By FATHER DOMENICO C. PINTI
Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical letter “The Gospel of Life” writes: “The Life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man… is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of His glory… Man has been given a sublime dignity, based on the intimate bond which unites him to his Creator: in man there shines forth a reflection of God himself.” Each human being is unique, unrepeatable and infinitely precious to God. In becoming man and by his death on the cross, Jesus showed us the incomparable value of each human life, making his human life the “instrument of the salvation of all humanity.” Abortion is “the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.” A new human being comes into existence at conception, i.e., the moment the sperm and egg fuse. Though science alone proves that human life begins at conception, the Church is obligated to speak out on the profound moral, spiritual and social implications of abortion. For almost 2,000 years—from the first century A.D. until about 50 years ago—abortion and infanticide were considered crimes in every nation and community informed by faith in Christ. Still, like murder, abortions have always occurred. And over time, laws were enacted to establish penalties for the crime of abortion, in order to protect the lives of unborn children and protect vulnerable pregnant women from being forced to undergo abortion. The majority of Americans opposed the killing of unborn children in the 1960s and early 1970s. No one then could have anticipated that by 2012 over 53 million children in the U.S. would die from abortion. Let us remember as Catholics “to defend and promote life, to show reverence and love for it, is a task which God entrusts to every man.” Each of us is called to oppose abortion by every legal means available and to voice that opinion in the public square. We are called to support women and families whose circumstances may lead them to seek an abortion. And finally “we are asked to love and honor the life of every man and woman and to work with perseverance and courage so that our time, marked by all too many signs of death, may at last witness the establishment of a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and love.” Father Pinti is the pastor at St. George Parish in Apache Junction.