THIS IS MY OTHER “SOCIAL TEACHING HOMILY,” DELIVERED LAST WEEK ON OCTOBER 21, 2012. IT IS MOSTLY EDITED.
As you know, for four weeks the parish is focusing on different issues of Catholic social teaching. (If you didn’t know that, you know it now.) This week is week 3 in the series and it is essentially about abortion. If there are some parents in the congregation who would rather their children not hear about this issue, I would invite you to take them in the cry room or in the back for about 20 minutes. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but this is a difficult subject both to hear and to speak about. So please bear with me.
The pamphlet is entitled, “Life Matters: Responding to Unplanned Pregnancy.” Honestly, I think that the pamphlet is was badly named and badly written. Obviously, the teaching is not simply about pregnancies that are unplanned in households that are pro-life. Lots of pregnancies aren’t planned. There are many of us in this church who were not “planned” by our parents, and yet here we are, because they would never have dreamed to end our lives in the womb.
I once heard a comedian say that he had two brothers and a sister, and all four of them were not planned. Their last name was “Johnagin,” which is a good Irish name. So this is what he concluded. He said, “So, my friends, what I’m trying to say is that if you ever meet a Johnagin, then you really shouldn’t have.”
We do not often preach about these issues from the pulpit, but since people are becoming less and less informed about their faith, it has become more important to do so. Isn’t it strange that in an age where information can exchange hands instantly across the globe and can be ours at the touch of a button, we seem to know less and less about what really matters? A great writer, T.S. Eliot once wrote, ” “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
First, let me just give you some facts about precisely what is going on with abortion. Just to be conservative, I will stick with the facts as provided by the United States Government and pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood.
According to the official United States Abortion Statistics, Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended; about 4 in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all U.S. pregnancies end in abortion. The entire number of abortions performed in 2008 in the United States alone was 1.3 million, and this was the most conservative estimate that I could find, with the highest estimated figure doubling that. We should stand in awe that one-third of the younger generation is MISSING because they never got the chance to live. Who have we allowed to die? What musicians, poets, scientists, budding mothers and fathers–what great saints have we never met who lie in unmarked graves?
In 2010, Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the country, performed 329,445 abortions–and those were just the ones that were officially reported. Those statistics are provided by Planned Parenthood themselves. It is interesting that Planned Parenthood sets themselves up as an organization that pretends to help women and counsel them, and yet it is also a fact that it only referred 841 women that year to adoption agencies. Why is that? Because Planned Parenthood can charge between $300-1000 for an abortion depending upon how many weeks pregnant she is and whether or not she wants to be sedated during the procedure. They get little or no money if the child actually lives.
My brother and sisters, I am convinced that there is truly something evil going on here. I actually went to the March for Life last year in Washington, D.C. Nearly half a million people marched on washington in the cold and the rain. We stretched for miles through the streets. And do you know that the event went virtually unreported by the major networks? The AP showed pictures only of a few pro-choicers on the steps of the Capitol rather than the thousands behind them. CBS and NBC were virtually silent. I got to speak to at least a few hundred teenagers at the event the next day, and held up the major newspapers while they watched in horror that March for Life was not in those papers, and if it was, it was a tiny story that often showed pictures of the handful of pro-choicers rather than the pro-lifers. The teens were angry, and they should be. By contrast, there were multiple stories about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which was a tiny fraction of what had happened with the March for Life Movement.
Make no mistake. You are not getting the real news or the complete news when you watch the news, and there is something truly evil going on when it comes to defending the culture of life. We really need to wake up before its too late.
On October 10–only ten days ago–the minister for Education for the entire province of Ontario in Canada, Laura Broten, announced that Catholic schools can no longer teach that abortion is wrong because doing so is a hate crime against women. The same bill that would pass this into law also forces Catholic schools to permit gay-straight alliance clubs. Look it up. It’s all over the news in Canada. If you did not know, even Catholic schools are under the public school system in Canada because their system is essentially socialistic, which is where we are headed as well if we fail to speak out, and speak out very forcefully.
I am wondering precisely how we have become so insane to think that killing a child in the womb is more of a hate crime than allowing its mother to murder him or her in the womb? The minister of education obviously thinks that those women who are pro-life are stupid and are being brainwashed by millions of men who are pro-life simply because they hate women. And if you believe that, then you probably believe in UFO attacks and that Bigfoot is secretly running the country.
