Let's renew our commitment to defend all human life Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

Pablo Casals, the great cellist and conductor, gazed at a baby and exclaimed, "You are unique. In the millions of years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at your body; what a wonder it is! Your exquisite legs, your arms, your cunning little fingers. You may become another Shakespeare, Michelangelo, or Beethoven."

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, whose feast we celebrated on October 1, believed that people of her time feared God too much. She couldn't understand how anyone could fear God, who came to us as a tiny helpless baby.

And yet, today there seem to be some who fear babies more than God.

Since January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion in our country, there have been more than 58 million abortions. In response, the United States bishops have set aside October as Respect Life Month.

Respect Life Month

Beginning October 4, Respect Life Sunday, our nation's Catholics were called to renew their personal commitment to defend ALL human life.

The Church offers education, prayer, service, and advocacy regarding respect for life.

In no. 2270 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life."

I remember showing a movie in which a wife proudly told her husband, "Honey, I'm eating for two now!" It was a cute, creative way of announcing that she was carrying their precious child in her womb. How good she would be to herself and their priceless baby!

Life is a civil right

In the May 2, 2015, issue of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated that respect for life is part of the civil rights movement. She said, "Abortion is not a civil right, rather life is a civil right."

Alveda’s husband encouraged her to have two abortions. She became pregnant a third time and was ready to abort.

Martin Luther King, Sr., her grandfather, told her, "Baby, they (Planned Parenthood) are lying to you. That's not a lump of flesh. That's my great-grandchild."

She decided to give birth. After Alveda was "reborn" in 1983, she became an active member of the pro-life movement.

In no. 2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and political authority.

"These human rights depend neither upon single individuals nor on parents. Nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state. They belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights, one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death. The law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."

Rejecting the 'throwaway culture'

On November 25, 2014, in Strasbourg, France, Pope Francis urged European leaders to reject a "throwaway culture" that treats people like "cogs in a machine" too easily discarded through abortion and euthanasia.

Pope Francis warned, "Whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms, as in the case of the terminally ill, the elderly who are abandoned and uncared for, and children who are killed in the womb."

On September 20, 2013, in a talk to a group of Catholic doctors, Pope Francis condemned the "throwaway culture" abortion promotes. He stated "Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the world's rejection."

How we can help

We can assist the pro-life movement by donating funds or assisting crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life groups.

We can encourage our senators, representatives, and other politicians to vote pro-life.

We can read pro-life magazines and newsletters in order to educate ourselves about abortion.

We can pray that God will change the hearts of those who perform abortions.

We can participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign and witness to life outside abortion clinics.

We can donate maternity clothes to pro-life organizations or crisis pregnancy centers.

St. John Paul II stressed that children are the hope of the future. If their lives are snuffed out in the womb, however, unborn babies have no earthly future.

The battle for their rights continues to be long and hard. But the unborn are so precious that Christ would have died for even one of them or one of us.

Let's pray daily for the grace of perseverance and continue to speak for those who cannot speak or choose for themselves.

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.