LIFE AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Bringing life into this world is a blessing, yet it also comes with the responsibility to love and care for every child. Many people, for various reasons, are not prepared to be parents; truthfully, there are so many different reasons that it would be too exhaustive to attempt to list them here. However; the question or challenge of this section comes down to discerning what sort of people and nation we choose to be. Are we people who respect all human life from natural conception to natural death or are we people who pick-and-choose who will be allowed to live and who will be killed? That might seem simplistic, yet it goes to the core of a significant social, political, and religious divide present in our country today.
Think of a time when a young couple you know announced they were having a baby. Most people look upon a new life in the womb as precious, as a reason to feel joy and to celebrate. Those expecting couples do not refer to their growing baby as a potential person. Parents fill with joy during pregnancy because they instinctively know the unborn baby is not a potential person; they know it is already a person flourishing and growing within the mother’s womb. Interestingly, people who support legal abortion have the same understanding; they know the unborn person will one day be a born person, which is why they support legal abortion. Supporters of abortion understand the procedure takes the life of an innocent person; however, referring to the unborn baby as being a potential person helps to make obtaining the abortion a bit easier on their conscience.
Many women who acquire an abortion will later in life become pregnant with a child they want — at that time, they are quick to call their unborn baby a person and tell their family members and friends they are pregnant with their first child or baby. In one case (above), an unborn baby is considered nothing more than a potential person; in the second case, when the mother wants the child, it becomes acceptable to say an unborn baby is a real person. This brings us back to our main point: Do we want to be a people who cherish, love, and respect every person, or will we pick-and-choose who will be allowed to live and who will die or be killed?
Being a good parent is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial vocations a person can ever accept, prospective parents must take the responsibility to do well with the child. The direction of the nation and the world depends on sound parenting skills. Being a good parent is not glamorous; it is not a publicly viewed skill set. Quality parenting stems from a loving heart — and by placing the well-being of their children ahead of their own. Sadly, many adults do not respect human life, which leads them to treat babies as commodities rather than blessings from God.
Our Declaration of Independence sets life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights. It is difficult to understand how a person can pursue liberty or happiness if they are not allowed to live. Abortion takes those unalienable rights away — it says society can remove our fundamental God-given right to life and that those rights do not belong to every person (only to those souls deemed worthy of living). If our nation can snatch unalienable rights away from an innocent unborn living person, who will be next to have those rights taken from them? Will it be the elderly who are deemed unworthy of living? Will it be people with illnesses that are considered too expensive or too draining on our medical systems? Ultimately, could it not be anyone who our culture regards as unworthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Sadly, the lack of respect for life also falls upon the consciences of many Catholics, who, in large numbers, abort their children, and they use contraception at nearly the same rates as the general population. It creates a scandal upon the faith and the Church for so many Catholics to be living outside Church teachings regarding grave issues.
People trying to counter the argument against abortion will claim many pro-life Catholics (and pro-life Christians from all denominations) behave hypocritically because they sometimes support war. Those arguments have no basis in revealed truth. The Catholic Church, along with most non-Catholic denominations, holds justification for war rests in the hands of the civil authorities making those decisions (Catholics, please read paragraph #2308-2309, and #2327 in the Catechism). Regarding abortion, the Church teaches it is an evil act, we cannot support it in any situation. The Church teaches we must seek justice in all areas of life, including in war. One needs to consider that while there are legitimate concerns about wars and the ability of the modern world to destroy millions through horrific weapons, since its legalization in 1973, we have lost more than 60,000,000 innocent babies to abortion (in the USA alone). Catholics should rightly struggle to end all wars, yet we must not forget or ignore the evil of abortion. Doing so is a blind justification for a person’s personal agenda. How can any person of faith turn a blind eye to the most vulnerable of humans among us (the unborn)?
IS IT PART OF OUR PERSONAL LIBERTY?
Some may attempt to defend legal abortion by appealing to our God-given liberty, claiming our freedoms must include a right to secure an abortion. However, liberty is a gift, which we must use responsibly. Intentionally taking the life of human persons is a perversion of that gift, it takes away (from the unborn) the fundamental right of every person: the right to life. Reasonable people realize the Catholic Church can never sanction the taking of innocent human lives — not at the point of conception, not if they are one week old, not if they are 100+ years-old, nor anything in between.
