Friday, August 14, 2015 - Updated: 7:00 am
It was Jan. 22, 1973. I was a seminarian studying at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. I had been sent there to prepare for ordination to the priesthood. St. Mary’s is the oldest seminary in the country — founded in 1791.
I had just come back to my room following dinner. I put on my black and white TV to watch the news. It would turn out to be quite a news night. The 6:30 p.m. news was interrupted by a news bulletin: Lyndon Baines Johnson, our former president, had just died. And for the rest of the newscast the reports were about our 36th president who had died. I certainly wouldn’t have expected that that story would or could be trumped by any other story.
Was I surprised!
The 7 p.m. newscast and the news about President Johnson were interrupted by another bulletin: the Supreme Court made a decision that would change the culture and moral fabric of our country. In a 7-2 vote, they made a decision in a case known as Roe v. Wade that performing abortions was now legal in our country. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what effect that decision would have on our lives.
Over the course of these last 42 years, respect for human life has rapidly declined and been desecrated by our government and its courts. That we could count on our leaders to protect life on all fronts, to fight for it, to defend it was no longer the norm.
Since 1973, abortion has always been peddled as a semantic game. It is covered up with a shovel-full of words and phrases like “viability” or “pro-choice” or “reproductive rights.”
But every once in a while the truth, the reality, of what takes place in an abortion sneaks out to the public, reveals itself in what no one wants to talk about and everyone seems to want to forget or romanticize.
The video of a Planned Parenthood representative sipping wine and munching on salad at lunch while discussing the cost-benefit analysis on the sale of fetal parts revealed horrifying truths. And while there is little surprise at what has come to light, WE SHOULD BE SHOCKED.
Planned Parenthood tells us that abortion is just a small part of its business. But it doesn’t make much noise about performing fully a third of the abortions in the United States. That’s about 330,000 abortions ever year — by their own questionable statistics.
Once again, Planned Parenthood tells us that abortion is just a small part of its business. They also supply adoption referrals. They don’t tell us that their rate of abortion to adoption referrals is 149 to 1.
And again, Planned Parenthood tells us that abortion is just a small part of its business. For example, they tell us they provide 19,000 “prenatal services” for women in a given year. Again compare that with 330,000 abortions and answer the question “What is the dominant business of Planned Parenthood?” Seventeen times more abortions than prenatal services.
A truth was revealed in the recently released videos, a truth that Planned Parenthood did not want to tell us. The controversy over these videos proves that we still recoil when confronted with the reality of abortion. It is so gruesome that most of us want to pull back. In the videos, Planned Parenthood staffers tick off a shopping list of recognizable human organs — organs going up for sale. The revulsion is too strong. The inhumanity we inflict on a tiny, defenseless child is too much to absorb. And most Americans realize that.
We know the truth
St. Paul reminds us that where evil abounds grace abounds all the more. You and I, as followers of our dear Jesus, must be agents of grace in the face of this evil. How? Through our fervent, heartfelt prayer and our humble, loving action, we must:
• For all infants conceived. May their lives not end in abortion.
• For all women and men who have an unexpected pregnancy. May they courageously and compassionately nurture the life of their son or daughter.
• For all women and men who suffer from the pain and guilt of having or facilitating an abortion. May God who forgives all our sins renew their hope.
• For all employees of Planned Parenthood. May their consciences be moved to see even the tiniest baby in the womb as a precious child of God.
• For all elected officials who will decide on the continued funding of Planned Parenthood. May they cease to aid an organization that destroys innocent lives.
• For judges. May they affirm that every human being has the right to life, including babies in the womb from the first moment of their conception.
• For all who support women’s health. May they promote the health and well-being of mothers and babies.
• Stay informed. As awful as these revelations are, we cannot avoid facts. None of us in this day and age can be excused for not knowing of this evil.
• Speak the truth with love. Communicate with compassion our beautiful teaching of the vision of love and the sanctity of every human person from conception to natural death.
• Contact your elected officials repeatedly to tell them that they cannot permit our tax dollars to be used for organizations that harvest baby body parts for a money-making venture.
• Participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign Sept. 23-Nov. 1. Join in this prayer vigil to end abortion at Planned Parenthood in Downtown Pittsburgh.
The videos of Planned Parenthood staffers casually discussing how they obtain the organs of babies is not a truth Planned Parenthood wanted to tell us. Nor do most of our electronic news outlets. But now we know the truth. Our consciences should be troubled. We need to bring the light of God’s truth to light. We need to bring to light God’s love that brings life into life.
Just as two bulletins interrupted the news day in our country Jan. 22, 1973, so must we let the shocking news of what Planned Parenthood is really all about fire us up to do as the founders of our country and the architects of our Constitution have penned for our reflection and our action.
That we defend our right to â » life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — “so help us God!”