October is celebrated by the Church as Respect Life Month. By becoming human, Jesus showed us that all human life is sacred. Each human being is created in the image and likeness of God and is a beloved child of God. Any action which would deny or diminish or demean any human life is contrary to the will and law of God and must be opposed.
Last week I spoke of abortion, which is the most serious of all life issues because it is an attack on the most innocent and most vulnerable children of God, and because of the large numbers of lives that are taken by abortion.
As important as opposition to abortion is, it is certainly not the only pro-life issue that the Church addresses. There are many people who are anti-abortion, but who are not truly pro-life. The Culture of Death, that Saint Pope John Paul II identified, is a philosophy that sees the value and dignity of human life as relative. Some human beings have great value, and some do not. The Culture of Death sees the taking of some lives as an acceptable strategy for achieving certain positive ends.
Therefore, if an unborn child will cause hardship on the mother because it is inconvenient or it is handicapped, then it is okay to abort it. If an elderly person who is no longer productive has become a drain on the medical resources and financial resources of their families and of society, it is okay to terminate that person’s life. If a criminal has committed terrible crimes, then it is in society’s best interest to put that person to death.
On January 27, 1999, Pope John Paul II, in a Papal Mass in Saint Louis stated, “A sign of hope is in the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is cruel and unnecessary.” He also added a statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that stated that capital punishment is morally unacceptable in modern times.
Pope Francis, in 2018, made that statement clearer by saying that capital punishment is “inadmissible.” In his very recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutt, he restated that it is inadmissible and said that Catholics should work for its abolition.
There is no human life that is not sacred. That sacred dignity comes from God himself. It is not something that someone can earn by good behavior, and it is not something that can be lost by bad behavior. This is the Gospel of Life, the Good News of Life. Each of us is precious in the eyes of God and are loved by God.
To be truly pro-life is to embrace the Gospel of Life. Supporting the lives of the unborn and opposing abortion are major aspects of the Gospel of Life. But it is not enough. As People of Life, we are not just anti-abortion. We are supportive of the dignity of every human being
–Fr. Mike Comer
P.S. On October 13, at 7 pm, several churches will be having a Pro-Life Mass. You are encouraged to attend one of them. Here at Mother of God Church, we had a Pro-Life Mass on September 15.