The Indisposable Gift of Life: How Love Must Be the Heart of Catholic Social Teaching
Jan 19, 2021
Love is needed to bring about a culture of life. Our society has an ever-present culture of death and an obsession with promiscuity and casual sex. As Catholics we are called to examine our mindset towards unplanned pregnancies, pregnancies among adolescents, and those outside of marriage. It seems that many Catholics need to be brought up-to-date about the sanctity of life, gifts and responsibilities from God, the value of chastity, living the theological virtues, and respect for our bodies, as well as the bodies of others.
Presently many view life as disposable, though we are afraid to honestly admit this. We complain about the spot in our brother’s eye (for example, human-rights abuses in China and the Middle East), but do not remove the log of abortion, euthanasia, and poverty from our own eye. An underlying challenge is how to love the fetus as we love a baby and how to love those who hurt us as brothers and sisters in Christ. The sinfulness lies in our rejection of humans who are too weak or unable to speak up for their own lives. Society would think twice about abortion if they saw the face of God in the unborn.
We are trying to convince our courts to codify protection for the unborn, with the goal of making it unthinkable to terminate a pregnancy or to see a baby as an unwanted thing. People are repulsed to learn of babies forgotten in hot cars, drownings, neglect, etc. As a civilized society, we should have that same emotion of disgust towards abortion. As Catholics who protect the sanctity of life, we are called to instill love and care towards the unborn and others whose lives need protection.
The following actions would significantly help reduce our society’s ever-present culture of death and an obsession with promiscuity:
- Prayer with a focus on faith, hope, and love
- Reduce the availability of pornography. This means keeping the home computer in a central area such as the kitchen, so all can see what is on the monitor
- Communicate with young people about the value of chastity. This does not mean an annual sex education class at the public school. It must include weekly private and honest conversations between parents and their children about healthy decision-making and the importance of self-discipline
- Reinforce young people’s faith through weekly Mass, the Sacraments, and praying together as a family
Those catechized with a personal relationship with Jesus will be less willing to listen to another who is trying to seduce them into sexual sin. Books, speaking engagements, art, technology, etc., must be utilized to show people that the vulnerable are deserving of dignity and are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This ethic calls us to work towards peace in ending violations of human life. This means changing our hearts and minds against the evils of capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, and poverty. As Catholics we all have a part to play – a calling from God to help promote a culture of life. The answer to all of this is as simple as loving one another and charity towards our neighbor, even if that neighbor does not enjoy our quality of life, is incarcerated, or is still a fetus who has not been born yet.
Jamie is a current student at St. Bernard's pursuing his Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. He has a B.A. in Education from Arizona State University and is an alumnus of McQuaid Jesuit High School. Jamie is a parishioner at Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley, Arizona. He enjoys spending quality time with his wife Camela. Comments are welcome at JFishgold@stbernards.edu. Thank you to Sr. Nancy Hawkins for her generous time with editing.