Respect for life is a critical issue

September 29, 2008

by Fr. Tom Balluff, Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa, rural Delano

As the election approaches, it is important for us to realize how we will be evaluating the casting of our vote.

Being a Catholic priest, you will undoubtedly find my perspective in line with our Catholic church. But if you are able to give me a chance to make a couple of good points, I would be most appreciative.

As a Catholic, we believe that life begins at conception; that the parents of this new life came together, and their coming together was so beautiful and powerful that they became co-creators with God. The two became one flesh and a new life was formed.

A soul was given to that new baby at its conception, and now it enjoys all the rights of every other living human being. The mother obviously has a great responsibility to care for her child, to eat right, exercise well, and get enough sleep, staying away from alcohol or other drugs that can complicate things, to create an environment of love surrounding this new life.

It is my understanding that both sides of this issue believe, mostly, that abortion is not a good choice. Both sides would like abortion to be used very seldom, or not at all.

The question for me becomes, “If life does not begin at conception, then when does it begin?”

Politics in our country has become, for the most part, very dysfunctional. The focus has become, basically, to try to make the other guy look as bad as possible, and to make the speaker’s side look as good as possible. This is very unhealthy.

We need to try to discuss issues with respect, openness, and honesty. Let us have a frank discussion on the issues that most affect us.

Sometimes, even good people can disagree on fundamental issues. However, as a Catholic, I believe that the abortion issue is the most important issue of our time.

We cannot be single-issue voters, but different issues do have different weights attached to them. Abortion is one of them. It is critical for our nation to stop the taking of innocent life, the most vulnerable, the unborn. From the fundamental right to life flows in us our ability for moral clarity and a well-formed conscience.

We need to stand up for social justice issues certainly, but not at the expense of the unborn. Men and women, black and white, disabled and healthy, are all equal in the eyes of our Maker. Our land should reflect this in our laws, but not at the expense of the unborn.

Our world is a difficult world. Through our prayer and choice for what’s right and good, we can make a difference.