When Truth Becomes Debatable, Death Happens

September 16, 2010 09:00 AM

When is an act of abortion anything less than the direct murder of a preborn child? The answer to this question is never.

When is the use of a contraceptive method anything less than a defiant act against God which tells Him that He need not get involved in your life by giving you the gift of a child? The answer to this question is never.

When is the direct assault on a human embryo for the purpose of removing his stem cell anything less than killing him? Never.

Each of these questions is based on a fact that is emphatically denied by those who continually fashion the culture of death in America. But what’s truly sad is that, all too frequently, these facts are also rebuffed by those who profess to be part of the pro-life response to pro-death forces. This sort of confusion in messaging derails much of the pro-life public outreach—not to mention confounding those citizens who are looking to us for leadership, education and guidance.

So why does this sort of mixed-up communication occur?

There are varied answers to that question, but there is a simple fact that transcends whatever explanations one may hear. That is quite simply that the truth about abortion, contraception and stem cell research is not fungible—it is what it is. And deny it or waltz around, its nature will not change one iota. There is, after all, just one truth.

For more than forty years we have been striving to understand why individuals shrink from making bold statements of fact like those embodied in the questions posed at the beginning of this article. Until we happened upon an encyclical written more than one hundred years ago, we had no real answer.

In his encyclical Sapientiae Christianae (On Christians as Citizens), Pope Leo XIII challenged the Christians of his day with words that seem to apply more today than they did 115 years ago when he wrote them. 

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”[13] Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.

Strong words, but necessary for those of us who are striving not to please the powerful of this world or help others feel comfortable with a little bit of killing. Strong words, but necessary to share the love, the mercy and the justice of God with one and all. This is accomplished by witnessing to others that, only in truth, can one find genuine peace of mind and heart.

To be pro-life is, after all, to be courageous.

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