By Bishop Paul
Last week, there was a referendum in Ireland to vote on discontinuing the country’s ban on abortions. In this “Catholic” nation, the referendum passed by an overwhelming majority as 1.4 million people voted to lift the ban on abortions while 724,000 voted against it (based on 68% of the vote). Now it is in the hands of Ireland’s governing body to decide how they will respond to this referendum. The vote, hailed as a victory for women’s rights, brought great sadness to me.
In the Synodal Affirmation on Family, Marriage, Sexuality the Sanctify of Life, the members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops, in the section concerning Abortion, clearly states abortion is an “act of murder.” We are at odds with a society that increasingly rejects the belief that life begins at conception. From a public policy standpoint, there seems to be no change for the better. The annual “Right to Life” Marches that occur in our nation’s Capital and in other cities seem to be ignored by many public media outlets. I was at the Chicago March in January 2018, at which nearly 10,000 people marched, yet the media coverage of that event also focused on several hundred people present who protested the march.
The Synodal statement states that “Orthodox Christians are to contribute to legislative processes according to their knowledge, competence, ability and influence so that laws may be enacted and enforced which protect and defend the lives of unborn children while being sensitive to the complexities and tragedies of life in contemporary society.”
So we do have a voice we can exercise on this issue. On Sanctity of Life Sunday in January, we pray during the Liturgy that God “will banish all evil from our hearts and wickedness from our laws, enabling us to be servants of Your holy will and performers of Your love.”
I want to encourage all of you to make this prayer your own daily prayer. Yet, there is more to this than just making abortion illegal. In the next few notes I will strive to explain why this issue is so important while articulating what a pro-life viewpoint entails, specifically with regard to abortion.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,