One consequence of abortion seldom, if ever, associated in our mind with its

poisoned fruits is the current vocation crisis experienced for many years

now throughout the whole of the Western Christian nations. The crisis is

such that it threatens the very existence of thousands of parishes and

numerous dioceses. One wonders why this association is virtually never

referred to and emphasized by the various Bishops Conferences or singled out

in homilies on vocations. Yet no connection could be more direct or explicit.

Several State Councils, conscious of the alarming decrease of candidates to

the priesthood and religious life, have attempted to poll their State

membership to find where they believe the real problems lie. No one I`m

aware of has even mentioned

abortion as a factor in the vocation free fall.

Every year, at the beginning of January, the Church commemorates the

Slaughter of the Holy Innocents, an event that has cast King Herod as the

archetypal villain of all time. The intent - the destruction of Jesus -

rather than the very low number of babies killed, is what gives such

importance to an act of extermination that, nevertheless, truly pales before

the wanton killing of genocidal proportion that is still taking place in

war-torn Africa. Few church bulletins, on this momentous first Sunday of

January, failed to connect this biblical milestone with child poverty in our

midst and to fight for political changes that will provide better economic

conditions for children. A very commendable attitude and one which should

awaken us to this grave problem in our midst. But how many of these

bulletins referred to the yearly worldwide extermination of 60 million

unborn babies? How many directed their indignation at our modern day Herods

in the United Nations, who are trying by every means possible to impose a

still higher level of abortion on the world? How many did raise any

indignation concerning our Canadian Prime Minister`s and U.S. President`s

determination to prevent the introduction of legislation that would

recognize the God-given right to life of the 100,000 Canadians and 1.5

million Americans who every year are being vacuumed, dismembered and

poisoned in their mothers` womb? The appalling answer to this question is

very few indeed!

During the period 1966-1997, there have been an estimated 38 million legal

surgical abortions in the U.S. and 2 million in Canada. The sad reality

that Catholics abort their children at the same rate others do means that 8.6

million Catholic babies

have been aborted in the U.S. since 1966, and about 700,000 in Canada.

It has been estimated by one of Catholicism`s staunchest defenders of the

Faith, Human Life International`s Brian Clowes, that among those aborted in

the U.S. would have been 1 cardinal, 57 bishops and archbishops, 6,760

priests, 12,320 sisters, 1,660 permanent deacons, and 850 religious

brothers. Broadly translated to the Canadian scene, it could be rightly

assumed that among our 700,000 aborted Catholic babies would have been 4

bishops and archbishops, 604 priests, 1087 sisters, 147 permanent deacons

and 70 religious brothers. The inevitable corollary is that every week 15

to 20 future priests, sisters and brothers in the U.S. - 1 in Canada - are

thrown into garbage cans behind abortuaries within our two countries.

The growing annual body count of some 60 million innocent babies shows us

how far we have progressed as cruel, self-centered tyrants since the

barbaric times of King Herod and god-like Roman emperors.

Ponder, Brother Knights, the appalling present reality of abortion. "There

have been more unborn Catholics killed by abortion across the world in the

last 30 years than the number of martyrs in all previous centuries combined"

(B.Clowes). More significantly, the perpetrators of this unbelievable

slaughter of tiny, helpless human beings are not despised, despotic

modern-day Herods. Quite the opposite, they are their own 20th century

Catholic parents!

As foreboding as the future may appear for religious vocations and the

sacramental state of the Church, can we still continue to draw total comfort

from Christ`s pledge to safeguard the Faith until the end of times? Father

John Hardon, S.J., provides a

disquieting answer to this question. He tells us that, although it cannot

be destroyed, the Church can be wiped out in any particular country. As

evidence of this real threat, he points out that there are some 1,900

extinct dioceses in the world today, and, barring "a miracle of grace," he

foresees that one diocese after another in Canada and the U.S. will disappear.

What can possibly be keeping God from wreaking His vengeance - as He did

with Mose`s people - on contemporary humanity which has also raised an

idolatrous altar, this one not dedicated to a calf, but to the bloody

sacrifice of its own children? There can

be only one answer. God`s infinite mercy, the intercession of the Blessed

Mother and the faithful prayers of Christian families who speak out in

defense of the unborn.

Thaddée Renault

Pro-life Program