When three days ago there has been an attempt in the Maltese parliament to present a bill for the decriminalisation of abortion the silent protesting voice of the innocent unborn babies is greatly heard. These unborn people are justly claiming that they have a right to live as you and I have. The former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, used to say: I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. If that is the case how can the unborn, as human beings like all of us, have their legitimate right to live as such respected?
God always cares for his people and, through those who are opened to his Spirit of compassion and mercy, defend the defenseless. In our time He is certainly doing this most noble act through Pope Francis. Let us appreciate together what the current Pontiff’s magisterium is teaching us to defend staunchly as responsible citizens who love our country in view of our future generations as well as Catholic Christians.
In his message to Catholics who participate in their annual Day for Life in Britain and Ireland, on July 28, 2013, the Pope said: All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect. To the Catholic participants taking part in March for Life in France, on January 19, 2014, the Pope said: Let’s say ‘Yes’ to life and ‘No’ to death.
While addressing the Catholic healthcare professionals and gynecologists on September 20, 2013, the Pope said: Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!
When celebrating the Mass for ‘Evangelium Vitae Day’, on June 16, 2013, the Holy Father said in his homily: All too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the ‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. …As a result, the living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.
To the diplomats whom he addressed on January 13, 2014, Pope Francis said: Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.
In his apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis stated: Among the vulnerable for whom the church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this.…Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question… It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…(nos. 213-214).
On December 7, 2013, Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute. In his speech he said: The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings — the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. — who are in danger of being ‘thrown away,’ expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs.…It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state, especially those engaged in the field of politics, so that they may think in accord with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the church and act consistently by dialoguing and collaborating with those who, in sincerity and intellectual honesty, share — if not the faith — at least a similar vision of mankind and society and its ethical consequences.
In his Message to the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, on October 4, 2013, Pope Francis included the unborn as part of those people who live in our current existential peripheries. He said: We are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack employment.
As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio Pope Francis did speak up about the value of human life, in all its stages. In the book of interviews Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words, he said: The fight against abortion is “part of the battle in favor of life from the moment of conception until a dignified, natural end. This includes the care of the mother during pregnancy, the existence of laws to protect the mother postpartum, and the need to ensure that children receive enough food, as well as providing healthcare throughout the whole length of life…” …On science being aware it is human life: “A pregnant woman isn’t carrying a toothbrush in her belly, or a tumor…We are in the presence of a human being.”
In the book with Rabbi Abraham Skorka On Heaven and Earth he said: The right to life is the first human right. Abortion is killing someone that cannot defend him or herself. And in his 2005 homily as Cardinal Bergoglio, which he delivered on August 31, in the feast of St Raymond Nonnatus, patron saint of expectant mothers, and newborns, he said: All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others. Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing... So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.
Let us resort to Mary, the Mother of Life, that through her maternal intercession life is respected in all its stages both in Malta as well as in every country of the world! Let us pray this Litany to Mary daily after praying the Rosary!
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Life
The Response is: Mary, pray for us.
Mary, Mother of all Life,
help us to respect human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. R.
Mary, Mother of Compassion,
You showed us how valuable a single life can be;
Help us to guard and protect the lives of all people entrusted to our care. R.
Mary, Mother of the Child Jesus,
with St. Joseph you formed the Holy Family.
Guard and protect all families in this earthly life; R.
Mary, Mother Most Holy,
You sanctified the vocation of motherhood;
Pour out your heavenly aid on all mothers and help them to be holy. R.
Mary, Mother of Sorrows,
Simeon’s prophecy foretold that a sword of suffering would pierce your heart;
Bring comfort and hope to all mothers who suffer over their children. R.
Mary, Full of Grace,
You had a choice in responding to God’s call;
Help us always to say “Yes” to the will of God in our lives,
And strive always to do whatever he tells us. R.
Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted,
Pour forth your heavenly grace on all who are in need of God’s healing,
Especially those involved in abortion;
Help them to experience the love and mercy of Christ, your Son. R.
Mary, Intercessor and Advocate,
We lift up the poor, the displaced, the marginalized and vulnerable members of society;
Help them to never abandon hope, but to place their trust in the God who gave them life. R.
Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate, you bore in your womb him whom the heavens cannot contain;
Help us to bear witness to Christ by the example of our lives
And show the world the extravagant love of God. R.
Remember, o most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To you we come, before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer them. Amen.
Let us support all life at all stages with Mary, the Mother of God and Our Mother! Amen!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap