Friday, March 31, 2006
Some people ask how I, a practicing Catholic, feel about abortion. They often think I "support" abortion because I support a woman's right to choose. And I've explained it this way. Jesus, the original liberal, sat with sinners and tax collectors. He befriended everyone he could and his ministry is one of INclusion, not EXclusion. I am not perfect. I have made mistakes in my life. I have paid for some, and will undoubtedly pay for others as time goes on. I don't see myself as judge, jury and executioner. I have had friends who have had abortions, and they don't take the decision - or its consequences - lightly. They live with that EVERY day of their lives. My job, as a practicing Catholic, is to support and nurture my friends. It's to be there to discern with them where they should go. And to be there with them when they go - to metaphorically hold their hand. If a friend comes to me and says, "Look, I've decided to terminate this pregnancy," it is simply NOT my place to say to her, "You can't do that becuase you'll roast in the eternal flames forever." My job is to say, "Ok, have you thought out all your options? Do you want to talk through some of this?" And then be there for her when she does want to talk. Or accept that she doesn't. Does that make me an accomplice? No. It makes me available to her as a friend. She will, I assume, be living with this decision far more than I will. It seems to me that I can be more helpful to her if I can help discuss her options; and if I can be there for her when she needs me. This seems more Catholic than being the person who castigates her for her decision or who makes her feel that she's less than nothing for having made a very difficult choice. What if it's a friend who's using this as a convenience? Well, I don't know anyone like that. But if I did, yeah. I think - I KNOW - that I would say, "You know, I don't think you've thought this through; it seems to be a pattern here. Maybe you need to change some behaviors here and re-think this decision and your options." But ultimately, this is up to every woman and her God. Would I do this? Most likely not, being at the end of my fertile time. What about rape? Honestly, I can say that I do not know. How would it feel to carry a child who is conceived in violence, but is, in itself, an innocent byproduct of that violence. Do I have the ability to separate the child from the act - and then raise that child to be the best it can be? I don't know. Maybe I won't ever have to know. But I want to be able to think that I'm a compassionate human being. Made to be LIKE Christ, but not BE Christ. I am, after all, a PRACTICING Catholic. I've got a long way to go before my Catholicism is perfected.