#YesOn115: Voting as a Catholic Means Voting for a ‘Culture of Life’

November 3 is drawing near for arguably one of the most vitriolic presidential races in the United States’ history, but the presidency is not the only ballot measure of utmost concern for Coloradans. This year, the people of Colorado have the opportunity to ban late-term abortion after 22-weeks’ fetal gestation, promoting the value of life for our culture and affirming the countless preborn children whose lives came to a brutal end before their first breath.

As Catholics and as Coloradans, we must vote YES for Ballot Proposition 115, banning late-term abortion after 22-weeks’ gestation. And we must encourage our family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. This is literally an issue of life or death.

Colorado is one of seven states with no legal restrictions on the gestational age of a child for an abortion, allowing preborn children to be killed at any moment until birth. According to the Guttmacher Institute, most states have imposed restrictions on abortion at 20-weeks of gestation or at viability of life outside the womb, which is generally regarded as 22- to 24-weeks’ gestation.1  A May 2020 Gallup poll shows that 70 percent of Americans believe there should be some restrictions on abortions. Despite this public support, the Colorado Department of Public Health reports that approximately 300 babies are aborted per year after 21-weeks’ gestation in the Centennial State. Colorado is far behind the rest of the country in protecting lives of preborn children.

In June, the Colorado bishops released a letter imploring Coloradans to support the Proposition 115 Late Term Abortion Ban. They wrote,

“Ending the legal protection for abortion is the most important political objective of Colorado Catholics because these children are deprived of their right to live. While the late-term abortion ban will not ban abortion entirely, it does protect children who are older than 22 weeks’ gestation. This is a positive change from the status quo and promotes a ‘culture of life’ that values preborn children. It is a step in the right direction.”

The Catholic Church teaches, and human reason based on the findings of science affirms, life begins at conception. According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, 96 percent of biological scientists attest to life beginning at the fertilization of an embryo.2 By 20-weeks’ gestation, a human fetus demonstrates all the fundamental characteristics of more developed humans, including the ability to perceive pain and perform sophisticated behaviors. This makes second trimester dilation and evacuation “D & E” abortions, which dismember babies and crush their skulls while they are still alive, even more horrific. Many abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, have even profited off selling the organs of these late-term aborted babies.3

Furthermore, medical advancements have increased infant-survival rates outside of the womb at 22-weeks’ gestation. A recent study by the University of Iowa shows that 64 percent of babies born at 22 weeks and 82 percent of babies born at 23 weeks survived with hospital resuscitation.4 A majority of premature babies born between 22 weeks and 25 weeks are able to be treated by specialized healthcare professionals and live happy, healthy lives. With each week in utero after the 22-week mark, the survival rate outside of the womb increases. 

Opponents of Proposition 115, including Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion lobbyists, argue that the restriction on abortion limits accessibility for women, especially in cases of rape and incest or unviable pregnancies. But abortion for women who have been sexually assaulted would only add trauma to trauma and create yet another innocent victim by killing the preborn child. In these cases, rapists should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and society should support both the woman and her infant child. Groups like Catholic Charities’ Marisol Health are licensed medical centers, fully equipped to help women with their reproductive health in any circumstance, even the most difficult pregnancies.

It is the duty and obligation of faithful Catholics to take part in shaping the moral character of our community, our state and our country. At the heart of the Church’s moral and social teachings are the truths of human dignity and sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death. Because we are people of both faith and reason, it is necessary for Catholics to advocate for these truths in the public square. One important way to do this is through our civic responsibility to participate in the political process by voting, both for Proposition 115 and for elected officials who value life. It is imperative, in this election more than ever, that Catholics hold lawmakers accountable – particularly those who profess to be Catholic but reject Catholic social teaching.

Our involvement in public life, especially in a time of so much civic unrest and a need to address wrongs of the past and present, including abortion, will ultimately help shape the moral character of our society for the future and our posterity – especially for the children whose lives will be saved by your vote for Proposition 115.

Remember to Vote YES on Ballot Proposition 115 this election, and vote for candidates who value a “culture of life.” The lives of Colorado children depend on you!

Visit Online

For more information on Prop. 115 and other election resources, visit cocatholicconference.org

COMING UP: Did Christians ban the Games? Tales, myths and other fun facts about the ancient Olympics

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

The 2020 Summer Olympics began less than a week ago, and as is usually the case, there’s been enough stunning athleticism, shocking upsets and yes, even a little bit of drama on display to keep the water cooler chatter abuzz until at least the 2022 games.

