When Gloria Purvis addressed Human Life Guild participants at McVinney Auditorium as a special 150th anniversary speaker, she left many in tears. Forthright and delightfully compelling, Purvis’s defense of the sanctity of human life gained further credibility from her personal witness and unyielding faith in God. Purvis did not mince the Church’s teaching in order to satisfy any kind of ideological camp, whether “conservative” or “liberal.”
Refreshingly apolitical, Purvis simply told the truth. Purvis reminded her hearers that American licentiousness, and the consequent sexual perversion it entails, leaves individuals unfulfilled, vapid, and broken. Contraception and abortion do more harm than the culture admits. Defending life requires not only a condemnation of intrinsic moral evils, but also an integral support for the needs of men and women before and after childbirth.
As an African American woman who has personally experienced the ugliness of racism, Purvis also bluntly reminded her hearers that we cannot pick and choose which pro-life teachings to promote. What happened to George Floyd, Purvis argued, should haunt every Catholic and every pro-life person. The inviolable dignity of every human person admits of no exceptions — even when a person’s immoral actions require fraternal correction and punishment.
The pro-life community stands unabashedly strong in its defense of innocent human life in the womb. This is the preeminent issue of our time. Purvis contributes to this strength. But the same pro-life community must do more to combat other evils affecting the dignity of human persons, such as racism. In so doing, Catholics will demonstrate that they adhere neither to ideology nor to partisanship, but to the truth alone.
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