The issue of abortion remains a highly controversial, polarizing, and emotionally-charged issue. There appears to be very little common ground between those engaged in the debate.
The Knights of Columbus councils throughout the world pay tribute to the millions of stillborn, aborted and children killed by war by erecting memorials in Catholic cemeteries, on council hall grounds, and at parishes.
My personal opinion has been that I can not tell a women what she can, and can not do with her body. If someone chooses to abort their fetus, they can legally do so. The issue is between them and god.
I believe strongly that life begins at the moment of conception. That an abortion is the extinguishment of a human life. From that moment a unique life begins, independent of the life of the mother and father. The features that distinguish us from our parents - the colour of our eyes, the shape of our face - are all laid down in the genetic code that comes into existence then. Each new life that begins at this point is not a potential human being but a human being with potential.
I would encourage people to think through the issue of abortion very carefully. I certainly recognize that individuals have differing views on the subject. The Church has affirmed the right and the responsibility of each Catholic to follow his or her own conscience on moral matters, even when it conflicts with Church teaching.
Last year a Marguerite Dallaire, a parishioner at the francophone church of Saint-Jean Baptise in the town of l’Original, Ontario challenged the right of the The Chevaliers de Colomb (Knights of Columbus) Council 6452 to erect a monument with a pro-life message in front of the church.
She filed her complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal saying that the reference to life “from conception until natural death” is a statement against abortion, and that the inscription is “offensive and discriminatory because it denounces, victimizes, and excludes women.”
She argued that the Catholic Churches teachings are discriminatory towards women and that she was deeply offended
The tribunal ruled that the monument did not contravene The Ontario Human Rights Code. The adjudicator ruled on April 5 that “the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to scrutinize the content of religious teaching and beliefs, particularly where these are conveyed on the premises of a religious organization.”
Throughout the ages. all cultures and individuals have had the need for rituals or memorials commemorating life changing events. These include birth, circumcision, coming of age, marriage, job training, graduations, and death.
In acknowledging these “lost children” as truly human individuals, and members of our community, it is important to dignify their memories with a memorial. What is wrong with the Catholic church making a Catholic statement on Catholic property?
For those, like me who believe in Christ, we seek the forgiveness and peace that Christ promised to all who come to Him.
The monument at Saint-Jean Baptise and others remembering the unborn across the world acts as a dramatic visual reminder of His promise.