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Imagine yourself, man or woman, feeling as though you’re in love with somebody. You feel not only a great obligation, pressured by society, but an urge to be sexually active with this individual. You go along with this urge, and the next thing you know, you’re expected to have a child as a result of your actions. You’re young, naï¿½ve, scared, poor; whatever the situation may be. You don’t know what to do. You’ve never thought that you would ever put yourself in this situation and you’re extremely frightened. You have heard about some people that have had abortions before, and they turned out to be fine. You have also heard that you can get an abortion in secret and on top of that for free, while also being completely legal. On the other hand, you have been raised to be pro-life and to never even think about having an abortion. You have to make a choice. Do you have the ethics, morals, and in essence, the faith to make the right choice; the right choice of course being the realization that abortion, in actuality, is murder, and to go against that sin and to have the child.
I reflected upon these questions and asked myself if I had the faith myself to make the right choice. I wondered if I would really, truly be able to make the right decision. I thought that I could decide on the right thing, but I still didn’t fully understand everything about why the church teaches this. After doing research about this topic I got much better insight about understanding fully why we believe this. I don’t believe this now. Just because I’m supposed to, but I now believe this because I understand the wisdom and knowledge put forth to this subject over thousands of years. I know now that, besides not even getting into the situation itself, but that I would be able to make the right choice if I, or somebody I knew, was ever involved in a situation like that. I would be able to make the right choice and back up my conscience with knowledge.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). These words are the epitome of the revealed truth of God. It reflects all that we believe about life, death, and the power of the sanctifying Spirit. This eternal life, the life in which we are all called to live and protect, is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is at the dawn of our salvation, calling us to live righteously.
In the first Chapter of Evangelium Vitae, or the Gospel of Life, written by Pope John Paul II in 1995, we see the good news of Jesus Christ itself. It reflects upon the present day threats to human life. Along with it, there is a parallel with the story of Cain and Abel, which is the root of violence against life.
In today’s society, there are extremely numerous amounts of threats to human life, which the Gospel of Life spells out. It is impossible to catalogue the vast array of threats to human life because there are so many different forms. These forms are, much of the time, hidden. The most obvious is the legal right itself to perform certain procedures that are immoral and against our beliefs. Violence against life does not just include abortion. Violence against life can be a number of differing subjects. Euthanasia, murder of any type, slaughter, war, genocide, etc. are major types of violence against life as well as abortion. Furthermore, there are threats in today’s society, such as children forced into poverty, malnutrition, and hunger because of unjust distributing of resources between social classes. This goes along with violence of wars, which much of the time is bloody.
There is also the spreading of death caused by reckless tempering with the world’s ecological balance, by the criminal spreading of drugs, or by the promotion of certain kinds of sexual activity, which is socially unacceptable, but also the many diseases that go along with this is dangerous and a threat to one’s life.
The problem with our society today is that the immoral and life-threatening acts which are acted out are no longer considered unjust “crimes” anymore. They are, in today’s society, considered “rights”. This example can be shown through the acts of being pro-life or pro-choice. A pro-choice individual may feel that they have a right to choose what is good for them.
The truth is veiled and hidden from them. It is not necessarily their fault that they do not know what they’re doing is wrong and sinful, but it can be a problem that lay within our culture. Our culture hides the sin and makes the woman believe that it is her right to choose what she wants. She doesn’t realize that it is really a crime that she is committing. She doesn’t understand that it is not her right to choose what she desires; it is God’s choice to choose what is right for her. By directly disobeying the Lord, She is committing a serious sin. Our culture, through our government, is hiding this and underplaying this sin by disguising it with words that have
fallacious euphemisms as “rights” instead of “crimes”. At this basis, we find the source of the predicament our society is in today. Our culture openly practices these things, causing the immorality of it to be disguised or hidden. This is an “eclipse” of sin, which is very alarming in my eyes, to our culture today. We are headed in the wrong direction, a direction where justification, acceptance, and the proliferation of wrongdoings is becoming more and more prevalent from decade to decade.
Human beings today attack life as if it were nothing and this spreading can crash our culture into a spiral fall into sin and ultimately spinning out of control into hell. The fact that attacks on life are spreading greatly and are receiving great support from the general culture is a powerfully despondent thought. This is also supported by broad, widespread legal approval of the involvement of certain sectors of health-care personnel.
The reality of it is, the twentieth century will have been an era of massive attacks on life, or endless series of war, and a continual tacking of innocent human life, unless we put an end to these sins and make it known the evil, depravity, and corruption of these ideals.
The two most flagrant enemies of present day threats to human life are abortion and euthanasia. Abortion is well-known, and is the work of the devil himself. Many have a feeling of constraint when talking about abortion because it is such a touchy subject. The fact of the matter is abortion is killing. It is paralleled with how Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. It is the same as taking a gun and shooting your baby daughter, brother, son, sister, mother, father, anybody. It is a complete sin, attacking God himself.
