Heroes

Keeping hope alive in a culture of death

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure and privilege to hear Mr. Raymond Arroyo (journalist, producer, and host of EWTN’s “The World Over Live”) talk about how to marshall true hope in today’s troubled and troubling times, with particular reference to the pro-life movement.

He observed how beautiful and at the same how tragic it is to celebrate and exalt something so basic as human life: a battle for which so many people from so many walks of life need to fortify themselves.

“Upholding the culture of life draws people together from all cultures and points them to something greater than we all are,” he said.

Something very interesting – and, I think, quite true – that he said was that culture should be given more weight than politics.

“Music, art, literature, and media are what can transform the hearts of people.”

He also said that what’s on TV is a good barometer of what’s on people’s minds and in their hearts. I thought about shows like King of the Hill, Sex and the City, and Jersey Shore, and said to myself, “Then God help us all.” But as if he had read my mind, Arroyo then pointed out new shows and movies that, surprisingly enough, value and celebrate life: Sixteen and Pregnant, Bella, Juno, Up – even the ultrasound images in the movie Knocked Up didn’t escape his keen attention.

We shouldn’t underestimate, he said, the power of images in today’s tv and internet age.

“Many people simply don’t realize what abortion really means, what’s involved, what it does,” he said. Hence the need for education and public discussion. “It’s up to us to point to a better way.”

So to uphold life, there are several key principles we need to have firmly in place, that we ourselves need to be convinced of before we can hope to convince others.

First, Arroyo quoted Mother Theresa, who directly and fearlessly told world leaders that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. “We can’t tell people to stop killing each other if we accept abortion,” she said. “A country must be judged on how it loves and protects life.”

Second, someone’s personhood does not depend on others’ recognition of it. “It’s God who confers personhood on us, not other people.”

Third, Arroyo said that we need to challenge “slippery” words – words like “reproductive choice”, “tubal ligation”, “pregnancy termination”, “emergency contraception.” These are words that attempt to mask and sanitize serious wrongs. Kind of like using “air freshener.”

Fourth, “abortion is the decline of human significance,” as Father Richard John Neuhaus once said. Once consented to, the disregard of human life does not stop at embryos or fetuses. The battle lines in Canada are now drawn on the euthanasia front as well.

Fifth, we don’t know God’s plan for each child lost – or saved. Case in point: decades ago in a Michigan town, a mother of three girls was talked out of her decision to abort her fourth child by a doctor friend of the family. The baby girl grew up to become Judy Garland.

Lastly, the culture of death is literally dying. One day it will most assuredly destroy itself. On the other hand, cherishing children means ensuring a hope-filled future. “Life is the call,” Arroyo concluded. “It is also the gift within the call.”

Raymond Arroyo made these remarks at the annual Focus on Life gala dinner, which raises funds for advertising a help line for women in crisis pregnancies or suffering from post-abortion trauma. For more information please visit http://www.thesignalhill.com/.

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