Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Friday, June 28, 2013
Spirit & Life - From Words to Flesh and Blood
This week's Spirit & Life is by Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International.
Spirit & Life is the weekly e-column of
Human Life International.
From Words to Flesh and Blood
this month, Human Life International sponsored a pro-life conference
for clergy in Mexico City where some of my brother priests were
confronted with the true horror of abortion for the first time in their
lives. In many parts of Latin America unborn life is protected, so the
daily struggle to expose abortion we face here in the United States just
isn't the same. Though we've been wrapped up in news about court cases
and legislative disputes recently, it's important to keep in mind that
the assault on faith, reason and freedom we are seeing here at home is
playing out in very different ways around the world.
large part of HLI's mission is to communicate the essence of this
struggle, and the urgency of responding to it, to priests and
seminarians here at home and around the world. That is why Cardinal
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico, invited us to host our
conference in his archdiocese, which is home to the Patroness of the
Americas, and of the pro-life movement, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
with much of HLI's efforts to sustain and nourish a Culture of Life,
the conference's primary focus was to provide our bishops, priests and
seminarians with the tools necessary to confront the threats against
life, faith and family. The opening address was presented by the Most
Reverend Rodrigo Aguilar, president of the Commission on Life for the
Mexican Bishops' Conference. His Excellency's presentation focused on
human dignity and Christian anthropology in contrast to the secular
anthropology, which anchors man's identity and purpose in the temporal
sphere. As noted by the bishop, a proper Christian anthropology leads to
transformation and authentic freedom, while the other leads to virtual
enslavement to one's senses, passions and appetites -- a spiritual
Quoting the great champion of human dignity, John Paul II, Bishop Aguilar recalled the opening sentences of Evangelium Vitae:
is called to a fullness of life, which far exceeds the dimensions of
his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of
God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness
and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase.
Aguilar made it clear that only within a proper Christian anthropology
could man and woman bear fruit that will last unto eternal life. "The
Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus' message...and it is precisely
in this life that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their
full significance" (EV 1). His remarks and reflections challenged us in
Holy Orders and those discerning the priesthood to preach the full
message of the Gospel of Life, which leads to freedom. Silence and
complacency, on the other hand, further deepens the reigning spiritual
impoverishment, threatening God's people.
culmination of the conference was powerful. Because the Federal
District is the only state within Mexico where abortion is legalized (up
to the 12th week), we felt it was important for the bishops, priests
and seminarians to see the graphic images of abortion -- putting the
word of the relevant teaching and discussion in a true flesh and blood
context. On the evening of the second day, we showed a video of two
abortions: one early-term and one late-term. Seeing the reality of
abortion for the first time changes a person, especially considering
that this form of murder is protected in law in so many places.
The next day, we invited all attendees to pray at three abortion facilities early Friday morning. Because the abortion facilities open at 6:30 AM, the day began at 4:00 AM with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. My heart was moved to see the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe filled. At 5:15 AM we boarded four buses.
traveled with two of the buses to one of the abortion facilities nearer
to the airport; I had prayed there before. We arrived at 6:00 AM
and the sidewalks were filled with men and women. They seemed to be
mostly young teenagers, though some were clearly parents with daughters.
Sixty mothers are allowed to enter the facility. Though the air was
cool, it was heavy with the reality of what was soon to happen -- the
murder of little boys and girls.
gathered together in front of the main gate and prayed aloud. Our
presence could not be ignored. It was clear that many of those gathered
for an abortion were very uncomfortable with our presence. I would also
say the lives of my brother priests and seminarians were deeply affected
as well. As with those who witness an abortion, no one who keeps vigil
in front of an abortion facility walks away the same. One cannot look
into the eyes and faces of their sisters and be unaffected. Again, it
was no longer mere words, power point presentations, videos and
handouts, it was flesh and blood.
Between the three abortion facilities we visited that morning, 11 mothers and their babies were saved. Praise God!
we pray for strength and guidance in how we can best act to defend
marriage and life here at home, let's remember that we do so in
solidarity with the faithful around the world. Let Our Lord's will be
done through us, with our full assent, trust, love and hope.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet President, Human Life International