KRAKOW, Poland — The village of Pasierbiec is in the south of Poland, about 30 miles from the old royal capital of Kracow. Its church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, is full of votum gifts testifying to favors received through the intercession of the basilica’s namesake. (The church itself reminds me of a comment Pope John Paul II’s secretary, now-Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, once made when we were looking at a photo album of new churches in Nowa Huta, the mill-town built by Polish communists outside Krakow: “Troppo [Too much] Corbusier...”)
It's hard to say something consoling in the face of death, even when the person who died lived a full life and died in the best of circumstances. It's especially hard when the one who's died is a young person, still in need of nurturing and care in this life, and when that young person dies in less-than-ideal circumstances.
It's hard not to fake humility; yet, seemingly, we need to do just that. For instance, some of the sayings of Jesus on humility seem to raise more questions than they answer.
When Pope Francis spoke to 3 million listeners at July’s World Youth Day, he spoke to us all: “The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away.”
Someone once told me that “the Catholic Church is the Church of the living”; a profound statement which made me think, “What is ‘not living’ about a baby in the womb?” I realized that if we possess foundational dignity for unborn human life, we might then be passionate about all human life. Human life deserves dignity from conception, which then flows naturally to all human life, regardless of its frailties and faults.