The Holy Spirit and Abortion
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life." Christians pray
these words each Sunday as they worship God in Churches throughout the world. At
the same time, the life which the Holy Spirit gives is being attacked and
destroyed by abortion. In the United States alone, some 4000 children are
legally killed each day by this surgical procedure.
For a people filled with the Spirit, this is a tragedy that cannot possibly
be ignored. Nor can we doubt for a moment that the Spirit who gives life will
also give us all we need to defend it.
No new gospel
The Holy Spirit is God, and all He does and speaks to us is consistent with
what God the Father and God the Son have done and spoken. "He will not speak
on his own, but will speak only what he hears…because he will have received from
me what he will announce to you" (Jn. 16:13-14) "The Holy Spirit…will…remind you
of all that I told you" (Jn.14:26). No disciple can claim the "freedom of
the Spirit" to contradict the commandments, including that which forbids the
killing of the innocent.
The creation account in Genesis 1 tells us that "a mighty wind," the "breath"
or "spirit" of God hovered over the waters and brought life and light out of
chaos and darkness. The Holy Spirit is proclaimed in the Creed to be "the Lord
and Giver of Life," and this is true both on a natural and supernatural level.
To worship the Holy Spirit, then, demands that we stand against all that
On the first Easter night, Jesus breathes His Spirit upon the apostles
(Jn.20:22), that they too might bring new life out of the chaos and darkness of
sin. A second Creation account is taking place here. God indeed "has sent the
Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins" (Prayer of Absolution). The
same Spirit who causes sin to flee will cause death to flee as well. "If the
Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised
Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through his
Spirit dwelling in you" (Rom.8:11).
The Spirit of Truth
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (see Jn.15:26), and His gifts
enable us to understand created realities, their value, and their relationship
to the Creator and to our own happiness. We can therefore ask the Holy Spirit to
give us an understanding of the value of the human person. The Spirit enables us
to cry out, "Abba! Father!" "The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit
that we are children of God" (Rom.8:16). Abortion, on the other hand, sees the
human person as a disposable object.
The Spirit of Truth likewise shows us the truth about our sins (see Jn.16:8).
In Him we come to understand the difference between good and evil. This works
directly against the dynamics of the abortion movement, which identifies a moral
evil as a "right." "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change
darkness into light, and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and
sweet into bitter!" (Is.5:20). Devotion to the Holy Spirit is a key element in
praying for the conversion of mind and heart necessary for those who defend and
St. John declares, "If anyone should sin, we have, in the presence of the
Father, Jesus Christ, an intercessor who is just" (1Jn.2:1). Our Lord referred
to the Holy Spirit as another advocate (Jn.14:16), and St. Paul writes
that he "makes intercession for us" (Rom.8:26). Because we cannot save
ourselves, we need an advocate to speak up on our behalf and plead for our
forgiveness and salvation. We know we have precisely that.
What, then, does the Holy Spirit do to his people when he comes to them? He
makes them advocates! He gives speech to the tongue, not only that we
may tell who God is, but that we may defend those among us who need advocates.
The Pentecost Sequence invokes the Spirit as "Father of the Poor." Just as the
Messiah will defend the poor and helpless (see Is.11), so do the people of the
Messiah, filled with his Spirit.
Spirit of Love
Jesus Christ made the sacrifice of Himself "through the eternal spirit"
(Heb.9:14). It is in the Holy Spirit that we too have the power to love, which
consists in giving ourselves away for the good of the other. "There is no
greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn. 15:13,
see also 1Jn.3:16). Such is to be our response to the unborn.
The Spirit Himself is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. He
unites the human family, whereas abortion divides it.
The same Holy Spirit who created the universe, descended upon the womb of
Mary, came as tongues of fire at Pentecost, and leads the Church on her mission,
is the one who calls and equips us for our pro-life work. Let us not lack for a
moment the confidence and the joy which come from Him, and which impel us to
build a Culture of Life.
Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth! Amen!
Homilies on the Holy Spirit and Abortion