No one has seen as much poverty around the world at close range as Mother Teresa, who was declared a saint by Pope Francis. That is why she is a hero to the social justice movement.
But she is also a hero of the pro-life movement, for such moments as the Washington DC prayer breakfast when, a stone’s throw from partial birth abortion ban vetoing President and Mrs. Clinton she said, “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.”
The scandal of the Catholic Church at this time is that those who say they seek social justice are often virulently opposed to any restriction of abortion. Too often, they identify with liberalism whose credo has adopted the erroneous belief that abortions liberate women from poverty and oppression. This is a tragic error with horrific consequences.
While it’s an established fact that the easiest way for a woman to live in poverty is to bear a child alone, having an abortion is not the solution to the abandonment of women and children by men. Abortion is a further exploitation of women. It negates their ability to be resourceful, strong, and determined. It expects them to be weak and dependent. It makes them victims along with their children. Women are the losers when society adopts abortion as a solution to social injustice. I work in a Pregnancy Resource Center in the inner city. I see the pain caused by half a century of legalized abortion. Every single day.
Women come to us beaten down by life. They had mothers addicted to drugs, fathers who abandoned them, they were subjected to abuse, and every other tragedy a human being can suffer. Most do not have a high school education, and have spotty job histories. They have no financial resources, vague plans for providing for their families beyond dependency on social service, and abysmal self-esteem. They are classic targets for the abortion industry, who, coincidentally, has 80% of their facilities in minority neighborhoods.
For their future. For the good of their born children.
But is it?
Abortion leaves scars which millions of women suffer in silence. Physical scars, emotional scars and spiritual scars, according to the pro-choice filmmaker who produced the award-winning documentary “Hush.” The medical community, the research community and even non-profits have closed ranks around the abortion industry, leaving women without the knowledge of how abortion damages women. Millions suffer and die when this knowledge would have saved them. No one seems to care.
The poor minority women who comprise the majority of the clients I see, have everyone they know urging them to abort. Deep in their hearts, they want to give birth, but doubt their own resiliency to rise about the trauma of the past, and build a future for themselves. Their guilt over past abortions has often made them feel unworthy of motherhood. Statistics say that up to 60% of women who walk into the abortion clinic are feeling coerced. You call this liberation? Where is the justice?
What does it take to give them the courage they need to give life to their children? To restore their hope? Nothing less than our love. The love that Mother Teresa had for each and every soul she helped: the love of Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor. It wasn’t a social program, or even a movement, she started, it was personal. She served Jesus in each of them, one at a time.
We who help these women know that, once they reconcile with God, they find the strength to do what is right. In our office, we accompany them; we cry, we pray, we make plans for a future. A future of hope, where naysayers in their lives are drowned out by their song of triumph. Where the cry of a newborn son or daughter is the most inspiring sound on earth.
That is social justice. But it comes at a cost. We can’t just sit by with idle platitudes or leave our sisters in Christ to the government.
We have to open our hearts, and risk shedding a few tears.
When we love as Mother Teresa did, we will spend our time helping a mother believe in her God-given gift of motherhood. Instead of trying to “prevent unwanted children” by abortion, we will remind her how infinitely precious she and her child are to God. We will help her value herself so highly that she demands nothing less than a lifelong commitment from the man who will share her bed. We will give her hope that her children will have a father who is there, even if hers wasn’t. We will share God’s amazing plan for her family until she adopts it as her own.
That, my fellow Catholics, is social justice. This is how we rebuild our broken families, and blighted communities. By rebuilding women, one by one. As St Teresa of Calcutta did. As Jesus did for St Mary Magdalen and the woman at the well. It’s a lot easier to get rid of “the problem” by blaming it on the children. But it seems, that the real problem is our own poverty of love.
So let's put down the signs, roll up our sleeves and work together to love the poor as our sisters and brothers.