- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for October 24, 2020

Fr. Stephen Muller, OCSO

Dedication of our Church

1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30, 1 Pt 2:4-9, Lk 19:1-10

A few months ago I came across a picture — I think it was when I was thumbing through National Geographic. It showed human bones all piled up in tidy rows — mostly skulls. It was taken in Europe and might have been in the underground catacombs of Paris. They were stacked all the way to the ceiling and looked like walls. I am reminded of that scene when I look at our own walls here in this church. Our stones are all rounded like skulls because they were in a glacier. A heavy structure like our church will last for many years if it is resting on walls of stone, but if it is built on human skulls it is doomed to topple.

We are appalled when we hear of the extermination of human beings on a grand scale. We think of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. Or the 2 million murders under Pol Pot in Cambodia in the 1970s — nearly a quarter of its population at the time. Images of those victims and their bones send chills up our spines. Yet, how does that compare with the 60 million recorded abortions in the US since Roe v Wade? What would all those skulls look like if they were stacked in rows and made into walls? Pretty grisly, to be sure. And I think we would all be astounded by the length of those walls. A figure like 60 million can just wash over us until we visualize what 60 million human skulls would look like all lined up together.

And what was the crime of those 60 million human beings that caused them to be exterminated on such a large scale? They were inconvenient. They got in the way of prosperity and realizing the American Dream. With only two kids we could afford to send them to prestigious universities; we could have impressive cars and boats; we could go on expensive vacations. In a sense, our prosperous culture right now has been built on the walls of all those skulls. We sacrificed a whole sector of our society for the sake of selfish gain. I am reminded of the words of Psalm 106 that we chant at Vigils on Thursday:

They even offered their own sons
and their daughters in sacrifice to demons.
They shed the blood of the innocent,
the blood of their sons and daughters
Whom they offered to the idols of Canaan.
The land was polluted with blood.

Also, with the sexual revolution of the 1960s came a shift of mindset regarding sex. It became more recreational and casual, and moved away from the more common setting within a family which took for granted the raising of children. Pregnancy became an unfortunate byproduct of two people wanting to use each other to gratify themselves. We developed evermore effective ways of divorcing sex from the responsibility that goes with it of rearing children. Birth control didn’t always do the trick so we mopped up those that slipped by with abortions. We got really good at sanitizing our view of the 3,000 abortions happening every day and rationalizing them. We were very proficient at shielding from the general public the grisly reality of fetuses being ripped apart, limb by limb, in order to extract them — meanwhile, many of them being old enough to feel the pain and sense the terror. If we think of the womb as a kind of cave, it gives meaning to the Psalm verse we recite on Fridays, “Every cave in the land is a place where violence makes its home (74:20).

We look back now at the atrocities of slavery in our country and wonder what took us so long to abolish it. Will some future generation ask the same question about our times and abortion?

If a society gets to the point of legitimizing the killing of their own children, it is heading for ruin. If a child cannot be safe in its own mother’s womb, where can anyone be safe? We learn from history how the great civilizations of the Greeks and Romans eventually rotten from within and collapsed on themselves. Is it too late to save our great nation from following course?

I said earlier, 60 million RECORDED abortions. That does not count the millions more that have died from abortifacients. Human life begins at conception, not at implantation in the uterus. Our poor country has all that blood on our hands.

And yet there are many signs of hope for those who have fought against abortion for decades. I would like, instead, to highlight an op-ed article in The New York Times. In it, University of California law professor Joan C. Williams makes a rare concession of failure from the pro-abortion side. She says — that “the left has already lost the abortion fight reflects the fact that there’s no abortion clinic in 90 percent of American counties. This is the result of the highly successful death-by-a-thousand-cuts anti-abortion strategy, which has piled on restriction after restriction to make abortion inaccessible.” The pro-abortion side sees the tide changing and is truly worried that Roe v Wade might be struck down.

Today is a day of celebration for us: the anniversary of the dedication of our church building. We have all received many graces here. This wonderful structure was built in the 70s. It has outlived Pol Pot’s bloody Khmer Rouge regime, which was another product of the 70s. May our church also outlive the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in our country.