by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
During my 10-year tenure serving as the director of the pro-life apostolate for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the largest abortion clinic was euphemistically named Reproductive Health Services. It occupied a couple floors in a large office building in the central west end of St. Louis near the cathedral basilica.
A local businessman who had a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe rented space on a different floor in the same building. Ostensibly, the space was used to house the Juan Diego Shop — a cultural exchange enterprise where you could purchase art, jewelry and other novelty items made in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
However, in the back of the suite, the man constructed a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. He invited priests to come and celebrate Masses offered for the intention of ending the killing of innocent unborn children in the very same building.
Approximately a year or so after the inauguration of the Juan Diego enterprise, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch began to report there were serious interior tensions among the Reproductive Health staff and the clinic was in financial trouble.
Though in a short time Reproductive Health went out of existence, unfortunately, Planned Parenthood swooped in to keep the facility open. Eventually, Planned Parenthood built its own freestanding facility a few blocks from the previous location.
This year’s U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Respect Life materials feature the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The image of our Blessed Mother miraculously imprinted on Juan Diego’s tilma was a representation of Mary clothed in the manner of a Native American pregnant woman. The subsequent conversion of millions of Native Americans after Mary’s appearance essentially ended the practice of human sacrifice.
The recent disgraceful debacle over the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh revealed the ugly extremism of those who continue to support legalized abortion, the modern equivalent of child sacrifice in contemporary culture.
The disruptive outbursts in the hearing room were mild compared to the mob protests on the streets of the nation’s capital.
These demonstrations were orchestrated in an effort to intimidate our nation’s highest court from even considering allowing states to place meaningful restrictions on legalized abortion, much less giving legislators the freedom to ban most abortions.
The message was clear: Any diminishment by the court of its past protection of abortion providers will result in chaos on the streets of American cities.
How did we get to a point culturally where a significant portion of the American people apparently believe that the most fundamental right for women is their freedom to authorize the killing of their own children?
In part, the answer sadly is that many Americans believe they cannot be happy without the “freedom” to live a sexually promiscuous lifestyle that has been normalized by relentless propaganda posing as entertainment.
Despite the irrefutable evidence to the contrary, many of the most powerful cultural voices cling desperately to the notion that unlimited sexual expression is the key to happiness. By any objective standard, the so-called sexual revolution has been a disaster for children, women and men.
The large number of children who grow up in homes without the presence of their biological fathers has been a social disaster for the emotional and mental health of our youth. We have taught a couple generations of young people that they are incapable of exercising self-control with regard to sexual morality.
Many women have been convinced that their ultimate freedom is dependent on using chemicals to suppress their fertility. Women take medications not to combat any disease, but to disrupt the healthy functioning of their reproductive systems, despite the completely unnecessary health risks.
When contraceptives inevitably fail at some point, it is essential that abortion is available to preserve complete sexual freedom.
This distorted notion of women’s rights actually requires women to deny an essential part of their femininity — the ability to conceive and nurture a new human life.
Instead of insisting on public policies that accommodate and recognize the importance of bearing, nurturing and forming children, this pseudo-feminism pits women against their own children and requires women to imitate men in order to enjoy success in their chosen careers.
A large number of young men are completely confused about their masculine identity. They have been formed to believe their responsibility to women they impregnate is to pay for a portion of the cost for the abortion of their child.
In our sexualized culture, they have been enticed at a young age to become addicted to pornography. They no longer seem to be needed to be a protector and provider for their spouse and children.
An increasing number of young men continue to live in their parents’ homes into their late 20s and beyond. Worse yet, others find belonging and meaning in gang culture.
Pope Francis in June referred to abortion as the “white glove” equivalent to the Nazi era eugenics program. The Holy Father lamented: “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the human race.
“Today we do the same thing with white gloves.”
Perhaps, the pope was thinking of nations that have all but eliminated Down syndrome in their society by aborting children suspected of possessing this disability.
Even more recently, the Holy Father asked a crowd at his Wednesday audience: “I ask you, is it right to take out a human life to solve a problem? What do you think? Is it right? Is it right or not?” The crowd responded emphatically: “No!”
The Holy Father then asked the further question: “Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem?” He answered his own question by declaring: “It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is to solve a problem.”
Respect Life Month reminds us that each and every human life is made in the divine image and valued by God so highly that Jesus gave his life on Calvary for each of us.
Let us ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to intercede for us as we strive to change a culture that promotes the killing of innocent children on the altars of the false gods of pleasure and material comfort.
May Our Lady of Life, who gave birth under difficult circumstances to the Lord of Life, help us to cherish the beauty of each life and uphold the dignity of every human person!
Intercede for us, Holy Mary, so that we might resist being conformed to a culture of death and help to build a culture that treasures human life.