Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

On the side of the downtrodden



For all, those who are Pro-Life and the Pro-Choice camp, the abortion issue is painful and heartbreaking.

"Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand."—Simone Weil

What is the difference between those who are Pro-Life and those who are Pro-Choice? I believe those who are Pro-Life understand that life is sacred and not a commodity. They understand that the life in the womb is not something to be snuffed out for any reason short of saving a woman’s life if it is in danger. Even then, there can still be a chance of saving the child. It is about intent. Abortion is the direct killing of a life that is helpless with no one to defend its right to life. Those who are Pro-Life know that.

I believe that the Pro-Choice people are also acting for the rights of the mother, her right to terminate the life in the womb. It is what they focus on. What Pro-Choice people don’t understand is the horror of abortion for those who believe that a human life starts at conception and should be protected until natural death. For Pro-Choice people the life in the womb is only tissue, it is a way to not see more deeply into what is being done to those who cannot defend themselves. We seek the rights of animals (an important movement), but the rights of those in the womb are rejected and even scorned. However, there is never an excuse for violence or for intimidation from those who are Pro-Life. Change comes from the people, the bottom up, not from the top, the government down.

I doubt that abortion will go away anytime soon, for it is but a symptom of the deeper rot in our culture. I do believe that one day, the rights of the unborn; the most defenseless lives on this planet will be accepted. And our era will be looked backed upon with horror. Just as we look back on the time of slavery in this country.

Both sides understand the human situation and how painful it can be for everyone. Having a child is serious business, yet we live in a society where sex without responsibility, or sex as a sport, is celebrated, yet the outcome of such activities is often rejected. Of course, we do this with all of our passions. Greed, look what it has done and is doing to the world. The suffering it is causing. Gluttony in all of its forms is also a cause of deep suffering for many. Anger, war, while seen as a true horror and evil, yet we continue to kill and destroy each other.

Are we a species totally out of control?

We do all kinds of things to escape the suffering in our lives, but in the end, we make things worse. I guess it has always been so, yet today it seems to be expanding at an accelerated speed.

The crazy insane political climate in our country is just the tip of the iceberg for our society; it is merely the outcome of the deep dysfunction in how we as a people and individuals deal with our problems. I can say one thing, anger, violence; political infighting never accomplishes anything positive….well at least the way things are going at this time.

I do believe that Christians and all people of good will are called not to become bitter, hateful, or violent, at this time. We are to pray and to simply do what we can to make our society a better place in which to live. We get in trouble when we look for outcomes, yet the fruit of our present actions may take years or generations to take fruit. We are like all those who have gone before us, locked in a historical struggle against chaos, evil and despair. We are called to pray, show mercy and compassion on all. Knowing that many get caught up in situations that get out of their control… Knowing this can help us to become a place of sanity and rest on all levels of society.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery


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