The celebration of Independence Day, the Fourth of July, reminds all Americans of the many blessings we have received as a nation. Freedom from Great Britain was won by the heroic persistence of the Continental Army led by General George Washington, and through the providential, if self-interested, intervention of the French throne in support of the patriot cause. The principle of self-government was enshrined in our Constitution and laws. The People of the United States hold sovereign power, and elected officials safeguard and exercise that power in the name of the People.
Thus, the social strength and moral health of the nation depends upon its people. It is not only their right but their obligation to demand that laws enacted by their representatives be just laws, and that they be enforced with consistency and fairness. Non-violent remedies are available within our system of self-government to vindicate the will of the people when those in authority disregard it.
Freedom is preserved when just laws are upheld—and when unjust laws are overruled. An example of latter is Dobbs v. Jackson, the Supreme Court decision last year that overruled Roe v. Wade, declaring, in the words of Justice Samuel Alito, that “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the People and their elected representatives.” The effort and perseverance of countless defenders of life toppled the gravely immoral abortion regime that was wrongly imposed upon our country in 1973. For that we must be grateful to God, whose Providence is manifested in the victory of goodness and justice.
It is up to us to continue to battle peacefully for the full protection of our unborn brothers and sisters in those states where their right to life is not legally recognized. We must pray and work for the moral and spiritual renewal of our society. The common recognition by the citizenry of the demands of justice and truth is always threatened by beguiling falsehoods and persuasive propaganda. The continued willingness of people to stand in opposition to long standing injustices involves many trials. With St. Paul, “let us conduct ourselves in all circumstances as God’s ministers, in much patience; in tribulations, in hardships, in distresses; in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults; in labors, in sleepless nights, in fastings; in innocence, in knowledge, in long-sufferings, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unaffected love; in the word of truth, in the power of God; with the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left; in honor and dishonor, in evil report and good report; as deceivers and yet truthful, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and behold, we live, as chastised but not killed; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet enriching many, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor 6: 4-10)
The six-month prison sentence recently handed down to Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, for blocking access to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic is the price he is willing to pay to give non-violent witness to the fact that, as he says, “Planned Parenthood as an organization is in the business of killing . . . Every procured abortion that occurs on [Planned Parenthood’s] premises constitutes the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.”
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed at Gettysburg: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The peaceful efforts of the pro-life movement to vindicate the truth that all men, born and unborn, are created equal has partially undone the abortion regime in our country. Our persistence in these efforts can only bear continued good fruit.
Let us take courage from Lincoln’s final exhortation at Gettysburg’s Cemetery: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”