Bishop Hying

Life as a gift from God, is an exciting participation in the very being of the Divine Trinity

 As published in the Northwest Indiana Catholic on January 20, 2019


     This coming week, hundreds of thousands of people, most of them young, will travel to Washington DC, brave the winter weather and give witness to the sanctity of the human person in the National March for Life. 

      A prayerful and sad commemoration of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, the annual march is consistently the largest gathering in our nation’s capital, but you will hear almost nothing about it in the newspapers or the nightly news. Every year, many families and young people from our diocese participate; my gratitude and prayers go to all of them.

      Recently, various news articles have detailed a demographic concern that has been years in the making - our plummeting birth rate here in the United States. The number of babies being born is not replacing the number of people dying. This statistic has significant implications for the economy, the work force, education, marriage and family, care for the elderly, Social Security and the Church. The rapid aging of our population is being partially off-set by immigration, but is still a consistent trend.

      One can easily see the intrinsic connection between the contraceptive/abortion mentality which controls our culture and this disturbing decline in our population. The fact that millions and millions of children were aborted in the last 46 years has everything to do with the population crisis that we are currently facing. 

      Obviously, raising children is much more expensive than it was 50 years ago; the violence and poverty of our culture may influence some to not bring new life into the world. Many may feel it is impossible to raise children without the support of a stable marriage, a strong family and reliable employment.

      In the tension of these factors of influence, we as Catholics need to boldly lift up the primacy of marriage, family and children as the bedrock of our society and the Church. How do we both form and inspire our young people to not fear marriage and child-raising, but to embrace this precious vocation as a gift from God? How do we build a culture of life in which every human being is welcomed, respected and loved? 

      How do we heal the hyper-individualism which wounds our solidarity and love for each other? How do we support couples and families to live their vocation generously and efficaciously?

      The widespread usage of artificial contraception, beginning in the 1960’s, severed the essential link between sexual intercourse and fertility. Individuals have always been having sex outside of marriage, but the contraceptive mentality promised sex without consequences on a cultural level never seen before. The epidemic rise in children born outside of wedlock, divorce, promiscuity, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion are the painful fruits of a sexual revolution which denied the intrinsic meaning of human sexuality as a divine gift, meant for the grace of marital unity and the wonder of beautiful children.

       Prophetically, Pope Paul VI foresaw all of these consequences back in 1968 when he offered the wisdom of his encyclical letter, “Humanae Vitae,” to the Church and the world at a very critical moment of cultural and moral decision. I would encourage everyone to read this document to find a deeper understanding of Christian marriage, the meaning of sexuality, the false promise of artificial contraception and the fruitfulness of natural family planning.

      Despite these problems and challenges, I find reasons to hope in the present moment. More and more young people are pro-life across the board, beginning with the realization that abortion is a fundamental violation of human rights. Fewer people are getting married in the Church or getting married at all, for that matter, but those that do appear to grasp with greater depth and commitment the spiritual and theological meaning of a sacramental marriage and are firmly determined to make it work.

      I have recently given talks on the many beautiful facets of Catholic marriage to engaged couples.  Without exception, they were open, interested and engaged. They asked important questions, which led to deep and transformative discussion. Every person told me that they had never really learned or absorbed these teachings before. 

      This experience leads me to conclude that we simply need to teach, preach and speak about the beautiful vision of the Church regarding human life, marriage, sexuality, children and family. No other Church has such a rich, deep, nuanced and articulate theology and spirituality regarding these fundamental human mysteries which form who we are and lead us to God.

      I want to thank every mother who chooses life for her child, and offer hope and healing to those who have aborted a child. I am grateful for the effective efforts of the pro-life movement and our Women’s Care Centers that give practical help to those who are in a crisis pregnancy. 

      We need to pray for all the married couples, families, single parents and children of the diocese who seek to live out the Gospel of Life in the particulars of their home environment. I thank our diocesan leaders, priests, deacons and lay people who prepare engaged couples, offer support to struggling marriages and families and teach the truth of our humanity in a culture which, in many aspects, is confused and misled. 

      Life is a gift from God, an exciting participation in the very being of the Trinity!  Praise the Lord for creating every single person.  We are the handiwork of the Lord!


       + Donald J. Hying


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