View all life as sacred and good will triumph over evil

On Jan. 24, tens of thousands of people headed to Washington on behalf of the unborn. Although the March for Life, now in its 47th year, rarely garners the kind of media attention it deserves, this year, it might have been ignored altogether were it not for the appearance of President Trump.

It’s fair to say that what constitutes news is certainly not the Good News of the Gospel. At times our world seems a bit like the world of Alice in Wonderland where everything has been turned upside down.

Case in point: The coronavirus that has come from China has turned airports into screening stations. Travelers don face masks, health professionals scan for symptoms of the virus and disinfectants are sprayed hither and yon amid travel bans and lockdowns.

Updates about the virus have become a priority for most media outlets, alerting people to symptoms along with warnings about which countries pose the greatest danger. I’m not suggesting that we take the virus and its deadly consequences lightly, but when compared with the 56 million babies who have died as a result of abortion, the moral equivalency regarding media attention is unreconcilable.

In legalizing abortion, the act of killing an infant has been reduced to a civil rights issue that is concerned only with the mother. It was as if the infant didn’t exist even before it was aborted.

In our topsy-turvy world, the courts have championed the rights of adults who have the means to find alternatives to abortion over the rights of infants, whose lives are at the mercy of adults. How could it be that pregnancy has been reduced to a medical condition that justifies elimination rather than assistance?

When infants in the womb remain invisible, abortion is faceless. No wonder abortion activists strongly object to laws that mandate sonograms prior to a woman consenting to an abortion. The visualization of a human being with a beating heart and 10 tiny fingers and toes can tug at the heart strings of a mother, thereby dispelling the notion that the fetus in her womb is just an anomaly.

The growing push for killing babies that survive an abortion is unconscionable, and yet here in Virginia and elsewhere, the only objection seems to be leveled at those who protest infanticide.

For people of faith, the words of Scripture — “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” ( Jer 1:5) — remind us that the life of every human person is precious in God’s sight.

Perhaps no one proclaimed the miracle of new life more eloquently than the mother who is quoted in the Book of Maccabees. As the youngest of her seven sons was about to be killed for refusing to deny the God of Israel, this brave mother, filled with the Spirit of the Lord, proclaimed:

I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man’s beginning, as He brings out the origin of everything, he in his mercy will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of the law … so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them (2 Mc 7:22 – 23).

In our upside-down, topsy-turvy world, the abortion issue comes down to a matter of priorities. When we place God at the center of all we do, no difficulty or problem is too great. That doesn’t mean that life will be easy, but when we place our trust in God, his grace is there for us. Having accompanied several young women through an unplanned pregnancy, I’ve witnessed tears of sorrow turn to tears of joy when the child is born.

The mandate to respect life is not optional. As people of faith, we have a responsibility to reach out to pregnant women who either lack the resources or emotional support to carry their baby to full term. No one is exempt. We all bear responsibility for the sins of the world.

The philosopher Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We can all do something. We begin by joining hearts, hands and prayer to support mothers in need. By adding our voice to the voice of the Virginia Catholic Conference, a solitary voice becomes many. Good will triumph over evil when all of life — from womb to tomb — is regarded as sacred.

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