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Insights on the Gospel of Life

Pope Francis, Spencer Perkins, the Didache

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Untitled drawing by Käthe Kollwitz of a mother holding a child

A World Where Abortion Is Unthinkable

Douglass, the mother of four, shares the response of female prison inmates to a presentation on abortion. Spurred by their example, she tries to imagine a world in which abortion would be unthinkable – not due to oppression, but because of love.

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  • Tim Hadley

    How does Pope Francis justify his commitment to life when he embraces Marxism and other secular philosophies that are totally opposed to protecting life? His stance is at best hypocritical, and at worst destructive to those who trust him to bring them relief from oppression. How can he reconcile his obvious wrong-doing here? He makes himself look like a naive fool.

The Early Christian Witness

There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between these two ways.

Now this is the way of life: First, you shall love God, who made you. Second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself; but whatever you do not wish to happen to you, do not do to another. The teaching of these words is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what credit is it if you love those who love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But you must love those who hate you, and you will not have an enemy.…

The second commandment of the teaching is: You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not corrupt children; you shall not be sexually immoral; you shall not steal; you shall not practice magic; you shall not engage in sorcery; you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.…You shall not hatch evil plots against your neighbor. You shall not hate anyone; instead you shall reprove some, and pray for some, and some you shall love more than your own life.

From the Didache (ca. AD 60–110) 1.1–4, 2.1–7, trans. Michael W. Holmes in Apostolic Fathers (Baker Academic, 2007).

Spencer Perkins: Loving All Children – Both Unborn and Born 

Abortion – and the pro-life movement – present black evangelicals with a dilemma. It is not that we question the evil of abortion; Jesus clearly would have condemned it. But for me, a black man, to join your demonstrations against abortion, I would need to know that you understand God’s concern for justice everywhere.…

It is not a simple, glib response, then, when I must counsel an unwed black teenager against an abortion, even though I believe with all my heart that abortion is morally wrong. I feel that if the love of Christ compels me to save the lives of children, that same love should compel me to take more responsibility for them once they are born. 

Quoted in Clark and Rakestraw, Readings in Christian Ethics, vol. 2, 268, 70.

Contributed By spencer perkins Spencer Perkins

Spencer Perkins, who helped his parents John and Vera Mae Perkins found Voice of Calvary Ministries, ran the magazine Urban Family and led Antioch Community, an integrated Christian community, until his death in 1998 at age forty-three.

Pope Francis: An Unreserved Yes to Life

The “culture of waste” that today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many comes at a very high cost: it asks for the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a decisive and unreserved yes to life.… Things have a price and can be sold, but people have a dignity; they are worth more than things and are above price.…

In a frail human being, each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and solitude to which we so often condemn the poorest of the poor, whether in developing countries or in wealthy societies. Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection.… And every elderly person, even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the “culture of waste” suggests! They cannot be thrown away!

Address to the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Rome, September 20, 2013.


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Contributed By Pope Francis Pope Francis

Pope Francis is the leader of the world’s Catholics.

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