JANUARY 22 DAY OF PENANCE AND PRAYER

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The Catholic Bishops of the United States have decreed that January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is to be observed annually as a day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.  Texts appropriate for this observance will be used in Friday’s Mass.
The destruction of the unborn child has always been particularly abhorrent in the eyes of the Church and, until recently, to all of humanity.  Physicians, taking the classical Hippocratic Oath, swore not to give a woman a drug to induce an abortion.  The ecumenical consensus among Christians prior to 1973 was to oppose abortion.  Canon law reinforces the Catholic Church’s disdain for abortion by attaching an excommunication to all involved in a completed abortion.  Lost in all pro-abortion rhetoric and legislation is the humanity of the unborn child.  More recent scientific knowledge has affirmed that the unborn child can feel pain, and can respond to sounds from outside the womb such as music or his or her parents’ voices.  One of the best abortion deterrents is the ultrasound, where the unborn child can be seen as a living, moving human being.  In fact it was observing the ultrasound of an abortion procedure that brought about the conversion of at least one Planned Parenthood employee, as recounted in the movie Unplanned.  I find reprehensible legislation that blocks such information from being made known, as though it is all right to conceal the true nature of abortion in order to make it easier for a woman to go through with it.  Perhaps the most fundamental reason abortion remains as acceptable as it is is the denial of the reality of what it actually is:  the deliberate killing of a living child before birth.  The truth remains: “Abortion stops a beating heart.”
Many pro-life people were disheartened at the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who have vowed to enshrine in law the so-called right to abortion.  Even more disheartening was the encouragement of President Trump for his supporters to march on the capitol when the election was to be certified by Congress.  Whether or not he expected that to turn violent and even deadly, it was wrong and a betrayal of his supporters and the pro-life cause in particular for the President to encourage defying the constitutional process for certifying the election.  While the President may have been within his rights to contest the results of the popular vote, he should have accepted the rulings of the courts that upheld the integrity of the election.  There comes a time when a gentleman must graciously concede defeat and cooperate with the transition of power.
All eyes will be on Washington this week for the inauguration of President-Elect Biden.  Let’s pray that it happen peacefully.  There is no excuse for any protest for any issue to turn violent.  The challenge will be for President Biden to make good on his promises to heal and unify, and to be president for all Americans.  We can only hope that he will come to realize that includes unborn Americans as well.
May God bless his people with peace.
Monsignor Gorman