Moses with the Tablets of the Law (painting by...

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Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests
for Life
Abortion does not only
break the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” It breaks all the
commandments. In this and following columns, let’s reflect on how each
Commandment illumines and strengthens our pro-life commitment.
The First Commandment is “I
am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods besides me.” There
are many ways of having false gods. Pope John Paul II once wrote that to
think we are the ones who decide whether a child should be created is
to say that God is not God. At the root of the contraceptive mentality,
and at the root of the so-called “pro-choice” mentality, is idolatry. We
place our choices before God’s choices. We break the first of all the
commandments. In the Old Testament, we read that God’s people committed
idolatry when they sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire to
demons. Until we end the child sacrifice of legal abortion, we are
guilty of the same kind of idolatry. We are called instead to worship
the Lord of Life!
The Second Commandment is
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This does
not only mean that we shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in cursing when we
are angry. It also means that we should not use God’s name or His Word
to justify actions that he abhors.
There are religious groups
and individuals in our society who do exactly that when it comes to
abortion. They say they are “prayerfully pro-choice.” Groups like the
“Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” claim that God’s word
allows abortion. They hold “pro-choice” Bible studies, and they even
carry out pro-choice liturgies to bless the “choice” of those who abort.
This is a distortion of
God’s word and an abuse of his name. It is a direct violation of the
second commandment. We are called instead to honor the name of God by
honoring the lives he creates.
The Third Commandment
requires us to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day. Scripture tells us the Lord
rested on the seventh day. This was not because he was tired, but rather
because he was foretelling the Sabbath day that Jesus would rest in the
tomb after his work of offering the sacrifice of his passion and death.
On that day the Lord preached to the dead and bid them to leave the
place of death and to come with him into life eternal.
Keeping holy the Lord’s
Day, then, reminds us that God is on the side of human life. It also
reminds us that he is Lord of life. All our activities and choices are
under him, which is why we pause on the Lord’s Day to worship him in
We will continue our
reflections on the Commandments in the next column. Meanwhile, those who
want to nourish their pro-life spirituality with reflections like this
for every day of the year can obtain my book Pro-life Reflections for
Every Day

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