Dear Pope Francis,
Last year, the media went nuts after an interview you did with Antonio Spadaro was published.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”
At the time it was really refreshing to hear you say that. As someone who gets frustrated by the focus in the Canadian Church on these issues, I was really glad to hear that we don’t need to talk about it all the time.
I still don’t agree with the church doctrine regarding gay marriage. But I am fully on board with the dogma of fostering a culture of life, and yesterday I had to say so.
I live in a city which is home to the only private abortion clinic east of Montreal, and yesterday they announced plans to close in the summer unless they begin receiving public funding. The majority of my friends, even Christian ones are pro-choice, and my Facebook and Twitter have both exploded with posts lamenting the closure.
I saw all the posts coming through, and I understood why the pro-life movement is so adamant about not remaining silent. To be silent in my joy over the clinic’s closure felt like I would be condoning the actions of the people working there, supporting the decision to end ten thousand lives and cause long lasting emotional trauma and spiritual injury to the twenty thousand parents of those children.
So I took a stand. I shared my joy, and reminded my Facebook friends I am pro-life. I reminded my pro-life friends that there’s more to fostering a culture of life than just opposing murder. We need to work towards more accessible neonatal and maternal health care. We need to make it easier for single mothers to both care for their children and continue to grow and work towards their own goals.
We need to remind people pregnancy is not a disease to be cured, not a shameful result of poor judgement or a side effect to be avoided. Pregnancy is a state of being, a beautiful result of sexual intimacy. Life is sometimes created in awful circumstances, but a decision to choose life despite those circumstances is the most powerful statement someone can make in response.
Pregnancy is the recognition that having a life, even one which is of low-quality by today’s standards is better than not having a life.
“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”
We don’t need to talk about these things all the time, but when the conversation is happening we need to be a part of it. We need to foster a culture of life, and do it in a way which promotes the simple message of the Gospel – to care for all members of society.