Remembering Baby Six Billion
© Third Millennium, LLC
By Deacon Keith Fournier
"The first and fundamental step toward (this) cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. These are inseparable goods: where one is violated, the other also ends up being violated. There is no true freedom where life is not welcomed and loved; and there is no fullness of life except in freedom. Both realities have something inherent and specific which links them inextricably: the vocation to love. Love as a sincere gift of self, is what gives the life and freedom of the person their truest meaning." Pope John Paul II ("The Gospel of Life", par. 96)
Just prior to the end of the Second Christian Millennium an event of great symbolic importance occurred---the birth of the six billionth human person. The press quickly dubbed her "baby six billion". She was born in war ravaged Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her mother and father named her "Fatima".
To the denizens of death, who are the new "chicken littles" of our age, it was a day for fear, panic and loathing for life. But to Christians and all those who love life and cherish freedom, it was a day for great celebration. Another miracle! Another "image of God" made manifest in the world!
To many Catholic Christians, It was no accident that she was named after the purported apparition at which the Mother of the Lord of Life warned of the dangers which would follow the loss of faith precipitated by the errors of communism, and prophetically proclaimed the ultimate triumph of love.
The very same event, the birth of "baby six billion" -- reveals two very different perspectives, life and death, and two different worldviews. Of course, which perspective will frame the world of the Third Millennium is still "up for grabs." Interestingly, it was not the event that changes the perspective. Rather, it is the worldview held by the person and promoted by the culture they live in, which influences how one perceives the event.
The "United Nations Population Division" (U.N.F.P.A.); "International Planned Parenthood Federation" (I.P.P.F.); "Zero Population Growth" (Z.P.G.); viewed the birth as something to be mourned, since it was not prevented. In so doing they have promoted a lie. They tried to convince the world that this six billionth human person was some sort of a predator.
If we were to listen to their message of fear, "Fatima" and all those born after her, will steal our food, ravage our environment, and propel us all headlong into a spiral of devastation. In short, if we listen closely to their siren song, they sound much like that chicken of the children's fable that shouted, "the sky is falling!"
It wasn't then--- and it isn't now.
But as with the "chicken littles" of times past, the truth that exposes their doomsday message is finally being heard by an increasing number of people. Leaders in the fields of genuine science, demographics, public policy, along with people of faith and good will, those who value common sense, as well as people of compassion are forming a new partnership for life and proclaiming it "from the housetops." The truth is there was plenty of room on the planet for Fatima, we simply need to make room in the modern heart.
In December of the final year of the final month of the Second Millennium, Fr Richard Welch, then President of Human life International (H.L.I), gave a stirring and prophetic speech in London. Refreshingly, in age of "junk science" and anti-life hysteria, he acted like the little boy in another fable, the "Emperor Has No Clothes" story. He stood before the assembled crowd and he simply told the truth. There is no overpopulation problem! In fact, there is the opposite problem, under-population.
What is being promoted by the new anti-life Malthusians of our age is a dangerous ideology which, if left unchecked, could lead to horrors far worse than the bloodshed of the twentieth century. As Fr. Welch astutely proclaimed:
"The global conspiracy against life begins with a lie-it is the myth of overpopulation generated by international population control organizations... The social and economic consequences of under-population are one of the greatest threats facing the world today.... Governmental control over human reproduction is a form of political tyranny. The use of contraception and abortion is a 'politically correct' form of ethnic cleansing, promulgated in the eugenic campaign against women, children and minorities waged by population control organizations."
The same month he gave that speech, a coalition of African American Civil Rights Leaders led by a man I am proud to call a friend, Rev. Johnny Hunter, a champion of life, began a multi-city "Say So March". Their purpose was to call attention to the greatest killer of blacks in the history of America --- abortion!
March organizers astutely pointed to the statistics to support their claim. For example, between 1882 and 1968, 3,445 black people were lynched. Every day, according to the "Alan Guttmacher Institute" (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), 1,163 black children are killed by abortion.
This disproportion should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the racism and eugenics philosophy of Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) who initiated the movement toward unrestricted abortion on demand and, through her ideology, continues to speak from her grave.
In the "Magna Carta" of the modern Pro-Life movement, "The Gospel of Life", John Paul II draws another vital link:
"No less critical in the formation of conscience is the recovery of the necessary link between freedom and truth. As I have frequently stated, when freedom is detached from objective truth it becomes impossible to establish personal rights on a firm rational basis; and the ground is laid for society to be at the mercy of the unrestrained will of individuals or the oppressive totalitarianism of public authority." ("The Gospel of Life", par. 96)
"Baby six billion" presented us with a choice, as does every child. Every single life is an unrepeatable wonderful gift that should be welcomed, loved and esteemed. The mixed reaction to "Baby Six Billion" should propel us to prayer and action as we work to build a new "culture of life" and "civilization of love" in this Third Christian Millennium.
We must insist upon the truth--for it alone will set us free! Junk science and the messages of fear promulgated by the "zero population crowd" must not only be exposed but opposed. Why? They reflect bad science, and worse social policy.
The fact is there is a serious danger that whole nations in Europe will no longer exist if the current trends in population continue. There is no "population problem." There is a distribution problem. That will only change when we reaffirm both our universal commitment to the first human right, the right to life, and reaffirm our obligations in solidarity to one another. We simply are "our brother's keeper."
