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Fr. Matthew O'Leary's Weekly Bulletin Column

OCTOBER 22, 2017

Catholic = Christian = Pro-Life!

Catholics are Pro-Life because Earliest Christians were Pro-Life!  Catholics take a grave view of euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, capital punishment, and especially the practice of abortion.

Abortion is rightly the subject of highly charged personal and collective soul-searching because it directly concerns the taking of human life at its earliest and most defenseless stages.  Some Americans, including some Catholics, suggest that issues of economic and social policy share a moral equivalence on par with the intrinsic evil of abortion, but this view is dead wrong! 

Abortions on demand most commonly occur for (1) eugenic considerations, in which it is believed that the offspring will have certain defects, genetic or acquired, that are undesirable; (2) ethical considerations, such as rape, in which a child is seen to be forced upon a mother; (3) birth control and social considerations, in which it is thought that a child would pose too great a social or economic burden, interfere with career plans, or cause shame and other difficulties for an unwed mother; and (4) medical or therapeutic considerations, in which the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life or psychiatric health.  Direct abortions such as these are never permitted in the Catholic Christian tradition.

Earliest Christians grounded their understanding of the sacredness of human life in our being made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27), following the Golden Rule (Mt 7:12), and seeing Jesus in all others (Mt 25:40, 45).  Scripture also condemns the murder of children and defenseless persons (Wis 12:3-7), and emphasizes the sacredness of human life authored by God (Ps 139:13-16).

Early Christians lived in a world where abortion and infanticide were regularly practiced for birth control or pagan sacrifice, and were quick to prohibit the practice of abortion, which was condemned in print as early as the year 107 in the Apostolic Teaching (Didache): “thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide” (Didache, II:2).  In recent times, the Second Vatican Council voiced this firmly established teaching: "From the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" (Gaudium et Spes 51).

Ironically, Norma Leah McCorvey (aka “Jane Roe” in 1973’s Supreme Court decision) converted to Christianity in 1994, was baptized in 1995, and immediately became an active member of the pro-life movement.  McCorvey’s 1998 book Won by Love chronicles her change of heart on abortion that occurred when she stopped and looked at a fetal development poster, reflected on her own pregnancies and deliveries, and then experienced the crushing revelation that human embryos and fetuses are babies.

Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) was received into the Catholic Church on August 17, 1998, and remained passionately involved in the Catholic pro-life work until her death earlier this year  On this issue, hers is an amazingly parallel story to that of Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897-1980) of the Catholic Worker movement. 

Care Net Pregnancy Network & Family Services
Crisis/unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy medical services, hurting from previous abortion, parenting help?  : 24/7 Help at 1-877-NOT ALONE (1-877-668-2656) or

Recovering from Abortion—Project Rachel
For women and men who have experienced abortion we have Project Rachel in Tacoma at (800) 822-4673 or

May we always remember that each life is created by God,
Fr. Matthew O’Leary,





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