Homily by Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi
When a new human life starts, it cannot be seen. There are a few cells in the womb. These cells do not only have the potential of life, but they are, in fact, a human life that has started. Over time, these cells increase and continue growing. A new human life is developing, even though it is still unseen.
Nowadays, thanks to scientific and technological advances, we can become aware of the beauty of the developing human life. What a miracle and what a wonder! Science shows us that there is a beating heart and a developing body. Gradually, the hands, feet, and the different organs develop. If you see a scan, you remain astounded at the fact that what was hidden just a short time ago can now be seen clearly.
How beautiful it is when human life is given the help and the appropriate environment it needs to develop! Today, I would like to show my appreciation to so many people, especially women, who work passionately to create an awareness about the value of life from the moment of conception.
Someone, not something
The most important thing that has been emphasised by many pregnant women is that within their womb there is someone, not something. They are carrying someone, and this means so much to them. There is someone who is totally vulnerable, weak and dependent, and who is continually receiving nourishment so that s/he can live and grow. This is why they give this person so much care and love. They cherish life from the very first moment.
We also work to protect nature, which is necessary for life, because the destruction of nature leads to the destruction of human life.
There are also women who struggle with the concept of a new life growing within them, a life that is distinct from them, but dependent on them. Since this life was not planned, they feel confused and anxious; they look upon it as a problem that has come upon them unexpectedly, and will disrupt their lives. We want these people to find support and solidarity so that they can make a choice in favour of life, and at the same time they, too, can be protected and helped. This help does exist in a very concrete and tangible way, and here I would like to express my gratitude to Life Line Malta, and all those who support these people, especially women, and accompany them throughout this difficult time in their lives.
Society is always faced with this fundamental choice: whether to protect people who are vulnerable, weak and dependent, or make it easier to destroy them.
There are people who put forward the following line of reasoning: it is true there is a baby; it is true there is a new life; it is true there is a beating heart; it is true there is a developing body. However, the baby only has a right to exist, develop, and be born if I want and accept the child. If I want and accept him/her, it is a baby in the womb. If I do not accept him/her, then there are only a few insignificant cells I can dispose of. This is something very serious, because it means that if you are not wanted and accepted, then you should not be allowed to live.
But if you say you can end a new human life in its most vulnerable, weak and dependent stage, what does this imply? Some people call it a progressive decision. But what is progressive in such a decision? It is the exact opposite. If you end a human life, which means that you are not allowing it to progress, then it is a regressive, not progressive, decision. Sometimes it is called a liberal decision. But what is liberal in such a choice? It is the exact opposite, because it is a decision that inhibits freedom, rather than safeguarding it. It is a decision that promotes death, not life.
A society that is truly progressive and liberal gives special care to those who are vulnerable, weak and dependent. This is a society that is genuinely human.
At every phase
A pro-life ethic must be consistent. We should protect life from the very first moment, when it cannot yet be seen, and at every moment till its natural end. Hence, when we are truly pro-life, we work to protect both the child at the very first moment of conception, and also the person who is ill and dependent; we work to protect the life of people who are at risk of drowning if we turn our backs on them; we work to protect people who may lose their lives because of the negligence of others. We also work to protect nature, which is necessary for life, because the destruction of nature leads to the destruction of human life.
We should also remember the people who made the wrong decision to end someone else’s life, and we pray that they will find healing, and the possibility of a new beginning.
Sometimes we hear people say that we should not impose our values on others. It is true that God said “Do not kill”, and the protection of life is a very important value for Christians who believe in God. However, this does not mean that people who do not believe in God should be free to kill. In the case of human life, whatever I believe, I do not have the right to end someone else’s life, even if I have different beliefs.
This is a memorial mass for all human lives which started, but were not allowed to develop. We should also remember the people who made the wrong decision to end someone else’s life, and we pray that they will find healing, and the possibility of a new beginning. And in a very special way, we pray for women who are finding it hard to care for the human life within them, so that they will not be faced with people who provide them with solutions which lead to death, but will find those who will show them solutions that protect life, and who will give them the support and solidarity they need so that they can be at peace, and the new life within them will be saved.
✠ Joseph Galea-Curmi