First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO?
‘Everybody Counts, or Nobody Counts’
Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

He’s hardly a noted theologian, philosopher, or scholar, but Harry Bosch, the LA detective in Michael Connolly’s award-winning books, sure has it right when he posits the guiding principle of his life, “Everybody counts, or nobody counts.”

So Detective Bosch will spend as much sweat and grit solving the murder of a homeless, unnamed street person, as he does in tracking down the murderer of a California millionaire.

I nominate Harry Bosch as the spokesperson for pro-life!

Because “everybody counts,”—both the life of the mother facing a difficult pregnancy, and the tiny, fragile baby in her womb; the Israeli and the Palestinian; Grandma in hospice, and her healthy, strapping, athletic grandson; and both the double-amputee veteran, and the Olympic runner—or “nobody counts.”

I had the honor of hosting an interfaith prayer breakfast at my house on Rev. Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Almost seventy-five Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs came. We heard that, in God’s eyes, and in the wisdom of any enduring culture, every life is sacred, “that of the twenty-two year old rookie cop on the beat in a dangerous neighborhood, and that of the suspect he might arrest on his watch.”

This basic principle of justice, fairness, logic and civility— “Everybody counts, or nobody counts”—is dramatically violated in the abortion license, rampant and expanding since the sad event which occurred forty-two years ago: the Roe vs. Wade decision of the Supreme Court.

Simply put, now, in the Republic founded on the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the life of the baby in the womb does not count! One wonders why we are startled at the coarseness, violence and selfishness of society today.

Ronald Reagan said it well: “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of every human life.”

The Dred Scott Decision declared a category of people—the black slave—unworthy of legal protection, reducing the human person to the property of his/her master, and we know what happened.

And on January 22nd, 1973, the Supreme Court declared that the life of the baby in the womb did not count, and was but the property of the mother.

We have our work cut out for us. Yes, there is a lot of good news: the “abortion question” will not go away, and remains one of the most volatile issues in the American conversation; candidates identifiably “pro-life” won big last November; the huge numbers of folks who find abortion abhorrent grows, and gets younger, as will be evident among the quarter-million participants in today’s March for Life in D.C. (don’t look for much coverage from the newspapers); and everybody (even the pro-abortionists) today admits that the “thing” in the mother’s womb is a living human being from its first days.

Yet, there’s somber news, too: the pro-abortionists are dominant in Hollywood, the media, and on university campuses; they are well oiled and well organized.

What’s more worrisome, the whole tenor has changed. Back in 1973, even the most avid pro-abortionists thought the lethal and dangerous procedure would be rare, and, if done, would only be in the earliest months of a pregnancy. Now abortion is legal well into pregnancy, government is expected to pay for it, and to refuse to do so on the grounds of conscience is questioned. We went from “pro-choice” to “pro-abortion.” Now, abortion is almost considered a virtue, a good, a duty. Any limit on it is looked upon as evil, oppressive, and unenlightened. Any civil discussion about alternatives is politically incorrect. It’s no longer “safe, legal, rare” but “dangerous, legal, and frequent.”

I doubt if Pope Francis has heard of Harry Bosch, but he certainly believes that “everybody counts, or nobody counts.” He speaks movingly of the terrors of the “throwaway culture,” where the lives of the poor, the immigrant, the unborn baby, the war-torn, the religious minorities, the elderly and handicapped, and the terminally ill, are considered disposable, and challenges us in the “culture of life” to “let our actions speak louder than our words,” as we rise to defend the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person, for everybody—’cause they all count!

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