Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Nurturing Society

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

Today, I want to write briefly about one of the most polarizing political, social, cultural, however you want to classify it, topics of our era: abortion. Sometimes, it seems like either you're for or against it. If you say you are pro-choice, then those on the other side label you a baby killer. If you're pro-life, your an inconsiderate, backwards thinking evangelical Christian or something. I hate to sound blunt, but this type of polarization, this black and white ideology seems pervasive in our society---especially in our country.

As a seminarian for the Catholic Church, as much as politics excites me, I am beginning to understand that, although I have a deep seeded interest in the political game, I don't think it is necessarily my place to try and wow people with my own political opinions. In reality, I don't know nearly enough about the complexities of the political system to really throw two cents in that would actually be worth a full two cents. That is, whatever your political beliefs, if you heard me try and seriously defend what I think, I fear that you'd want a bit of a refund.

Also, in this blog, I know that at times I have spoken in a voice that a few might deem too political for someone affiliated with the Catholic Church. I respect the opinion of those who feel that way, but I also feel that there is a time and place to properly fuse religion and politics. Many prominent theologians consider the proclamation of the gospel by Jesus, bringing the Word to flesh, preaching a Kingdom here on Earth to be an intricate connection of religion and politics.

I do believe that, to try and make an environment where all feel truly welcome in the Catholic Church, those people considering some form of ministry within the church (myself included) need to present our opinions and the opinion of the church in a way that always seeks to pastorally care for those who feel cast out of society for whatever reason.

Today, I want to ask all of those members of the Catholic Church to continue to support life by nurturing all life on this earth and thereby bringing the kingdom of God to the here and the now. If we truly help build a society where all feel that an intricate part of a loving community, where the hungry are fed, the weak are made strong, the sinners are shown the beauty of sainthood, the violent ground becomes a fully Holy and sacred place, then life will become not a choice, but a process---and an everlasting process at that.

A most organic way to look at protecting life is to protect life at all stages and under all circumstances. While this includes encouraging young mothers-to-be to give birth to the child of God inside of them and creating communities where they feel nurtured and supported and confident that their child can grow and develop and live a peaceful, love-filled life, it also means working patiently and courageously to stop the institutions and individuals that fall into the trap of considering war the only way out. Moreover, it calls on us as individuals and communities to take care of loved ones suffering and near death, to bring about hope and love in times of trial.

Once we realize that the kingdom of God is intimately at hand, we may come to ponder our existence in a totally new, organic, life-supportive manner. We don't have all the answers, don't know all the truths, don't understand all the wrongs in our world. But what we can do is have faith and pray that this world becomes more sustainable and supporting of all people for all generations. What we can do is live life to the best of our ability, spreading joy and peace and harmony as individuals within collective and compassionate communities.

On a more concrete level today, January 22, 2009, as we look back in history to January 22, 1973 and the Roe vs. Wade decision that has since split our country rather decisively into two factions: pro-life vs. pro-choice, I call on all people to look deep within, find the Spirit moving within your hearts, and ask God to stir your heart and allow you to wrestle with all that this issue means to you and to our entire country. It is not an easy thing to do. I myself find it very, very difficult to talk about abortion in most circles. But, in the end, I think we need to listen to our heart, to have compassion, understanding, faith and hope in the future.

Here is a short, short prayer I wrote for both members of the church and those who do not necessarily affiliate themselves with church. Feel free to agree or oppose my words. Realize that I, like you, am simply seeking to understand more fully. May we all work together to bring about a nurturing, life-giving, life-loving society.

A Prayer to Nurture All Life:

I pray that, through the love and support and prayers of community, all expecting mothers will have the strength and courage to bring a child of God into this world.
Let us pray for all men, that they may have the courage and strength to be fathers to their children.
May we work together to provide a kingdom on earth that nourishes and sustains and values all life.
May our society distribute goods and services to young mothers and fathers that will enable them to raise healthy, loving, spiritual, peaceful children.

I hope that this post did not offend anyone in any way. This is simply my way of struggling with a very difficult issue in our life. I pray for continued wisdom and guidance from the Spirit, for continued Love from God and others, so that I may spread joy to all who come along my path.

peace and blessings to all my friends!

with love,

your friend bob.

2 comments:

Devan said...

Bob,

Just read your 1/22 post and your Dad's e-mail. Too bad you were taken off the Archdiocese website.

Remember to pay no attention to that. A prophet is seldom known in his own community.

Always remember the Catholic church although founded by Jesus is actually run by humans with many frailties and sometimes the Church gets it wrong. Look at the crusades, the inquisition, burning of saint Joan D'Arc.

And its not just the Catholic church. Look what Jesus had to do to the money changers at the temple.

Speaking of right to life, let me share a story with you. Soon after my wife and I married she started to go blind from diabetes. She further got other complications and the medical doctors advised her to never get pregnant. We started an adoption process with Catholic Social Services and after some time and many fees, we were told that we could expect placement in about 6 weeks.

A family study was begun and as soon as Catholic Social Services found out about my wife's diabetes they called us in for a counseling session where they told us we are no longer on their list.

We were told that there was an abundance of healthy couple applicants and they must think of the best interest of the child. They as much as stated they did not expect my wife to live to see the child become an adult.

About a week after we were told we couldn't adopt through their agency we received a bill for $60.00 for the counseling session.

I never paid that bill. Our faith was shaken to the core. We could not believe how un-Christian this Catholic Social Services agency could be.

It took years for us to get over this. We did adopt a through a high risk plan offered by the Milwaukee County. We adopted a 7 month old whose parents had terminated their rights after being arrested for drug offenses.

Our Son turned 21 last year. My wife who by the way has a master's degree in Social Work and has worked many years as a medical social worker and although ravaged by the diabetes is still alive and helps me teach HYM at MQH.

It just goes to show you that the Catholic church administration is subject to the same human frailties as an individual.

Keep the faith......

Devan

ML said...

Dear Bob,

That was a very balanced article/column. During October I wrote in my weekly columns 2 articles about: what it means to be pro-life. These columns were divided into four parts: ethnicity, spirituality, loving regardless of sexual orientation, and death penalty. The question of being pro-life is bigger than the question of being “pro” or “against” abortion which is just one of the ways people can look on issue of life.

Bob, when we work with people – most of them struggle for life including those who decide to have abortion. There are so many different reasons why people choose that resolution in their lives. But one think I believe is common – they wish that they would not have to have abortion.

For those who are pro-life. Let us learn something from Planned Parenthood and let us build next to their building places where people can come and be helped when they struggle. These places should not be faith based but non-religious so that they can be supported partially by our taxes. I do not know if this is a reasonable idea but it is an idea which is not bad in my opinion.

Well Bob, take care,

michal