The Happy Priest On Independence Day: The Gift of Life
mother's womb, a new human being begins at the moment of conception. This new human being is entitled to the right to life as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. If anyone has the right to terminate the life of an innocent human being, not only are those who are being terminated no longer equal under the law, but proponents of abortion are laying the ground work for choices to be made about the extermination of other groups of people.
Was this not the case in Nazi Germany? Not only were Jews, Gypsies and Catholics considered less equal than others, but a favored few took upon themselves the right to determine which individuals had the right to live.
Is not this the case of slavery? Not only were Africans considered to be less equal, but also once again the strong exerted their power over the weak, giving themselves the right to choose who would be enslaved and who would go free.
If a woman has the right to kill her baby, what is to keep a sniper from executing his next victim? If a doctor has the right to murder an innocent child, what is to keep a child from killing his own classmates? If a hospital has a right to sponsor homicide, what is to keep a state from supporting terrorists?
The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. All other rights depend upon the right to life. Abortion is a horrific evil claiming over 4,000 lives every day.
Man is not autonomous. He is created by God and therefore, must live in union with his creator. When humanity rebels against God the results are obvious for all to see in the news every day.
James Madison, the fourth president of our nation and one of our founding fathers once said, "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
As you walk up the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, you can see Moses holding the Ten Commandments. As you enter into the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, the Ten Commandments are displayed right above where the Supreme Court judges sit.
The Fifth Commandment states, "Thou shall not kill." On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion in America.
Many years ago, during a parish bible study that I was directing, a young parishioner asked me if I thought that we would soon see another civil war in this country. I answered him by saying that a civil war has already been taking place.
The first civil war took place from 1861 - 1865. The horror of slavery was not the only cause of the war, but it was certainly the main issue at hand. During his famous Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln wondered if the nation could endure. Through his presidency, which cost his very life, his dream did take place: "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The new civil war has no army and has no set territories. It is a cultural war that knows no boundaries. The battle between the culture of life and the culture of death affects every city, every family, every business, every school, and every church community. This new civil war is even more intense than the first one.
Again, looking back at Blessed Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter The Gospel of Life, he even wrote about a "conspiracy against life." "As I emphatically stated at Denver, on the occasion of the Eighth World Youth Day, 'with time the threats against life have not grown weaker. They are taking on vast proportions. They are not only threats coming from the outside, from the forces of nature or the 'Cains' who kill the 'Abels'; no, they are scientifically and systematically programmed threats. The twentieth century will have been an era of massive attacks on life, an endless series of wars and a continual taking of innocent human life. False prophets and false teachers have had the greatest success" (Evangelium Vitae, 17.2).
The culture war of today is dramatic and very challenging. What will bring about a new birth of freedom? What will allow our government to be a government of the people, for the people, and by the people? What will keep America as we know it from perishing from the face of the earth?
Blessed Pope John Paul II provides us with the answer in his encyclical letter. "What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life: new, because it will be able to confront and solve today's unprecedented problems affecting human life; new, because it will be adopted with deeper and more dynamic conviction by all Christians; new, because it will be capable of bringing about a serious and courageous cultural dialogue among all parties. While the urgent need for such a cultural transformation is linked to the present historical situation, it is also rooted in the Church's mission of evangelization. The purpose of the Gospel, in fact, is to transform humanity from within and to make it new" (Evangelium Vitae 95.2).
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11: 28). These words from this Sunday's gospel passage will give consolation to all those who are the tired soldiers of the culture of life. The overwhelming demands of family life, the constant struggle to be faithful within a nation dominated by the culture of death, the weariness that may be caused by years of commitment to the pro-life apostolate can cause occasional discouragement. But, Jesus tells us today to persevere. We will find our strength in him.
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." These words from the gospel will give consolation and peace to all those who have had abortions or who have helped someone obtain an abortion. Remember, Jesus does love you and his open arms wait for your repentance. Only in him will you find healing and the opportunity to begin again.
Father James Farfaglia is the founding pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church and is currently the new pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Both parishes are located in Corpus Christi, Texas. Visit Father James on the web at http://www.fatherjames.org and purchase his new book Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics and his first book, Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: culture war, Pro-Life, Right to Life, Fr James Farfaglia, Independence day
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