Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Let God Arise, Let His enemies be Scattered…(Ps. 68)

This morning before the sun rose I dropped my son off at Church to catch a bus to Washington, DC. He is participating today in the annual March for Life. Unfortunately, due to all the time I took off prior to ordination, I cannot join him today. It is a humbling moment when you realize that your children have weighed the arguments and are flabbergasted at the realization that the most defenseless in our society are being murdered many times out of convenience.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that some women are coerced or out of overwhelming fear choose to take the life of their unborn child(ren). But coercing an average of 3,700 a day in the United States? Hmmmm, sounds suspect. And, to the men who do the coercing or force the issue out of embarrassment or lack of responsibility, please realize that you have stepped further than even Adam in his betrayal of the human race through Original Sin.

The fact remains that what is suppose to be the safest place in the world – the womb – has overwhelmingly become a tomb. Related to this is euthanasia. When our elders become a burden to us or we only value pleasure and do not understand the purpose of suffering, we now “assist” them on their way to the tomb. Again, the most defenseless are being preyed upon to save a buck or to avoid that which has been given to us to secure our salvation – inconvenience and suffering.

Again, let’s understand what I am saying or maybe what I am not saying. I am not saying we should avoid medicine. I am a huge fan – especially since it is commanded by Sacred Scriptures (Sirach 36: 1-12). But we need to be mindful that medicine has been given to us cure some illnesses and temporarily relieve us of pain and suffering. Medical science will never completely eradicate medical suffering. Pain and suffering is a result of Original Sin. It is a guarantee in this life and eventually it will come just like death. Medicine is meant to give us the resolve and mental wherewithal to deal with the pain and suffering. It was definitely not meant to end our lives out of convenience or a misguided notion of being merciful.

Life issues cannot be dismissed or overlooked. It is the key issue that influences all others. How? Let’s start off with Pope John Paul II’s perspective:

The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies…If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.

Maybe an example will assist us in our considerations. Issue of abortion influences three of the most global and volatile political issues:

  • Economic recovery: must have workers to not only produce the products but consumers to buy them
  • Social Security: must have more workers not less to increase the amount contributed to the trust fund
  • Human rights: how do we disregard the most defenseless and still push for every other human right – including the right to murder our own children

Euthanasia is a result of a misunderstanding of the human person:

  • Utilitarianism – We have value insofar that we contribute to society and do not drain it (or our families) of its resources.
  • Socialism – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Each person has an inestimable value that cannot be determined by a monetary algorithm
  • Hedonism – We are meant for pleasure and once suffering comes there is no reason to live

In my opinion, among the greatest contributing factors to this culture of death is the prosperity of the current generation(s). Now, I am not advocating an economic down-turn or another stock market crash. I am saying that we have taught our children to want stuff and they should get it now. A corollary to this attitude is that we love things and use people.

When I was first married we lived in a one-room apartment. I worked hard and soon was able to rent a two bedroom condo with a den. Now, by the grace of God, we live in a five bedroom house which we still do not own…but we are working towards it. It has been tough at times – there have been many chicken and rice nights to make ends meet. I have worked up to three jobs at one time. The result: a sense of accomplishment and children who understand the value of something obtained through a serious work ethic.

Today, the majority of our young people expect after graduation to own a house immediately. Sometimes they want their freedom so much that they move out expecting mommy and daddy to pay their bills instead of getting another job. The job market is tough but there are plenty of jobs – just maybe not the one you planned on obtaining. Then there are the youth that only want to play and don’t like work. Um, yeah I am just bypassing the stupidity by saying get a grip on reality.Also, young people, listen closely: Vacations are an extra never a right. We never need vacations we want them. Your parents and grandparents worked extremely hard for many years in order to be able to take them. Pay your dues!

Interestingly enough, over the past ten years as my wife and I have worked with engaged couples, the top three reasons why couples are not open to children are wanting to buy a house, getting an advance degree and needing to take their yearly vacations i.e., children are an inconvenience to my lifestyle.

Just as a reminder…buying a house and completing an advance degree does not qualify as grave matter on the part of the Church to defer children. Do I even need to address vacations? Second reminder: Implicit in the sacrament of marriage is the understanding that you are immediately open to children. Some couples are unable to have children immediately and others not at all. This is a heavy cross that they bear which is only made worse by the cultural attitude that children are an inconvenience and expendable. They are victim souls for a culture that has declared war on the most defenseless and helpless in our society.

My prayer for today is Psalm 68 that this scourage will leave our land. Our responsibility is clear and found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.

Until then, here is a reality check. Statistics are really not available in the United States on euthanasia yet – give it five years. However, abortion – plenty are available. Just as a refresher, here are the latest statistics provided by The Center for Bio-Ethic Reform:

WORLDWIDE

Number of abortions per year: Approximately 42 Million
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 115,000

Where abortions occur:
83% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 17% occur in developed countries.

© Copyright 1996-2008, The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (www.agi-usa.org)

UNITED STATES

Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 3,700

Who’s having abortions (age)?
52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.

Who’s having abortions (race)?
While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

Who’s having abortions (marital status)?
64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.

Who’s having abortions (religion)?
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

Who’s having abortions (income)?
Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions; Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%; Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%; Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.

Why women have abortions
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

At what gestational ages are abortions performed:
52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Likelihood of abortion:
An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.

Abortion coverage:
48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.

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