More than 67 years ago God miraculously planted the seed of human life in my mother’s womb. At that very moment of conception my life began.
At that very moment of conception I became an embryonic stem-cell in my mother’s womb. At that very moment of conception I acquired all the possible and all the imaginable fundamental human rights.
It was in my mother’s womb that the gift of human life bloomed. It was in the quiet of her womb that my survival was ensured. It was in the safety of her womb that my future was guaranteed.
It was in my mother’s womb that I developed. It was there I grew to have all the potentialities of a fully functioning human being. All the while the mystery of God’s infinite love was cherished by my parents.
During these nine months the wonder and sacredness of the sexual love of my parents was contemplated. They were the instruments and co-creators of my life. They cooperated with the infinitely loving touch of God and I was given life.
“The human person begins in the mother’s womb and remains a human person until his or her last breath. The human person must always be respected as a human person.”
(Pope Benedict XVI, August 5, 2006)
Ever since I was born, I grew up to believe that God is the creator of all human life. The infinitely loving touch of God’s outstretched hand is what gives us life. God’s touch is the giver and sustainer of my life.
Without God’s touch I could not have life. Without God’s touch I could not have survival powers. Without God nothing would exist. Everything and every life come from God. And only God can take life away.
Traditionally in Ireland and in the U.S.A. marriage and the family have been the structures that have provided environments for the protection of human life. And even today marriage and the family remain the most highly prized human relationships.
Marriage and Family contribute to the well being of men, women and children. These structures contribute to the well being of God’s great gift of human life. These structures support human life. They protect the right not to be killed.
Yet, the high rate of divorce has diminished confidence in the structures of marriage and the family. This high rate of divorce has resulted in trepidation in young people. They often consider marriage a financial risk. This is largely because they think that their marriage might fail.
Young people today often put off marriage. There are fewer marriages. There are fewer environments to protect the sacredness of human life. There are fewer structures that protect human life.
Young people often engage in multiple low-stakes relationships. They cohabit to test fidelity. They get involved in casual sexual relationships. Unwed motherhood becomes an acceptable choice. There is no commitment beyond the encounter itself. There are few ethical obligations beyond the mutual consent.
So the present day culture is not all that supportive of human life. We are saturated with narcissism and self interest. We search for instant gratification. Reverence for life from the moment of conception till death through natural causes is definitely on the wane.
We advocate embryonic stem-cell research in the name of science. But we all know that it is immoral. It is wrong to destroy human life. It does not matter how immature that life is. We cannot blind ourselves to this irreducible fact.
More than 67 years ago I was a tiny embryonic stem-cell in my mother’s womb. In another culture and at another time I could have been exploited. They would say they were advancing science.
In another culture and at another time my life could have been intentionally ended. I could have been seen as biological waste. That is immoral. That is wrong. God gives human life. We are called to protect that life. Only God can end that life.
Msgr. Thomas J. Morgan is pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Cherry Hill.
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