Being pro-life: Continue to speak for the unborn
Fr. Don Lange
Editor's note: The following guest editorial was written by Fr. Don Lange, a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison. I share his beliefs and agree wholeheartedly with his reflections on the 33rd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
Occasionally we may encounter situations which challenge or support the church's teaching that human life begins at conception.
For example, a few years ago I noticed on the back of a car a sticker that read: "Pro-choice: End Back Street Abortions. Protect Women's Right to Choose!" Directly above it was another sticker which read something like this: "Support Traditional Morality: End Alcohol Abuse."
As I stared at the stickers, I wondered how the owner of the car could support traditional morality in one area and support pro-choice in another area. Perhaps the car had two owners or its owner had cafeteria moral positions.
Unchanged teaching. Why do I bring this up? The pro-life position is traditional morality. In paragraph 2271 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is stated that since the first century, the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. According to the Catechism, this teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.
Many years ago in a former college biology classroom at a school I attended, two fifth or sixth grade school girls wandered into our nearly empty classroom before class began. For some reason, many biology displays still remained in the classroom. One girl stopped quickly when she spotted a (presumably miscarried) fetus in a jar.
"Look! A baby. Come over here and see the baby!" she shouted excitedly to her friend. Her friend hurried over to see the baby.
It struck me as incongruous that grade school girls could recognize the fetus as a baby while some adults with much more education fail to do so. "And a little child shall lead them."
No right to choose. Statistics on aborted babies can cause us to question whether being pro-choice really gives the woman the right to choose. Over half of the babies who are aborted each year are females. And they have no chance to choose life.
Nor do aborted male babies. Someone else must choose for them.
In recent years I have been amazed how technology enables doctors to treat babies in the womb in order to save their lives. I am also awed at how parents can see pictures of their unborn baby and listen to his or her heartbeat. In the words of Samuel Morse, "What hath God wrought?"
January 22 is the 33rd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that has made abortion on demand both legal and accessible to any woman who can afford to pay for it. The Roe vs. Wade decision robbed the unborn baby of its rights and gave them to his or her parent (or parents), especially to the mother.
Scripture, tradition, and natural law. In paragraph 2270 the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of 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." The unborn have the same right to life as we do.
The church's pro-life teaching is based upon Scripture and upon its 1900-plus year tradition of opposing abortion. In the encyclical The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II wrote, "All human beings from their mother's womb belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos, and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow."
The church's pro-life position is also based upon natural law, the divine law written in our hearts and knowable by human reason. The natural law speaks to persons of good will and other Christians who also receive support from Scripture. The natural law can help them and us to understand that human life is special among all creation and should not be violated by abortion. It is self evident.
Champion rights of the unborn. As January 22 approaches, we who receive the gift of life must continue to champion the rights of the unborn who have the same natural right to life as we do. We must also keep respecting the value of human life at all levels across the board.
As church, we must be ready to support and help women who find themselves in difficult circumstances to choose life. The battle against abortion will be long and hard, but the lives of the unborn who cannot speak for themselves are worth it. May we continue to speak for them.
Fr. Don Lange
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Likes suggestions about use
of cathedral property
To the editor:
Patrick McDonald's ideas about the St. Raphael's property sound like a wonderful solution to a painful reality (Mailbag, January 12). Having a homeless shelter with a chapel would be a wonderful mission and use of that space that has seen over 150 years of Catholic presence.
Having attended St. Raphael's grade school, which was the beginning of a life long love of the church for me, my heart would choose rebuilding the church there. However, we do not have the priests or the numbers of parishioners to warrant having three churches within blocks of the Capitol.
Although there are people moving into the downtown area, the newer properties indicate it will be mostly affluent and older adults. St. Patrick's is a beautiful church and could well
accommodate the Catholics in the downtown area . . . and people would also have the option of the University Catholic Center.
Fr. Jason Hesseling and Fr. Larry Bakke's suggestions that the cathedral be in one of the "larger, dynamic parishes . . . " is a very important consideration. Choosing an existing parish with those qualities and a school could be an exciting and viable answer.
It would most likely require some capital to change a church to a cathedral, but much less than building a new church - and the needy would be cared for at the site of the previous cathedral.
Patricia Butler, Madison
Governor wrong to veto legislation on fetal pain
To the editor:
Our "Catholic" governor, Jim Doyle, just vetoed a very important pro-life piece of legislation recently passed at the Capitol. The bill mandated doctors to disclose to women seeking late term abortions that their babies may suffer pain from the grisly procedure that takes their lives.
Of course these unborn babies will feel great pain as they are brutally dismembered. Their nervous systems are fully developed and most of these abortions involve healthy, viable preborns.
Governor Doyle has often bragged about his championing a woman's absolute right to kill her developing baby right up until its birth is imminent. He has a very warped conscience, in my opinion, and needs to be soundly defeated if he ever runs for re-election.
I belong to no political party but supporting a candidate like Jim Doyle would make anyone a party to abortion. Keep that in mind this November when you go to the polls to cast your ballot.
Timothy Peter Rookey, Middleton
Veto disregards rights, truth
To the editor:
Mr. Blum, Glen Haven, is absolutely right (Mailbag, December 29). The governor's veto of the concealed carry bill is a political move that takes into account neither the rights of the people (to self-defense) nor the truth (that crime has dropped where concealed carry is legal).
This governor belongs to the party that does not respect the right to life nor the other inalienable rights of the people. To leaders of this party, the "Bill of Rights" means nothing. Therefore, the governor will continue to take away our rights whenever he can. It is too bad more people cannot see through the lies, learn the truth, and vote politicians into office who will respect our rights and fight to defend them.
Loren Bausch, Lancaster
Pray for decision reversal
To the editor:
As the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade approaches, in lieu of all Catholics being able to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., wouldn't it be appropriate for all Catholic churches in the U.S.A. to include a petition for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade through the power of the Holy Spirit at all weekend Masses and continue until the day of its reversal? All Catholics should believe that the Holy Spirit can influence the minds and wills of federal administrators, senators, representative, and judges.
Charles J. Sippel, Waterloo