During my first parish assignment as a seminarian, in 1997, I often found the parochial vicar in the rectory chapel, reading Pope Paul VI’s letter on Evangelization, Evangelii Nuntiandi.
I read the letter then, too. And I could see how Father might draw inspiration for his long hours of labor from it. What does it mean to be Catholic? To be a priest? Evangelii Nuntiandi offers a pretty solid answer.
It seems to me that something very important gets lost in the shuffle of the world-wide reaction to His Holiness Pope Francis’ famous magazine interview. To be honest, I haven’t been able to get through the whole thing. He lost me when he got into St. Ignatius’ style of discernment. I honestly just don’t know what he is talking about.
If you ask me what papal letter answers the fundamental questions, it is John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae.
Yes, one can talk too much about abortion. In truth, I prefer not to discuss such an ugly subject at all.
But is there a way to understand following Christ that does not involve being a part of the Pro-Life Movement? Is the Pro-Life movement concerned with “small rules?” No. Really it’s quite the contrary. To be pro-life is to embrace the awesomely large power of God.
Will God forgive an abortionist who repents? Yes. A mother who had an abortion? Yes. Someone who drove a woman to the abortion mill, or who paid for it, or who in any way impelled her to have one? Yes, He will forgive the repentant sinner. And He can do wonders with the lives of repentant sinners, as we see illustrated so meaningfully above.
But is there any possible way to conceive of genuine Christian discipleship which does not involve the indefatigable application of one’s energies to the pro-life cause? Maybe my mind got warped by Evangelium Vitae. But I can’t see any way.
Catholic. Christian. Pro-Life. Inseparable, from my humble point-of-view. I honestly don’t think I’m going out on a limb on this one. I will gladly stand corrected, if need be. But I’m pretty sure our Holy Father would agree with me here.