A Note From Fr. Timothy
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
In my last bulletin article, I referenced Fr. LeRoy’s article from the week prior. Because Fr. LeRoy writes such good articles, I will be referring to him again this week. He wrote last week a little about the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court which overturned Roe v. Wade and other subsequent rulings on abortion. More specific to my topic today, he mentioned how the right to life is not only a founding principle of our country (see the Declaration of Independence), but the first principle of Catholic Social Teaching (Life and Dignity of the Human Person). Both he and Bishop Kettler have noted that our responsibility to care for life does not end at birth, and there are in fact seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching that are meant to guide us in our interactions with each other and the world.
Today I want to focus on the second of those principles: The Call to Family, Community, and Participation. This principle immediately reminds us that while every human life is sacred, it is also social. We enter this world in relation – as the child of a mother and father – and relationships and social connections are intrinsic to our lives. This means that marriage and families, as the fundamental building blocks of society, must be strengthened and supported. Anything that undermines marriage or the family will undermine society and the human person. People also have a right (and a responsibility) to participate in society, working toward the common good and helping those in need.
One of the “pro-abortion” arguments you might sometimes hear points out that statistics show that children from unwanted pregnancies generally fare worse than their peers. They might ask, “Why condemn a child to a home where they are not loved?” Hopefully, we can all see the many different fallacies in that argument, including the simple fact that condemning a child to death is still far worse than acknowledging that there might be suffering in that child’s life. That argument could also easily be used to justify the killing of any person at any age if society deems them “unloved.” It would certainly justify the death penalty (which is hypocritical since most abortion advocates denounce the death penalty).
In regards to the second principle of Catholic Social Teaching, it reminds us of our responsibility to not only protect the life of the unborn, but to care for them as infants, toddlers, and adolescents as well. Establishing and supporting organizations that provide material, emotional, and spiritual support to mothers and fathers goes a long way to strengthen families and society. We should work towards helping adoption agencies make
reforms to make adoption a lot easier (and cheaper) in this country, so that children in need can be connected with loving families. And we should always stand by and support those who might be fearful or feeling alone, so that everyone can experience the goodness of life and of that participation in community which connects us all.
Fr. Timothy Gapinski