Regular readers of my weekly bulletin letters know that last week I wrote about the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and used that letter to also talk about the Sacrament of Baptism itself and why it is important for us. I also shared that we had over 45 infant baptisms in our parish during this past year and reflected on the joy such “new life” brings not only to the families of these little ones, but to all of us in our parish family of St. Mary’s.
This weekend, as we recall the annual anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our country, I would like us to focus for a moment on the opposite phenomenon: the millions of babies every year who will never have the opportunity to experience the Sacrament of Baptism because their lives will be ended in the womb.
It is never easy to write (or to speak) about abortion. The death toll is staggering: around 60 million children have been killed by legalized abortion in the USA alone since Roe v. Wade. (By comparison, Hitler during the Holocaust killed approximately 6 million Jews.) Worldwide, estimates are that there are about 50 million abortions per year. That number is almost beyond comprehension. Advocates of “population control” cheer at these numbers, suggesting if all these children had been born how much of a “drain” they would put on worldwide resources and asking how could we possibly allow that to happen?
When I reflect on those numbers, I ask myself some very different questions: of those 50 million children killed each year worldwide and the roughly 1 million killed per year here in our own country how many future doctors were killed? How many future presidents? How many future saints? Could it be God has already sent us the biologist who would find the cure to cancer, the researcher destined to produce a vaccine against HIV, the neuroscientist who would figure out how to reverse the symptoms of dementia…but we (collectively) ended those lives before they could be born? How many baby boys who would have become priests and how many baby girls who would have become nuns never made it out of the womb? Has our generation already missed out on the next Mozart, the next Einstein, the next Mother Teresa, the next Michelangelo…all because they never had the chance to live and grow and fulfill the God-given potential placed in them at their conception?
Or maybe more practically (and equally importantly): how many good husbands and good wives, how many hardworking teachers and plumbers and nurses and farmers, how many upstanding and truly dedicated lawyers and politicians and military officers, how many dedicated CCD catechists and soup kitchen volunteers and Bible study leaders and a million other good and beautiful human beings never got the chance to grow to become what they were created to be?
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said (one of my favorite quotes of all time): “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
This year and every year, we pray and we march for the cause of human life. May our untiring efforts for this cause give the next generation the opportunity to experience what our generation has already lost forever.
Fr. John Paul