In the creation of a consistent pro-life message, we have been reminded of late that being pro-life means being a supporter of the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death, of the plight of the migrant and refugee to that of the elderly. Yes, being pro-life means more than just being anti-abortion. However, one truly cannot be pro-life if one supports abortion “rights.”
This past Saturday, in an address to a gathering of Italian family associations, Pope Francis made what could be his strongest comments on abortion, tying it into eugenics. Specifically, His Holiness wondered about parents choosing to terminate a pregnancy if an unborn child is malformed or suffering from other ailments. He stated: “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” and he further urged parents to accept children “as God gives them to us.”
We should thank God for such a powerful statement from the Pope. It is not a statement of one who is callous or uncaring, but in fact, a teaching of a Father who is striving to model a true culture of human life and dignity. Let’s hope that his words will be received as they are meant to be, as a reminder in a culture that seems to emphasize the disposability of “inconvenient” life, that all life is sacred.
The Holy Father’s words are in perfect accord with the words of the Servant of God, Cardinal Terence Cooke, who on his death bed, wrote these words to his Archdiocese:
“We are made in God’s image and likeness, and this fact gives a unique dimension to ‘the gift of life.’ We have even more reason to be grateful. It is tragic that in our time, concepts which are disastrous to the well-being of God’s human family – abortion, euthanasia and infanticide – are falsely presented as useful and even respectable solutions to human family and social problems. Human life is sometimes narrowly viewed in terms of being inconvenient or unwanted, unproductive or lacking arbitrarily imposed human criteria.”
These words of hope and peace from two good men of the Lord should remind us as Americans of the need to be in solidarity with the poor, the elderly, the handicapped, the rejected, the homeless, the suffering, the migrant, the unwanted and the unborn. Yes, being truly “pro-life” means more than just being “anti-abortion.” But we can’t be pro-abortion, pro-eugenics, and dare to call ourselves pro-life.