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Seattle Catholic
A Journal of Catholic News and Views
19 Sep 2003

Yet We Claim to be Pro-Life

by Jonathan Tuttle

St. Catherine of Siena

As a young woman, St. Catherine of Siena confined herself to a tiny room in her father's house, where she prayed and did penance for sin. She remained there for three years. When she thought about the sins of the world, she accused herself, saying, "If not for my sins, the world would be a better place." When I read Thomas Droleskey's excellent article, Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves, I was reminded of St. Catherine's statement.

Since 1973, pro-life groups and pro-life individuals have been quick to point out that "conservative" politicians are not as pro-life as they should be. No doubt, they are correct. However, maybe we should, as Dr. Droleskey puts it, "stop kidding ourselves," and admit that we aren't as pro-life as we should be, either.

Here's the reality.

Most of us purchase healthcare coverage from insurance companies that pay for abortions. Other insurance carriers that don't pay for abortions might be available, but we rule them out because they're too expensive.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us buy products from companies that also produce abortifacient pharmaceutical drugs. We read about people boycotting these companies, but we say that boycotts don't do any good.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Either through our retirement plans at work, or in our personal IRA accounts, many of us buy stock in companies that perform abortions, even though alternative investments are readily available.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

When we're looking for a real estate agent, an auto mechanic, or a dentist, most of us go with the guy who is the cheapest, rather than giving the work to a Catholic father instead.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

When we are at Mass and we see young children acting up, most of us look over at their mother and give her a look that lets her know that she's supposed to keep her kids quiet at Mass! A supportive smile would mean so much to her at that moment, yet instead we give her a look of intolerance.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us have never offered any financial assistance to an unwed mother.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

When we see pro-abortionists on TV, most of us do not pity them for their sins; nor do we pray for their conversion.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us criticize others for being in favor of abortion, or being apathetic about abortion, yet most of us are too embarrassed, too busy, or too afraid to evangelize them.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us have never fasted as a sacrifice in reparation for the sin of abortion.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us say, "One day, God will have vengeance on those who murder little ones," rather than considering the idea that we are wretched sinners, too, whose job it is to convert those who murder little ones.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

Most of us would rather not support staunchly pro-life priests by attending their Masses; most of us would rather go to a church that's geographically closer, even if the priest is liberal and irreverent.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

At Fatima, Our Lady made a simple request: pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners. Most of us do not say the Rosary daily.

Yet, we claim to be pro-life.

As Catholics, we congratulate ourselves on the fact that we are pro-life. But what does it mean to be pro-life? Do our daily actions give evidence of our Catholic beliefs? Perhaps it is time that we follow Father Frank Pavone's suggestion that all of us make a pro-life examination of conscience. Perhaps it is time we realize, as St. Catherine of Siena realized, that, if not for our sins, the world would be a better place.

There is more to being pro-life than simply being against abortion, yet day in and day out, we have a difficult time grappling with this notion. Regarding abortion, most Catholics certainly have the "avoid evil" part of the equation figured out; it is the "do good" part about which we are a little hazy. Being a faithful, pro-life Catholic means more than following a simple negative prohibition. We must prove by our actions that we love the innocent unborn and work for the salvation of the abortionists.

Lest we forget, Our Most Merciful Lord and Savior has already given the Church militant a prescription for winning the pro-life war: prayer, sacrifice, and evangelization. The rosary, frequent penance, fasting, financial sacrifices, the sacraments-if we want to win the war, those are our weapons. It we use these weapons in the battle for the lives of the unborn, God will grant us victory. If we do not, then we must seriously ask ourselves if we deserve to win the battle.

St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, pray for us.

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