Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections from the March, part 1

There is so much to share from my journey to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, remembering 35 years of legalized abortion in all 50 states of our country. I had been to D.C. several times, but always for pro-life activities that precluded me from sightseeing. This time I decided to arrive on Friday night and stay with friends throughout the weekend in order to visit some landmarks and museums. What I didn't expect was that these secular tourist attractions would actually keep the Roe v. Wade anniversary in my mind throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, my friend Kristen and I visited religious places -- the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the John Paul II Cultural Center and the Franciscan Monastery (picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the right is from the Franciscan Monastery). These offered opportunities to pray for the flourishing of a culture of life. At Mass in the Basilica, a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the March for Life was underway.

After Sunday Mass at the Dominican House of Studies, we toured the Holocaust Museum. Witnessing evidence of such atrocities done to fellow humans was quite sobering. It was also a reminder that we are dehumanizing the unborn in our country and in our world today. As the Holocaust Museum exhorts, "Remember what you saw," I was struck by the horrible apathy shown by many Americans today as 3,600 unborn Americans are surgically aborted every day.

Two years ago I went to Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp during World War II. In the museum there, I was struck by a picture of women carrying their children and holding their hands as they walked hurriedly. The caption noted that mothers were tricked into bringing their children to their death, thinking they were heading to showers or other seemingly innocuous places. At the time, I contemplated mothers today who willingly bring their unborn children to their death, or other mothers who are tricked into thinking they are not really killing a child but "terminating a pregnancy."

How long will it take us to realize that what Hitler did by dehumanizing others and deciding who was convenient or worthy of life and who was not, is what we are doing to the unborn today? I think Martin Niemoller's quote regarding the Holocaust sums up our situation with the culture of death well: "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."

More to come ...

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