In this culture that promotes the party lifestyle and throws morals out the window, responsibility is a word many people have forgotten. Parents have forgotten to teach it to their children, preferring to fix all of their mistakes for them; the government has decided to forgo teaching it to its citizens, instead offering anyone a share of the money the hard-working Americans sweat and bleed over every day; and Planned Parenthood has decided to hide it from their customers, teaching pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to embrace their sexuality and then come to them when their defective “protection” leads to the beginning of a new life.
This “disposing of the problem” has led to many harmful definitions of both life and mercy in society today. Life, a beautiful new being growing within a woman’s womb, is now considered an “unplanned problem” or an “inconvenience”, and mercy, “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence” according to dictionary.com, is now two things: it’s freeing a person from the consequences of her actions by “kindly” lying to her about what is really growing within her, and then proceeding to hide the dangerous side-effects of a painful and invasive procedure from a woman who is afraid, alone, and often doing what her boyfriend, father, or friend told her was right- against her better judgment. Does this sound like mercy: lying, inflicting physical and emotional pain, and teaching someone he should not be responsible for his actions?
Even the President of the United States (I use the word “even” because, despite his unspeakable corruption, his office is still known to be an honorable and admirable one) has said that if his daughters became pregnant as a result of their poor choices, he would not force them to suffer the consequence of bearing children: “I am going to teach them [his daughters, 9 and 6 at the time] first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby,” (the rest of the quote can be found here). I have a question: since when did this spoiled, selfish mindset that says: “I can do anything, hurt anyone, and I will never be held accountable for it!” become something to be promoted?
Now, pro-abortion people will call the pro-lifers heartless because we encourage women to have their children, not kill them. The pro-abortion people say this is merciless because we’re asking this poor woman who has a career she needs to pursue and a life she needs to live to face the fact that the consequence of her actions has led to a new, innocent life that deserves to be protected and loved. But let me point something out: mercy is merciful- meaning it is doing what is best for a person out of love for them, even when he has not acted in a way that merits compassion or kindness. Sometimes, what is merciful, what is best for someone, is not what is easiest. But, it is what will help them in the long run to become a better, stronger, person. Has this country forgotten that people are not perfect, and that we do indeed make mistakes that need to be corrected? Is teaching someone that he is not accountable for his decisions honest, is it going to help him in the “real world”? Is freeing someone from the responsibility for his actions helpful, is he going to get away with every wrong thing he does without repercussions? And finally, is inflicting pain and humilitation upon a woman who is pregnant, afraid, and needs love more than anything else merciful?
What this country needs is mercy with a side of responsibility. A huge, heaping side of it. Responsibility teaches the important virtues of prudence, temperance, and self-control. Resposibility raises children who think before they act, care about people outside of themselves, and try to behave in a way that benefits others instead of regarding everyone as objects to be used. And, most importantly, responsibility- when paired with mercy- brings about a compassionate people who seek to love the broken, help the fallen, and make the suffering strong through their trials. Every “consequence” is a learning experience, helping one’s heart and soul to grow and learn, and in the end to emerge wiser and stronger than he was when he aquired the challenge. Killing an innocent life in the womb, robbing a woman of the great, selfless lessons that come with motherhood (even if she puts her child up for adoption afterwards), and bringing even more suffering into her life is not mercy, it’s injustice. And it is time to turn society’s glasses around so that it can start regarding life, mercy, and responsibility in the correct way.
I found this line in Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae: “Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).”
Dear Blessed John Paul II, pray for our broken society.
I would like to thank Tito Edwards for linking to this post in his National Catholic Register article on May 31, 2012.