Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Pardon me if I have said this before. I’m always fascinated by the scientific discoveries made in other planets. I re- member watching live with my family NASA’s Pathfinder mission landing in Mars in 1997, and watching National Geographic and Discovery channel growing up. When I was deciding what I was going to study in college, astrono- my was actually one of the main options. However, the idea of staying up all night looking at the stars all the time was not as romantic as it sounded at first. Since man arrived at the moon, and other rockets getting to other planets, the possibility of finding life out of the earth became a real possibility.
When we speak of “finding life”, we mean in simple terms, anything other than rocks. Any molecular structure, or any monocellular “thing” would be considered as “alive.” As much as all that fascinates me, it also bewilders me. My confusion, if you want to call it that, is how come such beings could be considered “life” or called “alive,” while a fe- tus, which is a much more complex being, is considered by some as “not alive”. In other words, how come a mo- nocellular organism is called a “living being,” while a multicellular human being, with tissues, organs (and with a heart that beats at 5-6 weeks) would be called only a “blob or a bunch of cells” and not alive?
Now that the elections are “over,” we can speak plainly about beginning of life without being misinterpreted as sup- porting one candidate over the other. This week marks the anniversary of the decision of the Supreme Court known as “Roe v Wade” that allowed abortion in the US. We as Christians, have the right and the duty to defend life. This also includes many other social issues, especially those that recently were in the headlines: racism, sexism, and others.
However, abortion infringes the very first right of human life as stated by the United Nations. It reads, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.” Before we can address the other issues, we must start from the very beginning. Every baby has the right to have his life protected. We hear and read everywhere about the endangered species of animals, and even recently laws were approved here in MA to protect marine life that impacted the livelihood of so many people. However, recently, the State Senate overrode Gov. Baker’s veto on the expansion of abortion which unfortunately will also impact negatively so many lives.
The Catholic Church is the leader in social justice. We have the 7 Principles of Catholic Social Teaching that guide us. Care of all creation is our responsibility as we are to be good stewards of all that God has given us. The first principle of Catholic Social Teaching is the dignity of every human being. It is first for a reason.
Let me pause here to say that this is not a judgement to those who are suffering from the aftermath of abortion. Many women and men who have made this choice were under pressure and not given all of the facts they needed to make a decision for life. They felt alone, unsupported and incapable. This is about helping others to make deci- sions to prevent further death and suffering. Although abortion may seem to be the solution to unsurmountable problems, it only leads to more serious long-term afflictions. No matter what the circumstances, the child conceived, whose life was given by God, has the right to be born.
We know by Divine Revelation that God is with us, He never abandons us, and He will always be on our side, for the good, the bad and the ugly. What a child needs is support from other people. Mom needs to feel loved, not judged. Our mission to “love one another as God has loved us” becomes more imperative in such moments. So what can we do?
There are pregnancy help centers that help those in need. Here in Marlboro we are blessed to have 2 centers, First Concern (508) 305-2493 (https://firstconcern.org) and Birthright (508) 481-2055( https://birthright.org/marlborough ). Pregnancy Help is under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Boston and there are three locations in Natick (508-651 -0753), Brighton and Brockton (https://upholdingthedignityoflife.org ) Many of our parishioners are involved in assist- ing at these centers. All inquiries and assistance is always anonymous.
For those who have had an abortion, there are healing opportunities available such as Project Rachel ( https:// projectrachelboston.com ), confession and/or spiritual counseling. Finally, and most importantly we pray. We will have our next 24hour adoration this week from Thursday 21st at 6pm to Friday 22nd at 6pm. This will conclude with Mass on 22 January 2021 at 6pm. We will have an opportunity to pray for the unborn children, for those who are suffering, for the healing of those who had either an abortion or miscarriage, and to pray for a conversion of hearts of our lawmakers to defend life from conception to natural death.
Remember all of this is not about judging or condemning. On the contrary, it is about mercy and healing. We don’t point fingers, we open our arms. Let us open our spiritual arms to welcome our brothers and sisters who may be in need of our help.
Father Steven Clemence