This Sunday, we Americans honor our mothers, whether living or not, in a way that we hope can show our Moms a little bit of gratitude in return for the love, compassion and concern that a loving mother gives her children throughout her life. My column this week, which touches on an important and sensitive aspect of the motherly role of child-bearing, is actually an excerpt from the recent pastoral letter of the Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco. It deals with the ever-present situation that continues to plague many Moms and would-be Moms, and was considered to be a most important matter of human life that touched many hearts, including that of another kind of mother, the late St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Now – my edited excerpt from Archbishop Cordileone.
“Some people may question why the topic of abortion should be addressed at this time, with all of the other crises our country is facing right now: the lingering devastation of an unprecedented pandemic, the scar of racism once again rearing its ugly head, the aftermath of a contested election, escalating and widespread violence, growing divisions and polarizations in our country, and so on. Abortion, after all, has been a contested topic for very many decades now. But it is for good reason that the U.S. bishops call it the pre- eminent issue of our time, for abortion is a specific act that perpetuates a grave moral evil. It is not an attitude that can manifest itself in more serious and less serious ways, nor a matter of prudential judgment in which one decides the best path toward achieving the good. Indeed, when one looks directly at what actually happens in an abortion, it is hard to imagine anything more heinously evil. One such thing is genocide. But with almost one out of five pregnancies in the United States ending in abortion, what we are witnessing before our very eyes is, effectively, a genocide against the unborn.
We all have a role to play in ridding our nation of this scourge, and building a society that respects all life. Some members of society have an especially critical role to play. I would like to address myself to you at this time.
To Catholics in public life who advocate for life: thank you for your courageous witness! Your bold and steadfast stand in the face of what is often fierce opposition gives courage to others who know what is right but might otherwise feel too timid to proclaim it in word and deed. What I said above bears repeating here: you are a source of inspiration and pride for all of us in the Catholic community!
To those who procure abortion or are involved in any way in the abortion industry: look at the evil you are perpetrating square in the face: admit it, accept it for what it is, and turn away from it. Many of your former colleagues have done this, and are finding peace and are repairing their lives by revealing the horrors of the abortion industry from the inside out.
To Catholics in public life who practice abortion or advocate for it: the killing must stop. Please, please, please: the killing must stop! God has entrusted you with a prestigious position in society. You have the power to affect societal practices and attitudes. Always remember that you will one day have to render an account to God for your stewardship of this trust. You are in a position to do something concrete and decisive to stop the killing. Please stop the killing! And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil—one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right—is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not! Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await with open arms to welcome you back.
To women who have had an abortion and to those others who have been affected by it: God loves you. We love you. God wants you to heal, and so do we, and we have the resources to help you. Please turn to us, because we love you and want to help you and want you to heal. Because of what you have endured, you more than anyone can become a powerful voice for the sanctity of life. Many people have made this turn in their life. You can take this deeply painful and ugly episode in your life and turn it into something beautiful for God, with God’s help. Let us help you to do that, so you can experience the healing power of the love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To all people of good will: let us work together to build a culture of life, starting at the very beginning. Let us work for a society in which every new baby is received as a precious gift from God and given a welcome to the human community. With God’s help, we can, collaborating with mutual respect, build a society that, far from throwing it away, respects and affirms the goodness of every human life.”
Next week, as I celebrate fifty years of Priesthood, I hope to share some tidbits of my life as a priest that I have reflected upon for the past several weeks in anticipation of my anniversary. Meanwhile, I invite you to join me next Sunday at the 11:00 am Mass, whether in church or via live-stream TV on our parish website, as I mark that occasion. Thank you for bearing with me for a segment of that time that included these past fifteen plus years!