Discussing abortion, for love of life
It is hard to believe that some people defend abortion for abortion’s sake. Abortion involves eliminating life or interfering in a vital process that culminates in human life. Personally I am against abortion because I love life in each of its phases and in all its forms.
But this does not blind me to a macabre reality that must not be ignored and which defies good sense and public authority. Each year nearly 800,000 clandestine abortions are performed in Brazil. Every two days a woman dies, victim of an improperly performed clandestine abortion.
This reality must be confronted, not by the police but with a responsible public health policy and a realistic sensibility. I consider the attitude of those who intransigently defend life in the embryo and do not adopt the same attitude facing the thousands of children abandoned in misery, without food or love, wandering in the streets of our cities, to be hypocritical, (Pharisaic). Life must be loved in all its forms and ages, and not only in its first awakening in the mother’s womb. It behooves the State and all of society to create the conditions so that women generally will not need abortions.
On the steps of the Cathedral of Fortaleza, I myself assisted a famished mother, begging and nursing her child with the blood of her breast. She had the figure of a pelican. Perplexed and filled with compassion, I took her to the house of Cardinal Dom Aloisio Lorscheider, where we gave her all the assistance possible. For such reasons abortions occur, always painful, that profoundly affect the psyche of the mother. I will narrate what Leon Bonaventure, the eminent psychoanalyst of the Jungian school wrote, and which was mentioned in his introduction to a book by another Jungian psychoanalyst, Italian Eva Pattis, titled, Abortion, lost and renewal: paradox in the search of feminine identity, (Aborto, pérdida y renovación: paradoja en la búsqueda de la identidad femenina, Paulus, 2001).
Leon Bonaventure relates, with the subtlety of a fine psychoanalyst for whom spirituality constitutes a source of integration and curing of the wounds of the soul:
«A priest was confessing a woman who had aborted in the past. After listening to the confession, the priest asked her: “What name did you give to your child?” The woman, surprised, remained silent for a long time, because she had not given her child a name.
“So” –said the priest–, “we will give your child a name, and if you agree we will baptize him”. The woman nodded her head in agreement and they symbolically did it.
Afterwards, the priest made some reflections on the mystery of life: “life exists” –he said–, “that comes to the light of day to be lived in the Earth, for 10, 50, or 100 years. Other lives will never see the light of the Sun. In the Catholic Liturgical Calendar, December 28th is the feast of the Holy Innocents, the newly born who gratuitously died when the Divine Child was born in Bethlehem. May that day also be the feast day of your child”.
And he continued, saying: “in the Christian tradition the birth of a child is always a gift from God, a blessing. It was a custom in the past to go to the temple to offer the child to God. It is never too late to offer your child to God”.
The priest ended by saying: “as a human being I cannot judge you. If you sinned against life, the very God of life can reconcile you with life. Go in peace. And live”» (p. 9).
Pope Francis always recommends mercy, understanding and tenderness in the relations between priests and the faithful. That priest lived avant la lettre those profoundly human values that also belong to the witness of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. May those values inspire other priests to have the same humanity.
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.