As we observe Divine Mercy Sunday, I am compelled to speak to a very specific issue which calls us to recognize the power of mercy and the importance of our fervently seeking it—not only for ourselves but equally for others. For those in school now and for those who have ever been in school, we are familiar with “required reading.” All of us have been assigned books that are expected to be actually read and which become the subject of reports, presentations and/or examinations.
Having just seen—finally—the movie adaptation of the book by the same name, Unplanned, I believe this film ought to be considered essential viewing for Catholics and for all Christians. As the main character, Abby Johnson, says within the first minutes of the movie, “Mine is not an easy story to hear.” Undeniably, it includes some graphic moments that are difficult to watch. Nevertheless, it carries a super-powerful message. As one commentator has written: Waking the individual consciences of a people lulled by custom and hoodwinked by propaganda is extremely difficult. How does one shock, as it were, that sleepy organ into re-assessing a practice that is built-in to a whole culture? (Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, radiologist, as posted on Angelus News).
What contributes heavily to the credibility of the film is that it comes from the perspective of an individual who worked for Planned Parenthood for many years (rising to the rank of Clinic Director) and, for quite some time, believed she was serving women well. At the turning point of her story, Abby’s deep sense of guilt and shame leads her to wonder how God can forgive her. This allows the message of Christ’s abundant mercy to be brought out very vividly.
Years ago, when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.—and later, when I visited its sister museum in Israel— there was no way I could describe the experience as “enjoyable.” Nevertheless, these memorials provide an essential tool for coming to terms with a moment in history where human life became “dehumanized.” Abortion is today’s equivalent of mass human extermination. There are those who deny the holocaust happened…denial of reality is nothing new for Satan.
As Dr. Pozo Christie goes on to say:
In an entertainment world that glorifies the sordid and celebrates the foulest violence (and has no problem granting PG-13 to sexualized and bloody films), a hint of blood and the simulacrum of a little fetal body causes a pro-life movie to be classified Restricted. This rating will keep many away, and this is the objective of the industry, because the movie industry is no friend of truth when it bumps up against sexual liberation. Don’t let the R rating keep you away from seeing “Unplanned,” and recommending it to your friends.
Abby Johnson now works as a powerful agent of the Pro-life message. I will speak more about this
next week, including Abby’s admonition to us not to punish or criminalize women.