Stop These Bills

Last week I watched a news story that brought home to me the apparent hypocrisy of our mainstream culture. A duck had gotten around its beak a plastic contraption that we use to hold a six-pack of soda. The poor bird as a result could not eat and many well-meaning individuals were very upset. They were calling on animal control to come to the aid of the unfortunate creature. Just then I realized that many of these kind-hearted people see no problem in promoting abortion. Even as we care so much about a bird, many in our society have no qualms of conscience to get rid of the unborn.

As I write this column, Illinois law-makers are considering passing two bills that will expand availability and increase the number of abortions. House Bill 2495 (Senate Bill 1942) is a wide-ranging bill that, among other things, removes any limits on abortions which can be performed for any reason through the ninth month of pregnancy. It eliminates the requirement that a child born alive during an abortion procedure be given proper medical care. It also repeals legal protections for doctors, nurses and hospitals to decline to participate in abortions due to moral and/or religious convictions. The second bill (House Bill 2467 – Senate Bill 1594) would allow minor girls to obtain an abortion without parental consent or notification.

What angers me is that many of these members of the Illinois house and senate call themselves Catholics. I presume that as Church-going Catholics we should align ourselves fully with the Magisterium of the Church with regard to all life issues. God is the Giver of all life and as such, He alone is the ultimate arbiter of life and death decisions. We affirm with the universal Church that we respect life from natural conception to natural death. How do these law-makers stifle their conscience and attempt to pass such draconian measures against the unborn? How will they answer when they stand before the judgment seat of God? The blood of these innocent children will condemn them in no uncertain terms.

All of us need to work towards a consistent moral perspective on life issues. There are people in this country who hug trees and protest product testing on animals but have no qualms of conscience over getting rid of a helpless human being. They refuse to wear fur and yet in their eyes the egg of a bald eagle is far more precious than a human fetus. These individuals will not allow their daughters to get a tattoo without their permission, but they object to laws that require parental notification in case of abortion. On the other side, there are certain individuals who fight abortion with all their might – and rightly so – and yet, they have no problem with the use of guns or violence or war. They are also in favor of the death penalty. Sometimes they also seem to be less inclined to help the poor or welcome immigrants.

In order to have a consistent moral perspective we must renounce the temptation to play God and decide who deserves to live and who deserves to die. God alone should make that decision. We must protect unborn babies and at the same time find ways to take care of babies after birth. We should care for the elderly, the disabled and the physically and mentally challenged. We must work to establish what St Pope John Paul II called “the culture of life.” I am convinced that the battle over abortion will not be won in the halls of Congress or in the chambers of justice. It will be won in the hearts of people.

We also need to educate our young people that sexuality is a fragile gift that should be used within the context of married love. The gift comes with great responsibility. We need to tell our young people that adoption is a worthy choice. We need to convince parents and families that they should accept their children when “mistakes” happen and support them in difficult times. We need a comprehensive Christian education in chastity. I am of the opinion that many of our problems in marriage and relationships are closely tied to the carefree use of sexuality prior to marriage. In addition, we need also to help Catholics develop a personal spirituality. For, without a strong spirituality and prayer life it is not possible for someone to accept and live the Christian ideals of chaste love proposed by the Church.

Let us pray for an end to abortion. Let us pray that the culture of life will flourish in our nation and in our world. Let us pray that every human being will be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are. Let us pray that every human person will be protected and cherished from natural conception to natural death. Let us do all in our power to call on our law-makers to block these bills.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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St. Paul of the Cross

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