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Life: What we believe influences how we act

In God's Good Time


By Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota

October 25, 2007

Just when you think you've heard it all, the story comes along of a man who walks into the atrium of a Minneapolis hotel, corners a duck in the lobby's duck pond, tears off its head and carries its limp body to his fifth-floor room.

When confronted by security guards, the culprit responded, "Big deal, it's just a . . . duck."

When did human beings become so callous to God's beautiful creation? How do some of us grow so cold and heartless that the needless slaughter of animals or, for that fact, innocent babies in the womb is no "big deal."

Horror of abortion

October is "Respect Life Month," wherein we renew our dedication to overcome the scourge of abortion by overturning the unjust legislation that makes it legally possible to kill human life in the womb.

More than 47 million babies have been murdered since Roe vs. Wade was enacted, resulting in more than 4,400 deaths a day. Yet, the pro-abortion forces are far from satisfied with the terrible carnage they have brought about and seek even further expansion of their evil influence.

In July, the Minnesota Department of Health released its yearly report indicating a 5 percent increase in abortions in this state from 2005 to 2006 and a 16 percent increase in the number of abortions performed on minors.

How did this happen? Well, for one, Planned Parenthood opened two new abortion-feeder "express clinics" in Woodbury and Apple Valley last year, sending out postcards to teenagers with the promise, "You'll find caring, confidential no-exam services for you and your partner: brand name birth control pills, the patch, the shot, the ring, condoms, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, STI screening and HIV testing." 

Their card then adds, "Stop in and check out our funky jewelry, Mrs. Kelly's teas and cool spa products."  One could call this approach "pandering to the immature and naïve."

At the same time, our state Legislature has refused to stop using taxpayers' money to fund abortions or to cease giving grants to organizations that promote abortion.

The assault on human life has also manifested its presence in a national movement to require "emergency contraception" to be prescribed in the case of rape in all hospitals, whether religiously sponsored or not.

Such legislation has just been passed in Connecticut, and similar legislation has already been introduced here in Minnesota. This legislation has been mistakenly labeled "An Act Concerning Com­passionate Care for Victims of Sexual Assault." Surely it is part of the slippery slope to increase the frequency of abortion across our society.

Congress keeps trying to overturn President Bush's limits on taxpayers' funding of embryonic stem-cell research, despite the clear proof that only adult stem cells are being used to treat certain kinds of cancer and other specific diseases.

To date, there have been no cures from embryonic stem cells. And should the limits be lifted some day, you can bet that the harvesting of human embryos for scientific purposes will become a major business. 

Then, of course, there is the matter of next November's national elections. While there are many moral concerns that candidates need to address, concern for protecting the unborn needs to be at the top of the list. How indeed can we speak of other human rights if, as a nation, we are not prepared to protect the first and most basic human right - the right to life itself?

Scriptural wisdom

Ours is not the first nation to suffer such a moral decline. In Psalm 106, we read:

"They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters . . . and the land was desecrated by their blood.

They defiled themselves by what they did
. . ." (37 - 39) 

What happened then? Read on:
"Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power." (40 - 42)

It's hard to imagine that the direction in which we are headed as a nation will not result in our own self-destruction. As we sow, so shall we reap! 

But it is not too late to act. You and I can make a difference, if we are ready to stand together for what is right and just.

As Catholics, we believe in the inherent dignity of all life, created as we are in God's image and likeness.  That's not just a nice "idea," it is a powerful belief that has practical consequences in the way we treat one another in daily life. 

So, the next time you enter a hotel lobby and see something that looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, give thanks to God for his loving creation and let the duck live!

God bless you!

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
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