Roe V. Wade What Next?
Friday, Jul. 01, 2022
Father Martin Diaz
Special to the Intermountain Catholic
Our teaching that life begins at conception is a truth based in faith. It is not based in science. Life begins when God gives a soul. In Genesis God breathed into the clay. The human soul was created for the first time. Our teaching has its basis in the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced the coming of Jesus; and the Immaculate Conception dogma, when Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother. Although we believe that human life is sacred, some who share our faith have been quite hesitant to impose our beliefs on other people. All people hold human life to be sacred. Our faith tells that a new human life is in the womb.
Now that Roe v Wade has been overturned, has the need to be a pro-life society ended? Where will the struggle take us? The critics of the so-called pro-life movement say that once the child is born the pro-life people show no care for the children now in the world. Catholics who are pro-life will need to step up to the challenge. Immediately comes to mind programs for assistance to mothers with a newborn child who need assistance with diapers, play pens and the like. It is expensive to bring a child into the world.
I have become accustomed to seeing seminarians, priests and religious women marching on Washington. The March on Washington for Catholics will need to be a broad approach for assistance to mothers and fathers raising children in our society. The “womb to tomb” list of changes starts with affordable housing and universal healthcare. Paid maternity and paternity leave with a guaranteed return to the job is high on the list. Affordable childcare with early education and all-day kindergarten come next. Public school education with limited class size is a start. School nurses and school counselors at reasonable levels of service would certainly help. All to bring the young people into society as healthy physically, emotionally and morally.
Even more change is needed. Utah, Texas and several more states and the federal government take human life through the death penalty. The Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty violates the protection of human life from womb to tomb. Will this be the next beachhead for the Catholic pro-life movement? Will we be able to work tirelessly for those who we know are guilty of murder?
The founders of the United States mostly were not Christians. They were Deists. For them, God stood apart from creation watching it unwind. It may be from these Deists that the rugged individualism of the United States comes. But Catholics are not Deists. God does not stand apart. The God of Catholics mixes individualism with the common good; the common good being greater than individualism. Will the politicians of today be able to take up the cause of pro-life? Will the common good prove greater than individualism?
The task is clear. The road difficult. Unless Catholics and other like-minded people step up to be fully pro-life, there will be a constitutional amendment in favor of abortion. The triumph of individual rights sounds so good and so true. The common good is cumbersome and expensive. It is no wonder that Jesus is its best advocate.
Fr. Martin Diaz is rector of the Cathedral of the Madeleine.