The Bishop’s mass: explained

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The Bishop’s mass: explained

Abbey Alexander, Faith In Action Editor

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Every year, Bishop Olmsted makes his way to Xavier in light of a very important anniversary. This January 20th was a beautiful mass, one that celebrated the sanctity of life and the sacredness of an unborn child. It was no coincidence that this mass was two days before the forty fourth anniversary of the court ruling of Roe vs Wade; an anniversary that cannot be overlooked.

This day may seem like just another day to some people, but 44 years ago, it was a huge turning point for our country. On Jan. 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Roe vs Wade, which made it legal to have an abortion in America.  The court argued that it was a matter of a woman’s privacy; therefore, making abortion illegal would be a violation of the fourteenth amendment.

Even in 2017, the ruling is still topical. It is without a doubt one of the most dividing political issues of our time. Because of its involvement in both religion and women’s rights, nearly everyone has some sort of opinion on it, even those who claim to hate politics.

Why? Because people do not see it as a political issue, they see it as basic human rights. The pro-life side argues for the basic human rights of the fetus, while the pro-choice side argues for the basic human rights of the mother and her body.

The most used argument against the ruling is that abortion is equivalent to murder. The pro-life side believes that it doesn’t matter how old the fetus is; a human is a human. As novelist Ann B. Ross once said, “I certainly supported a woman’s right to choose, but to my mind the time to choose was before, not after the fact.”

This topic is also one of the most recognized by the Catholic Church. It is something that the Church has made her views and opinions very clear about. The sanctity of a human life is emphasized constantly in the Catholic community, no matter how young the baby may be; a human is a human. However, Catholicism also values forgiveness. Pope Francis has publicly urged priests and all Catholics to forgive those who have had abortions, which has made a large impact on how many view the topic. Without diminishing the severity of the act, he has spread the idea that even those who have sinned can still be forgiven and accepted in the Church. According to www.theweek.co.uk , one of Pope Francis’ many quotes about the topic is: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life, but there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father”.

Bishop Olmstead comes to Xavier every January, but not to focus on condemning the act or to dwell on the lives lost. Instead, he mourns these deaths but more so, celebrates those who live and who fight for the lives of others. 44 years later, and no one is silenced. Pro-life organizations work with the Catholic Church to fight against clinics that offer abortions and educate people on the severity of abortion statistics in the US.

However, it is important to not let differences divide us. 44 years later, people still spout awful words to each other at protests and marches, thinking that whatever rude thing they say to those who think differently than them will somehow change their minds. Both sides are guilty of this, and although it is easy to turn to hate when thinking about people dismissing something you are passionate about, we must always remember to be kind, to be understanding and, above all, to listen to one another. This is perhaps the most important message to take away from Bishop Olmstead’s most recent mass; we must not focus on bashing or hating others, but instead mourning the lives lost and celebrating the sanctity of all lives, born and unborn. I can only hope we can all pledge to make this 44th year since a trial that changed our country and millions of lives be different than the rest; one of acceptance, tolerance and love.

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