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Life or Death

Article on Abortion in the Sooner Catholic October 8, 2000

by Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran

The lead story reported in recent days has been the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the abortion pill RU-486. While this in itself is a tragic reality, the manner in which the news was delivered was equally tragic. Reporters seemed to be jovial that the horrific act of abortion might now be easier to perform. They rejoiced that women would now have a simpler way to kill their unborn children. How sad, how tragic that our society continues its relentless pursuit and demise of the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters! The culture of death clutches us more and more.

Because we rightly abhor the escalating slaughter of unborn children, each of us needs to ask ourselves some very deep soul-searching questions. Do we believe in God? Do we really believe that God creates every human being in His own image and likeness? Do we truly respect human life from conception to a natural death? Do we realize that we are responsible to protect human life in all its stages? Are we not our brothers and sisters keepers? Do we cherish our own life and the life of all other human beings? When God gifts us with new life through the natural cooperation of a mother and a father, doesn’t God have a plan for that new life? Isn’t every human person created by God made to know, love and serve Him so that eventually they can share in His life and love forever? Abortion in any form says no to all these questions, because abortion destroys the life that God creates.

As Catholic people we cannot excuse ourselves from what society or the culture does. We are part of that society, and we help form the culture in which we live. Abortion is not uniquely a Catholic issue. It is a human issue affecting all people. As Catholics, however, we do have a graced position. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the truths of Revelation help us to see and appreciate human nature. Through prayer and the guidance and teaching of the Church, we are able to develop a relationship with God which confirms His dominion over all life. We come to recognize the dignity of all human life and the ultimate purpose and goal of human existence.

The introduction of RU486 into our society will tend to facilitate and escalate abortions in our country. It should also serve as a wake-up call for those of us who profess to be pro-life. There is no question but that the respect for human life is increasingly under attack. This downward trend sparked by Roe vs. Wade will continue unless you and I actively work to re-instill a respect for the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.

Without any doubt, our greatest resource is prayer. Do we pray daily and publicly for an end to abortion? We must. At every Mass, there should be some reference, some mention, some reaching out to see God’s help and blessing. Together with our prayers, there needs to be sacrifice especially offered to God for the pro-life movement. There must also be a conversion and a re-commitment to the pro-life cause.

We cannot continue to allow others to kill babies by pretending it isn’t happening. We do that when we vote for politicians who euphemistically proclaim to be pro-choice, which is pro-abortion. They give no choice to the little baby-only death.

We pretend that abortion isn’t happening when we support doctors, lawyers or medical professionals who are pro-choice and whose actions, decisions and counseling lead to abortion.

We pretend that abortions isn’t so bad when we frequent movies, plays and other recreations offered by people, organizations and institutions that are abortion advocates. In fact, our participation in such activities actually supports the abortion cause!

We pretend that abortion isn’t so bad when we fail to teach our children and grandchildren the truth about human sexuality and life itself. By becoming parents and grandparents, teachers and priests, civil officials and social service workers, doctors, nurses and lawyers, we receive a more serious obligation before God and each other. We must actively and faithfully protect human life. We must use all our resources and strength to instill a true respect for all human life in our culture and in our society.

Our Catholic faith points us in the right direction as the Church consistently teaches and reminds us that abortion is not a matter of choice. Every abortion is an evil act that assaults and kills a defenseless child. Only through prayer, personal sacrifice and effective action will the abortion mentality be changed. This is our role. This is our responsibility. It is a matter of life or death.

-- Eusebius J. Beltran

Archbishop of Oklahoma City

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