Fr. Britto's Blog

Respect for Life

Across the Catholic dioceses of the United States October is celebrated as Respect Life Month when we invite Catholics to reflect on their duty to nurture the Culture of Life. Even though we should look at life issues as a seamless garment, as Cardinal Bernardin suggested, every now and then we should focus our undivided attention on the moral question of abortion. Writing in a parish bulletin I am aware that I am preaching to the choir. Yet it is important to remind ourselves of this terrible scourge that ravages most of the so-called civilized, Western world. We need to inculcate in our young people a strong abhorrence for abortion.

 

Underneath the unchanging teaching of the Church on the subject lies the unshakeable belief that every human life comes from the hand of God and as such, it is precious and non-disposable. Only God gives life and only He can take it away. It is a pure play on semantics that leads people to say that the human embryo is just a mass of cells. No woman has ever given birth to anything but a human being – perhaps not as perfect as we would like it to be, nonetheless a human person. This human being must always be treated as an end and never as a means to some other end. This basic conviction is founded upon God’s words to Prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jer 1:5)

Let me give you a quick summary of the Church’s teaching on abortion. I am quoting here directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

  • “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” (#2270)
  • “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (#2271)
  • “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.” (#2272)

The Church attaches the strictest penalty to this crime against human life because she wants everyone to recognize “the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death…” (#2272)

I invite all of our parishioners to reflect seriously on the millions of innocent lives that have been done away with since Roe v Wade in 1973. The blood of these helpless children cry out to God. Our society cannot ignore their voices. Whenever we exercise our right to vote, we must give serious consideration to this issue. Our voting choices must not overlook or minimize the gravity of this moral question.

Pope Francis has often decried the lack of education on life issues even on the part of Catholics. Too often we allow ourselves to be seduced by the dominant voices in our mainstream culture and forget our obligation to protect life. In a homily Pope Francis delivered on June 16, 2013, he said the following words:

All too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the ‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. …As a result, the living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.

It would seem that the Catholic Church is the only world body that speaks boldly and unequivocally to defend the rights of the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the displaced and the marginalized. All the recent popes have been insistent on this unpopular stance of the Church. Not to be outdone, Pope Francis reiterated the teachings of his predecessors when he wrote the following in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel:

Among the vulnerable for whom the church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. …Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question… It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…” (#213-214)

I invite parents to talk to their teenage children and debunk the mainstream views on life issues. Hopefully our youth ministry will educate them and help them to see the wisdom of the Church’s teaching in this regard. Let us support the initiatives of our Respect Life group. Let us continue to pray the God of Life to change the hearts of our nation so that we will protect all life from natural conception to natural death. Without the fundamental right to live, all other rights become irrelevant.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
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