Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 22, 2013

Recognizing the gift of life

(Continued)

Over the last few years, particularly in the run-up to President Obama’s re-election campaign, there has been a lot of rhetoric about a “war on women.” For working to defend religious freedom against coercive regulatory and increasingly legal threats, the bishops of the Catholic Church have been accused of being its chief exponents. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This past week, a new president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was elected: Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky. Kurtz is co-author of a chapbook, “Gift of Joy,” published by Our Sunday Visitor. It’s an invitation to enjoy every blessed moment of a child’s life. The book reminds us to bask in gratitude for every second of such a wonderful, vulnerable life.

Sacrifice can seem foreign in a self-obsessed society, but a life lived for another expresses the true meaning of love. Instead of pretending that abortion is a solution to difficulties, we have a responsibility to support life, so that unexpected parenthood can be a source of “joy and expectancy,” as “Gift of Joy” puts it.

“The presence of new life in the womb of the mother brings unique joy and hope to the center of our families, our Church, and our world,” Archbishop Kurtz and his co-author write. “It is never too early to give thanks for the gift of new life and to ask the Lord for His blessing.”

This assertion is a contrast to the rhetoric of choice, the veil of women’s freedom and empowerment that our politics and cultural expectations often place over the issue. Even in adversity, a child may bring with it a hope that the world would be impoverished without.

The book is a reflection on gifts, which is quite timely during this holiday season: “A true gift is something — or even someone — we would never have expected ... A true gift is beyond our power and cannot be confined ... The happiness from a gift reaches our heart and shapes our spirit.”

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