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How Catholics Harm The Pro-Life Cause & What Can Be Done

Using The Blessed Virgin As Our Guide


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This is a user-submitted article. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. Note that views of author do not necessarily reflect our views.

How Catholics Harm The Pro-Life Cause & What Can Be Done

Using The Blessed Virgin As Our Guide

By Mary P.T.

Summary: How even solidly & unquestionably pro-life Catholics hurt the pro-life cause and what can be done

Keywords: Pro-Life, Pro-Life Culture, Pro-Life Efforts, 'Pro-Choice', Anti-Life Culture, Abortion, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outside of Marriage, Unwed Mothers, Fornication, Mothers, Motherhood, Fathers, Fatherhood, Unwed Mothers, 'Single Mothers', 'Single Parent', Working Women, Virginity, Abstinence, Marriage, Wedlock, Holy Matrimony, Purpose of Marriage, Parenting, Gender Roles, Infants, Baby, Babies, Unborn, Adoption, Illegitimate, Legitimization, Errors, Mistakes, Solutions, Sin, Shame, Fear of the Lord, Hard Truths, Activism, Activists, Procreation, Contraception, Contraceptives, Church Teachings, Family Size, Life, Eternal Life, Blessed Virgin Mary, Guide, Role Model, Standard

In my opinion, many Catholics - even those who are solidly and unquestionably pro-life - hurt the pro-life cause. They don't mean to, but they nevertheless do certain things that advance the pro-death culture. The good news is that the situation can be changed. The bad news is that many people will be offended by what I write. Nevertheless, I beg of you to read on as I think we need an honest discussion about some things. If nothing else, a reality check is past due. Or maybe a bit of perspective.

Please note that I am not acquitting myself or holding myself out as "better than thou". I have much work of my own to do. Some things I have changed, others I need to work on. Please don't be distracted with assigning guilt or making excuses or defending your own (or another's) actions. Let's place truth as our number one priority here... sorry in advance for any hurt feelings. Please though do put that aside in order to consider whether or not what is said is true. Please let truth be your overriding concern.

Also, before I get too far, please keep in mind that I am NOT advocating that we curtail pro-life efforts (if anything they need to be expanded, but rightly so). I pray daily for the unborn, part of my phone bill goes to prevent abortion, I have graphic anti-abortion cards to hand out, I speak out for the pro-life cause when I have the opportunity, and so forth. I am solidly pro-life and I certainly keep this in mind when I vote. So, please do not write me off. Please try to understand what I am really getting at.

Further, I would like to point out that I may speak in generalities - referring to average men and women of today (not necessarily you personally) - and when it comes to abortion recipients I am mainly focusing on largest sector of abortion recipients - younger, unmarried women & teenagers. For other groups (e.g. lawfully married women), some but not all things will apply.

In this article, I will make two main points:

1-Most Americans contribute to an anti-life culture - even if they consider themselves "pro-life".

2-Pro-life efforts are in some ways harmful & misguided and may be too narrowly focused on earthy life to the neglect of true life (eternal life).

I will start with a little challenge, then I will mention some things I think the pro-life side does that are harmful, then I will end with a short discussion of what I think needs to be done. I implore you to please read all the way through, again without focusing on blame, excuses, getting defensive, and so forth.

The Challenge: So you think you're pro-life? How pro-life are you really?

* Do you limit your own family size to 2-3 children?

* If you were lawfully married and found out that child number 12 was on the way, would you be happy? Joyous?

* Do you consider the "limit" to your family size to be determined by yourself or by God?

* Have you ever told anyone you are "done" having children? Have you ever asked anyone else if they were "done" having children?

* Do you consider more children as a burden or a blessing?

* Have you ever looked down upon someone who has a large family?

* Do you consider your family size to be naturally limited by the number of rooms in your home? The number of seats in your car?

* Have you clearly taught and reinforced to your children that the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children? Do you believe it yourself? Did you even know this was the primary purpose of marriage?

* Do you insist that your children evaluate their choice of friends of the opposite sex with regard to their suitability for marriage or are their associations simply based on who is 'cute' or based on fleeting 'feelings'?

* Do you raise your children to be career oriented or is parenthood given top billing?

* Do you accept or fight against the God-assigned roles for the sexes - e.g. obedience for women, bread-winner for man? (Eph. 5:22-24, Gen. 3:17-19) Do you allow the man of the family to look like a "TV dad" (e.g. a fool)? Does the woman "run the show", contrary to Divine mandate (1 Cor. 11:3)?

* If you are a wife and someone asks you what you do, do you say you are a mother or do you mention some job title?

