Shedding Light on Abortion

Years ago, I was part of a healing retreat for people who had had abortions.  I was there to be a spiritual father, while there were women leading the retreat.  On the final day, the participants were invited to give names to their children and write a letter to them.  During the Mass, I said to the women, “Imagine if your children were to write a letter to you.  I think it might sound something like: ‘Mom, I’m okay.  Mom, I’m with Jesus.  I forgive you.  I love you.  I can’t wait to be with you again, God willing, in heaven.’”  The Anglican priest who was with us later complimented me, because these words were part of the high point of the retreat, and I said, “Father Trevor, they’re from God.”  I knew the words didn’t come from me, but God spoke through me.

When it comes to abortion and life, we all have something to share.  My role as a spiritual father is to talk about right and wrong, and especially about God’s mercy: Every sin can be forgiven, even abortion.  Can you start thinking about what you can offer?  We’ll come back to this in a minute.

Jesus teaches His disciples today: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot” (Mt 5:13).  Disciples of Jesus are meant to preserve the world morally.  In 2,000 years since Jesus lived, no one has ever come up with a better moral teaching than Jesus.  We’ve advanced in every area of science and technology, but no one has surpassed Jesus’ ethics—we’re called to try to live up to this standard ourselves and bring it to the world.

Dr. John Bergsma points out that today’s Gospel uses Temple imagery.  This picture captures what Jesus would have seen when looking at the one Temple in Jerusalem:

Painting by Alex Levin

This is why people said it was adorned with noble stones (Cf. Mk 13:1; Lk 21:5).  During the Temple sacrifices, salt was added to the meat of animals that would be slaughtered and later eaten (Ez 43:24).  So, when Jesus tells us we’re the ‘salt of the earth’ we’re supposed to make the world a temple, where we offer up to God our deeds of love.

Then He adds, “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14).  Jerusalem is 760 meters above sea level (just above halfway mark of Grouse Mountain) and surrounded by valleys, so, during the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, when the Temple area would be lit up for 24 hours, with large candles lit by men on ladders, the city would appear as a bright light on a hill.  Amazingly, it was during this festival that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12).  Now Jesus tells us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16).

When it comes to life and abortion, we’re called to share what we’ve been given.  If you’re good at listening, listen to people and help them.  If you’re good at explaining, help people understand.  If you come from a country where the preborn are respected, share how your culture views abortion, because Canada has the worst abortion laws in the world: We can kill a child at any point during pregnancy.  If you’ve had difficulty conceiving or had a difficult pregnancy, share that story about the beauty of life.  Also, if you’ve had an abortion, and you’ve experienced God’s mercy and healing, and, if you are able and willing, please think about sharing your story, because your light may be the only light that can touch certain hearts.

There is a saying attributed to the French Catholic writer François Mauriac, “The day when you no longer burn with love, others will die of cold.”

Here is a video about the dignity of a person who was born prematurely and with disabilities:

Through the sharing of their tragedy, Matt & Ginny Mooney give light to all people.

One time, a couple in our parish had a stillbirth, so I went to BC Women’s Hospital and saw the amazing job they do: They support the family by giving them a quiet, beautiful room, and a professional photographer is available to take pictures of the family with their child—that’s the way it should be.  Strangely, however, the hospital will kill children of the exact same age… if the parents choose it.

Let’s shed more light on this discrepancy.  When a woman has a miscarriage, it’s a tragedy, because a child dies.  But, when it’s an abortion, it’s not a child.  Meghan Markle, who is very pro-abortion, wrote in 2020: “After changing [my son’s] diaper, I felt a sharp cramp.  I dropped to the floor with him in my arms…  I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second…  Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few.  In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage”.  The point is that even the most radical pro-abortionists admit the life of the preborn child.

When we discuss the life of the preborn and abortion, we always want to establish common ground and then see where we differ.  We all agree that miscarriages mean the loss of a person, which is why Meghan Markle is suffering.  So, why don’t we mourn the loss of children who die from abortion; what’s the difference?  We have to pause on this question. What’s the difference between the rights of a child who dies during a miscarriage, and the rights of a child who dies from abortion?  Why is one a baby and the other is not?

