Slaughter of the Holy Innocents

Today (Dec. 29th) in the Eastern calendar, and yesterday in the Western Church calendar, commemorates the slaughter of the Holy Innocents - the children of Bethlehem who were slaughtered by King Herod in a maniacal attempt to grasp hold of life, power, and security for just a little longer.

In the Church calendar darkness and pain are always closely associated with Christmas, as is also the case in so many people's lives for whom holidays are painful.

Every time we come around to this day of the year, I cannot help but reflect upon the practice of "abortion on demand" - which I consider one of the greatest evils of our time by which we in the US alone have slaughtered millions of innocents and most often for reasons not unlike those of the wicked king...all this in our "Christian nation."

Some will no doubt find this characterization 'offensive' - but I simply submit that the existence of a new human being begins at the moment of conception: physically this is true, genetically this is true. In what sense can it be argued otherwise? Can it really be argued that the fetus is part of the mother's body when it is genetically distinct from its mother? Can it really be argued that it is not a human life when it is most definitely alive (and thus, can be killed) and most definitely has 46 chromosomes of a human (that is, 44 autosomal and 2 sexual)? To argue that the fetus is not alive or not human flies in the face of what science has taught us. Certainly, it flies in the face of the Christian tradition as well that has always considered the fetus a human being (note the fetal John the Baptist is able to worship the fetal Jesus and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary who has only recently become "the mother of the Lord" in Luke 1:39-45 and also Gorman's book Abortion and the Early Church).

To be honest, I wish this were not true. I wish that my civilization were not responsible for the worst holocaust in recorded history. But the sad, dark - yes, even offensive - truth is that we, all of us, have the blood of innocent children on our hands. Sexual intimacy without its naturally adjoined responsibilities or commitments is more important to us than protecting the 'least of these.' And this evil cannot simply be laid at the feet of abortion doctors, or young women who get abortions, or politicians who support it - it is our whole society that creates and allows this arrangement of values and priorities and arrangements. We are all, in our own ways, tainted by this.

Today's Mere Comments post touched on this same idea, while noting a disturbing trend - the use of newborn babies, the cloning of babies, or the late-term abortion of babies specifically for the purpose of harvesting stem cells, especially in Eastern Europe.

The weakest among us are being exploited and murdered by the strong in order to maintain their strength - their lifestyle, their security, their comfort, their vigor, their longevity. This is, of course, the very opposite of the highest Christian virtue of charity - which means seeking the good of others - especially the weak - even if it means dying on a cross for their sake. I sometimes wonder how history will judge this age in which we live. But I am certain that the dawn of the Kingdom of the Lord (which must include the judgement of God) means the utter undoing of all the kingdoms of all the Herods in the world (including those in our very hearts).

Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.

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