In justice You condemned us, but in mercy You redeemed us

As time passes from the Dobbs decision that struck down the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision, we give thanks for the many states (and countries) who are passing pro-life laws to protect the right to life of the pre-born person.
We also grieve and pray over states who have legalized or enshrined abortion in their legislature or constitutions, as well as over the ongoing, extensive acts of violence perpetrated not only against the property of pro-life communities, but against the persons of pro-lifers (who have increasingly been subject to threats, Federal agency raid and harassment, physical assault, and some have even been shot at).

At the same time, we have recently become aware of some “pro-life groups” rising to the spotlight not for their sacrificial, redemptive suffering, but for their controversial, divisive efforts to bash pro-life laws and to demand legal prosecution of mothers who have had an abortion. Examples include “End Abortion Now International”, “Not A Victim” (who were kind enough to address a response to us here), and “Free The States”.

One has to wonder whether any such supposedly Christian group is merely a “bona fide” extremist fringe of the Pro-Life Movement, or if some are actual “fifth columns” of the opposition, started with the intent to bring disrepute to the Movement and cause disgregation from within…

Such an attitude is reminiscent of those who, at the foot of the Cross, believed themselves righteous in the eyes of both God and men in crucifying the Lord of glory.

The Gospel of life is life-saving and life-changing. Holy Mother Church has never endorsed such zealotry.

We are called to approach the Crucified Christ with compassion and empathy – like Our Lady and St. John – not with insidious intents, like those who scorned Him, or pierced the Sacred Heart with a spear.

The Pro-Life Movement has always focused on providing men and women in crisis pregnancies with the support they need to choose life, as well as post-abortion healing.

That is not a denial of basic truths. The Church has firmly declared that abortion is intrinsically evil, a position that “has not changed and remains unchangeable“. Those who procure an abortion not only commit a mortal sin, but incur automatic excommunication (can. 1397).

That being said: excommunication is not “shunning”, but a “medicinal penalty”…a call to repentance and conversion, so that the healing process may begin, and the person may be successfully reintegrated within the heart of the Church, the mystical body of Christ.
Furthermore, the Church – imitating Her Spouse in great mercy and compassion – has highlighted several factors that may prevent automatic excommunication (can. 1321-1325). For example:
“No one is punished unless the external violation of a law or precept, committed by the person, is gravely imputable by reason of malice or negligence.”
Also: “a person who acted due to physical force [or] coerced by grave fear” or “a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age” do not incur this penalty.
As far as sin goes: there is a significant difference between objectivity and subjectivity.
We agree that a person is a person from the very instant of conception – this is not a religious dogma, but merely a common scientific fact – therefore the taking of an unborn person’s life is, objectively, murder.
For subjective guilt, however, the person must have full knowledge of the sin and deliberately consent to it – factors these that are often lacking when the mother is very young and/or subject to grave pressure (even abuse) from family or partner, or psychological pressure and fear due to abandonment, isolation, and poverty.
This is why “front-line” efforts such as sidewalk advocacy and prayer are so vital – along with the free services of pro-life pregnancy help centers –  including programs such as “Earn While You Learn” and “Project Joseph“, and post-abortion healing programs such as “Project Rachel“.
We do not wish to deny justice, but we do wish to affirm mercy and compassion.
Meditate on how Christ kept the crowd from passing the sentence of law on the adulteress who stood guilty, and personally forgave her, commanding her to “go and sin no more”.
We also strongly recommend this insightful letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
We are frankly much more concerned with those who profit from the death of the unborn, and in particular those who enable or commit such murder, failing to uphold the fundamental ethical standards of the medical field (doctors and nurses involved in the practice), and those who – as hard to write as it is to read – sell the aborted unborn’s body parts, or (mis)use them for unethical scientific research.
We constantly pray for, and invite them to practice medicine and scientific research in a life-affirming way. We also support organizations (such as And Then There Were None – Prolife Outreach) that specifically help abortion workers quit and find a different job that does not involve the killing of unborn children.
May the Lord of life strengthen us, protect us, and unite us, through the intercession of the Ever-Virgin Mary, our Immaculate Mother!

<<How good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity!>> – Psalm 132



Franciscans of Life  
           Vita ad Vitam Vocat

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