National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

The Gospel Of Life

BY Jim Cosgrove

March 26-April 01, 2000 Issue | Posted 3/26/00 at 2:00 AM


To explain the compassion of Jesus for women who experience the hardship of an unwanted pregnancy (See Prolife Profile), Pope John Paul II evoked the Gospel passage about the woman caught in adultery in his 1988 apostolic letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women. Jesus reveals to those who would stone the woman how they are just as guilty as she. Like the woman of the Gospel, unwed mothers experience a particular pain because their sins are known to all.

The episode recorded in the Gospel of John (John 8:3-11) is repeated in countless similar situations in every period of history. A woman is left alone, exposed to public opinion with “her sin,” while behind “her” sin there lurks a man — a sinner ... And yet his sin escapes notice, it is passed over in silence: He does not appear to be responsible for “the other's sin”! Sometimes, forgetting his own sin, he makes himself the accuser, as in the case described [in the Gospel]. How often, in a similar way, the woman pays for her own sin ... but she alone pays and she pays all alone! How often is she abandoned with her pregnancy when the man, the child's father, is unwilling to accept responsibility for it? And besides the many “unwed mothers” in our society, we also might consider all those who as a result of various pressures, even on the part of the guilty man, very often “get rid of” the child before it is born. They “get rid” of it: but at what price? (No. 14)