By Bishop Paul
In last week’s reflection, I mentioned that I would speak further on the Church’s stand on the sanctity of life relative to abortion. At last January’s March for Life event in Chicago, I said the following as part of my remarks:
“Our concern for the unborn is so important to remember this day because it is the one reality that it is easy to be in denial about. We don’t see the pain of this tragedy (abortion) the same way we did when Jewish people went to the gas chambers in World War II. When people claim that the holocaust never happened, the horrible images of these deaths continue to be published so that people will never forget. So whether people love us or hate us, we pray for the unborn and for those who have had abortions, that God’s love be revealed in the midst of these tragedies where there is a loss of life and ensuing grief.”
With regard to recent events relative to school gun violence, all agree that these are horrible events that need to be addressed. No one has minimized the tragedy of this issue. There is, however, widespread disagreement as to how to address it.
But when it comes to abortion, there seems to be an attitude — one I have encountered at times — that we Orthodox are being unduly influenced by “conservative, protestant, fundamental, evangelical” thought and that we need to focus on issues other than abortion. Is one’s view on Roe vs. Wade the only litmus test for being pro-life? Is voting for a certain person solely based on their views of abortion problematic, especially when that very same person takes stands on other issues that are inconsistent with a sanctity of life ethic? If my discernment is correct, then I have some sympathy for the above. But does this view “play down” the seriousness of abortion?
Last March, I attended a “Speak Out Illinois” event dealing with the issue of abortion. The last speaker used an interesting tool to demonstrate the seriousness of abortion. He used a brief case with paper clips and envelopes to demonstrate his point. He spoke about the various causes of death among young people — car accidents, suicide, gun violence, drug overdoses, etc. In all of these examples, he emptied letter-sized envelopes of paper clips into a bowl, starting with the least clips to the most clips, to illustrate how many have died due to these issues. At no point did he ever say these deaths were of less importance. But when he came to the issue of abortion, he emptied the entire brief case filled with paper clips into the bowl.
There is a legalized holocaust going on here. So when many say that the recent vote in Ireland relative to abortion is a victory for women’s rights, it grieves me. Something that is evil is being called good. We should rightly raise concerns about drug overdoses among our youth and young adults, as well as the sad reality that students are being slain in schools. We rightly should raise concerns on issues like the global refugee crisis; but what about the acts of violence being taken against unborn children in the womb? This cannot be minimized. I do believe that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, but I don’t know if that will happen. So what do we do? (More to follow in next week’s reflection.)
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,