The World Needs Our Light More Than Ever
By Bishop David J. Malloy

“You are the light of the world.”

Jesus said that to the followers of His day and to us. And He went on to say that we are “to give light to all who are in the house” (Mt 15).

To know that we are the light of the world is of course an honor and a privilege of faith that we bear. It means that Christ is truly within us, guiding us and making us different. But how important is that light for the world!

The world needs us to be the light of Christ so that it doesn’t wander and lose its way in darkness. And that need for light is not just in the wider world. Closer in, our families and friends desperately need us to be the light of Christ for them as well.

Rarely has our role as the light of the world been revealed more clearly than in recent weeks with the on-going and heart wrenching videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale and furnishing of the body parts of aborted babies.

No matter what follow-up explanation and rationalization is given by Planned Parenthood and its supporters, human nature is reviled to see that not only is young life destroyed but techniques are used to selectively save elements of the bodies for reuse and for financial gain. As one commentator noted, it reduces the unborn to being more valuable dead than alive.

For us as Catholics the struggle to defend the unborn has been a constant point of emphasis and love in living our faith, especially since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

We have of course been joined by many other people of faith and reason. Still, it has been the Catholic Church that has been most known as the voice of the world’s conscience and that of American society.

We have indeed served as the light to remind everyone of the dignity of human life, of our solidarity with each other, including with those not yet born, and of the tragedy of abortion for men and women.

We’ve done so by prayer, by fasting, by keeping vigils and by committing ourselves and our families to the value of life.

The videos of the last few weeks have shown to us the price to be paid, by the unborn and by all of us, when our human nature walks in darkness without the light of Christ. We always pray for those involved in sin and weakness. But the cold heartlessness of those recorded speaking about the harvesting of organs of the unborn shows how emptied out our hearts can become without God, without light.

In addition, those videos have stripped away the rhetoric describing abortion as a contribution to rights, as a mere choice. Instead, we see an unspeakable motivation for abortion providers: financial gain.

We might now ask ourselves is this why it has been so difficult to write into law the most basic protections for the unborn even against late term abortions notwithstanding the wide support for such protections?

Pope Francis has called us time and again to emphasize mercy in our faith. This is a moment for us to do so for a particular group of people. That is, women who have undergone abortion.

Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae expressed particular concern of the Church for them. He noted that many women have undergone abortion under conditions of pressure or duress. Others have come to feel profound and lasting regrets, perhaps after having been deceived by the bland and seductive rhetoric of choice.

But now, how many such women having seen or read of what has been revealed in these videos must feel even more profound regrets? For how many of them will these revelations deepen their sense of anguish and loss as they recognize more fully the nature of abortion and its final results for their children? We must pray for them and assure them all the more emphatically of God’s mercy for them.

Pope Francis in his recent encyclical made a specific point of saying that one cannot be concerned about the ecology of the earth and not have concern for the totality of our ecosystem, including the unborn.

Joined to Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict, he has reminded us of the deepest truth about life and why faith and reason come together in support of the right to life.

I am so grateful to all who work in defense of life, especially in the Diocese of Rockford. Thanks to all who pray daily, who march and teach about life and who contribute to pregnancy care centers.

Thanks especially to our young people who are so strongly pro-life. All of you are living proof that we are the light of the world!