“I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
On Friday, 27 January, the annual March for Life will occur in Washington, D.C. While the false “right” of abortion certainly has cultural and political aspects, the religious component of this day is really the central issue. When there is a spiritual disorientation, then a social disruption inevitably occurs because individuals who are poorly formed or evilly inclined seek to spread their errors under the guise of good works.
Catholics pray the Nicene Creed every Sunday in which we hail the Holy Spirit as the Lord, the Giver of life. Indeed, He is. God creates, He does not seek to destroy. In fact, Ezekiel the prophet announced, “As I live, says the Lord, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die..?” (Ezekiel 33: 11).
Every higher being created by God remains in existence (those with reason and free will). Even the fallen angels, spiritual beings who possessed reason and free will, are not annihilated in their eternal damnation. They continue to live on forever. Although these demons have rejected God eternally, He still retains His love for them in the face of their rejection. In fact, the demons’ eternal hatred is compounded by their knowledge that God continues to love them and hold them in existence even though their rejection of Him is fixed and final.
Mankind, however, faces a different destiny. Whereas the fallen angels can no longer repent of their one sin, man can use his reason and free will in the manner for which they were created and make a conversion back to God in the face of even the most horrible sin while in this world. The destiny of the demons is sealed with no turning back; our destiny in time is not sealed. God’s grace is always stronger and much more effective than any sin.
As Catholics, we know that every aborted child lives on because once a soul is created, that person lives forever. The evil of abortion involves the death of two persons by that one act. On the one hand, an innocent human life is taken in the womb, and on the other hand, the soul of the mother also dies that day. The lasting consequences bear this out for the mothers. Although Planned Parenthood spends their nearly $230 million each year trying to convince Americans—Catholics included, of course—otherwise, abortion is not a “reproductive right” or a “health service.” Planned Parenthood and its political allies care only about one thing: keeping the millions of dollars rolling in uninterruptedly. Obviously, they care nothing about the child—even though they will admit that they know it is a child—or the mother or father or anything else except money. Money buys political power and influence. To those who are purely secular, those are their only gods.
The reasons why women make this choice are many and varied. However, the effects last long after the procedure itself. Honest people know what is really being performed with abortion, and the mothers have to live with that knowledge for years. That is why a significant piece of her life dies that day within her own emotional and spiritual well-being. Many studies have been conducted and published relating the lasting damage done to women regarding abortion. A 2010 study, for example, reported by the Elliot Institute and originally published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry which sampled 3,000 women in the United States found that women who had abortions also had a:
59% increased risk for suicidal thoughts
61% increased risk for mood disorders
61% increased risk for social anxiety disorders
261% increased risk for alcohol abuse
280% increased risk for any substance use disorder
Abortion clearly liberates no one from difficult situations; difficulties are often only compounded. Political slogans are one thing, but living with an irreversible choice is quite another. It should be no surprise that we see the increase of violence in bizarre ways almost as a daily occurrence through the media. Abortion affects not just particular individuals but society at large as well. People become more remote from one another and are seen as easily disposable.
Nevertheless, in the face of all of these difficulties, the Church is always the healing and consoling presence of God in people’s lives. She is faithful to her mission given to her by God Himself: the Church never desires the death of the sinner, but rather, like a consoling mother, she invites all people to turn to God and live.
At its root, therefore, abortion is a spiritual problem which requires a spiritual conversion to the Truth. Abortion will not change based merely on fluid politics or even a Supreme Court. Jesus Christ forms us as to who the person is created to be and what his mission in this life is meant to accomplish. The dignity of every person, as Pope John Paul II stressed over the entirety of his pontificate, is rooted in the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. The less we see one another and treat each other as objects from whom I gain something immediately and the more we express our faith by stripping our will of its selfishness through serving one another in ways that are spiritually difficult and even sometimes painful, then we truly experience how God accomplishes great things in us both in Himself and through one another.
May we recommit ourselves this week to showing dignity and respect to each other, particularly to those among us who have been wounded by abortion and have perhaps been carrying that secret in the recesses of their heart for many years. May we always be assured that with God, all healing and new growth is possible because He is not a God of the dead, but the God of the living (Mark 12: 27): the true Lord, the Giver of life spiritually, physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
May you have a most blessed and holy week!
Fr. Shawn William Cutler