Archpastoral Statement on the Annual March for Life 2003
Prot. N. 153
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Monastics, and Pious Faithful of our God-fearing Parishes:
Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Christos Razdajetsja! Slavite Jeho!
Dear Fathers and Faithful:
This January 22nd marks the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. That means that by this January, over 40 million babies have been killed, legally in this nation. And you should know that this number is probably wrong, as it likely errs very much on the low side.
What do we do with such a crushing number as 40 million? It is tempting to be so overwhelmed by its enormity that we simply dismiss it as a statistic instead of accepting it as a reality. This is indeed what happened in the time of Hitler and Stalin: the world stood by, listless and impotent, while these dark lords disposed of millions of Jews and Gypsies and unwanted peoples (including many of our own}.
Much the same is happening today. I fear that we have become jaded to the inevitability and widespread occurrence of abortion in these last 30 years. Today, we have politicians who support the demonic practice of partial birth abortion, even though such a procedure would have been unthinkable even to the abortionists and radical feminists of the 1970's. Today, we have well-intentioned Christians who do not oppose abortion because they do not want to appear "judgemental" or "fundamentalist" to their friends. Today, we have well-educated theologians and ethicists who suggest that the Church and her hierarchs should not be present in the March for Life, or in any organized struggle against the abortion establishment.
But there is One Who is not so jaded. The Lord God, in His infinite awareness and compassion toward all His Creation, has counted this number of 40 million one by one. He has been very much aware of the creation of each person, at the moment of conception, when soul and body were created together. And be very sure that He has been painfully aware of each moment when His beautiful creation of a new person was destroyed. He felt, intimately, along with the child in the womb, the insertion of the metal instruments, or the corrosive flood of toxins, and the invasion of the abortionist into the sanctuary of the womb. He felt the painful death of every single one of these 40 million abortions.
Are you surprised at this? Have you not read in the Gospels how much each person is considered by God? Our Lord said that "...even the hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30). That amazing statement is a small measure of how much God holds each of His creatures in constant awareness.
God does not believe in statistics. He does not count by hundreds or thousands or millions. Be very sure that He counts one by one by one.
So it should not surprise us that God uses a different yardstick in how He judges the world. He is not impressed with gross national product figures or grand monuments or great armies. His interest is a lot simpler. He looks to see how the little ones fare, how the weak ones are treated, how the poor and the unlucky and the crazy and the ugly-faced and the shabbily- dressed ones are dealt with.
And He is especially interested in what is done with the weakest of the weak, and the smallest of the small. Who could be more powerless than such a fetus who is suspected to have Down's Syndrome, or mental retardation, or any birth defect? And nowadays, with the advent of "genetic counseling," who could be more voiceless, more "disposable," than a fetus who is the wrong gender, or who is not intelligent enough, or who is carrying a dominant gene of a disease?
Jesus Christ is the Lord Protector of all who are weak and small, who have no voice or power in this world. He is the Avenger of all who have been "disposed of," ever since the world disposed of Him on the Cross.
In this day, we are pulled by the voices of two masters. One is the voice of mammon, which says that abortion is only a choice and that while you might be against it, you have no right to impose your morality on others. The other voice is the voice of One Who said, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, so ye have done it also unto Me (Matthew 25:40). I propose to you that however we treat the unborn child is how we are treating our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
No man can serve two masters. We must choose one voice over the other. There are some ethical issues which require a great deal of consideration, to discern whether something is right or wrong. Thus, it is possible for there to be Orthodox opinions supporting the possible war in Iraq, or opposing it. There are Orthodox opinions which support capital punishment, too, and there are others that oppose it. But there can be no Orthodox position that advocates racial prejudice, for example. And there is certainly no possibility of Orthodox support for abortion (God forbid).
So we must not be afraid to think clearly and confidently about these matters, and to act forthrightly.
Accordingly, I call more of our Diocesan faithful to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. this January 22nd.
I also call more of our Diocesan faithful to provide support to crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life family efforts that seek to support both mother and child, born or unborn.
For those who have committed the sin of abortion -those persons who themselves have been abused by the abortion establishment -I call upon the Church and her clergy to offer compassionate reconciliation, and the healing therapy of prayer and sacramental life.
And finally, I call upon us all to pray for a day when the abortion establishment will have withered away -when children, born or unborn, will be cared for in the light and love of Christ Jesus and His Church -when families will be filled with Divine compassion, and will not be tossed to and fro so much by time and tide.
Until that day, I assure you I remain,
Most sincerely yours in Christ,
This Archpastoral Letter is to be read in all Diocesan Parishes prior to the announcements at the close of Divine Liturgy on Sunday, January 12, 2003