* If you are a husband and someone asks what your wife does, are you proud to say she's a "full time mother" or do you give highlights from her resume?

* Do you watch television shows where they glamorize "single working mothers"? Do you allow your children to watch them?

* Do you train your children to be good fathers and mothers from a young age? How much effort do you devote to this and how often?

* Have you ever asked a young girl what she wants to "be" when she grows up? Do you praise girls who aspire to lofty sounding careers? Please let's face facts. The bible says that supporting the family is the man's job and that women are saved through motherhood (Gen. 3:17-19, 1 Tm. 2:15). Furthermore, if a married woman is healthy & fertile she should regularly be pregnant which makes a career an unviable option. It's not fair to her, her children, her husband, or to her employer for her to hold a full time job and also try to be a full time mother at the same time. Children can't wait until after 5 p.m. and employers can't allow weeks off every nine months. And, most likely, by the time a woman has a certain number of children it wouldn't make economic sense for her to continue working. Therefore, most working women must artificially limit their family size by contraceptives, NFP, abortion or a combination of things - they sacrifice part of their family for their career. They do this even if they consider themselves "pro-life." So, if you ask a girl what she wants to "be" when she grows up you are helping to foster this mentality. A woman simply can't have a large family and a career. It just can't work. It's not possible. Days will continue to be 24 hours. Children will continue to have many needs. Employers will continue to demand a certain number of hours. There's just not enough time in a day for everything, especially if a woman has many children. By accepting and continuing in a career, a woman must necessarily limit her family size. Therefore, why encourage your daughter who will (presumably) marry to "be" anything other than a mother (assuming, of course, she doesn't have a religious vocation)? If you do, you are implicitly encouraging her to artificially limit her family size - to sacrifice her children for a job. And this is "pro-life"?

* Women: Do you raise your own children full time or do you pay caregivers to take care of them?

* Women: If you raise your children full time, do you feel the need to explain this to others or almost apologize for it?

* Do you promote education for girls aimed at careers (e.g. advanced degrees)?

* Are you indignant - or pleased - if a man makes more money because he has a family to support?

* Do you define success in terms of parenting or in terms of your resume?

* Do you keep guard over your daughter's purity, making sure all her clothing is modest and feminine?

* Women: Do you value your femininity and dress modestly and femininely? Do you reject pants and short hair? Would you prefer to look like a "sex object" or a mother? Have you had plastic surgery? Do you dye your hair, wear high heels, heavy makeup and revealing clothes? Are you "obsessed" over a few extra pounds? Why is it that you'd rather be viewed as an object of lust than as a modest mother like the Blessed Virgin Mary?

* Is your standard of womanly beauty more conformed to immorality, "sleaze", and immodesty than motherhood?

* Have you ever used contraception? Did you know that artificial contraceptives - besides being illicit - may be abortifacient and may lead to abortions?

* Even if you have not used contraceptives, have you ever used NFP with a "contraceptive mentality"?

* Did you start your family late in life? On purpose?

* Is your home affected by broken families? Pregnancies outside of marriage?

* Do you reject as inappropriate for women various activities traditionally reserved to men (e.g. sports, military)?

* Do you present the Blessed Virgin Mary as the proper ideal for women or do you look to some celebrity, feminist, or career woman as the ideal?

* Do you keep strict watch over your children so that there is no opportunity for them to engage in inappropriate relations with those of the opposite sex?

* Have you in any way encouraged or supported in vitro fertilization? Did you know that many tiny children die as a result of this procedure?

* How much do you support the anti-life "single mother" culture? Do you congratulate fornicating women on their pregnancies or attend baby showers for unwed mothers? Do you use the term "single mother" even though there is no such thing as a "single mother"? (All children require two parents to be conceived.) Do you fight "single motherhood" as a "lifestyle choice" or promote it? Do you consider it an aberration? Do you use the term "illegitimate" to refer to children conceived outside of marriage (and therefore conceived outside the law)? Do you consider the intimate actions of unwed mothers shameful?

* Do you use proper terms regarding out of wedlock pregnancy (e.g. fornication) or do you contribute to covering over the shame of such situations by being "overly tolerant"? (Remember that shame teaches a lesson to them & to others and serves to prevent future occurrences - there SHOULD BE a stigma attached to this behavior, plus the Bible tells us to admonish & rebuke one another - see Lk. 17:3, Rom. 15:14, Col. 3:16). So do you praise unwed mothers? Would you not consider it a disgrace to your family if an unmarried family member become pregnant or got someone else pregnant?

* How much do you value motherhood? Fatherhood? REALLY value them? Do your day to day actions demonstrate the truth of this or do other things get in the way?

