There's a thought provoking piece by Pete Jermann over at Crisis Magazine. Jermann asks the standard pro-life questions, such as "What can I do to save a life," and turns the question around. He says "How can I live my life to ensure a child conceived is a child born loved?" I've taken some particularly interesting excerpts.
Participating in protests with placards and prayer at Planned Parenthood centers seems an obvious answer. When we protest we witness publicly to a belief. Such witnessing is certainly good. However, in today’s culture witnessing for a belief often substitutes for actually living that belief. We must ensure that our witness is our life. To live a life that does not contribute to a child lost or a child not loved begins not when we ponder the horror of the abortion clinic but when we reflect on many little things in our own lives that might contribute to a child conceived without love and without prospects. Every child aborted is the result of the unloving actions not only of the mother and father but the actions of many others that undermined and corrupted their inborn desire for true love. If we truly wish to see every child born loved, if we truly are pro-life, it is our calling to understand where we fit into and how we can withdraw from this matrix that destroys both love and child...
Saving the life unborn requires loving that life before it is conceived. We cannot love life yet born without loving those who create that life, whether they are related or distant. Whereas love is sometimes hard to define, what isn’t love is easier to see.
Women might ask: is it love to have your boyfriend father a child you may abort? Is it love to see your boyfriend as someone who is good enough to go to bed with but not good enough to actually share your life and raise your children? Is it love to bear a child thinking that he or she will do just fine without a father who loves them and their mother? Is it love to deprive your child of yourself as a mother who loves both father and child?
Men might ask: Is it love to subject your girlfriend to even the remote possibility of deciding whether her child yet born will live or die? Is it love to subject your girlfriend to the prospect of raising a child on her own? Is it love to assert that you will be responsible for a child of any liaison knowing that you only mean manning up to child support payments and weekend visits? Is it love to deprive your child of yourself as a father who loves both mother and child?
We all might ask: Is it love to risk having a child that will not be loved? Is it love to risk having a child that will not be loved by both a mother and father who love each other? Is it love to cast dice over the life of another by assuming your birth control is perfect, knowing that millions of children have died unborn because their parents also thought they controlled when life begins? ...
Abortion is the total failure of love. It declares a life worth less than even a single dollar. It deems a life as garbage to be discarded at cost. To declare life priceless when we seek to place the burden on others and worthless when the burden is ours is to see a culture hopelessly lost. Only when we see ourselves as life that begets life, and that to love ourselves is to love the life we can create, will we see that we can no longer contribute to that culture and declare our innocence in the death of innocents. We will then comprehend that, all along, the Catholic Church has simply been teaching us how to love. And we will realize that, contrary to a popular cliché criticizing the pope for making rules for a game he does not play, it is not the pope who abandoned the game but ourselves.(Read the entire article: Contracepting Contraception)
Jermann identifies the problem as the core of abortion, contraception, rampant sexual immorality, euthanasia--really, everything that makes up the culture of death: the crisis of human love. It is a crisis that Blessed John Paul II focused much of his pontificate on; in his encyclicals Pope Benedict XVI took up the theme. The crisis reaches into almost every aspect of our culture. The ones mentioned above are only the most prominent examples.
But the crisis of love manifests itself in multiple. It reveals itself in popular television shows, where husbands and wives are shown cutting each other down, belittling each other in front of their children. It shows itself in the popularity of reality shows where cut-throat competition and winning at all costs are exalted above compassion and cooperation. We see it in stories where a teenager is killed for his shoes, or "parents" are arrested for neglecting their children. We raise violence and perversion to an art form in our movies and degrade chastity and morality as old fashioned. All these things reveal a society lacking love at its foundation.
And yet, we are stunned when events like the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Milwaukee, Wisconsin occur. In a sense, mass killings of men, women, and children are the logical extension of abortion; can a culture that is so lacking in love for the unborn to legally protect, sanction, and fund their murder really be surprised when someone so lacking in love kills scores without remorse? Can a culture that tolerates the degrading of women into objects for men to use to momentarily gratify their sexual needs really express shock when men decide to use women for target practice?
What are we to do? We should follow the directive of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to build a civilization of love. How do we begin. The Holy Father has a suggestion:
Today, however, let us as children of the Church above all renew our devotion to the One whom Jesus bequeathed to us as Mother and Queen. Let us entrust to her intercession the daily prayer for peace, especially in places where the senseless logic of violence is most ferocious; so that all people may be convinced that in this world we must help each other, as brothers and sisters, to build the civilization of love. Maria, Regina pacis, ora pro nobis!--August 22, 2010 Angelus addressMary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!