Today, we're remembering one of the most painful anniversaries in the history of our nation. We have many anniversaries that commemorate great events within our history, but this is not one of them. Thirty-six years ago, on January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion at all stages from conception to birth. To remember this anniversary, we are asked to make today a day of penance, which is why I'm wearing the purple of Advent and Lent instead of the green of Ordinary Time.
Our previous Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, challenged our nation during his visit to St. Louis, Missouri in 1999 by saying, “And so America: if you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace truth – truth revealed by God.” When we look the United States' track record in fulfilling his challenge, we've failed in two ways. First, we've failed to embrace the truth that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death. Second, we've failed to defend those who are the most defenseless and cannot speak for themselves: the unborn. It's little wonder why there is so much division and violence in our nation when we refuse to view life as sacred.
Here in Montana, these attacks on life have reached a new level through the judicial approval of so-called “physician assisted suicide”. The approval of physician assisted suicide, more accurately known as euthanasia, is just a logical conclusion to the principle that human life is not sacred, and therefore is not worthy of protection, especially when it is inconvenient. If life is not respected and protected at the very beginning in the womb, why respect and protect it at the end?
To combat these attacks on human life, and those to come in the future, we must remind ourselves of the sacredness of all human life. Our lives are gifts from God, and we show our appreciation for this gift by protecting and defending life from those who would destroy it. To repeat Pope John Paul II, “And so America: if you want peace, work for justice. If you want justice, defend life. If you want life, embrace truth – truth revealed by God.” May our nation embrace the truth revealed by God and defend all life from conception to natural death.