Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 18, 2020 Column Father De Celles

This Friday, January 24 four busloads of St.
Raymond parishioners will drive down to the Mall to
proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Life, including the
Lord’s call to all of us to love our neighbor, even if our
neighbor is a tiny unborn baby. Sign-up sheets for the bus
are located in the narthex of the Church today. Please join
us for the March for Life in Washington.
I was on vacation this last week, so I thought I’d let
a Saint take over my column today. I’ve printed it here
before, but it is such an important text, we should revisit it
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles
Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)
Pope John Paul II
March 25, 1995
62. The more recent Papal Magisterium has vigorously
reaffirmed this common doctrine. Pius XI in particular, in
his Encyclical Casti Connubii, rejected the specious
justifications of abortion.[65] Pius XII excluded all direct
abortion, i.e., every act tending directly to destroy human
life in the womb “whether such destruction is intended as an
end or only as a means to an end”.[66] John XXIII
reaffirmed that human life is sacred because “from its very
beginning it directly involves God’s creative activity”.[67]
The Second Vatican Council, as mentioned earlier, sternly
condemned abortion: “From the moment of its conception
life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion
and infanticide are unspeakable crimes”.[68]….
Given such unanimity in the doctrinal and
disciplinary tradition of the Church, Paul VI was able to
declare that this tradition is unchanged and unchangeable.
[72] Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon
Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops–
who on various occasions have condemned abortion and
who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed
throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement
concerning this doctrine–I declare that direct abortion, that
is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always
constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate
killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based
upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is
transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the
ordinary and universal Magisterium.[73]
No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever
can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since
it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every
human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by
the Church….99. In transforming culture so that it supports life, women
occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and
decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism”
which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male
domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true
genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and
overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.
Making my own the words of the concluding
message of the Second Vatican Council, I address to women
this urgent appeal: “Reconcile people with life”.[133] You
are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of
that gift of self and of that acceptance of others which are
present in a special way in the relationship of husband and
wife, but which ought also to be at the heart of every other
interpersonal relationship. The experience of motherhood
makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same
time, confers on you a particular task: “Motherhood involves
a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops
in the woman’s womb . . . This unique contact with the new
human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude
towards human beings not only towards her own child, but
every human being, which profoundly marks the woman’s
personality”.[134] A mother welcomes and carries in herself
another human being, enabling it to grow inside her, giving it
room, respecting it in its otherness. Women first learn and
then teach others that human relations are authentic if they
are open to accepting the other person: a person who is
recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes
from being a person and not from other considerations, such
as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty or health. This is
the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity
expect from women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite
for an authentic cultural change.
I would now like to say a special word to women
who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many
factors which may have influenced your decision, and she
does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even
shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet
have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains
terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do
not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and
face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give
yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The
Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and
His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same
Father and His mercy you can with sure hope entrust your
child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other
people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you
can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right
to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by
accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and
caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them,
you will become promoters of a new way of looking at
human life.