Archpastoral Statement on the Annual March for Life 2002
Prot. N. 144
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Monastics, Clergy and Pious Faithful of this God-Saved Diocese:
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Christ is born indeed, but many, many children are not. Since the disastrous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973, literally millions of children are simply not born.
Tuesday, January 22nd, will be the 29th anniversary of that tragic ruling. And as is our sad custom, I invite you to walk with me in Washington, D.C. on that day. There we will join thousands and thousands of other concerned participants in the National Right to Life March.
I am happy to say that at this March, Orthodox Christians demonstrate a strong and undeniable presence. Our many, many participants testify mightily to the unbroken veneration of human life in the Orthodox Church-a veneration that is not measured in decades or centuries, but millennia.
There are some who might say that such a witness, nowadays, is not so crucial. They point to a number of truly encouraging signs that indicate a small decline in the frequency of abortion. Indeed, we are thankful for this trend, however slight it might be.
Nevertheless, in pointing to the slight decline in abortions, they neglect the terrible, looming threat of other, less obvious forms of abortion-forms such as euthanasia, human stem cell research and human cloning. Years ago, when we protested against abortion, and we warned repeatedly that abortion would bring with it monstrosities like genetic manipulation, human cloning and euthanasia, the national public dismissed such possibilities as fantastic exaggeration.
But take a good look around you. Euthanasia is no future nightmare: it is very much in the present. The State of Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide in 1994. Human stem-cell research has been going on for several years. And against all our expectations to the contrary, human cloning has begun in earnest: on October 10th, at 3:15 am, cells from a 40-year man were transferred into another embryo, in a bio-technology laboratory in Massachusetts. And this transfer, unfortunately, was successful.
Why do I call this another form of abortion? Because like the killing of pre-born infants, the destruction of human embryos is the destruction of not just a body, but a soul. There was a life that should have been lived out-but instead, that life was obliterated by a scalpel-not in the womb, but on a microscope slide.
So instead of declining, abortion is increasing. Human life is seen more and more as a commodity, something to be manipulated and enhanced, marketed and packaged.
At the beginning of our bor'ba against the abortion industry, we often remembered the lament of St. Matthew regarding the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem: A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more (Matthew 2.18, quoting Jeremiah 13.15 LXX).
Beloved, be very sure that Rachel continues to weep. She weeps for the holy innocents slain in their mothers' wombs. But now she also weeps for the elderly and infirm, who are told in their weakness that they should choose suicide over the divine gift of life. She weeps for each human life that perishes with every destroyed embryo.
So walk with me, beloved, in Washington DC this year. Contact your local pro-life organizations for information about the January 22nd Right to Life March (or contact the National Right to Life Committee at 202-626-8800, or NRLC@nrlc.org).
Walk with me in the strong and fervent hope that this nation might respect human life again. Walk with me in the strong witness of the ageless Church. Walk with me, so that one day, Rachel need weep no more.
With prayerful regards and blessing, I remain
Most sincerely yours in Christ,