KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Friday, October 15, 2010

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."--Mother Teresa

The current election cycle is reaching its frenetic finish and the invectives are spewing. I have some pretty strong political opinions that I am not afraid to share. However, I am not going to persuade with hate and venom. When speaking and writing to those who agree with me, it is very easy to slip into a mode that demeans and dehumanizes the opposition. This may rally the troops but it does nothing to bring reconciliation between opposing sides. Speaking to the opposition with such disdain only increases the alienation. Conversion requires a change of heart and when speaking to the heart, one must speak with love.

That is why I loved this article in the Arlington Catholic Herald. Two parishes organized an entry in the annual community fall parade. The walkers were marching in support of a local crisis pregnancy center. There were no signs with bloody aborted fetuses. There were signs that offered love and support to pregnant women. A young girl who had been adopted carried a sign that said "Thank you, Birth Mother". I am sure every walker opposed abortion. However, their message was that they embraced life.

I am not advocating that we sanitize or whitewash the horror of abortion. We must speak plainly about the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. However, if our goal is to bring others to this conviction, we must show this by respecting the dignity of our opposition. I fully agree with Fr. Frank Pavone when in yesterday's Washington Times he says there can be no truce on abortion:

This tactic is akin to the pro-life and pro-abortion movements agreeing to disagree, an option often considered a reasonable one. It does not require that either side change its views, but simply agrees to allow the different views, and the practices that flow from them.
Sorry, but this is a proposal we in the pro-life movement can't accept. There can be no truce.

First of all, to ask us to "agree to disagree" about abortion is to ask us to change our position on it. Why do we disagree in the first place? When we oppose abortion, we disagree with the notion that it is even negotiable. We do not only claim that we cannot practice abortion, but that nobody can practice it, precisely because it violates the most fundamental human right, the right to life. To "agree to disagree" means that we no longer see abortion for what it is - a violation of a right so fundamental that disagreement cannot be allowed to tamper with it.
To "agree to disagree" is to foster the notion that the baby is a baby only if the mother thinks it is, that the child has value only if the mother says it does and that we have responsibility only for those we choose to have responsibility for.


Fr. Pavone is exactly right. We can never abandon or sacrifice the most vulnerable among us out of political expediency. We need to hold a firm line when seeking legislative protection of the unborn. However, when we are speaking to young women who are scared and who have been promised an easy road to happiness by those who advocate for sexual activity without limits or consequences because of the easy access to contraception and abortion, we must offer kindness and compassion with the truth. There is no question that Planned Parenthood and its minions have willfully lied to generations of women about the fruits of unfettered sexual activity and the "easy solution" of abortion. We are justified in our anger at such institutionalized evil. However, that anger must not extend to the individuals who have been victimized by these lies.

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