From the perspective of the Bible and the Catholic Church, the author of life is God, not humanity. We hold the physical attributes to bring God’s life into this world, and from that perspective, we are cooperators with God in developing the family who will join Him in His Heavenly Banquet through eternity. The Bible has much to say about life, and it does not sanction abortion in any way. From the first book of the Old Testament, we see that God created us in His image, and He created us as different from the rest of creation:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:26-27 RSV-CE – Italics added]
That passage tells us human beings hold dominion over animals and creation itself (the earth) and that God has placed His personal image upon every person. It would do us well to make it part of our daily thoughts to recall each of us carries the image and likeness of our Almighty God, and we bear that image from the moment of conception.
The Bible and the Catechism demonstrate humans hold a special and unique place with God, there is no reason to post them all here. Christians should take comfort in the knowledge God has given us such a privilege. The animal world does not share the same relationship with our Lord—we are unique, which is a critical point to acknowledge because many people today see no difference between people and animals. If we, as God’s children, have trouble believing we are unique and special, then it becomes no problem for us to take the life of innocent unborn persons through abortion. If we have difficulty accepting humans and animals are not equal, then by extrapolation, we can conclude God values people and animals the same, again making abortion easier to accept — with 60,000,000+ unborn babies aborted (in the USA alone), it is not difficult to recognize where this line of thinking goes.
If you believe the Bible is God’s Word, then you know God highly values each of His children, born and unborn. Many people do not understand unborn human life is sacred. The following passages provide clarification:
Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts. Upon thee was I cast from my birth,… [Psalm 22:9-10 RSV-CE – Italics added]
Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb? [Job 31:15 RSV-CE – Italics added]
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth—Who was with me? [Isaiah 44:24 RSV-CE – Italics added]
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” [Jeremiah 1:4-5 RSV-CE — Italics added]
The passages above reveal God forms us in our mother’s womb, and God places a high value on the unborn. The Bible also teaches the Lord knew us before our conception. There can be no doubt God loves us before, and after we are born, for He gives us His image and likeness, fashions us in the womb, and knows us before we were born.
There should be no ambiguity about the issue of life with any informed Catholic; there is no room for error on this subject, Catholics must support human life from conception (fertilization) until natural death, or they are outside Church teachings. Catholics cannot help anyone procure an abortion. Every abortion is gravely immoral.
Catholics should note mortal sin on our souls separates us from God, which means each time a Catholic procures an abortion they have committed a grave sin, though Catholics return to a right relationship with God by repenting and confessing the sin through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the reception of absolution given by a Priest.
Note: Recall, actions become mortal sins if the following three conditions exist (as stated by the Catechism in paragraph 1857): For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” Applying those points to abortion, it would seem, in many cases, Catholics procuring an abortion meet all three conditions. In cases where Catholics voted for supporters of abortion, whether that was sinful depends on the Catholic voter’s knowledge and intent regarding the issue of life as held by the person for whom they voted. If a Catholic knows of a candidate’s plan to make abortions more accessible, and if they give full and complete consent to that candidate’s intention, that Catholic might be standing on shaky spiritual ground. They should seek a discussion with a Priest.
Tragically, many do not hold a more profound respect for God’s truths and the teachings of His Church. Every Catholic who commits the mortal sin of procuring an abortion suffers automatic self-excommunication (if they fulfill all three conditions stated above). By going to confession and repenting from that grave sin, Catholics can have the ex-communication lifted (Catholics, please read paragraph #1857 from the Catechism above).
THROUGH A LENS OF HISTORY
Consider the situation of Jesus’ birth. The Blessed Virgin Mary, after she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit, created a problematic scandal to Joseph. Today, women faced with similar situations in which they are unexpectedly pregnant; aborting the child is often the choice they make. Try to imagine what would have happened had Mary been a pro-abortion woman and had aborted her baby, Jesus Christ. Everything we know, the entire Western Civilization (including the United States, Europe, etc.), would not have existed had Christianity never been there to help mold, shape and create the world we see, and we would all remain in our sins since Christ would never have died on the cross for us.