When you consider your answers to the above, do you see any ways in which you contribute to the anti-life culture? If so, you are not alone. Many staunchly pro-life persons unwittingly contribute to an anti-life culture. These things may not be so clearly anti-life as killing a baby directly, but they still add up to build the culture which fosters the killing of children. If the culture didn't exist, there wouldn't be the killing. The good news is you can change.

If you, by chance, are not yet convinced that the above practices help build an anti-life culture, ask yourself: How many abortions do you think there would be if all families accepted as many children as God sent and if each child was welcomed with joy. If everyone accepted that family size was solely determined by God. If all women were as "proud as punch" to be called mothers and never wanted to be seen in terms of wage-earning. If society valued women's contributions through motherhood rather than valuing women based on her appearance or her ability to earn wages. If children were taught from a young age that the primary purpose of marriage was to procreate and educate children. If all children were carefully taught from a young age how to be good parents. If all mothers raised their children full time and considered their success in terms of motherhood. If mothers and fathers welcomed with joy many children. If all persons looked to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a guide. If all mothers looked and behaved modestly & femininely. If all parents kept strict watch over their children so that they could not engage in inappropriate relations. Probably if this was the case there would be very few abortions. And, it wouldn't even require that the laws be changed.

Next, to move on to what I see as the second part of the problem. Namely, I believe various pro-life efforts are in some ways harmful & misguided. They can be too narrowly focused on earthy life to the neglect of true life (eternal life). As mentioned earlier, I am NOT advocating that we curtail pro-life efforts (if anything they need to be expanded, but rightly so).

Also, I must remind you that I need to speak frankly here and that I will use generalities. My intent is not to offend, but to convey truth. Please put aside hurt feelings & defensiveness for a moment in order to consider the truths of what is contained below.

Let's first start with some hard truths (these are "generally speaking", of course):

* Pregnant unwed mothers are undisciplined and, if minors, have gone unsupervised

* Pregnant unwed mothers have fornicated or committed adultery

* Pregnant unwed mothers have already "victimized" their children by conceiving them illegitimately

* Pregnant unwed mothers seeking an abortion are either ignorant (if they don't know it's a baby) or they don't care about killing their own child (if they did care - REALLY care - they wouldn't do it, regardless of any other reason or excuse)

* Pregnant mothers seeking abortion are not thinking about (or not thinking rightly about) God, eternity, etc.

* Every pregnant girl is someone's daughter. Such a girl may have been raised by a "single mother" or by a married woman who works away from home. In any event, her parents have failed to properly supervise her if she had the opportunity to conceive a child outside of marriage ("Better a...frightened daughter than any disgrace" as Scripture says -- see Sirach 42:14 NAB Trans.). The girl is also likely to have invited the promiscuous behavior by dressing immodestly - most likely with the full knowledge of her parents (who probably paid for the immodest clothing).

* Pregnant unwed mothers hurt the common good by burdening society with huge societal and financial costs

* The onslaught of pregnant unwed mothers devalues life (which, besides encouraging abortion, also encourages euthanasia)

Next, I realize that pro-lifers have to be tactful and must be careful how they treat those they come in contact with. Nevertheless, that does not give them a "free pass."

I find that pro-lifers seem to have myopic vision. They have only two goals: change the law and prevent abortions. They don't seem to fully appreciate that the law isn't what "causes" the abortion but rather what facilitates it. If no girl wanted an abortion, it "wouldn't matter" what the law was. Also, they don't seem to care who raises the child - as long as it lives. They don't care if the child will be "destined for heaven or hell" - as long as the child lives. They don't care if the mother repents of her mortal sin - only that she doesn't go forward with her evil plans. And finally, they treat the mother who doesn't have an abortion almost as if she was a "saint" simply because she "chooses" not to kill her child.

Of course their goal is good - saving children. But that is only step one. In the long run, what good did it serve the child if it's earthly life was spared but it ended up in hell? It is not sufficient for the child merely to live out an earthly life - it is imperative to also provide the child the best chance for eternal life. Often, children saved from abortion are kept in environments not conducive to the good of their eternal souls (e.g. in the hands of selfish, fornicating, irreligious, over-worked women who have scorned marriage). Therefore, there is a very real danger that these children may live out a few decades on earth only to pile up sins and spend their eternity in hell.

I also believe that focusing only on step one will serve to foster more abortions in the future because the root cause of the problem is not solved and because certain persons are "set up" to repeat the same sins (e.g. children of these immature, fornicating mothers may be predisposed to commit the same sins as they may tend to be unsupervised & undisciplined). Instead, we need to shift the pro-life goal from ending abortion through the law, or at the very last moment (i.e. when the abortion minded woman is at the clinic) to making it so all children are conceived inside of lawful matrimony, with any unwanted children being adopted. This will naturally end abortion.

