Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 10 February 2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

Abortion. Just the word is enough to elicit the strongest emotions, including rage and grief. Chattel slavery was this nation’s original sin and nearly destroyed our Union, but while the racism which is the illegitimate offspring of slavery still bedevils us, for the past forty years abortion has been at the heart of the greatest struggle for human and civil rights in our time.

As did slavery in the 19th century, abortion has separated our main political parties across a great chasm of contempt for each other, and it has poisoned the normal operations of government in a variety of ways. Abortion divides families, splits communities, and ruins the civility which should mark public discourse, and it has become the main contest in the culture wars which turn our universities, courts, elected assemblies, and flickering screens of every size into battlefields.

In living memory there were leading Democrats of national stature (think Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson) who strongly opposed the legalization of abortion, and when Hillary Clinton was First Lady even she expressed her belief that while abortion should be legal and safe it should also be rare. But now we have arrived at a new and dangerous moment in this process, and in the past few weeks we have seen public declarations in New York and Virginia that mothers should be at liberty to kill their children at any time during pregnancy, including right up to and just beyond the time of delivery. Thus the cry for unrestricted abortion has yielded to the blood lust of infanticide, and elite leaders of the Left scream that this is progress and represents a new level of personal freedom which should be celebrated literally from the top of the tallest building in these United States. But the murder of children is not personal freedom; it is savage idolatry and paganism of the most brutal kind.

“The word of the Lord came to me saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born, I dedicated you.” These words of the Prophet Jeremiah were contained in the first lesson at Mass last Sunday, and they remind us that children in the womb are not pre-human or potentially human. Children in the womb are fully human from the first moment they come into existence, and each unborn child is a unique and unrepeatable human person who is destined to live forever in glory and who possesses personal rights simply by being alive, including the right not to be murdered in the womb or the delivery room.

Lest there be any doubt on this question: No Catholic may support, condone, defend, encourage, or promote abortion in any way without endangering the salvation of his or her immortal soul, and anyone who says otherwise is, whether knowingly or not, serving the fallen one who is a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies. Abortion is murder and is completely contrary to the law and love of God, and no law of man can ever make it right.

Father Newman