Often people shift from the humanity of the preborn to the wellbeing of the mother and say, “But she’s been raped.”  We could answer, “We agree that rape is horrible and that the rapist should be thrown in prison.  But, I have to ask myself, ‘Is it fair to give the death penalty to the child?’”  Or they may say, “If the mother is poor, you can’t force her to have a baby.”  Now, if a woman is poor and has an infant, can she kill the child?  They’ll say, “But a fetus isn’t a person!”

Here’s the thing about fetuses—the word fetus doesn’t mean the baby is not human.  It just means it’s at an early stage of development.  A human after birth is a newborn, a human around two-years old is a toddler, and a human in the womb is a fetus.  Dogs and dolphins have fetuses because the word indicates level of development, not what a thing is.  Here’s a funny, revealing, but frustratingly sad video that acknowledges this truth:

Notice how these people can’t stay on topic.  They have to change topics to justify murder.  Because they realize that they have a double standard (they protect preborn eagles but not preborn humans), they have to say, “It’s the mother’s decision.”  Well, of course it’s the mother’s decision.  We’re just saying that it’s a decision to kill a person and that’s not right.  Or, “Anyone can make the decision about their own body.”  But, it’s not her body; that’s why a fetus has its own heart, head, and limbs; that’s why Meghan Markle wasn’t sad about losing her body but about losing her baby.  Or, “A woman should have more rights than an eagle.”  Of course, but no one has the right to kill an innocent person.  “You’re not a woman, so you’d have no idea.”  You don’t have to be an addict to help people with addictions.  But, now, Canadian mainstream media has said, “Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth are not solely experienced by women, and advocates and experts say that it’s time to change the narrative to be more gender inclusive…  Pregnancy is portrayed as something that only happens for women”.  So, as men who can give birth(?), I guess we can know what it’s like to have babies.

Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth, not the sugar of the earth.  So, we should calmly point out how this line of reasoning totally descends into absurdity.  We must bring the discussion back to facts.  

This website:   has a list of medical textbooks on embryology that all state the obvious: life begins at conception.

In two weeks, as we’ve done for the past two years, we’re going to show pictures and a video of abortions, so that we’re clear on the facts.  This is just a warning for parents who may not wish their children to see the images on February 18 and 19, 2023.

In addition, as we mentioned last week, our 40 Days for Life vigil starts on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 for seven days, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is a great opportunity to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  We have cards in the pews if you want to sign up, and we’ll keep inviting everyone for the next three weeks.

Cyrena, our sister in Christ, is in charge of 40 Days for Life, and she graciously has offered to share her story about adoption, which is another reason why we never need abortion.  We thank her for letting God’s light shine through her.  Pope St. Leo the Great once said, “Christian, recognize your dignity,” so let’s not condemn the world to darkness.

‘It was a sunny day in June that I sheepishly visited Birthright to ask if I could take a pregnancy test.  Already being a single parent, when the test came back positive I cried.  It’s really scary to find out you are pregnant when you are already alone, and broke.  A dear Mormon friend said, “You need to choose adoption for this child.”  Her eyes held a conviction rooted deeply in love.  She followed this with, “There is a lady at the church who you can speak to.”

I already was receiving a huge amount of help from my family and church community.  I was working two jobs and receiving government subsidies.  My child’s father was as broke as I was and was also supporting his other children.

Choosing adoption isn’t a turnkey operation.  There are many considerations: How will I find a set of parents?  Whom will I choose?  How will the relationship look between me and my child as well as between me and the parents?

My child’s father and I spent countless hours with counsellors, lawyers, and social workers.  It was long.  It was rough.

I chose a closed adoption, meaning I wouldn’t meet my child until he is an adult.

The adoptive parents were a Catholic couple who weren’t able to conceive their own children and who had refused medical interventions not in line with our Catholic teachings.

I can’t tell you that leaving my child, at barely a day old, in another woman’s arms was a happy day for me, nor that I haven’t spent many days in mourning, but I can tell you that, like all grief, it comes and goes, and does get better.  I can also tell you that if I had to do it again, I would choose adoption again.   Since that day, I’ve received numerous letters from the adoptive parents telling me how grateful they are for the gift of my child, how much they love me, and how very much they love him.  I live knowing that I will someday meet my child face to face and say to him “Mommy loves you so much!”’

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