A recent article in the Catholic Herald reveals how only a minority of sermons tackle abortion. Why is this issue not mentioned in pulpits? Have priests abandoned belief in the sanctity of life? Or do they simply lack sufficient courage to enter contentious waters when preaching God’s word?
This is a pertinent question given that 2020 seems to be the year the spotlight falls on an oft-neglected group: the dying. Indeed, they are much in vogue, mentioned in daily briefings from Downing Street and inspiring headlines the world over.
Given that care of the dying is a Christian duty, it’s no bad thing. But ought we to ask why only some of the dying are in the public eye, namely those suffering from Covid-19? The pandemic has thrust them centre stage, but what of the rest? Here the picture gets murky as care of the dying is worse than usual for many. Visitors are not allowed in hospitals, cancer sufferers have treatment cancelled, many are not being diagnosed because screening has gone out of the window. And both Covid and non-Covid alike find sacraments hard to access due to fear of infection.
We discover how caring for one group can have unintended consequences for another. Care of the dying is therefore a mixed bag at the best of times, but especially in time of pandemic. We should pray for those leading the nation and managing hospitals, and ensure the Catholic voice is heard whenever ethical decisions are made. And this is never more necessary than in consideration of the most neglected dying group of all: children in the womb.
As Catholics, we should lambast a culture in which those dying with Covid elicit public sympathy but unborn children killed in abortion clinics receive none at all. We should protest when churches are closed alongside non-essential services but death clinics remain open for business. It is an affront to the dignity of life, a crime screaming to heaven for justice!
God hears that scream, but does the world, given how many Catholics simply refuse to speak up? Are the unborn abandoned in part by our silence?
This lockdown is a good time to remember, before God, that life is sacred – including the unborn. It is a time to remind ourselves that babies in the womb should not be dying at all! Such a reminder might yet help us speak out in their defence, affording them their time in the spotlight and a little more compassion from the world.