Twenty Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
By 16 weeks into a pregnancy, hearing structures in the ear are formed possibly enabling the child to hear sounds. Babies in the womb can hear their mother talk at least during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. Sorry, Dad, the unborn baby can’t hear you, as far as is known anyway, but the mother’s body acts like an amplifier. When she speaks, the baby not only hears but can actually tell the difference between their mother’s native tongue and foreign languages just hours after they are born. Babies are listening, learning, and remembering during the last stages of pregnancy. Their brains do not wait for birth to start absorbing information. I watched a video clip of President Joe Biden commenting on the recently passed Texas law restricting abortion when a baby’s heartbeat is detectable which is usually around 6 weeks into a pregnancy. He said he supported the Roe vs. Wade decision, but that he also respected other people’s beliefs. He said that he does not believe that life begins at conception. He also respects other people’s beliefs. One can logically conclude that Biden does not believe in what faithful Catholics believe. From the earliest days of the Church, it has been Church teaching that abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are immoral and irrational. The sign of something alive is that it grows. When the sperm fertilizes the ovum, cell growth and cell division begin, and if permitted to proceed uninterrupted, will become a fully developed human. Biologically each human life begins at conception. That is not only spiritual truth, but it is also a scientific fact. Believing in things that aren’t true is irrational. Believing in things that aren’t true and acting on those beliefs causes harm. At a minimum, believing in things that aren’t true points to ignorance. At a maximum, telling lies is malicious and intends evil. A faithful Catholic hears and believes Church teaching and practices Church teaching in their God-given life. In our society, a lot of our so-called rights are wrongs. Abortion is the worst of these because it victimizes an innocent life that cannot speak for itself. Like Jesus, they remain silent while they are condemned.
I had a teacher in the Seminary. Her name is Dr. Angela Franks, and she is the mother of six children. I recently came across an article she posted on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. The article is about Religious Freedom and Sexual Morality. She points out that: “Our culture’s model for sex is two adults expressing themselves sexually without concern for procreating children. But sexuality was never simply a matter of adults because the children who might be conceived need to be considered also. Biologically speaking, children are the whole point of sexuality.
Beginning in the twentieth century, we tried to change the rules about sex. Birth control, with abortion as a backup, was supposed to make sex only about adult enjoyment and not about having and raising children. It never worked, because all contraceptives have user- and method-failure. And when birth control fails, then abortion feels necessary. This is why increased contraceptive use among adolescents leads to an increased abortion rate.
Men are biologically capable of walking away from a pregnancy in a way that women are not. Even if they choose to abort, women still have to carry out that decision, leaving them vulnerable to the post-abortive trauma reactions that many will experience.
All of this makes it unsurprising that many people are simply walking away from relationships altogether. This exodus is facilitated by online pornography, which makes sex a solo affair. These actions and attitudes arise from treating sexuality as though it is all about recreation and not procreation. God’s plan is something different. Sex is meant to be enjoyable, but its greatest joy comes from existing within a loving and committed relationship ordered to receiving, and nurturing new life.”
Our ability to reason and our freedom are both essential to our being “in the image of God”. Reason and freedom must work together to seek God and to live for God. Jesus is the Truth who sets us free. Only the freedom which submits to the truth will lead us to “genuine freedom.” (John Paul II V.S. 84)
Christians and all people of faith need the freedom to live out and speak about the moral law to others. The Church addresses people with full respect for their freedom. The Church offers and promotes freedom, but it does not impose it. (John Paul II RM 39) You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.
After Jesus rose from the dead and just before He ascended to heaven, He reversed his order not to tell anyone about who He is and what He has done for us. If the Truth has set you free, then exercise your freedom to proclaim the truth of His Good News to the world.