All forms of human dignity flow from the dignity of the unborn

By Mike Demma

Diocesan Respect Life Director

8/23/2013

Someone once told me that “the Catholic Church is the Church of the living”; a profound statement which made me think, “What is ‘not living’ about a baby in the womb?” I realized that if we possess foundational dignity for unborn human life, we might then be passionate about all human life. Human life deserves dignity from conception, which then flows naturally to all human life, regardless of its frailties and faults.

Dignity is the condition of being worthy of respect and love, rooted in the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and given his special love for us over all other forms of life. God does not just love all of us, He loves each of us, and with that individual love He bestows individual dignity.

Saving the most vulnerable, the unprotected babies and the souls of their parents, should naturally compel us to care for the poor and the weak. Concern for the living as well as the unborn is a natural and fulfilling demonstration of God’s commandment: “Love one another.”

There seems to be a polarized passion for charity which two sides justify as love, but see as opposing views. These two passions are Social Justice and Pro-life. Amazingly some consider these efforts in competition for time and treasure.

If we examine our modern cultural challenges, we can identify the cause of the problem. It is the lack of respect for the dignity of human life from the beginning to the end and everything in the middle. We cannot justify serving one aspect of life and ignoring another.

Should we not feed and shelter our brothers who suffer from drug abuse, alcoholism, or a disorder which keeps them down? God asks us to help them up, no matter what the cause. All have the dignity of life. All are his children, flawed though we may be.

Should we not open the doors and share the great gifts God has bestowed on this country to those who seek a better life? Would we not seek the same? Do we view those who have less as somehow having less dignity? Recognizing their dignity means giving them the respect they deserve.

In today’s culture, the word “choice” is used to hide the dignity of human life. Choice cannot be used for violating God’s gift of dignity to man. Abortion is somehow polished up by the words “women’s health” or “women’s rights” or even “family planning.” But abortion is nothing more than the denial of the dignity of the unborn human life. It cannot be used as mitigation of financial burden, population control, or avoiding hardship. All of this political rhetoric is used to avoid our responsibility to recognize the dignity of human life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. Abortion can never be used as a solution to social or personal problems.

To restore the foundation of the dignity of human life, we must start early in the catechesis of our children. Dignity must be firmly planted in every mode of teaching that we expose to our children, our young adults, and to ourselves. We must reinforce the concept of dignity in our Catholic schools, in our religious education, in our youth programs, in our marital preparation, and from the pulpit. We will then build motivation to take care of the less fortunate by teaching a sense of life’s dignity at every age. The sense of love and dignity will not grow and mature into adulthood if we do not plant the seed in the hearts of our children.

Dignity is integral to the beginning of life, and is never lost. All situations, all conditions, and all ramifications in between must be accounted for and not used as excuses for disregarding the dignity of life.

The Culture of Death which pervades us is an infection. Treating the infection without eliminating the source will not succeed. Stopping the Culture of Death starts by ending abortion and restoring dignity to every human person.

Pro-life is where Social Justice begins. Both are an essential part of fulfilling God’s command. They cannot and should not be in competition with each other. Pray for our society to embrace a Culture of Life.

See Also

Pam Tebow to be featured speaker at annual Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner

Pam-Tebow-BUTTON.jpgWhen pressured to abort her fifth child, Pam Tebow rejected the doctor’s recommendation and placed her faith in God. A few months later, the 37-year-old mother gave birth to a healthy boy, named Tim, who grew up to become an All-American quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, and player in the National Football League.

Governor signs Preborn Pain Act

pro-life-legislation-Button.jpgGovernor Rick Perry signed the Preborn Pain Act into law July 17. The Texas Senate passed the Preborn Pain Act shortly after midnight Saturday July 13. The act, which will restrict abortions across Texas, was passed by the state House of Representatives on July 10.

Someone once told me that “the Catholic Church is the Church of the living”; a profound statement which made me think, “What is ‘not living’ about a baby in the womb?” I realized that if we possess foundational dignity for unborn human life, we might then be passionate about all human life. Human life deserves dignity from conception, which then flows naturally to all human life, regardless of its frailties and faults.

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