I believe other problems with today's pro-life effort's include the following:

* There is no expressed shame in many pro-life circles regarding pregnancy outside of marriage (if there was great shame with this situation as there should be, women would be more concerned about not getting themselves in this predicament in the first place - you could say that shame would be a "natural regulator" of their behavior)

* There is lack of sufficient concern for providing a proper home for a rescued child (everyone assumes the child will be "fine" with its unwed mother simply because it gets born, but this is not necessarily the case)

* There is no evident concern for the sin that caused this situation (the mother's sin is the "white elephant" that no one seems willing to talk about, however a little "fear of the Lord" might prevent her from repeating her sin). And, if the mother does not repent of her sin, she risks her eternal life (1 Cor. 6:9 -10). Still, no one will warn her that she may go to hell for her fornication (or for the abortion).

* There is little appreciation for the fact that abortion minded women are poor candidates for good mothers. Some may "rise to the challenge", but even so they could surely never equal happily married women who conceive all their children within the bonds of holy matrimony & welcome them & train them to be "citizens for heaven" right from the very beginning.

* There seems to be no concern over the burden unwed fornicating men & women put on society (e.g. to care for their illegitimate, often undisciplined, children). Remember that "society" is other people - hard working fathers of families must pay for their sins.

* There seems to be little concern that rescued children may be deprived of their father. It is true that their father may be a "bum", but this does not change the fact that children need both a father and a mother (e.g. a proper adoptive couple).

* There seems to be ignorance over what really causes the situation. Remember that laws won't stop women from wanting abortions, but a change in the culture will help draw them away from wanting such a horrific "solution" to their problems. In fact, such a change in the culture would likely stop most women from committing acts that would cause the creation of children outside of a proper family that lead them to seek abortion.

* Not enough is done to promote adoption - at best it as offered as "one of the options". In fact, it seems as though many feel the unwed mother keeping her child is a better solution than placing the child up for adoption to a loving two parent family. Those familiar with the success of adoption know otherwise. Blood is not important when it comes to matters of the heart. A child NEEDS two loving parents. It is unfair - even tragic - to deprive children of that.

* The pro-life effort often furthers the message that "single-motherhood" is a viable "alternate lifestyle". There is no mention of the harm such a situation does to children. Pro-lifers seem to willingly promote situations in which a child is deprived of a father

* Pro-lifers rarely seem to put forth much effort to seek the legitimization of children conceived outside of wedlock. Marrying the child's father is rarely given importance. (Of course, in many cases it would be better to legitimize the child through adoption than by marrying the unworthy father.)

* The "over-willingness" of groups to financially assist, house and feed an unwed mother might actually be harmful (in fact, a fornicating unwed mother will likely get more help than an innocent windowed mother). Although help is generally a good thing, sometimes it might be better if a woman wasn't shielded quite so much from the consequences of her sinful actions. Certainly, the unwed mother shouldn't be better off than a widowed mother who is innocent. Further, smart unmarried girls may see that they can get all the help they need just by getting pregnant and threatening to abort - help that they wouldn't have gotten if they weren't pregnant. This may encourage more unwed mothers. Frankly, in today's "welfare state", an unwed girl could make a career out of her illegitimate childbearing. This is wrong.

* There is sometimes given an ill-advised message by pro-lifers that the baby will "heal" the mother. But remember that it's not a baby's job to "heal" a mother - it is the mother's job to provide a proper life for a baby. The mother needs to heal the child that she wrongly created out of wedlock (e.g. by legitimizing her child or giving it up for adoption). The child needs a proper family from day one. It cannot wait around a decade or two for its mother to "get her act together". The mother will be best "healed" by Confession and by selflessly looking after the child's best interests from this point forward (e.g. by placing the child up for adoption to a loving family).

* The bad message given to abortion minded women that "It's not your fault." Of course, the truth is that it is their fault. Becoming pregnant doesn't just happen. Unless raped, their pregnancy is a direct result of their choice (i.e. the choice to engage in intimate relations outside of marriage). Women need to step up and take responsibility for their sinful choices, not be given a "free pass" for them. They are not "innocent victims", but trespassers of God's laws.

