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THE GATES OF LIFE

OCTOBER 9, 2016 - One thing that a faithful Catholic will have no trouble accepting is the sacred character of human life. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself to right to directly destroy an innocent human being. (Par 2258) 

When we speak about “Respect Life” this is what we are talking about: respect for the sacred character of human life as coming from God and going back to God.

We should not be intimidated if other people throw the charge at us: “That’s superstition!” (Oh, really? So now it’s superstitious to hold that human life has a sacred character? Talk about abuse of language!)

Yes, the sacred character of human life is our first principle. We should be forthright in upholding that. It requires no defensive explanation.  

And to those whose reflexive disdain for all things religious might lead them to deny the sacred character of human life, we might turn the question back on them: Well, what is your first principle about human life? 

If human life is not sacred and does not represent an absolute value, then what is it? What are the alternatives?

I think we come very quickly to a view which, when you get right down to it, is a version of “Might Makes Right”. Some human beings will get to determine which human beings are worthy-of-life and which are unworthy-of-life and they will exercise their power of determination because they can. We do not have to look far to see examples of this either in the world today or in the history of the last century. Depending upon the power-holders and their ideology those human beings deemed unworthy-of-life may be unborn children, the disabled, the mentally ill, the sick and old, the poor, other races, nations and religions, “reactionaries, “enemies of the people”, and “former persons”. The degradation of human life to the level of utility makes any meaningful human solidarity impossible, because there is no basis for it.

Understanding this we can the see how crucial it is for us to respect human life at its very origins. The “gates of life” pertain to the divine sovereignty and we must take care not to transgress that. For example, although we may possess the technology to do it, “it is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Par 2275) also morally evil to “influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance” in a human embryo in order to produce a “better” child according to consumer preferences (e.g., sex-selection, or other pre-determined qualities). How easily people can be swayed into approving the use of human embryos as just that: “disposable biological material”, if only they can be persuaded that it will alleviate or cure other people who have devastating diseases. But wait! Complete human being are being destroyed first.

A whole other vast territory of transgression of goes on in the industry of “making babies” for infertile couples, or—as happens now—any one who wants a baby: multiple human embryos created, destroyed and exploited, or “frozen” forever.

All of these things are gravely wrong. We should not do them ourselves and continue to speak up in matters of public policy debate. 

(Fr. Higgins)

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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