By: Jonathan Fessenden, Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
Faith involves humility, because it is impossible to know all that God reveals to us. A part of this humility is to submit our assent to authorities and so He gave us the Magisterium.Fr. Brian Mullady
It is increasingly apparent that modern Catholics do not adhere to the Magisterium but instead acquiesce to what is dictated by government standards and the various secular powers within society. We, as Catholics, should ask ourselves what means more to us: what the Church believes or what our societal “leaders” believe? As Christians, we already have a set of rules that not only dictate how we as persons should live but lay the groundwork for Natural Law itself. So, let us refresh ourselves with the Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Kill.” Most people in society agree with this commandment, but for some reason we continue to wage war with the media and the modern zeitgeist that continues to sanction one of the greatest persisting holocausts of human history. And make no mistake, abortion is a holocaust.
Before you continue reading, I would like to share that I once adhered to a more post-modern secular mindset: one that not only shoved away tradition and ripped apart family values but one that admittedly had no problem with seeing abortion as a reasonable practice. Today, although I consider myself far more traditional, I must stress that abortion goes so much deeper than political parties, ideologies, nuances, and personality types. Catholicism transcends all of this. So, if one believes in their Catholicism more than their political philosophy or party, they are taking the right route. Seekers of truth get on board, and let us read an excellent excerpt that some may have forgotten and many have never read but faithfully resides in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. … no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.CCC 2258
So far, so good, and I expect that people from every political ideology can generally agree with this statement. Of course, I might draw some objections from those who do not believe in God, but even if that may be the case, we must still agree that human life is our bond.
Perhaps some of you are not aware of what is written in the Catechism. To be fair, I must acknowledge that many parish priests are not doing a very thorough job at speaking about this topic. The Catechism then talks about the Fifth Commandment in other ways, and this is where Church teaching seems to lose favor with modern man.
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:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you (Jer 1:5, cf. Job 10:8-12, Ps 22;10-11).”
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth,” (Ps 139:15).CCC 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:
“You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish,” (Didache 2,2: SCh 248, 148, Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320).
“God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes,” (Guadiam et spes 51, 3)CCC 2271
As a very social guy who is not afraid to talk to fellow Catholics, I get the feeling that many of my peers have not read much of this before. Some of us simply put our hour a week into Mass and do not feel the need to examine Catholic Social teachings. As a test, I asked ten random Catholics if they knew what the Catholic Church says about abortion in the Catechism, and only 1 of those 10 knew that the Church was against it. I urge all Catholics to trust and have faith that there is a more significant reason God wanted that innocent child to live. Let us now humbly consider and reflect on what God is clearly teaching us:
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.(Jer 1:5)