The Culture of Death and the Gift of Life

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Abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in America.  This past weekend, 250,000 people gathered in Washington, DC and millions elsewhere in the world for a Women’s March which had as part of its platform abortion rights among many other issues affecting the lives of women and families.  This coming weekend, hundreds of thousands will gather for the March for Life in Washington, DC and elsewhere to pray and advocate for the end to abortion. 

Since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1973, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported over 50 million legal abortions in our country. Fortunately, the number of abortions in the USA is declining.  Since peaking at over 1.4 million in 1990, the number by 2013 had declined by more than half, to under 700,000.

Anyone who has had to counsel a woman who is considering abortion or has heard the confession of a woman who has had one will begin to appreciate what a wrenching decision it is.  The anxiety and even the depression of a mother who can barely feed, clothe and raise her children and is facing the prospect of bringing another into the family are real; and so is the life within her.

We live in a world and in a nation where the Culture of Death seems to reign and human life is cheap and expendable:  where civilians killed in the midst of war are considered “collateral damage;” where workers are exploited and exposed to dangerous and even deadly working conditions for the sake of profit; where migrants fleeing war and poverty are considered burdens and threats; where drought, flooding and other manifestations of climate change are far from abstract or speculative; where someone can be killed over a trash-talking tweet or Facebook post.  In a world in which we so often fail to love and reverence the lives of the brothers and sisters we can see it is not surprising that we fail to do so for those whom we cannot see. 

Yesterday our community at St. Clare Friary in Chicago celebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life.  We prayed that through the intercession of our high priest, Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we would grow in reverence for the gift of life and in our determination to protect and nurture it—both in the womb and outside of it.  We can only overcome the Culture of Death by building a Culture of Life.—JC