Day of Penance for the violation to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.
Due to the legal atrocities that have been committed on human life, the Roman Catholic Church has set aside January 22nd as a day of penance and prayer for full legal rights and respect be returned to the innate right of life. To understand just how far abortion in all forms and the destruction of unborn children for the purpose of science has caused society to fall, we could look at the original Hippocratic oath as formulated by Hippocrates. In the original format, all physicians (pagan and believing) were sworn against committing any harm to the patient, even the prohibition of abortion because it was recognized as the destruction of a human being, although yet unborn. Perhaps this stems from the fertility cults that were prevalent in the centuries before Christ. At any rate, Pope John Paul II was correct in stating a society that kills its own children is a society without hope (even in the evolutionary sense).
Penance Within the faith, penance is both known as a virtue in which the sinner detests his sin for it offends God and destroys the bond and communication a sinner is able to have with Him, and as a sacrament. From the repentance the sinner affirms a decision to avoid the near occasions of sin and to sin no more. Although sinners rely on Christ Jesus for salvation, penance brings us back into Gods grace because we realize our sins and the sorrow it brings to God. As a sacrament, a penitent shows contrition, confession, and willingness for reparation for the sin(s). Known as both Confession and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, “penance” is a full conversion of our hearts towards God. Not only are we healing our spiritual connection with God through this sacrament, but also our fraternal communion to members of the Body of Christ (Barrack, 2007; CCC 1469). Sorrow for our sin encompasses shame, guilt for knowing God’s Law and violating it, sadness in distancing ourselves from God, and wanting to mend the relationship we have with God and the members of His Body. How can we show our repentance and willingness to endeavor in sinning less, or to abandon this particular sin forever more? Through reparation.
Reparation A theological concept, reparation is entwined with atonement. From Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, as sinners we are restored to our original condition before the Fall to a certain degree (newadvent, 2007). Christ made reparation for our sins and our separation from God and perfect union with Him by the Son’s arrest, suffering, and death on a Cross; thusly, we are restored to grace. Our own reparations for our sin can restore us to grace with God as well through various sacrifices and denials in which we can enjoin ourselves to the sacrifice and suffering of Christ (Ibid; Col1:24). In this sense, on January 22nd, a penitent sinner or a Christian who has not committed a sin against Life can fast, pray, or offer up other intentions for the sorrow of the sins he or others have committed against Life.
God as Creator
Throughout the Book of Job we are able to read the woe Job endures as the hand of Satan via the permission of God. These troubles that afflict him are the death of his children, the lass of his home and property. Yet all the loss is not material because it pressed down on his soul just like the dark night of the soul that St John of the Cross addresses. Job didn’t do anything to merit this suffering; he is innocent and just. Throughout, Job rebukes his friends by reminding them and us that God holds each living soul in His hands (10:12). Yet God isn’t just the creator of souls alone. Man’s body is not just a shell or an encasement for the soul; both flesh and spirit are created and loved by God (Merton, 1998). If life is created by God (CCC 2280), who has the authority to end it? Abel was killed by Cain because he gave a more just offering to the Lord. Cain was marked by God and made a nomad for his sin of homicide. Likewise, law given through the Ten Commandments state that no one has the right to murder, or in other words to take innocent life. Yet since 1973 trends as well as laws have tried to change the definition of life and what it means to be a dignified human with integrity worth preserving until natural death.
What is life? If we look at a dictionary such as Webster’s New World Dictionary (1980): “that property of plants and animals which makes it possible for them to take in food, get energy from it, grow, adapt themselves to their surroundings, and reproduce their kind […] the existence of a soul.” Since this is a deeply philosophical question, perhaps it is best left here since the purpose of this is not to discuss ad nauseam about what constitutes life, but more about why life cannot be terminated arbitrarily.
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Just as God informs Jeremiah that He created the prophet from the very moment of his conception, so to are we formed. If one argues that Jeremiah is special by the very nature of his being a prophet, perhaps a look at Christ’s life is called for. Before Christ was conceived in Mary’s virgin womb through the power of the Holy Spirit, He was spiritual just as God the Father is spiritual. Christ did not become flesh (incarnate) until the moment of His conception. He had to assume an absolutely human form in order for Him to assume the sins of the whole human race and give us salvation through His death on a Cross. Christ is fully man and fully divine, we can see as God created Him in the womb, so to must God make each of us in the womb. We are all created by God at the moment of conception, and just as God was the one who took away Christ’s life, so too only He can take ours.
2258 Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.
Of the life forms that exist in our human society, it is the infirm, the elderly, and the young who are unable to fully defend themselves in their inalienable right to life. The elderly are living longer and often found to be suffering from diseases that debilitate them and leave them damaged, incomplete, or wiped out memories. Although it is difficult to see these men and women placed in nursing homes and day care facilities for their protection and care, they are still alive. God has a will for each person to fulfill, and one does not need to be cognizant when fulfilling that will. For the unborn children, this business of human dignity is a paradox. If a pregnant woman is killed, the murderer is charged with two counts of murder, but if the child is killed by the hands of its mother, that is called “choice.”
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every
procured abortion. […] God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble
mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of
In Genesis, Adam and Eve are the parents of the human race and God tells them to
go forth and multiply. They are given charge of creation. When
something is handed over to the care of another person, it is for protection not
destruction as has been seen by an oversimplified examination of the stewardship
parables in the New Testament. Not only does this hold true for the unborn
and infants, but also the infirm and dying.
2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick
or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
2277 Whatever possible motives and means, direct euthanasia consist in
putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally
What does it convey to the world, when someone says he killed a dying relative out of love? Is love expressed through murderous actions or through support and compassion? What is compassionate and tender about taking away life from someone who may not be able to physically convey to another their will to live?
Inalienable Right to Life
2273 The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.
The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. … As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the [human being], the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation […].
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.–G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World