This Tuesday, January 22, hundreds of thousands people who understand the value of a baby in the womb will arrive in Washington D.C. for the March for Life. Yet, many of those who fight for life are part of a culture that leads to abortion.
Abortion is not an evil that stands alone. Rather, it is the culmination of distorted values and behaviors that have become mainstream.
Emily Stimpson, author of These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, describes abortion as the consequence of removing God from the center of our lives with the result of confusion of what real love is. “If we don't know our own dignity-- our own value--how can we see beauty and meaning in the life of our children?” Stimpson asked.
In her book, she explains the warning in1968 by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, that the consequences of artificial contraception would include abortion. He warned us that by separating sex from the possibility of life, couples with no desire to be parents together, would be tempted to destroy life if it came into being.
Pope John Paul II elaborated on Humanae Vitae through theology of the body, presented in small segments during his weekly Wednesday audiences at the Vatican. It is this theology that These Beautiful Bones explains and has a lot to say about the beauty of our everyday lives, lived in a body, moment by moment with extraordinary opportunities for grace. Sexual intimacy between spouses is not the only part of that theology, but Stimpson points out that it is a big part.
Failure to live in harmony with God’s plan for sexual intimacy and creation decomposes sex into a matter of recreation, often separate from marriage, love, and life. Contraception becomes the convenient means to such an ends that has catapulted us into a culture of death.
|JPII during a Wednesday audience
“As the theology of the body makes clear, contraception messes with the marital act in multiple ways, warping the language of the body and confusing what the body says about man and God,” Stimpson writes. “ John Paul II explained, it turns an act that is supposed to be a sign of a total gift of self into a lie.”
For the past two millennia, Stimpson notes that the Catholic Church has articulated the difference between the two sides of sexual love--good and holy, and the disordered and destructive. People began to ignore these differences and even many Catholics fell by the wayside and began to separate sex from its creative potential. John Paul II’s appeal through his theology of the body was not a new teaching but a reintroduction of what the culture decided to forget—that creation, life, love, marriage, and relationships are intended to exist in union with God.
The encouraging news is that the truth of theology of the body has changed lives, marriages, families and thus parts of our culture. It does not teach anything new but is an approach from the Church to affect our sex-crazed world and help us understand the sacramental view of life and relationships. It is an antidote to what ails us. Stimpson’s book is one of many that explain this teaching so that to know the truth is to love it and live it.
The mainstream media will mostly ignore the expected 600,000 that attend the March for Life, the largest gathering of protestors in our country’s capitol. This is nothing short of bizarre since it is newsworthy with a capital “N”. It is a case of simple denial because so many are afraid to look at the truth. But pro-lifers must also be willing not to deny the truth.
To fully stand for life, our values must run deep. Abortion is not an isolated tragedy; it is only the ultimate consequence of separating from God’s plan in ways that lead to abortion.
There is great hope. So many willing to travel long distances, walk in harsh weather, and protest abortion, are surely open to rejecting everything thing connected to it. Many already have. The rest are our next best hope.
Check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families a collection of stories on love and life. Children's books, Dear God, I Don't Get It and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious are fiction that present faith through fun and exciting stories. Follow Patti at Twitter and like her Facebook pages at Dear God Books, Big Hearted Families.