dignity of life

I’m mostly writing this post for my friends who only follow the blog, because I’ve made myself rather clear on my social media. Maybe I’m also writing it for myself, as a marker of where I stand in this moment of time as a Catholic.

When I woke up Friday morning, one of the first things I saw was the Dobbs vs Jackson Supreme Court Ruling, effectively overturning Roe vs Wade.

I do not like abortion but I also do not like it when a woman’s choice is unceremoniously taken away from her.

That morning, I began to pray. I prayed for the women who were afraid of what this meant for their lives. And I prayed for the people who love these women. So, that morning, I was praying for you.

As a Catholic, I believe that every single life has dignity, regardless of age or actions or gender or skin color. Life matters and I want to live in a way that makes this belief evident and true.

As a Catholic, I hope that we will eventually live in a country where a culture of life is preeminent. But we are not yet there.

We allow killing in war. We deny asylum to families whose lives are in danger at our Southern border. We execute people who have committed crimes. Gun violence exists in all spaces that were once considered safe. Our Black neighbors are targeted. Our LGBTQ+ family is criticized for creating families of love. The Native American people, the original inhibitors of our land, are disrespected and misunderstood. And women no longer have the freedom to decide the rest of their lives.

We are nowhere near the heaven that we are hoping to achieve together.

But we should not give up trying.

Being Catholic means caring about all life. It means listening carefully to people’s stories and doing our best to understand. Being Catholic means looking to the Church for guidance while talking to God in prayer and paying attention to what is happening in the world around us.

Moral decisions are rarely easy. It can be difficult to come to a clear-cut answer to a problem involving people. There is only us, doing our best to support our communities in ways that elevate the dignity of life for all. Catholic moral theology exists because of this truth.

Because of this, and as a Catholic, I cannot get behind laws that criminalize abortion, in part because criminalizing abortion targets the already vulnerable in our communities.

We, as a country, have had the past 50 years to reduce abortion by enacting programs that studies have shown would actually reduce abortion, but we have chosen not to do so. We could have offered access to free contraceptives, comprehensive sex education, universal healthcare, paid family leave, and welfare funding. We could have helped with housing insecurity, closed the wage gap, and funded education, but these actions cost money, so we chose to do nothing.

Instead, States are, at this moment, creating laws that will cause harm to women at little cost to the government, and I can barely stand the injustice. This is not the way we show women that we care about life.

As a Catholic, my priority has always been and will continue to be upholding the dignity of life for all. I will continue to stand with the people who are overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. These are the people Jesus called to his table and I want to be there with him and with them, loving as best I can.

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