Table of Contents: Further Readings
Excerpted from "Mother Teresa Goes to Washington," Crisis, March 1994, a reprint of Mother Teresa's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 3, 1994; courtesy of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa is the founder and mother superior of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, which provides services to needy people around the world. The following viewpoint is excerpted from a speech she gave at a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1994. Mother Teresa argues that those who choose abortion are making a selfish choice. Abortion destroys one's ability to love, she contends, because people who choose abortion do so to avoid the hurt that unselfish love of their children would require. As you read, consider the following questions:
1.According to Mother Teresa, why is abortion a great destroyer of peace? 2.Why does abortion lead to violence, in the author's view? 3.In Mother Teresa's opinion, how can the problem of unwanted children be solved? I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them—maybe. I saw that in that home these old people had everything—good food, comfortable place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on his face. I turned to Sister and I asked: "Why do these people who have every comfort here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?" I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile. And Sister said: "This is the way it is nearly every day. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried. Are we there? Are we willing to give until it hurts in order to be with our families, or do we put our own interests first? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, especially as we begin this year of the family . We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that "the future of humanity passes through the family." Breaking the Peace
I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given to drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that, when those in the West have so many more things than those in the East? And the answer was: "Because there is no one in the family to receive them." Our children depend on us for everything—their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love God. For all of this, they look to us with trust, hope and expectation. But often father and mother are so busy they have no time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage. So the children go to the streets and get involved in drugs or other things. We are talking of love of the child, which is where love and peace must begin. These are the things that break peace. But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. Abortion Leads to Violence...