For the Jewish people, blood is the source of life, and life, especially human life, is in the hands of God and belongs to God alone. By this fact, when one attack’s life, he or she in some way is attacking God himself. Just as Cain tried to justify his means of killing his brother and hiding it by saying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” many justify their means of killing and hiding it by acting naï¿½ve toward the subject. Cain does not like to think about his brother that he killed and refuses to accept responsibility for it. This can be the same way that we, in society as a whole, refuse to accept responsibility for our brothers. Again, just as God did not leave the crime of Cain unpunished, he also punishes us, accept our price we will pay in the heavenly kingdom.
Euthanasia goes along with these hidden crimes of violence. Euthanasia is
murder as well, just as is abortion. Our culture tends to include the lack of solidarity towards the weakest members of society. We sometimes have a misleading thought that pain and suffering should not be associated with death. We think that just because one is able to end a life to avoid suffering that he or she should avoid it. We think that, if the life would require greater recognition or time, that love is considered useless, and is actually considered a burden. This leads to the rejection of the life. A person who, because of a certain illness, being handicapped, or just because they are existing, makes one think that it compromises the well-bring or life-style of those who are living without assistance. This is a lie from the devil and you cannot fall into his trickery.
Sometimes, the Catholic Church is accused of being pro-choice, and pro-abortion, just because it is against the use of contraception. This may be that many people use contraception with a view to stop the temptation of abortion. In fact these thoughts themselves strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life in conceived because of its negative values that go along with it. The pro-abortion culture is especially strong when the Church teaches that contraception is bad. When reflecting on these two acts, the church teaches that contraception and abortion are two different and distinct evils. Contraception is a contradiction to the real truth of sexuality as an act of proper conjugal love of a married man and woman.
It is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage and it warps the minds of individuals to make them believe that, just because they can have intercourse without being married means that they should. Abortion on the other hand destroys the life of a human being. It directly disobeys God’s commandment “You shall not kill.” Life starts at the moment of conception, not when the baby starts to grow. But, even though these two ideas are evil, they are still closely connected as “fruits of the same tree”. Contraception and abortion are practiced with the pressures of your peers, real life situations, and a society that accepts these things are “normal”. These things have to be taught from the beginning that they are wrong.
Another present day crisis that is used against life is the demographic question. There are many different parts of the world with different cultures, but it is still a sin to kill, no matter where the killing is taking place. In some poorer countries over-population occurs. Programs of cultural development and distribution of anti-birth policies are being formed. Contraception, sterilization, and abortion are certainly part of the reason why in some cases there is a very steep decline in the birthrate. It is not hard for these cultures to use the methods that attack lives when there is a situation of “demographic explosion”. An example of where this is prevalent is China. China has a one-child policy of birth planning. The Chinese government puts it under the pretext of a “Family planning policy”. It officially restricts the number of children married couples can have to one.
A spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy has said that about 35.9% of China’s population is currently subject to the one-child restriction. The Chinese government introduced this policy to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China. Authorities claim that the policy has prevented more than 250 million births from its implementation to the year 2000.1 This goes against everything we believe. This is because of the negative economic and social consequences the policy introduces, such as forced abortions and female infanticide, which is the probably cause of China’s significant gender imbalance. This shows that the government is a huge concern for the future of our culture. The Pharaoh of the Old Testament did the same thing. He ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women were to be killed (Ex 1:7-22), due to the increase of children in Israel. These sins are very prevalent throughout our world and for the sake of our future, need to be stopped.
God asks Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain answers “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). The answer to this is yes. Each of us has a moral obligation to take responsibility for watching over our brothers. This is because God instructs us to watch over our brothers. He gives us the freedom to choose to watch over our brothers. Humanity today is given great freedom, and we need to use our freedom wisely. We cannot waste our freedom by being tricked into sin. We need to watch out for the other side of freedom that we do not know about. This is the freedom that destroys ourselves and becomes the factor leading to the destruction of others. It no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth. When our freedom is used to follow others, our freedom is dead. When our freedom is used to follow the Lord, our freedom is living. If we follow the will of others all the time, we tend to just look for the
easy way out of things, and much of the time we look for the thing that will be more helpful to us. This is a selfish way to live, and if we always live in this way, we will not live in eternal happiness with the one who gave us this freedom to begin with.
Our life was given to us by the Lord. With this life we are given a freedom to choose and make the right decisions. Sometimes our society and culture may lead us down the wrong path, and hide the truth about what is right and what is wrong. What we don’t understand is that this is really Satan trying to do his work and cause us to sin. He doesn’t want us to achieve total happiness with our Creator. He wants us to suffer with him, so he makes up lies, and covers up the truth to cause us to sin. Our society as a whole needs to realize these things. Our present culture needs to realize that life is not in our hands, but in the hands of God our Creator, and that he wants us to spread the truth about life and the truth about present day threats to human life.
1 1 Rosenberg, Matt. “China One Child Policy – Overview of the One Child Policy in China.” Geography Home Page – Geography at About.com. 14 May 2009 <http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/onechild.htm>.