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St Charbel for Life

Marry Immaculate and Pro-Life Arabic

By Rev. Fr. Joseph Hattie, OMI

Priest for Life, Canada Board Member

A bottom line for the Pro-I jfe Movement is love of neighbour.

Catholics know with certainty who their neighbour is. That certainty

comes from God through the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, put the weight of His full authority behind His answer to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” His answer was: “To love the Lord your God with your whole mind, heart and soul, and your neighbour as yourself”

(Matthew 22: 37-40)

To give such weight to love of neighbour startled many, and one lawyer saw the need to clarify the question of who his neighbour really was. In response, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable taught the basic principle that my neighbour is any human being in need. And that I love my neighbour by responding, to the best of my ability, to my neighbour’s real needs.

These facts are most important if we are to understand the real issue at stake in the Pro-life Movement. The real issue is: Love your neighbour. To love my neighbour requires that I make perfectly clear what love of neighbour demands at each stage of life.

One question which is frequently asked today concerning my neighbour in the womb is: “When does my neighbour come into existence?” This is a most important question because from the moment my neighbour comes into existence he or she will have vital needs which will require a response of love.

There has been much debate about this question. But we who are Roman Catholics are fortunate to have this question answered for us with precision and divine clarity in the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

It is highly appropriate that God would answer this question in the context of what he has done for His own mother at the beginning of her existence as a person. When Mary was conceived by her own parents, Anna and Joachim. God gave her the gift of being conceived without Original Sin. It must be remembered that Mary could receive this gift of being conceived without Original Sin only if she were a person from the moment of conception. If Mary did not come into existence as a person at the moment of conception, there could be no Immaculate Conception. So true is this, that she could identify herself by that alone. To Bernadette at Lourdes. she simply said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” It was clear, incontestable identification of who she was.

Our Church, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, solemnly defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.

A dreadful arrogance

Thus, long before the scientific community was able to verify that we have a new neighbour from the moment of conception, relying on the truth taught in the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, we could state that fact with certainty. Accordingly, we could respond to our new neighbour’s need for food; shelter, a place to play and be protected. This protection was needed when some refused to acknowledge the new person as their neighbour and, in consequence, refused to respond in love to his or her needs. The end result of such a lack of response was often the death of our new neighbour.

From the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and what it contains, we see that it is very natural for Catholics and our Church to lead the way in the Pro-life Movement; one bottom line of the Pro-life Movement is love of neighbour. This is an essential part of the greatest commandment - and this commandment will not change. Nor can we human beings separate its parts; for it comes under that directive of Christ: “What God has joined together man must not put asunder. “(Matthew 19: 6)

What arrogance we display when we try to separate them and declare on our own authority that it is lawful not to love our neighbour in need. What delusions of grandeur a government manifests when it claims the right to create a new law that overrules the greatest commandment.

In the light of this dreadful arrogance, we should realize the on-going need to educate our politicians and decision-makers - an education directed towards encouraging them to bring the law of our land into harmony with the greatest commandment. They should all be encouraged to give up the arrogance that sets the law of our land against the greatest commandment.

Saint Charbel for Life
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