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.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18
This famous passage from the First Letter of John often comes
to me in prayer. This may be because my night prayers often follow very
long days full of conversations with faithful who fear for the future
of their families and their culture.
To be sure, I have been inspired by the impassioned people I
meet in this movement of love and mercy around the world. I also
encounter many who are tired, uncertain, and overwhelmed by
the demands of preaching the Gospel of Life. Much of my work is
affirming and reaffirming our brothers and sisters dedicated to this
Perfect love drives out fear! Go, Jesus says, Be Not Afraid!
Then again, sometimes I also need to be encouraged. Sometimes
this encouragement comes from the unlikeliest of places, even from
parts of Europe that have been written off by much of the world due to
their dark histories. On Sunday I will be traveling to Slovakia to
participate in a weeklong mission organized by HLI's affiliate in Bratislava,
led by Dr. Marcela Dobesova. The events scheduled throughout the week
are in anticipation of the Choose Life Forum on March 18 and 19, which
in turn prepares participants and the community at large for the annual
National March for Life on the Day of the Unborn, March 25 - the Feast
of the Annunciation.
As with each mission trip, our partners have planned an
intense schedule filled with lectures and meetings. I will have the
opportunity to speak at two seminaries, give presentations to
representatives of pro-life and pro-family organizations in Slovakia;
meet with representatives of the Bishops Conference; give two lectures
for the Choose Life Forum, and meet with university students in
The primary objective is to stand up for the value of
protecting human life for each human being from conception to natural
death, and to stand up for the family and natural marriage - one man and
one woman open to the gift of life, which is the best environment for
the next generation of children to be fostered. Equally important is
encouraging politicians to create legislative conditions to protect
human life and the dignity of natural marriage.
What I learned during a previous visit, and what many still have not heard, is that the pro-life movement is gathering momentum in Eastern Europe.
Indeed, it is becoming so strong that legislators can no longer ignore
it. While most European nations continue to embrace the Culture of
Death, Slovakia is rejecting it. The March for Life in Bratislava has
grown each year and has had over 80,000 participants.
Eighty thousand. As a percentage of Slovakia's population,
this is equivalent to nearly 5 million people participating for the
March for Life in Washington, DC. Can you imagine what this would look
Slovakia is peacefully telling Europe and the world that the
protection of human life is one of the highest possible values in
society, and that leaders should make sure these values are reflected in
law and in society.
After decades of oppression, Slovakians are casting aside
fear and doubt and trying to make their nation a light shining within
the darkness, beckoning others to follow.
Reflecting upon this powerful witness, I am reminded of Saint
Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Evangelium vitae in which he challenged
every person to recognize his obligation to reaffirm the value of human
life within society and the hearts of every individual, present and in
The present Encyclical, the fruit of the cooperation of the
Episcopate of every country of the world, is therefore meant to be a
precise and vigorous reaffirmation of the value of human life and its
inviolability, and at the same time a pressing appeal addressed to each
and every person, in the name of God: respect, protect, love and serve
life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice,
development, true freedom, peace and happiness!" (n.5, my emphasis)
When people are looking for victories to measure the success
of the international pro-life and family movement, I point them to
places like Slovakia and other Eastern European Countries with growing
opposition to the contraceptive mentality and its effects of abortion
and radical groups seeking the redefinition of marriage. Their cultures
and way of life have suffered so much violence that they are no longer
deluded by false notions of "progress" that would point them back toward
the darkness of socialism and family decay. They have learned that if
nothing is done their cultures and history could very well disappear.
We don't have to accept the drumbeat of the radical anti-life
and anti-family trends in our cultures. We can tell them where to put
their drum and show them and their agenda the door. If Europe wants to
change the current demographic winter and usher in prosperity for its
people, then it must respect and protect every life, as well as defend
The people of Slovakia are making their voices heard. What about the rest of Europe? What about us? What will we do?
David's cup overflows, the Miraculous Pitcher never empties, love
is fruitful, the good is reproductive and prolific, the good news of
the Gospel spreads, and the Trinity never stops generating and
circulating love because life is prized. Wherever life is a treasure,
there also is the heart. Where the heart is, there too is love. Where
love is, outpouring, overflowing, emptying, and reproducing follow. To
be alive and not love life is the ultimate blindness and the worst
ingratitude. To receive life and then to prevent it, destroy it, or
prohibit it is to scorn the gift, depreciate the treasure, and refuse
love. This repudiation of love, then, is the origin of evil in all its
forms and shapes, for to refuse love's reproductive goodness is to
embrace death's destructive evil. - continue -
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