As we celebrate the Assumption of Mary this weekend, we recognize her as the patroness of unborn children. In our reading from Revelation we hear about "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet." (Rev. 12:1). A few verse later we realize that woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary because the child within her is the Messiah, "a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nation..." (12:5) We also see that Satan tries to destroy the child before (and after) he is born. Because of this biblical reference and for many other reasons Mary is considered the Patronness of the unborn and of mothers who are facing a difficult pregnancy. I know that in Holy Family Church many have gained strength by praying before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The black ribbon below her hands signifies pregnancy, that she carries within her the Christ Child.
In meditating on Mary's role and Patroness of the Unborn, it might help concretize our thinking by looking at an important bill before congress. It is called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. This bill can assist our reflection on the central moral issue of our day. Following is an explanation of the bill:
"The unborn child is currently a non-entity in federal criminal law. Under this bill, the unborn child throughout the period of her in utero development would be recognized as a member of the human family, protected from assault or homicide (if these occur during the course of some federal crime). It seems obvious that when an unborn baby is injured or killed by an act of violence, there are two victims, the mother and the child. Yet, current federal law does not allow a criminal to be charged for the harm he causes to the unborn child. Enactment of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is necessary to correct this manifest injustice.
"Communications should be directed to ALL members of the House of Representatives, urging them to co-sponsor the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 2436). Pro-life lawmakers should support it because it will permit justice to be done on behalf of unborn victims. Lawmakers who call themselves pro-choice should support the bill because it protects babies who are injured or killed contrary to the choice of their mothers. This particular bill does NOT restrict abortion."
One of my hopes is that we can get beyond the pro-choice vs. pro-life rhetoric. There are issues here which involve the basic understanding of our human existence. These are issues which should be removed from partisan politics. The anti-abortion position is sometimes exclusively identified with the Republic party. That overlooks the fact there are many Democrats who want legal protection for the unborn child. (See, for example, Democrats for Life.) The Unborn Victims of Violence Act can be an occasion to reflect on what is the overriding moral issue of our time. And to turn toward our Blessed Mother asking her to intercede for all, especially the most vulnerable among us.
From Archives (Homily for Assumption):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
My bulletin column
St. Mary of the Valley Album
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