Last night, I was fortunate to be able to attend a Pro-life presentation by a former Tasmanian. The speaker showed us a DVD which was produced in Scotland, to be shown in the high schools there.
The technology that allows us a glimpse into the world of the unborn child has advanced so far, that we were able to see footage of each of the many stages that a baby goes through, from egg to embryo to foetus, then to new born baby. The DVD showed a fertilised egg travelling through the fallopian tube, then the rapidly-dividing cells of that amazing human life, then a tiny, newly-formed spinal cord and fledgling limbs, then finally, a little infant pushing off the uterus wall in order to place itself head-down, ready for its journey into its mother’s arms.
Some of the presenter’s remarks were startling – for instance, he told us that the DVD was almost unanimously well-received by students aged about 12-13 – because they were not yet sexually active. But, when shown to older, sexually active students, those around age eighteen, there was a lot of resistance to the pro-life message.
One of the night’s organizers then told us of a conversation she previously had, when promoting the talk, with a woman who claimed to be pro-choice. The pro-choice lady had admitted that her own mother had given birth to her at the age of sixteen. But, the poor woman could see no anomaly here. She didn’t seem to appreciate that her mother had been in one of the groups at the highest risk of terminating their unplanned pregnancies, but had instead chosen to give birth to, and care for her baby.
One of the most consoling features of any pro-life or pro-family event, for me, is the overwhelming atmosphere of brotherhood that exists between Catholics and our Protestant friends. We are all struggling to comprehend the attacks on life, or at the very least, the indifference that confronts us in our own churches, and we seem to cling together, almost huddled around Jesus in that aspect of Him that we all have in common; the Jesus Who loves and protects Life, the Jesus Who blesses and loves marriage, and our Jesus Who listens to those feeble voices who ‘cry out in the wilderness.’
There are two things that give me hope that we are, indeed, experiencing a springtime in the Church, that New Evangelization spoken of by our beloved John Paul II.
One is when I see the world, in its labour pains, crying out through technology to know its God, crying out in its alienation, its loneliness, its emptiness, asking God, “Do you really love me?” Can’t you see it, through all those blogs and tweets and updates, and through that often-repeated theme of internet life – our incessant search for beauty?
The other is when I join with my Protestant brothers and sisters and we try so hard to break down five hundred years of misunderstanding in those five minutes that are given to us. When we hear a speaker with whom we wholeheartedly agree, and only at the end of their presentation discover that they aren’t Catholic.