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Monday, January 21, 2013

Roe v. Wade 40th: Ecologists must first protect life

Every offense against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace, and the environment.” Pope Benedict XVI. Message for World Day of Peace. January 1, 2013.

March for Life, 2010. Photo: Flicker/ryanoshea
With the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the United States must consider the millions who have since been killed. For Catholic Americans, it is a time to voice ever louder the many and terrible ways in which our choices for death affect all things.

Pope Benedict XVI has made clear the connection between abortion and environmental protection, as above in his 2013 Message for World Peace Day, and elsewhere. “Our duties toward the environment are linked to our duties toward the human person,” he famously wrote in 2009 in his third letter to the Church. 

The pontiff’s point is simple: Protecting creation begins in the womb. When a culture chooses to abuse or end one form of life—especially vulnerable human life—it can more easily abuse or dismiss the value of all forms of life, and vice versa. And since ecology studies the interconnectivity of life and its physical environment—how impacting one element impacts others—the topic thus becomes a tool to teach the consequences of choices. Indeed, ecology encourages conversations about how our earthly decisions, particularly those related to our bodies, reverberate into greater realities.
Photo: Flicker/ryanoshea

In a culture that increasingly sees an individual’s choices as affecting only the individual that makes the choice, the popular topic of environmental protection demonstrates that one’s choices impact one’s neighbors—that we do not reign supreme over our bodies, our relationships, or our corners of creation.

 As ecologists exhort the world to consume less and live in proper relation to nature, Catholic ecologists must, in addition, exhort the world to quench different human desires that lead to the consumption of each other—of a moral and sexual license that has devalued to nil the life of the unborn and the place of the family.

For all of us who seek to foster a culture of life, we will benefit from an awareness of the interconnectivity of issues as seemingly diverse as abortion and environmental protection.

As the Holy Father notes, there can be no respect for the natural world if we do not first respect innocent human life.

Likewise, as the problems of our day are thus united, so are the solutions. In the Letter to Titus, we read these words that guide humanity—that demonstrate that the means to better tend the environment are the same as those that help us respect the human person.
The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14). 
May the Spirit that inspired the writing of these words help us live temperately, justly, and devoutly, and so encourage a world in which all those conceived are born into healthy, nurturing, families and thriving systems of life.

1 comment:

  1. My own opposition to abortion came out of my environmentalism -- my caring for injured or baby animals when I was a small kid, my love for all of God's creation, even insects. New born rabbits looks sort of like human fetuses, according to the LIFE MAGAZINE image I saw in the 50s or 60s. I thought if I could care that much for animals, then how much more precious are humans, esp fetuses and babies, who have not had the opportunity to become bullies yet. So years later after converting to Catholicism working against Row v. Wade was a no-brainer for me.

    When talking to non-Catholic environmentalists I let them know about my anti-abortion stance, asking them, "Who are we saving the environment for but future generations so they can survive and thrive. It makes no sense to kill children in order to save the earth for the children."

    Since all of the environmentalists I know are not of the people-hating kind that anti-environmental Catholics seem to run into all the time, my message resonates with them.

    However, it is nearly impossible to convince anti-environmental Catholics that there are environmental problems that harm and kill people. They think environmentalism is only about saving the baby seals, polar bears, and rain forests, at the expense of genocide against people. So when they clamor about being pro-life (anti-abortion) -- even after I tell them about env issues and harms to people and they still refuse to accept we must mitigate these -- I have a really hard time believing they are sincerely anti-abortion.

    Anyone who is truly anti-abortion would also be against causing miscarriages and birth defects thru pollution, and other environmental harms that kill people.

    Unfortunately the converse is not necessarily true, re "environmentalists" who are pro-abortion. Seems they are fine with other people having abortions, so their own children and progeny can have more of earth's goodies. What they fail to realize is the pro-death message and evil they are passing on to their children. They are not really environmentalists in my books -- they are just selfish, and their environmentalism flows from their selfishness.

    I pray that both those who disregard environmental harms and those who disregard the evils of abortion come to a truly pro-life ethic.



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