Abortion

Abortion

Angelita and Ricardo took their place in one of the last pews in the back of the church.   As always, the predominantly Spanish parishioners at the Good Sheppard Catholic Church have filled the building to the rafters.    Ever since the arrival of a new, dynamic priest named Father Guerrero, attendance has skyrocketed.

Today’s sermon was entitled “The Horrors of Abortion.”  For the next 20 minutes, Father Guerrero told the rapt audience how thousands of babies each day were being torn “limb by limb” from the mother’s womb, how the mothers would ultimately come to regret their heinous act and how God would be watching them commit this serious sin.  This particular church had always been on the cusp of anti- abortion activity, organizing buses to protest at the local “abortion mill.”  Two years ago, they erected a “Memorial to the Unborn” at the church’s entrance, a reminder to everyone entering God’s house that millions of babies had been aborted under his very eye.  Father Guerrero was asked to come to this church because of his zealous anti-abortion activism over the years.  He fit right in.

Abortion

Abortion

Meanwhile, as the good father went on, Angelita kept rubbing her stomach.  She was nine weeks pregnant and in two days she was going to have an abortion.

When the young couple had learned that Angelita was pregnant, at first they rejoiced.  Ricardo, perhaps playing that “machismo” card, could barely contain himself.  He couldn’t wait to tell his compadres at the construction site that he was going to be a father – preferably the father of a young, strapping boy.  Angelita, who was 19 at the time, was also excited at first but then quickly turned anxious.  After she finished high school, she had taken a year off to work at a local fast food restaurant to save money to attend the local community college where she hoped to study nursing.   Suddenly, she saw how her life was about to change.

Catholics and Abortion

Catholics and Abortion

A week or two later, after thinking a lot more about her and Ricardo’s future, she began to think about abortion.  She could not imagine raising a child at her age, giving up her dreams of being a nurse and the possibility of Ricardo having to get a second job to cover their new expenses.  But when she prayed to her God, she could only feel discomfort.  As a lifelong Catholic, she had been trained that just the slightest thought of abortion was abhorrent, that if she ever had one she would clearly spend eternity in hell.  Of course, she could not even think about going to her former priest, the one who had given her communion, had presided over her father’s funeral and had advised her on some many other personal issues.   And the new one was out of the question.  Meanwhile, she couldn’t talk to her friends or her family, as they were Catholic as well.  It was just she and Ricardo.

Within a few weeks, Ricardo’s enthusiasm about being a Dad had worn off as well as he started to anticipate his new responsibilities.  So, when Angelita – in tears – raised the possibility of abortion with him, he was more amenable than she thought he would be.   After a few agonizing days, they agreed to schedule an abortion.

Catholic Compassion

Catholic Compassion

And now, sitting in her house of worship that had been a source of comfort for so many years, she could only feel like an outcast.  When she walked by the statute in the front of the church, she became nauseous.  As she listened to her priest talk to HER about HER abortion, she could not make eye contact and it took all of her resolve to not burst out crying.

She and Ricardo needed help, not condemnation.  But in her desperate time of need, her church offered her no refuge.