Saturday, January 27, 2007

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Homily

(A word of explanation; ordinarily I do not write my homilies out. I preach from an outline so that if I loose my train of thought, I can quickly find my place again, but I am not limited by a formal script. However, I have had several requests for last weekend’s homily/sermon on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.)

One of my favorite things about being a Catholic is that we have saints. Not only do they pray for us, but their lives give us examples of how to follow Our Lord in very concrete situations. There are saints for every situation and every state of life.

Each year as this weekend approaches, I turn in prayer and thought to one of my favorite of the new saints, actually a blessed, Clemens August Graf von Galen. (Isn’t that a wonderful, German name?) Blessed Clemens was the Bishop of Munster in Germany during the time of Hitler. He had the nickname of “The Lion of Munster”. What do lions do? They roar. Blessed Clemens roared against the injustices perpetrated by the government of his own, beloved country. He was a patriot, but this did not stop him from denouncing the evils of the Nazi regime; against the Jews, against the handicapped, and against the sick. He did not shrink from doing so even though by doing so he took his own life in his hands. I pray that I will have the courage to be like Blessed Clemens.

Thirty-four years ago this Monday, the Supreme Court declared that there is a constitutional right to abortion. They did so based on specious reasoning and bad legal thought. (I have some homework for you. Look in the constitution. Nowhere will you find abortion even mentioned.) Sadly, this decision was authored by a judge who claimed to be Catholic. Since then, tens of millions of human beings, innocent babies, have been slaughtered in their mothers’ wombs. (I use the word slaughter advisedly. We would not tolerate being done to animals what is done to these children. They are scalded to death with saline or chopped up alive!) Innocent human lives are lost because of lies and the cowardice of people who know that abortion is wrong but do nothing to stop it.

I hope that everyone here knows that abortion is directly and always repugnant to the teachings of the Catholic Faith and has always been so. Abortion is not a new thing. It was practiced by the Greeks, Romans, and even the Egyptians. The Fathers of the Church always condemned abortion as gravely sinful. Our Faith teaches that a baby is human from the very moment of conception and that innocent human life may never be directly and deliberately taken. Abortion is murder and it is intrinsically evil. We as Christians cannot have any part in moral evil. We cannot do it ourselves, nor can we stand by and tolerate others doing it. This is particularly the case when the victim is an innocent incapable of defending himself. We are required to fight and struggle against this evil.

I know there are some who do not want to hear this. Some do not like hearing about unpleasant things. But, pretending unpleasant things do not exist only allows them to flourish. It definitely does not make them go away. Some have been misinformed about Catholic teaching in the past. That the Church’s teaching on this is somehow less than clear or certain. This teaching is unequivocal. Some do not want to ‘impose our religious beliefs on others.’ But we do this with many things; murder, theft, and the sanctity of marriage. And not only is this based on religious belief, but it is also found in the natural law. Most sadly, some have deliberately chosen values and beliefs that are contrary to the Gospel. They say, “I know what the Church teachings, but my ideology is more important and it takes precedent over the Gospel.” We cannot be like this! We must accept the teachings of the Church wholeheartedly and completely.

We cannot simply wail and wring our hands over this issue. We must do something. It is corrupting our society. It began with artificial contraception which led to abortion. Abortion has brought us to the point where we farm human beings for embryonic stem cell research and kill the sick and handicapped. Designer babies are around the corner. Some there will be no human dignity, no human rights. We must do something.

What then are we to do? First, we need to pray and do penance both in reparation for the sins of our country regarding innocent human life and also for the conversion of those who are pro-abortion. Conversions are possibly. Conversions have been remarkable. Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe, worked many years in abortion clinics. Yet, through the prayerful witness of Christians and other people of good will, she is now a pro-life, believing Catholic. Second, every Catholic need to learn what the Church teaches about the sanctity of innocent human life and why She teaches it. We need to learn this so we can speak intelligently on this issue at home, work, school, or even socially. We need to learn this so we are not silent in the face of so much pro-abortion propaganda. Lastly, we need to work politically to change our country’s policy. It has been through politics that we have been stuck with this abomination and it is partially through politics that it will be changed. Like it or not, it is through political means that things happen in our country; by elections; by voting for candidates and politically parties who support our position on the sanctity of innocent human life. Unfortunately, there are some candidate and some parties that are directly opposed to the Church’s infallible and certain teaching on this issue. We cannot vote for these people regardless of their stand on other issues. Nothing is more important than the right to life, not the economy, not national defense, nothing! If you are dead, nothing else matters.

On this sad anniversary, we call these things to mind. We turn to the Lord of Life, Our Savior Jesus Christ. We beg for His grace and His strength to eliminate the scourge of abortion.
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