Are these unrelated events?
At first glance you might think so. But when we look at these stories through the lens of our Catholic faith we see a common thread – our belief in the inherent dignity and worth of every human life.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 30 that two businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, would not be subject to a new federal mandate that they pay for contraception and abortifacients as part of health insurance coverage, we applauded. It had no direct bearing on our Church’s legal challenges to the so-called HHS mandate but it was a win for religious freedom and the right for individuals and groups to act according to their conscience on matters of health care. Underlying this outcome, of course, is our concern for the unborn and also our belief that the plan for creation is God’s, not ours. It is in this context that many see the issue of “Life.”
At the same time, we are equally concerned about the lives of those coming to our country to be reconciled with family and to escape the violence and destitution of their home country. Recently, we have seen a spike in the number of families and even unaccompanied children seeking asylum inside the southwestern borders of our country. The drive toward comprehensive immigration reform remains stalled in political gridlock so federal immigration authorities made a decision to transport busloads of migrants from their point of entry in Texas to a U.S. Border Patrol facilities in Southern California, including one in Murrieta.
It has been a moment to renew our cry for reform but, more importantly, it has also called us to accompany these brothers and sisters on their perilous journey, to let them know that the Church is with them and values their life. That is why we chose to receive a group of 46 women and children from Central America in one of our churches this month. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Mt. 25
This for us is also a “Life” issue.
The reality that the continuous ethic of life in our Church informs many socio-political issues and not just one is elusive for some. Prayer and deep reflection about what it means to uphold the dignity and worth of every human life, be it an embryo or an immigrant, can help us “connect the dots.” Let us be patient with ourselves and our brothers and sisters who may not see things as we do.
But as I watch these recent signs of the times I can’t help but feel that God is speaking very clearly to us. If we don’t stand for Life, who will?