Mass and march to the capital. On January 21st thousands marched on the West Coast in support of life and this past Friday countless people from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life to protest the abomination of abortion on demand in our nation. Please pray that the spiritual blindness that enables so many in our land to accept the evil of abortion might be li1ed and that all will come to recognize the intrinsic value of every human life. Ask the Lord to place on your heart a clear understanding of what your role should be in comba?ng the Culture of Death and helping to build a Culture of Life.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,

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