Catholics would do well to embrace the historical realities of their faith and its positive impact on the world. It is rare in our culture when books reflect a fair account of the history of the Church; however, the following titles are a sound base for Catholics to begin researching the faith:
Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History, by H.W. Crocker III.
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D.
As valuable as western culture is, it pales in comparison to the saving work Christ brought the world. As stated above, without Jesus’ birth, passion, death, and resurrection, we would still be living in our sins without hope for redemption and salvation. It is critical to keep in mind that nowhere in Revelation does God state He would have chosen another woman had Mary refused to bear Jesus or had Mary chosen to have the infant Jesus aborted. We cannot place assumptions on Divine Revelation that have no support. God chose Mary, and only Mary, to bear His one and only Son. Had Mary said no to God or had Mary made a choice to abort the human life in her womb (Jesus Christ), that would have plunged the entire world into darkness — no redemption, no salvation, no hope. Consider the account of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. [Luke 1:39-44 RSV-CE – Italics added]
The baby within Elizabeth’s womb (John the Baptist) leaped with joy when he sensed he was in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at that time was a growing infant within Mary’s womb. What a remarkable testimony to the sacred nature of life in the womb. If unborn persons equate to nothing more than potentials, why did the unborn John the Baptist recognize the Lord so clearly, despite Jesus being in Mary’s womb? Recall also that John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus, which means the infant Jesus in Mary’s womb was a first-trimester baby at the time John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb.
The purpose of this section is to help us understand why abortion is a moral evil and that no one can ever rightly obtain, help with, or support abortion. Many will declare they are following the dictates of their conscience when they support abortion. However, the Catholic Church teaches we must have a well-formed conscience — a conscience that does not refer to personal judgments about critical issues (CCC #1783), as follows (from the Catechism):
CCC 1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.
Considering that paragraph from the Catechism, one cannot stand against formal Church teaching on intrinsic evil and claim they have a properly formed conscience.
A LESSON FROM THE HOLOCAUST
We do not need to speak in depth about the Holocaust. The painful horror of 6,000,000 Jews being slaughtered is a well known historical fact. However, let us consider the Holocaust in the context of our discussion about abortion. There are many today who challenge pro-life people by saying something akin to this: “We will talk about ending legal abortion after prolife people create a plan to take care of all babies who will live if we end legal abortion.” Let us use that challenge and apply it to the days of the Holocaust.
Say you had the ability to go back in time to stop the slaughter of those 6,000,000 Jews–would you avoid stopping their slaughter until after a plan was develop to house and care for those 6,000,000, or would you first save the people?
Applying this to abortion, we must first choose to save the lives, then we can go about the task of caring for those innocent babies, many of which will be adopted (1st, stop the killing. 2nd, care for them.). What good does it do to develop a plan to help saved lives, if there are no saved lives to care for?
An easy litmus test on the issue of abortion is to imagine yourself being able to use a time machine to go back in time to abort yourself in the womb of your mother. In pure science fiction mode, after aborting yourself in your mother’s womb, POOF, you would cease to exist.
Is it not true that people tend to value their own life?
Is it not true that people are grateful their mother did not abort them?
If people are grateful for their lives, perhaps they can agree babies who are not aborted will one day be thankful for the gift of life?
We return to our challenge for this nation. Each person has a choice to make. Will we be people who place a high value on every human life, from conception until natural death, or will we be people who pick-and-choose who will be allowed to live and who will die?
Do you desire a spiritual and civil renewal of the USA and the world? Do you desire peace for the USA and the world? Halting the slaughter of innocent unborn babies is the best place to start that renewal, and it is the start of the path toward real, lasing peace.
How can anyone believe God is pleased with His precious unborn babies being killed through abortion?
Thank you for reading,
 The Declaration of Independence – July 4th, 1776.
 The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
 Revised Standard Version—Catholic Edition.
 Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition
 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is printed in several formats
for your convenience.
 Christianity, specifically Catholic Christianity, has played an indispensable role in forming the entire Western World. Please see the Bibliography.
 The Catechism of the Catholic Church.