When Archbishop Aquila witnessed an abortion

We can’t expect to win hearts and minds with only facts and figures. We need to tell stories. Jesus Christ didn’t only dictate what we ought to do. He would tell parables or stories to win people over to the truth. (I wrote about this recently in a column for Catholic Pulse.)

Well, one bishop understands this point powerfully. Rather than simply stating the doctrine of the Church or explaining embryonic development, Denver’s Archbishop Samuel Aquila tells about his own experiences.

During his three years in college, Aquila worked as a hospital orderly. He freely admits that he didn’t practice his faith as much as he should have. Aquila even confesses his ignorance that several states had already legalized abortion.

But his story is undeniable.

The second abortion was more shocking. A young woman came into the emergency room screaming. She explained that she had had an abortion already. When the doctor sent her home, he told her she would pass the remains naturally. She was bleeding as the doctor, her boyfriend, the nurse and I placed her on a table.

I held a basin as the doctor retrieved a tiny arm, a tiny leg and then the rest of the broken body of a tiny unborn child. I was shocked. I was saddened for the mother and child, for the doctor and the nurse. None of us would have participated in such a thing were it not an emergency. I witnessed a tiny human being destroyed by violence.

The memory haunts me. I will never forget that I stood witness to acts of unspeakable brutality. In the abortions I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of small, powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen as objects. Women and families were convinced that ending a life would be painless, and forgettable. Experts made seemingly convincing arguments that the unborn were not people at all, that they could not feel pain, and were better off dead.

I witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to take a breath. I can never forget that. And I have never been the same.

Read the rest of what Archbishop Aquila has to say. His story and others like his are exactly what we Catholics need to share with the world. May God bless Archbishop Aquila for speaking so powerfully.

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