Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being. This is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and the holiness of the Creator. “Do not slay the innocent and righteous.” (Exodus 23:7). – CCC, no 2258; citing The Gift of Life (Donum Vitae), no5
At some point we have all been thrust into a conversation with people who assert the pro-choice position as the commonly accepted standard. While attending a friend’s wedding reception recently, I found myself in this situation as I was trying to enjoy my delicious dinner. All I could do was sit back and think, what happened, when did my friends change their moral compass, what made them change, how did growing up in a Catholic school lead them to this? I was super excited to attend my good friend’s wedding, but I had an underlying gut feeling that I was in for a surprise. Little did I know I was going to later be challenged, not on my views on the topic, but how I felt towards these people who I knew and had grown up with. God always finds a way.
I was caught face to face with people strongly accepting the pro-choice movement who were reading and sharing absurd articles. During this exchange, I could not help but question how their thinking had adopted this line of thought. I knew them as smart individuals, but how could they now stand in total acceptance and in defense of abortion and opposed to the State of Georgia for passing the fetal heart abortion law? How could they claim that it was an assault on women AND asserting that they would never move to the States now because of how women are being treated and the pro-life direction that was to come. I could not believe I was sitting face to face and listening to all of this banter for four days.
I say listening because I did not say a peep! First, I couldn’t believe they were so against pro-life. Second, if you made a comment that was pro-life, you were immediately tagged as discriminatory, stupid, and best of all, “Oh Catholic.” Lastly, this was too much for my introverted self, as I felt “all against one” and that I was going to be attacked. Although I knew the words to say and how to defend myself and the Faith, I couldn’t. Was I letting my Faith down by not stating my points? I wasn’t sure, so I made it an effort that when someone mentioned something to do with the topic, I would say a little prayer. God has a sense of humor -- it was at this point, nearly 10 minutes after landing back in Miami, that I received a phone call from Father David asking me if I would write an article on pro-life issues. I could not believe it!
At some point, we as Catholics have experienced a situation like mine in one form or another. The bottom line is this, as Catholics we protect life from womb to tomb. Life is precious and it truly is a miracle. How are we formed so perfectly, how does it all work in such unison? We will continue to be faced with an endless list of reasons why we are wrong such as, “not allowing abortion is not giving a women her rights,” “we are enslaving women for forcing them to have a baby,” “you are a feminist who hates women,” “you are pro rape...” I am pro-life, and I am pro helping women; I think we can trust a woman’s capacity to work and to have children. Women are strong; and they can do both -- and an amazing job. Women are being undermined and manipulated to think otherwise.
The majority of women who have had an abortion know the repercussions of having sex. You can’t just kill a child because you “accidentally” got pregnant or decided it’s not the right time to have a baby. Yes, the topic of rape is a difficult one, but we don’t solve a wrong by committing two. There are so many stories of women who were raped and chose to keep their child. Why are they not out in the media sharing their story? Let’s not forget the more famous Roe vs. Wade case. She went on to give the child up for adoption and became a pro-lifer! God works in mysterious ways, if the timing is right for God, it’s right for you. I propose we plant more seeds of faith, letting go and letting God, and bringing people back to the goodness of human nature, the true meaning of womanhood, and the Bible’s teachings on human life.
Here is where I think the biggest problem lies, the amount of people living out a Christian life has decreased, and those who were brought up with Christian values have been mainstreamed to join the ideological herd. It is up to us to make the effort. Join a church group, make time to go to the blessed sacrament, attend Mass, become a CCD teacher, volunteer where the church needs volunteering, pray, join a 40 day for life group, attend rosary groups, make a movement in your parish, join forces and collect donations for babies to help the mother out, become an ear for someone to share their experiences with, help during and after birth, the list is endless.
We will never have time, but we can make time. We need to defend these babies and we must go out there and show that we are willing to help these babies and mothers who think abortion is the only way out. It is up to us and no one else. Don’t let people be swayed by what mainstream media is trying to sell. Defend life and defend your faith -- and try to do something extra. Don’t be scared to share your Catholicism. At the end of the day, we are teaching what Jesus Christ taught; we are upholding the eternal Law of God which nobody can change. We are taught to respect ourselves and others, we are taught to love one another, and do unto others as we want done unto us. God’s action is present when there is conception and life. We do not have the right to stop that relationship with God. We may not appear on the mainstream media, but everyday pro-life acts are powerful. Hopefully soon all abortion clinics will have people praying in front of them until the abortion mills are shut down. And the women who need help before and after birth will receive help. This is what WE can do; this is what it means to be Catholic.
Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church
Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill.
470. What is forbidden by the fifth commandment? – CCC, no 2321-2326
The fifth commandment forbids as gravely contrary to the moral law:
The inalienable right to life of every human individual from the first moment of conception is a constitutive element of civil society and its legislation. When the State does not place its power at the service of the rights of all and in particular of the more vulnerable, including unborn children, the very foundations of a State based on law are undermined.
If you know someone who has been in involved with an abortion, encourage them to get in touch with Project Rachel ministry. Additionally, Human Coalition, prolifewomen.com and 40 days for life, to name a few great organizations.
Lara Paniagua is a Nicaraguan-American. She completed her studies in Psychology at Carleton University and her graduate research with the Universidad de Leon in Spain. She works in Miami as an education consultant child psychologist. Lara is a practising Roman Catholic actively engaged in her Miami parish.
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