It’s a cliché, but by all measures we are a nation divided. Our culture and our politics are sick, and it’s been that way for a long time. The election last November is just the most recent in a series of presidential elections that have taken on an apocalyptic tone, exaggerating the role of electoral politics in our lives beyond what it should be. One could argue with reason that the ugliness of the divisions in the country can be traced back largely to the infamous Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade, handed down 48 years ago today. This makes sense, of course, because abortion is a destroyer of peace, ruining relationships between men and women, setting women against their children, and bringing violence to the very place where there should be only love and tender care. After 48 years, it is impossible that abortion has not affected in some way our personal lives and the lives of those we love, for it has infected the culture we live in, shaping it and influencing it, possessing it as a spirit of division. Economic and social pressures created by a culture in which abortion has been declared a necessary option have left millions of women who never would have imagined having an abortion feeling like they had no other choice. This is also part of the sickness of our culture that we as Catholics must resist. Yes, we have a moral obligation to speak the truth about what abortion is and actively promote the end of legalized abortion in our country, which, along with euthanasia, Pope Francis has called the “preeminent threat to human dignity.” But we also have the duty to build a society that is more welcoming to all human life. This includes providing real options to those who find themselves in distress, and showing true compassion and concern for those who have been left hurt and broken-hearted by the false promises of our culture.
The Church has declared January 22 a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. It would be a fitting thing to pray a Rosary or a Chaplet of Divine Mercy with this intention, either alone or with others. I would also encourage all of us to make some sort of a sacrifice as a means of atonement and reparation for the great evil that plagues our society, and which has hurt so many people. It need not be big, perhaps we could skip dessert or the glass of wine we would otherwise have this evening. These sacrifices might seem trivial, but because we are all connected, especially as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, they are very powerful, and have far-reaching effects.
In the Psalm for today’s Mass, we hear of the reign of the Lord, where “kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.” As followers of Christ, may kindness and truth meet on our lips when we speak to the world about this terrible evil of abortion. May justice and peace kiss in the actions we take and the sacrifices we make to promote a true culture of life amidst the conflict and division that are the poisonous fruit of our culture of death.