True and False Worship

The Sacrament of Abortion is a book written by Ginette Paris and published in 1992. The claim of this book is that abortion is a sacred act by being a sacrifice to Artemis (known to the Romans as Diana). Artemis is a protector of wild animals and a hunter who kills them as well, two contradictory roles in one female deity. This is not unheard of in the pagan world, for the goddess honored in Kolkata, Durga Mata, is the same kind of deity. The author argues that a mother properly cares for life only if she possesses full power over life and death, and that sometimes death is preferable. She writes: “Artemis stands for the refusal to give life if the gift is not pure and untainted …. As Artemis might kill a wounded animal rather than allow it to limp along miserably, so a mother wishes to spare the child a painful destiny” (p. 55).

Remember that Artemis is the same goddess mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. When St. Paul proclaimed the Gospel in Ephesus, a riot almost broke out, and a vast crowd shouted for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:34). 

Today, those who wish to take the life of the unborn into their own hands are in effect paying homage to Artemis. They should feel threatened by the Gospel, because the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is that He alone has authority over life and death. No one else, neither the mother, the father, the state, the individual herself, can claim dominion over life.

This Christian claim lies at the very heart of the matter. We hear it in our first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews. Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, for by His death we enter into this new covenant so that such sacrifices are no longer necessary. He has fulfilled the Old Covenant, which was created in the first place to pull the Israelites away from such pagan sacrifices as Ginette Paris describes.

Jesus Christ is at the heart of things, that He alone, by His defeat of death and sin, has total dominion over life and death. Which means we have to be careful when we defend the unborn: we cannot give a duplicitous message. We cannot say that I’m personally against abortion but I’ll defend a woman’s right to choose. We cannot say that God has given life and therefore I’m going to give it back. We cannot fight those opposed to the pro-life cause with violence. We have to stand united in our defense of human life, from conception to death. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” We cannot live in a divided house. And that’s precisely what the Enemy will try to do, divide us between ourselves, not just on the issue of abortion, but also on the issue of ideology, feminism, liturgy, you name it, anything that gets us passionate and, well, divided. Seeing how divided we’ve been over the last 44 years since Roe vs Wade, and continue to be divided, I shouldn’t be surprised that abortion is still legal in this country.
Ginette Paris’ book and the ideas contained therein should make us realize the depth of spiritual warfare that is going on. “Abortion has never been merely or even primarily a political issue. It is a false religion” (Pavone, p. 183). Speaking out against abortion isn’t just saying something consistent with the Gospel; it is the Gospel being proclaimed. 

(Homily written in part by using the article by Fr. Frank Pavone, “The ‘Sacrament’ of Abortion,” in Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It, pp. 182-183.)