My Pro-Life Paradigm Shift

My Pro-Life Paradigm Shift November 15, 2016

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I am starting to realize something.

I am realizing that this is not just Father Pavone. This is not just Priests for Life (USA). What we are dealing with here has been going on in the pro-life movement for decades. It is not a matter of the taking of and the displaying of pictures and images. We are dealing with an attitude that saw nothing wrong with the displaying of the actual bodies. That saw nothing wrong with laying them out naked and exposed on tables for the public to see. That saw nothing wrong with delaying their burial and keeping them in formaldehyde to display them over and over.

An attitude that not only did this but sentimentalize it with a superficial reverence and made it honorable and noble. An attitude that demanded respect and reverence from those who aborted babies but did not demand the same respect and reverence from themselves in the treatment of the bodies once aborted.

I am thinking that if Fr. Pavone had merely made another pro-life video, if he hadn’t put the baby on an altar, if he hadn’t politicized the message most of us wouldn’t be so upset right now. Most of us wouldn’t have noticed. Because that is what upset most of us in the beginning: that it had been done for political reasons and it had been on an altar. Yet it would have been the same dead body, kept in formaldehyde for the same number of years. But it would not have been addressed the way that it is being addressed right now. Because that kind of thing had been going on for years and we are used to it.

Some of us didn’t like it, we didn’t think it was right, we didn’t look at it ourselves but we didn’t really fight it either. And many of us probably assumed that the babies were properly buried afterwards.

Father Pavone went to an extreme and in that extreme I began to see the face of something about the pro-life movement that I had never seen before, to ask questions that I have never asked before. It has changed me and how I see things profoundly. My idea of the dignity of the person has become much broader because of this.

A respect for the dignity of the person that not only now sees these babies and their exploitation but also sees the dignity of those I am trying to convince to change their minds about abortion. So that I am realizing that they are persons and I cannot force another person to see the horrors of abortion. I cannot force them by showing them images and shocking them.

That to do so, is in a way, to assault them.

The paradigm has shifted for me.

Vickie Knapp Armstrong is “just a Catholic lady with something to say now and then”. She is the mother of six children and the grandmother to 27 grandchildren. She blogs at A Catholic Mind – For What Its Worth and My Catholic Life. She also does the video podcast series, Showing Up Catholic

(Image via Pixabay.)


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