But you men, we are not off the hook on this. On the other hand, there is no doubt that many women end up having abortions because their men actually do hate them or are too selfish to step up to the plate, act as protectors and leaders of their families, and support them no matter what. It is absolutely not the case that abortion is caused by a bunch of evil women. In most cases, they are poor, frightened, confused, and feel unloved. And one of the main reasons for this is because of the selfishness of the men in their lives. If men actually stepped up and acted more like men, then maybe women would not have to go through the horrors of abortion.
Now let me tackle a few arguments very quickly, because I want to get to the more spiritual point at the end.
Many people believe that there should be some exceptions for abortions in cases of rape. In a study by Dr. Sandra Mahkorn, these cases are only .005% since abortion was made legal in 1973 numbering only a few hundred cases, and 75% of these women decided to have the baby hoping that God would bring something good out of something horrible rather than adding the guilt of an abortion to the shame of what some terrible monster has done to them.
There is an argument that if abortion is not fully legal and available, women will perform back alley abortions and hurt or even kill themselves. Though it is true that a few have done this or might do this, the statistics about it were horribly trumped up by pro-choicers. Dr. Nathanson, who was one of the original people who got Roe vs. Wade passed and then later had a conversion, said the following: “We fed the public a line of deceit, dishonesty, a fabrication of statistics and figures. We succeeded because the time was right and the news media cooperated. We sensationalized the effects of illegal abortions, and fabricated polls which indicated that 85 percent of the public favored unrestricted abortion, when we knew it was only 5 percent. We unashamedly lied, and yet our statements were quoted [by the media] as though they had been written in law.”
Did you know that the woman that was duped into making the lawsuit that legalized abortion in Roe vs. Wade, Norma McCorvey, is now pro-life, and goes around preaching how much Planned Parenthood and their lawyers lied to her and used her? She is a native of Louisiana and was received into the Catholic Church in 1998.
But the argument that we hear the most is that women should simply have the right to choose what they should do with their bodies without exception. This sounds on its face like a wonderful thing. We’re all about freedom. We’re all about equal rights, and that’s a good thing. But the problem is that those who support pro-choice are not very clear about WHAT is being chosen. What is being chosen is the life and death of another human being, and no one should have the right to make that choice. That baby is not her body. That baby has his or her own body, which is nourished by the mother. It has its own heartbeat, its own nervous system, his own everything. If something that belongs to you is in my house, do I have the right to destroy it or confiscate it? But these people think that just because the baby is in the womb, they can do with it what they want? What about protecting the defenseless? Isn’t that what law is supposed to do?
Let’s do a thought experiment. There are lots of mothers in this room, and in the very least, we all have a mother, don’t we? Let me ask you mothers a question: when did you really think you became a mother — was it the moment that you knew you had a baby in your womb or the moment it was born? Every woman that I’ve ever asked that question has told me that she was a mother the moment that child was conceived, and no one can tell her otherwise. Try telling a pregnant woman that she is not really a mother yet and see what sort of response you get, and good luck with that, by the way.
So think about that logically. If there are millions of women who know for a fact that they are mothers as soon as they know they are pregnant, then they admit that what is in their womb is a child. In order to be a mom, you have to have a child. So what we have with the pro-choice position is a group of people who are deciding whether or not another group of people are human. Or worse yet, pro-choicers admit that the baby is human but that it is better to kill it. The only tragedies equal to the tragedy of abortion in history is the tragedy of slavery and that of the Holocaust of World War II. My friends, we can never, never decide that a group of human beings are less than human, or that they must be destroyed because they are an inconvenience to us.
A very holy priest once told me that if your ship is sinking, it’s a good idea to plug up the biggest hole first. My brothers and sisters, if we can’t get together and get on board with defending life itself from conception until natural death, I have a feeling that all of those smaller holes won’t matter, because the ship will have sunk.
I realize that some of you would rather not hear what I am saying. Let me counter by telling you that I would rather not say it. But I will not stand before God and say that I said nothing about the greatest horror perpetrated in my country. Some of you think that this is a political issue and that it has no place in church. I would counter by saying with St. James that “Faith without works is dead,” or with St. Paul that the one who will not care for his own family is worse than an unbeliever and has already cast aside his faith, or with St. John that God is love, or with Jesus who said that he is the Way, the truth, and the Life? THE LIFE?!! Do you think that a God who is love and life could look upon the destruction of his little ones with anything less than horror? The church, as God’s hands and eyes and feet in the world, must try to act as he would act. If we don’t, then we don’t deserve to be called his church. And we may lose many battles, but our faith tells us that we will not, in the end, lost the war. And that is why we should be pro-life. Amen.