* Pro-lifers show little concern for the fact that abortion minded mothers are probably the "worst choice" for raising a "citizen of heaven". Not only are they guilty of the mortal sin of fornication, but they are contemplating murder. They are immature. They put their own needs above others, especially their child's. They have shown no self-control. They make bad choices. They have demonstrated poor morals & values. They apparently have no regard even for the likelihood of contracting venereal disease. They show no concern over the salvation of their child (they would kill the child even without baptism). They apparently have no fear of the Lord. They seem to have a poor religious formation and would most likely be unable to provide proper religious instruction to their children. They are either very ignorant if they don't know they are carrying a child or quite gullible. Not a great choice for raising a child. Yet, pro-lifers will encourage these unfit, ill-equipped mothers to raise a child on their own - even with no father - if that is her choice. Once again, by raising the child on her own, the selfish mother shows more concern about herself than the ultimate welfare of her child. She apparently has no concept of true, sacrificial love (she's only interested what she wants - the rewards she'll receive from motherhood - and not really what's best for her child - e.g. to be raised by a loving, mature two parent family). And, the pro-lifers are complicit in this by encouraging her to "go it alone". They do not seem to appreciate that children of these ill-equipped women will be deprived of their birthright - a father - and may be "predisposed" to repeat the sins of their parents (this may be furthered by the fact that no parent will be available to educate or supervise the children since fathers usually aren't around so mothers have to work full-time). They do not seem to realize that this unfortunate "single-parent" situation also serves to aggravate the problem in the long run (it fosters a new generation of unsupervised girls seeking abortions) or that it jeopardizes souls. Spiritually, this setup is very dangerous for the eternal life of both the child and the mother (who will be called to account for her parenting). To quote Scripture: "For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" (Mt. 16:26 DR Trans.)

* Pro-lifers almost "canonize" abortion minded women who change their mind. Then, they allow her to almost wear her "single motherhood" as a badge of honor. In fact, some use it as sympathy ploy. No one seems ashamed of it.

So, what can be done? First, and foremost begin in your own home. Stop contributing to an anti-life culture. ALWAYS keep the Blessed Virgin Mary as your role model and guide. Follow the laws of the Church. Value parenthood. Dress modestly, act modestly. Base your standards of success and beauty on interior factors - not careers or physical appearance. Wholeheartedly reject the "single mother" lifestyle. Use shame as a tool wherever appropriate. Do not look at career women as the ideal. Do not train your daughters to become wage earners. Do not glamorize working mothers (who are really "part time mothers"). Do not limit your family size. Don't contracept. Women: Be full-time mothers. Act and dress femininely. Keep strict guard over your children. Train your sons and daughters to be good mothers and fathers. Praise other full time mothers (don't insultingly call them "stay at home" mothers!) and large families. Cherish the God-given roles of husbands and wives. Women, obey and let your husband take charge. Men, support and love your family. Again, always use the Blessed Virgin as your guide.


* Be less afraid of offending people and more honest about the realities concerning unwed mothers (e.g. the shame, the unsuitability to raise their children, the heavy costs to society, illegitimacy, failed responsibilities, guilt, sin, the final judgement, etc.)

* Shift away from the "Band-Aid solution" of making abortion illegal to preventing children from being conceived by unwed mothers in the first place (e.g. through abstinence, shame)

* Teach and reinforce the primary purpose of marriage

* Value virginity highly and encourage your children to do so. Help them understand that once virginity is lost, it can never be recovered

* Encourage your children to be very careful who they choose to marry. Don't permit relationships between those who are not "marriage material"

* Have and promote a strong sense of sin and a healthy fear of the Lord

* Fight offensive billboards, television & radio shows, commercials, movies, etc. which perpetuate the anti-life culture (e.g. by portraying women as "sex objects", encouraging sin, glamorizing working women, etc.)

* Watch your own children so that they can not engage in sinful actions resulting in pregnancy or invite such actions by their immodest dress

* Promote motherhood and fatherhood as sacred responsibilities which are entrusted only to married couples

* Courageously & fearlessly reject the "single working woman" and "career woman" mentalities - take every opportunity to point out how this harms children - as well as adults - and perpetuates the problem (remember that such arrangements leave no parent around full-time for religious education, proper supervision, etc. and forces even married couples to be closed off to large families)

* End ignorance of things divine and educate others on Church teachings

* Show more concern about the environment a child will be raised in. Focus not just on temporal aspects, but - even more importantly - on spiritual aspects

* Promote adoption to those who are unmarried and to others who are unfit to raise children. Help them realize that this is the truly loving thing to do for their children.

* Have a stronger focus on heavenly life than earthly life

* Work towards making all children conceived only within the bonds of lawful matrimony.

* Promote the Blessed Virgin Mary everywhere as the proper role model for all persons

And, finally, remember that whatever can't be accomplished by our external actions may be accomplished through persevering prayer.

Signature ImageSignature: Mary P.T.

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