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, October 11, 2013
Spirit & Life - Recognizing Human Dignity in Difficult Circumstances
This week's Spirit & Life is by Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International.
The Moment of Choice: Recognizing Human Dignity in Difficult Circumstances
every country, at this very moment, women who have become pregnant --
either because of decisions they made or as victims of assault through
no fault of their own -- are faced with making the choice of life or
death for their child. Some of these women are financially stable, some
are in financial destitution. While most have perfectly healthy babies
in their wombs, others are carrying unborn babies with varying levels of
disabilities. Where these women go for comfort and advice can make all
the difference, not only for their lives, but for the lives of those
unborn children as well.
they speak with a friend or family member who supports abortion, or end
up in an abortion office looking for help, they're sure to hear any
number of lies told to convince women that it is okay, or even that they
have a "right," to kill their unborn children: "It's a safe procedure
with no side effects;" "You'll never get a good education or job if you
don't abort;" "You'll be poor;" "You'll never find a husband;" "It's
better to abort than have a child with a disability; "It can't feel pain;" "It's not really human anyway."
there are other offices women can go to filled with compassionate
people focused on providing genuine care and support to expecting
mothers no matter the circumstances surrounding their pregnancy --
people who believe in the dignity and sacredness of all human life.
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) help women see past the pro-abortion
propaganda and offer a variety of help and services such as pregnancy
testing, sonograms, financial assistance, child-rearing resources and
adoption referrals. These centers are currently under attack in the
United States from anti-life legislators and organizations who claim the
moniker "pro-choice" but actively seek to limit the choices of pregnant
women in need.
face challenges around the world as well. For the past week I've been
in Argentina (I return to the U.S. on Monday) for the 5th Latin American
Congress of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Over 200 people from a dozen
countries -- including 12 priests, 10 monks and 10 nuns -- attended the
Congress at a retreat house about 50 miles from Buenos Aires. These
pro-life servants offer support to women throughout the region that they
could not find elsewhere.
was invited to speak at the Congress about the work HLI does through
our international pro-life apostolate. HLI's regional director, Mario
Rojas, joined me as a guest speaker. Attendees also heard from HLI
Argentina Director Dr. Oscar Botta, and HLI Mexico's Jorge Serrano,
whose organization established the crisis pregnancy center network in
the Congress concluded, Mario and I flew to Tucumán, Argentina to meet
with Archbishop Alfredo Zecca to discuss HLI's regional REDESSVIDA
conference next year. Our REDESSVIDA program provides pro-life
resources and training to Catholic seminarians and clergy throughout
Latin America. The Latin American bishops have been very supportive of
HLI's efforts to work with the Church on defending life in their
countries. Mario and I also addressed a group of 350 young people, and
spoke with about 200 seminarians at Seminario de Tucumán. We are
scheduled to meet with groups of congressmen, doctors, lawyers and other
pro-life leaders before leaving Tucumán.
much that could be said about HLI's work in Latin America -- so much
that it is the subject of our next documentary! Stay tuned for more
information about this film which is scheduled to debut on EWTN early
Once I return to the U.S., I'm off to another conference: the HLI-sponsored Life Dignity and Disability: A Faith that Welcomes
in Omaha, Nebraska, October 18-19. The Nebraska Bishops' Pro-Life
Office and the Archdiocese of Omaha Respect Life Apostolate are
partnering with HLI to shed light on the denial of basic human dignity
for the disabled and how our Lord calls us to care for the suffering,
and even to embrace suffering.
society continues down a path of self-destruction, human life both
inside and outside of the womb faces more and greater threats --
especially those with physical or mental disabilities.
James Conley will give the keynote address, and attendees will learn
from a number of educational and inspirational presentations such as:
"Journey to Love: Responding to a Poor Prenatal Diagnosis" (Patty
Franke, Journey to Love Ministry); "Saint Germain Cousin, From Suffering
to Sacrifice" (Omar Gutiérrez, manager of the Office of Missions &
Justice, Archdiocese of Omaha); "Why Does God Will that We Suffer
Disabilities?" (Peter Kreeft, author and professor at Boston College);
"Joyful Suffering with the Missionaries of the Poor" (Joseph Pearce,
author and editor of St. Austin Review); and "Human Dignity and Appropriate End-of-Life Care" (Sister Terese Auer, John Paul II the Great Catholic High School).
of the situation or circumstance, every life is precious in the eyes of
God. Disabled persons are not a burden, they are a gift -- as are all
of God's children. There's no way to measure what impact that child will
have on the individual lives he or she touches, no matter how short a
time on this earth. Our Lord tests our will, and our faith, not to
punish us or cause grief, but to strengthen our trust and love in Him.
pray for the success of our mission trip in Argentina, for our
conference in Nebraska and for HLI's pro-life missionaries around the
world and those they serve. God bless you.