The destruction of life and the diminishing of love

The destruction of life and the diminishing of love Hundreds gather in Belfast to protest against legislation that imposes teaching about abortion on schools in the North

A baby was screaming rather loudly at Mass the other day – so loudly from the church porch that the priest’s final blessing was being drowned out. So, he paused, smiled widely, and declared: “When I hear a child crying in church, I know the Church has a future. And it always does.”

But sadly, the ‘crying child’ is all too rare in church these days, and not just in church.

Births are falling and abortions are rising.

In fact, babies, it seems, are becoming an endangered species, the invisible casualties in the culture wars.


New figures reveal abortion figures in England and Wales have just hit record levels:  251,377 pre-born boys and girls were aborted in 2022. The upward trend in Ireland continues amid great indifference – another reason to join the March for Life on July 6 in Dublin.

Other than debating what the falling birthrate might mean for the rest of us, the media generally seems to have little or no interest in defending the rights of pre-born babies. I am stunned at times to hear even baptised Catholics, including those who attend Mass, insist on a “woman’s right to choose”.

As Catholics we cannot simultaneously embrace Christ’s words, ‘This is my body’ and the pro-choice abortion chant: ‘This is my body’”

We have a “This is my body” generation whose views have been formed, not by God’s living word, but by the likes of The Irish Times and The Guardian. The media and the abortion industry have sold us a very false notion of compassion. Abortion is a corrupt practice which kills children and traumatises women as well as men.

As Catholics we cannot simultaneously embrace Christ’s words,“This is my body” and the pro-choice abortion chant: “This is my body”.

But how much thought do we give to the words ‘This is my body’ in either context?

I have asked Catholics who claim to be “pro-choice” what the choice is and they invariably give me a puzzled look. The choice is death, right? Dismembering or poisoning a child? After that question, they seem less certain.

Our choices become barbaric when separated from self-sacrificing love.

“This is my body” – when spoken at Mass – must also be considered with greater care and contemplation.

In the United States, a few years ago, a straw poll of Catholics in the pews found 70% did not believe in the invisible and real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Would the numbers be any different in Ireland today?


Deep contemplation seems almost impossible in a world where the pace of life is so fast; there is often little time to consider anything more profound than the fast food menu as we speed into the drive-through.

How wonderful that right now, in the United States, many Catholics are engaged in a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, a slow procession with the Blessed Sacrament, journeying from four directions to Indianapolis, for the 10th Eucharistic Congress, on July 17-21.

Jesus has crossed the Mississippi River on this pilgrimage which has just passed the half-way point.

In the culture wars, this is the great march of life and love.

The other day, a Carmelite priest, Fr Stephen Quinn, OCD, from Derry’s Termonbacca Community, took some time out to celebrate a ‘teaching Mass’ at St Patrick’s Church, Downpatrick.

I would argue, we are ill-prepared to tackle the abortion crisis in our world”

Fr Quinn challenged everyone to really think about the words of Christ “This is my body” at the consecration.

“This is an act of love. If we were plugged into that,” said Fr Quinn, “we wouldn’t have a crisis in our Church.”

We are supposed, he said, to draw life from Mass.

Yet, we Catholics are ill-prepared to truly understand what we are being offered: a miraculous transformation through Jesus Christ, “the living bread come down from Heaven”.

And so in turn, I would argue, we are ill-prepared to tackle the abortion crisis in our world.


Fr Quinn recalled the Great Persecution in 303 when Mass was banned – and a group of Christians were caught outside Carthage in the act of Sunday worship. “The court records what happened,” said Fr Quinn. “The Governor of the area asked, ‘Why are you disobeying the order of the Emperor?’  And, they replied, ‘We can’t live without Sunday’.”

Abortion is the number one cause of death on this planet.

Is this surprising when even doctors deny the truth – the humanity of the child in the womb?

Many are easily seduced by the notion that an abortion pill is an easy solution to an unwanted pregnancy.  But it’s a lie. The abortion pill doesn’t solve a problem. It creates a problem because it destroys life and diminishes love.

We cannot live without Sunday because life and love are inextricably linked”

Perhaps it is easier to believe this lie than the truth, that the Eucharist, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ – is the real medicine, the antidote to our only real problems in life: sin and death.

We cannot live without Sunday because life and love are inextricably linked.

There’s a wonderful scene in the film How the West Was Won when a railwayman turns to the cowboy and remarks on a crying child.

“That’s not a crying child,” said the cowboy. “That’s new life.”