Spreading the Gospel of life is our mission Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Written by Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison   
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

This week, we once again commemorate the sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision in 1973 which legalized abortion throughout our country.

Since then, millions and millions of human lives have been legally snuffed out in the very beginning of their existence without the chance of making their contribution to the world or knowing the wonder of our human experience.

Last year globally, 41 million abortions occurred. These numbers are staggering when we compare them to any other human tragedy which destroys lives.

Bishop Donald J. Hying's column

This week, hundreds of thousands of people, most of them young, will join in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Numbers-wise, it is the biggest event in our nation's capital, but you will hear little or nothing about it in the media.

Planned Parenthood's pledge

Planned Parenthood recently pledged $45 million to defeat political leaders and candidates who are not pro-abortion; that is a staggering amount of money which they could have used to improve the health care of women, which is their professed mission.

Instead, it will be poured into the relentless campaign to keep the murderous violence against the unborn unchecked, as millions of dollars pour into Planned Parenthood's coffers, the nation's largest abortion provider.

Human person worthy of respect

Abortion is not wrong because the Catholic Church says it is; abortion is simply humanly wrong. The Church will keep up her diligent resistance to every form of violence, oppression, and injustice because the human person is worthy of dignity, respect, concern, and love.

The human person is not a thing, a means to an end, or a burden to someone else's freedom and autonomy. Authentic political, economic, cultural, and social life all serve the flourishing of the person.

Do we really want to be in a society where some lives matter and others do not, where some people are allowed to be born and others are never given the chance, where some folks seem to have everything and others so very little?

Solidarity, a pillar of Catholic social teaching, calls us to be radically concerned about every individual in the body, to care for the weakest and most vulnerable. What human life is more fragile and dependent than the unborn?

Laws should reflect facts of science

When Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973, we did not have ultrasound technology. We now know that children in the womb suck their thumbs, feel pain and pleasure, respond to light, develop food preferences, and recognize their mother's voice. Within just several weeks of conception, this developing human being already has a heartbeat!

Shouldn't our laws reflect the facts of science? We all know that hearts need to change as well as laws when it comes to abortion, but our laws should reflect the fundamental truths of the human person which are inscribed in our hearts and minds. Just laws can shape and change hearts.

Building a society of justice, peace, and love

I want to help build a world where every human person is welcomed, loved, respected, and nurtured, where every child knows the warmth of a good home and the stability of wise parents, where we all recognize the dignity and value of each person, where no one's worth is simply weighed in the balance of economics or convenience.

Tolerance is often touted as the needed virtue of the moment. I disagree. We need to go much farther than simply putting up with each other. I do not want to tolerate people; I want to love them. Refraining from killing each other is a good place to start, but such a minimalism seems thin fare to build a society of justice, peace, and love.

We will be closer to the realization of the Kingdom of God when other people cease being an enemy, an inconvenience, a competitor, someone in my way. When we all stop seeing others as objects, but instead as brothers and sisters, we will begin to discover the astonishing love of Christ and the beautiful will of the Father.

If the moral measure of a society is its treatment of the weakest and most vulnerable, what does legalized abortion say about the United States and indeed, most of the world today?

Iceland boasts that it has eliminated Down Syndrome in the country, trumpeting this fact as some sort of health achievement. They have done so by encouraging and facilitating the abortion of any unborn child who may have Down Syndrome.

This sad dynamic repeats itself in many countries today; rarely, do we see young children with Down Syndrome. Most of them have been quietly eliminated before they had a chance to live. If this is progress, it's the progress of the Third Reich, which we fought a world war to stop.

Applaud those who stand up for human life

I want to applaud and encourage everyone who stands up for human life. Those who work in health care institutions and women's pregnancy centers, those who do counseling with women and men who find themselves in crisis pregnancies.

Courageous women who choose life for their children, even in daunting circumstances, those who pray outside places which perform abortions as a spiritual witness, and parents who raise children with disabilities.

It is not enough for us to be against abortion, domestic violence, the drug culture, and every other form of human oppression. As followers of Christ, we are called to help every person flourish as a child of God, loving and being loved, making their inestimable contribution to the common good.

The teachings of the Church clearly lay out the path for us to do this work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Spreading this Gospel of life is our mission and purpose. How can each one of us make the difference?