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.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Spirit & Life - Imagine the Possibilities in Africa
Thank you for your prayers during our mission to Tanzania the last
two weeks. It was a blessed and productive time with our partners and
new friends, though it is good to be home.
As we were completing our pro-life training program in Dar es
Salaam, the Catholic Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar
gathered in Angola. The meeting produced a strong document in which the
bishops emphasized the irreplaceable role of marriage - one man and
woman in an exclusive, indissoluble, and fruitful union - and the
Caring for the flock
The bishops not only reaffirmed Church teaching on marriage and
family, they also stressed that the Church and society must defend these
sacred institutions from the ideologies that undermine them:
Marriage and family are intimately linked together.
We reaffirm the teaching of the Church, based on the Word of God: "Man
shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife; both become
one body" (Gen 2: 24). Marriage binds a man and a woman together. The
Lord proclaims this true nature of marriage, which in the mind of God,
excludes divorce (Mat 19: 3-12). In Jesus Christ, marriage acquires its
true meaning. The inseparable link of love between a man and a woman,
marriage is open to life and procreation, as means of renewal of the
society and the Church, therefore it cannot concern persons of the same
Africans have a rich and wonderful sense of the sacredness of life.
As HLI's director of English-speaking Africa, Emil Hagamu, said in a
short video we produced not too long ago: "We are a life loving people.
We love children. We love life. We are all out to protect life and our
This attitude toward the sacredness of life is evident to anyone
who visits Africa. A Tanzanian priest told me during our mission:
"Respect for life predates Christianity in Africa. It is deeply
ingrained in our societies and cultures."
When "aid" hurts
The family, or clan, is highly regarded in African culture, which
is why the aged and sick are respected and cared for. Africans remember
their ancestors and honor their memories through stories-a tradition
that made teaching the doctrine of the Communion of Saints easy for
Catholic missionaries in generations past. A pregnant woman is widely
considered "blessed," for she carries life within her. Children are
welcomed as blessings - the complete opposite of the Western ideology
that infects most of the "aid" and "development" projects foisted upon
To be sure, the various cultures of Africa have problems that do
not necessarily originate in the West, several of which the bishops
acknowledge in their statement. But these struggles are amplified, not
alleviated, by pressure from wealthy countries to devalue life and
In spite of great difficulties and hardships, I continue to find
that they are a joy-filled people, gracious, and generous. Africans
Coming from our own nation
The violence against marriage and the family has been consistently
endorsed by the Obama administration and is official foreign policy. It
ensures that US diplomacy and foreign assistance coincides with the
promotion and protection of the so-called "reproductive rights" -
contraception and abortion - and "LGBT rights."
Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who as Obama's Secretary of
State threatened to remove development funds unless Africa reversed
its defense of life and family, made the administration's position
clear again in a 2015 speech at Lincoln Center in New York:
Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper.
Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will.
Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases
have to be changed.
Faced with this and other blatant attacks upon their people, the bishops of Africa stand strong:
These different challenges destabilize the life of
couples and families, especially when there is no strong pastoral
strategy in place. As pastors, we cannot but be committed to renewal of
and to reinvigoration of our pastoral approaches for the families. We
are convinced and believe that the Family cannot be subdued by the
crises and situations that confront it. Therefore, in the proclamation
of the Gospel of Family, we are to be the witnesses of hope.
A response from the heart of Africa
During HLI's recent pro-life training program in Tanzania, we met
with seminarians, priests, consecrated religious men and women, and lay
leaders from across English speaking Africa. At the heart of our
discussions was how to confront the aggression of the West upon the
life-loving culture of Africa. One of the leaders stated a common
sentiment among the group:
We need our religious and civil leaders to protect us
from the radical ideologies that seek to undermine our way of life. We
need to teach the younger generation about the rich heritage of
African culture - a culture that loves and respects life and family. We
need to address the root causes of poverty and corruption. Political
corruption must be aggressively removed and not tolerated.
This is affirmed by Mr. Hagamu in the aforementioned video:
Africans need assistance with infrastructure. We need
to have good roads. We need to have good hospitals and medicines. We
need to have good schools. We don't need condoms. We don't need
contraception. We don't need abortion.
We've heard for years about how there are many African medical
clinics that have little to no medicine but have pallets of
contraceptives and condoms. The roads are deplorable and in many places
people have little to no access to clean water or genuine medical care
or education. Since 1996 the USA and other developed nations have spent
over 65 billion dollars on anti-life programs in Africa -- 137 billion
in countries around the world -- with little to show for it except
paternalism, exploitation, and violation of peoples and cultures.
Imagine the possibilities
Imagine having this amount of money placed into the right hands.
Imagine a change in our policy toward Africa, one in which any funding
sent to Africa required government reform that removes power from a
corrupt class that benefits from aid while the poor continue to suffer.
Invest the funding in African businesses, giving them agency in
developing their own nation and fostering laws, policies, and culture
that value and protect private property and entrepreneurship and
prioritize educational opportunities.
Of course this is exactly what many elites from the West fear the
most - an Africa standing on its own, free of corruption and dependency;
an economic power, with strong families where every life is seen as
precious. Imagine if our support for Africa was based on the truth that
every human person is made in God's image, is called to share in His
creative effort to transform the world, and is destined to be with Him
for all eternity. Can you imagine how different our policy would be
toward Africa, and how after a while our constant "help" would no longer
Sometimes it seems to me that the West, as it gradually dies from
its embrace of radical secularism and anti-life ideologies, wants that
rest of the world to die with it. Let us pray that the people and
leaders of Africa will have the courage to reject this cancer and
Cases like D's are common around the world, and,
unfortunately, many of them don't end as well as this difficult story.
The pro-choice movement tries to make it seem like more women are forced into pregnancy than abortion. But coerced abortion is not rare. In a study
of the effects of abortion on American and Russian women by Medical
Science Monitor, 64% of American women who had had one abortion said
others pressured them into the abortion. 37% of Russian women said the
same. 79% of American women and 72% of Russian women said that parental
involvement was not helpful in their abortion decision, and 64% of
American women and 41% of Russian women said that their partner did not
offer support during their pregnancies. - continue -
Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes 1st trimester dilation and cutterage abortions and 2nd trimester dilation and evacuation
abortions, two common practices which tear babies limb from limb,
finally crushing the skull to fit it through the cervix. "The
abortionist knows he has crushed the skull when a white substance comes
out of the cervix. This was the baby's brains." Dr. Levatino also
describes babies being deprived of shelter and nutrients inside the womb
by abortion pills and being poisoned with a digoxen injection piercing the baby's head or chest. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
Get the latest fact-based brochure, Does Legal Abortion Save Lives, exposing the myth that abortion is healthy. Bulk discounts available.