Failing to welcome every life and to hear the cry of the poor is rooted in the ancient reality called sin. The only way out is redemption.
This is not the first time that the Christian church has been sent into a millennium infected with, what John Paul rightly labeled "A Culture of Death". The world of the First century of the First Millennium was very similar to our own. In fact, one of the ancient manuscripts we still have from that age, "The Didache" (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), is profoundly clear on this point.
This document was used in catechesis by the early Christian church. The early Church held it in such high esteem that it almost became a part of the Biblical canon. The Instruction begins:
"There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference"
The world of the first century of the First Millennium age was not that dissimilar to the world that stretches before us in this first century of the Third. Abortion, Euthanasia, and infanticide were prevalent in that world as well. Children were left on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey, or picked up by slave traders, because they were the "wrong sex" (female) or "defective" or simply-- not wanted. When attempts at abortion using the "potions" of the abortionists were unsuccessful, infanticide was the next option "of choice".
Then as now, it was the Christians who proclaimed and lived "another Way", the way of life in this age. The Instruction continued:
"The second commandment of the teaching: "Do not murder; do not commit adultery"; do not corrupt boys, do not fornicate; do not steal, do not practice magic; do not go in for sorcery; do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant."
In fact, historians record that this "way of life" which affirmed life and welcomed children as irreplaceable gifts and "words" spoken by the Father, became so annoying to many that first and second century Christians were often charged with a crime called "Hatred of the Human race", arrested and executed.
Is it any wonder that the Church in our own day, through the voice of the Prophet who sits in the Chair of Peter, is now calling us to a new Missionary age! The "Gospel of Life" is the only hope for our current age. It alone-- lived and demonstrated-- will save "baby six billion" and all of her brothers and sisters. In fact, it will, as it did in the first millennium, change the world!
October 12th, 1999, the day when "baby six billion" was born, was followed by the day when Americans remembered Christopher Columbus. He is credited with discovering a "New World". We who follow Jesus Christ in the third Millennium of Christianity must now build one. A world where every child, every person, is loved, respected, and welcomed; a world which has once again recovered the essential connection between life and freedom; freedom and truth.
As a Catholic Deacon I have a unique opportunity to be a part of this mission of the Church in our age. Deacons are clergymen, but we live in the midst of a world infected by the disease of death on demand. Many of us have families, and pursue "secular" professions. We are called to sanctify them and use them as the raw material for this mission of cultural transformation.
Last week I had the privilege of attending the Ordination of eighteen new deacons for the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. As my brothers lay prostrate on the ground, I remembered that moment, now years ago, when I did the same. I had an odd experience. I was overwhelmed by the presence of God and the seriousness of the decision I had made to respond to the call. The first phrase in my heart was "uh-Oh", the next was the word spoken by the little Virgin of Nazareth at the Annunciation "Fiat".
To live a life of service, as clergy in the world, we must live it in the Lord whom we are called to reflect, Christ the Servant. We must be men of a deep prayer life that also bears the fruit of focused evangelical action. For example, we do not have the same restrictions on our participation in political activity that our brother priests have under Canon Law. We must not only work for the transformation of this important arena of action, but we should serve a vital role in promoting and pastoring the lay movements which have this task as their primary vocation.
In all of the unique ways of living our vocational calling as Deacons, we, along with all the faithful, are called to make ourselves fully available to the "Author of Life" and His Church. The Church can and will transform this current "culture of death" into a "Culture of Life" and a "Civilization of Love". This is what she does in every age!
But she will accomplish this redemptive mission, as always, through flesh and blood, through her sons and daughters. Our tireless missionary work is the most fitting gift we can offer to Jesus Christ, and to the world into which He still walks through those who follow Him. That world is the one that God still loves so much that He sends His Son. That is the world into which every child has a right to born.
How profound is our Christian faith! We proclaim to a world that has lost its way that the God of the whole universe came among us as a Baby to lead us to freedom. This "Uncreated Word", spoken by the Father, is now imaged in every created word, including "baby six billion". Every child is a Gift. Pregnancy is not a disease; it is an extraordinary opportunity, a gift, and a sign. The way of Life is the way of love.
We must now walk that way together.The future of humanity, once again, depends upon it.
Rev. Mr. Keith A Fournier, a Catholic deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia is the founder and president of "Common Good", a way, work, and movement dedicated to the conversion of culture. (http://www.commongoodonline.com) A constitutional lawyer, he founded "Lentz, Stepanovich and Fournier, P.L.C.", a law firm in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Long active in social, cultural and political participation, Fournier has served as a pro-life and pro-family lobbyist, the first Executive Director of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice), an advisor to the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes and has recently launched "Common Good Legal Defense Fund", an outreach of "Common Good". Fournier holds a Bachelors degree (B.A.) from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Philosophy and Theology, a Masters Degree (M.T.S.) in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from St. Thomas University. Fournier is the author of seven books on issues concerning life, faith, evangelization, ecumenism, family, political participation, public policy and cultural issues. Along with Michael and Sandy Galloway, he is a founder and Director of "Your Catholic Voice" and serves as a features editor for Catholic Online.
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Life and Love
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