Today is the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. In non-pandemic times hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans participate in marches across the country, protesting abortion and calling for a culture of life. But as Catholics, we are called to build a culture of life every day, wherever we are. So how can we build and live a pro-life culture?
Bishop Donald Hying of the Diocese of Gary, IN stopped by Morning Air® to offer 5 ways that we can build a culture of life in our communities.
Know Your Worth to See the Worth of Others
Our true worth is who we are in the eyes of God. And if you’re not grounded in that truth, then you need to create your own sense of worth based on materialism, power, or all the other things we try to cling to.
The paradox is that I think I’m more important, in a sense, than other people if I’m not truly grounded in the love of the Lord. When I’m grounded in the love of the Lord, then humility sets me free to love, and to serve, and to sacrifice.
It’s that paradox that when I know my true worth I also know God’s sovereignty in my life. And then everything falls into place. When I don’t know my true worth, I have to artificially inflate it, because I’m afraid I will fall into nothingness.
Speak the Truth in Love
It’s always the fusion of love and truth. You see that in Jesus’ ministry. The truth is not going to be well-received by those who do not want to hear it, but to speak the truth in love is our task, in season and out, no matter how it is received.
When we read the Gospels, we see that Jesus spoke some very hard truths to people, and in one sense, wasn’t worried about the response. He understood that it would be rejected by many, including powerful people. So we can never tailor the essence of a message out of fear of how it is going to be received.
But at the same time, I think there are different approaches and different contexts. So depending on who the audience is, it’s not that you water it down, but you may want to emphasize different aspects or different points.
Love them Both
There are always at least two victims in an abortion – the mother and the child. And often the father and the family as well. What got me involved in the pro-life movement as a young priest was really listening to people who had experienced the profound wound of abortion, and realizing what a fundamental evil this was in our society. Not only because of the destruction of the unborn life, but also the profound damage it’s been doing for decades to women, to men, to couples, and to families.
The profound woundedness that abortion inflicts is something that we need to see and help people heal. … I love the work of Women’s Care Center, because they will accompany women who choose to give life to their child until that child reaches kindergarten. Sometimes the canard against us is that all we care about is an unborn life, and once that life is born we turn our back. That is so not true when you look at everything the Church does.
Work for Systemic Change
Look at the totality of society, and how people’s individual needs are often not met because of systemic poverty, because of systemic violence. So it’s not just changing the particular circumstances of one person – that’s where we get into the social justice teachings of the Church. How do we transform the political and economic system so that people do flourish as individuals and also as a society?
Honor the Value of Every Life
It really comes down to how people have been inculturated to understand abortion. The whole pro-abortion movement latched on to ‘pro-choice.’ And choice is this American value – I have choice, I have freedom, no one can tell me what to do. And it’s become more about what I want to do versus the integrity and the life of the unborn child.
It’s the falseness that some lives matter more than others. And for us that can never be the case. Every life matters, no one’s life matters more, and no one’s life matters less. Human life is sacred.
And as self-evident as that is to us, it is not to our culture. So we need to keep lovingly saying the same message, and put that message into action by how we support everyone who is living on the margins – including the unborn.
Listen to the full conversation with Bishop Donald Hying below: