Homily in honor of the March for Life

By the Rev. C. Jarrod Lies

We have come to that annual national day when the media falls under a conspiracy of silence.  For if, in any other framework, there had been a march done with hundreds of thousands of people repeatedly every year for the past thirty years, you would be guaranteed that a greater voice would be heard among our secular media.  But because the issue is that of pro-life the media is silent.  They give the mandatory scant attention to the different news topics that can happen, but if there are three-hundred thousand pro-life persons together in one area, with thirty pro-choice persons in another, you can guarantee that there are going to be as many views of the pro-choice as there are those of pro-life.  If in any other topic such a march was to take place the media would be falling all over itself to use it as a rallying cry for national change.  If this had to do with race, sexuality or politics, the media would use such a march as a tool and a weapon to further its own agenda.  But precise because the issue of pro-life is not a part of the social agenda of the public media it falls silent.

But our children do not fall silent; and our faith does not fall silent.  The dignity of the human person will never be silenced.  No matter how much one can ignore the scourge that has taken place in the United States from abortion the demand of human dignity itself will cry out for vengeance, freedom and justice.  Right now 900 of our own youth are in DC joining on the March.  They, with hundreds of thousands of other people, are going to be the voice for the voiceless.  They will speak on behalf of those who will not be able to speak on behalf of themselves; and they will make a very simple statement with incredible impact: Life begins at conception!  Life ends at natural death!

We are a people of life!  And in our Catholic heritage, this call to protect the unborn has always been a part of our identity.  Even as early as 100 A.D. there was a document called the Didiche in which it was explicitly stated, “do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.”  There has never been an unclear moment in the Catholic Church about the dignity of life from conception to natural death.

And we ourselves must echo this message year, after year, after year.   And not as a bludgeoning tool; but as a call to a higher level of human dignity, both for the unborn child as well as for all those persons involved in the circumstances that put the child at threat.  We must not just simply state that we are pro-life but we must also create structures so that those persons who are threatened in caring for their children can have the support necessary to weather the battle they are underneath.  There are all sorts of circumstances that cause challenge and we would be hypocritical to just simply say You’re wrong!  You’re wrong!  You’re wrong! without saying How can we help?  How can we help?  How can we help?  The two go hand in hand.  The statement must go along with the action.  The action must always be couched in compassion, charity and understanding…and of real sacrifice.  We ourselves must put our own selves at a disadvantage so those who are at a disadvantage can receive the support necessary to survive.  We ourselves cannot be a part of the conspiracy of silence; but we are a part of that conspiracy whenever we proclaim a position yet avoid helping.

This nation will experience a change of laws concerning abortion.  It is going to happen because human dignity demands that life be respected at every stage.  It happened five hundred years ago when the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe brought human sacrifice to an end in the New World.  It will happen again through the proclamation of all the faithful who speak and act on behalf the voiceless and helpless so that in the future their voice will be heard.  Their dignity will be upheld.  These laws will be overthrown. So let us today pray that, where the secular media may be filled with silence, our thoughts may be filled with prayers and our actions may be filled with compassion, so that human dignity may find its voice and have its victory through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Lies is director of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation and pastor of St. John’s Clonmel