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February 8, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: We thought you might be interested in the following column that appeared in a local parish bulletin.
“In the Name of God. . . .”
Jamie Schmidt, a 53-year-old mother of three, entered a Catholic bookstore in St. Louis last November to purchase supplies to make rosary beads. There were two other women in the store when a man with a gun came in and ordered the women to the back of the store. He threatened to kill them if they did not perform sexual acts.
Two of the women, fearful for their lives, complied, but Jamie Schmidt refused, saying, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.” The gunman shot and killed her. She was willing to give up her life rather than have her purity compromised, and she joins the glorious ranks of those martyrs who have shed blood for their belief in Christ.
Would you have had the courage to do this? And do you have the courage to say no to all kinds of temptations facing us today? For example, are you willing to say:
In the name of God, I will not seek an abortion.
In the name of God, I will not cheat on my spouse.
In the name of God, I will not have sex outside of marriage.
In the name of God, I will not watch pornography.
In the name of God, I will not live as if God did not exist.
In the name of God, I will not use Jesus’ name as a swear.
In the name of God, I will not skip Mass on Sunday.
In the name of God, I will not spread lies about anyone.
In the name of God, I will not harbor hateful thoughts.
In the name of God, I will live every day of my life as if it were my last day on earth, and I will try my best to love God above all other things and to love my neighbor as myself.

Q. I know that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized by John, so why did He submit to the baptism in the River Jordan? — R.C., via e-mail.
A. You are correct that the sinless Son of God did not need to be baptized, so why did He submit to John’s Baptism, over the objections of the Baptist himself, who said that Jesus should be baptizing him?
The Lord underwent Baptism to show that He was accepting and beginning His mission of salvation as God’s suffering servant. He was allowing Himself to be numbered among sinners and to be seen as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He was anticipating a Baptism of blood on the Cross, in perfect submission to the Father’s will, and consenting to die for the remission of our sins.
A further explanation was offered by St. Maximus of Turin (380-467), a bishop and Bible scholar noted for his writings and homilies on the Scriptures. He said:
“Christ is baptized, not to be made holy by the water, but to make the water holy, and by His cleansing purify the waters which He touched. For the consecration of Christ involves a more significant consecration of the water. For when the Savior is washed, all water for our Baptism is made clean, purified at its source for the dispensing of baptismal grace to the people of future ages. Christ is the first to be baptized, then, so that Christians will follow after Him with confidence.
“I understand the mystery of this. The column of fire went before the sons of Israel through the Red Sea so they could follow on their brave journey; the column went first through the waters to prepare a path for those who followed. As the Apostle Paul said, what was accomplished then was the mystery of Baptism. Clearly it was Baptism in a certain sense when the cloud was covering the people and bringing them through the water.
“But Christ the Lord does all these things. In the column of fire, He went through the sea before the sons of Israel; so now, in the column of His body, He goes through Baptism before the Christian people. At the time of the Exodus, the column provided light for the people who followed; now it gives light to the hearts of believers. Then it made a firm pathway through the waters; now it strengthens the footsteps of faith in the bath of Baptism.”

Q. When discussing abortion with someone, I can refute most of the arguments to justify it, but what about in cases of rape and incest? How would you respond to that? — P.K., via e-mail.
A. It would seem at first glance that abortion ought to be allowed when a woman becomes pregnant after being raped, either by a stranger or by someone known to her or even related to her, since rape is a vicious and violent act and, according to conventional wisdom, no woman should have to carry the child of a rapist. While rape victims seeking abortion account for less than one percent of the nearly one million abortions every year in this country, nevertheless one victim of rape is one too many.
But what about the other person involved in the rape — the child conceived by the woman? There are many abortion supporters who consider the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment and would oppose it even for rapists. So how can they support the death penalty for the innocent child? He or she is not guilty of any crime, so why should the child be punished for the sin of the father? Killing the baby won’t make the rape go away, but it will add another trauma to the woman’s life — the knowledge that she acquiesced in the death of her baby.
Former abortionist turned pro-lifer Dr. Bernard Nathanson put it this way:
“Rape is a heinous, ineradicably humiliating act of violence imposed upon a defenseless woman. The key word is ‘ineradicably,’ for the destruction of the innocent human being created as a result of that act can never eradicate the unspeakable emotional and psychological residue of that rape. To the contrary, it can only compound the residue with another deadly act of violence.”
Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney from Michigan, fully understands the controversy over this issue since she was conceived when her mother was raped. But she is opposed to abortion in such cases because she cares for both the child and the mother. She says that “rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion, with a higher rate of suicide, murder, drug overdose, etc. As someone who really cares about rape victims, I want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is.”
Kiessling says that “only 15 to 25 percent of rape victims choose abortion. . . . The majority of rape victims choose to raise her child — not ‘the rapist’s baby’ — HER child.” She says, “I believe that God rewarded my birth mother for the suffering she endured, and that I am a gift to her. The serial rapist is not my creator, God is.”
In a similar vein, Julie Makimaa, who strongly opposes the view that abortion is the only solution to pregnancy resulting from rape, has asserted: “It doesn’t matter how I began. What matters is who I will become.”
Former rape counselor Sandra Mahkorn, MD, says that “the central issue then should not be whether we can abort all pregnant sexual assault victims, but rather an exploration of the things we can change in ourselves, and through community education, to support such women through their pregnancies. The ‘abortion is the best solution’ approach can only serve to encourage the belief that sexual assault is something for which the victim must bear shame — a sin to be carefully concealed.”
The same arguments apply to pregnancy resulting from incest. Pushing abortion on a girl who was impregnated by a relative gets rid of the evidence of the crime committed, sends her back to that same immoral environment, and puts her in jeopardy of being raped again.
For some convincing testimonies against abortion from victims of rape, see the book Victims and Victors, which is edited by David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie.

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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