Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
This always makes my head explode. A TV journalist, who generally does a fair job and is also a Catholic, said recently: "Catholics believe life begins at conception." NO, NO, NO, Catholics do not BELIEVE life starts at conception, it is a scientific fact, biology specifically that has empirically proven that once an egg is fertilized by a sperm then life begins. Now maybe you think this is just a matter of semantics or less than precise terminology. But it matters for several reasons. Firstly, the Pro-life side is often accused of being anti-science but the fact is that we have science on our side. Secondly, since human life begins at conception our position that human life no matter what stage of development has the same intrinsic worth and dignity and therefore right to life that other stages of human life have is consistent with science and ethics. Therefore to say that ending a newly conceived human life is killing is very logical. Since one of the foundational principles of our society is that it is always wrong to intentionally destroy innocent human life, abortion, the direct taking of human life at its earliest stages is killing. Which means to get around that you either have to deny biological science or agree that it is permissible to directly intend the killing of human life.
Most people probably don't think all that deeply about the issue or the logic of the Pro-life side or the illogic of the Pro-choice side. That's why when most women seek an abortion they are usually seeking a solution to the problem of an unexpected pregnancy. Our experience of working with women at our crisis pregnancy centers proves that point again and again and also proves that when we present solutions other than abortion many, many women tell us no one ever told them there were other options and that help was available to them.
That's why we have to consistently make the message known that help is available, alternatives to abortion are available and there are many people who will walk with women and men on this challenging journey. The Pro-choice side does not present these options, they even refuse to present the possible medical side effects of abortion to women and usually paint those of us with a different view of things as crazy religious people who are obsessed with preventing women from exercising their right to choose. Ironically they are the ones who prevent women from being able to choose since they refuse to present any other choice.
Each year of our participation in the 40 Days For Life Campaign we have witnessed again and again the relieved faces of women about to proceed with an abortion who are informed that they have other options. Which means rather than living with regret these mothers get to give life to their children and live with gratitude. Then there's the important witness we give to the larger society, those who walk by, those who drive by see us there again and again which maybe if they ever find themselves considering an abortion or someone they know is they will at least know there are people who are willing to help with other options.
That is why when we pray and protest we do it in the most loving way possible. We are not there to tell anyone they are going to hell or anything like that. We are there out of love and concern for mothers and fathers who find themselves in a difficult situation. And by a peaceful, prayerful presence lives are saved and lives are healed.
This year we have been blessed to be joined by several other Catholic parishes, Christian Churches, one even came from Show Low to pray with us! Additionally Bishop Olmsted has joined us and some of the national directors of 40 Days for Life are stopping by as well. I hope you can join us as well on April 11 at the Planned Parent Clinic on Apache Rd and Dorsey in Tempe from 7am until 7pm. Just go to our website: olmctempe.com and click on the 40 Days for Life Banner at the top of the page and you can sign up for a specific time slot to come and pray and protest. Or you can just show up at anytime of the day for any amount of time to join in support.
Love, Fr. John B
P.S. We also run into post-abortive women and men. If you do you can refer them for healing to Project Rachel: www.rachelsvineyard.org.BACK TO LIST