Life is a gift from God. Each human person is created by God out of love and in his own image, endowed with an immortal soul. Because of this, each person has an inherent dignity, and each life is sacred.
We recognize these truths in principle, and yet so much of our culture does not. Abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia devalue lives that are deemed inconvenient, unwanted or burdensome.
“This culture of death requires and demands of us a spiritual response,” said Sister Maris Stella of the Sisters of Life. “It requires and needs men who will stand up for life, men who will stand up for the weak, the poor, the vulnerable, the elderly, the handicapped — and that begins within their own families.”
Protecting those who are vulnerable is one of man’s most basic responsibilities — which is why it is tragic when a man fails to step up and defend the most vulnerable humans of all —unborn children — especially when it is his own child’s life at stake.
Sister Maris Stella, who is a former officer in the U.S. Navy, recalled being in a group praying outside an abortion clinic when a middle-aged man drove up and rolled down his window. He thanked her for being there as a witness and recalled how, 27 years earlier, he had driven his girlfriend to a clinic for an abortion but was dissuaded when he saw men and women praying at the entrance. That day was his daughter’s 27th birthday, and he was grateful that he had chosen life.
“If [the man] were to just say, ‘Listen, I’ll be with you. We can do this. I’ll help you. I will be with this child regardless of what happens to us,’ I can tell you that probably about 9 out of 10 women would give birth to that child if they perceive that kind of support from the man,” said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, superior general of the Sisters of Life.
Sister Maris Stella and Mother Agnes were among experts interviewed for the “Life” episode of the Knights of Columbus’ Into the Breach video series. The series and its accompanying study guide are inspired by the 2015 apostolic exhortation of the same name by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, which calls upon Catholic men to live out their faith and vocation more fully so as to help revitalize families, communities and the Church.
As a young man, John Morales learned that his girlfriend was pregnant. Although he “knew deep down in my heart” it was wrong, he wrote the check for an abortion — and he mourns that decision to this day.
“I realize that I will never see that child until I get to the other side of the veil,” said Morales, a host and managing editor at Relevant Radio. “It left a hole in my heart. … I went through bouts of depression. It was a decision that I’ll regret for the rest of my life.”
Men, Morales said, “need to step up to the plate, and we need to do our part” in the pro-life battle against abortion.
Sister Maris Stella added that men’s presence and voice is greatly needed to encourage women to choose life, even on the frontlines as sidewalk counselors.
“The desire of a woman’s heart is to choose life. It’s simply imprinted the way that God created us,” she said. “And men have a huge role in this. We [women] can tell a woman all day long that we think she’d be a great mother. Then we’ll bring in one of our men volunteers, and he’ll tell her the same thing — and it changes everything.”
Thomas Wurtz, director of Varsity Catholic, encourages men to be present in large numbers at the annual March for Life and other pro-life rallies to show that “we as men are stepping out, and we’re willing to stand in front, to fight for those who need to be fought for.”
Dave DeNuzzo Sr., founder of the men’s ministry TrueManhood, agreed.
“We cannot sit back and watch these atrocities happen. We have to stand in the gap,” DeNuzzo said. “And certainly the unborn child, the most defenseless, needs us.”
To view episodes of the Into the Breach video series and to access the study guide and other resources for promoting the series in your parish, visit kofc.org/intothebreach.