Yesterday was Respect for Life Sunday and so the homily focused on the sancity of Life. DH and I discussed the topic a bit, and I realized that life issues can be a difficult topic to discuss, even between spouses. It kind of got me thinking… as a Catholic Woman and Mother, why do I find it so difficult to discuss, let alone witness to, life issues?
My thoughts are that we as a people love to cling to our individuality and personal decisions and there is the desire of not wanting to offend another and so we water down our personal convictions as to not alienate another person. How many of us, in meeting a possible new friend, tend to avoid discussing “hot button issues” (politics, religion, etc) because we really want that other person to like us and to not think that we re a weirdo. (To be honest, DH’s family tends to avoid those topics among family because of the desire to keep the peace.) But in doing that, we are presenting that new friend with a false identity… great way to start a friendship. For me, the difficulty lies in who I used to be and who I am now. While I am still pretty liberal in most topics, in the venue of Life, I have become staunchly anti-death which in some circles equates me as also being anti-feminist. I don’t think of myself as a mindless fem-bot but at the same time, I don’t see how being pro-woman and pro-life have to be mutually exclusive. And why is it not OK to change? After all, I am not the same person I was in high school and college (I am older, pudgier, smarter, with more life experience,) why can’t my political/ moral/ personal views change as well?
By and by, I have been very blessed. When DH and I started our family, it happened seamlessly. All of our parents are in great health as are DH’s grandparents and my paternal grandmother. Women on my mother’s side of the family easily reach the triple digits. So in my case, it’s easy to speak out against:
-Abortion, when one’s pregnancies occurred in the context of a happy marriage
-Stem Cell Research, when you are not struggling with Parkinson’s or Huntington’s or Diabetes
-In Vitro Fertilization, when you’ve had no issues getting pregnant. (As an aside, Robert Edwards, the IVF pioneer, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine this weekend.)
-Euthanasia, when you’ve never watched a loved one suffering, living a life that others consider not worth livng.
If you are like me, you’ve given yourself these excuses more than once. You say it and then you feel a little better because you’ve sidestepped giving your true thoughts. While we may have avoided offending another person with our lukewarm response, we miss out on the fallacy common to all of the excuses: What I am doing is MY will and not God’s Will.
-I am going to abort this child because I don’t want the baby.
-I am going to take stem cells from this embryo, killing this embryo, for research.
-I am going to create a baby in a petri dish because I want my own baby, not another’s.
-I am going to put my loved one out of their misery because I can’t stand to watch them suffer any more.
So you might be thinking, “Yeah, I can see that, but don’t we have free will?” To that I have to say that Free Will and God’s Will are not one and of the same. I know that people hate to hear that phrase “God’s Will,” especially when God’s Will is not what we want to have happen. And you know, I equate it a bit with my job as a parent. The Bear, at three, would love nothing better than to eat Oreo cookies for lunch. But I tell her that she may not do so. She may cry and pout, because she is not getting her way, but I, as her parent, must negate her personal will and desire for her betterment.
So, where do I stand on all of this? Well… you’ve have to stay tuned to find out. For the next 4 “Ask CCM Tuesdays,” I will present the teachings of the Catholic Church on each of the above Life Issues along with my personal stance on it. Tomorrow, we will start with Stem Cell Research.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. But please, keep things respectful and constructive!
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