Laura Keener, Editor.
“I set before you today good and evil, a blessing or a curse, life or death. Choose life.”
“We just heard those words from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy,” said Bishop Roger Foys as he began his homily, Jan. 29.
The Mass, celebrated by Bishop Foys at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and live streamed for Catholic school students in the Diocese of Covington, was for the legal protection of life in the womb. Typically at this time, Bishop Foys would celebrate this Mass with hundreds of high school students in Washington, D.C., just moments before the March for Life.
This year, due to the pandemic and civil and political unrest, organizers of the 48th annual March for Life transitioned the events surrounding the March to a virtual platform and encouraged demonstrators to pray and witness at home. About 50 people representating the thousands of would-be marchers, marched peacefully in Washington, demanding the reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, essentially on demand, in the United States.
Acknowledging the changes that have taken place in the lives of everyone, especially teachers and students as they have navigated online learning this past year, Bishop Foys reminded students that not everything has changed.
“Our faith is one of those things and the right to life is another,” he said. “The right to be born and the right to live, that has not changed — at least it should not. For the last 48 years people have been battling for the right to life — for the right to be born.”
Bishop Foys shared a 20-year-old commentary about a news article describing the slaughter of 30 range horses. In the article, investigators rightly expressed shock and outrage at the killing of the innocent animals. He then shared some statistics. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, over 60 million babies have been killed in the womb in the United States. For every three children born, one child is aborted.
“The names of those 60 million children would fill the Veterans Memorial Wall over 1,400 times,” Bishop Foys said. “Where is the national outpouring of shock, of anger, for these slaughtered innocents in the womb?”
Referencing the Gospel reading from St. Luke, Bishop Foys said that the apostles were arguing over who would be first in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus called over a child, who in those times had no stature or standing or rights.
“Jesus told his apostles, unless you become like one of these — a precious child — you won’t even enter the kingdom of God,” Bishop Foys said. “Jesus held children in great esteem; not because they were smart or had any talent or special degrees or special heritage, but because they were innocent. They had not yet been corrupted by the values, or lack thereof, of the world. What do we do in our country? We legalize their death.”
The pandemic, Bishop Foys said, has offered a unique time for everyone to reflect and prioritize what and who is most important in life.
“Abortion of course has to be first,” he said. “How can we talk about priorities and what is most important if we snuff out life itself? That is why it must be our priority. God gives us life and God decides when to take it back. God is the creator.”
Bishop Foys said that the pandemic, itself, is another pro-life issue. People are being asked to do simple things — wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands, not having non-essential meetings and groups and events, not traveling — in order to protect themselves and others — in order to protect life, most often the elderly and those with frail health.
“Being pro-life is more than just being against abortion, it is doing something positive to respect life at all its stages,” Bishop Foys said. “So we gather here, in this magnificent church, to pray for an end to the scourge of abortion, but also to pray for the courage to protect life at every stage of life, to do those things that protect the life of everyone. We pray that almighty God will have mercy on us and on all those who have led us to this dreadful time in our country, where for nearly a half century now, 60 million innocent lives have been snuffed out. If a life of a baby in his mother’s womb is not precious to us, then no life is.”