At their best, the Olympic games bridge cultural divides and unite countries around the world as the greatest living athletes around the globe compete for the coveted gold medal in their respective events. There’s a spirit of global camaraderie that welcomely comes about during every Olympiad; whether watching the Games at home with the family or going to a local bar to cheer on your favorite country, the Olympics bring people together in a way that most other sporting events do not.

Another astounding thing about the Olympics is how they’ve endured over the millennia. Indeed, they provide a special glimpse into the history of the world and those common qualities of humanity that will never die; namely, the need for both unitive, universal community and friendly but fierce competition.

The first recorded Olympic games took place in 776 B.C., though some historians speculate that they could have began as early as the 10th century B.C. The games were held every four years in Olympia to honor the greek god Zeus as one of four Panhellenic festivals, this one coinciding with the second full moon following the summer solstice, usually at the end of July or early August. The Olympics became so significant that the term Olympiad was used to mark a year the games took place, and became a common unit of historical time measurement.

Now, the ancient world wasn’t exactly known for its amicability or even peacefulness, as indicated by the countless wars and power usurpations that took place throughout its history. However, Olympic festivals were marked by a truce among the Greeks called ekecheiria, which roughly means “holding of hands.” This ensured safe travels for athletes and spectators as they made their way to the festival and was a common basis for peace among the Greeks. That the Olympic games could get even the constantly feuding Greeks to lay down their arms and come together in a spirit of solidarity speaks to their significance in ancient history.

Early Olympic events included the footrace, wrestling, the long jump, the javelin throw, the discus throw and boxing. Of course, it’s nigh impossible to read about the ancient Olympics and not come across epic tales of chariot racing, an event which was briefly banned early on but was reinstated by the first century B.C. and drew the interest of several key Roman figures (more on that later).

By the fifth century B.C., athletes from all over the Greek-speaking world came to Olympia for the games. The footrace, also called the Stade or Stadion, was considered the most prestigious event, and is where the english word “stadium” is derived from. Stade was a unit of measurement in ancient Greece which modern historians say is the rough equivalent to 600 feet or 200 yards, though the actual length has been a subject of debate for many years. Either way, it represents the length which runners in the Stadion ran to prove themselves as the fastest sprinters in the ancient world.

Interestingly, very little record about the Olympics games during the time of Christ exists. History tells us that the Roman emperor Tiberius, who was emperor during Christ’s life, won the chariot races during the 194th Olympiad in 4 B.C. In 17 A.D., the popular Roman general Germanicus, who was Tiberius’ adopted son and the future father of the third Roman Emperor Caligula, won the chariot races in 17 A.D., presumably around the time Christ was a teenager.

About those chariot races: they were known to attract elite political figures, some of whom won based on true skill, and others who only wanted the appearance of winning to further exert their power and status. During the 211th Olympiad, Emperor Nero, known for his fierce persecution of Christians and rather narcissistic personality, forcibly moved the Olympic games set to take place in 65 A.D. to 67 A.D. so he could compete while on a tour of Greece. He participated in the chariot races (with six more horses than the other competitors), and declared himself the greatest Olympic victor of all time, though historical eyewitness accounts tell a different story. Nero actually nearly died after a severe wreck, but Nero being Nero, he was still declared the winner.

Thankfully, Nero’s title as an Olympic victor and the Olympiad he “won,” which did not adhere to the established chronology of the games, were subsequently stricken from the official Olympic records after his death.

The Olympics grew over the course of 1,200 years until 393 A.D., when Emperor Theodosius I banned all Pagan festivals from the Roman emperor after Christianity became adopted as the state religion. Popular culture and history has long maintained this story of Christianity being to blame for the halt of the Olympic games. However, in recent years, some historians have disputed this account, saying that it was not for religious reasons but rather economic reasons that the games ended when they did. In fact, even after Theodosius’ death, there are still records of Olympic games taking place up until the fifth century. As the administration of Roman Empire evolved, the Olympics could no longer be sponsored by civil funds and instead became sponsored more and more by rich elites of the time. Simply put, the games became too expensive, and no one wanted to pay for them anymore.

The Olympics did not make a return for 1,500 years, until the Athens Olympics in 1896. Over the last 125 years since their reinstatement, the Games have become an integral piece of modern culture and a remnant of ancient history that was revived to great avail. As the Olympics in Tokyo continue over the next week and athletes compete for the gold, the words of St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians serve as a pertinent reminder of how the spirit of an Olympian imitates closely that of a Christian:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:24-27).

So let the Games continue! And may the race be run not for a perishable prize, but an imperishable one.


Featured photo: Met Museum, Terracotta Panathenaic prize amphora (jar), ca. 510 B.C. Attributed to the Leagros Group.