January 28, 2022


We must build a civilization of love to overcome abortion in our culture

“It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
—St. Teresa of Calcutta

We recently marked the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision, which on Jan. 22, 1973, legalized abortion on demand across the United States.

And despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the national March for Life took place in Washington on Jan. 21, where young and old, Catholic and Protestant, and people of other faith traditions and walks of life braved the frigid 20-degree temperatures to be voices for the unborn.

Pro-life organizers had anticipated that as many as 50,000 people would attend this year, and although no official statistics were available as The Criterion went to press, many news outlets reported “tens of thousands” marched for life.

The Indiana March for Life on Jan. 24 drew an estimated 1,000 participants. And like those who took part in the march in our nation’s capital, the energy and enthusiasm of those who marched through the downstreet streets of Indianapolis was palpable. Holding signs, praying and chanting pro-life messages, the group let passersby know the cold wasn’t going to deter their heartfelt efforts for life. (See related story)

Pro-life marches across the U.S. in recent days were no doubt energized because of a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is seen by many as a direct challenge to Roe. Court watchers speculate the justices could decide to overturn Roe or at the very least severely curtail it with their decision, with the ruling expected in June or July. One possible result is abortion’s legality becoming an issue for states to decide.

As people who respect all human life from conception to natural death, we believe it would be a providential step to overturn Roe after nearly five decades.

But even if the Court upholds the Mississippi law, as disciples of Christ we must continue to pray for the conversion of hardened hearts who will continue to support abortion. Their transformation is essential in our momentum of building a culture of life.

“Minorities account for two-thirds of abortions each year” as “whatever meager assistance comes [is] far too late,” Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in his homily at an early Jan. 21 Mass that ended the annual National Prayer Vigil for Life in Washington. “We are failing them and their children in their time of need. We can and must do better.

“Dismantling unjust laws is only the beginning. We still have the arduous task of creating a pro-life culture, of changing heart and minds,” he continued, but if pro-lifers “come across as judgmental and self-righteous, we’re never going to get a hearing in America.”

Rather, Cardinal O’Malley said, “our task is not to judge others, but to try to bring healing. … Our job is to build a society that takes care of everybody, where every person counts, where every life is important.” Otherwise, he warned, “poverty, racism and economic injustice will continue to fuel abortion in [a] post-Roe v. Wade world.”

The post-Roe v. Wade world we pray for will not allow 2,363 abortions per day in the U.S., or the nearly 1 million abortions performed in our country each year. “Most of those abortions are performed on unmarried women in poverty,” Cardinal O’Malley noted.

We must remind those who are considering abortion that adoption is a loving option.

Cardinal O’Malley called it ironic that “2 million Americans each year try to adopt children, and only 20,000 U.S. babies are given up [for adoption]. At the same time, a million babies are being aborted. It’s tragic.”

He added, “Only a huge educational effort will be able to change the cultural prejudices that exist. Adoption needs to be more user-friendly; it needs to be more transparent, and it needs to be celebrated,” adding that adoptive parents can find a role model in St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.

“Changing the laws is important, but building a civilization of love is what will ultimately overcome abortion in our culture,” Cardinal O’Malley said. Promoting the social gospel, human rights and economic justice are needed, he added, “to build a civilization of love—or there will be no civilization at all.”

—Mike Krokos

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