To choose life well requires first the choice for marriage
Pope Saint John Paul II preached prophetically at the historic liturgy that he celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 1979: “Human life is precious because it is the gift of a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is forever. Life is also precious because it is the expression and the fruit of love. This is why life should spring up within the setting of marriage, and why marriage and the parents’ love for one another should be marked by generosity in self-giving. The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish. The fear of making permanent commitments can change the mutual love of husband and wife into two loves of self — two loves existing side by side, until they end in separation.”
This is important for us to remember during these days when the very real possibility exists that the U.S. Supreme Court could curtail, if not overturn, Roe v. Wade and unrestricted access to abortion. We must remember that we still have so much work to do for the protection and dignity of life, including that we first promote the integrity of natural marriage and the sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman bound in a loving and respectful commitment to permanence, fidelity, and openness to conception of new human life.
Part and parcel to the first assault on human life is the attack on the nature and integrity of natural marriage and the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The protection of the child must begin with the protection of natural marriage between one man and one woman. Without natural marriage, marriage is denigrated into an arrangement of mutual and temporary convenience between two individuals, irrespective of gender, that removes the human qualities of permanence, fidelity, and fertility from sacrificial love on the part of husband and wife. This is especially detrimental to the life of our nation and society because it selfishly and intentionally deprives a child from the necessary relationship with both a mother and a father.
The challenge for us today is that so many young men and women are afraid to make the sacrifice of a marital commitment because they have come to see and to fear that divorce is inevitable. So, they lack confidence, and they refuse to marry because they do not want to divorce. They refuse to commit to love and to sacrifice for each other, so they become afraid of having children or they choose to have children only out of their own desire for a legacy or to meet their own emotional needs. This, in part, leads to the current phenomenon of fathers and mothers treating their children as peers instead of fulfilling their responsibility to be their children’s fathers and mothers, teaching them the faith and guiding them gradually to mature independence.
The government cannot replace the essential role of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, any more than it can replace the essential role of the Church in the formation and education of human beings. As Pope Saint John Paul II courageously preached in that same homily from 1979: “Much remains to be done to support those whose lives are wounded and to restore hope to those who are afraid of life. Courage is needed to resist pressures and false slogans, to proclaim the supreme dignity of all life, and to demand that society itself give it its protection.”