By Fr. Peter Vecellio, OCD

This week we commemorate the beheading of St. John the Baptist. He is the first martyr of the Church to die not for belief in Christ, but for standing up for one of Christ’s moral teachings. We all know that John opposed Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife--which Jesus clearly taught was adulterous--and thus lost his life for his opposition. We might say that John died in defense of the sanctity of marriage.

In our days of legalized abortion, there have been many “martyrs” for the cause of life. Maybe none of them have been actually killed in defense of life, but many of them have had to suffer for their pro-life convictions. We think of all those who participated in rescues at abortion mills and were physically abused or imprisoned for doing it. I myself knew a Franciscan priest who was imprisoned for a whole year because of rescuing. Currently, we think of people like David Daleiden who has been made to suffer in the courts and press for his fearless video expose of Planned Parenthood. 

These brave souls remind us pro-lifers that God is calling all of us in some way to be a “martyr” for the pro-life cause. Not all of us are called to be David Daleiden, but all of us can sacrifice and die to ourselves in some way so that the innocent victims of abortion may live.