But nothing could be further from the truth: The message of the Gospel is about saying “yes” to life. It’s that affirmation that Pope Francis is pointing to. Every mother who says “yes” when she discovers she’s pregnant — particularly under trying or unexpected circumstances — is a heroic model of what the Pope is trying to get across.
#ObssessAbouttheYes might be a Twitter hashtag or bumper-sticker summary Pope Francis’ summons to Catholics, Christians and everyone. It is the action item of the Christmas season. As Christians, as citizens, as people, we must help build a culture in which no one is left unloved or uncared for, in which life can be supported and allowed to thrive.
As Cardinal Raymond Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis, put it during his talk at the “Gospel of Life” events in Rome: “Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God who was made flesh, is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore, every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith.”
You can’t understand the “Person of the Year” without knowing this. Whether the Pope is raising concerns about our economic lives, biotechnology, sex trafficking, or anything else, this is not just the backstory, it’s the man’s oxygen. He’d like to get more people breathing it in. Embracing the treasure of a mother and child is reason for and the source of all love and joy. Thus the proclamation of the Gospel. For the pope, this isn’t about politics and ideology or popularity contests. It’s everything, and all are invited to experience it. He’s described the Church as a “field hospital” for wounded souls, and as Catholic churches hold extra Confession hours and Masses around this time of year, he invited you in, giving voice to a child in a manger who came for just that reason.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online, director of Catholic Voices USA and a consultant with the Magnificat Foundation. She can be contacted at email@example.com.